6. Son of Gisco [GISCO, No. 2], was appointed to succeed the preceding in the command of the Carthaginian province in Sicily. (Just. 22.3
The government of Carthage having resolved to engage seriously in war with Agathocles, committed the conduct of it to Hamilcar,who was at that time, according to Diodorus, the most eminent among all their generals.
The same writer elsewhere styles him king, that is, of course, suffete. (Diod. 19.106
.) Having assembled a large fleet and army, Hamilcar sailed for Sicily (B. C. 311); and though he lost sixty triremes and many transports on the passage, soon again restored his forces with fresh recruits, and advanced as far as the river Himera. Here he was met by Agathocles, and, after a short interval, a decisive action ensued. in which the Syracusans were totally defeated with great slaughter. Agathocles took refuge in Gela; but Hamilcar, instead of besieging him there, employed himself in gaining over or reducing the other cities of Sicily, most of which gladly forsook the alliance of the Syracusan tyrant and joined the Carthaginians. (Diod. 19.106
; Just. 22.3
It was now that Agathocles adopted the daring resolution of transferring the seat of war to Africa, whither he proceeded in person, leaving his brother Antander to withstand Hamilcar in Sicily.
The latter does not appear to have laid siege to Syracuse itself, contenting himself with blockading it by sea, while he himself was engaged in reducing other parts of Sicily. On receiving intelligence from Carthage of the destruction of the fleet of Agathocles, he made an attempt to terrify the Syracusans into submission; but having been frustrated in this as well as in the attempt to carry the walls by surprise, he again withdrew from before the city. (Diod. 20.15
At length, having made himself master of almost all the rest of Sicily (B. C. 309), he determined to direct his efforts in earnest against Syracuse; but being misled by an ambiguous prophecy, he was induced to attempt to surprise the city by a night attack, in which his troops were thrown into disorder and repulsed.
He himself, in the confusion, fell into the hands of the enemy, by whom he was put to death in the most ignominious manner, and his head sent to Agathocles in Africa as a token of their victory (Diod. 20.29
; Just. 22.7
; Cic. de Div.
1.44; V. Max. 1.7