Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hannibal's Wife

Imilce? at Baeza

Livy reports that Hannibal had a Spanish wife, Imilce .

He may also have had a son, although this may be just literary speculation.

Livy notes: "Castulo, a powerful and famous city of Spain, and in such close alliance with Carthage that Hannibal took a wife from there, seceded to Rome."

Serge Lancel in his "Hannibal", discusses this : "...It may be remembered that [Hannibal's] predecessor, Hasdrubal the Fair, had taken a Spanish woman as his second wife, soon after succeeding Hamilcar. In the same way, we learn from Livy (XXIV, 41, 7) that Hannibal married an Iberian woman from Castulo (a town on the Guadalquivir River), one of the most important cities at that time in upper Andalusia, near Linares. Very early on the town had aroused the interest of the Phoenicians of Gades because of its mineral resources, and its ancient wealth had found expression in some of the most beautiful works of orientalizing art."

The fountain at Baeza

Silius Italicus tells us a little more about the bride. She was called 'Imilce', probably not from a Greek name as the Latin poet thinks (Punica, 111, 97-105), but from a well and truly Punic name: it is quite legitimate to recognize in it the barely modified Semitic root m-l-k, the 'chief, the 'king' (Picard, 1967, p. 119).

Supposedly from this union a son was born, during the siege of Saguntum - the delay during this siege resulted in a late and more difficult crossing of the Alps. One explanation offered by Silius and Livy is that before leaving for Italy, Hannibal took the mother and still young child on a relatively long journey to Gades (Cadiz), where he put them on a vessel bound for Carthage, to protect them from the vicissitudes of war. Hannibal's journey to Gades is recorded by Livy. And the poet shows us this Imilce, fixing her gaze on the shores of Spain until the ship's progress hides them from her sight."

He later relates that Carthage's government decided to sacrifice Hannibal's son. Imilce, the Spanish soldier's wife, was naturally opposed to that terrible decision and obtained from the Council the suspension of the sacrifice to inform her husband; Hannibal refused to sacrifice his son and in exchange he swore to sacrifice 'a thousand enemies'.

At Baeza (49 kilometres from Jaén) , in the plaza del Pópulo, the Los Leones fountain is said to have been brought from the Roman city of Cástulo. The female figure of the monument is said by some to be Imilce, the wife of Hannibal, although the head was reportedly cut off during the Spanish Civil War, as it was thought to resemble the Virgin Mary, so what we see today may not be original.

1 comment:

  1. who is hannibals mother??
    i am not being funny or stupid please help me i am doing a essay on hannibal life and i need to know who his mother is ??