A complete history of ancient Carthage from its founding to its collapse including its leaders, generals, philosophies and contribution to civilization

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The Story of Hannibal

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Ancient Carthage

Author: Rollin, Charles


About 800 BC the Phoenicians established Carthage on the edge of a region in North Africa that is now Tunisia. The city became the commercial center of the western Mediterranean and retained that position until overthrown by Rome.

Sections I - III

The following history of the Carthaginians is divided into two parts. In
the first is given a general idea of the manners of that people, their
character, government, religion, power, and riches. In the second after
relating, in few words, by what steps Carthage established and enlarged its
power, there is an account of the wars by which it became so famous.

Section I: Carthage Formed After The Model Of Tyre, Of Which That City Was A Colony

The Carthaginians were indebted to the Tyrians, not only for their
origin, but their manners, language, customs, laws, religion, and the great
application to commerce, as will appear from every part of the sequel. They
spoke the same language with the Tyrians, and these the same with the
Canaanites and Israelites, that is the Hebrew tongue, or at least a language
which was entirely derived from it. Their names had commonly some particular meaning: thus Hanno signified gracious, bountiful; Dido amiable, or well beloved; Sophonisba, one who keeps faithfully her husband's secrets. ^573 From a spirit of religion, they likewise joined the name of God to their own, conformably to the genius of the Hebrews. Hannibal, which answers to Ananias, signifies Baal (or the Lord) has been gracious to me. Asdrubal, answering to Azarias, implies the Lord will be our succor. It is the same with other names, Adherbal, Maharbal, Mastanabal, etc. The word Poeni, from which Punic is derived, is the same with Phoeni or Phoenicians, because they came originally from Phoenica. In the Poenulus of Plautus is a scene written in the Punic tongue, which has very much exercised the learned. ^574

[Footnote 573: Bochart, Part. II. l. ii. c. 16.]

[Footnote 574: The first scene of the fifth act translated into Latin by
Petit, in the second book of his Miscellanies]

But the strict union which always subsisted between the Phoenicians and
Carthaginians is still more remarkable. When Cambyses had resolved to make war upon the latter, the Phoenicians, who formed the chief strength of his fleet, told him plainly, that they could not serve him against their countrymen; and this declaration obliged that prince to lay aside his design. ^575 The Carthaginians, on their side, were never forgetful of the country from whence they came, and to which they owed their origin. They sent regularly every year to Tyre a ship freighted with presents, as a quitrent or acknowledgment paid to their ancient country; and its tutelar gods had an annual sacrifice offered to them by the Carthaginians, who considered them as their protectors. ^576 They never failed to send thither the first fruits of their revenues, nor the tithe of the spoils taken
from their enemies, as offerings to Hercules, one of the principal gods of
Tyre and Carthage. The Tyrians, to secure from Alexander, who was then
besieging their city, what they valued above all things, I mean their wives
and children, sent them to Carthage, where, at a time that the inhabitants of
the latter were involved in a furious war, they were received and entertained
with such a kindness and generosity as might be expected from the most tender and opulent parents. Such uninterrupted testimonies of a warm and sincere gratitude do a nation more honor than the greatest conquests and the most glorious victories.

[Footnote 575: Herod. l. iii. c. 17-19.]

[Footnote 576: Polyb. 944. Q. Curt. l. iv. c. 2, 3.]

Section II: The Religion Of The Carthaginians

It appears from several passages of the history of Carthage, that its
generals looked upon it as an indispensable duty to begin and end all their
enterprises with the worship of the gods. Hamilcar, father of the great
Hannibal, before he entered Spain in a hostile manner, offered up a sacrifice
to the gods. And his son, treading in his steps, before he left Spain, and
marched against Rome, went to Cadiz in order to pay the vows he made to
Hercules, and to offer up new ones, in case that god should be propitious to
him. ^577 After the battle of Cannae, when he acquainted the Carthaginians
with the joyful news, he recommended to them, above all things, the offering
up a solemn thanksgiving to the immortal gods, for the several victories he
had obtained. Pro his tantis totque victoriis verum esse gratis diis
immortalibus agi haberique. ^578

[Footnote 577: Liv. l. xxi. n. 1. Ibid. n. 21.]

[Footnote 578: Liv. l. xxiii. n. 11.]

Nor was this religious honoring of the deity on all occasions the
ambition of particular persons only, but it was the genius and disposition of
the whole nation.

Polybius ^579 has transmitted to us a treaty of peace concluded between
Philip, son of Demetrius king of Macedon, and the Carthagenians, in which the great respect and veneration of the latter for the deity, and their inherent
persuasion that the gods assist and preside over human affairs and
particularly over the solemn treaties made in their name and presence, are
strongly displayed. Mention is therein made of five or six different orders
of deities; and this enumeration appears very extraordinary in a public
instrument, such as a treaty of peace concluded between two nations. I will
here present my readers with the very words of the historian, as it will give
some idea of the Carthaginian theology. This treaty was concluded in the
presence of Jupiter, Juno and Apollo; in the presence of the demon or genius
of the Carthaginians, of Hercules and Iolaus; in the presence of Mars, Triton,
and Neptune; in the presence of all the confederate gods of the Carthaginians,
and of the sun, the moon, and the earth; in the presence of the rivers, meads,
and waters; in the presence of all those gods who possess Carthage. What
would we now say to an instrument of this kind, in which the tutelar angels
and saints of a kingdom should be introduced!

[Footnote 579: Lib. vii. p. 699 edit. Gronov.]

The Carthaginians had two deities, to whom they paid a more particular
worship, and who deserve to have some mention made of them in this place.

The first was the goddess of Coelestis, called likewise Urania, or the
moon, who was invoked in great calamities, and particularly in droughts, in
order to obtain rain: that very virgin Coelestis, says Tertullian, the
promiser of rain, - Ista ipsa virgo Coelistis, pluviarum pollicitatrix. ^580
Tertullian, speaking of this goddess, and of Aesculapius, gives the heathens
of that age a challenge, which is bold indeed, but at the same time very
glorious to the cause of Christianity: and declares, that any Christian, who
first comes, shall oblige these false gods to confess publicly that they are
but devils; and consents that this Christian shall be immediately killed, if
he does not extort such a confession from the mouth of these gods. Nisi se
daemones confessi fuerint Christiano mentiri non audentes, ibidem illius
Christiani procacissimi sanguinem fundite. St. Austin likewise makes frequent
mention of this deity. What is now, says he, ^581 become of Coelestis, whose empire was once so great in Carthage? This was doubtless the same deity whom Jeremiah calls the queen of heaven; ^582 and who was held in so much reverence by the Jewish women, that they addressed their vows, burnt incense, poured out drink-offerings, and made cakes for her with their own hands, ut faciant placentas reginoe coeli: and from whom they boasted their having received all manner of blessings, while they paid her a regular worship; whereas, since they had failed in it, they had been oppressed with misfortunes of every kind.

[Footnote 580: Apolog. c. xxiii]

[Footnote 581: In Psalm. xcviii.]

[Footnote 582: Jer. vii. 18. xliv. 17 25.]

The second deity particularly adored by the Carthaginians, and in whose
honor human sacrifices were offered, was Saturn, known in Scripture by the
name of Moloch; and this worship passed from Tyre to Carthage. Philo quotes a passage from Sanchoniathon, which shows, that the kings of Tyre, in great dangers, used to sacrifice their sons to appease the anger of the gods; and that one of them, by this action, procured himself divine honors, and was
worshipped as a god, under the name of the planet Saturn: to this doubtless
was owing the fable of Saturn devouring his own children. Private persons,
when they were desirous of averting any great calamity, took the same method; and, in imitation of their princes, were so very superstitious, that such as had no children purchased those of the poor, in order that they might not be deprived of the merit of such a sacrifice. This custom prevailed long among
the Phoenicians and Canaanites, from whom the Israelites borrowed it, though forbidden expressly by Heaven. At first children were inhumanly burned, either in a fiery furnace, like those in the valley of Hinnom, so often
mentioned in Scripture, or enclosed in a flaming statue of Saturn. The cries
of these unhappy victims were drowned by the uninterrupted noise of drums and trumpets. ^583 Mothers made it a merit, and a part of their religion, to view this barbarous spectacle with dry eyes, and without so much as a groan; and if a tear or a sigh stole from them, the sacrifice was less acceptable to the
deity, and all the effects of it were entirely lost. ^584 This strength of
mind, or rather savage barbarity was carried to such excess, that even mothers would endeavor, with embraces and kisses, to hush the cries of their children; lest, had the victim been offered with an unbecoming grace, and in the midst of tears, is should anger the god; ^585 blanditiis et osculis comprimebant vagitum, ne flebilis hostia immolaretur. ^586 They afterwards contented themselves with making their children pass through the fire, in which they frequently perished, as appears from several passages of Scripture. ^587

[Footnote 583: Plut. de Superstit. p. 171.]

[Footnote 584: The cruel and pitiless mother stood by as an unconcerned
spectator; a groan or a tear falling from her, would have been punished by a
fine; and still the child must have been sacrificed. - Plut. de

[Footnote 585: Tertul. in Apolog.]

[Footnote 586: Minut. Felix.]

[Footnote 587: Q. Curt. l. iv. c. 5.]

The Carthaginians retained the barbarous custom of offering human
sacrifices to their gods, till the ruin of their city: ^588 an action which
ought to have been called a sacrilege rather than a sacrifice, - Sacrilegium
verius quam sacrum. It was suspended only for some years, from the fear they were under of drawing upon themselves the indignation and arms of Darius I. king of Persia, who forbade them the offering up of human sacrifices and the eating the flesh of dogs; but they soon resumed this horrid practice, since, in the reign of Xerxes, the successor to Darius, Gelon, the tyrant of
Syracuse, having gained a considerable victory over the Carthaginians in
Sicily, ordered, among other conditions of peace, That no more human
sacrifices should be offered to Saturn. ^589 And, doubtless, the practice of
the Carthaginians, on this very occasion, made Gelon use this precaution. For
during the whole engagement, which lasted from morning till night, Hamilcar,
the son of Hanno their general, was perpetually offering up to the gods
sacrifices of living men, who were thrown in great numbers on a flaming pile;
and seeing his troops routed and put to flight, he himself rushed into it, in
order that he might not survive his own disgrace; ^590 and to extinguish, says
St. Ambrose, speaking of this action, with his own blood, this sacrilegious
fire, when he found that it had not proved of service to him. ^591

[Footnote 588: It appears from Turtullian's Apology, that this barbarous
custom prevailed in Africa, long after the reign of Carthage. Infantes pene;
Africam Saturno immolabantur palam usque ad proconsulatum Tiberii, qui eosdem sacerdotes in eisdem arboribus templi sui obumbratricibus scelerum votivis crucibus exposuit, teste militia patriae nostriae, quae id ipsum munus ilii
proconsuli functa est, i.e., Children were publicly sacrificed to Saturn, down
to the proconsulship of Tiberius, who hanged the sacrificing priests
themselves on the trees which shaded their temple, as on so many crosses,
raised to expiate their crimes, of which the militia of our country are
witnesses, who were the actors, of this execution, at the command of this
preconsul. - Tertul. Apolog. c. 9. Two learned men are at variance about the
proconsul, and time of his government. Salmasius confesses his ignorance of
both, but rejects the authority of Scaliger, who, for proconsulatum, reads
proconsulem Tiberii, and thinks Tertullian, when he wrote his Apology, had
forgot his name. However this be, it is certain that the memory of the
incident here related by Tertullian was then recent and probably the witnesses
of it had not been long dead.]

[Footnote 589: Plut. de Ser. Vindic. Deorum, p. 552.]

[Footnote 590: Herod. l. vii. c. 167.]

[Footnote 591: In ipsos quos adolebat sese praecipitavit ignes, ut eos vel
cruore suo extingueret, quos sibi nihil profuisse cognoverat. - St. Amb.]

