Encyclopedia of Southern Italy – H


Hackert, Philipp: (b. Prenzlau, 1737; d. Florence, 1807). Painter. In 1782 he came to Naples where he became principal painter to his friend King Ferdinand IV. Among his works was a series of victories of the Russian navy, views of the seaports of Naples and Sicily, and several Italian landscapes.

Hades (Ades): (1)Greek god of the Underworld. He was the equivalent to the Roman god Pluto.

                (2) The ancient Greek Underworld or land of the dead.

Hadrian (Publius Aelius [H]adrianus): (b. Rome or Italica, Spain, Jan. 24, AD 76; d. Baiae, July 16, 138). Roman Emperor (rAD 117-138).

Halesa: See Alaesa.

Halesus, River: See Alaesus river.

Halex River: See Alex River.

Haluntium: See Aluntium.

Hamilcar (Abd-Melqart = “servant of Melqart”) Barca (1): (d. 480 BC). Carthaginian general. The son of Hanno Sabellus, a Carthaginian general, Hamilcar’s mother was a Greek from Syracuse. His brother, Hasdrubal, was also a well-known commander who campaigned in Sardinia. In 480 BC, Hamilcar was invited by Terillus, the deposed tyrant of Himera, to invade Greek Sicily and restore him to power. Hamilcar saw this as an opportunity for an even grander scheme and formed a large army and navy capable of conquering the entire island for Carthage. He advanced eastwards and laid siege to Himera, on the north coast of Sicily. The city was defended by Theron, the tyrant of Akragas, who appealed for help to Gelon of Syracuse. Gelon, knowing that he was no match for Hamilcar’s forces in a pitched battle, devised a ruse. Learning that Hamilcar was awaiting the arrival of Greek mercenaries, Gelon successfully pretended that his army was the awaited force. By the time the Carthaginians had discovered their mistake, Gelon men were inside the enemy camp. The surprise was total and the Carthaginians were completely routed. Hamilcar, who had been engaged in offering burnt sacrifices at a pyre when the attack took place, realized that his situation was hopeless. Rather than face capture, he threw himself into the flames and was completely comsumed.

                Hamilcar’s son, Gesco, was unable to return home in Carthage because of his father’s disgrace and took refuge in the western Greek city of Selinus where he lived as an exile. Gesco’s son, Hannibal Barca (1), later avenged his grandfather’s defeat and death by leading his own invasion of Greek Sicily in 410 BC. When he captured Himera, Hannibal had 3,000 Greek captives cruelly tortured and offered up as human sacrifices to the honor of his grandfather Hamilcar.

Hamilcar: (fl. 2nd half of 4th century BC). Carthaginian general. He was a Carthaginian commander (strategus) who was defeated by Timoleon at the battle of Crimissus in 339 BC. It is unknown whether he survived the battle but a new commander, Gisco, was appointed as the new commander soon after.

Hannibal (Hanba’al = “mercy of Baal”) Barca (1): (d. 406 BC). Carthaginian general. He was the son of Gesco, and the grandson of Hasbrubal Barca (1). Hannibal had a life-long hatred of the Greeks because of the defeat of his grandfather at Himera in 480 BC. In 410 BC, an opportunity for revenge presented itself when a war broke out between Greek Selinus and Elymian Segesta. The latter appealed for help to their ally, Carthage, while Selinus did the same with Syracuse, the most powerful Greek city in Sicily.

                In 409 or 408 BC, Hannibal arrived in Sicily with a large army and launched an attack on Selinus and captured the city. This, however, was only his first step against the Greeks. Moving eastwards, he captured Himera, the site of Hasdrubal’s defeat and death seventy-two years earlier. Hannibal then committed an act meant both to avenge the death of Hasdrubal and instill fear in his Greek enemies. Taking 3,000 Greek captives, he had them tortured and sacrificed to the spirit of his grandfather. He then returned to Carthage where he was welcomed as a hero.