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Hasdrubal

10. Son of Gisco. one of the Carthaginian generals in Spain during the Second Punic War. He is first mentioned as arriving in that country, with a considerable army, in B. C. 214, and as cooperating with Hasdrubal and Mago, the two sons of Hamilcar, in the campaign of that year. But, notwithstanding the union of their three armies, they were able to effect nothing decisive. The outline of the events which marked the Spanish war from this year until the departure of Hasdrubal the son of Hamilcar to Italy, has been already given in the life of the latter [No. 6], and it seems unnecessary to recapitulate it, in order to point out the share which the son of Gisco took in the successes or reverses of the Carthaginian arms. From an early period of the war, dissensions arose between the three generals, which doubtless contributed not a little to the fluctuations of its success, and which appear to have risen to a still greater height after the defeat and death of the two Scipios (B. C. 212) had left them apparently undisputed masters of Spain. The particular part which the son of Gisco took in these is nowhere mentioned, but it is difficult to avoid the conjecture that they were in great part owing to his jealousy of the sons of Hamilcar; and Polybius expressly charges him (9.11, 10.35, 36) with alienating the minds of the Spaniards by his arrogance and rapacity, among others that of Indibilis, one of the chiefs who had been most faithfully attached to the Carthaginian cause. [INDIBILIS.]

When Hasdrubal the son of Hamilcar, after his defeat at Baecula by Scipio (B. C. 209), moved northwards across the Tagus, he was joined by his two colleagues, and, at the council of war held by them, it was agreed, that while the son of Hamilcar should prosecute his march to Italy, the son of Gisco should confine himself to the defence of Lusitania and the western provinces of Spain, taking care to avoid a battle with Scipio. (Liv. 27.20.) This accounts for his inaction during the following year. In the summer of 207 we hear of him in the extreme south, near Gades, where he was joined by Mago with the remains of his army, after his defeat by M. Silanus. [MAGO.] But though Scipio followed Mago to the south, and endeavoured to bring Hasdrubal to a battle, that general evaded his designs, and the campaign came to a close without any decisive action. The next year (206) having greatly augmented his army by fresh levies, Hasdrubal found himself at the head of a force of 70,000 foot and 4500 horse, with which he and Mago no longer hesitated to meet the enemy in the field. They were attacked by Scipio at a place called by Polybius Elinga, by Livy Silpia, situated apparently in the mining district of Baetica, and, after a long and obstinate combat, totally defeated. This battle, which seems to have been one of the most striking instances of Scipio's military genius, was decisive of the war in Spain; Hasdrubal and Mago, with the remains of their scattered army, took refuge within the walls of Gades. (Plb. 11.20-24; Liv. 28.1-3, 12-16; Appian, App. Hisp. 24-28.) The former appears to have henceforth abandoned all hopes of prosecuting the war in Spain, and turned all his attention to Africa, where Scipio had already entered into negotiations with Syphax, the powerful king of the Massaesylians. Hasdrubal, alarmed at these overtures, hastened in person to the court of the Numidian king, where it is said he arrived at the same time with Scipio himself, and spent some days in friendly intercourse with his dreaded adversary. (Liv. 28.17, 18; Appian, App. Hisp. 30.) He was, however, successful in detaching Syphax from his meditated alliance with Rome, a success said to have been owing in great part to the charms of his daughter Sophonisba, whom he gave in marriage to the Numidian prince; but this same measure had the effect of completing the alienation of Masinissa, prince of the Massylians, to whom Sophonisba had been previously promised. Hasdrubal, however, did not regard his enmity in comparison with the friendship of Syphax, whom he not long after instigated to invade the territories of Masinissa, and expel that prince from the whole of his hereditary dominions. (Liv. 29.23, 31; Appian, App. Pun. 10-12; Zonar. 9.11, 12.)

Such was the state of affairs when Scipio landed in Africa, in B. C. 204. Hasdrubal, who was at this time regarded as one of the chief citizens in his native state, was immediately placed at the head of the Carthaginian land forces, and succeeded in levying an army of 30,000 foot and 3000 horse, which was quickly joined by Syphax with a force of 50,000 foot and 10,000 horse. The approach of these two powerful armies compelled Scipio to raise the siege of Utica, and establish his camp in a strong position on a projecting headland, while Hasdrubal and Syphax formed two separate camps to watch and, as it were, blockade him throughout the winter. The Numidian king, however, allowed himself to be engaged in negotiations with Scipio, during the course of which the Roman general was led to form the dreadful project of burning both the hostile camps. With the assistance of Masinissa, he was enabled fully to accomplish this horrible scheme: the camp of Hasdrubal and that of Syphax were set on fire at the same time, while they were surrounded by the enemy's troops: thousands of their men perished in the flames, the rest fell by the sword of the enemy in the darkness and confusion: out of 90,000 men, it is said that a few fugitives alone escaped, to tell the tale of this fearful massacre. Among these, however, was Hasdrubal himself, who hastened from the scene of the disaster to Carthage, where he succeeded in persuading the senate once more to try the fortune of war. Syphax had also escaped, and was soon able to raise another army of Numidians, with which he again joined Hasdrubal. But their united forces were a second time overthrown by Scipio; and while Syphax fled once more into Numidia, Hasdrubal returned to Carthage, B. C. 203. (Plb. 14.1-8; Liv. 29.35, 30.3-8; Appian, App. Pun. 13-23; Zonar. 9.12.) This is the last notice of him that occurs in Polybius or Livy; according to Appian, on the contrary, he avoided returning to Carthage, from apprehension of the popular fury, and assembled a force of mercenary and Numidian troops, with which he kept the field on his own account, having been condemned to death for his ill success by the Carthaginian government. Notwithstanding this, he continued to concert measures, and co-operate with his successor, Hanno the son of Hamilcar; and on the arrival of Hannibal from Italy his sentence was reversed, and the troops he had collected placed under the command of that general. But the popular feeling against him had not subsided: he was compelled to conceal himself within the city, and, on some occasion of a sudden outbreak of party violence, he was pursued by his enemies, and with difficulty escaped to the tomb of his family, where he put an end to his life by poison. His head was cut off and paraded in triumph by the populace through the city. (Appian, App. Pun. 24, 29, 30, 36, 38; Zonar. 9.12, 13.)

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