01 August 2008
A Satyrical Summary of the Punic Wars: Part 3
Punic War No. 3 149-146 B.C.
...As the shortest and most violent of the Punic Wars, the third is also the most unsatisfactory. At least to this Historian. Carthage and Rome could not settle their differences, it was inevitable that one at least should be destroyed. A well respected Roman senator named Cato would end every speech in this way, "furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed". (Talk about off topic, what if his speech had been on the need for public plumbing?)
...Eventually the Romans decided to take Cato's advice seriously and prepared for another assault on Carthage. The Carthaginians got wind of it and immediately started casting about for a plan that would appease the Romans and buy them more time. A council arrived from Carthage to lay the matter before Rome, asking what they wanted in return for peace. The Romans thought about, and probably did some serious head scratching. In the end they demanded that three hundred of the Carthaginian nobles children be sent as permanent hostages to Rome. And they were sent.
...But Rome was not ready to drop the matter, they really wanted Carthage destroyed. In fact, an excellent excuse presented itself on cue. The Carthaginians attacked Numidia, a neighboring country that had been causing problems. Numidia was an ally of Rome however, and the Romans were not inclined to think lightly of the matter. Numidia won the war with Carthage, and Carthage who had just made the final payment to Rome for the last war's expenses, found herself in debt again- this time to Numidia. (Talk about debt, I would think maybe it was time to stop the wars, at least if you cannot win them).
...All this made it easy for Rome to bully Carthage, who was getting weaker and weaker. Carthage had relied upon mercanaries to do most of her fighting and now without money could not afford to raise an army. Rome on the other hand had a standing army made up of its own citizens which gave her a considerable advantage when combined with the fact she was winning most battles. So Rome made an impossable demand on the Carthaginians, "If you want peace you may have it. But first you must move your city ten miles inland".
...This was an impossable demand, and the Carthaginians knew it. To move their city meant to destroy it and rebuild, something they had not the money, man power nor desire to do. It was a declaration of all out war down to the last man.
...The Carthaginian ambassadors hurried back to Carthage where they spread the bad news. "Sorry guys, even after sending your children we are going to have to fight to the death. At least those kids are out of harms way". The citizens of Carthage roused themselves to action, since they had no army they would have to defend themselves. Which they were determined to do, this was a fight for the survival of a people.
...The women cut of their hair and gave it to the men who made it into catupult strings, and in a short time they mustered up thousends of makeshift weapons. A rag tag mass of people stood defiantly upon the walls of Carthage when Rome's uniformed army came in sight. What must the Romans have been thinking?
...Whatever the Romans thought, the Carthaginians lasted longer than anyone could have expected. They withstood the initial onslaught of the world's most powerful fighting force and won for themselves a brave last stand. But it was a last stand. A new general called Scipio Aemilianus arrived to head Rome's army, and he new his business. Although it took him three years of siege he breached Carthage's walls and burned it to the ground. (After sacking and plundering of course)
...Thus ended the Punic Wars, and the satyrical commentary. In my opinion two things can be learned here. 1. Never start a war your citizens aren't going to fight themselves... 2. Make sure you have enough money to cover yours and your enemies expenses, just in case you loose.
...Furthermore, it is my opinion that spiritual death and war must be destroyed through the power of the Gospel.