In Which Metatron is Still Bitter About the Punic Wars
Hannibal was a faithful worshiper of Melqart: the Roman historian Livy records the legend that just before setting off on his march to Italy he made a pilgrimage to Gades, the most ancient seat of Phoenician worship in the west. Hannibal strengthened himself spiritually by prayer and sacrifice at the Altar of Melqart. He returned to New Carthage with his mind focused on the god and on the eve of departure to Italy he saw a strange vision which he believed was sent by Melqart.
A youth of divine beauty appeared to Hannibal in the night. The youth told Hannibal he had been sent by supreme deity, Melqart, to guide the son of Hamilcar to Italy. “Follow me,” said the ghostly visitor, “and see that that thou look not behind thee.” Hannibal followed the instructions of the visitor. His curiosity, however, overcame him, and as he turned his head, Hannibal saw a serpent crashing through forest and thicket causing destruction everywhere. It moved as a black tempest with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning gathered behind the serpent. When Hannibal asked the meaning of the vision Melqart replied, “What thou beholdest is the desolation of Italy. Follow thy star and inquire no farther into the dark counsels of heaven.”
“OF COURSE, IF HANNIBAL HADN’T LOOKED BACK, HE WOULD HAVE FOUND THE DESOLATION OF ITALY A BIT MORE INDICATIVE OF HIS VICTORY, RATHER THAN JUST, YOU KNOW, A FUCKING MILITARY SHITSTORM.”
“HANNIBAL BARCA, YOU BRASH, BRILLIANT IDIOT. WHY, WHY, WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE JUST DONE WHAT YOU WERE TOLD?”