Saturday 28 September 2013

The Ashtart Pericope

The Ashtart Pericope is something found within Neoplatonic philosophy from across the land of Canaan in late antiquity.  It was detailed by the philosopher Hakham Ya-milku of Qinnashrin, and mentioned by Emperor Julian in his Hymn to King Helios.  It's origins though are very old, perhaps going back to early Canaan in Sumerian times. 

This system goes something like this: above us we see the light from the sun, the Torch of the Gods, Shapash.  It is a perfect white light which when fractured creates a rainbow spectrum.  This light is so perfect that it brings to perfection both the forms and the being of all created things.  And as we have seen from popular proverbs and sayings, all created things on earth exist 'under the sun', the all-seeing sun.  We are below the sun.  But Shapash herself does not cause this perfection to exist by herself, rather she uses the noetic or intelligible gods to do so.  It is Shapash who grants these gods their goodworking and perfect nature, and it is she who allows them both the think and be thought of.  This makes sense because we know that Shapash is the Source of All Intelligence.

The winged sun disc, symbolizing the light of Shapash and her eternal rays
For years, the priest-kings of the city of Homs (two of whom were named Ya-milku) kept a kind of solar theology on their tablets for the worship of the goddess Shapash.  These were an elite group.  Ya-milku of Qinnashrin was himself descended from this royal line, hence his name.  When he went to study Neoplatonism, he mostly had the solar theology in mind. 

Now, Shapash has placed the army of the heavens under the goddess of Forethought, who fills the heavenly spheres with purpose and bestows upon humanity wisdom, thought, and the arts.  This is interesting, because it is Shapash's own Forethought which allows her to bring perfection to the forms and beings of all things through the workings of the intelligible gods.  Shapash emanates the pure light, being given the central role in all creation.  Her rays of light come from heaven and emanate pure mind from the divine to all of the created things on earth under the sun.  That is how their souls are enlightened, receiving an emanation of thought from heavenly mind.  But how do her perfect rays reach the earth from heaven in an uncorrupted state without first becoming corrupted as they travel on their descent?  The answer is through the intercession of the goddess Ashtart.  Ashtart is close to Shapash, because she is the Morning and Evening Star, in other words the planet Venus.

The symbol for the Star of Venus in Babylonian astrology.  It is the symbol for the goddess Ishtar, who is in many ways the equivalent of the Canaanite goddess Ashtart
This planet is close in heaven to the sun, and so it is through her intercession that the heavenly light from Shapash descends to the earth in a completely pure and uncorrupted state.  Ashtart is said to be 'always charming', because she is a mediator who brings forth the divine wisdom from God to the creation, from heaven to earth.  When we receive the divine rays of the sun, which awaken our souls and allow us to connect with divinity and to 'realize' divinity (gnosis) we are receiving it by the grace of the holy Star of Venus, the Morning and the Evening Star, the goddess Ashtart, who carries the rays through heaven and ensures that they reach earth in a pure and uncorrupted state straight from divinity itself.

Sunday 22 September 2013

The Second Roman War- Part 3

For many years the traders of the east had sailed to the far west searching for tin, silver, amber and other resources.  It was the Canaanites who had done it first.  Trade was established long ago between the merchants of the city of Mari and the kings of Tarshish in the far west.  King Hiram I of Tyre sent out ships from his port city to far off Tarshish in the west of the Mediterranean and Ophir in the east, beyond the Red Sea.  The Canaanites had ruled the seas for many years, traveling west to the great columned halls of the kings of Tarshish and the other tribes of Ishaphan, sitting on their golden thrones and flanked by images of lions and sphinxes.  Many tribes of the west, the Sea People, had long ago harassed Egypt, including the Shekelesh, Shardana, and Ekwesh.  In fact some of them had even fought in Pharaoh's armies as mercenaries against the Hittites and their Canaanite vassals at the city of Kadesh.  Other tribes were far less hostile, including the Tarshishites and Turdetani, who were friendly not only to Canaanites but to Greeks as well.  The most famous of their kings was King Argantoni of Tarshish.  A rich and hospitable king, he had welcomed the Greeks who were fleeing the Medes and the Persians when they conquered the east. 

King Argantoni of Tarshish
A very benevolent people, now turned largely hostile.  It was due to the heroic efforts of Abd-Melqart and Hasdrubaal that the local tribes had submitted as vassals to the Baraqim and to Qart-Hadasht.  Hannobaal's ship sailed into port again near the Ishaphani Qart-Hadasht founded by his sister's husband and former general, Hasdrubaal.  Up above the port loomed the great hill which contained the palace and the temple of Baal Hammon.  Taking command again over his troops, he spent two years leading wars against several other tribes south of the River Iberos.  His first campaign was against the Olcades, a native clan which had a lot of interaction with the Canaanites, the Greeks, and the Etruscans.  After this, he turned his attention beyond the mountains to the ferocious Celtiberian tribes.  They lived far away, and Hannobaal would need all of his skills to fight against them.  He defeated one of these tribes, called the Vaccaei, and stormed their strongholds.  Bringing with him the plunder and spoils of war, he was attacked by another Celtiberian tribe called the Carpetani.  With his superior tactics, Hannobaal won another swift victory before returning to Qart-Hadasht. 

But these recent victories did not go unheard of elsewhere.  They soon reached the ears of the Romans in Italy, who began to fear another attack by this new general.  They turned their attention to a city-state in Ishaphan to the south of the River Iberos called Saguntus, founded by Greeks from Zakunthos (hence the name).  It was considered to be a city under the protection of Herakles himself.  This was a direct breach of the treaty formed with Hasdrubaal promising not to have any dealings south of the Iberos River.  The city then began to attack the allies of Qart-Hadasht, including the tribes of Tarshish.  Hannobaal sought to punish the city for attacking his allies, and so moved his army to the city and laid siege to it.

The city of Saguntus
Hannobaal's siege of the city was difficult due to its heavy defenses, and he sustained several losses, but slowly began to gain the momentum.  The Saguntines turned to Rome for aid, but none came.  The Romans were busy putting down a revolt by the Illyrians.  Besides, the young Canaanite general was no real threat to them anyway.  After eight months of siege, the city was broken into.  Hannobaal offered to spare the inhabitants of the city if they all departed, unarmed, with two garments each.  When they declined the offer and began to sabotage the town's wealth and possessions, Hannobaal ordered that every adult in the city was to be put to the sword.  He took the city and supplied his troops with food and supplies.

Rome was furious.  They sent messengers to Qart-Hadasht at once.  Fabius, a Roman diplomat, entered the governors' palace and stood before the Adirim.  Before the assembly of the 70 elders, he denounced the general who had destroyed Saguntus.  Among the Adirim there were some who wanted to hand Hannobaal over to the Romans.  Chief among these was the nobleman Hanno, who was an old rival to Hannobaal's father Abd-Melqart, and had fought alongside him in two previous wars. 

