One short winter


Imilke doesn’t have it easy.

First, her name isn’t even historical. Neither is the son she has with Hannibal. She might well be the figment of the imagination of Silius Italicus, a Roman who wrote a poem named Punica two hundred and fifty years after Hannibal’s death. We are pretty sure that Hannibal married an Iberian nobleman’s daughter, but the rest is left to imagination.

The imagination of most novel or script writers is plain godawful. I’ve by now seen Imilke as a Mary Sue who goes on campaign with her husband and rids his entire army of lice and is then gang-raped to death; as the pupil of Celtic druids who runs around with a handmaiden called Gwen (on campaign, of course); as a brattish diva who travels to Italy after ten years of war all by herself (with a son who, miraculously, is only six),; as a helicopter wife who inspects her husband naked for new wounds whenever they meet; and lastly, as a cold Spanish beauty who hates her Punic husband.

I’m going to do something that’s pretty much never been done before.

In my headcanon, Imilke is a normal woman. Not a druid or a diva. She’s married to a guy whose language she doesn’t speak well, but thankfully, he does well enough in hers. She only sees him briefly over the winter when he’s not campaigning, but whenever they get the chance, they try to make their marriage work, instead of making each other’s lives miserable. She is so much a normal woman of her time that she stays in Iberia while her husband goes to fight a war.

When she gives birth to their son, her husband is away laying siege to Saguntum, and when they meet again, for one brief winter before a war longer than anyone could have feared, they discover something unifying – the ties of a child, and the realisation how frail life can be – in the dangers of childbirth, or a Saguntine spear.

I also think that both she and the boy died soon afterwards, or we would have heard about their fate when Scipio took the city of Cartagena. Possibly, as Silius implies, they boarded a ship to Carthage, but never reached it…

And this is the attitude that makes me unable to turn this stuff into a successful comic. :D

4 thoughts on “One short winter

  1. Beautifully said, beautifully drawn. Most military families I’ve seen are pretty normal people trying to make the marriage work under challenging circumstances. Some do better than others.

  2. Incredibly beautiful! For all your work, this is the most honest. Not that the other pieces aren’t equally true, but this one says more about Hannibal than any other works done by you or anyone else.

    Hannibal was a man. He may have been a brilliant tactician and strategist, but bottom line: he was a man. All the hero epics are put aside for that fact. All the demigod insistance and supernatural claims – everything fades in the face of a Father with his infant son.

    Thank you.

    Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 14:58:05 +0000 To:

  3. I don’t know why, but I really, really love this one. The colors, the mood… there’s a “real” feeling about it, less bright than what you usually do but yet truely beautiful.:)

  4. Los dibujos son muy bonitos pero Anibal fue un soldado y tuvo poco tiempo para disfrutar el matrimonio,aparte que tendria muchas concubinas. Las estampas de batallas o el cruce de los Alpes son buenas. Te faltaria una sobre su elefante Surus o su caballo Strategos o incluso la charla que tuvo con Escipion antes de Zama.Muchas gracias por tus dibujos son geniales

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