Hunting Hamilcar: The Battle of the Saw Uncovered

Hamilcar Barca, the father of the battlefield genius, Hannibal, is considered even today as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, yet so little is known about the man and his battles, that it inspired Ricky D Phillips, military historian and history detective - who discovered Hannibal’s lost battlefield on the Tagus and uncovered the myths and mysteries of the Espada de Anibal: supposedly Hannibal’s own sword – to set out to find the site of Hamilcar’s famous ‘Battle of the Saw’.

Ricky D Phillips on the battlefield of the Battle of Tagus 220 BC, which he discovered. (Image: Ricky D Phillips)

Ricky D Phillips on the battlefield of the Battle of Tagus 220 BC, which he discovered. (Image: Ricky D Phillips)

Like Father, Like Son

 “When I went looking for the Battle of the Tagus – Hannibal’s first battle fought in 220 BC – I really had to look back to his military roots. The Hannibal of Cannae is a polished and experienced general, but the Hannibal of the Tagus was raw and untested. What he relied upon more than anything was knowledge, not experience, and that knowledge came directly from the greatest general of Carthage: his own father, Hamilcar. If I wanted to know Hannibal better, I knew that I would have to dig back further into his father’s own murky past.”


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