Appian, The Punic Wars 28

Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165): one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians, author of a Roman History in twenty-four books.

Although only Appian's books on the Roman Civil Wars survive in their entirety, large parts of the other books, devoted to Rome's foreign wars, have also come down to us. The parts on the Punic wars, the wars in Iberia, and the Mithridatic Wars are very important historical sources. This is also true for Appian's account of the Third Punic War, the second part of the book presented on these pages, which is one of our main sources for this conflict.

Because these texts have to be reconstructed from several medieval manuscripts, not all editions of Appian's account of Rome's foreign wars are numbered in the same way. On these pages, the separate units of a book are counted strictly chronologically.

The translation was made by Horace White; notes by Jona Lendering.


[136] Some time later,note in the tribunate of Gaius Gracchus,note uprisings occurred in Rome on account of scarcity, and it was decided to send 6,000 colonists into Africa. When they were laying out the land for this purpose in the vicinity of Carthage, all the boundary lines were torn down and obliterated by wolves. Then the Senate put a stop to the settlement.

At a still later time it is said that Caesar, who afterwards became dictator for life, when he had pursued Pompey to Egypt, and Pompey's friends from thence into Africa, and was encamped near the site of Carthage, was troubled by a dream in which he saw a whole army weeping, and that he immediately made a memorandum in writing that Carthage should be colonized.note Returning to Rome not long after, and while making a distribution of lands to the poor, he arranged to send some of them to Carthage and some to Corinth.

But he was assassinated shortly afterward by his enemies in the Roman Senate,note and his son Augustus, finding this memorandum, built the present Carthage, not on the site of the old one, but very near it, in order to avoid the ancient curse. I have ascertained that he sent some 3,000 colonists from Rome and that the rest came from the neighboring country.

And thus the Romans took Africa away from the Carthaginians, destroyed Carthage, and repeopled it again 102 years after its destruction.