Despite the opposition, most of the Adirim were firmly on Hannobaal's side.  They argued that Saguntus was rightly punished for attacking their allies.  Fabius held his toga in two hands, and told the Qart-Hadashtim that within the folds of his toga hung peace and war, and they would have to choose between them.  The Adirim retorted that Rome should decide.  Fabius allowed one of the folds to fall free, declaring war on Qart-Hadasht.

Hannobaal himself had returned to Qart-Hadasht and was waiting within his house when he was called to deal with a Roman diplomat in the Merkaz.  The Romans threatened him again, but he responded with a well-known proverb found among the proverbs and wisdom literature of the Canaanites: that it was their duty in Qart-Hadasht to come to the aid of an oppressed and needy people.  In this case, Hannobaal argued, he had simply defended the Tarshish people, who had been close friends of the Canaanite people for many generations. 

The Adirim gave Hannobaal some citizen soldiers from Qart-Hadasht, along with some Sacred Band of Baal Hammon infantry, and Sacred Band of Ashtart cavalry.  The Sacred Band were a quasi-religious order of warriors who drank little wine and served in the temples where they trained in martial arts as elite warriors for the armies.  Their duty was also to the gods, and various Canaanite city-states had Sacred Bands dedicated to Ashtart, Melqart, Tanit, Baal Hadad, or Baal Hammon.  Qart-Hadasht had two: an infantry Sacred Band for Baal Hammon, and a cavalry Sacred Band for the goddess Ashtart.

Sacred Band of Ashtart cavalry

Sacred Band of Baal Hammon infantry
None of the other Canaanite city-states in Phut stood with Qart-Hadasht like they had during the First Roman War.  Atiqa, Ippone, Adrumeto, and the rest sent no aid.  The Phutite vassals did though, with their kings sending along many soldiers.  The Numidians came under their own chieftains and swore loyalty to Hannobaal and his officers.  Boarding the ships, they departed for Ishaphan, where they gathered at the barracks of the Ishaphani Qart-Hadasht.  Hannobaal made offerings in the temples of the gods in that city, and then went on a religious pilgrimage to the city of Gadir.  Gadir was ancient, and its temple of Melqart was like the old one which was built by Hiram and stood in Tyre. 

The great temple
The temple was surrounded by a great courtyard and gardens, and great stelae of bronze set up in this area showed the mighty god in his full glory. The walls of the temple themselves reached down into the sea. Many bronze altars stood with burning incense for the deity in the courtyard, and this area was viewed as so sacred that people were even forbidden from spending the night within. Flanking the doorway stood two great pillars- one of them sheathed in gold, and the other in silver- and an inscription described their construction and the money spent on creating them. The doors themselves were decorated with images showing Melqart on his wanderings and travels- slaying dragons, killing Geriyon, fighting a lion and wearing its skin, preventing subterranean floods of gushing water, meeting the tribes of the world and establishing friendly relations with them, battling against the forces of evil which attacked the constellations of stars in the heavens.

Within the temple there were two freshwater springs which rose and fell with the tide of the sea, around them were built wells. An olive tree (said to have been planted by King Pumayyaton) grew inside the temple, and the girdle of Teukros (the cousin of Alaksandush and Ekoto) was a relic stored there. Inside the Holy of Holies stood three altars, two of bronze and one of stone, and before them burned an eternal flame. There were no images or cult statues of the god inside, and no animals or women were permitted to enter the Holy of Holies. The priests who attended the flame wore linen robes and flax headbands, and went barefoot. They shaved their heads and abstained from sex, being celibate. People seeking prophecies would look no further than to the temple's prophet, who spoke oracles said to rival those of Delphi. The people of Qart-Hadasht (which possessed no Melqart temple) would send offerings to the Melqart temples of Tyre and Gadir.

Hannobaal arrived in Gadir and made his way to the temple.  As a Melqart devotee, he was permitted access to the outer sanctuary by the priests.  There was a room where pilgrims would sleep in hope of receiving prophetic dreams from the god.  

Votive statues of Melqart given at his sanctuary
 That night, Hannobaal had a strange dream.  A ghostly youth appeared to him, and told Hannobaal to follow him and not look behind him.  He followed, but the urge became too great, and he turned around.  He saw a huge red dragon ravaging the countryside and causing great destruction.  When he asked the youth what it meant, he responded that he had been sent by Melqart to show Hannobaal the future.  What he had seen was the destruction he would wage upon his enemies.  The youth then told him that heaven had plans for him.

Hannobaal's dream
When Hannobaal awoke, he felt confident.  The gods had spoken to him, and he would gain great victories.  He returned to his soldiers in Qart-Hadasht with fierce determination, and with plans for the future.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Swami Vivekananda on 'Idol Worshiping'

This is from a Hindu TV series with an actor playing Swami Vivekananda explaining why people worship 'idols'.

Friday 13 September 2013

The Second Roman War- Part 2

The death of Abd-Melqart sent ripples of shock through the whole of the army.  They would need a new leader, one who was just as charismatic and familiar to them, or this conquest simply wouldn't continue.  That man was Hasdrubaal, Abd-Melqart's old friend and ally (and as some alleged, his lover as well).  Hasdrubaal was so pleasing to Abd-Melqart that he had even arranged for him to marry his daughter, allowing him to become a part of the family of the Baraqim.  Previously, Hasdrubaal had been sent back to Phut to crush a Numidian revolt.  Now he returned to Tarshish as a new general, and Abd-Melqart's successor. 

He arrived in Gadir, at the barracks of his army's garrison, and decided to go to the native tribes and use diplomacy to ensure that he was still their leader.  The local tribes, due to respect and fear for Abd-Melqart, were submissive to Qart-Hadasht in general, but owed more respect for the Bet-Baraq than for the ruling Adirim of the city.  Hasdrubaal decided to approach an ally of Qart-Hadasht and Gadir, King Melek of Kastilo.  Melek was ruler of a native kingdom, not a Canaanite one, and his tribe name was the Oretans.  The Oretans had lived in Kastilo for hundreds of years, settling near the river. 

A bronze coin from Kastilo, home of the Oretans tribe.  One side shows a head, while the other shows a bull with a crescent above, possibly representing the moon god.
Hasdrubaal continued through the streets of Kastilo towards the great hall and home of the king.  The inside of the hall contained great columns which held up the roof, and on the walls hung the great shields of the tribe's warriors.  The walls themselves were decorated with images of winged horses, griffins, sphinxes, cherubim, stags, wolves, bears, kings, heroes, and gods.  Melek himself sat on a throne flanked by images of lions.

A citadel on a hill in an average city in Tarshish and the whole of Ishaphan
Hasdrubaal wished to form a strong alliance with the native tribes, and was aware that Melek had a daughter called Princess Milkat.  He requested that the king allow him to arrange a marriage between her and the young Hannobaal, son of Abd-Melqart.  Melek agreed, and a wedding ceremony was arranged.

King Melek in his throne room of his great hall, while Hannobaal and Milkat are married in the lower right
Braziers and fires were lit.  Incense was burned in the temples of the city.  The goddess Ashtart was invoked.  Carpets were laid out on the floor, and tables were set with food and drink ready for the wedding-feast.  The guests were present, including the whole royal family of the Oretans. 

