Hamilcar Barca

The Man

Hannibal Barca was born in 247 B.C within in the City of Carthage. A City resting upon the coast of modern day Tunisia. One of three sons bore to his father Hamilcar Barca he was the oldest. In 229 B.C Hamilcar died after plunging his horse into a river after retreating from a battle in Spain, leaving Hannibal and his brothers to fend for themselves and Carthage. After his fathers sudden death his brother-in-law Hasdrubal took over command of the military but he was found mysteriously dead in 221 B.C, thus allowing Hannibal to become Commander of the Military at the young age of 26.

hannibal bust

Hannibals Oath

 

Polybus and Livy have both written of what is called Hannibal’s Oath. Both of the Writers claim that when Hannibal was a child, he begged his father Hamilcar to bring him to Spain to fight. His Father agreed but on one condition, that he swear internal hatred and destruction to Rome. At this point Polybus and Livy say  ” Hamilcar Barca made the 9-year-old Hannibal dip his hands in blood” and swear the oath. This event very well could have started Hannibal on the path for the man he was to come. Nevertheless it is important to note that like Polybus and Livy most of the accounts and works produced about Hannibal Barca are Roman, these works were constructed to demonize Hannibal for what Rome believed he was. Their view of Hannibal Barca is not all from wrong, Hannibal is known for being one of the most ruthless Generals of all time. His tactics rate high on the scale of torture and ruthlessness.

hannibals oath

Innvasion of Italy 

Hannibal is known for a lot of military engagements against Rome and Others, however he is famously known for his unseen invasion into Italy against Rome. To protect Carthage from a near future invasion from Rome and to uphold his promise to his father. Hannibal assembled an Army, now keep in mind the numbers could be a bit extensive and were said to be recorded by Romans. Hannibals Army was said to contain ” 90,000 infantry , 12,000 calvary and nearly 40 war elephants” this Army was lead on a march lasting ” 1,000 miles”. Starting from the Spanish Pyrenees Moutains, through the Rhine river and over the snowcapped Alps on the border of Italy with Siwsterland, thus ending the march in Central Itlay. This March had a huge effect on Hannibals forces by drastically demenishing them, especially in the Alps region. This however did not slow Hannibal down from his goal, surprise the Romans with his presence. Famously it is at this time in 217 B.C that he lost his eye in an engagement, although many historians believe he lost the eye some form of ocular disease.

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Post War Life 

 

It is well known by now that ultimately Carthage and Hannibal did end up losing to Rome. What is un-known is Hannibal’s post war life. Most notably was his ability to gain the position of civil magistrate over Carthage. Where he promoted democracy and took measures to stimulate agriculture and economy. This is however disabled the aristocracy so Hannibal set out for new ventures. The former General and now Civil Magistrate set out to build and alliance with Philip V of Macedonia in the form of a treaty. This treaty was meant to open up another front during in the east and further stretch Roman resources and soldiers. Hannibal also set out to ally with the Seleucid Empire. His goal was to gain trust form Antiochus the III so that he may give him an army to re-engage angst the Romans, but that dream was squashed. He continued on his revenge path by involving himself with in the Syrian war. Hannibal advised Antiochus to invade Italy, hoping to be named the invading General he was not and was instead placed in a minor naval command post, this venture proved to be a failure as well. Finally after being kicked out of the Syrian Court he fled to Bithynia where he supported all out war against the Pergamum Empire.

 

Death

 

Unable to escape the Romans and several attempts at revenge, Hannibal was due to face Roman extraction. Unwilling to allow such a thing to happen Hannibal Traveled to the Bithynian village of Lybissa in 183 B. C where he did end up killing himself by what is said to be poison. Thus ending the man and the start of his legacy.

 

Sources 


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