Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More latest additions to the library

Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization, by Richard Miles
Late Roman Cavalryman 236-565 AD, by Simon MacDowall

I'm very interested in the book on Carthage.  My take has been that Carthage was the "Wal-Mart of the Ancient World," making their fortune selling poorly designed, cheaply-made products that undercut their competitors.  They were also an oppressive imperial power, hated by their vassal states, which played no small role in their defeats at the hands of the relatively benign Romans.  The Carthaginians seems to have been respected for their mercantile prowess, but were otherwise hated by all the other major powers: Romans, Greeks, Egyptians.  They created little -- they left no literature, because their alphabet consisted of 32 consonants and, as author Will Cuppy once said, "You can't be literary without a few vowels." -- and appear to have been a rather joyless society.  Hard not to be, since they devoutly worshipped a very dark god, Baal-Hammon, who was distant, aloof and brutal, demanding the sacrifice of children.  The most famous Carthaginian, Hannibal, together with his entire family, may have been the worst of the lot.

That has been my take.  Let's see if that take withstands Miles' effort.  I do enjoy having my beliefs and positions challenged.

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