[download read online] Carthage Must Be Destroyed The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization AUTHOR Richard Miles
Troops Hannibal attempted the unthinkable to invade Italy by land marching through Spain France and the trackless snow covered Alps meeting hostile tribesmen at every turn For all his audacious battles Hannibal still lost to the determined RomansThey make a desolation and they call it peaceThat was the end of CarthageEnjoy Carthage has always been a background character in my personal narrative of history I vaguely new it had been there for a few hundred years when its wars with Rome started I loved the story of Cato s Delenda est speeches in the Roman Senate and as a fan of military history I had read a few accounts of Hannibal s amazing victory at Cannae I Gray Bishop knew that Dido mythic ueen of Carthage was a major character in Vergil s Aeneid And that was pretty much the extent of itBeyond all that I always had a sense feeling than thought that Carthage was somehow other not a part of the great Graeco Roman Mediterranean civilization that is a direct ancestor of my own There was something alien and vaguely decadent or corrupt about it As it turns out I had succumbed to 2000 year old Roman propaganda This book beautifully lays out the case for the critical role of Carthage and of the Phoenician culture of which it was the last bastion in the broader cultural history of the Mediterranean world Indeed the author had me hooked when in his introduction he uoted a few historians making disparaging remarks about the paucity of lasting Phoenician contributions to nearby civilizations and then rather diffidently pointed out that all of these authors wrote their condemnations in alphabets derived from Phoenician That does rather call the whole small contribution claim into uestion doesn t itThe book does a masterful job of narrating the history of the founding growth trade and cultural relations colonial expansion wars and eventual defeat of Carthage This is a difficult task thanks to the relative lack of primary Carthaginian sources Most of the texts we have that describe Carthage and its colonies were written by its foes and thus rather predictably are often myth and propaganda than fact The author combines careful analysis of those sources with archaeology trade records religious syncretism and a dozen other sources to build solid conjectures about how Carthaginian society worked both in Carthage itself and in its clients and colonies in places like Sicily Sardinia and Spain It s a fascinating picture similar to the Greek trade empire but with intriguing crucial differencesObviously a book like this is going to end up covering the Punic Wars and the Roman destruction of Carthage as its climax and the author does a wonderful job of providing the economic political cultural and personal factors that led to each strategy and to the outcome of each campaign The battle for religious legitimacy between Scipio and Hannibal is absolutely amazing I didn tnow that armies conducted hearts and minds campaigns in the 2nd century BCE When the end comes for Carthage it is excruciating even nowing the outlines of what happened I was freshly appalled by the Roman perfidy and cruelty involvedAs a coda the author discusses how later Roman sources used the story of Carthage in different ways either as a warning that the great may always fall or as a proof of Rome s divine destiny to rule I was astonished to learn that Vergil was a bit transgressive in the Aeneid Dido displays all the ey Roman virtues of honesty faithfulness and hospitality while Aeneas resorts to lying and sneaking away when he decides that he must fulfill his destiny in Italy I m rather surprised Vergil didn t get in trouble for writing this during the reign of AugustusIn short this book has opened my eyes to a world that was always at the dim edge of my understanding of classical Mediterranean history Read this book and you will find marvels awaiting you The author is a great scholar and very nowledgeable about his subject The book jacket indicates that he has even led archaeological digs in North Africa Perhaps that is part of the problem What I mean is that maybe those with a great love for archaeology should not write books like this one The title promises grand sweeping scope and the author gives us none of it He has an obvious love for the minute details He employs his considerable talents in mining though religious inscriptions dietary information and so one All of this could have been "very useful if used in support of a grand theme But what we get is one thing "useful if used in support of a grand theme But what we get is one thing another Nowhere does he offer any ind of theory for the utter destruction of a once mighty civilization Was Carthage murdered or was it suicide Did they have an achilles heel that betrayed them or fall to hubris or something anything at all Here again there is a lot of information but almost no penetrating analysis Suddenly they are no and there are no real lessons to be learnedIf you have a great interest in certain Liar key details about Carthage I would pick