A local barracks and farms in a city in Tarshish and Ishaphan in general

A market and some houses in a city, such as Kastilo.  The houses have tiled roofs and are very small, often one-roomed.

A dock in a small lake

A temple, with a bull statue outside.  Temples have downstairs and upstairs rooms, and are decorated with images of lions and sphinxes.
Hannobaal and Milkat swore their vows, and were married together then.  This secured an important political alliance between the Oretans and other native tribes, and the Baraqim and all of Qart-Hadasht.  Hasdrubaal was pleased.  Now, the conquest could continue, and Qart-Hadasht would own all of Ishaphan to make up for her losses of Shekelesh, Shardana, and Korsim in previous wars.

An Ishaphani warrior presents a sword before a bull statue.  A noblewoman can be seen standing behind him.  This is how Princess Milkat, who married Hannobaal, would have looked.
Gaining the support of the Ishaphani tribes was only the first thing Hasdrubaal had in mind.  Now it was time to found some colonies.  A city-state was founded in the south-east of Ishaphan, and it too was named Qart-Hadasht.  It was situated high in the hills, giving it a natural defense against the enemy.  It had two large ports as well, and was located near to a silver mine, making it incredibly rich.  The city had within it four big hills, and on each one was founded a temple.  The largest hill had a temple dedicated to Eshmun, while the other hills had temples for Kothar-wa-Khasis, Sakkun (alleged to have discovered the local silver mines and identified with a local god and the Greek Hermes), and Baal Hammon.  On top of the hill of Baal Hammon's temple, Hasdrubaal also constructed his palace from where he could overlook all of his city.  He moved his garrison to here from Gadir.  From here he could send out merchants to trade with the surrounding local tribes.

A coin minted in Hasdrubaal's Qart-Hadasht, showing the head of a man and a horse and palm tree motif
Now it was time to conquer yet again.  The military campaigning season began, and after making offerings in all the temples of his new city, Hasdrubaal led his army further north.  This was where all of the Greek colonies in Ishaphan were located.  Most of these colonies were founded long ago, during the time when the Persian Empire dominated the east.  The Greeks had left mainland Greece, fleeing the Persians, and had arrived here in the west.  Large temples stood dedicated to Asklepios and Hygieia.  Hasdrubaal besieged these cities and swiftly conquered them.  There was a problem, though.  These Greek cities were allied with the Romans, and this prompted the Romans to send out diplomats to investigate.  The Romans at last agreed to strike a compromise with Hasdrubaal, and a treaty was signed.  The terms of this treaty allowed Hasdrubaal to keep the conquered cities, but he was not to proceed any further north than the River Iberos, where yet more Greek cities remained in a largely Greek-dominated area with a heavy Hellenistic influence on the surrounding lands.  At the same time, the Romans could not proceed any further south than the River Iberos, and could not form an alliance with any city, kingdom, or tribe to the south of this river.  All of this caused some raised eyebrows back in the old city of Qart-Hadasht, in Phut, for Hasdrubaal was now concluding treaties with Rome in a foreign land without the permission of the Adirim.

Returning to his new city of Qart-Hadasht after a successful campaigning season, Hasdrubaal was satisfied.  He left his palace and wandered the streets near the market at the city's Merkaz.  And it was here that disaster struck.  A Celt, either a hired mercenary or a slave, rushed out and killed Hasdrubaal.  The assassin was caught by soldiers and executed, and word was sent through the city to name yet another new general.  Messengers arrived in the dwellings of the 26 year old Hannobaal Baraq, son of Abd-Melqart, and informed him that Hasdrubaal had been assassinated, and that the Adirim had named him the new general.  He appeared before his soldiers at the barracks, and they thought for a second after seeing the fire in his eyes that Abd-Melqart had returned to earth again.  He was a commanding figure, intelligent and charismatic.  He was no stranger to war either, having fought alongside his father and brother-in-law.  He was also educated, beginning schooling at an early age back in Qart-Hadasht.  Since he was from a warrior family and not a family of scribes, he had not been trained fully in scribal school.  He was literate though, and could read and write not only in his native Punic but in Greek as well.  He knew the history of his people, when they left Tyre long ago, and knew that his own family could trace their ancestry back to the Bet-Ethbaal of Tyre, coming from a younger sibling of Queen Elishat's.  His father Abd-Melqart had payed for the best Greek tutors to instruct him in military history, and he knew all about the conquests of King Alexander III of Macedon against the Persian Empire, as well as all of his tactics and feats.  These two Greek tutors were Sosylos, a Spartan; and Silenus, a Greek from Shekelesh.  Hannobaal also boasted something else in his private possessions which gave him a great connection with the past.  It was a small image of the great god Melqart, which was placed at the dining table by Hannobaal and given sacred meals as part of his private religious devotions.  But this small statue of the god had once belonged to Alexander himself, who called it Herakles, and carried it around on his conquests as he went through Canaan and into the east. 

Hannobaal's Melqart statue, which had once belonged to Alexander himself
Satisfied with his holdings in Ishaphan, Hannobaal and his young wife prepared to make the long journey back home to Qart-Hadasht again.  They sailed away on a ship across the Mediterranean Sea and back to Phut, where they were welcomed warmly to Qart-Hadasht. 

The colossal city walls of Qart-Hadasht
Hannobaal had not been home since that fateful night all those years ago when he had left with his father's army.  It felt good to be home, and to hear the familiar sounds of the seagulls soaring through the air along the sea-front, and the braying of donkeys carrying supplies to market, along with the shouts of merchants and buyers on the stalls.  They passed through the streets together, walking past the houses and shops of the people.  In the distance stood the great Bozrah hill, looming above the city with its impressive defensive walls and shining towers.  They passed the temples, with their wall reliefs showing angels carrying harps and winged jinn, which looked like bulls and eagles with the heads of bearded men.  Pilgrims and other worshipers gathered on festivals and holy days, wearing their bright robes and tall pointed hats, gathering in the courtyards of temples and shouting out praises to the gods; to Baal Hammon the creator, Tanit the mother goddess, the fiery Resheph, Ashtart the city's divinity, Anat the ferocious, Shamash the sun, Yarikh the moon who appeared as Hudish and Kese, Melqart and his companion Eshmun, the young god Shadrapa, Yam the sea god, Dagon the fertile earth, Baal Shamem the heaven, Sakkun the divine administrator, Kothar the intelligent, and the goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal who ruled the underworld and the dead.  There was also Baal Malage, a sea god; and Baal Zapan, the storm-god Hadad.  Pummay and Arish had their place in the god-lists of Qart-Hadasht as well, along with the Egyptian gods Osir, Aset, and Bes.  Finally there were the two Greek goddesses Demeter and her daughter Kore, who were worshiped in the city since the time of King Himilkat II.  And alongside these gods were numerous baalim: Baal Iddir, Baal Oz, Baal Marqod, and Baal Addir.  These were the gods worshiped by the Canaanites, who made up the vast majority of the city's population, but there were others as well.  The city had a small Greek quarter, and the Greeks there worshiped their own gods, but especially Demeter and Kore, who had their own temple in the city and were worshiped by the Canaanites as well.  The city also had a small Jewish quarter with its own synagogue; the Jews having been living there since the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. 

