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Old December 9th, 2013, 06:13 AM   #1
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Wink Where Did Carthage Fail?


when Carthage took Sicily, when Rome stole the Carthaginian naval designs, and when Hannibal ran out of supplies. Perhaps had Carthage not expanded so near the Roman heartland by conquering Sicily? The Romans saw Carthage as their greatest threat, and vice versa; so war was inevitable. Perhaps had the Carthaginians not made their ships so easily copied and destroyed the Romans before they became a threat, years before the first Punic Wars.
These two great civilizations were both imperialistic and wanted to control the Mediterranean Sea.

Robinlevin (historum user) suggested: "what if 17 year old Scipio had been killed in his attempt to rescue his father at the battle of Ticinus? Rome would have been deprived of its one military genius."

That being said,

What would Carthage be like today had it not been destroyed?


Geographically, would it just contain the N.African coast line? Maybe it would include the entire Roman empire (what it contained around the first Punic War.

Government style? Republic Democracy?

Economy? Probably Free market? they did not produce that much in the way of foods.

Religion was a bit culty at the time. I wonder if Christianity would exist had Rome been destroyed.

Maybe they would be like the US.

Any further input would be appreciated.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 06:29 AM   #2

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Carthage had to take a different direction of expansion.

Instead of insisting to face the arising Roman Republic, Carthage had to aim to Egypt. Egypt was a fantastic asset for any power which conquered it in that period. To take over Egypt, keeping it, would have given to Carthage the "strategical depth" it missed [in comparison with Rome].

While the "Urbe" counted on a wide territorial support in a rich continent, Carthage counted on the Northern African inland which, as we know, is almost desert once we leave the coastal areas.

Egypt was essential to build a lasting African Empire centered on Carthage.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #3
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That is really interesting! I think you have a really good point! the coastal area of Carthage was not enough to sustain it through the years, but Eqypt would have supplied a lot of things for them.Do you think Carthage was capable in conquering Eqypt?
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Old December 9th, 2013, 08:30 AM   #4
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Carthage and its hinterlands produced a tremendous amount of food. It's agriculture was the envy of the Romans and Greeks. In fact the only Carthaginian written works the Romans took care to preserve were treatises on agronomy by 4th century B.C. writers Mago and Hamilcar.
Carthage was a republic, albeit a corrupt one, very much of an economic and political oligarchy (as was Rome.) I believe that the biggest factor in Carthage's downfall was its failure to unite behind the war effort. There were two major factions in Carthage at the time of the Second Punic War-the Land Party, led by Hanno the Great, and the Merchant party led by the Barcas. Hanno the Great and Hamilcar Barca had both been generals in the First Punic War, and had once been allies, but had a serious falling-out during the mercenary rebellion that followed the war. Hanno opposed war with Rome and evidently did everything he could to sabotage the war effort. Had Carthage sent regular supplies and reinforcements to Hannibal, Hannibal could have consolidated Rome's enemies in Italia and left the city surrounded and isolated. Hannibal received only modest assistance in 215, the year after Cannae, and nothing after that. The Carthaginians were more intent on holding on to Spain, where they had their great silver mines.
Rome was divided into factions as well, but while Fabius and Scipio might have differed on tactics, neither one faltered the slightest when it came to the war effort. The biggest difference between Rome and Carthage was unity of purpose.
I think that if Rome had fallen Christianity would not exist because Christianity essentially began and developed as a response to Roman rule. Judea would have remained a part of the Seleucid empire, and would have struggled to survive. I think that if Carthage had won the Second Punic War they would have retaken Sicily and Sardinia and perhaps expanded their grip on Spain. Eventually they might have dominated Italy and even Gaul. We might be using the Phoenician alphabet today and be speaking a language that is largely Phoenician in origin. We might be worshiping a pantheon of gods. Interesting to speculate about.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:05 PM   #5

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Carthage wasn't a conquering power as Rome was. Carthage didn't see wealth and power in amassing lands as the agriculturally focused Romans but saw developing clients and controlling trade routes as the avenue of success.

