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  • The Battle of Carthage was the major act of the Third Punic War between the Phoenician city of Carthage in Africa (near present-day Tunis) and the Roman Republic. It was a siege operation, starting sometime between 149 and 148 BC, and ending in the spring of 146 BC with the sack and complete destruction of the city of Carthage. After a Roman army under Manilius landed in Africa in 149 BC, Carthage surrendered and handed over hostages and arms. However, the Romans demanded the complete destruction of the city, and surprisingly to the Romans the city refused, the faction advocating submission overturned by one in favor of defense. The Carthaginians manned the walls and defied the Romans, a situation which lasted for two years due to poor Roman commanders. In this period, the 300,000 Carthagininas inside the wall transformed the town into a huge arsenal. They produced about 300 swords, 500 spears, 140 shields and 1,000 projectiles for catapults daily. The Romans elected the young but popular Scipio Aemilianus as consul, a special law being passed to lift the age restriction. Scipio restored discipline, defeated the Carthaginians in a field battle, and besieged the city closely, constructing a mole to block the harbor. In the spring of 146 BC the Romans broke through the city wall and captured the city after house-to-house fighting. An estimated 50,000 surviving inhabitants were sold into slavery. The city was then levelled. The land surrounding Carthage was decleared ager publicus, and it was shared between local farmers, and Roman and Italian ones. Before the end of the battle, a dramatic event took place: the few survivors had found refuge in the temple of Eshmun, in the citadel of Byrsa, although it was already burning. They negotiated their surrender, but Scipio Aemilianus expressed that forgiveness was impossible either for Hasdrubal, the general who defended the city, or for the Roman deserters. Hasdrubal then left the Citadel to apologise for his actions (he had tortured Roman prisoners in front of the Roman army). At that moment Hasdrubal's wife allegedly went out with her two children, insulted her husband, sacrificed her sons and jumped with them into a fire that the deserters had started. The deserters then jumped to the fire too, and Scipio Aemilianus started crying. He shouted a sentence from Homer, a prophecy about the destruction of Troy, that could be applied now to Carthage's end: “ The day shall come when sacred Troy shall fall, and King Priam and all his warrior people with him. ” Scipio declared that he feared it could be applied to Rome in the future. After the war, Scipio Aemilianus was given the honorific nickname Scipio Aemilianus Africanus (Scipio Aemilianus The African). It is rumored that after the fall of Carthage, the Romans sowed salt into the soil in order to ensure that nothing would ever grow there again. However this detail is first mentioned by 20th-century historians and is not contained in any primary, contemporaneous sources.[1] Although it would have been feasible for the Romans to destroy the fertility of the soil in this manner, such an action would furthermore have hindered Rome's subsequent growth and development, which relied heavily on grain imported from North Africa. Indeed, the seizure of Carthage's grain fields for Rome's own use has been put forth as the primary reason Rome destroyed Carthage in the first place
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  • They burned the whole city, and then they put salt on the fertile fields so they could not support any crops again.

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