up the book and mine the index Again a few points are illuminating on a smaller scale I had no idea for example of the religious battle that took place during the 2nd Punic War as Hannibal tried to appropriate Hercules and the grand theme of Greek resistance to barbarians The origins of Carthage as it related to Assyrian conuest was also good Given hisnowledge the book remains uite frustrating He needed a poet to come alongside The exchange of luxury goods was at the heart of Bronze Age diplomacy between c3300 BCE and c1200 BCE In order to engage in high level diplomacy the powers of the Near East reuired access to the relevant materials and while some were obtained locally many could only come from a distance The merchants making this possible acuired the status of representatives for their various rulers and the rulers of the coastal cities of Canaan modern day Lebanon Noir known to the Greeks as the Phoenicians were able to obtain andeep their autonomy by virtue of their mastery of the Mediterranean Sea When the Assyrian Empire reached this region in the Ninth Century BCE Tyre held onto its independence because it controlled a trading network reaching to the Atlantic which would not have the same loyalty and might break away from Tyre if Tyre had been absorbed by the Assyrians and what the Assyrians wanted from Tyre was a steady plentiful supply of silver Carthage was possibly founded close to the year 831BCE as a daughter city to Tyre It was strategically located on the coast of North Africa positioned to control two separate trade routes one leading Westwards to Gades now Cadiz on the Atlantic coast of Southern Spain a major source of the silver reuired to meet the demands of the Assyrians the other running North South to trade with Sicily Sardinia and the Western coast of Italy It follows that there was in existence a thriving mixture of societies around the Central and Western Mediterranean with reasons and resources to trade with the Near East Well written and entertaining this book describes seven centuries of history around the Western Mediterranean from the perspective of a substantial civilisation that was neither Greek nor Roman In the year 146BCE not only Carthage but also Corinth were utterly destroyed by the Romans reduced to rubble and their populations massacred or enslaved History since then has been told from the viewpoint of the victors and it is useful to be reminded that there was another point of view which saw Rome as a violent oppressor of the diverse communities which shared the Mediterranean Sea and its environs dependent for its rule on brutality and force Similarly when the Western Roman Empire eventually reached its end this was certainly a mighty transformation but it was also a release and an awakening for the diversity
And Complexity Which Might Otherwise Have Always complexity which might otherwise have always this huge region This might also be seen therefore as a challenge to the very foundation myth on which Western people have relied for too long at the expense of their supposedly barbarian neighbours For what we learn from this history is that they were never barbarians at all They were present and civilised before the Greeks or the Romans and they taught them both a great deal. To its apotheosis as the greatest seapower in the Mediterranean And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe.
Richard Miles ô 7 summaryA history of Carthage Insofar as it can be reconstructedNot only were there no Carthaginian histories to survive there is the interesting history of the Greek and Roman histories where the best source may be reconstructed from the uotations taken from another work which also did not survive but drew heavily on the original source There is also some archaeological evidence Carthaginian inscriptions give brief accounts and other information can be pieced together The optimistic claim of early archaeologists that the claims of sacrificing children were false was too optimistic Considerably evidence for it has turned up include inscriptions that carefully state that the child offered was actually the offspring of the person sacrificing the childThis gets discussed across its history covering its wars its colonies its government insofar as it can be discerned its religion and its interactions with Rome and with other forces allied with one or the other or shifting between The p The title refers to a famous uote of Cato the Elder a Roman statesman about the threat to Rome from Carthage The book is a case study of the rise and fall of Carthage It is very thorough and mostly interesting There are several nice lines in the book One of the interesting is that Carthage was important as an opponent to Rome and the conflictual history with Carthage forced the Roman state to mature in order to survive and thus contributed to the long period of Roman dominance under the Empire Another line of thinking that I had not appreciated until now was the role of ideology in the wars between Carthage and Rome which Gods were triumphant and how did these states adapted the array of gods in an area to serve their needs Another interesting line