Hasdrubal Barca

d. 207 BC

Hasdrubal Barca
Hasdrubal Barca, brother of Hannibal, was the commander of the Carthaginian empire in Spain during the Second Punic War. After the battle of Cannae, Rome turned its efforts to attacking Carthage's empire in Spain, in order to prevent re-enforcements from getting to Hannibal in Italy. Hasdrubal was involved in all of these battles, often with the elder Scipio brothers. The strategy of keeping Hasdrubal tied up in Spain was very effective, and it wasn't until 207 that he finally crossed the Alps with re-enforcements for Hannibal. At the Metaurus River, Hasdrubal's army was defeated, Hasdrubal himself was killed, his head was cut off and thrown into Hannibal's camp. The defeat of Hasdrubal is often considered the decisive loss for Carthage in the war, because it prevented Hannibal from ever receiving the re-enforcements he needed from Carthage in order to continue to prosecute his war in Italy.

Hasdrubal was also the father of Sophosbina, a maiden who was betrothed to both Masinissa, King of Numidia, and his arch rival Syphax. When Masinissa went over to the Roman side in 206, the Romans insisted that he repudiate her. Instead he sent her poison, and she killed herself.

Key events during the life of Hasdrubal Barca:

218 BC
Took command of Carthaginian forces in Spain, when Hannibal crossed the Alps.
216 BC
Scipio brothers prevent Hasdrubal from joining Hannibal with re-enforcements after Cannae.
211 BC
Scipio brothers are both killed in skirmishes in Spain. Scipio Africanus takes command of Roman forces.
209 BC
Scipio Africanus takes city of New Carthage.
208 BC
Scipio Africanus drives Hasdrubal out of Spain, but he escapes with most of his forces.
207 BC
Claudius Nero meets Hasdrubal at Metaurus River. Hasdrubal is killed in the battle, and his head delivered to Hannibal.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Secret March  in  Helmet and Spear  by  Alfred J. Church
Inventor Archimedes  in  The Story of the Romans  by  H. A. Guerber
Defeat of Hasdrubal  in  The Story of Rome  by  Mary Macgregor

Image Links

Hasdrubal's Head
 in Hannibal

Short Biography
Hannibal Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Cornelius Scipio Tried to intercept Hannibal in Gaul, but was defeated at Ticino River and Trebbia.
Scipio Africanus Roman hero of second Punic War. Led armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.
Claudius Nero consul who led Rome against Hasdrubal at Metaurus River.
Sophonisba Masinissa's wife, daughter of Hasdrubal, who killed herself, when Rome insisted he divorce her.