Roman troops destroyed 146 BC The capital of the Carthaginian empire, which was considered the great rival of Rome in antiquity. About a hundred years later, the trading city was rebuilt under Roman sovereignty and was the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. Only a few ruins are from pre-Roman times. The remains of the thermal baths are worth seeing.
Carthage Ruins: Facts
|Official title:||Carthage ruins|
|Cultural monument:||Punic Carthage with grave fields from the 4th century BC BC, Roman Carthage with amphitheater, circus, theater, odeon, Roman villas and the restored thermal baths, as well as the ruins of the basilica of St. Cyprian and the Maiorum Basilica|
|Country:||Tunisia, see listofusnewspapers|
|Location:||Carthage, Gulf of Tunis|
|Meaning:||Testimony to the Punic civilization that once ruled the Mediterranean|
Carthage Ruins: History
|9th century BC Chr.||on the Byrsa hill temple in honor of the goddess Tanit and the god Eshmun|
|509 BC Chr.||Trade treaty between Rome and Carthage|
|218-201 BC Chr.||During the Second Punic War, Carthaginian possessions outside Africa became part of the Roman Empire|
|in the 3rd Punic War (149-146 BC): 147 BC Chr.||Roman siege under the command of Scipio Aemilianus|
|146 BC Chr.||Destruction and incorporation into the Roman province of Africa proconsularis|
|29 BC Chr.||on the ruins of Carthage foundation of the Colonia Julia Carthago under Octavian|
|128||Visit of Emperor Hadrian|
|145-162||Baths of Antoninus Pius|
|203||Visit of Emperor Septimius Severus’|
|439||Captured by the Vandals under their King Geiseric|
|534||Entry of the Byzantine troops under the general Belisarius|
|698||Destruction by the Arabs|
|1270||on the 7th crusade landing of Louis IX, the saint|
|1883||Construction of the Saint-Louis Cathedral|
|1921||Tophet discovered in Salambo, sacrificial site|
Once queen of the Mediterranean
At the beginning of the legendary Carthage there was the ruse of a clever woman – at least that’s what the legend says: Fleeing from her vengeful brother, the Phoenician king, from Tire, Elissa landed near what is now Tunis under the rule of Hierbas. In search of a home for herself and her followers, she only asked the Numid prince for as much land as an ox skin could cover. She cut this into fine strips, surrounding the Byrsa Hill, on which the Saint-Louis Cathedral is enthroned today, and founded “Quart Hadasht”, the “new city”. Legend or not, archaeologically proven Carthage was founded as a Phoenician colony until 750 BC. There is also evidence of the city’s rapid rise to become the “Queen of the Mediterranean”. But in the deadly struggle for world power, the Romans under Scipio Aemilianus finally won the Third Punic War. They made – as Appian, the Roman historiographer of the 2nd century AD tells us – that “city that has flourished for over 700 years since its foundation, ruled such vast areas, islands and seas and in arms, fleets, elephants and money had been as rich as the greatest empires’, razed to the ground and declared them cursed.
But in the first half of the first century a new Carthage emerged from the ruins, which soon developed into the third largest city in the entire Roman Empire. In the course of the Arab conquests in the 7th century, Carthage was destroyed a second time and then lost its importance. In fact, the storms of the past in Carthage, today’s charming suburb of Tunis, have left little evidence of the Roman, but above all the Punic city of Carthage. The optically not particularly attractive archaeological sites are widely scattered between old Bey palaces and magnificent villas with blooming gardens.
For those who have a lot of imagination, the Tophet, the most sacred district of the Punians, is still shrouded in the mysterious darkness of the history of the former cult of the dead, which Flaubert describes so thrillingly in his novel »Salammbô«: »The Moloch priests walked on the large stone pedestal up and down and scrutinized the crowd. (…) Little by little people stepped to the end of the aisles. They threw pearls, golden vessels, bowls, candlesticks, all their riches into the flames. The sacrificial donations became more and more numerous and valuable. Finally a staggering, pale, frightened man pushed a child in front of him, and then in the hands of the colossus you saw a small, black mass which disappeared into the dark opening. ”
In fact, thousands of children’s skeletons, steles and clay urns, which were discovered in several up to six meters deep grave layers, indicate that firstborns were sacrificed to the sun god Baal in archaic rites that are incredibly cruel to today’s civilization and to please the moon goddess Tanit.
Just a few steps from the Tophet are two reed ponds that have been identified as Punic harbors. It’s hard to believe that the world’s largest fleet was once at anchor here. Evidence of the time when Carthage was the capital of the Roman “Africa proconsularis” is the baths of Antoninus Pius, after the Trajan baths in Rome, the largest of its kind in the Roman Empire. The view from the terrace of the deep blue sea and the mountains towering behind it is magical. The rich and famous once refreshed themselves here. In the excellently reconstructed Maison de la Volière in the Archaeological Park of the Roman Villas, you can see for yourself what luxury you could live in back then.