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and could not survive an accident which must naturally afflict him in a sensible manner ; but this incident is not very well founded. However this be, he died in the year of Rome 594, under the Consulship of Cneius Cornelius Dolabella and M. Fulvius, aged thirty five years, and consequently was born ann. 560.
It must yet be confessed, notwithstanding all we have said, that there ever was a great scarcity of learn. ed men in Carthage, since it scarce furnished three or four writers of reputation in upwards of seven hundred years. Although the Carthaginians hell a correspond. ence with Greece and the most civilized nations, yet this did not excite them to borrow their learning, as being foreign to their views of trade and commerce. Eloquence, poetry, history, seem to have been little known among them. A Carthaginian philosopher was con. sidered as a sort of prodigy by the learned. What then would an astronomer or a geometrician have been
thought ? I know not in what reputation physic, which + is só advantageous to life, was at Carthage ; or the civil law, so necessary to society.
As works of wit were generally had in so much disregard, the education of youth must necessarily have been very imperfect and unpolished. In Carthage, the study and knowledge of youth were for the most part confined to writing, arithmetic, book keeping, and the buying and selling goods ; in a word, to whatever related to traffic. But polite learning, history, and philosophy, were in little repute among them. These were, in later years, even prohibited by the laws, which expressly forbid any Carthaginian to learn the Greek tongue, lest it might qualify them for carrying on a
dangerous correspondence with the enemy, either by letter or word of mouth.
Now, what could be expected from such a cast of mind? Accordingly, there was never seen among them that elegance of behaviour, that ease and complacency of manners, and those sentiments of virtue, which are generally the fruits of a liberal education in all civilized nations. The small number of great men which this nation has produced must therefore have owed their merit to the felicity of their genius, to the singularity of their talents, and a long experience, without any great assistance from instruction. Hence it was that the merit of the greatest men of Carthage was sullied by great failings, low vices, and cruel passions ; and it is rare to meet with any conspicuous virtue among them without some blemish; with any virtue of a noble, generous, and amiable kind, and supported by clear and lasting principles, such as is every
where found among the Greeks and Romans. The reader will perceive, that I here speak only of the heathen virtues, and agreeable to the idea which the pagans entertained of them.
I meet with as few monuments of their skill in arts of a less noble and necessary kind, as painting and sculpture. I find, indeed, that they had plundered the conquered nations of a great many works in both these
* Factum senatus consultum, ne quis postea Carthaginiensis aut liter. is Græcis, aut sermoni studeret ; ne aut loqui cum hoste, aut scribere sine interprete posset. Justin. I. xx. c. 5. Justin ascribes the reason of this law to a treasonable correspondence between one Suniatus, a powerful Carthaginian, and Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily; the former by letters written in Greek, (which afterwards fell into the hands of the Carthagini. ans,) having informed the tyrant of the war designed against him by his country, out of hatred to Hanno the general, to wliom he was an enemy
kinds; but it does not appear that they themselves had produced many.
From what has been said, one cannot help concluding, that traffic was the predominant inclination, and the peculiar characteristic of the Carthaginians ; that it formed, in a manner, the basis of the state, the soul of the commonwealth, and the grand spring which gave motion to all their enterprises. The Carthaginians, in general, were skilful merchants ; employed wholly in traffic ; excited strongly by the desire of gain, and esteeming nothing but riches; directing all their talents, and placing their chief glory in amassing them, though at the same time they scarce knew the use for which they were designed, or how to use them in a noble or worthy manner.
THE CHARACTER, MANNERS, AND QUALITIES OF THE
In the enumeration of the various qualities which Cicero' assigns to different nations, as their distinguishing characteristics, he declares that of the Carthaginians to be craft, skill, address, industry, cunning, calliditas ; which doubtless appeared in war, but was still more conspicuous in the rest of their conduct; and this was joined to another quality, that bears a very near relation to it, and is still less reputable. Craft and cunning lead naturally to lying, hypocrisy, and breach
Quam volumus licet ipsi nos amemus, tamen nec numero Hispanos, nec robore Gallos, nec calliditate Pænos, sed pietate ac religione, &c. omnes gentes nationesque superavimus. De Arusp. Resp. n. 19.
of faith; and these, by accustoming the mind insensibly to be less scrupulous with regard to the choice of the means for compassing its designs, prepare it for the basest frauds, and the most perfidious actions. This was also one of the characteristics of the Carthaginians;* and it was so notorious, that to signify any remarkable dishonesty, it was usual to call it Punic honour, fides Punica ; and to denote a knavish, deceitful mind, no expression was thought more proper and emphatical than this, "a Carthaginian mind,” Punicum ingenium.
An excessive thirst for, and an immoderate love of profit, generally gave occasion in Carthage to the committing base and unjust actions. One single example will prove
this. In the time of a truce, granted by Scipio, to the earnest entreaties of the Carthaginians, some Roman vessels being drove by a storm on the coasts of Carthage, were seized by order of the senate and people," who could not suffer so tempting a prey to
They were resolved to get money, though the manner of acquiring it were ever so scanda. lous. • The inhabitants of Carthage, even in St. Austin's time, as that father informs us, showed on a
* Carthaginienses, fraudulenti et mendaces ; multis et variis mercato rum advenarumque sermonibus ad studium fallendi quæstus cupiditate vocabantur. Cic. Orat. ii. in Rull. n. 94.
a Magistratus senatum vocare, populus in curiæ vestibulo fremere ne tanta ex oculis manibusque amitteretur præda. Consensum est ut, &c* Liv. I. XXX. n. 24.
• A mountebank had promised the citizens of Carthage to discover to them their most secret thoughts, in case they would come on a day appointed to hear him. Being all met, he told them they were desirous to buy cheap and sell dear. Every man's conscience pleaded guilty to the rharge, and the mountebank was dismissed with laughter and applavse. “ Vili vultis emere, et care vendere ; in quo dicto levissimi sccnici om. nes tamen conscientias invenerunt suas, cique vera et tamen imprimisa dicenti a mirabili favore plauseruut." S. Aug. 1. xiii. de Tiinit. c. 3.
particular occasion, that they still retained part of this characteristic.
But these were not the only blemishes and faults of the Carthaginians. They had something austere and savage in their disposition and genius, a haughty and imperious air, a sort of ferocity, which, in its first starts, was deaf to either reason or remonstrances, and plunged brutally into the utmost excesses of violence. The people, cowardly and groveling under apprehensions, were fiery and cruel in their transports ; at the same time that they trembled under their magistrates, they were dreaded in their turn, by their miserable vassals. In this we see the difference which education makes between one nation and another. The Athe. nians, whose city was always considered as the centre of learning, were naturally jealous of their authority, and difficult to govern; but still, a fund of good nature and humanity made them compassionate the misfortunes of others, and be indulgent to the errors of their leaders. Cleon one day desired the assembly, in which he presided, to break up ; because, as he told them, he had a sacrifice to offer, and friends to entertain.The people only laughed at the request, and immediately separated. Such a liberty, says Plutarch, at Carthage, would have cost a man his life.
Livy makes'a like reflection with regard to Terentius Varro. That general being returned to Rome after the battle of Canne, which had been lost by his ill conduct, was met by persons of all orders of the state, at some distance from Rome, and thanked by them for bis not having despaired of the commonwealth ; who,
? Plut. de ger. Rep. p. 799.
Lib. xxii, n. 61.