(by Pablo Burgués)
Ibiza, 195 B.C.
Extract taken from a conversation between Flavia Agrippina Tur and her neighbour Octavia Tercia Marí at the hairdresser’s “Curls Curlae Curlarum” in Santa Eulària des Riu. Ibiza:
- Aw, aw, aw, Octavia Tercia, for the glory of Zeus, you won’t believe what I have just learnt…
- Tell me, Flavia Agrippina, don’t keep me in suspense anymore!
- I’ve just been told that Hannibal was born in the Pitiusan islands.
- Hannibal Smith, the grey-haired at The A-Team?
- What bloody A-Team? Nonsense! The other Hannibal, that savage who freaked out half the world…
- Don’t tell me that Hannibal Lecter was a payés (peasant farmer)!
- Oh, great Jupiter, give me patience… Hannibal Barca, girl! That crazy one who crossed the Alps on an elephant!
- Ahhhh, you should have started telling that. Hasdrubal "The Fair"'s brother in law?
- That one.
- Imagine… and his grandmother preaching so much, telling that the boy was born at Carthage uptown…
- Neither Carthage nor Carthagum, the boy was born in Illa Conillera.
- To be honest, what you say doesn’t surprise me at all. That Barca family always seemed a bunch of nobodies to me.
Yes, my friends, the same way as some funny and intrepid Catalan historians maintain that Barcelona is the real birthplace of Christopher Columbus, other valiant group of pleasant natives of Ibiza who wear glasses maintain that Hannibal Barca, the best military strategist of all time after Kim Jong-un, was born in our dear white island.
According to this theory, the events went more or less as follows: Back in 247 B.C., the Barca family’s patriarch, named Hamilcar, decided that it was time for a change of scene. The Barca family have lived in Carthage (north of Tunisia) for centuries, but politically speaking things were getting quite dodgy, and that, together with the fact of not having neither a Mercadona nor a Primark 2.000 years away, made the clan take the decision of crossing the Mediterranean Sea in pursuit of a more promising future for the new son who was coming. Thus, on a cold winter night they put all their belongings into a ship and set sail for the Iberian Peninsula.
But not so fast, my friends, because Poseidon, who besides being the king of the seas has always been quite of a ballbuster, had a little surprise for them in the form of a huge storm. The big waves and the strong wind left the ship adrift. And after several hours struggling against the elements, the experienced captain was able to dock the ship at a small bay at Illa Sa Conillera, in the northwest of Ibiza coast.
With the fright, the ups and downs and her advanced pregnancy, Hamilcar’s self-sacrificing wife was bearing herself, and thus, that same night, without delay (or rather, without more dilation), the lady gave birth to little Hannibal in a cave of the island. And, that’s all folks! This is the hazardous but irrefutable reason that some ladies and gentlemen use to maintain that the a priori Carthaginian general in fact has always been, is and will be more Pitiusan than Es Vedrà.
What? Do you think this is an unsound theory, not crosschecked and a little filthy? You still haven’t heard anything, you guys… I’ll tell you there’s a second version of the story, which is much more hard-core and daring than this one, and according to it, the real name of Hannibal should be Vicent Hannibal Tur Marí… But I’ll tell you about this next week.
Translation: Dora Sales
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