History is full of cruelties of men to men. But nothing like the cruelty of the Romans against Carthage. The Romans were not without a cause. But look at their brutality!
The Nazis had no cause to incinerate six million Jews in their gas chambers. The Germans were the most educated people in Europe and they had the largest number of graduates. I hold this the second greatest crime against humanity. It was so brutal and cold-blooded!
The third crime was the destruction of Vijayanagar. It was the most splendid city in the world. It was razed to the ground brick by brick. Not a soul escaped massacre. It was done out of fear and jealousy.
Such thing should not happen again. We must not return to the beast that we were not long ago.
Trade has been the cause of so many wars in the past. Perhaps it all began with the Trojan war between Athens and Troys. The cause? Trade rivalry. It was so ruinous that nothing was left of Troy.
Carthage was the richest city after Rome. Rome was its trading rival. But the Carthagenians dominated over the Mediterranean. And they were better navigators.
Rome was after a monopoly of the Mediterranean trade, particularly the grain trade of Sicily. Sicily was the granary of Europe in those days. Not these alone. Rome feared that Carthage was standing in the way of its empire.
The Romans were an austere people. But trade distorted their character. They took to ostentatious luxury. Gibborn writes of the Romans: “Fashion was the only law, pleasure the only pursuit and the splendour of dress and furniture was the only distinction of the people of Antioch” (a Roman colony).
Carthage was a monarchy, but as it grew in riches, it opted for a republic, a financial oligharchy, to be precise. Teutain writes of the Carthagenians (The Economic Life of the Ancient World): “The quality which they tried to promote in the young were first and foremost a love for undertakings in distant lands, smartness or roguery in business, experience in making money and passionate love for wealth, combined with tenacity.
But this inspired the dislike of the people of antiquity against them, particularly of the Romans. The Romans hated the obsession of the Carthagenians to make money.
We know little of the Carthagenians. What little we know has come down to us from their enemies—the Greeks and Romans. Obviously, they were jealous of the business acumen of the people of Carthage and their superior navigational skills. We also knew that they were Semitic, of the Jewish race. Not these alone. They had an advanced language. The Greeks had copied their alphabet.
The traditional case against Carthagenians was that they made human sacrifices. No doubt, their god, Baal, was capricious and blood-thirsty. On Baal, Parkinson writes: “He (Baal) is a shade less attractive than the god of the Old Testament.” His reference was to Yahweh, the god of the Jews.
Cruelty was common and endemic in the Middle East. A King of Assyria boasts that he passed two hundred and seventy men under his arm and cut off their heads. He made a pyramid of them.
Making pyramids of the heads of victims was common in the Middle East. The Mongols and Muslim invaders carried the practice to places they conquered.
The history of Assyria is a monotonous record of their plunders carried out with the utmost savagery. The Laws of Hammurabi reflected the violence of the region. For example, Hammurabi prescribes “an eye for an eye” as a way of justice. The tolerance of violence of Christianity and Islam must be seen against this background.
“A streak of cruelty in the Roman character,” says Parkinson, “was the prime cause of the conflicts in their ¬¬ colonies. Their games encouraged this instincts.
The feud over Sicily blew up into a war. The Carthagenians massacred the Romans in Carthage. And Rome, in turn, murdered almost every soul in Carthage, ploughed the land and sowed salt over it so that not a blade of grass grew in Carthage! This was ritual violence.
As the youth of Rome went to administer Rome’s colonies, Rome was populated by slaves, Latvians, Egyptians, Armenians and Jews, thus creating a source of revolt in the future.
Vijayanagar was, as I said before, the most splendid city in the world. The Persian Ambassador to the court of Vijayanagar, Abdul Razak, writes: “The city of Vijayanagar is much that the eye has not seen anything like this before.” He says that nothing existed equal to it in the world. A Portuguese traveller writes that it was the best provided city. And an English historian says, “Never perhaps in the history of the world has such devastation been inflicted upon an industrious people.
Good readers, do not think that this is all history. It can happen again. Look at the brazen ideology of the terrorists. They will, if permitted, depopulate the world! We cannot allow evil to prevail.