Hamilcar the Samnite

Hamilcar the Samnite: Carthaginian politician, one of the leaders of a democratic faction in the first half of the second century BCE.

Hamilcar, nicknamed "the Samnite", is mentioned in our sources as one of the two leaders of a democratic political faction in Carthage. The other leader was a man named Carthalo. There were two other factions. Hanno the Great was the leader of a pro-Roman faction and Hannibal the Starling had founded a party that favored collaboration with the Numidian king Massinissa.note

In 151 BCE, Hamilcar was able to have forty members of the pro-Numidian party expelled. They went to Massinissa's residence, Cirta, and the king sent two sons, Micipsa and Gulussa, to Carthage to discuss the situation: Carthage ought to take back the exiles. However, the two princes were sent away.note Indeed, Hamilcar even attacked Gulussa, killing several members of his attendants. This incident led to retaliations and, eventually, the outbreak of open war between Numidia and Carthage.note

Because Rome had forbidden Carthage to wage war, this was the direct cause of the Third Punic War. In 149, the Carthaginians sent five envoys to Rome to avoid the imminent Roman attack. One of these men was named Hamiicar, but we do not know whether this was Hamilcar the Samnite or someone with the same name.note

This page was created in 2020; last modified on 22 September 2020.