Sirius is a binary star and the brightest star in the night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The system has the Bayer designation α Canis Majoris; the binary system consists of a main-sequence star of spectral type A0 or A1, termed Sirius A, a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, designated Sirius B. The distance between the two varies between 8.2 and 31.5 astronomical units as they orbit every 50 years. Sirius appears bright because of its proximity to Earth. At a distance of 2.6 parsecs, as determined by the Hipparcos astrometry satellite, the Sirius system is one of Earth's near neighbours. Sirius is moving closer to the Solar System, so it will increase in brightness over the next 60,000 years. After that time, its distance will begin to increase, it will become fainter, but it will continue to be the brightest star in the Earth's night sky for the next 210,000 years. Sirius A is about twice as massive as the Sun and has an absolute visual magnitude of +1.42.
It is 25 times more luminous than the Sun but has a lower luminosity than other bright stars such as Canopus or Rigel. The system is between 300 million years old, it was composed of two bright bluish stars. The more massive of these, Sirius B, consumed its resources and became a red giant before shedding its outer layers and collapsing into its current state as a white dwarf around 120 million years ago. Sirius is known colloquially as the "Dog Star", reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major; the heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the "dog days" of summer for the ancient Greeks, while to the Polynesians in the Southern Hemisphere, the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean. The brightest star in the night sky, Sirius is recorded in some of the earliest astronomical records, its displacement from the ecliptic causes this heliacal rising to be remarkably regular compared to other stars, with a period of exactly 365.25 days holding it constant relative to the solar year.
This occurs at Cairo on 19 July, placing it just prior to the summer solstice and the onset of the annual flooding of the Nile during antiquity. Owing to the flood's own irregularity, the extreme precision of the star's return made it important to the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped it as the goddess Sopdet, guarantor of the fertility of their land; the Egyptian civil calendar was initiated to have its New Year "Mesori" coincide with the appearance of Sirius, although its lack of leap years meant that this congruence only held for four years until its date began to wander backwards through the months. The Egyptians continued to note the times of Sirius's annual return, which may have led them to the discovery of the 1460-year Sothic cycle and influenced the development of the Julian and Alexandrian calendars; the ancient Greeks observed that the appearance of Sirius heralded the hot and dry summer and feared that it caused plants to wilt, men to weaken, women to become aroused. Due to its brightness, Sirius would have been noted to twinkle more in the unsettled weather conditions of early summer.
To Greek observers, this signified certain emanations. Anyone suffering its effects was said to be "star-struck", it was described as "burning" or "flaming" in literature. The season following the star's reappearance came to be known as the "dog days"; the inhabitants of the island of Ceos in the Aegean Sea would offer sacrifices to Sirius and Zeus to bring cooling breezes, would await the reappearance of the star in summer. If it rose clear, it would portend good fortune. Coins retrieved from the island from the 3rd century BC feature dogs or stars with emanating rays, highlighting Sirius's importance; the Romans celebrated the heliacal setting of Sirius around April 25, sacrificing a dog, along with incense, a sheep, to the goddess Robigo so that the star's emanations would not cause wheat rust on wheat crops that year. Ptolemy of Alexandria mapped the stars in Books VII and VIII of his Almagest, in which he used Sirius as the location for the globe's central meridian, he depicted it as one of six red-coloured stars.
The other five are class M and K stars, such as Betelgeuse. Bright stars were important to the ancient Polynesians for navigation between the many islands and atolls of the Pacific Ocean. Low on the horizon, they acted as stellar compasses, they served as latitude markers. Sirius served as the body of a "Great Bird" constellation called Manu, with Canopus as the southern wingtip and Procyon the northern wingtip, which divided the Polynesian night sky into two hemispheres. Just as the appearance of Sirius in the morning sky marked summer in Greece, it marked the onset of winter for the Māori, whose name Takurua described both the star and the season, its culmination at the winter solstice was marked by celebration in Hawaii, where it was known as Ka'ulua, "Queen of Heaven". Many other Polynesian names have been recorded, including Tau-ua in the Marquesas Islands, Rehua in New Zealand, Ta'urua-fau-papa "Festivity of original high chiefs" and Ta'urua-e-hiti-i-te-tara-te-feiai "Festivity who rises with prayers and
The Roman navy comprised the naval forces of the ancient Roman state. The navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean Basin, but it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions. Throughout their history, the Romans remained a land-based people and relied on their more nautically inclined subjects, such as the Greeks and the Egyptians, to build their ships; because of that, the navy was never embraced by the Roman state, deemed somewhat "un-Roman". In antiquity and trading fleets did not have the logistical autonomy that modern ships and fleets possess. Unlike modern naval forces, the Roman navy at its height never existed as an autonomous service but operated as an adjunct to the Roman army. During the course of the First Punic War, the Roman navy was massively expanded and played a vital role in the Roman victory and the Roman Republic's eventual ascension to hegemony in the Mediterranean Sea. In the course of the first half of the 2nd century BC, Rome went on to destroy Carthage and subdue the Hellenistic kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean, achieving complete mastery of the inland sea, which they called Mare Nostrum.