is the complex politics within these states Both Rome and Carthage were far from monolithic actors and understanding the politics was critical for success Indeed this point is made concerning Hannibal and his ineffectiveness in following up on his military triumphs The ability of the winners in a conflict to write the official history is also clearly brought across in the narrative Finally Miles does a good job covering Hannibal and Scipio and brilliant tactical generals and ey battles such as Cannae are well coveredOn its weaker side the book seems a bit willing to digress in order to fill in detail and lengthen the page count Given the lack of common familiarity with ancient African Roman and pre Roman history I am sympathetic to the author s efforts to inform and provide background and the book is fairly successful at this There s usually a strict segmentation between an archaeologist writing about artifact digs and a revisionist historian reviewing antiue histories written by the winners The few writers who have tried to synthesize such styles Peter Wells Barbarians to Angels for example often succeed only in part because they favor one method over another Miles gets the balance right by being appropriately skeptical of the historical sources on Carthage while still recognizing the value of preserving a linear narrative Miles recognizes the problem of traditional revisionism lionizing the party that traditionally was considered the bad guy He does not consider the Phoenicians the residents of Tyre nor the Carthaginians to be above reproach But he doesn t take the Romans word for anything regarding Carthage In fact he seems to mirror my own view that what Rome has been best at throughout its period as republic as empire and as papacy is lying about everyone else Miles wants to give us Carthage without praise or blame Carthage with all its warts The author moves further by showing us how the legend of HeraclesHercules plays in Carthage culture and how the universal Heracles cult displaced the Punic god of Melart Some readers only familiar with interpretation of narrative history may wonder why gods are considered in discussing Carthage Miles understands an important point There is not a strict division between prehistory and history instead there is a slow shift from oral storytelling traditions loaded with myth and written history that focuses on the acts of real humans separate from gods In analyzing the real world history of Carthage Troy Corinth et al one must be ready to adopt a mixed bag of folklore and fact It s understandable why Miles opened his book with details of the siege of Carthage but this made the book end rather suddenly as he had already told the story of Carthage s final days Should it be changed to
A Linear Story Ilinear story I not certain that would work better Perhaps he could have given of a story on how Carthage lived again after its people were dispersed throughout North Africa Until the publication of this excellent book the preeminent text about Carthage was the 1995 volume Carthage "A History By The "History by the historian Serge Lancel This an outstanding contribution to the patchy nowledge we have of Carthage has just been eclipsed One might think that part of the reason for this is that Carthage Must Be Destroyed did not need to be translated inevitably there were some places where Lancel s text b Finished reading Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard MilesWhenever I read a history of a fallen empire I am always sad at the end Read a history of the fall of the Roman Empire last year and I ept rooting for the Romans to pull it together They didn t I felt very sad reading about the fall of Carthage So unnecessaryBut I did learn a lotCarthage was a colony of Tyre a Phoenician island city off the coast of LebanonThe Phoenicians were tremendous mariners and to a certain extent seeded civilization around the Mediterranean They established colonies and trading posts in Egypt Cyprus Greece North Africa Corsica Sardinia Sicily France the Balearics and Spain They settled the Atlantic coasts of Spain Portugal and Morrocco They circumnavigated Africa and sailed to Britain They traded with India and Sri Lanka and visited AustraliaThe two oldest cities in western Europe continuously habitated are Lisbon and Cadiz in Spain
both getting their start around 1200 BC Both Phoenician colonies thousands of miles from LebanonThegetting their start around 1200 BC Both Phoenician colonies thousands of miles from LebanonThe spends a lot of time discussing the religion of the Mediterranean peoples including Greeks Phoenicians and Romans and in particular the worship of Heracles All of these people tried to claim him as their own in order to justify a land grab The Romans also had a peculiar habit of performing a ritual called evocatio where they would try to steal an enemy s gods and make them their own even setting up shrines to them This way they could loot and pillage temples without being accused of sacrilegeCarthage was founded 814 BC and stayed loyal to its mother city for centuries sending tribute and temple offerings When Tyre resisted Alexander