I was SO disappointed that the PowerPoint presentation in history Monday about the Punic Wars did NOT include the famous Latin saying: "Delenda est Carthago." Carthage must be destroyed. I mean, that pretty much sums up the Romans' way of thinking, doesn't it? As Dr. Bibbee pointed out, they were just looking for a fight with the Carthaginians. They 'excused' themselves by helping rebels and other people that called for their aid (a bit like the United States, who had helped Columbia in the past put down rebellions in Panama, but as soon as the rebels offer to allow us to build a canal there... pfff! We help the rebels. Columbia was understandably amazed).
I don't know precisely what to think about Carthage. On the one hand, I sympathize with the Romans. What you don't hear often is that the Carthaginians were Phoenician. The Latin word for 'Phoenician' is punicus, whence we get Punic Wars. So the Carthaginians worshipped Phoenician gods... including the infamous Moloch. Yes, Moloch. And do you know HOW they worshipped Moloch? They built a fire in front of the statue of the god, and then they burned a child alive in that fire. Yes, they burned children to Moloch.
DELENDA EST CARTHAGO!!!!!
And if you don't believe it happened... go read Hittite Warrior. It's a great book, gives you great information about the Hittites, Canaanites, and Egyptians (and Phillistines!) during the time of the Judges in Israel. (Barak and Deborah make an appearance in the book.) Anyway, in the book, the main character helps rescue a child from Moloch. You talk about spine-chilling...
I've even read speculation that Moloch wasn't just an idol... but that the Canaanites/Phoenicians were worshipping an actual demon, who then moved on to Mexico. And if you don't believe that the Aztecs were horrid... you have been brainwashed, my friend. I don't care what atrocities Cortez and the Spainards performed in Mexico (and, remember, our histories of Cortez were written by the English and the Dutch... Spain's worst enemies), THE AZTECS DESERVED DESTRUCTION! Or, at least, their religion did. There is almost no way you can find anything more satanic than ripping the still-beating hearts out of the chests of millions of people every year. The Aztecs actually picked fights with neighboring tribes called 'the Flower Wars' in which the point was not to kill their enemies but to capture them alive so they could haul them back home to their temples and sacrifice them to their gods.
So, yeah... I can sympathize with the Romans' horror of the Phoenicians in one way.
But on the other hand, was it really necessary to kill 3/4 of the population, enslave the rest (the Romans even enacted legislation saying that no slaveowner could have more than a certain percentage of Carthaginian slaves, to prevent them from gathering in large enough groups to form a rebellion), and sow so much salt into the earth that you cannot even farm there today? I don't think so. In one of his letters, Tolkien (yes, my moral authority on so many things) mentions how he hated Delenda est Carthago as a child and couldn't understand why he was told it was so wonderful.
So I'm of two minds. But I do prefer that the Romans won rather than the Phoenicians. Because even Jupiter is better than Moloch.
In Pace Christi,