Hamilcar

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Hamilcar (Punic-Phoenician ḥmlqrt, Canaanite Hebrew אחי-מלקרת, meaning brother of Melqart, a Tyrian god) was a common name in the Punic culture. There are several different transcriptions into Greek and Roman scripts. The ruling families of ancient Carthage often named their members with the traditional name Hamilcar. For example:

  • Hamilcar, son of Hanno, led the Carthaginian forces at the Battle of Himera in 480 BC during the First Sicilian War
  • A brother of Gisco (3) and possibly brother of Hanno (9) with whom he was executed in the middle of the 4th century BC (Polyen. Strat. V 11)
  • Hamilcar the Rhodian — Possibly Carthaginian spy in the entourage of Alexander the Great, executed when returning to Carthage.
  • Hamilcar — Strategus in Sicily and Punic Africa from 261 to 255 BC during the First Punic War. He is not identical with the homonym officer mentioned by Diod. XXIV 12. ELip
  • Hamilcar was a Carthaginian commander whose greatest achievement was winning the Battle of Drepanum in 249 BC during the First Punic War.

The name has been adopted by other cultures. Amilcare was one of Benito Mussolini's given names, and was the forename of the composer Amilcare Ponchielli.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • B H Warmington, Carthage. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.
  • F L Benz, Personal names in the Phoenician and Punic inscriptions. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1972

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