Hamilcar Barca , or Barcas (of barak which means the lightning in Phénicien - punic) (~ 270 - 228 av. J. - C.) was a statesman and a general Carthaginian.
He was distinguished during the First Punic War in -247, when he ensured the command in Sicily which was then almost entirely with the hands of the Romains. Unloading suddenly in the North-West of the island with a small force of mercenaries it seizes a strong position on the mount Heirktê (Monte Pellegrino, close to Palermo). Not only, it could maintain it against all the attacks but it carried its incursions to the coast of Italy of the south.
In -244 it transferred its army to a similar position on the slopes from the Mont Éryx (Monte San Giuliano), of which it could lend support to the garrisons besieged in the city close to Drepanum (Trapani). After the Carthaginian defeat with the islands Aegates in -241, the unconquered force of Hamilcar could leave Sicily without subjecting itself.
This defeat, charged to the Carthaginian aristocratic generals, caused the many dissatisfied ones; mainly mercenaries come to claim their balance but also controlled Libyan peasants and the citizens whom the decline of the navy touched directly. It followed the revolt known as " War of the Mercenaries " who inspired the literary character of Salammbô, heroin of the Romance éponyme of Gustave Flaubert. The mercenaries, of the fugitive Slaves and the poor peasants directed by the Libyan Mathó, the Gallic Autarite and the slave campanien Spendios made the head office of Carthage and seized some other city like Utique and Bizerte. Hamilcar Barca succeeds in making leave its boats the port then, by a war of harassing, it led revolted in a deserted valley (procession of the Saw) where with the assistance of the prince Numide Naravas they were exterminated (-237).
After this success, Hamilcar enjoys such an influence among popular environments and patriotic that its adversaries could not refuse to him the command as a chief of the army nor to prevent it from being essential like the Master of Carthage.
After the recruitment and the drive of a new army at the time of some incursions in Numidie, it took the responsability for a forwarding in Hispania (- 236) where it hoped to gain a new empire to compensate for Carthage of the loss of the Sicily and Sardinia and to be useful as bases for a revenge campaign against the Romans. In eight years, by the force of the arms and the diplomacy, it created a vast territory in Hispania, rich in mining resources, an army made up essentially of the frightening Iberian warriors. But its untimely death at the time of the head office of Héliké (Elche of the Sierra) at the time of winter 229-228 put an end to its projects.
Hamilcar exceeded by far the Carthaginians of its time in military competence and diplomacy, like in patriotism. Of these qualities, it was exceeded only by his son Hannibal whom it had impregnated with his hatred for Rome and had formed to be his successor.
His/her son-in-law, Asdrubal the Beautiful, succeeded to him between -228 and -221. With the assistance of his young brother-in-law Hannibal, wire of Hamilcar, it got busy to extend this domination, and on the Mediterranean coast a true capital gave him, Carthagène (the Carthage news).
- Roman History, Lives of the large captains of Cornelius Nepos
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