In times of pestilence they used to sacrifice a great number of children
to their gods, unmoved with pity for a tender age, which excites compassion in the most cruel enemies; thus seeking a remedy for their evils in guilt itself,
and endeavoring to appease the gods by the most shocking barbarity. ^592

[Footnote 592: Cum peste laborarent, cruenta sacrorum religione et scelere pro remedio usi sunt. Quippe homines ut victimas immolabant, et impuberes (quae aetas etiam hostium misericordiam provocat), aris admovebant, pacem deorum sanguine corum exposcentes, pro quorum vita dii maxime rogari solent. - Justin. l. xviii. c. 6. The Gauls, as well as Germans, used to sacrifice men, if Dionysius and Tacitus may be credited.]

Diodorus ^593 relates an instance of this cruelty, which strikes the
reader with horror. At the time that Agathocles was just going to besiege
Carthage, its inhabitants, seeing the extremity to which they were reduced,
imputed all their misfortunes to the just anger of Saturn, because that,
instead of offering up children nobly born, who were usually sacrificed to
him, he had been fraudulently put off with the children of slaves and
foreigners. To atone for this crime, two hundred children of the best
families in Carthage were sacrificed to Saturn; besides which, upwards of
three hundred citizens, from a sense of their guilt of this pretended crime,
voluntarily sacrificed themselves. Diodorus adds, that there was a brazen
statue of Saturn, the hands of which were turned downwards, so that, when a
child was laid on them, it dropped immediately into a hollow, where was a
fiery furnace.

[Footnote 593: Lib. ii. p. 75.]

Can this, says Plutarch, ^594 be called worshipping the gods? Can we be
said to entertain an honorable idea of them, if we supposed that they are
pleased with slaughter, thirsty of human blood, and capable of requiring or
accepting such offerings? Religion, says this judicious author, is placed
between two rocks, that are equally dangerous to man and injurious to the
Deity, I mean impiety and superstition. The one, from an affectation of
free-thinking, believes nothing; and the other, from a blind weakness,
believes all things. Impiety, to rid itself of a terror which galls it,
denies the very existence of the gods; while superstition, to calm its fears,
capriciously forges gods, which it makes not only the friends, but protectors
and models of crimes. ^595 Had it not been better, says he farther, for the
Carthaginians to have had a Critias, a Diagoras, and such like open and
undisguised atheists for their lawgivers, than to have established so frantic
and wicked a religion? Could the Typhons and the giants (the avowed enemies of the gods), had they gained a victory over them, have established more abominable sacrifices? ^596

[Footnote 594: De Superstitione, pp. 169-171.]

[Footnote 595: Idem. in Camill. p. 132.]

[Footnote 596: De Superstitione.]

Such were the sentiments which a heathen entertained of this part of the
Carthaginian worship. But one would hardly believe that mankind were capable of such madness and frenzy. Men do not generally entertain ideas so
destructive of all those things which nature considers as most sacred, as to
sacrifice, to murder their children with their own hands, and to throw them in
cool blood into fiery furnaces! Sentiments, so unnatural and barbarous and
yet adopted by whole nations, and even by the most civilized, as the
Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Gauls, Scythians, and even the Greeks and Romans, and consecrated by custom during a long series of ages, can have been inspired by him only, who was a murderer from the beginning, and who delights in nothing but the humiliation, misery, and perdition of man.

Section III: Form Of The Government Of Carthage

The government of Carthage was founded upon principles of the most
consummate wisdom, and it is with reason that Aristotle ranks this republic in
the number of those that were had in the greatest esteem by the ancients, and
which were fit to serve as models for others. ^597 He grounds his opinion on a reflection which does great honor to Carthage by remarking, that from its
foundation to his time, that is, upwards of five hundred years, no
considerable sedition had disturbed the peace, nor any tyrant oppressed the
liberty, of that state. Indeed, mixed governments, such as that of Carthage,
where the power was divided between the nobles and the people, are subject to two inconveniences; either of degenerating into an abuse of liberty by the
seditions of the populace, as frequently happened in Athens, and in all the
Grecian republics; or into the oppression of the public liberty by the tyranny
of the nobles, as in Athens, Syracuse, Corinth, Thebes, and Rome itself under
Sylla and Caesar. It is therefore giving Carthage the highest praise, to
observe, that it had found out the art, by the wisdom of its laws, and the
harmony of the different parts of its government, to shun, during so long a
series of years, two rocks that are so dangerous, and on which others so often split. It were to be wished, that some ancient author had left us an accurate and regular description of the customs and laws of this famous republic. For want of such assistance, we can only give our readers a confused and imperfect idea of them, by collecting the several passages which lie scattered up and down in authors. Christopher Hendrich has obliged the learned world in this particular; and his work has been of great service to me. ^598

[Footnote 597: De Rep. l. ii. c. 11.]

[Footnote 598: It is entitled, Carthago, sive Carthaginensium Respublica, &c.
- Francofurti ad Oderam, ann. 1664.]

The government of Carthage, like that of Sparta and Rome, united three
different authorities, which counterpoised and gave mutual assistance to one
another. ^599 These authorities were, that of the two supreme magistrates
called suffetes, ^600 that of the senate, and that of the people. There
afterwards was added the tribunal of one hundred, which had great credit and
influence in the republic.

[Footnote 599: Polyb. l. iv. p. 493.]

[Footnote 600: This name is derived from a word, which with the Hebrews and
Phoenicians, signifies judges, Shophetim.]

The Suffetes

The power of the suffetes was only annual, and their authority in
Carthage answered to that of the consuls at Rome. ^601 In authors they are
frequently called kings, dictators, consuls; because they exercised the
functions of all three. History does not inform us of the manner of their
election. They were empowered to assemble the senate, ^602 in which they
presided, proposed subjects for deliberation, and collected the votes; ^603
and they likewise presided in all debates on matters of importance. Their
authority was not limited to the city, nor confined to civil affairs; they
sometimes had the command of the armies. We find, that when their employment of suffetes expired, they were made praetors, whose office was considerable, since it empowered them to preside in some causes; as also, to propose, and enact new laws, and call to account the receivers of the public revenues, as appears from what Livy ^604 relates concerning Hannibal on this head, and which I shall take notice of in the sequel.

[Footnote 601: Ut Romae consules, sic Carthagine quotannis annui bini reges
creabantur. - Corn. Nep. in Vita Annibalis, c. 7. The great Hannibal was once
one of the suffetes.]

[Footnote 602: Senatum itaque suffetes, quod velut consulare imperium apud eos
erat, vocaverunt. - Liv. l. xxx. p. 7.]

[Footnote 603: Cum suffetes ad jus dicendum concedissent. - Idem. l. xxxiv. n.

[Footnote 604: Lib. xxxiii, n. 46, 47.]

The Senate

The senate, composed of persons who were venerable on account of their
age, their experience, their birth, their riches, and especially their merit,
formed the council of state; and were, if I may use that expression, the soul
of the public deliberations. Their number is not exactly known, it must,
however, have been very great, since a hundred were selected from it to form a separate assembly, of which I shall immediately have occasion to speak. In
the senate, all affairs of consequence were redebated, the letters from
generals read, the complaints from provinces heard, ambassadors admitted to
audience, and peace or war determined, as is seen on many occasions.

When the sentiments and votes were unanimous, the senate decided
supremely, and there lay no appeal from it. ^605 When there was a division,
and the senate could not be brought to an agreement, the affair was then
brought before the people, on whom the power of deciding thereby devolved. The reader will easily perceive the great wisdom of this regulation; and how
happily it is adapted, to crush factions, to produce harmony, and to enforce
and corroborate good counsel; such an assembly being extremely jealous of its authority, and not easily prevailed upon to let it pass into other hands. Of
this we have a memorable instance in Polybius. ^606 When, after the loss of
the battle fought in Africa at the end of the second Punic war, the conditions
of peace offered by the victor were read in the senate; Hannibal, observing
that one of the senators opposed them, represented in the strongest terms,
that as the safety of the republic lay at stake, it was of the utmost
importance for the senators to be unanimous in their resolutions, to prevent
such a debate from coming before the people, and he carried his point. This
doubtless laid the foundation, in the infancy of the republic, of the senate's
power, and raised its authority to so great a height. And the same author
observes in another place, that while the senate had the adistration of
affairs, the state was governed with great wisdom, and was successful in all
its enterprises. ^607

[Footnote 605: Arist. loc. cit.]

[Footnote 606: Lib. xv. p. 706, 707.]

[Footnote 607: Polyb. l. vi. p. 494. A. Carth. 487.]

The People

It appears from every thing related hitherto, that even as late as
Aristotle's time, who gives so beautiful a picture and bestows so noble an
eulogium on the government of Carthage, the people spontaneously left the care of public affairs, and the chief administration of them, to the senate; and
this it was which made the republic so powerful. But things changed
afterwards; for the people, grown insolent by their wealth and conquests, and
forgetting that they owed these blessings to the prudent conduct of the
senate, were desirous of having a share in the government, and arrogated to
themselves almost the whole power. From that period, the public affairs were
transacted wholly by cabals and factions; and this Polybius assigns as one of
the chief causes of the ruin of Carthage.

The Tribunal Of The Hundred

This was a body composed of a hundred and four persons; though often, for
brevity's sake, they are called only one hundred. These, according to
Aristotle, were the same in Carthage as the ephori in Sparta; whence it
appears that they were instituted to balance the power of the nobles and the
senate; but with this difference, that the ephori were but five in number, and
elected annually; whereas these were perpetual, and were upwards of a hundred. It is believed that these centumvirs are the same with the hundred judges mentioned by Justin, ^608 who were taken out of the senate, and appointed to inquire into the conduct of their generals. The exorbitant power of Mago's family, which, by its engrossing the chief employments both of the state and the army, had thereby the sole direction and management of all affairs, gave occasion to this establishment. It was intended as a curb to the authority of their generals, which, while the armies were in the field, was almost boundless and absolute; but, by this institution, it became subject to the laws, by the obligation their generals were under of giving an account of
their actions before these judges, on their return from the campaign. Ut hoc
metu ita in bello imperia cogitarent, ut domi judicia legesque respicerent.
^609 Of these hundred and four judges, five had a particular jurisdiction
superior to that of the rest; but it is not known how long their authority
lasted. This council of five was like the council of ten in the Venetian
senate. A vacancy in their number could be filled by none but themselves. They also had the power of choosing those who composed the council of the hundred. Their authority was very great, and for that reason none were elected into this office but persons of uncommon merit, and it was not judged proper to annex any salary or reward to it, the single motive of the public good being thought a tie sufficient to engage honest men to a conscientious and faithful discharge of their duty. Polybius, ^610 in his account of the taking of New Carthage by Scipio, distinguishes clearly two orders of magistrates
established in Old Carthage, for he says, that among the prisoners taken at
New Carthage, were two magistrates belonging to the body or assembly of old men so he calls the council of the hundred; and fifteen of the senate. Livy
mentions only the fifteen of the senators; but, in another place, he names the
old men, and tells us, that they formed the most venerable council of the
government, and had great authority in the senate. ^611 Carthaginiensis -
Oratores ad pacem petendam mittunt triginta seniorum principes. Id erat
sanctius apud illos, concilium maximique ad ipsum senatum regendum vis. ^612

[Footnote 608: Lib. xix. c. 2. A. M. 3069. A. Carth. 487.]

[Footnote 609: Justin. l. xix.]

[Footnote 610: Lib. x. p. 824, edit. Gronov.]

[Footnote 611: Liv. xxvi. n. 51. Lib. xxx. n. 16.]

[Footnote 612: Mr. Rollin might have taken notice of some civil officers who
were established at Carthage, with a power like that of the censors of Rome,
to inspect the manners of the citizens. The chief of these officers took from
Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal, a beautiful youth, named Asdrubal, on a
report that Hamilcar was more familiar with this youth than was consistent
with modesty. Erat praetera cum eo [Amilcare] adolescens illustris et
formosus Hasdrubal, quem nonnulli diligi turpius, quam par erat. ab Amilcare,
loquebantur. Quo factum est ut a praefecto morum Hasdrubal cum eo vetamtur esse. - Coru. Nep. in Vita. Amilcaria.]