At night, Hannobaal and Milkat arrived in his house and met with the whole of his extended family who lived in the house and surrounding houses near the courtyard.  There was much discussion and much talking, and Hannobaal discussed the situation with the military and the conquests of Ishaphan and the alliance with Tarshish.  They spent some time reclining on couches and drinking wine in honor of the family and city's gods and of the ancestral shades- the Rephaim- as part of the Marzeach.  Abd-Melqart had recently gone down to the underworld among the shades of his ancestors, to the domain of the goddess Allatu or Ereshkigal.  He had been swallowed by Mot, and returned to the dust from which El had first formed him.  The whole family sat in mourning for a while in the house, and then went to their daily routines once more.  Hannobaal and Milkat spent some time in the city, living there and participating in festivals as well as exploring and drinking in the inns and taverns.  Finally though, it came to a time that Hannobaal had to say goodbye to his wife and leave by ship once more for Ishaphan.  Waving farewell, he set off for the port and climbed aboard the ship, which moved off out of the port, and rounded the corner, sailing far away into the west in the direction of the Pillars of Melqart and to new adventures.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

The Second Roman War- Part 1

Here follows an account of the Second War, as told by Ben-el the scribe:

After his recent successes in warfare, Abd-Melqart Baraq retired to live a quiet life with his family in his house in Qart-Hadasht.  Thanks to his alliance with the young and fair Hasdrubaal, he had escaped trial before the Tribunal of the Hundred and Four, and had achieved success against Hanno and his allies, who had tried to make him into a scapegoat.  He was a hero among the masses.  Still, there were some things which still troubled him.  For one, Qart-Hadasht didn't own any land anymore and wasn't really controlling any kind of empire.  This meant a lack of trade and a lot of suffering among the city's merchants.  This also meant a lack of money for the treasury.  A lack of money meant that they couldn't pay tribute to the Romans, and this would mean another war.  And Qart-Hadasht wasn't ready for another war.  Earlier that year, Abd-Melqart and Hasdrubaal had stood on the citadel walls around the Bozrah hill, gazing out across the city and out at the sea, watching Shamash set in the west.  Abd-Melqart had wondered then where his future lay, for just as Shamash arose in qedem (the east) and set in yam (the west), so too would mortals need to live out their lives on the earth below, from birth to death and from past to future.  Now he realized where it lay: it lay west, in the direction of the setting sun.

Abd-Melqart went to the governors' palace in the Merkaz and requested that the Adirim allow him to raise a new army to help keep control of territories in Phut.  This was an area in which Hanno himself owned much land and slaves, and so even he could not disagree with it.  His request granted, Abd-Melqart stopped by the temples of the city to give offerings to the gods before he left for some Numidian territories to train up his new army, which consisted mostly of Canaanites from Qart-Hadasht, some Phutites, and mixed Phutite-Canaanites.  Thanks to Hanno, Qart-Hadasht no longer had her own fleet of ships, and so Abd-Melqart was forced to use only a few smaller ships onto which he loaded supplies and elephants.  He was in the port of Qart-Hadasht when he was loading the ships.  Hasdrubaal was placed in charge of them.

The port of Qart-Hadasht.  This part being the commercial port used by fishermen and merchants.
On the eve of departure, Abd-Melqart said goodbye to his family.  But there was one member of his family who begged to come with him on his military campaign.  It was Hannobaal, his eldest son, who was now 9 years old.  Abd-Melqart knew the dangers of taking a young child with him, but Hannobaal was determined, and so he allowed him to come along.  The army set off from Qart-Hadasht, heading west through the whole of Phut, with Hasdrubaal and the ships along the coast keeping pace with the army.  Passing through Phut, the army arrived then at the Pillars of Melqart in the far west.  This was the edge of the earth, beyond it the sea emptied into a great ocean: the great beyond.  Beyond this some said was the entrance to the underworld below the two mountains Targizizi and Tharumagi which were carried on the shoulders by Thakamin-wa-Shanim, the son of El.  This was the edge of the world, where the firmament met the sea, and heaven met the earth.  It was frightening for sailors traveling beyond the Pillars, and yet still it had been done by Canaanites many times before then, including King Hanno from Qart-Hadasht itself.  Still, there were some scientists and philosophers then who believed that the earth was round rather than flat, and opinion was divided among the intellectuals (it would be only 16 years later that the Greek Eratosthenes of Cyrene would prove that the earth was round while in Egypt).

At the Pillars, Abd-Melqart stationed the men on the shore so that they could see the coast of Tarshish in the north, and had Hasdrubaal slowly ferry the men across in the ships.  From here, they went west in the direction of a small island off the coast of Tarshish.  This was home to the Canaanite city of Gadir, a former colony of Tyre, like Qart-Hadasht.  It had been founded by sailors and explorers from Tyre long ago when a prophet told them to follow in the steps of Melqart and found a city in the west.

That summer, before beginning his military campaign into Ishaphan and beyond, Abd-Melqart took his son Hannobaal to a temple of Baal Hammon, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.  Entering the temple, the general and his son were granted access by the priests to the Holy of Holies.  They gazed up at the large idol of Baal Hammon who seemed to look down upon them, as the incense curled the air around.  The high priest ordered a bull to be taken out, and after Abd-Melqart payed several shekels for the sacrifice, a priest sacrificed it upon the altar of the god.  Abd-Melqart then poured a libation upon the altar, and the priests stood back as Abd-Melqart told his 9 year old son to approach the altar and swear a solemn oath that he would never be a slave or subject to the Romans, and would never allow himself to become their slave.

Abd-Melqart wearing his warrior's attire, giving the prayer, with his young son by his side. Priestesses stand behind him. A priest is sacrificing the bull before the altar. The high priest is raising his hands to heaven, praying, and giving offerings. Two worshipers, wearing robes and head coverings, stand further off.
Abd-Melqart makes Hannobaal swear his oath.  In the background, a priest or priestess is giving offerings before idols of the dwarf god Bes and a goddess holding a child.
The oath sworn by the 9 year old Hannobaal in the temple of Baal Hammon
 Abd-Melqart returned to Gadir with his soldiers at the barracks, and then waited to give orders.  The inhabitants of the city were very friendly to the Qart-Hadashtim, and the city's shoftim (judges) were very hospitable in allowing a garrison to stay.  The surrounding Canaanite city-states were all very supportive.  Among the native tribes of Tarshish, the Tarshishites themselves were friendly.  The other tribes though were less hospitable.  Their kings bowed to no Canaanites, and though they often traded with the Canaanite cities, they often warred with them as well.  Leading them was the aggressive tribe of the Turdetani.  The Turdetani were savage fighters, and were determined to resist Abd-Melqart no matter what the cost.

