Mercenary War Battles > Siege of Tunis

Siege of Tunis

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

Background

Siege of Tunis

  • Part of the Mercenary War
  • Date: 238 BC
  • Location: Tunis, Carthage
  • Battle Victor: Rebel Mercenaries

Combatants

Mercenary Rebels

Mathos

Military Forces

  • Unknown
  • Unknown

Aftermath

  • Significant Losses
  • Unknown

Background

The Blockade of Tunis was a naval blockade by the Carthaginians against the mercenaries who mutinied against them in the aftermath of the First Punic War. Following the victory of Hamilcar Barca in the Battle of "The Saw", he and the Carthaginian forces would march on Tunis where the main rebels were garrisoned.

The main rebel leader Mathos did not have many options left and Hamilcar initiated the blockade and siege in October of 238 BC. It is important to understand the geography of Tunis. To the east of the city was the Mediterranean Sea and to the west was a massive salt marsh. The only approaches left to the city were north and south which Hamilcar moved to block off. He did not have much patience left with the mercenaries for their killing of the Carthaginian envoys earlier in the war.

In order to demoralize the mercenaries who were in the city he crucified many captured mercenary commanders in full view of the city. However, Mathos would note that Hamilcar was disorganized and launched a surprise attack on his military camp.

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Bibliography

Primary Sources

Polybius 1.86.5

Secondary Sources

Dexter Hoyos, Truceless War, p220

Dexter Hoyos, Truceless War, p222

Dexter Hoyos, Truceless War, p223

J Seibert, 1993, Forschungen zu Hannibal

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