the Great and was besieged he captured a delegation from Carthage They were released with the warning that Carthage was next after he conuered AsiaThe Carthaginians were always tangling with somebody and had a lot of interesting wars and alliances They fought a war against Marseilles a Greek colony on the Riviera They fought a war with Sparta The were allied with Xerxes during his invasion of Greece They were allied with the Etruscans against some of the Greek coloniesThey fought a war that lasted centuries against Syracuse another Greek colony and the largest city in Sicily over who owned Sicily These wars swung in both directions and were ultimately a stalemateThey were allied with the Romans against Pyrrhus from Epirus modern Albania Pyrrhus was a hell of a general and invaded Italy Sicily and Africa The war was a near thing but Roman perseverance wore him down This was how Rome acuired southern Italy and directly preceded the First Punic WarThe First Punic War was a slugfest that lasted 24 years In the end Roman perseverance paid off and they took over Sicily Carthage then had to fight its own army in the Mercenary War for another three yearsFor the next generation the Barcid clan works on rebuilding their empire in Spain Finally Hannibal is placed in charge of the army and takes out Saguntum a Roman ally The Second Punic War beginsBeyond a doubt this is my favorite Punic War. This book is the first full scale history of Carthage in decades The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world In an epic series of land and sea battles both sides came close to victory. Hannibal is such an engaging hero Raised to hate Rome and as a soldier his feats were astounding Operating constantly in hostile territory he overcomes all difficulties He crosses the Pyrenees with elephants He forces a crossing of the Rhone with elephants with hostile Celts in front and a Roman army behind him His army disappears into the Alps with winter coming on In an epic journey he takes his army on a northern route with elephants and triumphs over ambushes and the Alps At the top he shows his army a panoramic vision of the Po Valley and all the riches that await themThe Romans are shocked when a Carthaginian army appears in northern Italy and Hannibal mops the floor with the first army they send against him Then he ambushes a much larger army at Lake Trasimene and destroys itFinally a year later comes the Battle of Cannae his masterpiece His much smaller army faces a Roman army of 80000 the largest army they ve ever assembled They are commanded by two consuls who rotate command daily and are terribly overconfident This battle is still studied in war colleges around the world Classic case of a smaller army being able to surround a larger armyHannibal opens the battle with his troops in an odd convex position the center of his line bowed out toward the Romans When contact is made deliberately the center gives way until there is a straight line The Romans sensing victory push harder on the center until the Carthaginian line is now concave and rapidly filling with Romans The Carthaginian wings turn toward the center and now their cavalry swoops in and starts chopping up the Roman rear The Romans are now surrounded and although they have superior numbers only the soldiers on the perimeter can actually fight They see their peril and attempt to retreat but they can only move toward the center making it too dense to even raise their arms70000 Romans are illed and the rest are sold into slavery The road to Rome is wide open The Romans have no other army in Italy And here is where Hannibal reveals his fatal weaknessHe was afraid of urban warfare His father had been illed by a brick thrown from a roof He did send peacefeelers to Rome which were rejected and he did make a cavalry demonstration outside the walls of Rome but he made no attempt to besiege the city Instead he spent most of the next decade roaming and pillaging southern ItalyEventually the Romans wised up and invaded Tunisia This is when Hannibal is recalled to Carthage He and Scipio Africanus meet at Zama and for the first time Hannibal loses a battle The Carthaginians sue for peace This time they lose all their overseas possessions have a fifty year indemnity to pay and are truncated into a minor city stateOddly enough the two national heroes Hannibal and Scipio suffer similar fates They both become leaders of their cities and they are both driven into exile Hannibal wanders the Middle East constantly trying to stir up war against Rome He is finally cornered in Bythnia northeastern Turkey and commits suicide before his host can turn him over to the RomansFor the next fifty years Carthage becomes a loyal Roman client state providing transport for her armies and never missing an indemnity payment The city continues to be wealthy and prospers through tradeCertain elements in Rome however eep beating the drum for war with Carthage mainly to eliminate the potential for an enemy to redevelop there When the Romans park an army outside of the city a delegation is sent to their camp to see if there is ANY way a war can be avoided The Roman terms the people have to move inland 18 miles Carthage will always be a menace if it has access to the sea The Carthaginians reject these terms and undergo a three year siege Like most sieges the population highly recommend Miles book for his reconstruction of Carthage s history while trying to minimize the Romans filter For one example of this filter even our terminology for the civilization and culture Punic comes with its own baggage since Romans used the term in a pejorative and disparaging context Miles spends time on the background and history of Phoenicia showing how the expansion to Carthage and other areas
