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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fall of Glorious Carthage

Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient CivilizationCarthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Carthage, once the ruling naval power of the Mediterranean, only to be reduced to dust and ashes after three long protracted conflicts with the Romans. Richard Mills does an excellent job of outlining and writing about the history of Carthage starting from the beginning going all the way even past the end of the cities existence.

The Carthaginians were originally Phoenicians, who originated from the city of Tyre. Assyrian domination and wars in that area forced the Queen Dido to leave Tyre and look for a more pleasant clime. She found it in what is today modern Tunisia. The Phoenicians had been known for setting up trading colonies all over the Mediterranean. These colonies became cities that traded with the locals. The Phoenicians were also master ship builders and their trade empire brought goods from Greece and Europe , plus gold and silver all the way to the Middle East. Of course some goods went the other way as well.

Tyre had relations with the Israelite and even helped build their temple. Their official God was Melquart and the Goddess Astarte. Melquart may have been king Ahab’s invention to weaken the power of the priest. The Phoenicians were called Phoenicians because of their renown in producing a purple dye from mollusks. The Phoenicians themselves knew themselves as Canaanites.

The Carthaginians had control over the entire Mediterranean until the onset of the first Punic war with Rome. The first battle happened on the Isle of Sicily and involved the several battle wit the Greek city state Syracuse. After several battles Rome stepped in and took over all of Sicily. The Carthaginians put up a stiff fight but were not match for the steadfast Romans. The Romans conquered Sicily and imposed a very humiliating peace agreement on Carthage. Rome went back on the word several times. This would lead to the second Punic war.

After having lost all their island in the Mediterranean, Hannibal Barca, set up a Phoenician colony in Spain. Something sparked off the second war and the Romans were looking for an excuse. Hannibal did the unthinkable, he marched with a huge mercenary army along several elephants over the Swiss alps and Pyrenees. His forces devastated Rome and Italy for 15 years. The Romans won in the in end after 15 years of bitter war and an humiliating peace agreement.

The third war started when Carthage went to war against the Numidians, allies of Rome. This time Carthage was crushed. Over all great book, the author gives viewpoints of various Greek and Roman Historians and covers how war shaped the viewpoint Greek and Roman societies held of the Carthaginians. The book is a fun easy read and you will learn a lot.

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.