240 to 218. The Carthaginian mercenaries who had been brought back from Sicily to Africa, mutiny against Carthage, and nearly succeed in destroying her. After a sanguinary and desperate struggle, Hamilcar Barca crushes them. During this season of weakness to Carthage, Rome takes from her the island of Sardinia. Hamilcar Barca forms the project of obtaining compensation by conquests in Spain, and thus enabling Carthage to renew the struggle with Rome. He takes Hannibal (then a child) to Spain with him. He and, after his death, his brother win great part of southern Spain to the Carthaginian interest. Hannibal obtains the command of the Carthaginian armies in Spain 221 B.C., being then twenty-six years old. He attacks Saguntum, a city on the Ebro, in alliance with Rome, which is the immediate pretext for the second Punic war.
During this interval Rome had to sustain a storm from the north. The Cisalpine Gauls in 226, formed an alliance with one of the fiercest tribes of their brethren north of the Alps, and began a furious war against the Romans, which lasted six years. The Romans gave them several severe defeats, and took from them part of their territories near the Po. It was on this occasion that the Roman colonies of Cremona and