Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

light upon the enigmatical obscurities of African history and geography. The history of Carthage is the most imperfectly known. Indeed, of the brilliant period of her prosperity, we have no account, her native writers having long been lost; and the story of her decline alone is preserved in the annals of her great rival and destroyer. Carthage was one of many colonies established by the Tyrians on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. Utica is supposed to have been still more ancient; and it continued to rank second only to Carthage, till, after the ruin of the latter city, it became the capital of the Roman province of Africa. The history of Ancient Carthage divides itself into three periods. The first extends from the foundation of the city, B.C. 878, to the commencement of the wars against Syracuse, B.C. 480. This interval comprises the rise and growth of the State, its extension in Africa, Sardinia, and the smaller islands of the Mediterranean, and the commercial wars with the Massilians and Etrurians. The second period, extending from the commencement of the Syracusan to that of the Roman wars, from B.c. 480 to b.c. 265, includes the era of its greatest power and extent. The third period includes the history of its wars with Rome, its decline, and final overthrow, B.c. 146. Colonial Carthage, the imperial capital of the Gordians, the see of Cyprian, and the seat of the African primacy, though inferior in extent as well as political greatness to the Phænician city, maintained the historic splendour of the name, till the Roman power fell in its turn before the Saracen, and the site was once more (A.D. 698) consigned to desolation.

The topography of Carthage has never received adequate illustration. The account given by Shaw, on which Professor Heeren is disposed to build, has been called in question by Chateaubriand; a writer of small authority indeed, but his objections, fortified by the observations of an able engineer, deserve attention. It is not a little remarkable, that the situation of the ports, the very circumstance to which the city owed its glory, should be precisely the point of the greatest obscurity. With regard, however, to any architectural remains that might be discovered, they would be those of the Roman city, not of the Phænician, which it must have effaced: the theatre, the aqueducts, and the marbles which Edrisi represents as still serving for a quarry in the twelfth century, must all have belonged to the Colonial city. The territory of Carthage extended eastward to the frontier of Cyrene; and Capt. Beechey supposes the common boundary to have been at a place now called Bengerwad, where the mountains that run parallel with the beach, approach very close to the sea *. The highly interesting volume which details the

* Beechey, p. 189.

results of the survey made by that gentleman in 1821, 2, had not appeared when Professor Heeren composed this portion of his work; and he has chiefly relied on the unsatisfactory statements of Della Cella. The Translator has referred, in a note, to Capt. Beechey’s volume, as well as to a work which the Professor would have found of important service in his geographical inquiries, the Modern Traveller, Africa ; in which the descriptionis furnished by Della Cella, Beechey, and Pacho are compared with each other, and, so far as they admit of it, combined. Westward, the Carthaginian territory was bounded by the Numidian kingdom, in about the meridian of 8o E. The river Tusca, which now divides the kingdom of Tunis from that of Algiers, was, probably, the ancient boundary. Of their provinces, the first in importance was Sardinia, the largest of the islands of which they became completely masters. Till very lately, this was the least known of any part of Europe ; even Taheite and Hawaii, Professor Heeren remarks, being better known to us than Sardinia ; and

the knowledge of the ancients respecting it was equally scanty.' The Carthaginians jealously interdicted all strangers from approaching it; a policy which the Author supposes to have been adopted on account of the rich produce which they drew from the Sardinian silver mines. Corsica appears never to have been entirely brought under the dominion of Carthage; nor was Sicily at any time wholly in her possession. It was in this island that the interests of the Carthaginians came into direct collision with those of the Greeks, and that the opposite spirit of their policy was brought into contrast.

• Both of them here possessed cities ; but those of the former (the Carthaginians) were soon eclipsed by those of the latter. The Greek cities were free, independent States; and that, combined with the extraordinary fruitfulness of the soil, and the unobstructed sale of their merchandize, enabled them to raise themselves to a considerable pitch of opulence and power. Those of Carthage, on the contrary, were founded with all that economy, and watched with all that jealousy, which are peculiar to suspicious, niggardly merchants. The best among them would not bear a comparison with Agrigentum, much less with Syracuse.' Vol. I. p. 74.

