The Sacrifice of Hamilcar

The Battle of Himera was one of the largest battles between the Greeks and Carthaginians over control of Sicily.  Hamilcar was leading the Carthaginians against the Greeks, and, as was proper for a general, was making sacrifices to the gods in order to ensure a good outcome to the battle.  Greek cavalry had, by trickery, gained access to the Carthaginian camp, and when the battle began, their actions caused great confusion, leading to a Carthaginian rout.

Hamilcar only noticed that the battle was turning against him once he finished his sacrifices.  Seeing the battle was nearly lost, he made the ultimate sacrifice to the gods.  He threw himself into the sacrificial flames, hoping to change the outcome of the battle through his piety.  Unfortunately, it was all for naught, and the Greeks won a stunning victory, placing Sicily firmly in the Greek world until the Roman conquest.


Hanno’s Conspiracy

Hanno, a rich Carthaginian who wished to become tyrant, conspired to poison the entire senate at his daughter’s wedding and, with their death, seize the power of the state for himself.  When his plans became known to the senate of Carthage, they made no move against him, and their only reaction was to pass a law restricting how much one could spend on banquets and weddings.  With so little action taken against dangers and for their own protection, is it any wonder that they succumbed to Rome?