Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rome and Carthage - Lessons to learn

I'm reading a book on the history of mankind. In one of the chapters, it covered the clash between Rome and Carthage. Based on what I read, it was no surprise how Rome became an empire in those early days. I found it very inspiring and feel it is a lesson to learn from as the fundamentals can also be applied to our daily lives.
Let me summarize it as follows:

In the early times Rome had been the only strongly fortified city in central Italy, but it had always offered a hospitable refuge to other Latin tribes who happened to be in danger of attack. The Latin neighbours had recognised the advantages of a close union with such a powerful friend and they had tried to find a basis for some sort of defensive and offensive alliance. Other nations, Egyptians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, even Greeks, would have insisted upon a treaty of submission on the part of the "barbarians". The Romans did nothing of the sort. They gave the "outsider" a chance to become partners in a common "res publica" or common wealth. The "outsider" appreciated this generosity and he showed his gratitude by his unswervering loyalty.

Whenever a Greek city had been attacked, the foreign residents had moved out as quickly as they could. But when the enemy was before the gates of Rome, all the Latins rushed to her defence. It was their true "home" even if they lived a hundred miles away and had never seen the walls of the sacred Hills.

Fall of the year 218 before the birth of Christ, Hannibal, a Carthaginian general defeated the roman armies battle after battle. He marched from one end of the peninsula to the other, proclaiming himself the "deliverer from the yoke of Rome" and asking the different provinces to join him in warfare upon the mother city. Then once more the wisdom of Rome bore noble fruit. With the exceptions of Capua and Syracuse, all Roman cities remained loyal.

Hannibal, the deliverer, found himself opposed by the people whose friend he pretended to be. And after many years of uninterrupted victories, as the Italian peasants held aloof from this self-appointed "deliverer, Hannibal found himself besiged in the country which he had just conqureed.

In the year 190 BC, Hannibal driven from one city to another, a fugitive without a home, his beloved city of Carthage in ruin by war and condemned to pay the Romans millions of dollars for endless years to come, Hannibal took poison and killed himself.

Without speaking the obvious, I hope you found it as meaningful as I found it.

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