Carthage Must Be Destroyed : the Rise and Fall of An Ancient Civilization

Carthage Must Be Destroyed : the Rise and Fall of An Ancient Civilization

Book - 2011
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Penguin Putnam
An epic history of a doomed civilization and a lost empire.

The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased.

Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles vividly brings to life this lost empire-from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest seapower in the Mediterranean. And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal-the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders, but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe.

The first full-scale history of Carthage in decades, Carthage Must Be Destroyed reintroduces modern readers to the larger-than-life historical players and the ancient glory of this almost forgotten civilization.

Random House, Inc.
An epic history of a doomed civilization and a lost empire.

The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased.

Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles vividly brings to life this lost empire-from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest seapower in the Mediterranean. And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal-the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders, but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe.

The first full-scale history of Carthage in decades, Carthage Must Be Destroyed reintroduces modern readers to the larger-than-life historical players and the ancient glory of this almost forgotten civilization.

Baker & Taylor
A history of the city whose defeat was one of the ancient world's defining moments draws on new archaeological research to trace its rise to become the Mediterranean's greatest sea power and discuss the contributions of military leader Hannibal.

Baker
& Taylor

An epic history of the city whose defeat was one of the ancient world's defining moments draws on a wealth of new archaeological research to cover such topics as its founding among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon, its rise to the Mediterranean's greatest sea power and the contributions of military leader Hannibal. 25,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011
ISBN: 9780670022663
0670022667
Branch Call Number: 939.73 MILES

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DWIGHT A GREEN
Mar 12, 2016

(Note: my notes are based on the British edition—Allen Lane Publishing—but I'm assuming there is little difference between the versions.)

"It is impossible to assess the debt that Rome owed to Carthage with the same confidence as for the debt to Greece."

What I value most from Richard Miles' history is his attempt to minimize the Roman filter on the history of Carthage. iles spends time on the background and history of Phoenicia, showing how the expansion to Carthage and other areas in the west were motivated by survival rather than greed or glory. The view toward the Phoenicians by the Greeks seems to have been a mixed bag. There is evidence of Phoenician and Greek cooperation in trade and settlements as the goals of the two states were complementary in some areas. Yet as some lines in the Iliad and the Odyssey show, there seem to be negative attitudes toward the Phoenicians, maybe as a result of the commercial rivalry or in differing views on colonial expansion. In later writings, Aristotle praised Carthage’s government as excellent while Plato presented Carthage as a well-ordered state.

Carthage’s aims were constantly misrepresented by those that felt threatened by their expansion. With the rise to power of the tyrant Agathocles in Syracuse in the 320s BC, “Once more the totally erroneous but seductive idea that the Sicilian wars [conflicts between Carthage and Greek-backed Syracuse] were a western extension of the age-old struggle between the civilization of Greece and the dark forces of the barbarian East would have renewed capital.” The resulting war with Agathocles, even though ultimately successful, would highlight at least two structural problems for Carthage which would return to haunt them during the Punic Wars with Rome. The first problem was their reliance on mercenary armies and their unreliability. The second problem developed as these armies would become mostly independent institutions, outside the control of Carthage’s government.

Carthage and Rome had been on the same side during one of many Sicilian skirmishes but Carthage misplayed its role and Rome established a secure base in Syracuse. From here, although neither side seemed to desire war, both sides continued expansionist policies that guaranteed conflict. Or as Miles puts it, “In fact the main antagonists of the First Punic War drifted into the conflict less for reasons of grand strategy, and more for the lack of political will to prevent it.”

Miles does a good job of following the Punic Wars, providing enough detail about the conflicts for the reader to follow without getting bogged down in minutiae. At the same time he shows how Carthage’s and Rome’s political actions fit into a central arc that guaranteed continuing war. Also of importance, he lays out how the different government structures meant very differing approaches to war.

Very highly recommended.

Oglethorpe1983 Oct 16, 2011

Very Interesting Book.

Anyone interested in early Roman history should enjoy this. This book looks at Carthage not as a mere roadblock to the might of Rome but as its own empire.

Positives: The Punic Wars are featured heavily in the book, covering abut 1/3 of the work; with emphasis on the Second Punic War

Negatives: The author spends a lot of time on the religion of Carthage and how it relates to specific figures in Greco-Roman religion... I found this to be tedious and a little boring and would up skimming and even skipping parts of those chapters

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