HomeAncient HistoryAncient RomeThird Punic War (149–146 BC)

Third Punic War (149–146 BC)



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In political terms after the end of Second Punic War, Carthage turned into a second-class country, but economically it was very difficult to overcome its power (Carthage exported in large quantities – vines, olive…).

Kingdom of Numidia strengthened during the Massena (also Massinissa) government, when old and new cities were built. There were constant conflicts between Carthage and Numidia, and in these conflicts, Rome was always on the side of Numidia king.

Moderate foreign policy program of Publius Cornelius Scipio, did not receive a lot of support for creating system of dependent and semi-dependent provinces. The term of these facilities was Marcus Porcius Cato Elder, who spent some time in Carthage where he saw all the fortune of the city. In Senate Marcus Porcius Cato often repeated sentence Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam (Moreover, I advise that Carthage must be destroyed).

In one of constant Roman attack on city Massena, Carthaginians prepared well resistance.

The Romans recognized this Carthaginian movement as violation of peace conditions from 201 BC, and although Carthaginians suffered defeat, Romans still declared them war. At that time, the government of Carthage advocated peace, however when the Roman consul, who arrived in Utica, gave orders that Carthaginians leave the city and settle in the area of at least 15 km away from the sea, they decided to defend their city till the end.

The siege of Carthage

All attempts of the Romans to take the city by assault have brought no results. It turned out that Carthage was inaccessible fortress. This went up to 147 BC and the arrival of Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus. He was adopted grandson of Scipio Africanus and son of Emilio Paullus. Scipio Aemilianus first established discipline in the troops and he cut off Carthage from the outside in order to prevent any help. Carthaginian army was defeated out of the city. Hasdrubal the Beotharch who led the defence of the city began to please for peace. Scipio did not accept peace offer and in 146 BC, he began onslaught over the city.

The fall of Carthage

The fight in the streets of Carthage city lasted for 6 days. The seventh day Romans were able to take Byrsa – Acropolis of Carthage. Hasdrubal the Beotharch and his family took refuge in the temple of Aesculapius. In a crucial moment, Hasdrubal the Beotarch run out of the temple and started on his knees to beg Scipio Aemilianis for his life. Hasdrubal’s wife, throw herself with the children in the fire after she saw her husband begging for life.

At the request of the Roman Senate, Carthage had to be levelled and burned to the ground. On its territory was thrown anathema. Residents have been sold into slavery while substantial portion of Carthage estate was turned into the Roman province of Africa, and a large part of the city was declared a state land. Only Utica, Hadrumetum, etc. which provided help to Rome along with the Kingdom of Numidia (which was ruled by the Massena sons who died during Third Punic War) got part of Carthage land.