Thus compelled to beg or to buy from the lukewarm and venal multitude the permission to save it; compelled to bargain with the arrogance of men whom he hated and whom he had constantly conquered, at the price of humiliation and of silence, for the respite indispensable for his ends; compelled to conceal from those despised traitors to their country, who called themselves the lords of his native city, his plans and his contempt--the noble hero stood with few like-minded friends between enemies without and enemies within, building upon the irresolution of the one and of the other, at once deceiving both and defying both, if only he might gain means, money, and men for the contest with a land which, even were the army ready to strike the blow, it seemed difficult to reach and scarce possible to vanquish. He was still a young man, little beyond thirty, but he had apparently, when he was preparing for his expedition, a foreboding that he would not be permitted to attain the end of his labours, or to see otherwise than afar off the promised land. When he left Carthage he enjoined his son Hannibal, nine years of age, to swear at the altar of the supreme God eternal hatred to the Roman name, and reared him and his younger sons Hasdrubal and Mago--the "lion's brood," as he called them--in the camp as the inheritors of his projects, of his genius, and of his hatred.

Hamilcar Proceed To Spain Spanish Kingdom Of The Barcides

The new commander-in-chief of Libya departed from Carthage immediately after the termination of the mercenary war (perhaps in the spring of 518). He apparently meditated an expedition against the free Libyans in the west. His army, which was especially strong in elephants, marched along the coast; by its side sailed the fleet, led by his faithful associate Hasdrubal. Suddenly tidings came that he had crossed the sea at the Pillars of Hercules and had landed in Spain, where he was waging war with the natives--with people who had done him no harm, and without orders from his government, as the Carthaginian authorities complained. They could not complain at any rate that he neglected the affairs of Africa; when the Numidians once more rebelled, his lieutenant Hasdrubal so effectually routed them that for a long period there was tranquillity on the frontier, and several tribes hitherto independent submitted to pay tribute. What he personally did in Spain, we are no longer able to trace in detail. His achievements compelled Cato the elder, who, a generation after Hamilcar's death, beheld in Spain the still fresh traces of his working, to exclaim, notwithstanding all his hatred of the Carthaginians, that no king was worthy to be named by the side of Hamilcar Barcas. The results still show to us, at least in a general way, what was accomplished by Hamilcar as a soldier and a statesman in the last nine years of his life (518-526)--till in the flower of his age, fighting bravely in the field of battle, he met his death like Scharn-horst just as his plans were beginning to reach maturity--and what during the next eight years (527-534) the heir of his office and of his plans, his son-in-law Hasdrubal, did to prosecute, in the spirit of the master, the work which Hamilcar had begun. Instead of the small entrepot for trade, which, along with the protectorate over Gades, was all that Carthage had hitherto possessed on the Spanish coast, and which she had treated as a dependency of Libya, a Carthaginian kingdom was founded in Spain by the generalship of Hamilcar, and confirmed by the adroit statesmanship of Hasdrubal. The fairest regions of Spain, the southern and eastern coasts, became Phoenician provinces. Towns were founded; above all, "Spanish Carthage" (Cartagena) was established by Hasdrubal on the only good harbour along the south coast, containing the splendid "royal castle" of its founder. Agriculture flourished, and, still more, mining in consequence of the fortunate discovery of the silver-mines of Cartagena, which a century afterwards had a yearly produce of more than 360,000 pounds (36,000,000 sesterces). Most of the communities as far as the Ebro became dependent on Carthage and paid tribute to it. Hasdrubal skilfully by every means, even by intermarriages, attached the chiefs to the interests of Carthage. Thus Carthage acquired in Spain a rich market for its commerce and manufactures; and not only did the revenues of the province sustain the army, but there remained a balance to be remitted to Carthage and reserved for future use. The province formed and at the same time trained the army; regular levies took place in the territory subject to Carthage; the prisoners of war were introduced into the Carthaginian corps. Contingents and mercenaries, as many as were desired, were supplied by the dependent communities. During his long life of warfare the soldier found in the camp a second home, and found a substitute for patriotism in fidelity to his standard and enthusiastic attachment to his great leaders. Constant conflicts with the brave Iberians and Celts created a serviceable infantry, to co-operate with the excellent Numidian cavalry.

The Carthaginian Government And The Barcides

So far as Carthage was concerned, the Barcides were allowed to go on. Since the citizens were not asked for regular contributions, but on the contrary some benefit accrued to them and commerce recovered in Spain what it had lost in Sicily and Sardinia, the Spanish war and the Spanish army with its brilliant victories and important successes soon became so popular that it was even possible in particular emergencies, such as after Hamilcar's fall, to effect the despatch of considerable reinforcements of African troops to Spain; and the governing party, whether well or ill affected, had to maintain silence, or at any rate to content themselves with complaining to each other or to their friends in Rome regarding the demagogic officers and the mob.

The Roman Government And The Barcides

On the part of Rome too nothing took place calculated seriously to alter the course of Spanish affairs.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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