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cers corresponding to the consuls at Rome) were agreed, the matter was not brought before the Commonalty at all, although where such unanimity was wanting, the whole details of the question were fully debated by the latter.
Another peculiar institution prevailed at Carthage, which is noticed with approbation by the Greek critic, as exercising great influence in maintaining a good feeling between the rich and poor among the citizens. Certain societies appear to have existed there, - for what purpose Aristotle does not say, — but he notices the fact that the members of them dined at common tables; and it is in reference to this circumstance that he compares them with the public messes' of Lacedæmon and Crete. In these latter cases, the institutions in question, if not originating solely in a reference to military organisation, had lost all other significance in the times in which one hears of them. But undoubtedly the parallel institutions of Carthage
. were based upon some principle altogether different. In our opinion, they were substantially identical with the guilds of the commercial towns of the Middle Ages, and in some respects similar to the collegia and sodalitia of Rome. If we go back to the condition of the city of London in the thirteenth century, we find what will serve to start the imagination in the matter. The several companies' (collegia or štaipiai) have each an independent organisation; they are governed by officers of their own election, who inflict fines, imprison, and otherwise have jurisdiction over the members of their own body. The aggregate of these companies constitutes in its turn a new corporation, inclusive of the minor guilds, and governed by members of them; and its officers are naturally individuals of importance in the minor guilds, although elected by the whole commonalty. If now we suppose London, as it was in the twelfth or thirteenth century, to be transformed from a single important city in an existing kingdom, to the sole seat of civilisation in a country inhabited partly by a rude peasantry, partly by large flock-masters, we shall have no very bad image of the early days of Carthage, with the savage Kabyle population in the recesses of the hill-country between Tunis and Bona, and the nomad tribes spreading over the plateaux of Numidia with their sheep and camels.
With a change of circumstances such as we have imagined, the civic offices would grow into imperial functions. The viscount' of the thirteenth century, instead of dwindling into the modern sheriff,' would have expanded into the Carthaginian suffete;' the aldermen into something analogous to the • Council of One Hundred and Four,' – judges of all cases
springing out of contracts, who probably sat two in each week; and the mayor would have been transmuted by the necessities of the case into a otpatnyòs or prætor. The guilds would have also assumed a different character. Instead of being confined to the distribution of the articles of commerce brought by foreign merchants, and mainly deriving their names from such functions, they would doubtless have comprised many associations organised for the purpose of trading with special localities, either at home or abroad. In the latter case, there would soon arise a necessity for factories and agencies ; in many instances the association would, like our own East India Company, acquire territorial possessions abroad, and its leading members become rich and powerful to an extent to excite the jealousy and even the fears of their countrymen. In this way it is not difficult to understand how the Magos, the Hannos, and the Hamilcars of Carthage may have acquired enormous wealth and influence; and that in Spain, or the Balearic Islands, or Sardinia, such powerful chiefs should have been popularly regarded as possessing kingly authority in the mother-state. There is no portion of the genuine history of Carthage--for we must decline to accept as such Dr. Davis's biographical sketch of Dido and her relations, which is not perfectly explicable, and capable of illustration from other countries, when we thoroughly grasp the idea of a trading settlement-trading as alone is possible in early times - becoming gradually converted into an imperial city without losing its character in the process.
The site which this original trading settlement pitched upon for its fortified factory, its Bosra (or Byrsa of the Didonic legend) — was most admirably chosen. Polybius describes the locality as it existed at the time he himself was there. The
city of Carthage,' he says, 'lies in a bay, on a site projecting out and forming a peninsula. It is pretty nearly surrounded, either by the sea, or— as is the case to some extent-by a salt-lake. The isthmus which connects it with the main is
about twenty-five stades (5000 yards) in breadth; and on the side of this which looks seaward, there lies Utica at no great distance, while on the other side, by the salt-lake, is Tunis.' The bay to which Polybius refers, is that of which the western boundary is the headland called Cape Farina on English charts, and which with the Romans of the empire went by the name of Apollinis Promontorium. Its local name now is Ras Sidi el Mekhi. The Hermæum Promontorium, which was regarded as the corresponding eastern horn, is perhaps identical with Ras el Amar, which seems to preserve a trace of the name, but
more probably with Cape Bon (Ras Eddar), which is about ten miles further to the north-west. The latter is certainly the more striking headland of the two, and it is said that in clear weather the mountains of Sicily may be seen from the top of it. Still, in the time of Strabo, a town of the same name stood on the Hermæan promontory; and no traveller, that we are aware of, has noticed any trace of ruins at Cape Bon.
