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DESTRUCTION OF CARTHAGE
WHILE Rome was thus little by little extending its powers in
the East, the Carthaginians were slowly
recovering from the Second Punic War, which had proved
so disastrous for them. The Romans, in the mean while,
felt no great anxiety about Carthage, because their
ally, Masinissa, was still king of Numidia, and was
 keep the senate informed of all that was happening in
But after the peace had lasted about fifty years, and
Carthage had got over her losses, and again amassed
much wealth, some of the Romans felt quite sure that
the time would come when the contest would be renewed.
Others, however, kept saying that Carthage should be
crushed before she managed to get strength enough to
One man in Rome was so much in favor of this latter
plan that he spoke of it on every opportunity. This was
Cato, the censor, a stern and proud old man, who ended
every one of the speeches which he made before the
senate, by saying: "Carthage must be destroyed!"
He repeated these words so often and so persistently
that by and by the Romans began to think as he did; and
they were not at all sorry when the King of Numidia
broke the peace and began what is known in history as
the Third Punic War.
The Carthaginians, worsted in the first encounter, were
very anxious to secure peace. Indeed, they were so
anxious that they once gave up all their arms at the
request of Rome. But after making them give up nearly
all they owned, the Romans finally ordered them to
leave their beautiful city so that it could be
destroyed, and this they refused to do.
As peace was not possible, the Carthaginians then made
up their minds to fight bravely, and to sell their
liberty only with their lives. Their arms having been
taken away from them, all the metal in town was
collected for new weapons. Such was the love of the
people for their city that the
 inhabitants gave all their silver and gold for its
defense, to make the walls stronger.
Not content with giving up their jewelry, the
Carthaginian women cut off their long hair to make
ropes and bowstrings, and went out with their oldest
children to work at the fortifications, which were to
be strengthened to resist the coming attack. Every
child old enough to walk, fired by the example of all
around him, managed to carry a stone or sod to help in
the work of
The siege began, and, under the conduct of Hasdrubal,
their general, the Carthaginians held out so bravely
that at the end of five years Carthage was still free.
The Romans, under various commanders, vainly tried to
surprise the city, but it was only when Scipio
Æmilianus broke down the harbor wall that his army
managed to enter Carthage.
The Romans were so angry at the long resistance of
their enemies that they slew many of the men, made all
the women captives, pillaged the town, and then set
fire to it. Next the mighty walls were razed, and
Carthage, the proud city which had rivaled Rome for
more than a
hundred years, was entirely destroyed.
Thus ended the third and last Punic War, and the heroic
defense of the city which the Romans had always feared,
and which they would not allow to stand lest it should
some day become powerful enough to rule them.
That same year, after secretly encouraging all the
Greek cities to quarrel among themselves, the Romans
went over to Greece, and soon made themselves masters
of the whole country. They destroyed Corinth in the same way
 as Carthage, and bore away from it countless treasures
of art, which they were yet too ignorant to appreciate.
Not long afterwards, a third town shared the terrible
fate of Carthage and Corinth. This was Numantia, in Spain, whose walls were successfully defended against
the Romans until supplies failed and many of the
inhabitants had starved to death. Too weak to fight any
longer, the remainder saw their town leveled with the
ground, and were then sold into slavery.