A warrior of the Turdetani tribe.  They carried long shields and wore a specific type of leather cap or helmet.  They wore short tunics and sandals.
A relief showing a woman playing an aulos.  Music accompanied worship of the gods by the Turdetani
Despite their aggression, the Turdetani were the least warlike of the tribes of Ishaphan.  They were very cultured, living in large cities with city walls and worshiping a host of different gods, such as Tanit and Baal Hammon, Melqart, Ashtart, the hero Habis who taught them civilization, and a few deified kings and heroes.  The Turdetani Kingdom had the support of other local tribes- and more.  Beyond the mountains to the north there lived another race of people, of Celtic stock, known as the Celtiberians.  They were hired as mercenaries by the Turdetani in their wars.  Two chieftains led the Turdetani and their mercenaries into battle, Istolatios and his brother.  Istolatios met Abd-Melqart in battle near a small Canaanite town called Spal near the mountains.  Though he fought hard, his army was utterly cut to pieces by Abd-Melqart's.  He killed both leaders, though let many of their number go free.  The Turdetani surrendered, and sent 3000 soldiers to join Abd-Melqart's army as vassal subjects.  Another tribe attacked with an army of 50, 000 under a chieftain named Indortes.  Abd-Melqart crucified Indortes but allowed 10, 000 of his soldiers to go free.  Now both the Turdetani and their relatives the Tarshishites were friendly to the Qart-Hadashtim.  Their land was rich in silver mines, and Abd-Melqart captured them and allowed Gadir to mint silver coins.  These Abd-Melqart used to pay his soldiers and any mercenaries hired.  He sent Hasdrubaal back to Phut with a small army to end a Numidian revolt, and then retired to Gadir.

Soldiers from the tribes of Ishaphan, including the clans of Tarshish and Turdetani, Tuduli, and Bastetani.  These tribes were native to this land, though they probably had an Aegean origin and may even be related to the Minoans.
Heading eastward, Abd-Melqart began a four year long campaign of subjugation of the native tribes.  Even the friendly Bastetani resisted him.  Eventually, all of the local kings sat in their great halls offered tribute and became vassal kingdoms to Abd-Melqart the conqueror and all of Qart-Hadasht.

A bull with a man's head.  The tribes of Ishaphan loved these figures, which were generally made by hired Greek craftsmen.  They represented local animals such as stags and wolves and bears, as well as creatures from the mythology of the tribes such as sirens, cherubim, sphinxes, and winged griffins,
Because they were very similar to the Canaanites culturally, the local tribes were loyal.  They had also interacted with Canaanites as well as Greeks for many years.  But there were others who were less loyal.  Some colonies planted by the Phocaean Greeks were alerted by the advance of the Qart-Hadashtim and sent word to their allies, the Romans, who decided to investigate.  Recently, Rome had sent messengers to Qart-Hadasht because they suspected that the Qart-Hadashtim were sending aid to the natives in Shardana and Korsim and telling them to revolt against Roman rule.  Messengers were also sent to Abd-Melqart in Ishaphan, who explained that he was only here to subjugate the local tribes and would not trouble Rome or her allies at all.  The Romans withdrew, and left Abd-Melqart alone.

After founding several towns, Abd-Melqart sent Hasdrubaal away before besieging another town called Helike.  Helike was a Greek colony, and was inhabited both by Greeks and native Ishaphanim.  Accompanying Abd-Melqart was his son Hannobaal, by now 17 years old, and his second son Hasdrubaal.  Belonging to a noble family with ties to the army, it would normal for a general to raise his sons with military careers- especially as only the nobles could be allowed into the army.  It became apparent that the besieged inhabitants were putting up a good defense, and so Abd-Melqart sent word to his vassal and ally, King Orissus of the Oretani, requesting assistance.  Orissus came with a large army, but treacherously turned against the Qart-Hadashtim and attacked their army.  Abd-Melqart was stunned to see soldiers charging down upon him fast.

Soldiers, such as those from the Oretani clan, who now under King Orissus had turned against their allies.
Sending his sons off in the opposite direction, Abd-Melqart mounted his horse and rode off, hoping to distract Orissus' men from seeing the fleeing Hannobaal and Hasdrubaal.  He rode and rode until he came at last to a rain-swollen river.  Surrounded on all sides and with a dead-end ahead, Abd-Melqart made his decision and jumped into the water, drowning there.

His conquest had been cut short, and Qart-Hadasht could not hope for a complete victory until they anointed a new general to go forward and take the Greek city-states (such as Helike) as well as subdue the rebellious clans like the Oretani.

Monday 9 September 2013

The Mercenary War- Part 2

Mattan and Spendius were becoming desperate with worry.  Abd-Melqart's leniency and mercy towards rebel prisoners who had been captured would probably lead many of their soldiers to desert to his side.  They needed to do something quickly.  Eventually they decided to use the Gaul, Autharitus.  He went around telling the rebels that the Canaanite prisoners, including Abd-Melqart's officer Ger-sakkun (who had first signed the treaty at the end of the war with the Romans), were plotting a rebellion.  This caused an outrage among the rebels, and Ger-sakkun and the captured Canaanites were brought out into the open.  They were then stoned to death in the rebel camp.  Abd-Melqart, horrified by this barbarism, announced a policy of equal measure towards any future rebel prisoners that he captured.  This pleased Mattan and Spendius, for now no rebel would think of deserting and allowing himself to be captured by Abd-Melqart.

Meanwhile, a rebellion in Shardana was beginning to take place.  Rebels killed the Canaanite soldiers stationed on the island.  A storm at sea sunk merchant ships bringing supplies from across the sea into Qart-Hadasht.  Worst of all, fellow Canaanite city-states and former allies Atiqa and Ippone killed the officers that Abd-Melqart had sent to garrison them and defected to the rebels.  Qart-Hadasht sent a number of soldiers under Hanno, who was previously stationed at Ippone to hold off Mattan's forces, to liberate Shardana.  But once on the island, the soldiers turned against him and killed his officers before joining the Shardanan rebels.  Things were looking very dark indeed.  But all was not lost, and the Addirim sent messengers to the Greek city-state of Syracuse on the island of Shekelesh asking for assistance.  King Hiero II of Syracuse sent more supplies to Qart-Hadasht.  Then things changed even more when Rome came to Qart-Hadasht's side.  After all, if the rebels won, Qart-Hadasht would no longer be able to pay all those talents in tribute.  Italian merchants were forbidden to trade with the rebels, and the Romans allowed the Qart-Hadashtim to recruit mercenaries in their lands.  Abd-Melqart sent an invitation to Hanno asking for co-operation, but Hanno sneered at this proposal, asking why he would want to join his rival general.  When the two generals refused to join together, the Addirim decided to choose one of them as sole in command.  The army was given the choice between choosing Abd-Melqart or Hanno as their leader, and they chose Abd-Melqart.  A deputy named Hannobaal, who was a war veteran, was elected to fight alongside him.  Meanwhile messengers from Rome arrived in Qart-Hadasht demanding that the captured Italian merchant ships be set free or else another war would begin.  The Addirim did not want another war on top of the current one, and so agreed to the terms. 