Establishments, though constituted with the greatest wisdom and the
justest harmony of parts, degenerate, however, insensibly into disorder and
the most destructive licentiousness. These judges, who, by the lawful
execution of their power, were a terror to transgressors, and the great
pillars of justice, abusing their almost unlimited authority, became so many
petty tyrants. We shall see this verified in the history of the great
Hannibal, who, during his praetorship, after his return to Africa, employed
all his influence to reform so horrid an abuse; and made the authority of
these judges, which before was perpetual, only annual, about two hundred years from the first founding the tribunal of the one hundred. ^613

[Footnote 613: A. M. 3082. A. Carth. 682.]

Defects In The Government Of Carthage

Aristotle, among other reflections made by him on the government of
Carthage, remarks two defects in it, both which, in his opinion, are repugnant
to the views of a wise lawgiver, and the maxims of sound policy.

The first of these defects was, the investing the same person with
different employments, which was considered at Carthage as a proof of uncommon merit. But Aristotle thinks this practice highly prejudicial to a community.

For, says this author, a man possessed of but one employment is much more
capable of acquitting himself well in the execution of it; because affairs are
then examined with greater care, and sooner despatched. We never see,
continues our author, either by sea or land, the same officer commanding two
different bodies, or the same pilot steering two ships. Besides, the welfare
of the state requires, that places and preferments should be divided, in order
to excite an emulation among men of merit; whereas the bestowing of them on
one man too often dazzles him by so distinguishing a preference, and always
fills others with jealousy, discontent, and murmurs.

The second defect taken notice of by Aristotle in the government of
Carthage, was, that in order for a man to obtain the first posts, a certain
estate was required, besides merit and a conspicuous birth; by which means
poverty might exclude persons of the most exalted merit, which he considers as a great evil in a government. For then, says he, as virtue is wholly
disregarded, and money is all-powerful, because all things are attained by it,
the admiration and desire of riches seize and corrupt the whole community.
Add to this, that when magistrates and judges are obliged to pay large sums
for their employments, they seem to have a right to reimburse themselves.

There is not, I believe, one instance in all antiquity, to show that
employments, either in the state or the courts of justice, were sold. The
expense, therefore, which Aristotle talks of here, to raise men to preferments
in Carthage, must doubtless be understood of the presents that were given, in
order to procure the votes of the electors: a practice, as Polybius observes,
very common at Carthage, where no kind of gain was considered a disgrace. ^614
It is therefore no wonder that Aristotle should condemn a practice, which it
is very plain, may in its consequences prove fatal to a government.

[Footnote 614: - Polyb. l. vi. p. 497.]

But in case he pretended that the chief employments of a state ought to
be equally accessible to the rich and the poor, as he seems to insinuate, his
opinion is refuted by the general practice of the wisest republics; for these,
without in any way demeaning or aspersing poverty, have thought that on this
occasion the preference ought to be given to riches; because it is to be
presumed that the wealthy have received a better education, have nobler views, are more out of the reach of corruption, and are less liable to commit base actions; and that even the state of their affairs makes them more affectionate to the government, inclines them to maintain peace and order in it, and suppress whatever may tend to sedition and rebellion.

Aristotle, in concluding his reflections on the republic of Carthage, is
much pleased with a custom practised in it, viz.: of sending from time to time
colonies into different countries, and in this manner procuring its citizens
commodious settlements. This provided for the necessities of the poor, who,
equally with the rich, are members of the state; and it discharged Carthage of
multitudes of lazy, indolent people, who were its disgrace, and often proved
dangerous to it; it prevented commotions and insurrections, by thus removing
such persons as commonly occasion them; and who, being very uneasy under their present circumstances, are always ready for innovations and tumults.

Section IV: Trade Of Carthage, The First Source Of Its Wealth And Power

Commerce, strictly speaking, was the occupation of Carthage, the
particular object of its industry, and its peculiar and predominant
characteristic. It formed the greatest strength, and the chief support of
that commonwealth. In a word, we may affirm that the power, the conquests,
the credit, and the glory of the Carthaginians, all flowed from their
commerce. Situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, and stretching out
their arms eastward and westward, the extent of their commerce took in all the known world; and wafted it to the coast of Spain, of Mauritania, of Gaul, and beyond the strait and pillars of Hercules. They sailed to all countries, in
order to buy, at a cheap rate, the superfluities of every nation, which, by
the wants of others, became necessaries; and these they sold to them at the
dearest rate. From Egypt the Carthaginians brought fine flax, paper, corn,
sails, and cables for ships; from the coast of the Red Sea, spices,
frankincense, perfumes, gold, pearl, and precious stones; from Tyre and
Phoenicia, purple and scarlet, rich stuffs, tapestry, costly furniture, and
divers curious and exquisite works of arts; in a word, they brought from
various countries, all things that can supply the necessities, or are capable
of contributing to the comfort, luxury, and the delights of life. They
brought back from the western parts of the world, in return for the
commodities carried thither, iron, tin, lead, and copper; by the sale of which
articles they enriched themselves at the expense of all nations; and put them
under a kind of contribution, which was so much the surer, as it was

In thus becoming the factors and agents of all nations, they had made
themselves lords of the sea; the band which held the east, the west, and south
together, and the necessary channel of their communication; so that Carthage
rose to be the common city, and the centre of the trade of all those nations
which the sea separated from one another.

The most considerable personages of the city were not ashamed of engaging
in trade. They applied themselves to it as industriously as the meanest
citizens; and their great wealth did not make them less in love with the
diligence, patience, and labor, which are necessary for the acquisition of it.
To this they owed their empire of the sea; the splendor of their republic;
their being able to dispute for superiority with Rome itself; and their
elevation of power, which forced the Romans to carry on a bloody and doubtful war for upwards of forty years, in order to humble and subdue this haughty rival. In short, Rome, even in its triumphant state, thought Carthage was not to be entirely reduced any other way than by depriving that city of the
benefits of its commerce, by which it had been so long enabled to resist the
whole strength of that mighty republic.

However, it is no wonder that, as Carthage came in a manner out of the
greatest school of traffic in the world, I mean Tyre, she should have been
crowned with such rapid and uninterrupted success. The very vessels in which
its founders had been conveyed into Africa, were afterwards employed by them in their trade. They began to make settlements upon the coasts of Spain, in those ports where they unloaded their goods. The ease with which they had
founded these settlements, and the conveniences they met with, inspired them
with the design of conquering those vast regions; and some time after, Nova
Carthago, or New Carthage, gave the Carthaginians an empire in that country, almost equal to that which they enjoyed in Africa.

Section V: The Mines Of Spain, The Second Source Of The Riches And Power Of Carthage

Diodorus ^615 justly remarks that the gold and silver mines found by the
Carthaginians in Spain, were an inexhaustible fund of wealth, that enabled
them to sustain such long wars against the Romans. The natives had long been
ignorant of these treasures that lay concealed in the bowels of the earth, at
least of their use and value. The Phoenicians took advantage of this
ignorance, and by bartering some wares of little value for this precious
metal, which the natives suffered them to dig up, they amassed infinite
wealth. When the Carthaginians had made themselves masters of the country,
they dug much deeper into the earth than the old inhabitants of Spain had
done, who probably were content with what they could collect on the surface;
and the Romans, when they had dispossessed the Carthaginians of Spain,
profited by their example, and drew an immense revenue from these mines of
gold and silver.

[Footnote 615: Lib. iv. p. 312, &c.]

The labor employed to come at these mines, and to dig the gold and silver
out of them, was incredible, for the veins of these metals rarely appeared on
the surface; they were to be sought for and traced through frightful depths,
where very often floods of water stopped the miners, and seemed to defeat all future pursuits. ^616 But avarice is as patient in undergoing fatigues, as
ingenious in finding expedients. By pumps, which Archimedes had invented when in Egypt, the Romans afterwards threw up the water out of these pits, and quite drained them. Numberless multitudes of slaves perished in these mines, which were dug to enrich their masters, who treated them with the utmost barbarity, forced them by heavy stripes to labor, and gave them no respite either day or night. Polybius, ^617 as quoted by Strabo, says, that in his time, upwards of forty thousand men were employed in the mines near Nova Carthago, and furnished the Romans every day with twenty-five thousand drachms, or three thousand eight hundred and fifteen dollars and sixty-three cents. ^618

[Footnote 616: Lib. iv. p. 312, &c.]

[Footnote 617: Lib. iii. p. 147.]

[Footnote 618: Twenty-five thousand drachms. - An attic drachm, according to
Dr. Berard=8 d. English money, consequently, 25,000=859l, 7s. 6d.]

We must not be surprised to see the Carthaginians, soon after the
greatest defeats, sending fresh and numerous armies again into the field;
fitting out mighty fleets, and supporting, at a great expense, for many years,
wars carried on by them in far distant countries. But it must surprise us to
hear of the Romans doing the same; they whose revenues were very
inconsiderable before those great conquests, which subjected to them the most powerful nations; and who had no resources, either from trade, to which they were absolute strangers, or from gold or silver mines, which were very rarely found in Italy, in case there were any; and consequently, the expenses of which must have swallowed up all the profit. The Romans, in the frugal and
simple life they led, in their zeal for the public welfare and love for their
country, possessed funds which were not less ready or secure than those of
Carthage, but at the same time were far more honorable to their nation.

Section VI: War

Carthage must be considered as a trading, and at the same time a warlike
republic. Its genius, and the nature of its government, led it to traffic;
and from the necessity the Carthaginians were under, first of defending
themselves against the neighboring nations, and afterwards from a desire of
extending their commerce and empire, they became warlike. This double idea
gives us, in my opinion, the true plan and character of the Carthaginian
republic. We have already spoken of its commerce.

The military power of the Carthaginians consisted in their alliances with
kings; in tributary nations, from which they drew both men and money; in some troops raised from among their own citizens; and in mercenary soldiers,
purchased of neighboring states, without their being obliged to levy or
exercise them, because they were already well disciplined and inured to the
fatigues of war; for they made choice, in every country, of such soldiers as
had the greatest merit and reputation. They drew from Numidia a nimble, bold, impetuous and indefatigable cavalry, which formed the principal strength of their armies; from the Balearian isles, the most expert slingers in the world;
from Spain, a steady and invincible infantry; from the coasts of Genoa and
Gaul, troops of known valor; and from Greece itself, soldiers fit for all the
various operations of war, for the field or the garrison, for besieging or
defending cities.

In this manner, the Carthaginians sent out at once powerful armies
composed of soldiers which were the flower of all the armies in the universe,
without depopulating either their fields or cities by new levies; without
suspending their manufactures, or disturbing the peaceful artificer; without
interrupting their commerce, or weakening their navy. By venal blood they
possessed themselves of provinces and kingdoms; and made other nations the
instruments of their grandeur and glory, with no other expense of their own
than their money, and even this furnished from the traffic they carried on
with foreign nations.

If the Carthaginians, in the course of the war, sustained some losses,
these were but as so many foreign accidents, which only grazed, as it were,
the body of the state, but did not make a deep wound in the bowels or heart of the republic. These losses were speedily repaired, by sums arising out of a
flourishing commerce, as from a perpetual sinew of war, by which the
government was furnished with new supplies for the purchase of mercenary
forces, who were ready at the first summons. And, from the vast extent of the
coasts which the Carthaginians possessed, it was easy for them to levy, in a
very little time, a sufficient number of sailors and rowers for the working of
their fleets, and to procure able pilots and experienced captains to conduct

But, as these parts were fortuitously brought together, they did not
adhere by any natural, intimate, or necessary tie. No common and reciprocal
interest united them in such a manner as to form a solid and unalterable body.
Not one individual in these mercenary armies wished sincerely the prosperity
of the state. They did not act with the same zeal, nor expose themselves to
dangers with equal resolution, for a republic which they considered as
foreign, and which consequently was indifferent to them, as they would have
done for their native country, whose happiness constitutes that of the several
members who compose it.

