5. A Carthaginian, son-in-law of the great Hamilcar Barca.
He appears to have early taken part in public affairs, and distinguished himself while yet a young man as one of the most influential leaders of the democratic party at Carthage during the interval between the first and second Punic wars. Community of interests led to a close connection between him and Hamilcar Barca, whose daughter he had married, and whom he accompanied into Spain in 238 B. C. From thence he was sent back to Africa to take the command in a war against the Nnmidian tribes, whom he completely defeated and reduced to submission. (Diod. Exc. Hoesch.
25.2. p. 510).
At what time he returned to Spain we know not, but we find him there in B. C. 229, when, after the death of Hamilcar, he hastened to collect together his scattered forces, and was soon after nominated by the government of Carthage to succeed him as commander-in-chief. Hasdrubal does not appear to have been distinguished so much by his talents for war, as by his political management and dexterity, and especially his conciliating manners: and these qualities, as they had first gained him popularity at home, were now also of the utmost service in conciliating the minds of the Spaniards, and gaining them over to the Carthaginian alliance. Still more to increase this disposition, he married the daughter of one of the Spanish chieftains. (Diod. l. c
At the same time, by the foundation of the city of New Carthage, in a situation admirably chosen, on account of its excellent port and easy communication with Africa, as well as from its proximity to the silver mines of Spain, he contributed gr atly to the consolidation of the Carthaginian empire in that country. Meanwhile he carried on warlike operations against the more distant and hostile tribes; and these enterprizes, the conduct of which he entrusted to the young Hannibal, are said to have been almost uniformly successful.
By these means he had already extended the dominion of Carthage over a great part of the peninsula, when he was assassinated by a slave, whose master he had put to death (B. C. 221).
He had held the command in Spain for a period of between eight and nine years. (Plb. 2.1
; Diod. Exc. Hoesh.
25.3, p. 511; Appian, App. Hisp. 4
; Liv. 21.2
; Zonar. 8.19
According to Fabius (ap. Plb. 3.8
), Hasdrubal had been so elated by the successes he had obtained in Spain, that he repaired to Carthage, with the design of overthrowing the constitution of his country, and establishing himself in the possession of unlimited power; but failing in this object, he returned to Spain, and thenceforth governed that country with uncontrolled and arbitrary authority. Notwithstanding the censure of Polybius, there is certainly nothing in itself improbable in this statement: the position of Hasdrubal in Spain, like that of his predecessor and successor, was in great measure independent of the government at home, a fact sufficiently proved by the remarkable circumstance that the celebrated treaty which fixed the Iberus as the boundary of the two nations was concluded by the Romans, not with the Carthaginian government, but with Hasdrubal alone. (Plb. 2.13
; Liv. 21.2
A splendid palace which he erected at New Carthage was also pointed out as an additional proof of his assumption of sovereign power. (Plb. 10.10.9