While all of this was going on in Qart-Hadasht, Spendius and Mattan planned to attack the city itself and cause terror and panic inside of its walls.  They rode out from Tunis and approached the great city walls from the land, arriving near the great inland lakes near the walls, where the city sewers emptied themselves into.  They then began to cause terror and panic on the streets within with their large army.

The city of Qart-Hadasht, with its great inland lakes nearby, on the edge of which the rebel forces were now camped
The great ships sailed out from the commercial port and went trading, and the merchants still poured into the markets selling food supplies and other goods, so the people were not starved.  However the rebels were becoming a threat.  In the meanwhile, another Phutite clan chief called Zarbats came with 50, 000 Phutite soldiers to join with Mattan.  Zarbats was leader of one of those tribes whom Abd-Melqart had been harassing with his conquests of nearby towns, and had come to join the attack.  There was still hope though.  Within the city, on the outskirts was a quarter called Megara.  It was a quarter of the city filled with gardens, vineyards, fruit trees, and flowing canals and irrigation ditches or streams.  The people here had slaves working the land, but none of the slaves had escaped Qart-Hadasht to join the rebels, thanks to the very liberal treatment of slaves as recommended by the great agricultural writer Magon.  So the Addirim and the free people of the city did not fear a slave revolt as well.

Abd-Melqart rode out from the city with his troops and began to harass the rebel supply lines.  In response, Spendius moved away from the city with the 50, 000 soldiers brought by Zarbats.  He constantly tried to shadow Abd-Melqart's army from the south, keeping to high ground to avoid the cavalry and elephants.  The Phutites had adopted the phalanx formation, and were hoping to spit the Qart-Hadashtim upon their spears.

Phutite infantry spearmen
Standing in the valley, they raised their hands to heaven and called upon the gods of their various clans.  There was ram-headed Ammon, and the lion-gods, and Lady Tanit the Blessed Mother, and Lady Aset, and the desert-raging Lord Set, the great sea god Yam, the warrior-god Gurzil who is in the form of a bull, and the rain god Anzar.  They didn't notice, though, that they were moving further and further away from Qart-Hadasht.  Backing off, they found themselves within a valley surrounded on three sides by mountains.  It was then that Abd-Melqart's forces sprung to close off the exits, and some 40, 000 men were trapped within the valley.  Zarbats told his men not to panic, but to calmly await Mattan to return with some more soldiers from Tunis.  But they did not come, and as the days grew on, the men became more and more desperate.  Food supplies quickly ran out.  In desperation, the starved Phutites turned towards slaughtering pack animals and cavalry horses, and then finally, each other.  It was a grim sight to see Phutites eating their fellow Phutites.  Finally, Zarbats could stand it no more.  He gathered seven other men and went to seek audience with Abd-Melqart in his camp.  He was joined by the Greek, Spendius, and by the Gaul, Autharitus.  Together, they entered the camp and were admitted into the general's tent.  They asked Abd-Melqart to let them all go free, and he agreed, provided that he be allowed to keep 10 of them as hostages.  The 10 rebels agreed, and Abd-Melqart announced that he would be keeping them as the hostages in his camp.

Meanwhile, the rebels in the valley began to suspect treachery, and quickly sallied forth to attack Abd-Melqart's camp.  The furious Canaanite ordered his army to fight back, and the Canaanites slaughtered the Phutites, with most of them being trampled to death by the elephants.

Having accomplished all of these things, Abd-Melqart marched his forces on to Tunis in order to confront Mattan.  To terrify Mattan's forces into submission, Abd-Melqart ordered that Spendius, Zarbats, Autharitus and the other 7 rebel hostages be brought forward and crucified before the city walls.  He took up position on the south of the city, with his deputy Hannobaal taking position on the north.  Mattan was furious when he saw his fellows being killed in such a way, and with a vengeful fury he charged out on the north side of the city, defeating Hannobaal's forces and forcing Abd-Melqart to flee to the mouth of the Bagrada River.  Hannobaal himself was captured, along with 30 members of the Addirim, and all were crucified by Mattan on the same crosses which Abd-Melqart had used to crucify Spendius and the others.  Mattan then retreated from the city and escaped.  Being a devotee of the mother goddess Tanit, he prayed for safety as he fled.

Crucifixion was a gruesome punishment used by both Abd-Melqart and Mattan during the course of this war
At this point, the Addirim anointed Hanno again, to serve as a general alongside his rival, Abd-Melqart.  The two did not get on well together, but joined on this occasion to pursue Mattan.  They won several small-scale invasions, but fought and fought until at last they defeated Mattan's forces near the town of Lepki.  The rebels were completely destroyed.  The Phutites were all defeated or killed, and the same fate was shared by the rebel mercenaries; the Shekelesh, the Shardanans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Thracians, the Scythians, the Tereshites, the Italians, the Celtiberians, and the Celts from Gaul.  It was a vicious and brutal war, cruel and merciless to all sides, but Abd-Melqart and Hanno emerged victorious by that winter.  The surrounding Phutite towns submitted once again to Qart-Hadasht.  But now arms had to be turned to fellow Canaanites, for Atiqa and Ippone still considered themselves enemies of Qart-Hadasht.  Abd-Melqart and Hanno besieged those cities, and they surrendered.  The remaining Numidian tribes which had sided with the rebels were also conquered at this time.  As for Mattan, he was dragged back to Qart-Hadasht in chains, and was sent to walk through the streets while being attacked and eventually beaten to death by mobs of citizens.

There was one land still to conquer though: Shardana.  Recently the rebellion there grew to a height after the Shardanan rebels besieged a general called Bodashtart in a citadel and later executed him and his men after the fort fell.  The Addirim sent an expedition to Shardana with Abd-Melqart commanding the forces.  But the native Shardanans had thrown the rebels off the island already, and they had sailed to Italy, asking the Romans to take control of Shardana.  The Romans then sent troops to the islands of Shardana and Korsim, and seized them for themselves.  Qart-Hadasht lost control of these islands like they had lost control of the island of Shekelesh.  Hatred for the Romans once more flared up in the streets of that city.

Hanno returned to the governors' palace in Qart-Hadasht and returned to his position of power within the Addirim.  People were angry with them, including members of the navy and the merchants.  They were angry because Hanno had gotten rid of most of the navy and had hurt trade.  A young and handsome man named Hasdrubaal emerged as the leader of those who opposed Hanno.  The Addirim and Hanno needed a scapegoat to blame for both recent wars, and they settled on Abd-Melqart.  They blamed him for losing the first war with the Romans, and blamed him for making unrealistic promises to the mercenaries which led to the Mercenary War.  But Hasdrubaal allied himself with Abd-Melqart, and the general was looked upon highly by the commoners as the hero who had returned home from battle in triumph and who had proven himself to be a great warrior and leader.  It was this that allowed him to avoid standing trial before the Tribunal of the Hundred and Four.  Victorious and fresh from battle, Abd-Melqart looked out from the citadel walls atop the Bozrah hill in the direction of the western sunset, with Hasdrubaal by his side.  He watched as Shamash descended into the underworld to judge the shades- the Rephaim- between the great mountains Targhizizi and Tharumagi which lay beyond the sea and beyond the Pillars of Melqart in the far west.  What new conquests awaited him in the future?  For now, only time would tell.

