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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Carthage::Ancient City in Tunisia-Part_1

 Carthage (/ˈkɑrθɪdʒ/; Arabic: قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj, Berber: ⴽⴰⵔⵜⴰⵊⴻⵏ Kartajen) is a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia that was the centre of the Carthaginian Empire in antiquity. The city has existed for nearly 3,000 years, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC into the capital of an ancient empire.It was little more than an agricultural village for nine hundred years until the middle of the 20th century; since then it has grown rapidly as an upscale coastal suburb.In 2004 it had a population of 15,922 according to the national census, and an estimated population of 21,276 in January 2013.Historically Carthage has been known as: Latin: Carthago or Karthago, Ancient Greek: Καρχηδών Karkhēdōn, Etruscan: *Carθaza, from the Phoenician 𐤒𐤓𐤕 𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕 Qart-ḥadaštmeaning New City (Aramaic: קרתא חדתא‎, Qarta Ḥdatha), implying it was a 'new Tyre'.The first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the center of Tunis. According to Greek historians, Carthage was founded by Canaanite-speaking Phoenician colonists from Tyre (in modern Lebanon) under the leadership of Queen Elissa or Dido. It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse, Numidia, and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland.
Hannibal's invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy; however, Carthage emerged from the conflict weaker after Hannibal's defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. Following the Third Punic War, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became the empire's fourth most important city and the second most important city in the Latin West. It later became the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until the Muslim conquest when it was destroyed a second time in 698.
The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote extensively on Carthaginian politics, and he considered the city to have one of the best governing institutions in the world, along with those of the Greek states of Sparta and Crete.
 Topography
Carthage was built on a promontory with sea inlets to the north and the south. The city's location made it master of the Mediterranean's maritime trade. All ships crossing the sea had to pass between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia, where Carthage was built, affording it great power and influence.
Two large, artificial harbors were built within the city, one for harboring the city's massive navy of 220 warships and the other for mercantile trade. A walled tower overlooked both harbours.
The city had massive walls, 37 kilometres (23 mi) in length, longer than the walls of comparable cities. Most of the walls were located on the shore and thus could be less impressive, as Carthaginian control of the sea made attack from that direction difficult. The 4.0 to 4.8 kilometres (2.5 to 3 mi) of wall on the isthmus to the west were truly massive and were never penetrated.
The city had a huge necropolis or burial ground, religious area, market places, council house, towers and a theater and was divided into four equally sized residential areas with the same layout. Roughly in the middle of the city stood a high citadel called the Byrsa.
Carthage was one of the largest cities in Hellenistic times and was among the largest cities in pre-industrial history. Whereas by 14 A.D. Rome had at least 750,000 inhabitants, and in the following century may have reached 1 million, the cities of Alexandria, Antioch, and Carthage numbered only a few hundred thousand or less.According to the not always reliable history of Herodian, Carthage rivaled Alexandria for second place in the Roman empire.

 EO-1

History

 

Layout of the city.
 The historical study of Carthage is problematic. Because its culture and records were destroyed by the Romans at the end of the Third Punic War, very few primary Carthaginian historical sources survived. While there are few ancient translations of Punic texts into Greek and Latin, inscriptions remain on monuments and buildings discovered in North Africa, the main sources are Greek and Roman historians, including Livy, Polybius, Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Silius Italicus, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and Herodotus. These writers belonged to peoples in competition, and often in conflict, with Carthage. Greek cities contested with Carthage for the Western Mediterranean culminating in the Greek-Punic Wars and the Pyrrhic War over Sicily, and the Romans fought three wars against Carthage. Not surprisingly, their accounts of Carthage are extremely hostile; while there are a few Greek authors who took a favorable view, these works have been lost.
Foundation legends
Queen Elissa (Dido)
 According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Queen Dido (Elissa), founded Carthage (c. 814 B.C.).Queen Elissa (also known as "Alissar") was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, Carthage, came to be called the "shining city," ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean and leading the Phoenician (or Punic) world.
Elissa's brother, King Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered her husband, the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its later dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Belus II of Tyre. When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her and her brother, Pygmalion. She married her uncle Acherbas (also known as Sychaeus), the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king. This led to increased rivalry between religion and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acherbas.Pygmalion assassinated Acherbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husband's death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign.


Carthage
Virgil's Aeneid
In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Queen Elissa, is first introduced as an extremely respected character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule. Her subjects adore her and present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as even more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas and his men, who have recently escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, Mercury, sent by Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, Dido, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword. As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" (4.625, trans. Fitzgerald) she says, an invocation of Hannibal. The details of Virgil's story do not, however, form part of the original legend and are significant mainly as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city she had destroyed, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed."

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