Nineteenth-century depiction of the crucified rebel leaders
Nineteenth-century depiction of the crucified rebel leaders

The Battle of the Saw was the culminating battle of a campaign fought between a Carthaginian army led by Hamilcar Barca and a rebel force led by Spendius in 238 BC in what is now northern Tunisia. Carthage was fighting a coalition of mutinous soldiers and rebellious African cities in the Mercenary War which had started in 240 BC. Unable to confront the Carthaginian war elephants and cavalry on open ground, the rebels stayed on higher and rougher terrain and harassed the Carthaginian army. After several months of campaigning, Hamilcar trapped the rebels. Pinned against local mountains known as "the Saw" due to their sawlike shape, with their supply lines blockaded and with their food exhausted, the rebels ate their horses, their prisoners and then their slaves, hoping that their comrades in Tunis would sortie to rescue them. Eventually, the Carthaginians, led by their elephants, attacked the starving rebels and they were all massacred. The captured rebel leaders were crucified (depiction shown) in sight of their comrades in Tunis. ( Full article... )


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