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Карфаген. Город, чуть не уничтоживший РимOn the North coast of Africa, near Tunis, the capital of the country, bearing the same name, lie the ruins of ancient Carthage. They are so inconspicuous that tourists can not see them. However, when it was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, the one who wrestled with Rome, nearly crushed this powerful state. According to the Roman historian Titus Livius, "for this struggle the strongest on earth peoples watched all the Nations and kings of the". Still! Because it was about world domination.

The Foundation of the city

In the II Millennium B.C. the Phoenicians took only a narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean coast, stretching to the North and South beyond the modern-day Lebanon. In search of gold, silver, iron, tin and lead these skillful sailors turned his eyes to the West. They bought metals and are traded tree (known Lebanese cedar), purple, and frankincense, wine, spices and handcrafts.

While traveling West along the coast of Africa, Sicily, Sardinia and southern Spain Phoenicians founded their settlements. Maybe they were the founders mentioned in the Bible Tarshish (3 kings 10:22; Ezekiel 27:2,12). It is considered that Carthage was founded in 814 BC, for 60 years until his opponent - Rome. Serge Lancel, a specialist on the history of North Africa antiquity said: "the Basis of Carthage at the end of the IX century B.C. for many centuries has determined the direction of politics and culture in the Western part of the Mediterranean basin".

The birth of the Empire

According to the historian Francois Decree, Carthage began to create an Empire on the Peninsula, which is shaped like a "huge anchor, jutting into the sea". Built on the Foundation that was laid still ancestors-the Phoenicians, Carthage created its trade network (it is mainly engaged in the import of metals) and developed it to an unprecedented size. Its monopoly on trade Carthage supported by powerful fleet and hired troops.

Not wanting to rest on its laurels, the Carthaginians were constantly looking for new markets. About 480 B.C. the seafarer Hamilton landed in the British Cornwall, rich in tin. And after 30 years Gannon, comes from an influential Carthage family, has headed expedition of the 60 ships, which was 30 thousand men and women. People were planted in various parts of the coast, so they founded new colonies. It is not excluded that, passing through the Straits of Gibraltar and along the African coast, Gannon has reached the Gulf of Guinea, and even the coast of Cameroon.

Entrepreneurship and business acumen helped Carthage be, admittedly, the richest city of the ancient world. "In the beginning of III century B.C. thanks to technology, Navy and trade... the city was propelled to the forefront" - said in the book "Carthage". The Greek historian Appian wrote about the Carthaginians: "the Power of their militarily became equal Hellenic, according to the riches were in second place after the Persian".

Under the shadow of Baal

Although the Phoenicians lived scattered throughout the Western Mediterranean, they are United by shared beliefs. The Carthaginians inherited Canaanite religion from their Phoenician ancestry. Annually for centuries Carthage sent messengers to the shooting range to make there a sacrifice in the temple of Melkart. In Carthage major deities, was a pair of Baal Hammon with her, whose name means "owner-sarovic", and Tannin, identified with Astarta.

The most notorious feature of the religion of Carthage was the sacrifice of children. According to Diodorus Sicilian, in 310 BC, during the attack of the city, to appease the Baal of Hammon with her, Carthaginians had sacrificed more than 200 children from noble families. In the "Encyclopedia of religion" says "the Bringing of an innocent child in the sacrifice of atonement was the greatest act of propitiation of the gods. Apparently, this act was intended to ensure the welfare of the family and society".

In 1921, the archaeologists found a place that in accord with the biblical expression used in 4 of the Kingdom 23:10 and Jeremiah 7:31, called Tophet. During the excavations there were found several rows of boxes with charred remains of the animals (they sacrificed instead of people)and small children. Burial was under the steles, which were written request accompanied sacrifice. It is estimated that in Tophet are the remains of over 20 thousand children, sacrificed just over 200 years. Today, some revisionists argue that Tophet was just a cemetery children born dead or have not reached the age that allowed to bury them in the necropolis. But, as noted by Lancel, "cannot confidently say that in Carthage not sacrificed people".

The dispute about world domination

Carthage took the position of the leader among the Western Phoenicians once in the VI century B.C. the TIR lost their power. But on the way to glory Carthage met and obstacles. Soon Punic and Greek merchants began to fight for influence on the seas, and about 550 B.C. between the Carthaginians and the Greek war broke out. In 535 BC, the Carthaginians, with the support of its allies, the Etruscans, expelled the Greeks from Corsica and took control of Sardinia. (Close relationship between the Carthaginians and Etruscans, existed for several centuries, prompted Aristotle to say that these two Nations, one state.) This has led to even more brutal fight of Carthage with Greece for influence in Sicily is the most important strategic island.

At the same time began to gain force Rome. Contracts with Rome gave Carthage exclusive rights on trade and ensured that the Romans would not be encroached on Sicily. But after Rome conquered the Peninsula, it was to scare the growing influence of Carthage off the coast of Italy. The Greek historian of the second century BC Polybius wrote: "They [the Romans] saw that the Carthaginians won its power not only Libya [Africa] (Name Africa" Carthaginians gave the territory, surrounding the city. Later, this was called and all known regions of this continent. The Romans kept this name when creating these places his province.), but a large part of Iberia [Spain]that their domination and extends on all the Islands of Sardinia and the Tyrrhenian seas, and was sore afraid, as if not to buy in the Carthaginians, in the case of conquering them Sicily, dangerous and terrible neighbors who surround them a ring and will threaten all parts of Italy". Certain representatives of the Roman Senate, driven by commercial considerations, sought to capture Sicily.