Thursday 5 September 2013

The Mercenary War- Part 1

This is an account of the Mercenary War, as told by Ben-el the scribe:

This war followed after the end of the First War with the Romans.  Abd-Melqart returned to Qart-Hadasht after his officer Ger-sakkun had signed the terms of the treaty.  He returned to his house in Qart-Hadasht and lived a private life with his family, leaving the paying of his mercenaries in the hands of Ger-sakkun and the Addirim.  Ger-sakkun planned to send the mercenaries, who had been recruited from all across the Mediterranean, to Qart-Hadasht in small groups so that the Addirim could pay them all slowly and would have an easier time doing so.  But the Addirim waited until all of them had arrived in the city by one summer before realizing that they had only enough in the treasury to manage their own economy and pay their own citizen soldiers, due to the loss of money during the war and the heavy tribute they had to pay to the Romans in accordance with the treaty.  Payment to Rome came first; if they failed to pay their tribute, the Romans would attack them again.  Finally they agreed to send the mercenaries away to the nearby city of Sakkah, which was another Canaanite city, and once they were there they would explain to them that they simply didn't have enough money to pay them for their services during the war.

The mercenaries had gathered in in the Merkaz of Qart-Hadasht near to the temple of Resheph when they heard the word of the Addirim to leave the city and head for Sakkah, taking their families and baggage trains with them.  They continued on their way out of the city gates and along the country roads through the surrounding hills and villages, continuing on their way until the towering city walls of Sakkah came into sight. 

Part of the city of Sakkah as it appears today
At Sakkah the people gathered in the Merkaz and on the streets until at last the nobleman Hanno arrived accompanied by some bodyguards on horseback.  Hanno, priding himself in his royal blood being a descendent of King Hanno IV, came forth and told the mercenaries plainly that if a man only has several dates during a famine, he will first try to feed his own family.  The mercenaries were outraged at this and threatened to revolt when they realized that they would not receive payment after all of their hard efforts.  When Hanno realized that the situation was beyond his control, he hurriedly rode away back to Qart-Hadasht.  The mercenaries meanwhile gathered together and made their way back on the road to Qart-Hadasht, stopping to camp at the Numidian city of Tunis.

Meanwhile, the Addirim had sent Abd-Melqart on to Tunis to speak to his former soldiers.  The mercenaries refused to listen to what he had to say, angered by the fact that he had not even accompanied them back from Shekelesh himself.  When asked to whom they would speak, the mercenaries agreed that they would speak only to Ger-sakkun.  When Ger-sakkun arrived, the mercenaries demanded that Qart-Hadasht was to pay not only them, but to offer increased payments to their Numidian and Phutite allies and subjects (who were not even mercenaries, but vassals and allies).  Ger-sakkun had no choice but to agree.  But not all among the mercenaries were happy.  A Greek soldier called Spendius gathered the soldiers and convinced them that this was all a trick, and Qart-Hadasht would not actually pay them.  Spendius managed to rally 20, 000 mercenaries to his side.  He was joined by a Phutite called Mattan, who was an officer, who convinced the Numidians and the Phutite allies and subjects of Qart-Hadasht that they too would not be paid.  This caused Qart-Hadasht's former allies to fall away from her, and in all 70, 000 Phutites rallied under Mattan.  Together, Mattan and Spendius captured Ger-sakkun and held him prisoner in their camp, which triggered the Addirim to have to other option but to go to war with the rebels.

A Phutite, the people living to the west of Egypt to whom Mattan belonged, along with his 70, 000 followers
The rebels split up their forces, with some detachments sent to besiege the Canaanite cities of Atiqa and Ippone, while others went in winter to cut Qart-Hadasht off from her Canaanite allies.

The forces commanded by Spendius were all of very different castes and creeds.  They were all mercenaries: Greeks, Egyptians, Cypriots, Rhodians, Italians, Celtiberians, Celts from Gaul.  They spoke in different languages, but their leaders could all converse with one another in the common Koine Greek tongue.  Those commanded by Mattan were his own people: the Phutites.  They were former allies of Qart-Hadasht, some of them even conquered subjects and vassal states.  The Phutites were a powerful people, who in the past had so harassed the Egyptians.  Now these foreign and barbaric Canaanites had the nerve to conquer them!  And refuse to pay them for their hard efforts in war.  This had to come to an end.  They wore their long spotted tunics and robes, bright feathers in the curly hair, and carried their spears and towering shields as they bellowed their ferocious war-cries.  The Phutites too came from different tribes and kingdoms, but were united by a common language and similar culture. 

The Phutites
In Qart-Hadasht the Addirim raised a large army consisting mostly of citizen soldiers from Qart-Hadasht and a few mercenaries who were still in Shekelesh and had not yet returned and joined with Spendius.  A few cavalry squadrons and some elephants were brought fresh from the stables on the Bozrah hill citadel, and headed down into the lower city before leaving with the whole army through the city gates on the north-west of the city which led on to Atiqa.  The general placed in charge of this army by the Addirim was the nobleman, Hanno, who had previously tried to negotiate with the mercenaries at Sakkah. 

Qart-Hadasht from atop to Bozrah hill citadel.  The elephants can bee seen in the lower left, fresh from the stables where they were trained by men from India.  The great temple of Eshmun can also be seen here.
That spring, probably during the month of Nisan when the spring festivals were being held, Hanno departed by ship from the military port of Qart-Hadasht, and sailed around the coast to Atiqa, where he deployed with his army on the beach near the city.  Once he was in the city, he was supplied with siege weapons and siege engines by the inhabitants, who had built them in their workshops.  Then he quickly marched on to the rebel camp, storming it with his great army.  The elephants charged over the camp, trampling the rebels, while Hanno engaged with the enemy on the ground.  He was a wealthy land-owner, owning large estates in Phut, and so was accustomed to fighting off Numidians and other Phutites.  It was an easy victory for Hanno.  Leaving his soldiers behind, he left for Atiqa. 

But the rebels regrouped, and launched a surprise attack upon the Canaanites while Hanno was away.  They drove the survivors off to Atiqa and captured all of their supplies.  Hanno tried repeatedly to hold them off, but all attempts failed.  The Addirim then raised another army of 10, 000 soldiers and 70 elephants, and put Abd-Melqart Baraq in charge.  Hanno moved his army to Ippone, which was being besieged by Mattan and his forces.  Spendius' forces were blockading Atiqa, and another 10, 000 strong rebel army was camped at the bridge of the River Bagrada, which flowed through the countryside and the fertile valleys near Atiqa and Qart-Hadasht.  But all wasn't lost.  While the only bridge was being held by the enemy, Abd-Melqart noticed that a strong wind in the right direction could blow over the river and reveal a sandbank in a certain area, allowing his army to cross it.  At night he had crossed the river and was now free to deploy his troops in the surrounding countryside. 

