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Sunday, 27 April 2014

Carthage::Ancient City in Tunisia-Part_3_Last

Byrsa

Punic ruins in Byrsa
On top of Byrsa hill, the location of the Roman Forum, a residential area from the last century of existence (early 2nd century) of the Punic city was excavated by the French archaeologist Serge Lancel. The neighborhood, with its houses, shops and private spaces, is significant for what it reveals about daily life there over twenty-one hundred years ago.
The habitat is typical, even stereotypical. The street was often used as a storefront; cistern tanks were installed in basements to collect water for domestic use, and a long corridor on the right side of each residence led to a courtyard containing a sump, around which various other elements may be found. In some places the ground is covered with mosaics called punica pavement, sometimes using a characteristic red mortar.
The remains have been preserved under embankments, the substructures of the later Roman forum, whose foundation piles dot the district. The housing blocks are separated by a grid of straight streets approximately six metres wide, with a roadway consisting of clay; there are in situ stairs to compensate for the slope of the hill. Construction of this type presupposes organization and political will, and has inspired the name of the neighborhood, "Hannibal district", referring to the legendary Punic general or Suffete (consul) at the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

Roman Carthage


Roman Carthage

When Carthage fell, its nearby rival Utica, a Roman ally, was made capital of the region and replaced Carthage as the leading center of Punic trade and leadership. It had the advantageous position of being situated on the Lake of Tunis and the outlet of the Majardah River, Tunisia's only river that flowed all year long. However, grain cultivation in the Tunisian mountains caused large amounts of silt to erode into the river. This silt accumulated in the harbor until it became useless, and Rome was forced to rebuild Carthage.
By 122 BC Gaius Gracchus founded a short-lived colony, called Colonia Iunonia, after the Latin name for the punic goddess Tanit, Iuno caelestis. The purpose was to obtain arable lands for impoverished farmers. The Senate abolished the colony some time later, in order to undermine Gracchus' power.
After this ill-fated attempt a new city of Carthage was built on the same land by Julius Caesar in 49–44 BC period, and by the 1st century A.D. it had grown to be the second largest city in the western half of the Roman Empire, with a peak population of 500,000[citation needed]. It was the center of the Roman province of Africa, which was a major breadbasket of the Empire.
Carthage also became a centre of early Christianity. In the first of a string of rather poorly reported councils at Carthage a few years later, no fewer than 70 bishops attended. Tertullian later broke with the mainstream that was represented more and more in the west by the bishop of Rome, but a more serious rift among Christians was the Donatist controversy, which Augustine of Hippo spent much time and parchment arguing against. In 397 AD at the Council at Carthage, the biblical canon for the western Church was confirmed.

Vandals

Vandal Empire in 500 AD, centered in Carthage.

The political fallout from the deep disaffection of African Christians is supposedly a crucial factor in the ease with which Carthage and the other centres were captured in the 5th century by Gaiseric, king of the Vandals, who defeated the Roman general Bonifacius and made the city his capital. Gaiseric was considered a heretic too, an Arian, and though Arians commonly despised orthodox Catholic Christians, a mere promise of toleration might have caused the city's population to accept him. After a failed attempt to recapture the city in the 5th century, the Eastern Roman empire finally subdued the Vandals in the Vandalic War 533–534.
Thereafter the city became the seat of the praetorian prefecture of Africa, which during the emperor Maurice's reign, was made into an Exarchate, as was Ravenna in Italy. These two exarchates were the western bulwarks of the Roman empire, all that remained of its power in the west. In the early 7th century it was the exarch of Carthage who overthrew emperor Phocas.

Islamic conquests
The Roman Exarchate of Africa was not able to withstand the Muslim conquerors of the 7th century. Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik in 686 AD sent a force led by Zuhayr ibn Qais who won a battle over Romans and Berbers led by Kusaila, on the Qairawan plain; but could not follow that up. In 695 AD Hasan ibn al-Nu'man captured Carthage and advanced into the Atlas Mountains. An imperial fleet arrived and retook Carthage, but in 698 AD Hasan ibn al-Nu'man returned and defeated Emperor Tiberios III at the Battle of Carthage. Roman imperial forces withdrew from all Africa except Ceuta. Roman Carthage was destroyed—its walls torn down, its water supply cut off and its harbours made unusable. It was replaced by Tunis as the major regional center. The destruction of the Exarchate of Africa marked a permanent end to the Byzantine Empire's influence in the region.
Modern times
In the mid-19th century Nathan Davis and other European archaeologists were given permission to excavate the ancient city.
Carthage remains a popular tourist attraction and residential suburb of Tunis. The Tunisian presidential palace is located in the city.In February 1985, Ugo Vetere, the mayor of Rome, and Chedly Klibi, the mayor of Carthage, signed a symbolic treaty "officially" ending the conflict between their cities, which had been supposedly extended by the lack of a peace treaty for more than 2,100 years.In Lebanon, the ancient Phoenician homeland, the name Carthage is still remembered in many place names. One such is the village of "Qartada" in the Baabda district.
Portrayals in fiction
Carthage features in Gustave Flaubert's historical novel Salammb├┤ (1862). Set around the time of the Mercenary War, it includes a dramatic description of child sacrifice, and the boy Hannibal narrowly avoiding being sacrificed.
In The Dead Past, a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, a leading character is an ancient historian who is trying to disprove the allegation that the Carthaginians carried out child sacrifice.
In Kushiel's Mercy by Jacqueline Carey, Carthage is a conquering nation geographically and culturally based on the historical Carthage.[citation needed]
The Purple Quest by Frank G. Slaughter is about the founding of Carthage.

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