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Hamilcar's first victory

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Chapter Summary

Polybius reports Hamilcar's opening moves in detail, rather as he did Hanno's but much more fully. This is in keeping with his largely favourable attitude to the new general. It does not of course prove he is drawing on, still less copying down, a Barca-friendly source. After all Polybius is capable of putting his own interpretations and adding his own literary colouring to a narrative. He is just as likely using a variety of sources to fashion an account that he thinks concise but balanced. Even so its level of detail varies. After the opening manoeuvres and Hamilcar's victory in battle beside the Bagradas, Polybius narrates what follows in much more abbreviated fashion, again like the preceding account of Hanno - at least until another dramatic moment, the episode with Naravas, arrives. What he judges worth abbreviating includes, unfortunately, a good deal of North African geography and ancillary military detail.

Keywords: Bagradas; Hamilcar; Hanno; Naravas; North African geography; Polybius



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