In great reverses of fortune, the kings in alliance with the
Carthaginians might easily be detached from their interest, either by that
jealousy which the grandeur of a more powerful neighbor naturally gives; or
from the hopes of reaping greater advantages from a new friend; or from the
fear of being involved in the misfortunes of an old ally. ^619

[Footnote 619: As Syphax and Masinissa.]

The tributary nations, being impatient under the weight and disgrace of a
yoke which had been forced upon their necks, greatly flattered themselves with the hopes of finding one less galling in changing their masters; or, in case
servitude was unavoidable, the choice was indifferent to them, as will appear
from many instances in the course of this history.

The mercenary forces, accustomed to measure their fidelity by the
largeness or continuance of their pay, were ever ready, on the least
discontent, or the slightest expectation of a more considerable stipend, to
desert to the enemy with whom they had just before fought, and to turn their
arms against those who had invited them to their assistance.

Thus the grandeur of the Carthaginians, being sustained only by these
foreign supports, was shaken to the very foundation when they were taken away. And if, to this, there happened to be added an interruption of their commerce, by which only they subsisted, arising from the loss of a naval engagement, they imagined themselves to be on the brink of ruin, and abandoned themselves to despondency and despair, as was evidently seen at the end of the first Punic war.

Aristotle, in the treatise where he shows the advantages and defects of
the government of Carthage, finds no fault with its keeping up none but
foreign forces; it is therefore probable that the Carthaginians did not fall
into this practice till a long time after. But the rebellions which harassed
Carthage in its later years ought to have taught its citizens, that no
miseries are comparable to those of a government which is supported only by
foreigners; since neither zeal, security, nor obedience, can be expected from

But this was not the case with the republic of Rome. As the Romans had
neither trade nor money, they were not able to hire forces, in order to push
on their conquests with the same rapidity as the Carthaginians: but then, as
they procured every thing from within themselves, and as all the parts of the
state were intimately united, they had surer resources in great misfortunes
than the Carthaginians. And for this reason, they never once thought of suing
for peace after the battle of Cannae, as the Carthaginians had done in a less
imminent danger.

The Carthaginians had, besides, a body of troops, which was not very
numerous, levied from among their own citizens; and this was a kind of school, in which the flower of their nobility, and those whose talents and ambition prompted them to aspire to the first dignities, learned the rudiments of the art of war. From among these were selected all the general officers, who were put at the head of the different bodies of their forces, and had the chief command in the armies. This nation was too jealous and suspicious to employ foreign generals. But they were not so distrustful of their own citizens as Rome and Athens; for the Carthaginians, at the same time that they invested them with great power, did not guard against the abuse they might make of it, in order to oppress their country. The command of armies was neither annual, nor limited to any time, as in the two republics above mentioned. Many generals held their commissions for a great number of years. either till the war or their lives ended; though they were still accountable to the commonwealth for their conduct, and liable to be recalled, whenever a real oversight, a misfortune, or the superior interest of a cabal, furnished an
opportunity for it.

Section VII: Arts And Sciences

It cannot be said that the Carthaginians renounced entirely the glory
which results from study and knowledge. The sending of Masinissa, son of a
powerful king, ^620 thither for education, gives us room to believe, that
Carthage was provided with an excellent school. The great Hannibal, who in
all respects was an ornament to that city, was not unacquainted with polite
literature, as will be seen hereafter. ^621 Mago, another very celebrated
general, did as much honor to Carthage by his pen as by his victories. ^622 He wrote twenty-eight volumes upon husbandry, which the Roman senate had in such esteem, that after the taking of Carthage, when they presented the African princes with the libraries founded there, another proof that learning was not entirely banished from Carthage, they gave orders to have these books translated into Latin, ^623 though Cato had before written books on that subject. There is still extant a Greek version of a treatise, drawn up by
Hanno in the Punic tongue, relating to a voyage he made, by order of the
senate, with a considerable fleet, round Africa, for the settling of different
colonies in that part of the world. ^624

[Footnote 620: Kings of the Massylians in Africa.]

[Footnote 621: Nepos in vita Annibalis.]

[Footnote 622: Cic. de Orat. 1. i. n. 249. Plin, l. xviii. v. c. 3.]

[Footnote 623: These books were written by Mago in the Punic language, and translated into Greek by Cassius Dionysius of Utica, from whose version we may probably suppose the Latin was made.]

[Footnote 624: Voss. de Hist. Gr. l. iv.]

This Hanno is believed to be more ancient than that person of the same
name who lived in the time of Agathocles.

Clitomachus, called in the Punic language Asdrubal, was a greater
philosopher. ^625 He succeeded the famous Carneades, whose disciple he had been; and maintained in Athens the honor of the academic sect. Cicero says, that he was a more sensible man, and fonder of study than the Carthaginians generally are. ^626 He composed several books, in one of which was a treatise to console the unhappy citizens of Carthage, who, by the ruin of their city, were reduced to slavery. ^627

[Footnote 625: Plut. de Fort. Alex. p. 328. Diog. Laert. in Clitom.]

[Footnote 626: Clitomachus nomo et acutus ut Poenus, et valde studiosus ac
diligens. - Academ. Quest. 1. iv. n. 98.]

[Footnote 627: Tusc. Quaest 1. iii. n. 54.]

I might rank among, or rather place at the head of, the writers who have
adorned Africa with their compositions, the celebrated Terence himself, being
singly capable of reflecting infinite honor on his country by the fame of his
productions; if, on this account, Carthage, the place of his birth, ought not
to be less considered as his country than Rome, where he was educated, and
acquired that purity of style, that delicacy and elegance, which have gained
him the admiration of all succeeding ages. It is supposed that he was carried
off when an infant, or at least very young, by the Numidians in their
incursions into the Carthaginian territories, during the war carried on
between these two nations, from the conclusion of the second to the beginning
of the third Punic War. ^627a He was sold for a slave to Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, who, after giving him an excellent education, freed him, and
called him by his own name, as was then the custom. He was united in a very
strict friendship with the second Scipio Africanus and Laelius; and it was
common report at Rome, that he had the assistance of these two great men in
composing his pieces.

[Footnote 627a: Suet. in Vit. Terent.]

The poet so far from endeavoring to stifle a report so advantageous to
him, made a merit of it. Only six of his comedies are extant. Some authors,
according to Suetonius (the writer of his life), say, that in his return from
Greece, whither he had made a voyage, he lost a hundred and eight comedies
translated from Menander, and could not survive an accident which must
naturally afflict him in a sensible manner; but this incident is not very well
founded. Be this as it may, he died in the year of Rome 594, under the
consulship of Cneius Cornelius Dolabella and M. Fulvius, aged thirty-five
years, and consequently was born anno 560.

It must yet be confessed, notwithstanding all we have said, that there
ever was a great scarcity of learned men in Carthage, since it hardly
furnished three or four writers of reputation in upwards of seven hundred
years. Although the Carthaginians held a correspondence with Greece and the
most civilized nations, yet this did not excite them to borrow their learning,
as being foreign to their views of trade and commerce. Eloquence, poetry,
history, seem to have been little known among them. A Carthagenian
philosopher was considered as a sort of prodigy by the learned. What, then,
would an astronomer or a geometrician have been thought? I know not in what reputation physic, which is so advantageous to life, was held at Carthage; or jurisprudence, so necessary to society.

As works of wit were generally had in so much disregard, the education of
youth must necessarily have been very imperfect and unpolished. In Carthage,
the study and knowledge of youth were for the most part confined to writing,
arithmetic, book-keeping, and the buying and selling of goods; in a word, to
whatever related to traffic. But polite learning, history, and philosophy,
were in little repute among them. These were in later years, even prohibited
by the laws, which expressly forbade any Carthaginian to learn the Greek
tongue, lest it might qualify them for carrying on a dangerous correspondence
with the enemy, either by letter or word of mouth. ^628

[Footnote 628: Factum senatus-consultum ne quis postea Carthaginiensis aut
literis Graecis aut sermoni studeret, ne aut loqui cum hoste, aut scribere
sine interprete posset. - Justin. 1. xx. c. 5. Justin ascribes the reason of
this law to a treasonable correspondence between one Suniatus, a powerful
Carthaginian, and Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily; the former by letters
written in Greek, which afterwards fell into the hands of the Carthaginians,
having informed the tyrant of the war designed against him by his country, out
of hatred to Hanno the general, to whom he was an enemy.]

Now, what could be expected from such a cast of mind? Accordingly, there
was never seen among them that elegance of behavior, that ease and complacency of manners, and those sentiments of virtue, which are generally the fruits of a liberal education in all civilized nations. The small number of great men which this nation has produced, must therefore have owed their merit to the felicity of their genius, to the singularity of their talents, and a long
experience, without any great assistance from instruction. Hence it was, that
the merit of the greatest men of Carthage was sullied by great failings, low
vices, and cruel passions; and it is rare to meet with any conspicuous virtue
among them without some blemish; with any virtue of a noble, generous, and
amiable kind, and supported by clear and lasting principles, such as is
everywhere found among the Greeks and Romans. The reader will perceive, that I here speak only of the heathen virtues, and agreeably to the idea which the pagans entertained of them.

I meet with as few monuments of their skill in arts of a less noble and
necessary kind, as painting and sculpture. I find, indeed, that they had
plundered the conquered nations of a great many works in both these kinds, but it does not appear that they themselves had produced many.

From what has been said, one cannot help concluding that traffic was the
predominant inclination, and the peculiar characteristic, of the
Carthaginians; that it formed in a manner the basis of the state, the soul of
the commonwealth and the grand spring which gave motion to all their
enterprises. The Carthaginians in general were skilful merchants; employed
wholly in traffic; excited strongly by the desire of gain, and esteeming
nothing but riches; directing all their talents, and placing their chief
glory, in amassing them, though, at the same time, they scarce knew the
purpose for which they were designed, or how to use them in a noble or worthy manner.

Section VIII: The Character, Manners, And Qualities Of The Carthaginians

In the enumeration of the various qualities which Cicero ^629 assigns to
different nations, as their distinguishing characteristics, he declares that
of the Carthaginians to be craft, skill, address, industry, cunning
calliditas; which doubtless appeared in war, but was still more conspicuous in
the rest of their conduct; and this was joined to another quality, that bears
a very near relation to it, and is still less reputable. Craft and cunning
lead naturally to lying, hypocrisy, and breach of faith; and these, by
accustoming the mind insensibly to be less scrupulous with regard to the
choice of the means for compassing its designs, prepare it for the basest
frauds and the most perfidious actions. This was also one of the
characteristics of the Carthaginians; ^630 and it was so notorious, that to
signify any remarkable dishonesty, it was usual to call it, Punic honor, fides
Punica; and to denote a knavish deceitful mind, no expression was thought more proper and emphatical than this, a Carthaginian mind, Punicum ingenium.

[Footnote 629: Quam volumus licet ipsi nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec calliditate Poenos, sed pietate ac religione, &c., omnes gentes nationesque superavimus. - De Arusp. Resp. n. 19.]

[Footnote 630: Carthaginiensis fraudulenti et mendaces - multis et varus
mercatorum advenarumque sermonibus ad studium fallendi quaestus cupiditate vocabantur.-Cic. Orat. ii. in. Rull. n. 94.]

An excessive thirst for, and an immoderate love of profit, generally gave
occasion, in Carthage, to the committing of base and unjust actions. A single
example will prove this. In the time of a truce, granted by Scipio to the
earnest entreaties of the Carthaginians, some Roman vessels, being driven by a storm on the coast of Carthage, were seized by order of the senate and people, ^631 who could not suffer so tempting a prey to escape them. They were resolved to get money, though the manner of acquiring it were ever so
Scandalous. The inhabitants of Carthage, even in St. Austin's time, as that
father informs us, showed, on a particular occasion, that they still retained
part of this characteristic. ^632

[Footnote 631: Magistratus senatum vocare, populus in curiae vestibulo
fremere, ne tanta ex oculis manibusque amitteretur praeda. Consensum est ut,
&c. - Liv. l. xxx. n. 24.]