The Balearic Islands and Malta fell at an early period into the possession of the Carthaginians, having previously received Phænician settlements. In Spain also, as in the islands of the Mediterranean, they are supposed to have “trod in the footsteps • of their forefathers, the Phænicians, who, from time immemorial, 'made that ancient Mexico the chief object of their voyages,

and there formed settlements, some of which became, in their 'turn, opulent and powerful states. We are referred to another portion of the Author's work for illustration of this statement. Andalusia, which appears to have been at all times more African

than European, was the proper territory of the Phænician colonies; and from the intercourse of the settlers with the ancient inhabitants, sprang a mixed race called Bastuli, similar to the Liby-Phænicians in Africa. Gades, the seat of the Tyrian Hercules, the national god, took the lead of the maritime cities which they founded; and the close connexion between Carthage and that city, was an important advantage.

· Hence they drew the best of their mercenary troops ; and the harbour of Gades served at the same time as a station for their vessels in their distant voyages beyond the Pillars of Hercules, along the shores of the ocean. The mines of this country, and the rich treasures which they yielded, were nevertheless the great points of attraction. These had already been opened and worked by their forefathers, the Phænicians. Here, then, the way was again ready paved for them; and they most probably attempted, in the infancy of their settlements, to turn these mines to account. Even during their Sicilian and Libyan wars, they were enabled by them, according to the express declaration of Diodorus, to maintain the mighty armies which they at that time raised ; and the mines which the Romans at a later period worked, had all been previously opened by the Carthaginians .... The relations of Carthage with Spain, during the whole of her most flourishing period, were altogether of a peaceable nature. She enjoyed all the advantages which this rich country could bestow, without risk or expense; and simply because she had sufficient moderation to prefer a quiet intercourse to the glitter of conquest. The silver mines, whether under her dominion or not, were equally beneficial to her; as, by the profitable sale of her wares, she received the treasures they produced. The Spanish tribes were her friends and allies, and willingly served in her armies for a moderate pay. Carthage long enjoyed the fruits of this policy: her treasury was filled, and her argosies rode widely undisturbed across the seas. The pressure of circumstances which time brought about, compelled her to change this policy ; but they arose out of a series of misfortunes, which gradually sapped the foundation of the Republic, and caused her overthrow.' Vol. I. pp. 86, 7.

There is no example of any great republic, Professor Heeren remarks, either of ancient or modern times, that did not, so far as its geographical position admitted, become a conquering state; nor one to whom its ambitious policy did not prove ultimately fatal. Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthage, Venice and Genoa, each in turn became conqueror and conquered. When the spirit of commerce passes into a desire of conquest, the principle of political health has already become vitiated; and though decline may not begin, disease, the sure precursor of decline, is already at work. Such is one of the most legible lessons of history. Our limits will not allow us to follow the Author through the interesting chapters relating to the government, commerce, and military establishments of Carthage. On the subject of their religion, we are referred, in a note, to a learned treatise

VOL. VII.-N.S.

Cc

by Bishop Munter, (Copenhagen, 1822,) which we have not seen. Their deities, by which we may trace their close connexion with their Phænician ancestors, were those to whom the Romans gave the names of Hercules, Saturn, and Neptune ; but the Ty. rian Hercules, whom the Carthaginians called Melcart or Melekkartha, (i. e., according to Bochart, king of the city,) was the Syrian Adonis, the same as Osiris and Krishna, whose worship was altogether foreign from that of the Greeks and Romans. Thus, Hercules appears in their mythology, like Boodh in the Brahminical legends, in a subordinate and degraded form ; whereas, in the primary worship, Hercules, like Boodh, was supreme, and typified some modification of the power of nature. Satum, or Chronos, the Moloch of the Hebrews, the Zohal of the old Arabians, and the Maha-Cali of India, is distinguished, under all his names, by the sanguinary nature of his worship. Human sacrifices were offered to him in Phoenicia and other countries ; but the Carthaginians were distinguished by the horrid nature of their rites, worthy of Ashantee. Professor Heeren has a curious remark on this subject, in a note. It is true, that the number of • human sacrifices was greater among the Carthaginians, than

