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5. Son of Gisco (Zonar. 8.10), and commander of the Carthaginian forces at Agrigentum, when it was besieged by the Romans during the first Punic war, B. C. 262. It seems not improbable that this may be the same person with the preceding, but we have no evidence by which to decide the fact, and the name of Hannibal appears to have been so common at Carthage, that it can by no means be assumed. Hannibal had a considerable army under his command, yet he did not venture to face the Romans in the field, and shut himself up within the walls of Agrigentum. The Roman consuls, L. Postumius Megellus and Q. Mamilius Vitulus, established their armies in two separate fortified camps, which they united by lines of intrenchment, and thus proceeded to blockade the city. Hannibal was soon reduced to great distress, for want of provisions, but held out, in hopes of being relieved by Hanno, who had advanced as far as Heraclea to his support. [HANNO, No 8.] But the operations of the latter were unsuccessful, and when he at length ventured on a decisive effort, He was completely defeated. Hereupon Hannibal, who had himself made an unsuccessful attack upon the Roman camp, during their engagement with Hanno, determined to abandon the town, and succeeded, under cover of the night, in forcing his way through the enemy's lines, and making good his retreat with what troops remained to him in safety to Panormus. Agrigentum itself was immediately afterwards stormed and piundered by the Romans. (Plb. 1.17-19; Zonar. 8.10; Ores. 4.7.) Hannibal's attention was henceforth directed principally to carrying on the contest by sea : with a fleet of sixty ships, he ravaged the coasts of Italy, which were then almost defenceless; and the next year (B. C. 260), on learning that the consul, Cn. Cornelius Scipio Asina, had put to sea with a squadron of seventeen ships, he dispatched Boodes, with twenty gullies, to meet him at Lipara, where the latter succeeded by a stratagem in capturing Scipio, with his whole squadron. After this success, Hannibal put to sea in person, with fifty ships, for the purpose of again ravaging the coasts of Italy, but, falling in unexpectedly with the whole Roman fleet, lie lost many of his ships, and with difficulty made his escape to Sicily with the remainder. Here, however, he joined the rest of his fleet, and C. Duilius, having taken the command of that of the Romans, almost immediately brought on a general action off Mylae. Hannibal, well knowing the inexperience land want of skill of the Romans in naval warfare, and having apparently a superior force, had anticipated an easy victory, but the valour of the Romans, together with the strange contrivance of the corvi, or boarding bridges, gained them the advantage; the Carthaginians were totally defeated, and not less than fifty of their ships sunk, destroyed, or taken. Hannibal himself was obliged to abandon his own ship (a vessel of seven banks of oars, which had formerly belonged to Pyrrhus), and make his escape in a small boat. He hastened to Carthage, where, it is said, he contrived by an ingenious stratagem to escape the punishlment so often inflicted by the Carthaginians on their unsuccessful generals. (Plb. 1.21-23; Zonar. 8.10, 11; Oros. 4.7; Diod. Exc. Vatic. 23.2; Dio Cass. Frag. Vat. 62; Polyaen. 6.16.5.) He was, nevertheless, deprived of his command, but was soon after (apparently the very next year, 259) again sent out, with a considerable fleet, to the defence of Sardinia, which had been attacked by the Romans under L. Scipio. Here he was gain unfortunate, and, having lost many of his ships, was seized by his own mutinous troops, and put to death. (Plb. 1.24; Oros. 4.8; Zonar. 8.12. Tiere is some discrepancy between these accounts, and it is not clear whether he perished in the year of Scipio's operations in Sardinia, or in the following consulship of Sulpicius Paterculus, B. C. 258.)

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  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.19
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.21
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.23
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.17
    • Polybius, Histories, 1.24
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