[Footnote 632: A mountebank had promised the citizens of Carthage to discover to them their most secret thoughts, in case they would come, on a day appointed, to hear him. Being all met, he told them they were desirous to buy cheap and sell dear. Every man's conscience pleaded guilty to the charge; and the mountebank was dismissed with applause and laughter. - Vili vultis emere, et care vendere; in quo dicto levissimi scenici omnes tamen conscientias invenerunt suas, eique vera et tamen improvisa discenti admirabili favore plauserunt. - S. August. 1. xiii. de Trinit. c. 3.]

But these were not the only blemishes and faults of the Carthaginians.
^633 They had something austere and savage in their disposition and genius, a haughty and imperious air, a sort of ferocity, which in its first starts was
deaf to either reason or remonstrances, and plunged brutally into the utmost
excesses of violence. The people, cowardly and grovelling under
apprehensions, were proud and cruel in their transports; at the same time that
they trembled under their magistrates, they were dreaded in their turn by
their miserable vassals. In this we see the difference which education makes
between one nation and another. The Athenians, whose city was always
considered as the centre of learning, were naturally jealous of their
authority, and difficult to govern; but still a fund of good nature and
humanity made them compassionate the misfortunes of others, and be indulgent to the errors of their leaders. Cleon one day desired the assembly in which he presided, to break up, because, as he told them, he had a sacrifice to offer, and friends to entertain. The people only laughed at the request, and
immediately separated. Such a liberty, says Plutarch, at Carthage, would have
cost a man his life.

[Footnote 633: Plut de Gen. Rep. p. 739.]

Livy makes a like reflection with regard to Terentius Varro. ^634 That
general, on his return to Rome after the battle of Cannae, which had been lost
by his ill conduct, was met by persons of all orders of the state, at some
distance from Rome, and thanked by them for his not having despaired of the
commonwealth; who, says the historian, had he been a general of the
Carthaginians, must have expected the most severe punishment: Cui, si
Carthaginiensium ductor fuisset, nihil recusandum supplicii foret. Indeed, a
court was established at Carthage, where the generals were obliged to give an
account of their conduct; and they were all made responsible for the events of
the war. Ill success was punished there as a crime against the state; and
whenever a general lost a battle, he was almost sure at his return of ending
his life upon a gibbet. Such was the furious, cruel, and barbarous
disposition of the Carthaginians, who were always ready to shed the blood of
their citizens as well as of foreigners. The unheard-of tortures which they
made Regulus suffer, are a manifest proof of this assertion; and their history
will furnish us with such instances of it, as are not to be read without

[Footnote 634: Lib. xxii. n. 61.]

History Of The Carthaginians

The interval of time between the foundation of Carthage and its ruin,
included seven hundred years, and may be divided into two chapters. The
first, which is much the longest, and is least known, as is ordinary with the
beginnings of all states, extends to the first Punic war, and takes up five
hundred and eighty-two years. The second, which ends at the destruction of
Carthage, contains but a hundred and eighteen years.

The Foundation Of Carthage, And Its Progress Till The Time Of The First Punic War

Carthage, in Africa, was a colony from Tyre, the most renowed city at
that time for commerce in the world. Tyre had long before transplanted
another colony into that country, which built Utica, ^635 made famous by the
death of the second Cato, who for this reason is generally called Cato

[Footnote 635: Utica et Carthago ambae inclytae, ambae a Phoenicibus conditae; illa fato Catonis insignis, haec suo. - Pompon. Mel. c. 67. Utica and Carthage both famous, and both built by Phoenicians; the first renowned by Cato's fate, the last by its own.]

Authors disagree very much with regard to the era of the foundation of
Carthage. ^636 It is a difficult matter, and not very material, to reconcile
them; at least agreeably to the plan laid down by me, it is sufficient to
know, within a few years, the time in which that city was built.

[Footnote 636: Our countryman Howel endeavored to reconcile the three
different accounts of the foundation of Carthage in the following manner. He
says, that the town consisted of three parts, viz.: Cothon, or the port and
buildings adjoining to it, which he supposes to have been first built; Megara,
built next, and in respect of Cothon called the New Town, or Karthada; and
Byrsa, or the citadel, built last of all, and probably by Dido.

Cothon, to agree with Appian, was built fifty years before the taking of
Troy, Megara, to correspond with Ensebius, was built a hundred and ninety-four years later; Byrsa, to agree with Menander, cited by Josephus, was built a hundred and sixty-six years after Megara.]

Carthage existed a little above seven hundred years. ^637 It was
destroyed under the consulate of Cn. Lentulus and L. Mummius, the 603d year of Rome, 3859th of the world, and 145 before Christ. The foundation of it may therefore be fixed at the year of the world 3158, when Joash was king of Judah, 98 years before the building of Rome, and 846 before our Saviour.

[Footnote 637: Liv. Epit. l. li.]

The foundation of Carthage is ascribed to Elisa, a Tyrian princess,
better known by the name of Dido. ^638 Ithobal, king of Tyre, and father of
the famous Jezebel, called in Scripture Ethbaal, was her great- grandfather.
She married her near relation Acerbas, called otherwise, Sicharbas and
Sichaeus, an extremely rich prince, and Pygmalion, king of Tyre, was her
brother. This prince having put Sichaeus to death, in order that he might
have an opportunity of seizing his immense treasures, Dido eluded the cruel
avarice of her brother, by withdrawing secretly with all her dead husband's
possessions. After having long wandered, she at last landed on the coast of
the Mediterranean, in the gulf where Utica stood, and in the country of
Africa, properly so called, distant almost fifteen miles from Tunis, ^639 so
famous, at this time, for its corsairs; and there settled with her few
followers, after having purchased some lands from the inhabitants of the
country. ^640

[Footnote 638: Justin. l. xviii. c. 4, 5, 6. App. de Bello Pun. p. 1. Strab.
l. xvii. p. 832 Paterc, l. i. c. 6.]

[Footnote 639: One hundred and twenty stadia. - Strab. l. xiv. p. 687.]

[Footnote 640: Some authors say, that Dido put a trick on the natives, by
desiring to purchase of them, for her intended settlement, only so much land
as an ox's hide would encompass. The request was thought too moderate to be denied. She then cut the hide into the smallest thongs; and with them
encompassed a large tract of ground, on which she built a citadel, called
Byrsa, from the hide. But this tale of the hide is generally exploded by the
learned; who observe, that the Hebrew word Bosra, which signifies a
fortification, gave rise to the Greek word Byrsa, which is the name of the
citadel of Carthage.]

Many of the neighboring people, invited by the prospect of lucre,
repaired thither to sell to these foreigners the necessaries of life, and
shortly after incorporated themselves with them. These inhabitants, who had
been thus gathered from different places, soon grew very numerous. The
citizens of Utica, considering them as their countrymen, and as descended from the same common stock, deputed envoys with very considerable presents, and exhorted them to build a city in the place where they had first settled. The natives of the country, from the esteem and respect frequently shown to strangers, made them the like offers. Thus all things conspiring with Dido's views, she built her city, which was appointed to pay an annual tribute to the Africans for the ground it stood upon, and called it Carthada, ^641 or
Carthage, a name that in the Phoenician and Hebrew tongues, which have a great affinity, signifies the New City. It is said that, when the foundations were
dug, a horse's head was found, which was thought a good omen, and a presage of the future warlike genius of that people. ^642

[Footnote 641: Kartha Hadath, or Hadtha.]

[Footnote 642: Eoffdere loco signum, quod regia Juno

Monstrarat, caput acris equi; nam sic fore bello
Egregiam, et facilem victu per secula, gentem.
- Virg. Aen. l. i. 443.

The Tyrians landing near this holy ground,
And digging here, a prosperous omen found.
From under earth a courser's head they drew,
Their growth and future fortune to foreshew;
This fated sign their foundress Juno gave,
Of a soil fruitful, and a people brave. - Dryden.]

This princess was afterwards courted by Iarbas, king of Getulia, and
threatened with a war in case of refusal. Dido, who had bound himself by an
oath not to consent to a second marriage, being incapable of violating the
faith she had sworn to Sichaeus, desired time for deliberation, and for
appeasing the manes of her first husband by sacrifice. Having, therefore,
ordered a pile to be raised, she ascended it; and drawing out a dagger she had concealed under her robe, stabbed herself with it. ^643

[Footnote 643: The story, as it is told more at large in Justin. l. xviii. c.
6, is this. - Iarbas, king of the Mauritanians, sending for ten of the
principal Carthaginians, demanded Dido in marriage, threatening to declare war against her in case of a refusal. The ambassadors being afraid to deliver the message of Iarbas, told her, with Punic honesty, that he wanted to have some person sent him, who was capable of civilizing and polishing himself and his Africans; but that there was no possibility of finding any Carthaginian, who
would be willing to quit his native place and kindred, for the conversation of
barbarians, who were as savage as the wildest beasts. Here the queen, with
indignation, interrupting them, and asking if they were not ashamed to refuse
living in any manner which might be beneficial to their country, to which they
owed even their lives? they then delivered the king's message, and bade her
set them a pattern, and sacrifice herself to her country's welfare. Dido
being thus ensnared, called on Sichaeus with tears and lamentations, and
answered that she would go where the fate of her city called her. At the
expiration of three months, she ascended the fatal pile; and with her last
breath told the spectators, that she was going to her husband, as they had
ordered her.]

Virgil has made a great alteration in this history, by supposing that
Aeneas, his hero, was contemporary with Dido, though there was an interval of near three centuries between the one and the other: the era of the building of Carthage being fixed three hundred years later than the destruction of Troy.
This liberty is very excusable in a poet, who is not tied to the scrupulous
accuracy of a historian; we admire, with great reason, the judgment he has
shown in his plan, when, to interest the Romans for whom he wrote, he has the art of introducing the implacable hatred which subsisted between Carthage and Rome, and ingeniously deduces the original of it from the very remote foundation of those two rival cities.

Carthage, whose beginnings, as we have observed, were very weak, grew
larger by insensible degrees, in the country where it was founded. But its
dominion was not long confined to Africa. The inhabitants of this ambitious
city extended their conquests into Europe, by invading Sardinia, seizing a
great part of Sicily, and reducing almost all Spain; and having sent powerful
colonies everywhere, they enjoyed the empire of the seas for more than six
hundred years; and formed a state which was able to dispute pre-eminence with the greatest empires of the world, by their wealth, their commerce, their
numerous armies, their formidable fleets, and above all, by the courage and
ability of their captains. The dates and circumstances of many of these
conquests are little known; I shall take but a transient notice of them, in
order to enable my readers to form some idea of the countries, which will be
often mentioned in the course of this history.

Conquests Of The Carthaginians In Africa

The first wars made by the Carthaginians, were to free themselves from
the annual tribute which they had engaged to pay the Africans, for the
territory which had been ceded to them. ^644 This conduct does them no honor as the settlement was granted them upon condition of their paying a tribute. One would be apt to imagine, that they were desirous of covering the obscurity of their original by abolishing this proof of it. But they were not
successful on this occasion. The Africans had justice on their side, and they
prospered accordingly, the war being terminated by the payment of the tribute.

[Footnote 644: Justin. l. xix. c. 1.]

The Carthaginians afterwards carried their arms against the Moors and
Numidians, and gained many conquests over both. ^645 Being now emboldened by these happy successes, they shook off entirely the tribute which gave them so much uneasiness, and possessed themselves of a great part of Africa. ^646

[Footnote 645: Idem. c. 2.]

[Footnote 646: Afri compulsi stipendium urbis conditae Carthaginiensibus
remitterce. Justin 1. xix. c. 2.]

About this time there arose a great dispute between Carthage and Cyrene,
on account of their respective limits. ^647 Cyrene was a very powerful city,
situated on the Mediterranean, towards the greater Syrtis, and had been built
by Battus the Lacedaemonian.

[Footnote 647: Sallust. de Bello Jugurth. n. 77. Valer. Max. l. v. c. 6.]