Punic war

The clash in Sicily in 264 BC the Romans gave the reason to start a war. Violation of the agreement, Rome sent military aid, and that was the beginning of the first Punic war. This conflict, during which time was the most vast sea battles of antiquity, was delayed for 20 years. Finally in 241 BC, the Carthaginians were defeated and had to leave Sicily. Corsica and Sardinia also went to Rome.

In order to compensate the loss and to restore the might of its powers, the Carthaginian military commander hamilkar Barca decided to create an Empire in Spain. In the South-East coast of Spain was founded "New Carthage" - now known as the Cartagena. And in just a few years thanks to the mineral wealth of Spain Treasury Carthage again started to grow. Strengthening of positions inevitably led to conflict with Rome, and in 218 BC again war broke out.

At the head of the Carthaginian army was one of the sons of gamilkara, Hannibal. His name meant "Him Baal". In may 218 B.C. he spoke of Carthage and made a famous trip through Spain and Galicia, crossed the Alps with the army, which consisted of Africans and people of Spain, and comprised about 40 elephants. Caught off guard, the Romans suffered one defeat after another. on August 2 216 B.C. in fight at Cannes - it ended one of the biggest defeats ever experienced the Roman army - the army of Hannibal was destroyed by Roman troops, twice superior to its population. In this battle the Carthaginians killed about 70 thousand enemies, losing its part only 6 thousand people.

Rome was at hand. But the Romans didn't give up and over the next 13 years has been exhausting for the troops Hannibal's war. When Rome sent their troops in Africa, left allies and defeated in Spain and Sicily Carthage was forced to withdraw Hannibal. In the following 202 BC the Roman General Scipio Africanus the defeated army of Hannibal the Deputies in the South-West from Carthage. Punic city was forced to give up its fleet, it lost its military independence and for 50 years, was obligated to pay a huge indemnity. Hannibal fled and approximately 183 BC has committed suicide.

"Delenda est Carthago!"

The conclusion of peace gave Carthage able to recover and re-raise his head, so that he could pay contribution for only ten years. This vitality combined with held political reforms bothered irreconcilable enemies of Carthage. For nearly two years, until his death, an old Roman politician Cato the Censor each his speech in the Senate was finished by saying: "Delenda est Carthago!" that means "Carthage must be destroyed!".

Finally in 150 BC the Romans accused the Carthaginians in breach of contract and tellwhether it war. It was "the war to destroy". Within three years the Romans participated in the siege of the city walls of Carthage, the length of which was 30 kilometers, and the height in some places reached 12 meters. And here in 146 BC managed to penetrate the fortress wall. The Roman troops, trudging through the narrow streets under gratisarab, entered into a desperate hand-to-hand fight. Sad confirmation testimony of ancient historians who wrote about the brutality of the fight, are human bones found by archaeologists under the scattered stones.

After six terrible days of the battle gave up about 50 thousand emaciated with hunger residents hiding in solution in its site - fortified citadel on top of a hill. The others, not wanting to be executed or to be enslaved, were closed in the temple Asmona and set fire to it. The Romans burned the remains of the city. Carthage was destroyed to the ground and put to the curse, the town was forbidden to settle anyone.

So for 120 years Rome destroyed the plans of Carthage on global domination. Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: "In fact, in Ganibalova war had settled the question of which model will be built in the Hellenistic universal state on the model of Carthage or Rome". "If Hannibal defeated, says "Universal Encyclopedia" (eng.), he, undoubtedly, has established a universal Empire, like the Empire of Alexander the great". But be that as it may, Punic war marked the beginning of Roman imperialism, by which Rome eventually became the dominant world power.

"African Rome"

It seemed that the Carthage came to an end. But only a century later, Julius Caesar decided to found the town colony. In honor of the founder, she was named "Colonia Julia Carthago". Roman engineers have removed about 100 thousand cubic meters of land, destroying the top of Bercy to level the surface and destroy the traces of the past. At this place were built temples and beautiful public buildings. After some time Carthage became "one of the most luxurious cities of the Roman world", second largest after Rome's city West. To meet the needs of 300 thousand residents of the city there was built the circus on 60 thousand spectators, and the theatre, amphitheatre, a huge baths (Thermae) and 132-kilometer-long aqueduct.

Christianity reached Carthage approximately in the middle of the II century ad and quickly spread there. Approximately 155 ad was born in Carthage-known theologian and apologist Tertullian. Due to his efforts the Latin language became the official language of the Western Church. In the III century Bishop of Carthage was Cyprian, who coined the system, 7-speed Church hierarchy and died a Martyr's death in 258 ad Another resident of North Africa, Augustine (354-430), called the great Christian theologian of old, United creeds of the Church from Greek philosophy. The influence of the North African Church was so great that one churchman said: "You, Africa, contributed to the promotion of the faith in us with great fervor. Your decisions are approved by Rome and observed by all the rulers of the earth".

But the days of Carthage were considered. And again his fate is intertwined with the fate of Rome. The Roman Empire decayed, the same happened with Carthage. In 439 ad, the city was captured and sacked by the vandals. In 100 years the city's conquest by the Byzantines had to stop imminent destruction. But later the city could not resist the invasion of the Arabs who wildfire spread through Northern Africa. In 698 BC the city was taken, its stones served as a material for construction of the city of Tunis. In the following centuries the marble and granite, once decorating the Roman city, were looted and taken out of the country, they were used for the construction of cathedrals in Genoa, Pisa (Italy), and possibly Canterbury Cathedral (England). Once the richest and most powerful city in ancient times, by the power which the rules are almost the entire world, Carthage eventually turned into inconspicuous ruins.
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