Battle of Carthage summary
The Battle of Carthage was the main engagement of the Third Punic War between the Punic city of Carthage in Africa and the Roman Republic. It was a siege operation, starting sometime between 149 and 148 BC, and ending in spring 146 BC with the sack and complete destruction of the city of Carthage.
- After a Roman army under Manius Manilius landed in Africa in 149 BC, Carthage surrendered and handed over hostages and arms. However, the Romans demanded the complete surrender 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. In this period, the 500,000 Carthaginians inside the wall transformed the town into a huge arsenal.
- The Romans elected the young but popular Scipio Aemilianus as consul. Scipio restored discipline, defeated the Carthaginians at Nepheris, and besieged the city closely.
- In spring 146 BC, the Romans broke through the city wall but they were hard-pressed to take the city. Every building, house and temple had been turned into a stronghold and every Carthaginian had taken up a weapon.
- The Romans were forced to move slowly, capturing the city house by house, street by street and fighting each Carthaginian soldier who fought with courage born of despair.
- Eventually after hours upon hours of house-to-house fighting, the Carthaginians surrendered. An estimated 50,000 surviving inhabitants were sold into slavery. The city was then leveled.