(Greek form: Himilkon). Born ?, died 396 BCE (?).

Carthaginian general whose two military campaigns against the Greeks on Sicily led to significant conquests for Carthage. On both occasions, his gains were erased by epidemics among his forces.

The first campaign, in 406 BCE, Himilco's forces took and sacked the cities of Acragas, Gela and Camarina (today: Santa Croceo). Due to an outbreak of disease among his troops, Himilco was forced to reach an accommodation with the Syracusan tyrant, Dionysios the Elder.

The treaty terms were favourable to Carthage, leaving the Carthaginians in control of large parts of the island. Indeed, it was unheard of for the powerful Syracusan tyrant to be forced into a treaty.

However, the treaty was not to last - in 398 BCE, Dionysios's army attacked the Carthaginians on Sicily, sacking Motya (today: Modica), a major Carthaginian stronghold.

In 396 BCE Himilco once again returned to do battle on the island. In a successful series of battles, Himilco destroyed the Syracusan fleet and laid siege to Syracuse, only to be once more defeated by an epidemic in the ranks. Aided by Sparta, the Syracusans attacked the demoralised army of the Carthaginians, and utterly defeated Himilco.

Following this abject defeat, Himilco returned to Carthage and committed suicide.

And also Himilco, sometimes known as 'the Navigator.'

Romanised form of Chimilkât, which means "my brother is milkât." Sadly, it's unsure exactly what a milkât is.

Lived: 6th century BC? Pliny mentions him as a contemporary of Hanno.

Whereas Hanno's task was to explore the African coast, Himilco was sent to visit 'the outer coasts of Europe.'

Unlike Hanno, a record of his voyage does not survive. What knowledge we have stems only from mentions in other ancient sources.

We are told he visited the islands of the Oestrumnides, two days from Ireland and rich in tin and lead. The obvious candidate for this would be the Scillies, but they have no mines.

It could also be Brittany or possibly Cornwall (although the former is more likely as Rufus Festus Avienus (writing in 350AD) tells us that beyond those islands is the land of the Celts and ancient literature does not refer to the Brythonic peoples as celts.

However, the most likely answer is that is that the account has been corrupted and the island of the Oestrumnides and the tin and lead deposits were located in two separate sources.

Regardless, this was undoubtedly an important step in the establishment of Carthage's tin trade, one of the sources of its great wealth.

It has been suggested that Himilco also reached Heligoland and that the point of his mission was to obtain amber from there. However, this is entirely conjecture and is only supported by certain Greek writers of the 6th century BC who began to speculate about a legendary amber river called Eridanus in North-Western Europe.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.