Hannibal’s Bad Eye

Hannibal's Bad EyeWhen he was crossing a swamp early in his Italian campaign, Hannibal Barca of Carthage lost sight in one eye, possibly due to a disease called opthalmia. It probably would have looked much more gruesome than I’ve depicted here (judging from Google image search results on opthalmia), but eye gore is utterly terrifying for me to look at.

We have no definitive portraits of Hannibal dating to his time period (though there are coins speculated to depict him), so exactly how his physical features may have looked remains a mystery for the time being. The skin color I’ve chosen here is meant to represent a mix between Phoenician (or Punic) colonists from Lebanon and local African people. The ritual scars on his face definitely have an African inspiration, but the symbol on his left cheek actually is a Carthaginian symbol for the goddess Tanit.


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