Dillon, Colorado – The patriarch of the Barcid family was Hamilcar Barca. He was the general of Carthage who, when the city was executing all of its generals and admirals who had lost during the first Punic War, survived.
After the war, Carthage had a problem. They were in dire financial trouble due to tribute they had to pay. The laws stated that an army who had suffered a decisive defeat need not be paid. So now none of the armies of Carthage need be paid, which would greatly lesson their money problem. All save one that is, the army of Hamilcar, whose twenty thousand men were still intact and undefeated. After being recalled from the field, they sat around Carthage waiting to be paid. Hanno, a leading member of the ruling Council, refused to pay up. Hamilcar had, while they waited for their wages, kept them from mutiny for a long time.
But now, the men boiled with rage, they refused to listen to Hamilcar. Instead they mutinied. They were joined by slaves from Africa, and eventually cut Carthage off from the mainland by besieging nearby cities. Hanno the great was sent with 100 elephants to drive them back. He lost. Hamilcar was sent with another army, he had 70 elephants. In the end, with the help of what was left of Hanno’s army, he won.
But Carthage was in a state of decay. They were exhausted with war, they had lost a fleet, and they were no longer the great sea power they had been, Rome had surpassed them even there. But Hamilcar had a son. His name was Hannibal.
According to the legends, the young boy had wanted to go with his father to war. Hamilcar took him into the sacrifice room, with the fire roaring, he had him dip his hands into the blood, and ordered his son to swear to be the enemy of Rome forever. The boy swore. He and his brother were beginning to grow older now, and both were generals.
Across the sea Rome was growing stronger and stronger, and Carthage weaker and weaker. They could not long survive in the present situation. Rome had many allies, and Carthage had lost territory during the first Punic War.
During a series of battles with nearby nations Hamilcar, his sons, and his son in law Hasbrudul the Fair began to regain ground they had lost. Rome questioned them about their invasions, but Hamilcar was not one to listen someone else’s senate, and he ran his own. But then he fell in battle, fighting in an unknown place against an unknown tribe.
Hannibal and his brothers were now left to face Rome and Hanno. It was hard decide who was more dangerous. But the Second Punic War was about to begin, and it would last for seventeen years.
Andrew C. Abbott