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.

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