in the west were motivated by survival rather than greed or glory The view towardthe west were motivated by survival rather than greed or glory The view toward Phoenicians by the Greeks seems to have been a mixed bag There is evidence of Phoenician and Greek cooperation in trade and settlements as the goals of the two states were complementary in some areas Yet as some lines in the Iliad and the Odyssey show there seem to be negative attitudes toward the Phoenicians maybe as a "result of the commercial rivalry or in differing views on colonial expansion "of the commercial rivalry or in differing views on colonial expansion later writings Aristotle praised Carthage s government as excellent while Plato presented Carthage as a well ordered state Carthage s aims were constantly misrepresented by those that felt threatened by their expansion With the rise to power of the tyrant Agathocles in Syracuse in the 320s BC Once the totally erroneous but seductive idea that the Sicilian wars conflicts between Carthage and Greek backed Syracuse were a western extension of the age old struggle between the civilization of Greece and the dark forces of the barbarian East would have renewed capital The resulting war with Agathocles even though ultimately successful would highlight at least two structural problems for Carthage which would return to haunt them during the Punic Wars with Rome The first problem was their reliance on mercenary armies and their unreliability The second problem developed as these armies would become mostly independent institutions outside the control of Carthage s government Carthage and Rome had been on the same side during one of many Sicilian skirmishes but Carthage misplayed its role and Rome established a secure base in Syracuse From here although neither side seemed to desire war both sides continued expansionist policies that guaranteed conflict Or as Miles puts it In fact the main antagonists of the First Punic War drifted into the conflict less for reasons of grand strategy and for the lack of political will to prevent it Miles does a good job of following the Punic Wars providing enough detail about the conflicts for the reader to follow without getting bogged down in minutiae At the same time he shows how Carthage s and Rome s political actions fit into an central arc that guaranteed continuing war Also of importance he lays out how the different government structures meant very differing approaches to war One example of the differences Rome with its generalsconsuls having only a one year term would be aggressive in order to conclude a decisive action Carthaginian generals elected for an open term could dictate the pace and style of the conflict and the Romans could do little about it As it turns out during the Second Punic War a change to a temporary autocrat which was allowed by the Roman constitution during an extreme crisis would allow Rome to pursue longer term strategies against Hannibal and emerge victoriousIn the wake of the First Punic War Carthage underwent
political transformation that no longer balanced aristocratic oligarchic and democratic factions in From our view point history we can see that Carthage would be destroyedTo the people of that time no one was new which city would rule the Mediterranean Carthage or Rome The sacred chickens drinkIn 249 BC the Roman consul Publius Claudius Pulcher a man variously described as being mentally unstable an arrogant snob and a drunk decided to launch an attack on the Carthaginian held port of Drepana The mission got off to a rocky start when the sacred chickens used to gauge divine favour went off their feed prompting the impetuous Claudius to throw them overboard with the pithy remark that perhaps they were thirstyIf they won t eat then let them drinkHe then went on to lose the battle By the third century BC Rome was on the rise and showing an almost insatiable hunger for conuest the empires drifted into the first Punic war less for reasons of strategy and for lack of political will to prevent it Rome s nemesis came in the form of Hannibal a ruthless and daring general Departing from Spain in 218BC with 50000. Before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city history and culture were almost utterly erased Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research Richard Miles brings to life this lost empire from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon.a political transformation that no longer balanced aristocratic oligarchic and democratic factions in From our view point