Carthage was a city that is believed to have been founded around 814 BCE (Before our Common Era) in what is today known as Tunisia. It was situated on the east side of Lake Tunis, which provided it with water and an effective transort system. The city was destroyed by the Roman Empire in 146 BCE. Along with its power and infrastructure, the Romans also destroyed the records of its history and culture. This has made it a mysterious city to modern researchers, who have to rely on evidence that has been excavated, Roman legend and the research conducted by Greek and Roman historians, such as Herodotus.

The legend of Carthage has been carried down from the Romans, who claim that the city was established by Queen Dido, who led it to greatness. This power and prestige did not put Carthage in the favour of the Greeks and Romans, who vied for such authority. There were many wars between these nations. This means, therefore, that the reports from these nations are not very objective or positive. In short, Carthage was conquered only during Rome’s third attempt at victory in 146 BCE. Rome did not leave it destitute, though. Rather, it made it one of the prominent cities. It was only when the Muslims overtook Rome in 698 CE (Common Era) that Carthage was finally destroyed.

Surviving up until 698 of our Common Era means that Carthage was one of the longest-living empires. It was also one of the biggest civilisations in the annals of history. The strength of the Carthaginian army was based largely on the ethnic soldiers that hailed from Libya and Numidia. With these troops, mercenaries from other Mediterranean areas ensured that the Carthaginian army was a formidable force that managed to defeat Rome’s impressive forces twice, before finally succumbing. Interestingly, Carthage made use of North African Elephants (now extinct) in battle, which reinforced their frightening presentation.

Image of Ancient Carthage. General view of Antonine Baths
Ancient Carthage. General view of Antonine Baths

It was Scipio Aemilianus who eventually conquered this great power. The Roman troops burned the Phoenician ships right in the Carthage harbour, before all of the local inhabitants. Then, they went from one house to the next, enslaving the locals, before they burnt the entire city and all of its buildings and homes.

Utica was made the capital of the area that was the fallen Carthage, and was very successful in terms of trade and political power. Its plentiful water supply meant optimal farming conditions, but the silt and erosion caused by the farming in the mountains eventually made the region unable to be cultivated and the harbour too damaged to be used. Rome was forced to rebuild the entire harbour.

The natives from Carthage spoke a type of Phoenician called Punic. They conducted much of their trade with Iberian cities. They dealt in silver, lead and tin, which they used to manufacture bronze products. One Iberian mine was able to provide 300 Roman Pounds of silver every day. Carthage produced Purple, as well as embroidered and dyed cotton, linen, wool, silk and incense, perfumes, etc…In addition, Carthage produced jewellery, weapons, implements and excellent quality wine.

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Effects Of Climatic And Environmental Changes On Ancient African Civilisations

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the entire planet earth looked very different to what modern man experiences today. Continents were not yet divided, and the vegetation and animals were different. Significantly, the climate was also vastly different to what it is today. Climate plays an integral role in determining the plants and animal that live in a certain areas, as well as how habitable a place is for human beings.

In fact, even the theory of the evolution of man was dependent largely on the climatic influences on our ancient ancestors. It is hypothesised that the ancient versions of man were forced to walk upright, lose body hair and develop their coordination for survival in a changing environment. New skills also needed to be learned as farming techniques and living habits had to be adapted.

Ancient Africa experienced major vacillations between mega-droughts and Ice Ages, although these fluctuations occurred over thousands and thousands of years. As humans continued to develop and evolve through these phases, they needed to make major adaptations, not only to their ways of life, but also to their personal body structure. Prior to 135 000 years ago, the whole of Africa was lush and fertile, with a tropical climate. Then, the most intense mega-drought ever to occur hit the continent in the period referred to as the early part of the Late Pleistocene epoch. This is believed to have led to the migration of most of our human ancestors into other areas that were more habitable and fertile. Lake Malawi has been used by scientists as a rain gauge to ascertain water levels in ancient times. Research has shown that, during this mega-drought, the lake’s level dropped at least 1968 feet, or 600 metres! Evolutionists claim that this severe lack of water not only pushed ancient man from the area, it also forced aquatic animals (such as fish) to develop the facilities to be able to survive on dry land, thus evolving into land animals.

As people flocked out of the continent, only a very small proportion of this specific generation remained. Humankind as we know it is widely believed to have come from these few remaining on the continent, who evolved significantly and in response to the climatic changes.

These conditions continued until about 70 000 years ago, when the climate was again characterised by wetter conditions. These led to the growth and renewal of fresh vegetation, as well as an increased water supply to the region. More people were in the area during this time of abundance, and the population grew. This increase in numbers eventually led to migrations due to space limitations and the ownership of land.

Then, about 20 000 years ago, an Ice Age overcame the entire earth. This meant that the planet underwent a long-term period of cold temperatures over most of its surface. In places like North America and Eurasia, giant ice sheets covered enormous proportions of the land, making it impossible to farm and, sometimes, even live in these areas. This final Ice Age lasted for about 9 500 years. It forced most of the populations to migrate to the highlands, where they would be relatively protected from the ice sheets. Again, these civilisations had to adapt their farming methods, and change their diet, social habits, clothing and migratory patterns. This forced an evolution to a certain extent. Body hair was necessary to keep people warm, their skin lightened due to a lack of the harsh rays of the sun that they experienced during the mega-droughts, etc…

When this Ice Age came to an end 10 500 years ago, areas like the Sahara were left fertile and healthy. This made it and the other areas like it the ideal spots in which to settle as ancient man began to descend from the highlands. Animals and plants thrived in this environment, which made it very desirable in the eyes of mankind. The abundance of food, water and sunshine again changed the habits and physical structures of our earliest forefathers.

These conditions lasted for some time, but the Sahara in particular continued to experience fluctuations between humid and dry conditions. These eventually left the entire area unable to yield crops or sustain life for any extended period of time. Today, it remains a large stretch of desert. Then, approximately 2500 years ago, the group of people who had made their home in the Sahara began to follow the direction of the Nile River, which held promise of a rich water supply. The arid conditions of the Sahara and its surrounds continue to the present day.

Africa has, since prehistoric times, proven to be a place of fascination, life and evolution. Changes in the climate were often dramatic, and these were, to a great extent, responsible for determining the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast continent. It is no wonder that many researchers and scientists maintain that Africa is the Cradle of Mankind, and research continues to yield fascinating evidence of this theory.