Episode 33 – The Lion’s Brood

Returning to the narrative, Hamilcar Barca, continuing his campaigns into the Spanish interior, died suddenly battling against hostile tribes in 228 BC. With Hamilcar’s eldest son, the famous Hannibal, still in his teens, Hamilcar’s son-in-law, Hasdrubal the Fair, succeeded the great Barcid leader in Spain. Charming, sophisticated, and diplomatic, Hasdrubal consolidated Hamilcar’s foothold in southern Spain by a series of treaties, guest-friendships, and political marriages along with occasional judicious campaigns. His newly-established capital, New Carthage, quickly grew to be one of the greatest cities of the burgeoning Carthaginian empire due to its natural harbor and ready access to the markets of Spain and North Africa. By the time of Hasdrubal’s own death in 221 BC, the Carthaginian army and cities in Spain had been forged into a formidable power base which would serve the young Hannibal well in the trials to come.

Barcid Spain - Hasdrubal
In an effort to consolidate Hamilcar’s conquests, Hasdrubal founded the city of Carthago Nova – “New Carthage” – on the southeastern coast of Spain. Situated upon a magnificent natural harbor and well-defended by steep hills and deep lagoons on all sides, Carthago Nova rapidly become a bustling trade center and allowed Hasdrubal to supervise Carthaginian affairs in both the Spanish interior and the North African coast.
Bust dedicated to Hasdrubal the Fair, founder of New Carthage. As Hamilcar’s son-in-law and heir, Hasdrubal continued the great general’s work in Spain after his death, consolidating and solidifying Carthage’s hold on the penuinsula. Original photo by Wikipedia user Maarten Dirkse.
View of the foundations for Punic walls of New Carthage. Original photo by Wikipedia user VIATOR IMPERI.
Aerial view of Cartagena
Aerial view of modern-day Cartagena, which sits atop Hasdrubal’s old Carthago Nova. With its sheltered natural port – Polybius describes it as being accessible only by sailing between an island fronting the harbor – Carthago Nova quickly became full of bustling Phoenician merchants. Original photo by Wikipedia user Juan Sáez.
Ruins of the Roman amphitheater at Cartagena. Some might call this a spoiler for New Carthage’s fate, but it was too good a photo to leave out. Original photo by Wikipedia user Trasamundo.

Recommended further reading:

Hannibal’s Dynasty by Dexter Hoyos

A Companion to the Punic Wars (Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World) Edited by Dexter Hoyos

Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles

Implacable Enemies: The Barcid Armies at War by Karwansary Publishers

Clash of the Colossi: The First Punic War by Karwansary Publishers

Download: Episode 33 – The Lion’s Brood

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