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Hannibal's Elephant Ears {Ancient Rome}

Hannibal was a Carthaginian general who, during the 2nd Punic War (war between Rome and Carthage), took a herd of elephants over the Alps to attack Rome. I can only imagine the surprised look of the Romans, who had never seen elephants before! But, these were no ordinary elephants. They were trained war elephants, who "when they were told to attack, spread their ears wide out to make their heads even wider," and were painted to look more terrifying, according to Susan Wise Bauer in The Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times. (Links to Amazon are affiliate links).

This was one of the activities from the The Story of the World Activity Book. A treasury that I wished I had picked up sooner. Of all the sticky notes I had sticking out of the Ancient Rome section, this one appealed to me the most. It was not only a very easy and fun activity, they were also very good.

I started with a simple dough recipe, rolled the dough flat, smothered it in melted butter, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top, rolled it up, and sliced it to make cinnamon rolls.

Then we rolled the cinnamon rolls flat and fried them in oil to make "Hannibal's Elephant Ears."

And we served them to an "army" of hungry kids, but not before we sprinkled them with more cinnamon sugar.

They were very good! (Too good!) Rolling them up like cinnamon rolls before you cook them, makes them flakey and irresistible!

Too irresistible! I had a plateful on the counter when I left to run errands and all I could think about was coming home to eat another one, but they were all gone when I got home.

So, we made them again!


  1. Yummmmmm!! I wish I lived next door so I could come to your house for treats! (And seriously, those elephants must have been terrifying, who ever heard of "war elephants"?!)

  2. They must have been! Malachi must have been impressed too - this is one of his favorite stories from Ancient Rome. Though, I should have mentioned that I can't even eat these anymore. I'm done with sugar and flour for a good amount of time. Just so thankful I'm not missing it!

  3. I recently read a novel about Hannibal and his elephants from a crazy novel. Now I forget the title -- I found it on Kindle. Just a funny coincidence...

  4. Cool! I love food fun learning. Sounds yummy if you had to make another batch, too!

  5. Well, I was quite addicted to white sugar and flour. Add fried to that combo, and Oy! I shan't eat another one maybe ever. The kids could probably handle it just fine though. Maybe if I was at goal weight, but I can think of other things I'd rather eat - like chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting!

  6. Funny! If I remember right, it didn't end well for Hannibal?!

  7. Any other fun ideas you did with Rome? We're doing core B here too!

  8. Have you seen the Story of the World Activity Book? I had about 20 things sticky noted to do, but we didn't get to them. We just had a Roman meal of fresh fruit, cheeses and bread. With my older boys, we made roman tunics and felt (leather) sandals, did a torn paper mosaic, and had a Roman feast. Grape smashing (to make "wine") was on my list of things to do, too. :)