The Roman fleets were again prominent in the 1st century BC in the wars against the pirates, in the civil wars that brought down the Republic, whose campaigns ranged across the Mediterranean. In 31 BC, the great naval Battle of Actium ended the civil wars culminating in the final victory of Augustus and the establishment of the Roman Empire. During the Imperial period, the Mediterranean became a peaceful "Roman lake". In the absence of a maritime enemy, the navy was reduced to patrol, anti-piracy and transport duties; the navy manned and maintained craft on major frontier rivers such as the Rhine and the Danube for supplying the army. On the fringes of the Empire, in new conquests or in defense against barbarian invasions, the Roman fleets were still engaged in open warfare; the decline of the Empire in the 3rd century took a heavy toll on the navy, reduced to a shadow of its former self, both in size and in combat ability. As successive waves of the Völkerwanderung crashed on the land frontiers of the battered Empire, the navy could only play a secondary role.
In the early 5th century, the Roman frontiers were breached, barbarian kingdoms appeared on the shores of the western Mediterranean. One of them, the Vandal Kingdom, raised a navy of its own and raided the shores of the Mediterranean sacking Rome, while the diminished Roman fleets were incapable of offering any resistance; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century. The navy of the surviving eastern Roman Empire is known as the Byzantine navy; the exact origins of the Roman fleet are obscure. A traditionally agricultural and land-based society, the Romans ventured out to sea, unlike their Etruscan neighbours. There is evidence of Roman warships in the early 4th century BC, such as mention of a warship that carried an embassy to Delphi in 394 BC, but at any rate, the Roman fleet, if it existed, was negligible; the traditional birth date of the Roman navy is set at ca. 311 BC, after the conquest of Campania, two new officials, the duumviri navales classis ornandae reficiendaeque causa, were tasked with the maintenance of a fleet.
As a result, the Republic acquired its first fleet, consisting of 20 ships, most triremes, with each duumvir commanding a squadron of 10 ships. However, the Republic continued to rely on her legions for expansion in Italy; this situation continued until the First Punic War: the main task of the Roman fleet was patrolling along the Italian coast and rivers, protecting seaborne trade from piracy. Whenever larger tasks had to be undertaken, such as the naval blockade of a besieged city, the Romans called on the allied Greek cities of southern Italy, the socii navales, to provide ships and crews, it is possible that the supervision of these maritime allies was one of the duties of the four new praetores classici, who were established in 267 BC. The first Roman expedition outside mainland Italy was against the island of Sicily in 265 BC; this led to the outbreak of hostilities with Carthage, which would last until 241 BC. At the time, the Punic city was the unchallenged master of the western Mediterranean, possessing a long maritime and naval experience and a large fleet.
Although Rome had relied on her legions for the conquest of Italy, operations in Sicily had to be supported by a fleet, the ships available by Rome's allies were insufficient. Thus in 261 BC, the Roman Senate set out to construct a fleet of 20 triremes. According to Polybius, the Romans seized a shipwrecked Carthaginian quinquereme, used it as a blueprint for their own ships; the new fleets were commanded by the annually elected Roman magistrates, but naval expertise was provided by the lower officers, who continued to be provided by the socii Greeks. This practice was continued until well into the Empire, something attested by the direct adoption of numerous Greek naval terms. Despite the massive buildup, the Roman crews remained inferior in naval experience to the Carthaginians, could not hope to match them in naval tactics, which required great maneuverability and experience, they therefore employed a novel weapon. They equipped their ships with the corvus developed earlier by the Syracusans against the Athenians.
