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Carthage And Corinth Notes

Classics Notes > Roman History 241 BC to 146 BC Notes

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Why did Carthage and Corinth have to be destroyed?
Consider whether Roman attitudes to Greece (and other areas) were changing during this period. Is Pydna a milestone date?
Pydna i.

Deportation of a thousand notable Achaeans to Italy along with the murder and arrest of dozens of prominent Aetolian politicians.

ii. Dismemberment of the kingdoms of Macedonia and Epirus; Perseus the first king to be led in chains to Italy. Military and Economic power of Macedonia destroyed and the four new administrative regions were to have no contact with one another and pay tribute to Rome.

iii. Widespread devastation and looting of returning Roman legions; seventy towns given over to them in Epirus and some 150,000 prisoners are said to be taken.

iv. Polybius draws a distinction between the period before Pydna and after it, which he calls one of tarache and kinesis; he adds these later books so that posterity can judge whether Roman rule was acceptable and worthy of praise.

Carthage Polybius on the Third Punic War: i.

Massanissa covets the area known as the Emporia, under Carthaginian control, and easily takes command of it. The Roman arbiters decide against the just claims of Carthage and the latter is left in dire straits by the decision of the senate to impose a fine upon them and give the land to Massanissa (31.21).

ii. "[The Romans] had long ago made up their minds to act thus, but they were looking for a suitable pretext that would appeal to foreign nations" (36.2). He says they, despite obeying all orders and not being guilty of any offence, were destroyed with great severity.

iii. The Carthaginians had intended to surrender themselves completely to Rome but they are forestalled in this design by Utica, who does it first. They send envoys to Rome, but when they discover the Roman army is on the way, they surrender the city (36.3). The Romans granted the Carthaginians their laws and freedom if they send three hundred hostages to Sicily and surrender all arms in the city, which they do (36.4-6).

iv. Carthaginian general Hasdrubal represented as a worthless man with no judgement; fat, dressed liked a tyrant of tragedy, makes arrogant claims to Scipio and feasts while all his citizens starve (38.7).

v.

The fall of Carthage; Hasdrubal shamelessly begs to be spared and is rebuked by his wife for abandoning his family and his city. Scipio's reflection on the mutability of fate and the probability that Rome will also one day fall (38.20).

Other Sources: i.

Plutarch's Life of Cato Maior; his last public service said to be the destruction of Carthage since his advice was crucial to prompting the Romans to war. His is sent on a diplomatic mission and discovers that the city is not in a dejected state but rather full of wealth, fighting men and the materials of war. He feels that if they did not finally defeat the old enemy the Carthaginians would pose a threat in the future. He advises the senate on this threat and recommends that they pretend to be at peace until a suitable pretext can be found. He ends every speech with the line "Carthago delenda est." NB- this issue must have been of great concern in Rome if a figure as senior as Cato (and probably also Scipio Nascia) were sent as part of the embassy.

ii. Cato's speech 'Concerning the Carthaginian War'; "The Carthaginians are already our enemies, for he who prepares everything against me, so that he can make war at whatever time he wishes, he is already my enemy even though he is not yet using weapons."

iii. Appian; Carthage attacks the Numidians and the peace commission of Cato discovers the greatly enhanced power and population of the city. Cato recognises the threat to Roman liberty and the senate decides upon war when a suitable pretext arises. This is found when Carthage attacks Gullusa, the son of Massanissa, and marches on the Numidians with 25,000 foot and 400 horsemen. Carthage is utterly defeated in a fiercely fought battle and the Romans choose this moment to declare war on a weakened Carthage; they are aided in this by the surrender of Utica. The Carthaginians are said to be in a dreadful state, lacking all the materials of war along with allies and manpower; they give up hostages without fixed conditions for the city. The Romans demand they destroy their city, their walls and their great naval shipyards and move at least ten miles from the sea; this is in the interests of a lasting concord and security since naval power had prompted them to covet an overseas empire. Carthage collects 30,000 men at beginning of war and each day produces 100 shields, 300 swords, 1000 missiles and 500 spears.

iv. Zonaras (9.26); Carthage gathering allies and preparing for war against the Numidians, reproached by Nascia for violating the treaty, refuse a Roman order to stand down and Rome declares war. Carthage is said to have a great deal of other equipment stored away.

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