A Tribute to Hannibal Barca*
Hannibal died at the age of sixty-five. Surprisingly, the most illustrious representative of his family is the only one who has not lost his life in battle. Buried at Libyssa, today’s Gebze (Turkey), he is also the only Barca who has had a burial. If his tomb is not forgotten, it is because four centuries after his death, Septimius Severus, Roman emperor of Punic culture, a native of Leptis Magna (Libya), has built a marble wall on the tomb of the Carthaginian hero.
Seventeen centuries later in 1965, President Bourguiba, the founder of the Republic of Tunisia, wanted while traveling in Turkey, to pray at the tomb of that Carthaginian, but without success. When he expressed his disappointment to the Turkish authorities, they then did their researches and later built a mausoleum.
So Hannibal died in Turkey, Hamilcar in Spain, Hasdrubal in Italy and Mago in the Mediterranean. Of these four personalities who have devoted their lives to Carthage, none of them had a burial.
The bitterness of lost opportunity should not make us forget the greatness and immortality of the work of the Barcas and that of the most illustrious among them, Hannibal. His life, dedicated to the rejection of imperialism; his fight to which he had involved dozens of different peoples; his tactics, still applied twenty two centuries after his death; his edifying strategy; his political message, remarkably ahead of his time and that may be qualified as “modern”, devoid of any form of exclusiveness, religiosity or indoctrination, based on plurality, freedom and diversity, are still relevant.
His Chairmanship, which lasted only a year, and yet allowed him to establish the kind of modern State necessary for the revival of Carthage; his departure to the Orient, a real hymn to perseverance and refusal of old age; and even his death are a continuation of this resistance to the established order that he had so well embodied and through which he preferred freedom to life. All this, this “Hannibalian Heritage”, was suppressed, distorted and demonized for centuries. Today, in a world materialized and dumbed-down to the extreme, where the most basic values are being lost, Hannibal, who dedicated his life to peace and freedom, still stands, superb, as one of most powerful people in History.