The Layman’s Historian
Episode 13 - Carthage: Her City, Her People, and Her Soul

Episode 13 - Carthage: Her City, Her People, and Her Soul

January 6, 2018

With the close of the Sicilian Wars, we have a perfect opportunity to pause in our narrative and take a look around at Carthage and the surrounding civilizations.  In this episode, we will cover the city of Carthage in detail as she stood in the early 200s BC before covering what the everyday Carthaginian looked like as well as the different social classes in the city.  Finally, we will discuss the culture or soul of Carthage, what they believed and how those beliefs molded them into the people they were.

Link to my Map of the Mediterranean World Circa 300 BC

Link to an overhead diagram of the City of Carthage on the episodes page

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Episode 12 - The Battle for Carthage

Episode 12 - The Battle for Carthage

December 16, 2017

After the stunning Greek victory at White Tunis, Agathocles began leisurely pillaging the Carthaginian countryside, amassing riches and terrorizing the inhabitants.  Back in Sicily, Hamilcar Gisco was not so lucky, ultimately losing his life in a disastrous night attack.  Now, with her armies crippled, a foreign invader at her gates, and traitors within her walls, Carthage would have to summon all her strength and resourcefulness to survive the coming days.  As a special Christmas present to you all, I have uploaded a map of Carthage and the surrounding civilizations to the notes of this episode.  Merry Christmas!

 Update: As I feared, the map did not show up in the episode notes on iTunes. Until I get it sorted out, I have attached a link to the map here. Enjoy!

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Map_of_the_Mediterranean_World_300_BC.jpg

Episode 11 - The Enemy in Africa

Episode 11 - The Enemy in Africa

December 3, 2017

After driving the Greeks back to Syracuse in the Battle of the River Himera, Hamilcar Gisco and his Carthaginians settled in to besiege the city.  However, Agathocles refused to remain cooped up within the walls.  Conceiving of a bold gamble likely inspired by his hero Alexander, Agathocles determined to invade North Africa and take the war to Carthage herself.  Secretly gathering his forces and building a fleet, Agathocles outwitted the Carthaginians and landed on the shores of Cape Bon, becoming the first European to ever invade North Africa.

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Episode 10 - Syracuse in Retreat

Episode 10 - Syracuse in Retreat

November 15, 2017

Following Agathocles's bloody and tyrannical rise to power, Carthage dispatched an army under Hamilcar Gisco to put down this new upstart regime.  After committing more atrocities at Gela for good measure, Agathocles met the Carthaginians at the Battle of the River Himera.  Although he almost took the Carthaginian camp by storm, his forces were driven back by Hamilcar Gisco using his Balearic slingers.  After this devastating defeat, Agathocles and Syracuse stood alone against the full might of Carthage in Sicily.

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Episode 9 - Agathocles and the Age of Alexander

Episode 9 - Agathocles and the Age of Alexander

November 6, 2017

After Timoleon's death, Sicily enjoyed an unprecedented twenty-year period of peace and prosperity.  Things were not so quiet in the East, however.  The Macedonians, under Philip II and his son Alexander, soon to be known as the Great, had forged in twelve short years an empire that covered the known world from Greece to India.  In the wake of Alexander's sudden demise, a host of would-be successors vied to share in the Great Macedonian's glory, including Agathocles, last and most brutal of the tyrants of Sicily.

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Episode 8 - Timoleon and the End of the Second Sicilian War

Episode 8 - Timoleon and the End of the Second Sicilian War

November 1, 2017

With Dionysius out of the way, Carthage, despite internal struggles, began to extend her authority over most of Sicily through strategic alliances and concentrated military actions.  Syracuse had almost immediately returned to her old ways after Dionysius's death, and her people were divided in endless squabbles and feuds.  With Syracuse temporarily out of the picture, it looked as if Carthage would finally be able to establish order on the turbulent island.  However, it wasn't to be, for an obscure Corinthian general now appeared on the scene, handing Carthage its greatest defeat in Sicily to date and revitalizing Syracuse to fight another day.

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Episode 7 - Dionysius the Tyrant

Episode 7 - Dionysius the Tyrant

October 26, 2017

Although Carthage had scored some resounding victories against Syracuse, in the fourth century BC, she came up against a significant challenge in the person of Dionysius, Tyrant of Syracuse.  A former mercenary captain, an ambitious ruler but a mediocre poet, Dionysius would rule Syracuse for 38 years.  Ambitious, bold, and cunning, Dionysius revitalized Syracuse into a fighting machine, fielding a massive army and navy to challenge Carthage's rule over in Sicily.  Through fierce fighting both on sea and land, Dionysius succeeded in placing Carthage on the defensive and humiliating the Magonids, although he never achieved his goal of driving the Carthaginians from Sicily.  Nonetheless, his preparations and institutions allowed Syracuse to fight Carthage to a standstill, no mean feat considering the wealth and power Carthage could bring to bear in the conflict.

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Episode 6 - Carthage Strikes Back

Episode 6 - Carthage Strikes Back

October 15, 2017

During the seventy year peace with Syracuse, Carthage regrouped by instituting government reforms and overhauling its tremendous infrastructure.  Meanwhile, Syracusan factions squabbled internally, fluctuating between democratic and autocratic governments.  Despite this, Syracuse won a stunning victory against Athens in the Sicilian Expedition, only to watch its allies be trounced by the Carthaginians commanded by Hannibal Mago, grandson of Hamilcar, the general who fell at Himera.  Yet, with Syracuse reeling from battle, the Carthaginians spared the city and made peace, a decision that they would later rue in the coming years.

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Episode 5 - Syracuse, Sicily, and the Hellenes

Episode 5 - Syracuse, Sicily, and the Hellenes

October 8, 2017

When Carthage expanded its reach into the western coast of Sicily, it became neighbors with the powerful Hellenic colonies of Greece on the eastern side of the island.  The Greeks had their own impressive civilization, and Hellenic ingenuity and military innovation made the Greeks a formidable force in Mediterranean politics.  The Greek colony of Syracuse, the most powerful and wealthy colony in Magna Graecia, was to prove to be a thorn to Carthaginian plans for Sicily for centuries to come.

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Episode 4 - A Punic Sea

Episode 4 - A Punic Sea

October 2, 2017

Following the growth of Carthage into a commercial, political, and technological power, the Carthaginians began to expand outwards from their city.  Delving into North Africa and across the Mediterranean, Carthage formed an informal empire for itself using trade, diplomacy, and concentrated military force.  Meanwhile, Carthaginian ships sailed further and further afield, exploring the coasts of Africa, Northern Europe, and...America?  That can't be right...

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