But the immediate neighbourhood of Carthage no longer answers to the description of the Greek historian. The isthmus which connects with the main the boss of hills on which the city was built, is now in all parts considerably broader than the dimensions he assigns. The river Majerda (the Bagradas of the ancients), which a few miles above its mouth is about the size of the Seine in Paris, brings down after rain an enormous amount of light sandy loamy silt; and this is met by the direct action of the sea when the wind lies between the points of N. E. and N. by E., at which time it generally blows violently. But the prevalent wind along the coast of North Africa is one a little to the north of west, and the effect of this is to cause a general scouring of the coast in an easterly direction. In this manner the spoils of the shore between Capes Zebib and Farina have been brought to aid the contributions of the Majerda in filling up the space between the hills on which Utica, and those on which Carthage once stood. The spectator who now takes his stand on the isthmus' and looks (to the N. or N. W.) for the open sea which Polybius leads him to expect, will have presented to him a flat marshy plain, interspersed with salt pools and in some places covered with dunes of blowing sand, the blue line of the sea appearing considerably to the right of the direction in which Utica lies. But perhaps the change which has taken place on the south side of the isthmus is as great. The salt-lake' of Polybius is at the present day represented by the Lake of Tunis, a large shallow piece of water twice the size of the lake of Keswick, separated from the sea by a long bank of sand averaging perhaps a quarter of a mile in breadth. Through the middle of this there is a channel, the Goletta, originally it is said made by the sea, but now kept up by art. Around it a small town has grown up, as it is there the arsenal of the Bey of Tunis is situated, and a basin cut for the reception of his navy. But although it has been generally assumed by topographical inquirers, that the Lake of Tunis is what Polybius had in view, the conclusion is a rash one. It is perfectly certain, if any dependence whatever is to be placed on Appian's account of the siege of Carthage—and he is in that part of his work
always assumed to be following the lost description of Polybius - that the bar which now separates the lake from the sea did not then exist in more than the most rudimentary state; and that the salt-lake' of Polybius can only be the portion of the Lake of Tunis which is adjacent to the northern shore.
If now we make allowance for those great changes which have come about in the last two or three thousand years, it will be difficult to imagine a better position for a commercial settlement than the site of Carthage. A considerable part even of the seaward face of the peninsula is protected from all winds except the N.E. by E.; and such ships as the ancients used could readily place themselves in security from every one by doubling either the northern or the southern point of the boss of hills, and sheltering themselves, in the former case under the lee of Jebel Gomart (of which we shall speak in the sequel), in the latter under that of the rudimentary bank or Tongue (as it was called) which has since been developed into a barrier runping across from shore to shore, a distance of some five miles, and averaging nearly five hundred yards in breadth.* From the northern of these two roadsteads — if one may use such an expression for times when vessels were ordinarily beached Ctica was within view. A short run, something like that from Chichester harbour to Shanklin, only turning to the left instead of the right, would carry the navigator round the extremity of the projecting range of hills, on the top of which its citadel stood, to its port on the northern side. Now, indeed, the Majerda winds its way through its own alluvium for several miles beyond the point which our imaginary seaman had to double. But at the time of which we are speaking, he got out at once into the open sea; the lake upon which Porto Farina now stands, together with all the plain of Ouga, being then merged in one magnificent bay, screened from the north winds by the mountainous range terminating in Cape Farina. Nowhere along the whole line of the coast of Barbary, is there any site comparable to that of Carthage for a commercial port, regard being had to the exigencies of the early settlers. The
In the time of the siege of Carthage it was half a stade (100 yards) broad, and stretched in a westerly direction. More than 500 years later, Orosius, who was himself at Carthage, writes thus :
Ex una parte murus communis erat urbis et Byrsæ, imminens mari, quod mare Stagnum vocabant, quoniam obtentu protente Lingue
tranquillatur.' These words appear to prove that even in the time of Orosius the Lake of Tunis could not have acquired its existing appearance of absolute closure. The axis of the bar now runs in the direction S.W. by S.
lake of Bizerta (Hippo Zarytus) would have furnished a magnificent harbour; but settlers there would have been entirely at the mercy of the mountaineers inhabiting the steeps which overhang it, who could at their pleasure have cut off all com- 1 munication with the interior of the country. Bona (Hippo Regius) possessed many advantages; for it is the natural outlet of a large and fertile country, and in the time of which we speak -as indeed more than 1000 years later- vessels of con-1 siderable size could enter the estuary of the rivers there in safety. But Bona is far more distant from Sicily and Malta, those links in the chain of settlements by which the Phænician traders crept westward as far as the shores of the Atlantic. And Carthage, irrespectively of the advantages of its natural harbour, and its defensibility against hostile natives, was superior to all other places on the coast west of Tripoli, for the purpose of establishing a communication with the tribes of the interior of the continent. The masses of the Atlas, which run in a general direction east and west from the western boundary of the beylik of Tunis to the coast of the Atlantic, present, except in a very few localities, an impenetrable barrier for the practical purposes of the commercial traveller. But from Carthage an easy route conducts through a most fertile country to the head waters of the Majerda, where Thagaste (the birthplace of St. Augustine) stands on the frontier between proconsular Africa, i.e. the territory of Carthage, and the province of Numidia of which Cirta (the Constantine of the present day) was the capital. Another route, branching off from this one at Sicca Veneria (the modern El Kef) debouched at the point where the Roman colony Theveste was afterwards built. This city, the ruins of which are just within the frontier of French Algeria
, must from its situation always have been the centre of communication between the oases of the Northern Sahara, the rich corn-growing country of Byzacium, and the seaports of Utica and Carthage. The ruins of the Roman cities which were built by Hadrian and the Antonines, constitute an unmistakable finger-post to the course which commerce formerly took in this part of the world; and they literally strew the soil. Still, what the emperors did was nothing more than to restore the traffic which republican Rome had destroyed. The traveller who pursues his journey by the clue thus furnished to him, will be conducted under the southern wall of the Atlas to the palm groves of the Ziban and M’rir, and between the two clusters of oases will pass over an undulating plateau of limestone covered with pieces of those stones which, under the corrupted name of chalcedony, still preserve a tradition of the entrepôt at which