Destruction of Carthage



For seventeen years Hannibal maintained his army in Italy, defeating by his wonderful generalship every force the Romans sent against him. But the capital itself he could not capture, and the Romans prevented any reinforcements reaching him from Carthage. Gradually his army grew too weak to be seriously dangerous, and the Romans were able to despatch troops into Africa to threaten Carthage in its turn. Hannibal's countrymen summoned him home in their terror. He gave battle against his will with a mere remnant of his splendid army, and was defeated at Zama. The great war closed with his banishment from Carthage.

That celebrated centre of Phoenician civilization now became almost wholly subject to Rome, and as the clever Phoenician merchants once more built up their city's depleted wealth, the Romans became afraid of them and at length resolved to break their power utterly. One Roman general who had visited the African metropolis and seen its strength and splendor, used to close every speech he made to his compatriots upon whatever subject by adding the words, "And Carthage must be destroyed."

Finally, it was. The Romans by deliberate tyranny drove the Carthaginians to a revolt of despair. Carthage had been deprived of arms, but its women sold their jewels to purchase more and cut off their hair to supply cords for bow-strings. The city was besieged, and after two years of furious fighting was stormed and sacked and utterly destroyed.






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Read about Destruction of Carthage in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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