It was agreed on each side, that two young men should set out at the same
time from each city; and that the place of their meeting should be the common
boundary of both states. The Carthaginians (these were two brothers named
Philaeni) made the most haste; and their antagonists, pretending that foul
play had been used, and that the two brothers above mentioned had set out
before the time appointed, refused to stand to the agreement, unless the two
brothers, to remove all suspicion of unfair dealing, would consent to be
buried alive in the place where they had met. They acquiesced in the proposal, and the Carthaginians erected, on that spot, two altars to their memories, and paid them divine honors in their city, and from that time, the place was called the Altars of the Philaeni, Arae Philaenorum, ^648 and served as the boundary of the Carthaginian empire, which extended from thence to the pillars of Hercules.

[Footnote 648: These pillars were not standing in Strabo's time. Some
geographers think Arcadia to be the city which was anciently called
Philaenorum Arae; but others believe it was Naina or Tain, situated a little
west of Arcadia, in the gulf of Sidra.]

Conquests Of The Carthaginians In Sardinia, Etc.

History does not inform us exactly, either of the time when the
Carthaginians entered Sardinia, or of the manner they got possession of it.
This island was of great use to them, and during all their wars supplied them
abundantly with provisions. ^649 It is separated from Corsica by a strait of
about three leagues over. The metropolis of the southern and most fertile
part of it, was Caralis, or Calaris, now called Cagliari. On the arrival of
the Carthaginians, the natives withdrew to the mountains in the northern parts
of the island, which are almost inaccessible, and whence the enemy could not
dislodge them.

[Footnote 649: Strab. l. v. p. 224. Diod. l. v. p. 296.]

The Carthaginians seized likewise on the Baleares, now called Majorca and
Minorca. Port Magon, in the latter island, was so called from Mago, a
Carthaginian general, who first made use of, and fortified it. It is not
known who this Mago was; but it is very probable that he was Hannibal's
brother. ^650 This harbor is, at this day, one of the most considerable in the

[Footnote 650: Liv. l. xxviii. n. 37.]

These isles furnished the Carthaginians with the most expert slingers in
the world, who did them great service in battles and sieges. ^651 They slung
large stones of above a pound weight; and sometimes threw leaden bullets ^652 with so much violence, that they would pierce even the strongest helmets, shields, and cuirasses; and were so dexterous in their aim, that they scarce ever missed the mark. The inhabitants of these islands were accustomed from their infancy to handle the sling; for which purpose their mothers placed, on the bough of a high tree, the piece of bread designed for their children's breakfast, who were not allowed a morsel, till they had brought it down with their slings. From this practice these islands were called Baleares and Gymnasiae by the Greeks; ^653 because the inhabitants used to exercise themselves so early in slinging of stones. ^654

[Footnote 651: Diod. l. v. n. 298, and l. xix. p.742. Liv. loco citato.]

[Footnote 652: Liquescit excusso glans funda, et attritu aeris velut igne,
distillat; i.e. The ball, when thrown from the sling, dissolves; and, by the
friction of the air runs as if it was melted by fire. - Senec. Nat. Quaest.]

[Footnote 653: Strab l. iii. p.167.]

[Footnote 654: Bochart derives the name of these islands from two Phoenician words, Baal-jare, or master in the art of slinging. This strengthens the authority of Strabo, viz.: that the inhabitants learnt their art from the
Phoenicians, who were once their masters. And this is still more probable,
when we consider that both the Hebrews and Phoenicians excelled in this art.
The Balearian slings would annoy an enemy, either near at hand, or at a
distance. Every slinger carried three of them in war. One hung from the
neck, a second from the waist, and a third was carried in the hand. To this
give me leave to add two more observations (foreign indeed to the present
purpose, but relating to these island), which I hope will not be
unentertaining to the reader. The first is, that these islands were once so
infested with rabbits, that the inhabitants applied to Rome, either for aid
against them, or otherwise desired new habitations, those creatures having
ejected them out of their old ones. - Vide Strab. Plin. l. viii. c.55. The
second observation is, that these islanders were not only expert slingers, but
likewise excellent swimmers; which they are to this day, by the testimony of
our countryman Biddulph, who, in his travels, informs us, that being becalmed
near these islands, a woman swam to him out of one of them, with a basket of
fruit to sell.]

Conquests Of The Carthaginians In Spain

Before I enter on the relation of these conquests, I think it proper to
give my readers some idea of Spain.

Spain is divided into three parts, Boetica, Lusitania, Tarraconia. ^655

[Footnote 655: Claver l. ii. c. 2.]

Boetica, so called from the river Boetis, ^656 was the southern division
of it, and comprehended the present kingdom of Granada, Andalusia, part of New Castile, and Estremadura. Cadiz, called by the ancients Gades and Gadira, is a town situated in a small island of the same name, on the western coast of Andalusia, about nine leagues from Gibraltar. It is well known that Hercules, having extended his conquests to this place, halted from the supposition that he was come to the extremity of the world. ^657 He here erected two pillars as monuments of his victories, pursuant to the custom of that age. The place has always retained the name, though time has quite destroyed these pillars. Authors are divided in opinion, with regard to the place where these pillars were erected. Boetica was the most fruitful, the wealthiest, and the most populous part of Spain. ^658 It contained two hundred cities, and was inhabited by the Turdetani, or Turduli. On the banks of the Boetis stood three large cities; Castulo towards the source; Corduba lower down, the native place of Lucan and the two Senecas; lastly, Hispalis. ^659 Lusitania is bounded on the west by the ocean, on the north by the river Durius, ^660 and on the south by the river Anas. ^661 Between these two rivers is the Tagus. Lusitania was what is now called Portugal, with part of Old and New Castile.

[Footnote 656: Guadalquivir.]

[Footnote 657: Strab. l. iii. p. 171.]

[Footnote 658: Ibid. p. 139 - 142.]

[Footnote 659: Seville.]

[Footnote 660: Duero.]

[Footnote 661: Guadiana.]

Tarraconia comprehended the rest of Spain, that is, the kingdoms of
Murcia and Valentia, Catalonia; Arragon, Navarre, Biscay, the Asturias,
Gallicia, the kingdom of Leon, and the greatest part of the two Castiles.
Tarraco, ^662 a very considerable city, gave its name to that part of Spain.
Pretty near it lay Barcino. ^663 Its name gave rise to the conjecture that it
was built by Hamilcar, surnamed Barcha, father of the great Hannibal. The
most renowned nations of Tarraconia, were the Celtiberi, beyond the river
Iberus; ^664 the Cantabri, where Biscay now lies; the Carpetani, whose capital was Toledo; the Ovitani, etc.

[Footnote 662: Tarragona.]

[Footnote 663: Barcelona.]

[Footnote 664: Ebro.]

Spain, abounding with mines of gold and silver, and peopled with a
martial race of men, had sufficient to excite both the avarice and ambition of
the Carthaginians, who were more of a mercantile than of a warlike
disposition, from the very genius and constitution of their republic. They
doubtless knew that their Phoenician ancestors, as Diodorus relates, ^665
taking advantage of the happy ignorance of the Spaniards with regard to the
immense riches which were hid in the bowels of their land, first took from
them these precious treasures in exchange for commodities of little value.
They likewise foresaw, that if they could once subdue this country, it would
furnish them abundantly with well-disciplined troops for the conquests of
other nations, as actually happened.

[Footnote 665: Lib. v. p. 312.]

The occasion of the Carthaginians first landing in Spain, was to assist
the inhabitants of Cadiz, who were invaded by the Spaniards. ^666 That city,
as well as Utica and Carthage, was a colony of Tyre, and even more ancient
than either of them. The Tyrians having built it, established there the
worship of Hercules; and erected in his honor a magnificent temple, which
became famous in after ages. The success of this first expedition of the
Carthaginians, made them desirous of carrying their arms into Spain.

[Footnote 666: Justin. l. xliv. c. 5. Diod. l. v. p. 300.]

It is not exactly known in what period they entered Spain, nor how far
they extended their first conquests. It is probable that these were slow in
the beginning, as the Carthaginians had to do with very warlike nations, who
defended themselves with great resolution and courage. Nor could they ever
have accomplished their design, as Strabo observes, ^667 had the Spaniards,
united in a body, formed but one state, and mutually assisted one another.
But as every district, every people, were entirely detached from their
neighbors, and had not the least correspondence nor connection with them, the Carthaginians were forced to subdue them one after another. This circumstance occasioned, on one hand, the loss of Spain; but on the other, protracted the war, and made the conquest of the country much more difficult; ^668 accordingly, it has been observed, that though Spain was the first province which the Romans invaded on the continent, it was the last they subdued; ^669 and was not entirely subjected to their power, till after having made a vigorous opposition for upwards of two hundred years.

[Footnote 667: Lib. iii. p. 158.]

[Footnote 668: Such a division of Britain retarded, and at the same time
facilitated the conquest of it to the Romans. Dum singuli pugnant, universi
vincuntur. - Tacit.]

[Footnote 669: Hispania prima Romanis inita Provinciarum quae quidem
continentis sint, postrema omnium pertenta est. - Liv. l. xxviii. n. 12.]

It appears from the accounts given by Polybius and Livy, of the wars of
Hamilcar, Asdrubal, and Hannibal in Spain, which will soon be mentioned, that the arms of the Carthaginians had not made any considerable progress in that country before that period, and that the greatest part of Spain was then
unconquered. But in twenty years' time they completed the conquest of almost the whole country.

At the time that Hannibal set out for Italy, all the coast of Africa,
from the Philaenorum Arae, by the great Syrtis, to the pillars of Hercules,
was subject to the Carthaginians. ^670 Passing through the strait, they had
conquered all the western coast of Spain, along the ocean, as far as the
Pyrenean hills. The coast which lies on the Mediterranean had been almost
wholly subdued by them; and it was there they had built Carthagena, and they
were masters of all the country, as far as the river Iberus, which bounded
their dominions. Such was at that time the extent of their empire. In the
centre of the country, some nations had indeed held out against all their
efforts, and could not be subdued by them.

[Footnote 670: Polyb. l. iii. p. 192, l. i. p. 9.]

Conquests Of The Carthaginians In Sicily

The wars which the Carthaginians carried on in Sicily are more known. I
shall here relate those which were waged from the reign of Xerxes, who first
prompted the Carthaginians to carry their arms into Sicily, till the first
Punic war. This period includes near two hundred and twenty years, viz.: from
the year of the world 3520 to 3738. At the breaking out of these wars,
Syracuse, the most considerable as well as most powerful city of Sicily, had
invested Gelon, Hiero, and Thrasybulus, three brothers who succeeded one
another, with a sovereign power. After their deaths, a democracy, or popular
government was established in that city, and subsisted above sixty years.
From this time the two Dionysiuses, Timoleon and Agathocles, bore the sway in Syracuse. Pyrrhus was afterwards invited into Sicily, but he kept possession of it only a few years. Such was the government of Sicily during the wars of which I am about to treat. They will give us great light with regard to the power of the Carthaginians at the time that they began to be engaged in war with the Romans.

Sicily is the largest and most considerable island in the Mediterranean.
It is of a triangular form, and for that reason was called Trinacria and
Triquetra. The eastern side, which faces the Ionian or Grecian sea, extends
from Cape Pachynum ^671 to Pelorum. ^672 The most celebrated cities on this coast are Syracuse, Tauromenium, and Messana. The northern coast, which looks towards Italy, reaches from Cape Pelorum to Cape Lilybaeum. ^673 The most noted cities on this coast are Mylae, Hymera, Panormus, Eryx, Motya, Lilybaeum. The southern coast, which lies opposite to Africa, extends from Cape Lilybaeum to Pachynum. The most remarkable cities on this coast are Selinus, Agrigentum, Gela, and Camarina. This island is separated from Italy by a strait, which is not more than a mile and a half over, and called the Faro, or Strait of Messina, from its contiguity to that city. The passage from Lilybaeum to Africa ^674 is about 1500 furlongs, that is about
seventy-five leagues. ^675

[Footnote 671: Passaro.]

[Footnote 672: Il Faro.]

[Footnote 673: Cape Boeo.]

[Footnote 674: Strabo, l. vi. p. 267.]

