This phraseology called his bold civil article Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy. The classic eighteen years before the outbreak of World War I insightfully noticed that the governments and military leaders of the countries of Europe are inexorably moving towards a terrible man-hating slaughter. He urged "the best people of Europe" to stop the belligerent ardor of those in power who are eager to start a "criminal, useless and senseless war between civilized powers".

It is no coincidence that the world class classic referred to these words with a two thousand-year history.

Carthage as a competitor of Rome

Whence came the winged phrase "Carthage must be destroyed" and what does it mean? An ancient half-million city, built in 814 BC. e. located in the territory of modern Tunisia, was the capital of the eponymous Phoenician kingdom. Favorable geographical position - on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea - contributed to the development of crafts and trade. Judge for yourself about his wealth: on the map below the possession of Carthage is painted in a dark blue color.

The phraseology of Carthage must be destroyed: the meaning

In 264 BC. e. the Phoenicians had a powerful opponent in the Mediterranean. By this time, Rome, having conquered all of Italy up to its borders with Gaul, had become a mighty power. His foreign policy presupposed a total war.

Briefly about the Punic Wars

It is precisely on the basis of the conflict of geopolitical interests that Rome and Carthage later clashed in the Three Punic Wars. It is obvious that the expression "Carthage must be destroyed" could only be pronounced by a Roman. The initial stumbling block for the two ancient superpowers was the strategically important island of Sicily, located at the intersection of major commercial sea lanes.

As a result of this clash in 146 BC. e. The Phoenician state of Carthage was defeated, and its capital was indeed burnt and ruined. An interesting fact: the place where the city stood, the Romans even sprinkled with salt. According to an ancient belief, it was necessary to do this in order to stop the welfare of local places, so that the world is no longer there.

And the idea, which said that Carthage should be destroyed, the Romans in the period of wars carried out more consistently and consistently. Perhaps the main reason for this was the Second Punic War, which they themselves called the "war with Hannibal." These battles ended in the victory of the Romans, but there were moments when the balance of luck was bent towards the Phoenicians.

The veteran of the war becomes a consul

In particular, brilliant military leader-tactician Carthage Hannibal was surrounded and defeated at Cannes, the Carthaginians superior in number to the army of the Romans. After this fiasco, Rome continued to restore its legions for a long time.

It is characteristic that, three decades after the end of the Second Punic War, the expression "Carthage must be destroyed" was uttered. Who said these words? This expression, which became winged, was uttered by a well-known Roman immortalized in sculpture, able to turn from a plebeian into a consul of the Empire. During the war with Hannibal, thanks to his courage and composure, he was able to rise from a simple soldier to a centurion. The career of the future politician and writer was formed due to the goodwill of the noble Romans of the clan Valerii Flakkow.

His memory for the rest of his life captured the horror of the defeat of the Romans at Cannes. The outcome of the battle, which turned into a 12-hour slaughter, predetermined the heavy cavalry of the Carthaginians. She crumpled and fled Roman cavalry, committed the army, and then struck it from the rear, creating a crush, cramped and violating the system. However, Rome still managed to win the Second Punic War, beating in its subsequent battles.

Patriot of Rome

Three decades after the Second Punic War in the Roman Senate, Marcus Porcius Cato uttered a winged phrase: "Carthage must be destroyed."

Moreover, each of his speeches, concerning any topic of the state affairs of the Empire, he ended exactly with the same phrase. What can I say about this? A proverb comes to mind: "water grinds the stone". Soon this position of the consul was followed by all state policy. And the shortest of all Punic Wars began-the third. It lasted 4 years.

Mark Porcius Cato, a famous man in Rome, was respected for being, despite his high status, he remained ascetic, like a warrior, and principled as a centurion. On his petition, several consuls were excluded from the Senate, and also deprived of their social status of the ranks of the riders. His efforts legislatively limited the expenditure of the Roman aristocracy for luxury goods.

Indeed, the phrase "Carthage must be destroyed" could be said by a man who, despite the status, remained a soldier of Rome for life.

Politician from God

Marcus Porcius Cato was a far-sighted pro-Roman politician. He clearly saw the main threats to statehood. The first of these was the Mediterranean power-competitor - Carthage, possessing a significant, comparable with the Roman potential. The second threat was lurking within Rome itself - the loss of controllability and the development vector due to the excessive entanglement of patricians with luxury and debauchery. Strictly speaking, this later became the main reason for the fall of Rome. All these speeches of Mark Caton in the Senate were directed against these state challenges.

The phrase "Carthage must be destroyed" was repeated to them hundreds of times before it was fully realized.


Naturally, the modern interpretation of phraseology is different from the original one. As an insistent call to overcome a challenge or crush an obstacle perceive the phrase "Carthage must be destroyed" today. The meaning of phraseology in the narrow sense is also interpreted as a constant return to the main issue in the discussion of any minor.