Friday, March 30, 2012

A Brief History Lesson: Carthage

Before we headed to Sousse, we spent a little time in Carthage, or at least what remains of it. Tunis surrounds these ruins and you can literally be filling your tank up with gas and have a 2000 year old building next to you. This always boggles my mind.

SIDE NOTE: If you have ever wanted to know what a Tunisian license plate looks like, here you go. And you're welcome.

As a brief history lesson (hey, it was my major, history lessons are what I live for. Well, those and double fudge brownies, but that is neither here nor there), Carthage was founded in 814 B.C. and quickly rose to power. However, centuries of war and power struggles saw Carthage ruined and defeated, only to have Rome rebuild the city and make it powerful once again. By 44 B.C., it became the capital of the Roman North Africa.

Not all was hunky dunky because idol worship and pagan gods were introduced to the society, making early Christians targets for persecution. Gladiators and lions, Christians and slaves, all took to numerous arenas to keep the masses entertained.

This is the amphitheater where Perpetua and her maidservant Felicity were executed. They are still regarded as two of the most beloved martyrs of all time. Their story is quite amazing, I would highly recommend reading it.

These are the remains of a cistern that was under the city. When Christianity was outlawed, Christians would come here to pray.

Vicki and I, just hanging out in the cistern.

These are the wildflowers around the top of the cistern. So pretty.

Only a few yards away, lie the ruins of one of the first Christians churches in all of North Africa. It is believed that this is where discussions on canonizing the New Testament began.

And here are the remains of the Carthage baths. This once great city was built right on the Mediterranean coast.

And next to the baths, inside that white wall, is the house of the ex-president Ben-Ali. It is surrounded by guards but is unoccupied.

Ruins, young and old. Men, once powerful, are nothing more than a blade of grass...trampled on by tourists in big, white tennis shoes.


  1. So glad you are getting to see so much. Thanks for the updates and great pics. Continue to enjoy!

  2. How cool!

    And don't forget Augustine . . . he sowed his wild oats in Carthage.

    That juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary is always a little mind rattling. If feels like the world tilts just a little more when you encounter it. I guess that's what we get for living in a nation that's pretty much a teenager in the grand scheme of things.