The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

330

HAMILCAR.

progress which .the arms of Hamilcar had made in the peninsula may be in some measure estimated by the circumstance that the fatal battle in which lie perished is stated to have been fought against the Vettones, a people who dwelt between the Tagus and the Guadiana. (Corn.' Nep. Hamilc. 4; Strab. iii. p. 139.) According to Livy (xxiv. 41), it occurred near a place called Castrum Album, but the exact site is unknown. The circumstances of his defeat and death are very differently told by Diodorus and by Appian. The account of the latter author is confirmed by Zonaras; but all writers agree that he displayed the utmost personal bravery in the fatal conflict, and that his death was not unworthy of his life. It took place in 229 B. c., about ten years before his son Hannibal was able to commence the realisation of the great de­signs in the midst of which, he was thus himself cut off. (Polyb. ii. 1; Diod. Exc. Hoescliel. xxv. 2; Zonar. viii. 19; Corn. Nep. Hamilc. 4; Liv. xxi. 1,2; Oros. iv, 13.)

We know very little concerning the private character of Hamilcar: an anecdote of him pre­served by Diodorus (Exc. Val. xxiv. 2, 3) repre­sents in a favourable light his liberality and even generosity of spirit; and we have seen that he at first displayed much leniency towards the insurgents in the African war, though the atrocities of his opponents afterwards led him to acts of frightful cruelty by way of retaliation. His political rela­tions are so obscure that it is difficult to form a judgment concerning his conduct in this respect; but there certainly seems reason to suppose that, like many other great men, the consciousness of his own superiority rendered him impatient of control; and it is not improbable that he sought in Spain greater freedom of action and a more independent career than existing institutions allowed him at home. An odious imputation cast on his relations with Hasdrubal was probably no more than a calumny of the opposite faction. (Corn. Nep. Hamilc. 3 ; Liv. xxi. 2, 3.) Of the military genius of Hamilcar our imperfect knowledge of the details of his campaigns scarcely qualifies us to judge, but the concurrent testimony of antiquity places him in this respect almost on a par with his son Hannibal. He left three sons, Hannibal, Hasdrubal, and Mago, all of whom bore a distinguished part in the second Punic war.

9. Son of Gisco, was the Carthaginian governor of Malta at the beginning, of the second Punic war. He surrendered the island, together with his gar­rison of 2000 men, into the hands of the Roman consul, Ti. Sempronius Longus, B. c. 218. (Liv. xxi. 51.)

10. Son of Bomilcar (probably the Suffete of that name: see bomilcar No. 2), is mentioned •as one of the generals in Spain in b. c. 215, together with Hasdrubal and Mago, the two sons of Barca. The three generals, with their united armies, were besieging the city of Illiturgi, when the two Scipios came up to its relief; and notwithstanding the great inferiority of their forces, totally defeated the Carthaginians, and compelled them to raise the siege. (Liv. xxiii. 49.) No other mention is found of this Hamilcar, unless he ;be the same that is; named by Pplybius (iii. 95) as commanding the fleet of HasdrubaL in 217. That officer is, how­ever, called by Livy (xxii. 19) Himilcb. From the perpetual confusion between these two names it seems not impossible that the person of whom

EAMILCAR.

we are now speaking is the same as the Himilco whom Livy had previously mentioned (xxiii. 28) as being sent into Spain with a large force to sup­port Hasdrubal. [himilco, No. 7.]

11. A Carthaginian admiral, who commanded the fleet of observation which the Carthaginians kept up during the second Punic war, to watch the movements of the Romans in Sicily. (Polyb. viii. 3. § 8.) He is probably the same who in the summer of 210 ravaged the coasts of Sardinia with a fleet of 40 ships (Liv. xxvii. 6) ; and whom we find holding the chief naval command at Carthage when the seat of war was transferred to Africa. (Appian, Pun. 24.) After the defeat of Hasdrubal and Syphax by Scipio in 203, Hamilcar made a sudden attack upon the Roman fleet as it lay at anchor before Utica. He had hoped to have taken it by surprise, and destroyed the whole ; but the vigilance of Scipio anticipated his design, and after an obstinate combat he was only able to carry off six ships to Carthage. In a subsequent attack he effected still less. (Appian, Pun. 24, 25, 30; Liv. xxx. 10).

12. An officer in the army of Hannibal, in Italy\ during the second Punic war. In 215 he was de­tached, together with Hanno, into Bruttium, where he succeeded in reducing the important town of Locri. (Liv. xxiv. 1.) He appears to have been appointed governor of his new conquest, which he held with a Carthaginian garrison till the year 205, when the citadel was surprised by Q. Pleminius. Hamilcar still held out in another fort that com­manded the town, and Hannibal himself advanced to his relief, but the unexpected arrival of Scipio disconcerted his plans, and he was compelled to abandon Locri to its fate. Hamilcar made his es­cape in the night, with the remains of his garrison. According to the Roman historians, his conduct during the period he had held the command at Locri was marked by every species of cruelty and extortion, which were however, according to their own admission, far exceeded by those of his Roman successor. (Liv. xxix. 6—8, 17.)

13. A Carthaginian, who had remained in Cisal­pine Gaul after the defeat of Hasdrubal at the Metaurus (b. c. 207), or, according to others, had been left there by Mago when he quitted Italy. In 200, when the Romans were engaged in the Macedonian war, and had greatly diminished their forces in Gaul, Hamilcar succeeded in exciting a general revolt, not only of the Insubrians, Boi'aDS, and Cenomanni, but several of the Ligurian tribes also. By a sudden attack, he took the Roman co­lony of Placentia, which he plundered and burnt, and then laid siege to Cremona; but that place, though unprepared for defence, was able to hold out until the Roman praetor, L. Furius, arrived to its relief with an army from Ariminum. A pitched battle ensued, in which the Gauls were totally de­feated, and in which, according to one account, Hamilcar was slain: but another, and a more probable statement, represents him as continuing to take part in the war of the Gallic tribes, not without frequent successes, until the year 197, when he was taken prisoner, in the great battle on the river Mincius, in which the Insubrians were overthrown by the consul Cethegus. He is said to have adorned the triumph celebrated by the vic­torious consul. (Liv. xxxi. 10, 21, xxxii. 30, xxxiii. 23 ; Zonar. ix. 15, 16.) In these pro­ceedings, it is clear that Hamilcar acted without

Pages
About | First

329

330

331
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.