On the other side were the rebels.  Most of them mercenaries, they gazed on ahead at the bridge which crossed the River Bagrada.  Among their number were Phutite and Sephardic light infantry; Balaeric slingers; Italian, Greek, and Shardanan hoplites; Celtic heavy infantry from Gaul; a few Roman deserters who had left their home city seeking glory elsewhere; and even a few Thracian and Scythian shock troops.  A few Numidians had remained on their horses, holding their javelins, ready for attack.  Great cries went up by the various people in their native tongues to their various gods.  Phutites and Sephardic soldiers prayed to Tanit like the Canaanites, while Greeks raised their hands to invoke Ares the great war god and the other Olympians.  Scythians in their pointed caps poured out the strange intoxicant known as haoma by the Persians and soma by the Indians, and invoked the great sky god Papay.  All of them were ready for a fight.

Meanwhile, the Canaanites were being led by Abd-Melqart towards the rebel camp.  They were detected, and the Greek, Spendius, left Atiqa with his soldiers, while giving the order for the ones guarding the bridge to move and outflank the Qart-Hadashtim, driving them into the river.  Outflanked and outnumbered, Abd-Melqart launched his plan into action.  He ordered his huge elephants and his heavy cavalry to turn away from the front lines.  When the rebels saw this, they mistook it for retreat, and charged forward in a disorderly manner.  What they didn't see was that the heavy infantry was moving forward still in a phalanx formation, due to them focusing only on the elephants turning away.  The rebels smashed into the phalanx and were destroyed before other soldiers had the chance to come and join them.  Before the rebels had a chance to regroup, the cavalry and elephants came smashing into their ranks, causing them to scatter.  The cavalry pursued them, and many prisoners were captured.

The Bagrada River
Those rebels who escaped fled either back to Atiqa or back to their camp.  Abd-Melqart fell upon their camp, and the rebels fled back to Tunis, where they were re-united with Spendius.  The Qart-Hadashtim then drove the rebels out of Atiqa, where they fled to Ippone.  Following this, Abd-Melqart sent messengers to all of the local rebel Phutite towns, asking them to once again ally themselves with Qart-Hadasht.  Some joined, while others refused.  The Canaanites then conquered these rebellious towns, cutting off the supplies and resources that the rebels under Mattan could use.  With Abd-Melqart's recent victories and with Hanno's forces awaiting them at Ippone, the rebels were panicked.  At the same time, ships from Qart-Hadasht patrolling the coast captured several Italian merchant vessels found shipping supplies to the rebels.

Spendius, though, was having none of it.  He assembled a large army, and in it was a large force of 2000 Numidian cavalry commanded by Naarbaal, a wealthy Numidian prince.  He was a powerful fighter, as the Numidian royalty and nobility loved nothing better than to ride through the wilderness wearing their expensive leopard-skin robes, spears in hands, and hunt lions.  It was a rite of passage for them, and Naarbaal himself had killed a lion one night on a new moon at the beginning of a month.  He left his offerings at a shrine for the mother goddess Tanit, and for Yarikh the moon god, and for ram-horned Ammon, for the Lady Aset, for the devouring desert god Set, and for the lion-god and the elephant-headed jinn or spirits who roamed the wilderness at night.  Bowls of fruit offerings, perfume and incense remained always at the shrine of the prince.  He had come with 2000 members of his tribe, all of them mounted on horseback, to bring glory to his father's kingdom.  Spendius, the rebel Greek, was pleased that Naarbaal would join him.  Naarbaal was a noble-hearted man, and not the kind to join with rebels; but the Numidians were a free people, and his tribe clearly desired independence from Canaanite rule. 

Numidian cavalry, commanded by Naarbaal their prince
On the other side in Spendius' rebel army was a contingent of Gauls.  These were mercenaries from the north who had been hired by the Addirim of Qart-Hadasht because they were renowned for their strength and ferocity.  Indeed, Gauls were being hired as front-line mercenaries by the Greeks themselves, and by Pharaoh in Egypt, and even as far east as Persia and Bakhtrish.  These Gauls were nothing short of furious due to the lack of payment that they were promised by these greedy, perfume-wearing Qart-Hadashtim, and Spendius knew they would fight hard and not disappoint him.  They were led by their own Gaulish chieftain, a man named Autharitus.  Confident in the power of his troops, Spendius began by constantly keeping to high ground (away from Abd-Melqart's strong cavalry and elephants) and ordering raids on Abd-Melqart's foragers.  Abd-Melqart's troops quickly became hungry, and camped in a mountain valley.

It was now that Spendius hatched his plan.  He blocked off the exit to the pass with his own men, while sending Naarbaal and his Numidians to block off the entrance.  He then ordered his soldiers to advance on the enemy camp.  Surrounded by the enemy and with no hope for escape, Abd-Melqart could only go before the sacred tent, the portable tabernacle carried by priests into battle, and pray to the gods. 

A tabernacle or portable sacred tent, which housed the relics and idols of the gods, and was carried by priests marching with the armies.  It was placed in the military camp, and priests would offer sacrifices to the gods there and read omens before the battle.  The gods who marched with the armies included Baal Hammon, Tanit, Resheph, Melqart and Eshmun, the great divinity Ashtart (who protected Qart-Hadasht directly), and the triad of Baal Shamem, Baal Malage, and Baal Hadad.
Then, a miracle happened.  It was surely a sign from the gods, for Naarbaal himself came riding into the camp with a small escort, unarmed.  The guards agreed to allow him into the general's tent, and Abd-Melqart welcomed him.  Naarbaal explained that he had thought it more noble to join the Qart-Hadashtim rather than the rebels commanded by Spendius.  Abd-Melqart was pleased, and allowed Naarbaal his third daughter's hand in marriage.  Naarbaal then left the camp, agreeing to come to Abd-Melqart's side at the right time in the battle.

Meanwhile, Spendius decided to give up his harassment tactics and engage Abd-Melqart's forces directly.  It was a ferocious battle, but Abd-Melqart gained the upper hand.  Then, at the right time, Naarbaal arrived by his side with his Numidian cavalry.  Spendius was utterly beaten, and fled to Ippone with the Gaul, Autharitus.  10, 000 rebels had been killed, while 4000 prisoners were captured and brought to the camp.  Abd-Melqart stood before them, and showed mercy, agreeing to allow them to go free.  Many of them were pleased by this display of mercy, and as a result actually enlisted into his army.  Others did not want to join him, but Abd-Melqart still allowed them to go free, as long as they swore to never again return to Phut during the course of the whole war.  With a recent victory against Spendius, and with Hanno's army continually keeping an eye on Mattan's forces at Ippone, Abd-Melqart finished his work conquering the surrounding countryside, and gathering food supplies.

A war-elephant with a tower and rider, used by the Qart-Hadashtim