Episode 29 – The Barcid Revolution

Mercenary War Map
Following the Truceless War, Rome strong armed Carthage into relinquishing her claims to Sardinia and Corsica. The next year, Rome annexed both islands, placing further strain on Carthage’s broken economy. To compensate for these losses, Hamilcar Barca marched west to reassert and expand Carthage’s influence among the Celtiberian and Iberian tribes in Spain with the hopes of harnessing their rich mineral wealth and huge pool of warriors in preparation for a second struggle with Rome.
Carthaginian shekel with Hannibal
Carthaginian silver coin estimated to be from 237 – 227 BC, which would place it during the time of Hamilcar’s conquest of Iberia and his subsequent minting operations in the region. The image on the left is thought to be Hamilcar dressed as the Punic god Melquart, a direct callback to the royal kings of Tyre.
Akra Leuke Ruins
Ancient ruins near modern Alicante, which is the supposed site of Akra Leuka. Hamilcar founded Akra Leuka in order to both secure his eastern conquests and as an assertion that he exercised his authority independent of the government in Carthage. Original photo by Hispa.
Hamilcar's conquests in Iberia
Map of Hamilcar’s conquests in Iberia, including a detailed look at the numerous Iberian and Celtiberian tribes he had to face. The disjointed patchwork of petty domains and the fierce independence of the native tribes presented a significant challenge to the Carthaginians when they landed in 237 BC, but under Hamilcar’s bold leadership, his mercenary armies slowly extended Carthage’s influence across southern Iberia. Original photo by Alcides Pinto.

In the wake of the Truceless War, the Carthaginians struggled to pick up the pieces of their broken country. Financially exhausted from the toll of the First Punic War, the huge war indemnity still owing to Rome, and the devastation of Carthage’s heartland by the rebel mercenaries during the Truceless War, the future looked dire for most if not all of Carthage’s common citizens. Faced with the ruin of their livelihoods, these citizens banded around Hamilcar Barca and his son-in-law Hasdrubal, empowering the Barcids to pass a number of constitutional reforms which strengthened the people’s voice in Carthage at the expense of the oligarchs. With the internal reforms well under way, Hamilcar turned his eyes towards the resources of Spain as the means to build up a new power base in preparation for a second struggle with Rome. When he left Carthage in 237 BC, his nine-year-old son Hannibal accompanied him, embarking on the mission of vengeance which would dominate the rest of his life.

Download: Episode 29 – The Barcid Revolution

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