This was a long plank with a spike for hooking onto enemy ships. Using it as a boarding bridge, marines were able to board an enemy ship, transforming sea combat in
Battle of Messana
The Battle of Messana in 264 BC was the first military clash between the Roman Republic and Carthage. It marked the start of the First Punic War. In that period, after the recent successes in southern Italy, Sicily became of increasing strategic importance to Rome; the Greek historian Polybius states in Book One of The Histories: "Even after long consideration, the Senate did not approve the proposal to send help to Messana. However, the people who had suffered grievously from the wars that had just ended and were in dire need of rehabilitation of every kind, were inclined to listen to the consuls; these men, besides stressing the national advantages I have mentioned which Rome could secure if she intervened dwelt on the great gains which would accrue to every individual citizen from the spoils of war, so a resolution for sending help was carried. When his decree had been passed by the people, one of the consuls, Appius Claudius, was appointed to command an expedition, was given orders to cross to Messana."After this, the Mamertines forced the Punic garrison out of Messana and invited the Roman force into the city.
The Carthaginians crucified the garrison commander, Hanno, on his return to Carthage for what was regarded as his cowardice and lack of judgement in leaving Messana. The Romans defeated the Syracusans moved against the Carthaginians; the light infantry soon fell back. The Roman and Carthaginian infantry engaged in the centre. However, the Romans gained the upper hand, the Carthaginians retreated. Not to be confused with the Battle of Messene, part of the Greek-Punic Wars. Mamertines Syracuse, Sicily The General History of Polybius by Polybius, translator James Hampton
Battle of Drepana
The naval Battle of Drepana took place in 249 BC during the First Punic War near modern Trapani, western Sicily between the fleets of Carthage under Adherbal and the Roman Republic under Publius Claudius Pulcher. The Roman fleet was destroyed with the loss of 93 ships and 8,000–20,000 men in Carthage's greatest naval victory of the war; the Carthaginians exploited their victory by raiding the coasts of Roman Italy in 248. The Romans did not mount a major naval effort until 242 BC; the string of Roman naval victories, such as Mylae and Ecnomus, gave them the confidence to make a direct attack on the Carthaginian stronghold of Lilybaeum governed by Himilco. The city was blockaded by a fleet commanded by the year's consuls Publius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Junius Pullus. However, despite the acquired Roman naval experience, the Carthaginians were still superior in open sea manoeuvring. A small squadron led by a commander named Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, managed to break the siege in broad daylight and deliver supplies to the garrison of Lilybaeum.
In the night, Hannibal left the city carrying the useless cavalry horses and sailed to the harbour of Drepana, before the Romans knew what was happening. The success of the enterprise was so stunning. For the Romans, this was more than a humiliation: it was annulling the whole effect of the siege, since the garrison was being fed and kept in contact with Carthage. Something had to be done. Shortly after, a brave sailor, identified as Hannibal the Rhodian defied the Roman fleet by sailing around the fleet in order to spy on the town and relay the news of the goings on inside of Lilybaeum to the Carthaginian Senate and the Carthaginian commander at the battle, Adherbal. Pulcher, the senior consul decided to launch a surprise attack on the harbour of Drepana, where the defiant ships were garrisoned; the fleet sailed north from Lilybaeum in a moonless night. Carthaginian scouts did not spot the Roman ships but low visibility conditions compromised the battle formation; when they reached Drepana at sunrise, the fleet was scattered in a long, disorganized line with Pulcher's ship in the rear.
Punic scouts saw the advantage of surprise was lost. Meanwhile, on the flagship, some sources state that Pulcher, as the senior magistrate in command, took the auspices before battle, according to Roman religious requirements; the prescribed method was observing the feeding behaviour of the sacred chickens, on board for that purpose. If the chickens accepted the offered grain the Roman gods would be favourable to the battle. However, on that particular morning of 249 BC, the chickens refused to eat – a horrific omen. Confronted with the unexpected and having to deal with the superstitious and now terrified crews, Pulcher devised an alternative interpretation, he threw the sacred chickens overboard, saying, "If they won't eat, let them drink!" However, it is not clear if this occurred. The contemporary historian Polybius fails to mention it, instead crediting the victory to the superior maneuverability of the Carthaginian warships, making the incident of drowning the chickens at least dubious, although the auspices certainly would have been taken.
