How The Great Empire of Carthage was born

It’s 813 BC. Tyre (present day Lebnon). One of the ancient city states of the Phoenicians.

Their king Mutto dies, leaving behind two children, Pygmalion and Dido to rule jointly.

Pygmalion seizes power and has Dido’s weathly husband Sychaeus killed. One night, soon after the murder, the ghost of Sychaeus comes to Dido in a dream. He tells her where he has hidden his fortune. What really happened to him; and to flee Tyre before Pygmalion kills her too.

Of course, Dido flees with her followers. Travels the Mediterranean, and settles in North Africa. She offers the local ruler Larbus a substantial amount if she could have as much land as a hide of a bull can cover. Thinking they have a great deal, he agrees. She promptly orders to have the hide cut in thin little strips and encircles a large piece of land.

Thus Carthage is born.

Dido and Aeneas

Time passes and Carthage is prospering. As legend has it Aeneas, following the fall of Troy is blown off course and lands in Carthage. He and the beautiful Dido fall in love, with Aeneas and the Trojans preparing to settle for good in Carthage. However the God Mercury came to Aeneas to remind him of his destiny in Italy and he leaves. Dido is heartbroken hearted and she places a curse on them. Vowing eternal enmity between her descendants in Carthage and the descendants of Aeneas in Italy, she then kills herself.

Cyrus The Great

Approximately 300 hundred years later in 539BC Cyrus the Great united much of the Middle East under Persian rule.

He captured the Phoenician city states and broke them into four vassal kingdoms of Sidon, Tyre, Arwad and Byblos. It’s thought that much of the Phoenician population migrated to Carthage at this time of the Persian conquest. That is why from this time forward we don’t speak of the
Phoenicians, but rather the Carthaginians.

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