Mercenary War

The Mercenary War (c.240 BC) — also called the Libyan War and the Truceless War by Polybius — was an uprising of mercenary armies formerly employed by Carthage, backed by Libyan settlements revolting against Carthaginian control.

The war began as a dispute over the payment of money owed the mercenaries between the mercenary armies who fought the First Punic War on Carthage's behalf, and a destitute Carthage, which had lost most of its wealth due to the indemnities imposed by Rome as part of the peace treaty. The dispute grew until the mercenaries seized Tunis by force of arms, and directly threatened Carthage, which then capitulated to the mercenaries' demands. The conflict would have ended there, had not two of the mercenary commanders, Spendius and Mathos, persuaded the Libyan conscripts in the army to accept their leadership, and then convinced them that Carthage would exact vengeance for their part in the revolt once the foreign mercenaries were paid and sent home. They also persuaded the combined mercenary armies to revolt against Carthage, and various Libyan towns and cities to back the revolt. What had been a hotly contested "labour dispute" exploded into a full-scale revolt.

Heavily outmatched in terms of troops, money, and supplies, an unprepared Carthage fared poorly in the initial engagements of the war, especially under the generalship of Hanno the Great. Hamilcar Barca, general from the campaigns in Sicily, was given supreme command, and eventually defeated the rebels in 237 BC.

Read more about Mercenary War:  Background, Course of The War, Sardinia, Consequences of The War, Chronology of The War, In Literature and Popular Culture

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