African History 2: Carthage
Stop everything and check this video out. This guy from Carthage named Hannibal used battle elephants. Battle. Elephants. Carthage has a pretty rich history otherwise, too. Though there do seem to be a lot of deaths by funeral pyre...
|World History||African History|
Like how about the ancient city of Carthage?
Now, Carthage actually gets mentioned pretty often in classical history, but a lot of people
don’t think of it as part of Africa. [Carthage highlighted on a map]
It's treated like a piece of southern Europe that just happened to accidentally land in
Oopsies. [Southern Europe falls into North Africa]
Most large ancient cities had elaborate foundation myths, and Carthage was no exception.
Greek and Roman writers claimed that Carthage was founded by a Phoenician Queen named Elissa, [Dido on stage at a concert]
She was from a Phoenician city called Tyre, which is in modern-day Lebanon.
When her dad died, Dido and her brother, Pygmalion, both ascended to the throne. [Dido's dad dies on a throne]
Pygmalion wasn’t so good at sharing.
By that we mean that he killed Dido’s husband and exiled her and some of her followers. [Pygmalion kills Dido's husband with a sword]
But Dido showed the world what she was made of and carved the great city of Carthage out
of a hunk of Northern Africa.
Legend says that the local king, Iarbas, told Dido and friends that they could build [Iarbas with an ox]
a settlement as large as an ox-hide.
Doesn’t sound that big, right?
Well, the future Carthaginians got around it by slicing the ox-hide super thin and pulling
it to a city-sized amount of area. [Dido and carthaginian pulling an ox-hide]
Like almost every story of ancient heroes and heroines, Dido’s tale ends tragically.
Some say that King Iarbas tried to force her to marry him, and she killed herself with
a sword on top of a funeral pyre. [Dido killing herself on a funeral pyre]
Others say that she got super depressed when the hero Aeneus dumped her.
And then she… killed herself on a funeral pyre.
They really like the funeral pyre bit. [Dido jumps in a funeral pyre and people cry]
Don’t be too sad though.
Nobody is sure if the legend of Dido is true.
In fact, nobody’s even sure if ancient Carthagenians believed in it, since the legends come down
to us through Greek and Roman writers.
One thing that nobody disputes, though, is that there was an ancient city called Carthage, [People asking for a ticket to Carthage]
founded in modern day Tunisia.
It’s also agreed that Carthage was founded by Phoenicians, who were a seafaring people
with settlements all around the Mediterranean. Phoenician man steering a boat]
The Phoenicians were great sailors and loved to explore and trade.
…which made Carthage rich and powerful.
That is… until they got into it with Rome.
What started as a little dust-up in Sicily turned into years of conflict called the Punic [Carthage man and Roman man fighting with swords]
These wars didn’t work out too well for Carthage.
After the first one, Carthage was forced to give up a bunch of land to Rome.
The Second Punic War saw the rise of one of the most famous Phoenicians ever, the great [Hannibal appears in a field]
This is the guy who’s famous for marching an army, complete with battle elephants, over
You heard that right. [Hannibal riding an elephant]
Hannibal won a bunch of impressive victories, but could never take Rome itself.
Eventually, he was defeated, and Carthage once again had to eat humble pie. [Carthage man eating humble pie]
In the Third Punic War, the Romans sieged Carthage and eventually burned it to the ground.
Not very neighborly, we guess.
But neither is using battle elephants. [Battle elephants drinking tea]
A hundred years later, Julius Caesar ended up building a new settlement on the site of
Carthage, and it became one of the biggest cities in Northern Africa.
These days, the modern city of Tunis sits on all that history. [Tunis sitting on rubble]
We hope it has a cushion.
History’s full of lumps.