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326

HAMILCAR.

the different persons that bore it, many of whom are only incidentally mentioned by the Greek or Homan historians.

1. The commander of the great Carthaginian expedition to Sicily b.c. 480. He is called by Herodotus (vii. 165) the son of Hanno, by a Syra-cusan mother: the same historian styles him king (fiaffiXets) of the Carthaginians, a title by which the Greeks in general designate the two chief ma­gistrates at Carthage, who are more properly styled suffetes or judges. There can be little doubt that this Hamilcar is the same as the person of that name mentioned by Justin (xix. 1,2) as having served with great distinction both in Sardinia and Africa, and having been subsequently killed in the war in Sicily, though he is said by that author to have been the son of Mago. If this be so, it is probably to his exploits in those countries that He­rodotus refers, when he says that Hamilcar had attained the dignity of king, as a reward for his warlike valour ; and the same services may have caused him to be selected for the command of an expedition, undoubtedly the greatest which the Carthaginians had yet undertaken, although we cannot but suspect some exaggeration in the state­ment of Herodotus and Diodorus, that the army of Hamilcar amounted to 300,000 men. He lost se­veral ships on the passage by a storm,. but arrived with the greater part of the armament in safety at Panormus. From thence, after a few days' repose, he marched at once upon Himera, and laid siege to that city, which was defended by Theron of Agri-gentum, who shut himself up within the walls, and did not venture to face the Carthaginians in the field. Gelon, however, who soon arrived to the assistance of his father-in-law, with a'considerable army, was bolder, and quickly brought on a general engagement, in which the Carthaginians, notwith­standing their great superiority of numbers, were utterly defeated, and their vast army annihilated, those who made their escape from the field of battle, falling as prisoners into the hands of the Sicilians. (Herod, vii. 165—167 ; Diod. xi. 20—22 ; Po-Jyaen* i. 27. § 2.) Various accounts are given of the fate of Hamilcar himself, though all agree that he perished on this disastrous day. A story, in itself not very probable, is told by Diodorus, and, with some variation, by Polyaenus, that he was killed at the beginning of the action by a body of horsemen whom Gelon had contrived by stratagem to introduce into his camp, Herodotus, on the other hand, states that his body could not be found, and that the Carthaginians accounted for this cir­cumstance by saying, that he had thrown himself, in despair, into a fire at which he was sacri­ficing, when he beheld the total rout of his army. A remarkable circumstance is added by the same historian (vii. 167), that the Carthaginians, after his death, used to sacrifice to him as a hero, and erected monuments to his memory not only at Carthage, but in all their colonial cities. Such ho­nours, singular enough in any case as paid to an unsuccessful general, seem strangely at variance with the statement of Diodorus (xiii. 43), that his son Gisco was driven into exile on account of his father's defeat. According to Justin (xix. 2), Ha­milcar left three sons, Himilco, Hanno, and Gisco.

2. Brother of Gisco [Gisco, No. 2], is men­tioned only by Polyaenus (v. 11), who states that, after having distinguished himself greatly in the conduct of wars in Africa, he was accused of aim-

HAMILCAR.

ing at the tyranny, and put to death. There is, however, much reason to suspect Polyaenus of some mistake in this matter.

3. One of the commanders of the great Car­thaginian army, which was defeated by Timoleon at the passage of the Crimissus, b. c. 339. (Plut. Timol. 25.) The fate of the generals in that action (for the particulars of which see timoleon) is not mentioned ; but it seems probable, from the terms in which Plutarch shortly after speaks of the ap­pointment of Gisco to the command (Uriel,. 30), that they both perished.

4. Surnamed Rhodanus, was sent by the Car­thaginians to the court of Alexander after the fall of Tyre, b. c. 332. (Justin. xxi. 6.) He was pro­bably sent as ambassador to deprecate the wrath of the king for the assistance given to the Tyrians, or to ascertain the disposition of Alexander towards Carthage, in the same manner as we again find a Carthaginian embassy at his court just before his death. (Diod. xvii. 113.) Justin, however, re­presents Hamilcar as having no public capacity, but as worming himself into the king's favour, and then secretly reporting his designs to Carthage, Yet, according to the same author^ when he returned home, after the death of Alexander, he was put to death by the Carthaginians for having betrayed their interests. (Justin. xxi. 6 ; Orosius, iv. 6.)

5. Carthaginian governor in Sicily at the time that Agathocles was first rising into power. The latter, having been driven into exile from Syracuse, had assembled a mercenary force at Morgantia, with which he carried on hostilities against the Syra-cusans. Hamilcar was at first induced to espouse the cause of the latter, and defend them against Agathocles ; but was afterwards prevailed on to take up the interests of the exiles, and brought about a treaty, by which Agathocles was restored to his country, and, with the assistance of the Car­thaginians, quickly made himself undisputed master of the city, B. c. 317. (Justin, xxii. 2, compared with Diod. xix. 5—9.) Hamilcar appears to have reckoned on the devotion of the tyrant whom he had assisted in establishing, and who had sworn to be faithful to the interests of Carthage ; and we find him soon after interposing as mediator, to ter­minate the war which the Agrigentines, in con­junction with the Geloans and Messenians, had commenced against Agathocles. (Diod. xix. 71.) The Carthaginian allies even complained against him, as sacrificing their interests to those of the Syracusan tyrant; and the senate' of Carthage de-^ termined upon his recal, but he died before his successor could arrive in Sicily. (Justin. xxii. 3,7.)

6. Son of Gisco [Gisco, No. 2], was appointed to succeed the preceding in the command of the Car­thaginian province in Sicily. (Justin. xxii. 3.) The government of Carthage having resolved to engage seriously in war with Agathocles, committed the con­duct of it to Hamilcar,who was at that time, according to Diodorus, the most eminent among all their gene­rals. The same writer elsewhere styles him king, that is, of course, suffete. (Diod. xix. 106, xx. 33.) Having assembled a large fleet and army, Hamilcar sailed for Sicily (b. c. 311); and though he lost sixty triremes and many transports on the passage, soon again restored his forces with fresh recruits, and advanced as far as the river Himera. Here he was met by Agathocles, and, after a short interval, a decisive action ensued, in which the Syracusans

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