Rome had taken centuries to conquer Latium and then expand slowly through Italy first fighting Etruscans, Celts, and then Sabines, Greeks, and then Carthage (with many others as well). For most of that period Carthage and Rome actually were trade partners and regional allies. It was Roman attacks on Etruscan and Greek cities (who were also trade partners with Carthage) that first created some opposition to Rome in Carthage but as late as Pyrrhic invasions Rome and Carthage were at least cooperating.

With the defeat of Pyrrhus, Rome inherited most of Magna Grecia in Italy while Carthage expected to dominate Sicily. The 3rd player was Syracuse whose leaders usually thought they could compete to dominate Sicily. Greeks were also disappointed by Pyrrhus and Punic culture seemed more foreign than Roman culture (also many Romans had invested into Greek cities and were actively acquiring Greek trade goods more than Carthaginian trade goods).

Carthage's development as a trade colony compared to the agricultural colony of Rome and Latin also meant lower population level and more fragile alliances as many of the people with whom Carthage traded didn't really care who they traded with and unsurprisingly saw greener pastures to trade other than Carthage who was a known quantity.

Barcids saw that to compete with Rome required more than being a merchant empire and many of the loosely allied Punic cities accepted heavier role of Carthage after 1st Punic war in order to oppose Rome and Greeks who especially with conquest of Sardinia and northern Italy were impinging on historical Punic trade routes.

The important point is that Carthage did not dominate its allied Punic cities in the same way that Rome did her own colonies as Roman citizens were the core of Roman colonies and had established patronage relationships with many leading members of local communities while Carthaginians had competition between Punic merchants of various cities. Most of Carthage's allies fell away with little fight when the odds were against them and only a few who were either too deep with Carthage or whose rivals had thrown in deeply with Rome continued to fight against the odds. Scipio's victories in Spain are the most under appreciated in the 2nd Punic War. Before Zama Carthage had already lost- even if Hannibal had won the battle he would have had to move back into Spain and then Italy which with lack of able commanders probably taken another decade at least to return to former level of Carthaginian control.

Carthage after 1st Punic war and the following Mercenary war also subjugated more directly wider area of Africa and designed large agricultural works which impressed Cato so much after his visit during the peace following 2nd Punic war. The irony is that much of the surplus grain that Carthage grew was sold to Romans and the money then used to pay off the 2nd Punic war debt so quickly. However in all that Carthage did not extend citizenship or effectively ally many of its client peoples or states with anything other than money. Carthage rarely offered marriage into Punic families and such was only used on African and Numidian clients far as I've read. Client tribes/states in Spain and Cyrencia were only offered money and also had to provide hostages against bad behaviour. Scipio freed hostages and negotiated better terms. Of course once Scipio was gone and the war won subsequently hostages and poor terms for locals became frequent and led to rebellions which made the pacification of Spain take over a century.

Last edited by Ichon; December 9th, 2013 at 04:11 PM.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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In the government and military...
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Old December 9th, 2013, 06:33 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesynyc View Post
Religion was a bit culty at the time.
To repeat this from the other thread .... the major temple in Carthage was given as that of Asclepius, to which many Carthaginians repaired during the siege, before it was set alight.

Appian Punic Wars 54 (Loeb trans.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Temple of Asclepius

... on the seventh day some suppliants presented themselves to Scipio bearing the sacred garlands of Aesculapius,
whose temple was much the richest and most renowned of all in the citadel.
This suggests a strong Greek influence in Carthage.

Quote:
I wonder if Christianity would exist had Rome been destroyed.
Constantine may have had no Milvian Bridge to cross. And without Bullneck, Christianity in the form of the centralised monotheistic state religion that we know it, would probably not have existed.

Also FWIW, Asclepius was the major single "tall poppy" religious cult in the Roman Empire all the way through to Diocletian. In the early 4th century, and only in the 4th century, a comparison between the Egypto-Graeco-Roman Healing god Asclepius and the figure of Jesus was first made.

