previous next


3. Commander of the Carthaginian garrison at Lilybaeum, at the end of the first Punic war. (Plb. 1.66.) It appears that he must have succeeded Himilco in this command, but at what period we are not informed. After the conclusion of peace (B. C. 241), Hamilcar Barca having brought down his troops from Eryx to Lilybaeum, resigned his command in disgust, and left to Gisco the charge of conducting them from thence to Carthage. The latter prudently sent them over to Africa in separate detachments, in order that they might be paid off and disbanded severally; but the Carthaginian government, instead of following this wise course, waited till the whole body were reunited in Africa, and then endeavoured to induce them to compromise the amount due to them for arrears. The consequence was, the breaking out of a general mutiny among them, which ultimately led to the sanguinary civil war known by the name of the Inexpiable. The mutinous troops, to the number of 20,000, having occupied the city of Tunis, only twelve miles from Carthage, Gisco, who during his command in Sicily had made himself highly popular with the army, was deputed to them with full powers to satisfy all their demands. But this concession came too late. Those who had taken the lead in the meeting, apprehensive of being given up to vengeance, should any composition be effected, now exerted all their endeavours to inflame the minds of the soldiery, and urge them to the most unreasonable demands. Spendius and Matho, two of the most active of the ringleaders, had been appointed generals, and it was at their instigation that the troops, exasperated by an imprudent reply of Gisco to some of their demands, fell upon that general, seized the treasures thai he had brought with him, and threw him and his companions into prison. (Plb. 1.66-70.) From this time the mercenaries, who were joined by almost all the native Africans subject to Carthage, waged open war against that city. Gisco and his fellow-prisoners remained in captivity for some time, until Spendius and Matho, alarmed at the successes of Hamilcar Barca, and apprehensive of the effects which the lenity he had shown towards his prisoners might produce among their followers, determined to cut them off from all hopes of pardon by involving them in the guilt of an atrocious cruelty. For this purpose they held a general assembly of their forces, in which, after alarming them by rumours of treachery, and exasperating them by inflammatory harangues, they induced them to decree, on the proposal of the Gaul Autaritus, that all the Carthiaginian prisoners should be put to death. The sentence was immediately executed in the most cruel manner upon Gisco and his fellow-captives, seven hundred in number. (Plb. 1.79, 80.)

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
241 BC (1)
hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.66
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.70
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.79
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.80
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: