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5 Lost Cities

Carthage: The War-torn City
Carthage was sacked by the Romans plenty of times, but it still thrives today.
Carthage was sacked by the Romans plenty of times, but it still thrives today.

Similar to ­Troy, the city of Carthage was situated in a highly coveted spot in the Mediterranean near modern-day Tunisia. Carthage was founded by the Phoenicians (probably around 800 B.C.) as a trading post in North Africa, directly across from the toe of bootlike Italy. Though its prime location brought the city great prosperity, it also caused 150 years of war -- mainly with Rome -- that eventually led to Carthage's demise. The First Punic War (260-241 B.C.) showcased Rome's superior naval tactics and resulted in Carthage's resounding defeat. During the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.), Carthage battled Rome for rights to Spain and was once again soundly defeated. Rome even managed to outsmart Carthage's legendary military tactician, Hannibal.

Following this devastating loss, Carthage existed as a shell of its former glory until 151 B.C., when Romans noticed the city enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The idea of Carthage prospering made the Romans nervous, so they jumped on the chance to declare war after Carthage violated the terms of a peace accord. This war lasted only a few years and resulted in the total destruction of Carthage and all of its buildings as well as the deaths of thousands of Carthaginians. The city was eventually resettled, but it never fully recovered as a powerhouse. Today, Carthage is a wealthy suburb of Tunisia.

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