Was Hannibal A Negro?
Dr. R.K. Henshaw
|The [Afrocentric] claim that the
famous (as there were several so named) Hannibal (247-183 or 182 B.C.),
the Carthaginian commander who nearly conquered Rome, was Negro -- or even
minutely of Negroid stock -- would be ludicrous, if it were not so pathetic.
Carthage was a colony of Tyre (Hebrew Zor), the principal city of Phoenicia, a region lying at the eastern end of the Mediterranean (currently comprising Lebanon and part of Syria). Tyre was built on a island, entirely surrounded by massive walls, with an ingenious device to destroy unwanted ships trying to enter its harbor. As such, it considered itself to be impregnable. It often accorded purely titular vassal status to powerful rulers (paying nominal tribute), so that its merchant fleet would have protection from its "overlord." The Phoenicians were maritime traders. Their fleet, built from the famous "cedars of Lebanon," was the finest in the world. When under Egyptian "protection," the Phoenicians encountered Egyptian demotic script, and from that created the first alphabet. This was adopted by their Hebraic neighbors to the south and much later by the Arabs. This alphabet -- like Hebrew -- had no vowels. It was the Greeks who added the characters for vowels, as Greek is very dependent on them. "Alphabet" is derived from the names of the first two characters: Alpha and Beta.
Ethnically, Tyre was purely Semitic, with a small admixture of Syraic. Its language was very similar to Old Hebrew. The government was akin to that of later Venice: a ruling oligarchic counsel, presided over by a "doge": a dux bellorum. Its principal deities were "Ba'al" [Ba'el]: Lord of the Earth, and Tannit, a goddess associated with the moon. (The Hebrews often adopted the rites and names of Ba'el, and we see this in Hebrew names: Samu-el, Emmanu-el, Micha-el.) As an island can support only a limited population, a "Birth Control Divinity" called "Mlch" (Melech [King]: no vowels) was accorded infants (usually those with birth defects) as sacrifice. (This practice was also engaged in by some Jews, until a massive reformation. Jewish lore assigns o's for the vowels, calling the idol-furnace "Moloch"; however, as both were spelled simply "Mlch," "Moloch" in place of "Melech" was post-reformation face-saving.)
As a rich merchant-city, Tyre established outposts in the previously untouched Western Mediterranean: first Utica, then Carthage. Carthage possessed a fine harbor, and applying the modus operandi of its Mother City, soon became very rich and powerful. Unlike Tyre, it had no protecting power, and therefore had to provide for its own defense. It did this, primarily, by creating its own battle-fleet (as, like Tyre, it was a maritime power) and hiring mercenaries as infantry. According to legend, it was founded by Dido, a Tyrian "Princess" who fell in love with Aeneas, a Trojan Prince fleeing the destruction of Troy, later father of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. When Aeneas abandoned Dido, the legend runs, she pronounced a curse on Aeneas and his issue. This was the supposed metaphysical basis for the Roman-Carthaginian enmity. Carthage founded many cities (Gades, now Cadiz) and New Carthage (Cartagena) in Spain, as well as Massilia (Marseilles) in France. The whole North African coastline, west of Cyrenaica, came under Carthaginian rule, also most of Iberia. Western Sicily was taken by Carthage; however, Greek eastern Sicily was able to defend itself. Eventually, it called upon Rome for aid, and the initial conflict between the two growing entities began over hegemony in Sicily and ended with the complete destruction of Semitic Carthage.
It should be pointed out that there were no Negroes in North Africa. The Sahara was an uncrossable barrier between the Mediterranean and Central Africa. The only Negroid people known to the Ancients were the Nubians, who resided in what is now the Sudan. There still exists the obelisk marking the border between Pharoanic Egypt and Nubia, stating that no Nubian is to be allowed to enter, unless he has official status as an ambassador, a visa from the Egyptians -- or has been castrated! The Greeks, who had a word for everything, had no word for "Negro." The name Ethiopios was used, as the Ethiopians were a cross between Nubians and Hammitic Egyptians, which can still be seen in the shape of the eyes. The Greek word for "black" is melos (melanin, melanoma). There is no extant reference to Melanoi: Black People. At that time, there were no Negroes in North Africa. Period!
Following the Semitic custom, "Hannibal" is a name with a meaning. "Hanno" was a title, much like the Roman "Senator": elder, leader, commander. A number of Carthaginians had simply used the name "Hanno." "Hannibal" would mean a leader of the forces of the earth (Ba'al), as alone among the Carthaginians, Hannibal used no naval forces: his army came from North Africa and Spain, later augmented by Italians chaffing under Roman rule. He had studied the tactics used by Alexander the Great (who, by the way, had reduced Tyre to a pile of ruins for throwing his ambassadors off the city walls), and proceeded on a course of action the Romans thought impossible: invading Italy from the north!
The defeat at Cannae was the worst defeat the Romans ever suffered, but such was the stamina of the Romans that they refused to discuss peace terms or ransom prisoners: "Sell them as slaves; any Roman who surrenders does not deserve to live!" was the Senate's defiant reply. Rather than negotiate, the Romans raised an army in Southern Italy and Sicily -- and used it to attack Carthage. Hannibal, who nearly conquered Rome, had to rush to Carthage's defense; and at the Battle of Zama in North Africa, he was decisively defeated.
All one can say to this preposterous allegation is that if Hannibal were a Negro, Moishe Dayan was a Negro; and any authoritative encyclopedia will verify that.