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The Barcid family was a notable family in the ancient city of Carthage; many of its members were fierce enemies of the Roman Republic. "Barcid" is an adjectival form coined by historians (cf. "Ramesside" and "Abbasid"); the actual byname was Barca or Barcas, which means lightning. See ברק Baraq in Canaanite and Hebrew, برق, barq in Arabic, and similar words in other Semitic languages.

It may also mean blessing (Hebrew ברכה brakhah, Arabic بركة barakah).[citation needed]

During the 3rd century BC, the Barcids were one of the leading families in the ruling oligarchy of Carthage. They seem to have realized that the expansion of the Roman Republic into the Mediterranean Sea threatened the mercantile power of Carthage. Accordingly, they fought in the First Punic War and prepared themselves for the Second Punic War.

The Barcids were the founders of several Carthaginian cities in the Iberian peninsula, some of which still exist today. Mahon and Qart Hadast (more famous by its Latin name: 'Carthago Nova' - New Carthage) which currently bears the name of Cartagena.

The known members of this family were:

  • Hamilcar Barca (275-228 BC), a Carthaginian general in the First Punic War and in the subsequent Mercenary War. Reputedly, he made his eldest son swear a sacred oath upon an altar of the gods "to never be a friend of Rome." After the Roman victory, he expanded the colonial possessions in Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal), where he drowned crossing a river.
  • His wife; her name is unknown.
  • His eldest daughter (name unknown) married to Bomilcar, and mother of Hanno.
  • His 2nd-eldest daughter (name unknown), who was married to Hasdrubal the Fair.
Hasdrubal the Fair (?-221 BC), Hamilcar's son-in-law, who followed the latter in his campaign against the governing aristocracy at Carthage at the close of the First Punic War, and in his subsequent career of conquest in Hispania. After Hamilcar's death (228 BC), Hasdrubal succeeded him in the command and extended the newly acquired empire by skilful diplomacy. He consolidated it with the foundation of Carthago Nova, establishing it as the capital of the new province. By a treaty with Rome he fixed the Ebro as the boundary between the two powers. He was killed by a Celtic assassin.
  • His youngest daughter (name unknown) married to Navaras, a Numidian chieftain. Her supposed name Salammbo is in fact [1] the title of a book written by Gustave Flaubert .
  • Hannibal (247-182 BC) oldest son of Hamilcar Barca, one of the best and most famous generals of classical antiquity, and arguably the greatest enemy of the Roman Republic. Won the famous Battle of Cannae but at the end lost the Battle of Zama. Hannibal is famous for his crossing of the Alps with 60,000 soldiers and 38 elephants.
  • Hasdrubal, (245-207 BC) second son of Hamilcar Barca. He defended the Carthaginian cities in Hispania as Hannibal departed to Italy in 218 BC. Leading reinforcements for his brother Hannibal in 207 BC, he was defeated and killed in the decisive Battle of the Metaurus.
  • Mago (also spelled Magon) (243 - 203 BC) third son of Hamilcar Barca, was present at most of the battles of his famous brother and played a key role in many of them, often commanding the forces that made the "decisive push".


  1. ^ Hannibal by Serge Lancel, p.9 ISBN 978-0631218487
  • Matyszak, Philip, The Enemies of Rome, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0-500-25124-X


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