[Footnote 675: This is Strabo's calculation; but there must be a mistake in
the numeral characters, and what he immediately subjoins, is a proof of this
mistake. He says, that a man, whose eyesight was good, might, from the coast of Sicily, count the vessels that came out of the port of Carthage. Is it
possible that the eye can carry so far as 60 or 75 leagues? This passage of
Strabo, therefore, must be thus corrected. The passage from Lilybaeum to
Africa, is only 25 leagues.]

The period in which the Carthaginians first carried their arms into
Sicily is not exactly known. ^676 All we are certain of is, that they were
already possessed of some part of it at the time that they entered into a
treaty with the Romans; the same year that the kings were expelled, and
consuls appointed in their room, viz.: twenty-eight years before Xerxes
invaded Greece. This treaty, which is the first we find mentioned to have
been made between these two nations, speaks of Africa and Sardinia as
possessed by the Carthaginians; whereas the conventions, with regard to
Sicily, relate only to those parts of the island which were subject to them.
By this treaty it is expressly stipulated, that neither the Romans nor their
allies shall sail beyond the Fair Promontory, ^677 which was very near
Carthage; and that such merchants as shall resort to this city for traffic,
shall pay only certain duties, as are settled in it. ^678

[Footnote 676: A. M. 3501. A. Carth. 343. Rome, 245. Ant. J. C. 503. Polyb.
l. ii, p. 945 et seq. Edit. Gronov.]

[Footnote 677: The reason of this restraint, according to Polybius, was, the
unwillingness of the Carthaginians to let the Romans have any knowledge of the countries which lay more to the south, in order that this enterprising people might not hear of their fertility. - Polyb. l. iii. p. 247. Edit. Gronov.]

[Footnote 678: Polyb. l. iii. p. 246.]

It appears by the same treaty, that the Carthaginians were particularly
careful to exclude the Romans from all the countries subject to them, as well
as from the knowledge of what was transacting in them; as though the
Carthaginians, even at that time, had taken umbrage at the rising power of the
Romans, and already harbored in their breasts the secret seeds of jealousy and distrust, that were one day to burst out in long and cruel wars, and a mutual hatred and animosity, which nothing could extinguish but the ruin of one of the contending powers.

Some years after the conclusion of this first treaty, the Carthaginians
made an alliance with Xerxes king of Persia. ^679 This prince, who aimed at
nothing less than the total extirpation of the Greeks, whom he considered as
his irreconcilable enemies, thought it would be impossible for him to succeed
in his enterprise without the assistance of Carthage, whose power was
formidable even at that time. The Carthaginians, who always kept in view the
design they entertained of seizing upon the remainder of Sicily eagerly
embraced the favorable opportunity which now presented itself for completing the reduction of it. A treaty was therefore concluded, wherein it was agreed that the Carthaginians were to invade, with all their forces, those Greeks who were settled in Sicily and Italy, while Xerxes should march in person against Greece itself.

[Footnote 679: A. M. 3520. Ant. J. C. 484. Diod. l. xi. pp. 1, 16, 22.]

The preparations for this war lasted three years. The land army amounted
to no less than three hundred thousand men. The fleet consisted of two
thousand ships of war, and upwards of three thousand small vessels of burden. Hamilcar, the most experienced captain of his age, sailed from Carthage with this formidable army. He landed at Palermo, ^680 and, after refreshing his troops, he marched against Hymera, a city not far distant from Palermo, and laid siege to it. Thereon, who commanded in it, seeing himself very much straitened, sent to Gelon, who had possessed himself of Syracuse. He flew immediately to his relief with fifty thousand foot and five thousand horse. His arrival infused new courage into the besieged, who, from that time, made a very vigorous defence.

[Footnote 680: This city is called in Latin Panormus]

Gelon was an able warrior, and excelled in stratagems. A courier was
brought to him, who had been despatched from Selinuntum, a city of Sicily,
with a letter for Hamilcar, to inform him of the day when he might expect the
cavalry, which he had requested. Gelon drew out an equal number of his own
troops, and sent them from his camp about the time agreed on. These being
admitted into the enemy's camp, as coming from Selinuntum, rushed upon
Hamilcar, killed him, and set fire to his ships. In this critical conjuncture,
Gelon attacked with all his forces the Carthaginians, who at first made a
gallant resistance. But when the news of their general's death was brought
them, and they saw all their fleet in a blaze, their courage failed them, and
they fled. And now a dreadful slaughter ensued; upwards of a hundred and
fifty thousand being slain. The rest of the army, having retired to a place
where they were in want of every thing, could not make a long defence, and
were forced to surrender at discretion. This battle was fought on the very
day of the famous action of Thermopylae, in which three hundred Spartans, ^681 with the sacrifice of their lives, disputed Xerxes's entrance into Greece.

[Footnote 681: Besides the 300 Spartans, the Thessians, a people of Boeotia, to the number of 700, fought and died with Leonidas in this memorable battle.
- Herod. l. vii. c 202-222.]

When the sad news was brought to Carthage of the entire defeat of the
army, consternation, grief, and despair, threw the whole city into such a
confusion and alarm as are not to be expressed. It was imagined that the
enemy was already at the gates. The Carthaginians, in great reverses of
fortune, always lost their courage, and sunk into the opposite extreme.
Immediately they sent a deputation to Gelon, by which they desired peace upon any terms. He heard their envoys with great humanity. The complete victory he had gained, so far from making him haughty and untractable, had only increased his modesty and elemency even towards the enemy. He therefore granted them a peace without any other condition than their paying two thousand talents ^682 towards the expense of the war. He likewise required them to build two temples, where the treaty of this peace should be deposited, and exposed at all times to public view. The Carthaginians did not think this a dear purchase of a peace, that was so absolutely necessary to their affairs, and which they hardly durst hope for. Gisco, the son of Hamilcar, pursuant to the unjust custom of the Carthaginians, of ascribing to the general the ill success of a war, and making him bear the blame of it, was punished for his father's misfortune, and sent into banishment. He passed the remainder of his days at Selinuntum, a city of Sicily.

[Footnote 682: An Attic silver talent, according to Dr. Bernard, is 206l. 5s.
consequently 2000 talents is 412,500l., or $1,831,500.]

Gelon, on his return to Syracuse, convened the people, and invited all
the citizens to appear under arms. He himself entered the assembly, unarmed,
and without his guards, and there gave an account of the whole conduct of his
life. His speech met with no other interruption than the public testimonies
which were given him of gratitude and admiration. So far from being treated
as a tyrant, and the oppressor of his country's liberty, he was considered as
its benefactor and deliverer; all, with a unanimous voice, proclaimed him
king; and the crown was bestowed, after his death, on his two brothers.

After the memorable defeat of the Athenians before Syracuse, ^683 where
Nicias perished with his whole fleet, the Segestans, who had declared in favor
of the Athenians against the Syracusans, fearing the resentment of their
enemies, and being attacked by the inhabitants of Selinuntum, implored the aid of the Carthaginians, and put themselves and city under their protection. At Carthage, the people debated some time what course would be proper for them to take, the affair meeting with great difficulties. On one hand, the
Carthaginians were very desirous to possess themselves of a city, which lay so convenient for them; on the other, they dreaded the powers and forces of
Syracuse, which had so lately cut to pieces a numerous army of the Athenians, and become, by so splendid a victory, more formidable than ever. At last the lust of empire prevailed, and the Segestans were promised succors. [Footnote 683: A. M. 3592. A. Carth. 434. A. Rome, 336. Ant. J. C. 412. Diod. l. xiii. p 169-171, 179-186.]

The conduct of this war was committed to Hannibal, who at that time was
invested with the highest dignity of the state, being one of the suffetes. He
was grandson of Hamilcar, who had been defeated by Gelon, and killed before Hymera, and son of Gisco, who had been condemned to exile. He left Carthage, animated with an ardent desire of revenging his family and country, and of wiping away the disgrace of the last defeat. He had a very great army, as well as fleet, under his command. He landed at a place called the Well of
Lilyboeum, which gave its name to a city, afterwards built on the same spot.
His first enterprise was the siege of Selinuntum. The attack and defence were
equally vigorous, the very women showing a resolution and bravery above their sex. The city, after making a long resistance, was taken by storm, and the plunder of it abandoned to the soldiers. The victor exercised the most horrid cruelties, without showing the least regard either to age or sex. He
permitted such inhabitants as had fled, to return to the city after it had
been dismantled, and to till the lands, on condition of their paying a tribute
to the Carthaginians. This city had been built two hundred and forty-two

Hymera, which he next besieged and took likewise by storm, after being
more cruelly treated than Selinuntum, was entirely razed, two hundred and
forty years from its foundation. He forced three thousand prisoners to
undergo every kind of ignominious punishment, and at last murdered them on the very spot, where his grandfather had been killed by Gelon's cavalry, to
appease and satisfy his manes by the blood of these unhappy victims.

These expeditions being ended, Hannibal returned to Carthage, on which
occasion the whole city came out to him, and received him with the most joyful acclamations.

These successes re-inflamed the desire, and revived the design which the
Carthaginians had ever entertained, of making themselves masters of all
Sicily. ^684 Three years after, they appointed Hannibal their general a second
time, and on his pleading his great age, and refusing the command of this war,
they gave him for lieutenant, Imilcon, son of Hanno, of the same family. The
preparations for this war were proportioned to the great design which the
Carthaginians had formed. The fleet and army were soon ready, and set out for Sicily. The number of their forces, according to Timaeus, amounted to above one hundred and twenty thousand, and according to Ephorus, to three hundred thousand men. The enemy, on their side, were prepared to give the
Carthaginians a warm reception. The Syracusans had sent to all their allies,
in order to levy forces among them, and to all the cities of Sicily to exhort
them to exert themselves vigorously in defence of their liberties.

[Footnote 684: Diod. l. xiii. p. 201-203, 206-211, 226-231.]

Agrigentum expected to feel the first fury of the enemy. This city was
immensely rich, ^685 and strongly fortified. It was situated, as were Hymera,
and Selinuntum, on that coast of Sicily which faces Africa. Accordingly,
Hannibal opened the campaign with the siege of this city. Imagining that it
was impregnable except on one side, he directed his whole force to that
quarter. He threw up banks and terraces as high as the walls, and made use,
on this occasion, of the rubbish and fragments of the tombs standing round the
city, which he had demolished for that purpose. Soon after, the plague
infected the army, and swept away a great number of the soldiers, and the
general himself. The Carthaginians interpreted this disaster as a punishment
inflicted by the gods, who revenged in this manner the injuries done to the
dead, whose ghosts many fancied they had seen stalking before them in the
night. No more tombs were therefore demolished; prayers were ordered to be made, according to the practice of Carthage; a child was sacrificed to Saturn, in compliance with a most inhumanly superstitious custom; and many victims were thrown into the sea in honor of Neptune.

[Footnote 685: The very sepulchral monuments showed the magnificence and
luxury of this city, they being adorned with statues of birds and horses. But
the wealth and boundless generosity of Gelliar, one of its inhabitants, is
almost incredible. He entertained the people with spectacles and feasts; and,
during a famine, prevented the citizens from dying with hunger; he gave
portions to poor maidens, and rescued the unfortunate from want and despair; he had built houses in the city and country, purposely for the accommodation of strangers, whom he usually dismissed with handsome presents. Five hundred shipwrecked citizens of Gela, applying to him, were bountifully relieved, and every man supplied with a cloak and coat out of his wardrobe. - Diod. l. xiii. Valer. Max. l, iv. c. ult. Empedocles, the philosopher, born in Agrigentum, has a memorable saying concerning his fellow-citizens, that the Agrigentines squandered their money so excessively every day, as if they expected it could never be exhausted; and built with such solidity and magnificence, as if they thought they should live for ever.]

