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Dimanche 25 février 2018

Carthage heritage

Carthage was founded by Elisa  settlers from the city of Tyre, who brought with them the city-god Melqart. Philistos of Syracuse dates the founding of Carthage to c 1215 BC, while the Roman historian Appian dates the founding 50 years prior to the Trojan War (i.e. between 1244 and 1234 BC, according to the chronology of Eratosthenes).

Queen Elissar (also known as « Elissa », and by the Arabic name اليسار also اليسا and عليسا) who in later accounts became Queen Dido, was a princess of Tyre who founded the city of Carthage.At its peak her metropolis came to be called the « shining city », ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean and leading the Phoenician Punic world.

Elissar fled Tyre with her husband’s gold, and managed to trick the Tyrian ships sent in pursuit to join her fleet. When her ship was overtaken by the Tyrian ships, she threatened to throw the gold overboard and let the would-be captors face the wrath of her brother for failing their mission. They opted to join her, and the augmented fleet sailed on towards the West. Elissa eventually sailed to Africa after a brief stop at Cyprus, where she rescued 80 virgins from a temple. She requested land to establish a new city from the king of the Libyan tribe living near Byrsa after reaching Africa. Told that she could have as much land that can be covered by an oxhide, she cut the hide into thin strips and managed to surround the hill of Byrsa.

The initial city of Carthage was founded on the spot. When the Libyan king later sought to marry her, which would have caused the city to become part of the king’s domain, she chose instead to kill herself.
Bordering Tunis is the city of Carthage, also known as « The Shining City ». Well protected by its navy at sea and the military on the mountains, its confidence became its undoing when the Romans came in and stormed the city, all its defences broken. The Romans razed the city and built their own – structures you still see today, such as the baths and basilicas. Carthage became a super-power state for Rome during the 3rd century CE