Truceless War

Carthage’s fight for survival, 241 to 237 BC


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The revolt of Carthage’s mercenaries and oppressed Libyan subjects in 241–237 BC nearly ended her power and even existence. This ‘truceless’ war, unrivalled for its savagery, was fought over most of Punic North Africa and spread to Sardinia. It brought to power in Carthage Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, whose generalship—though flawed—was critical to Carthage’s final victory. The main narrative, by the Greek historian Polybius a century later, is vividly evocative (inspiring Flaubert’s novel Salammbô) yet repeatedly unclear on military and geographical details, the extent and structure of the rebel coalition, and chronology. Truceless War analyses Polybius and other sources to present a coherent and absorbing study of the war’s causes and events, and of Polybius’ historiographical methods.

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Dexter Hoyos has written extensively on Roman and Carthaginian history in the third Century BC, including the history of Hannibal’s family and most recently, with John Yardley, a translation and commentary on Livy’s books 21–30, Hannibal’s War (Oxford World’s Classics).

1. Gisco
2. The Army of Sicily
3. Politics, Policies and Politicians at Carthage
4. The Army of Sicily at Carthage
5. Sicca
6. The Talks at Tunes
7. Mutiny
8. Libya Revolts
9. Hanno in Charge
10. Hamilcar’s First Victory
11. Hamilcar Trapped
12. ‘The Libyans’
13. Enter Naravas
14. Sardinia Rebels
15. The Killing of Gisco
16. Disasters and Defections
17. The Siege Of Carthage
18. The Saw
19. The Crosses at Tunes
20. Hamilcar and Hanno
21. Mathos’ End
22. Victory and Humiliation
23. A Balance-Sheet
24. Polybius and Other Sources

Chronology of the War

Truceless War will interest scholars and non-specialist readers of ancient history, military history and, especially, the story of Carthage and her Barcid leaders; also students and readers of the historian Polybius, of ancient historiography, and of Flaubert’s masterpiece Salammbô.
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