In the harbour, the Carthaginians did not wait to see. Adherbal had similar, though less controversial, quick thoughts and ordered the evacuation of Drepana before the blockade was unavoidable. Carthage's ships thus sailed out of Drepana, passing south of the city and around two small islands in the coast to the open sea. Seeing his plan for a surprise attack fail, Pulcher ordered his fleet to regroup into battle formation. However, by everything was against him; the coast of Sicily was at the Punic fleet ready for battle at his front. Adherbal ordered his right flank to attack the rear-most Roman ships; the result was an utter Roman defeat, with 93 of the ships commanded by Pulcher sunk or captured with the loss of 8,000 or 20,000 men and only 30 ships escaping to safety. Publius Claudius Pulcher managed to escape and returned to Rome in shame, where he faced charges of treason. Unlike the Carthaginians, Romans did not execute generals for incompetence, he was sentenced to exile, with his political career finished.
In the same year, Hamilcar Barca led a successful campaign in Sicily and a storm destroyed the other half of the Roman fleet, commanded by consul Junius Paullus. The situation was so desperate that Aulus Atilius Calatinus was appointed dictator and sent to the island to control the land warfare; the Drepana defeat so demoralized the Romans that they waited seven years before building another fleet. The Fall of Carthage, by Adrian Goldsworthy, Cassel The Rise of the Roman Empire, by Polybius Lazenby, John Francis; the First Punic War: A Military History. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2673-6. OCLC 34371250. Rankov, Boris. "A War of Phases: Strategies and Stalemates 264–241". In Hoyos, Dexter. A Companion to the Punic Wars. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-405-17600-2. Drepana Siege of Drepana Sheridan, Paul. "The Sacred Chickens of Rome". Anecdotes from Antiquity. Retrieved 2015-11-17
Battle of the Bagradas River (255 BC)
The Battle of the Bagradas River known as the Battle of Tunis, was a Carthaginian victory over Rome in the spring of 255 BC during the First Punic War. The superior cavalry of the Carthaginians and their allies permitted a pincer attack on the Roman infantrymen, provoking a rout and slaughter; the mercenary Spartan general Xanthippus was hired by the city of Carthage following heavy-handed negotiations by Rome. He made the Romans fight on open ground, which allowed him to maximise the effect of the excellent Carthaginian cavalry and elephants; the Roman army under Marcus Atilius Regulus was based at Tunis. Faced by the resurgent Carthaginian army, Regulus was keen to gain another victory rather than risk the chance that someone else would get the glory of eventual victory. Xanthippus deployed the Carthaginian phalanx in the centre, mercenary infantry on the right, a line of elephants in front of the infantry, the elite Carthaginian cavalry split between the two flanks; the Carthaginians had 12,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, 100 war elephants.
The Romans had 500 cavalry. The Romans were formed in their normal formation, with the legionary infantry in the centre and the outnumbered cavalry on the flanks; the Carthaginians started the battle with an attack by the elephants. This tied up the main force of Roman infantry; the Roman cavalry, outnumbered eight to one, was defeated. Only on their left did the Romans have any success, when 2,000 troops allied troops, defeated the mercenaries facing them, chased them back past their camp. Meanwhile, in the centre the elephant attack had been withstood, but only a few isolated units of Roman infantry managed to get past them to attempt to attack the Carthaginian phalanx, those were defeated; the Carthaginian cavalry charged the shaken Romans from both sides, destroying what cohesion was left. Only the 2,000 troops successful earlier in the battle escaped to be rescued by the Roman fleet; the Romans lost 12,000 killed and 500 captured, while the Carthaginians lost only 800 mercenaries killed. Regulus was taken prisoner.
