Tunisia


| ALSO READ: St. Augustine weeps for Queen Dido `slain with the sword and flying to the depths' |

 

THE DESCRIPTION OF CARTHAGE IN APPIAN OF ALEXANDRIA (200 BC)
"PUNIC WAR", IN THE TRANSLATION OF A. D. 1679

Tanit and Cresent "It was situate in the gulf of Africa, compassed by the sea, in the form of a peninsula, the Neck of which, dividing it from the Continent, was about five-and-twenty Furlongs broad. Towards the West there stretched out a long Point of Land, about half a Furlong wide, which advancing into the Sea, divided it from the Marish, and was inclosed on all sides with Rocks, and with a single Wall. Towards the South and the Continent, where stood the Citadel, called Byrsa, it was inclosed with a trip Wall of thirty Cubits high, not accounting the heights of the Parapets and Towers, which flanked it around in equal distances, of about two Acres [Or about eighty fathoms, according to the Greek acre] one from another.

Their Foundations were about thirty Foot deep, and they were four Stories high, the Walls reaching only to the second: but they were vaulted, and that so vastly that underground there were Stalls for three Hundred Elephants, with all things necessary for their sustenance, and above, Stables for four thousand Horse, and Lofts for their Provender; besides, there were Lodgins for twenty thousand Footmen and four thousand Horseman; in short, all their ordinary preparations for War were lodging in their Walls only. There was but one place of the City where the Walls were low and weak. This was a neglected Angle, which began at the Point of Land we spoke of before, and reached to the Ports--for they had two Ports, disposed in such manner that a Ship might easily go from one to the other and yet there was but one entrance, through a passage of about sixty-six Foot wide, secured with Chains.

The first was for Merchants, where were many and divers sorts of Quarters for the Mariners; the other, which was the inner Port, was for the Men of War, in the midst of which stood an Island, encompassed about as well as the Port, with vast Keys, in which there were places or Docks to put under covert two hundred and twenty Ships, and above Storehouses, where they wrought and made all things necessary for the Shipping. The front of each place were upheld by two Pillars of Marble of Ionick workmanship, so that whole round, as well of the Port as the Island, represented on both sides two magnificent Gallies.

Within this Island stood the Admiral's Palace, from whence the Trumpet gave the Signal of his Orders; from whence he published his Ordinances, and from whence he overlooked all Things. The Island stood directly opposite to the mouth of the Port, extending itself way forward so that from thence the Admiral could discern what passed at Sea a great distance off, but those at Sea could not perceive what passed within; nay when the Merchants were entered into their Port, they could not see the Men of War, for their Port was separate from the inward Port by a double Wall, and from them there was an entrance from their Port by a Gate into the City, without passing into the other. Such was this time the face of Carthage."


Pp. [3-4] of CARTHAGE AND TUNIS: THE OLD AND NEW GATES OF THE ORIENT, by Douglas Sladen, Vol. 1, Hutchinson & Co., London 1906.



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