Episode 28 – The Truceless War: Part II

Carthaginian shekel with Hannibal
Carthaginian coin estimated to be from 237 – 227 BC depicting what is thought to be Hamilcar Barca dressed as the Phoenician god Melqart. On the reverse, a mahout directs an elephant, another symbol of Carthaginian might.
TUNISIE_UTIQUE_05
Archeological site in Utica. This ancient Phoenician colony predated Carthage on the North African coast but was subsumed into the rapidly growing Carthaginian hegemony at some point during the 4th Century BC. Despite apparently cordial relations up until the mercenary revolts, Utica and her sister city Hippo Acra joined the rebels in a bid for independence and threw themselves wholeheartedly into slaughtering Carthaginian troops. Original photo by GIRAUD Patrick.
Tunis_Utique_Fontaine
A fountain shaped like a turtle from the ruins of Utica. The Phoenicians were famous for their love of all things luxurious, and fountains such as this provided much needed refreshment in the broiling North African climate.
Post First Punic War
Sardinia, strategically situated between Europe and North Africa, had functioned as a vital Carthaginian trade outpost and breadbasket for centuries. However, the mercenaries garrisoning Sardinia revolted like their counterparts on the mainland and effectively drove the Carthaginians from the island, cutting off vital food supplies to the capital.
mercenary war
Following Gisco’s murder, Hippo Acra and Utica, two of the oldest Phoenician colonies in North Africa, unexpectedly rose in revolt and began slaughtering Carthaginian garrison troops. Meanwhile, the rebels marched to besiege Carthage herself, but Hamilcar managed to maintain an effective guerrilla campaign in their rear, forcing them to abandon the siege to chase after him.

The murder of Gisco precipitated an escalation of the Truceless War. Both sides invented new ways to torture and slaughter their prisoners, with the mercenaries continuing to brutalize Carthaginian captives while Hamilcar threw his any rebels who fell into his hands to his elephants to be trampled to death. Worse news arrived when mercenary troops tasked with holding Sardinia revolted in a bid to seize control of the island, and matters spiraled further out of control when the force sent to put down this rebellion crucified their commander before joining with the rebels. Only the overseas support from Rome and Syracuse allowed Carthage to continue the fight. Thanks to Hamilcar’s war of attrition and skillful maneuvering, the rebels soon found themselves on the back foot despite their superior numbers. All that remained for Hamilcar was to finish the grim task set before him.

Download: Episode 28 – The Truceless War: Part II

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