Some Roman writers claim that his eyelids were cut off and he was trampled to death by an enraged elephant. However Polybius does not mention it and Diodorus suggests he died from natural causes; the defeat, serious disasters in storms at sea, ended any chance that Rome would defeat Carthage in Africa, ensured that the rest of the war was fought in Sicily and at sea. Battle of the Bagradas River, other battles in antiquity Lazenby, John Francis; the First Punic War: A Military History. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2673-6. OCLC 34371250. Rankov, Boris. "A War of Phases: Strategies and Stalemates 264–241". In Hoyos, Dexter. A Companion to the Punic Wars. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-405-17600-2
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage and the Roman Republic. The Punic Wars were named because of the Roman name for Carthaginians: Poenici; this war was a much smaller engagement than the two previous Punic Wars and focused on Tunisia on the Siege of Carthage, which resulted in the complete destruction of the city, the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome, the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population. The Third Punic War ended Carthage's independent existence. In the years between the Second and Third Punic War, Rome was engaged in the conquest of the Hellenistic empires and of the Illyrian tribes to the east, suppressing the Hispanian peoples in the west, although they had been essential to the Roman success in the Second Punic War. Carthage, stripped of allies and territory, was suffering under a large indemnity of 200 silver talents to be paid every year for 50 years. According to Appian, the senator Cato the Elder finished his speeches on any subject in the Senate with the phrase ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam, which means "Moreover, I am of the opinion that Carthage ought to be destroyed".
Cicero attributed a similar statement to Cato in his dialogue De Senectute. He was opposed by the senator Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, who favoured a different course that would not destroy Carthage, who prevailed in the debates; the peace treaty at the end of the Second Punic War required that all border disputes involving Carthage be arbitrated by the Roman Senate and required Carthage to get explicit Roman approval before going to war. As a result, in the 50 intervening years between the Second and Third Punic War, Carthage had to take all border disputes with Rome's ally Numidia to the Roman Senate, where they were decided exclusively in Numidian favour. In 151 BC, the Carthaginian debt to Rome was repaid, meaning that, in Punic eyes, the treaty was now expired, though not so according to the Romans, who instead viewed the treaty as a permanent declaration of Carthaginian subordination to Rome akin to the Roman treaties with its Italian allies. Moreover, the retirement of the indemnity removed one of the main incentives the Romans had to keep the peace with Carthage – there were no further payments that might be interrupted.
The Romans had other reasons to conquer her remaining territories. By the middle of the 2nd century BC, the population of the city of Rome was about 400,000 and rising. Feeding the growing populace was becoming a major challenge; the farmlands surrounding Carthage represented the most productive, most accessible and the most obtainable agricultural lands not yet under Roman control. In 151 BC Numidia launched another border raid on Carthaginian soil, besieging the Punic town of Oroscopa, Carthage launched a large military expedition to repel the Numidian invaders; as a result, Carthage suffered a military defeat and was charged with another fifty year debt to Numidia. Thereafter, Rome showed displeasure with Carthage's decision to wage war against its neighbour without Roman consent, told Carthage that in order to avoid a war it had to “satisfy the Roman People.” In 149 BC, Rome declared war against Carthage. The Carthaginians made a series of attempts to appease Rome, received a promise that if three hundred children of well-born Carthaginians were sent as hostages to Rome the Carthaginians would keep the rights to their land and self-government.
After this was done the allied Punic city of Utica defected to Rome, a Roman army of 80,000 men gathered there. The consuls demanded that Carthage hand over all weapons and armor. After those had been handed over, Rome additionally demanded that the Carthaginians move at least 16 kilometres inland, while the city was to be burned; when the Carthaginians learned of this, they abandoned negotiations and the city was besieged, beginning the Third Punic War. After the main Roman expedition landed at Utica, consuls Manius Manilius and Lucius Marcius Censorius launched a two-pronged attack on Carthage, but were repulsed by the army of the Carthaginian Generals Hasdrubal the Boeotarch and Himilco Phameas. Censorius lost more than 500 men when they were surprised by the Carthaginian cavalry while collecting timber around the Lake of Tunis. A worse disaster fell upon the Romans when their fleet was set ablaze by fire ships which the Carthaginians released upwind. Manilius was replaced by consul Calpurnius Piso Caesonius in 149 after a severe defeat of the Roman army at Nepheris, a Carthaginian stronghold south of the city.