among other nations; but what was it, compared with the • thousands destroyed by the Spanish Inquisition?' With equal propriety might it be asked, what was it compared with the hundreds of thousands destroyed by war ? Both questions are alike irrelevant. The burning of a heretic in the character of a civil offender, atrocious as is the act, and contrary to the spirit of Christianity, is not a modification of the same idea' that has led to the offering up of human sacrifices as a propitiation to the of. fended gods ; nor is the comparative heinousness of either practice to be estimated by the number of the victims. The superstition of the Carthaginians must have been strongly tinctured with a fanaticism truly African, if it be true, as Diodorus states, that three hundred men willingly devoted themselves to death as sacrifices. This self-devotion exceeds that of the followers of Karmath or Hussun Subah, the “ Shiekh of the Mountain ;' and the recklessness of life which seems to have characterised these Carthaginians, tempts us to suppose that the Ashantees must have sprung from a colony of the same people. This sanguinary worship was probably practised chiefly in the decline of the State. We may infer this, from the obvious motive of such sacrifices,—the propitiation of malignant deities in time of public calamity ;--from the historical fact, that sanguinary rites are generally found to be superinduced upon a milder superstition, as the worship of Seeva in India, is of posterior origin to that of Vishnoo or Boodh ;-and from the very high probability that the priesthood must have gained a strong ascendancy, and become corrupted by that ascendancy, before the people could be brought to consent to so infernal an expedient. The primitive worship of the Carthaginians was probably directed to the goddess of the mariner, Astarte, Ashtaroth, or Cælestis, Isis or Dian. The precincts of the temple of Venus, in the Colonial Carthage, occupied an area two miles in circumference. The Panagia and the Madonna of the Greek and Sicilian mariners, is the successor of the Cytheræa of the Egean, and the Venus of the Adriatic. As to the Carthaginian Neptune, whose native name has not even been preserved, he was, probably, closely related to Typhon or Saturn; for the sea seems to have been personified and worshipped as an active or masculine element, only in the character of a destroyer; and the genial influence invoked by the mariner, was always feminine.

The chapter on the Land Trade of Carthage, has required Professor Heeren to attempt an elucidation of the ancient geography of Interior Africa. The caravan trade of Carthage seems, he remarks, to have been one of its state secrets. It consisted, like the modern trade, chiefly of dates, salt, slaves, and gold. Gold dust has been the loadstone which has drawn the Moorish caravan across the desert into the heart of Nigritia, where salt is a more precious commodity. Professor Heeren considers it as evident, that the Nasamones of Herodotus actually reached the Negro lands beyond the desert, and that the river to which they penetrated was the Joliba. He differs entirely from a writer in the Quarterly Review, who asserts, that Clapperton has .com

pletely demolished every possibility of the Quorra's being the 'great river of Herodotus, which stopped the Nasamones.' In a note inserted at the end of Volume II., there is an allusion to the recent journey of Lander, who is represented as having ascertained, that the Joliba discharges itself into the Bight of Benin. In an article on the Course of the Niger, which appeared some years ago *, we threw out the conjecture, that the waters of Nigritia, when the lakes are swelled by the rainy season, may discharge themselves partially by means of the rivers of Benin ; but we must confess that we retain no small degree of scepticism as to the supposed discovery, that they have no other outlet. 'Even now,' our Author justly remarks, the general course of the rivers of 'Soudan is very imperfectly known; and the question how it

came to be believed by the ancients, (a belief which still exists,) that the Nile flows from the west, and that it communicates with

the Joliba, remains unanswered. The ascertained facts, that the Yeou or Gambaroo, after reaching the meridian of 11o, in lat. 12° 17', bends eastward, and maintains that course to Lake Tchad, that the Shary flows from the west, -and that the Joliba conti

* Eclectic Review, 3d Series, Vol. II. p. 20.

« EdellinenJatka »