Eusebius narrates that Constantine used his army to physically destroy the most ancient and highly revered temples to Asclepius, and Eusebius himself wrote a polemic against Apollonius of Tyana, who was at one time in the 1st century CE one of the priests (therapeutae) of Asclepius.

Christianity may have only existed as we know it BECAUSE of the destruction of the "competing cult" - the network of temples and shrines to Asclepius - which were ubiquitous throughout the Roman Empire, and sponsored by the emperors, until the rise of Bullneck.

For further data see: The Therapeutae of Asclepius

Last edited by Kookaburra Jack; December 9th, 2013 at 06:39 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2013, 12:20 AM   #8

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This is probably a totally naive question , in which case i apologize in advance...... but i seem to see some similarity in the name of the god Asclepius , and the name Scipio.
ASclpio , is this a coincidence , or could there be something in it ??

possibly like a roman getting the name Germanicus , when he has had a triumph against them ? would Scipio be seen to have triumphed against the god Asclepius ????
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Old December 10th, 2013, 12:57 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinlevin View Post
Carthage and its hinterlands produced a tremendous amount of food. It's agriculture was the envy of the Romans and Greeks. In fact the only Carthaginian written works the Romans took care to preserve were treatises on agronomy by 4th century B.C. writers Mago and Hamilcar.
Carthage was a republic, albeit a corrupt one, very much of an economic and political oligarchy (as was Rome.) I believe that the biggest factor in Carthage's downfall was its failure to unite behind the war effort. There were two major factions in Carthage at the time of the Second Punic War-the Land Party, led by Hanno the Great, and the Merchant party led by the Barcas. Hanno the Great and Hamilcar Barca had both been generals in the First Punic War, and had once been allies, but had a serious falling-out during the mercenary rebellion that followed the war. Hanno opposed war with Rome and evidently did everything he could to sabotage the war effort. Had Carthage sent regular supplies and reinforcements to Hannibal, Hannibal could have consolidated Rome's enemies in Italia and left the city surrounded and isolated. Hannibal received only modest assistance in 215, the year after Cannae, and nothing after that. The Carthaginians were more intent on holding on to Spain, where they had their great silver mines.
Rome was divided into factions as well, but while Fabius and Scipio might have differed on tactics, neither one faltered the slightest when it came to the war effort. The biggest difference between Rome and Carthage was unity of purpose.
I think that if Rome had fallen Christianity would not exist because Christianity essentially began and developed as a response to Roman rule. Judea would have remained a part of the Seleucid empire, and would have struggled to survive. I think that if Carthage had won the Second Punic War they would have retaken Sicily and Sardinia and perhaps expanded their grip on Spain. Eventually they might have dominated Italy and even Gaul. We might be using the Phoenician alphabet today and be speaking a language that is largely Phoenician in origin. We might be worshiping a pantheon of gods. Interesting to speculate about.
I am thinking to a wide empire ... also Italian peninsula had an important production of agricultural products ... but Romans imported goods from the Egyptian province.

So, in perspective, to sustain a wide empire, Egypt was an asset for real.

In fact, Carthage looked at Sardinia at a good source of agricultural and mineral goods [so the African territory wasn't that enough, at the end].
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Old December 10th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ib-issi View Post
This is probably a totally naive question , in which case i apologize in advance...... but i seem to see some similarity in the name of the god Asclepius , and the name Scipio.
ASclpio , is this a coincidence , or could there be something in it ??

possibly like a roman getting the name Germanicus , when he has had a triumph against them ? would Scipio be seen to have triumphed against the god Asclepius ????
His honorary title (in the same manner as Germanicus or Asiaticus) for his triumph was Africanus; Scipio was a cognomen of the gens Cornelia;

His father Publius Cornelius Scipio;
His brother Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus
His grandfather Lucius Cornelius Scipio
His great-grand-father Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus
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