Carthago Delenda Est

The Punic Wars (264-146 BC) were a series of conflicts fought between Rome and Carthage. Punic is derived from the Latin for “Phoenician,” as the city of Carthage was originally a North African colony of the ancient Phoenician civilization. What began as a territorial dispute over the island of Sicily developed into a massive and devastating crisis over the very survival of the respective belligerents. By the end of the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), much of Southern Italy had been impoverished by the Carthaginian general Hannibal’s fifteen year invasion. Despite Rome’s ultimate victory in this second phase of the conflict and the subsequent forced demilitarization of Carthage, war broke out again. By this time, Romans were committed to Cato the Elder’s maxim that Carthago delenda est—Carthage must be destroyed. Carthage fell to a Roman siege in 146 BC, it was sacked and razed to the ground, and its people were sold into slavery.