The besieged, who at first had gained several advantages, were at last so
pressed by famine, that all hopes of relief seeming desperate, they resolved
to abandon the city. The following night was fixed on for this purpose. The
reader will naturally imagine to himself the grief with which these miserable
people must be seized, on their being forced to leave their houses, their rich
possessions, and their country; but life was still dearer to them than all
these. Never was a more melancholy spectacle seen. To omit the rest, a crowd of women, bathed in tears, were seen dragging after them their helpless infants, in order to secure them from the brutal fury of the victor. But the most grievous circumstance, was the necessity they were under of leaving
behind them the aged and sick, who were unable either to fly or to make the
least resistance. The unhappy exiles arrived at Gela, which was the nearest
city in their way, and there received all the comforts they could expect in
the deplorable condition to which they were reduced.

In the mean time Imilcon entered the city, and murdered all who were
found in it. The plunder was immense, and such as might be expected from one of the most opulent cities of Sicily, which contained two hundred thousand inhabitants, and had never been besieged, nor consequently plundered before.

A numberless multitude of pictures, vases and statues of all kinds were found
here, the citizens having an exquisite taste for the polite arts. Among other
curiosities, was the famous bull ^686 of Phalaris, which was sent to Carthage.

[Footnote 686: This bull, with other spoils here taken, was afterwards
restored to the Agrigentines by Scipio, when he took Carthage, in the third
Punic war. - Cic. l. iv. in Verrom, c. 33.]

The siege of Agrigentum had lasted eight months. Imilcon made his forces
take up their winter-quarters in it, to give them the necessary refreshment;
and left this city, after laying it entirely in ruins, in the beginning of the
spring. He afterwards besieged Gela, and took it, notwithstanding the succors
which were brought by Dionysius the Tyrant, who had seized upon the government of Syracuse. Imilcon ended the war by a treaty with Dionysius. The conditions of it were, that the Carthaginians, besides their ancient
acquisitions in Sicily, should still possess the country of the Sicanians,
^687 Selinuntum, Agrigentum, and Hymera; as likewise that of Gela and
Camarina, with leave for the inhabitants to reside in their respective
dismantled cities, on condition of their paying a tribute to Carthage: that
the Leontines, the Messenians, and all the Sicilians should retain their own
laws, and preserve their liberty and independence; lastly, that the Syracusans
should still continue subject to Dionysius. After this treaty was concluded,
Imilcon returned to Carthage, where the plague still made dreadful havoc.

[Footnote 687: The Sicanians and Sicilians were anciently two distinct

Dionysius had concluded the late peace with the Carthaginians, with no
other view than to get time to establish his new authority, and make the
necessary preparations for the war which he meditated against them. ^688 As he was very sensible how formidable these people were, he used his utmost
endeavors to enable himself to invade them with success, and his design was
wonderfully well seconded by the zeal of his subjects. The fame of this
prince, the strong desire he had to distinguish himself, the charms of gain,
and the prospect of the rewards which he promised those who should show the greatest industry, invited from all quarters into Sicily, the most able
artists and workmen at that time in the world. All Syracuse now became in a
manner an immense work-shop, in every part of which men were seen making swords, helmets, shields, and military engines; and preparing all things
necessary for building ships and fitting out fleets. The invention of vessels
with five benches of oars (or quinqueremes), was at that time very recent;
for, till then, those with three alone had been used. ^689

[Footnote 688: A. M. 3600. A. Carth. 442. A. Rome, 344. Ant. J. C. 404.
Diod. l. xiv. p. 268-278.]

[Footnote 689: Triremes.]

Dionysius animated the workmen by his presence, and by the applauses he
gave, and the bounty which he bestowed seasonably; but chiefly by his popular and engaging behavior, which excited, more strongly than any other conduct, the industry and ardor of the workmen, ^690 the most excellent of whom, in every art, had frequently the honor to dine with him.

[Footnote 690: Honos alit artes.]

When all things were ready, and a great number of forces had been levied
in different countries, he called the Syracusans together, laid his designs
before them, and represented to them that the Carthaginians were the professed enemies of the Greeks: that they had no less in view than the invasion of all Sicily; the subjecting of all the Grecian cities; and that, in case their progress was not checked, the Syracusans themselves would soon be attacked; that the reason why the Carthaginians did not attempt any enterprise, and continued inactive, was owing entirely to the dreadful havoc made by the plague among them, which, he observed, was a favorable opportunity for the Syracusans. Though the tyranny and the tyrant were equally odious to Syracuse, yet the hatred the people bore to the Carthaginians prevailed over all other considerations, and every one, guided more by the views of an interested policy than by the dictates of justice, received the speech with applause. Upon this, without the least complaint made, or any declaration of war, Dionysius gave up to the fury of the populace the persons and possessions of the Carthaginians. Great numbers of them resided at that time in Syracuse, and traded there on the faith of treaties. The common people ran to their houses, plundered their effects, and pretended they were sufficiently authorized to exercise every ignominy, and inflict every kind of punishment on them, for the cruelties they had exercised against the natives of the country.

And this horrid example of perfidy and inhumanity was followed throughout the whole island of Sicily. This was the bloody signal of the war which was
declared against them. Dionysius having thus begun to do himself justice (in
his way), sent deputies to Carthage, to require them to restore all the
Sicilian cities to their liberties; and that otherwise all the Carthaginians
found in them should be treated as enemies. This news spread a general alarm
in Carthage, especially when they reflected on the sad condition to which they
were reduced.

Dionysius opened the campaign with the siege of Motya, which was the
magazine of the Carthaginians in Sicily; and pushed the siege on with so much
vigor that it was impossible for Imilcon, the Carthaginian admiral, to relieve
it. He brought forward his engines, battered the place with his battering
rams, advanced towers six stories high to the wall, rolled upon wheels, and of
an equal height with their houses; and from these he greatly annoyed the
besieged with furious volleys of arrows and stones sent from his catapultas,
an engine at that time of late invention. ^691 At last the city, after a long
and vigorous defence, was taken by storm, and all the inhabitants of it put to
the sword, those excepted who took sanctuary in the temples. The plunder of
it was abandoned to the soldiers; and Dionysius, leaving a strong garrison and
a trusty governor in it, returned to Syracuse.

[Footnote 691: The curious reader will find a very particular account of it in
a subsequent part of this work.]

The following year Imilcon, being appointed one of the suffetes, returned
to Sicily with a far greater army than before. ^692 He landed at Palermo, ^693 took several cities, and recovered Motya by force of arms. Animated by these successes, he advanced towards Syracuse, with a design to besiege it; marching his infantry by land, while his fleet, under the command of Mago, sailed along the coast.

[Footnote 692: Diod. l. xiv. p. 279-295. Justin. l. xix. c. 2, 3.]

[Footnote 693: Panoramus.]

The arrival of Imilcon threw the Syracusans into great consternation.
Above two hundred ships laden with the spoils of the enemy, and advancing in good order, entered in a kind of triumph the great harbor, being followed by five hundred barks. At the same time the land army, consisting, according to some authors, of three hundred thousand foot, ^694 and three thousand horse, was seen marching forward on the other side of the city. Imilcon pitched his tent in the very temple of Jupiter, and the rest of the army encamped at twelve furlongs, or about a mile and a half from the city. Marching up to it, Imilcon offered battle to the inhabitants, who did not care to accept the challenge. Imilcon, satisfied at his having extorted from the Syracusans this confession of their own weakness and his superiority, returned to his camp, not doubting but he should soon be master of the city, considering it already as a certain prey, which could not possibly escape him. For thirty days together, he laid waste the neighborhood about Syracuse, and ruined the whole country. He possessed himself of the suburb of Acradina, and plundered the temples of Ceres and Proserpine. To fortify his camp, he beat down the tombs which stood round the city; and among others, that of Gelon, and his wife Demarata, which was exceeding magnificent.

[Footnote 694: Some authors say but thirty thousand foot, which is the more
probable account, as the fleet which blocked up the town by sea was so

But these successes were not lasting. All the splendor of this
anticipated triumph vanished in a moment, and taught mankind, says Diodorus, that the proudest mortal, blasted sooner or later by a superior power, shall be forced to confess his own weakness. While Imilcon, now master of almost all the cities of Sicily, expected to finish his conquests by the reduction of Syracuse, a contagious distemper seized his army, and made dreadful havoc in it. It was now the midst of summer, and the heat that year was excessive. The infection began among the Africans, multitudes of whom died, without any possibility of their being relieved. Care was taken at first to inter the dead; but the number increased daily, and the infection spreading very fast, the dead lay unburied and the sick could have no assistance. This plague was attended with very uncommon symptoms, such as violent dysenteries, raging fevers, burning entrails, acute pains in every part of the body. The infected were even seized with madness and fury, so that they would fall upon any person that came in their way and tear them to pieces.

Dionysius did not lose this favorable opportunity for attacking the
enemy. Imilcon's army, being more than half conquered by the plague, could
make but a feeble resistance. The Carthaginian ships were almost all either
taken or burnt. The inhabitants in general of Syracuse, their old men, women,
and children, came pouring out of the city to behold an event which to them
appeared miraculous. With hands lifted up to heaven, they thanked the tutelar
gods of their city for having revenged the sanctity of temples and tombs,
which had been so brutally violated by these barbarians. Night coming on,
both parties retired, when Imilcon, taking the opportunity of this short
suspension of hostilities, sent to Dionysius for leave to carry back with him
the small remains of his shattered army, with an offer of three hundred
talents, ^695 which was all the specie he had then left. Permission only
could be obtained for the Carthaginians, with whom Imilcon stole away in the
night, and left the rest to the mercy of the conqueror.

[Footnote 695: About $274,390.]

In such unhappy circumstances did the Carthaginian general, who a few
days before had been so proud and haughty, retire from Syracuse. Bitterly
bewailing his own fate, but most of all that of his country, he with the most
insolent fury, accused the gods as the sole authors of his misfortunes. "The
enemy," continued he, "may indeed rejoice at our misery, but have no reason to glory in it. We return victorious over the Syracusans, and are defeated by
the plague alone. No part," added he, "of the disaster touches me so much as
my surviving so many gallant men, and being reserved, not for the comforts of
life, but to be the sport of so dire a calamity; however, since I brought back
the miserable remains of an army which have been committed to my care, I now have nothing to do but to follow the brave soldiers who lie dead before
Syracuse, and show my country, that I did not survive them out of a fondness
of life, but merely to preserve the troops which had escaped the plague from
the fury of the enemy, to which my more early death would have abandoned

Being now arrived in Carthage, which he found overwhelmed with grief and
despair, he entered his house, shut the doors against the citizens, and even
his own children; and then gave himself the fatal stroke, in compliance with a
practice to which the heathens falsely gave the name of courage, though it
was, in reality, no other than cowardly despair.

But the calamities of this unhappy city did not stop here; for the
Africans, who from time immemorial, had borne an implacable hatred to the
Carthaginians, being now exasperated to fury, because their countrymen had
been left behind, and exposed to the murdering sword of the Syracusans,
assemble in the most frantic manner, sound the the alarm, take up arms, and,
after seizing upon Tunis, march directly to Carthage, to the number of more
than two hundred thousand men. The citizens now gave themselves up for lost. This new incident was considered by them as the sad effect of the wrath of the gods, which pursued the guilty wretches even to Carthage. As its inhabitants, especially in all public calamities, carried their superstition to the
greatest excess, their first care was to appease the offended gods. Ceres and
Proserpine were deities, who, till that time, had never been heard of in
Africa. But now, to atone for the outrage which had been done them, in the
plundering of their temples, magnificent statues were erected to their honor;
priests were selected from among the most distinguished families of the city;
sacrifices and victims, according to the Greek ritual, if I may use the
expression, were offered up to them; in a word, nothing was omitted which
could be thought conducive in any manner, to appease those angry goddesses, and to merit their favor. After this, the defence of the city was the next object of their care. Happily for the Carthaginians, this numerous army had no leader, but was like a body uninformed with a soul; no provisions or
military engines; no discipline or subordination were seen among them, every
man setting himself up for a general, or claiming an independence from the
rest. Divisions, therefore, arising in this rabble of an army, and the famine
increasing daily, the individuals of it withdrew to their respective homes,
and delivered Carthage from a dreadful alarm.

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