Scipio Aemilianus's intervention saved four cohorts trapped in a ravine. Nepheris fell to Scipio in the winter of 147–146. In the autumn of 148, Piso was beaten back while attempting to storm the city of Aspis, near Cape Bon. Undeterred, he laid siege to the town of Hippagreta in the north, but his army was unable to defeat the Punics there before winter and had to retreat; when news of these setbacks reached Rome, he was replaced as consul by Scipio Aemilianus. The Carthaginians endured the siege, starting 149 BC to the spring of 146 BC, when Scipio Aemilianus assaulted the city. Though the Punic citizens offered a strong resistance, they were pushed back by the overwhelming Roman military force and destroyed. Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the part of the siege, while many others died in the final six days of fighting; when the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original pre-war population, were sold into slavery by the victors. Cartha
Carthage was the center or capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now the Tunis Governorate in Tunisia. The city developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of a Punic empire dominating the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC; the legendary Queen Dido is regarded as the founder of the city, though her historicity has been questioned. According to accounts by Timaeus of Tauromenium, she purchased from a local tribe the amount of land that could be covered by an oxhide. Cutting the skin into strips, she laid out her claim and founded an empire that would become, through the Punic Wars, the only existential threat to Rome until the coming of the Vandals several centuries later; the ancient city was destroyed by the Roman Republic in the Third Punic War in 146 BC and re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa. The city was sacked and destroyed in the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in 698.
The site remained uninhabited, the regional power shifting to the Medina of Tunis in the medieval period, until the early 20th century, when it began to develop into a coastal suburb of Tunis, incorporated as Carthage municipality in 1919. The archaeological site was first surveyed by Danish consul Christian Tuxen Falbe. Excavations were performed in the second half of the 19th century by Charles Ernest Beulé and by Alfred Louis Delattre; the Carthage National Museum was founded in 1875 by Cardinal Charles Lavigerie. Excavations performed by French archaeologists in the 1920s first attracted an extraordinary amount of attention because of the evidence they produced for child sacrifice. There has been considerable disagreement among scholars concerning whether or not child sacrifice was practiced by ancient Carthage; the open-air Carthage Paleo-Christian Museum has exhibits excavated under the auspices of UNESCO from 1975 to 1984. The name Carthage /ˈkarθɪdʒ/ is the Early Modern anglicisation of French Carthage /kaʁ.taʒ/, from Latin Carthāgō and Karthāgō from the Punic qrt-ḥdšt "new city", implying it was a "new Tyre".
The Latin adjective pūnicus, meaning "Phoenician", is reflected in English in some borrowings from Latin—notably the Punic Wars and the Punic language. The Modern Standard Arabic form قرطاج is an adoption of French Carthage, replacing an older local toponym reported as Cartagenna that directly continued the Latin name. Carthage was built on a promontory with sea inlets to the south; the city's location made it master of the Mediterranean's maritime trade. All ships crossing the sea had to pass between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia, where Carthage was built, affording it great power and influence. Two large, artificial harbors were built within the city, one for harboring the city's massive navy of 220 warships and the other for mercantile trade. A walled tower overlooked both harbors; the city had 37 km in length, longer than the walls of comparable cities. Most of the walls were located on the shore, thus could be less impressive, as Carthaginian control of the sea made attack from that direction difficult.
The 4.0 to 4.8 km of wall on the isthmus to the west were massive and were never penetrated. The city had a huge necropolis or burial ground, religious area, market places, council house, a theater, was divided into four sized residential areas with the same layout. In the middle of the city stood a high citadel called the Byrsa. Carthage was one of the largest cities of the Hellenistic period and was among the largest cities in preindustrial history. Whereas by AD 14, Rome had at least 750,000 inhabitants and in the following century may have reached 1 million, the cities of Alexandria and Antioch numbered only a few hundred thousand or less. According to the not always reliable history of Herodian, Carthage rivaled Alexandria for second place in the Roman empire. On top of Byrsa hill, the location of the Roman Forum, a residential area from the last century of existence of the Punic city was excavated by the French archaeologist Serge Lancel; the neighborhood, with its houses and private spaces, is significant for what it reveals about daily life there over 2100 years ago.
The remains have been preserved under embankments, the substructures of the Roman forum, whose foundation piles dot the district. The housing blocks are separated by a grid of straight streets about 6 m wide, with a roadway consisting of clay. Construction of this type presupposes organization and political will, has inspired the name of the neighborhood, "Hannibal district", referring to the legendary Punic general or sufet at the beginning of the second century BCE; the habitat is typical stereotypical. The street was used as a storefront/shopfront. In some places, the ground is covered with mosaics called punica pavement, sometimes using a characteristic red mortar; the merchant harbor at Carthage was developed, after settlement of the nearby Punic town of Utica. The surrounding countryside was brought into the orbit of the Punic urban centers, first commercially politically. Direct management over cultivation of neighbouring lands by Punic owners followed. A 28-volume work on agriculture written in Punic by Mago, a retired army general, was trans