Furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed


I took this photo 20 years ago and had it on my office wall for years, in a sort of “lucky shots”-gallery. It’s not technically brilliant. Lady Luck, the clouds, the blue sky, the turquoise Mediterranean and the site itself conspired to create this shot. I’ve always been very pleased with it, because it’s faithful to the subject. This is exactly how Carthage looked that day.

The Queen of Carthage


Carthage was the work of a woman. Phoenician Queen Dido had escaped Tyre (in Lebanon) after her wicked co-ruler (and brother) Pygmalion had assassinated her husband. She founded Carthage and it soon became a thriving, brilliant city.

Over the centuries, Carthage expanded and began occupying Roman territories. The Romans couldn’t have that, of course. Cato the Elder is reputed to have finished every speech he gave to the Roman Senate with these ominous words:

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam – Furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed

The Earl of Shaftesbury uttered similar words before Parliament in the 17th century, regarding the Dutch, and others have done the same, adjusting the phrase to suit their particular agenda. Might a few of the present day world leaders have harboured such thoughts? We can only speculate. At any rate, politics doesn’t look to have changed much during the past few millennia.

Cato got his way. 2158 years ago, Rome destroyed Carthage in the Third Punic War, only to rebuild it as its own. It became capital of the province of Africa, one of the most important cities in all of Rome. About seven centuries later, the Romans got a taste of their own medicine, when Carthage once again was destroyed, this time by Arabs out to conquer.

Today, Carthage is an interesting and rather beautiful ruin on the outskirts of the Tunisian capital. UNESCO has deemed it to be of outstanding value to humankind.

On this April day in 1992, I had Carthage practically all to myself and absolutely loved hanging about the ruins. Sitting with my back against a pillar, I looked out at the tranquil sea, imagining I was the elusive queen.


Others have been inspired by the legendary sovereign. Christopher Marlowe wrote a play about her and Henry Purcell an opera. The British Royal Navy named several ships after her and the parents of the English singer-songwriter with the angelic voice their daughter. I think Queen Dido might have liked that.

Do places spark your imagination? Any one place in particular?

unesco logo

The Archaeological site of Carthage is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

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  1. Leigh 11 June 2012 at 0407 - Reply

    Canada’s north sparks my imagination. It’s a tough part of the country to live in but its rich in history and I find myself pondering the lives of the early explorers.
    Love the shot and fully appreciate why it was on your wall for so long.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1015 - Reply

      I know what you mean, I find the stark Arctic (and the equally stark Arabian deserts) very appealing.

  2. Natalie 11 June 2012 at 0616 - Reply

    I love visiting places with a vibrant history. Queen Dido sounds like my kind of woman as well

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1017 - Reply

      Yes, I think she was very interesting. Definitely one to meet when time travelling )

  3. ItalianNotes 11 June 2012 at 0955 - Reply

    I’ve read a lot about the Hannibals and elephants that went out from Carthage to conquer South Italy, so it has sparked my imagination as a point of departure. Your description turns my point of view around which is interesting. Thanks.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1018 - Reply

      My pleasure 🙂

  4. Natasha von Geldern 11 June 2012 at 1137 - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Carthage – I didn’t know the ruins were so extensive, or beautiful!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1018 - Reply

      Very beautiful. And easily accessible from Tunis.

  5. Nomadic Translator 11 June 2012 at 2132 - Reply

    Tunisia has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time! It is chock-full of great ruins and sites. I didn’t know the whole story behind Carthage, however. Excellent post, very educational 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1019 - Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  6. InsideJourneys 12 June 2012 at 0434 - Reply

    A remarkable woman. I agree: not much changes in politics, well except the players.
    I can see why Carthage sparks your imagination – that’s an incredible shot.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1020 - Reply

      Sometimes I wonder about the players, too. Even they seem remarkably similar across the ages … 😉

  7. Waegook Tom 12 June 2012 at 0455 - Reply

    Istanbul sparks my imagination – so much culture and history there, plus the fact that it straddles two continents. So much to explore and so many things to muse over.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 June 2012 at 1021 - Reply

      Oh yes, Istanbul, a good one. Haven’t been in a very long time. Time to revisit.

  8. Robert G. 12 June 2012 at 1027 - Reply

    I love how I always learn something from your posts, Sophie, and so effortlessly. Quick bites with lots of interesting and entertaining content and great photos. The idea of seeing Carthage hasn’t occurred to me before, and now I want to jump on a plane. Loved the Dido video, too. It fitted in so well. Did you choose that one song intentionally?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1532 - Reply

      First of all: Thank so much for your kind words, Robert!
      And about Dido, interesting that you noticed. I listened to a few of her songs, and thought this quite a propos. She is being evicted from her house, Queen Dido was exiled from Tyre…

  9. RyukyuMike 12 June 2012 at 1036 - Reply

    Love that 1st photo, too, Sophie. Technical excellence takes a back seat to capturing the mood, every time. Bravo !

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1532 - Reply

      Thanks, Mike 🙂

  10. Angela 12 June 2012 at 1107 - Reply

    Beautiful photos and explanations, in all these hectic destroying and conquering I can’t imagine how sick the natives would have been of constant war..

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1534 - Reply

      Yes. It’s easy to take peace for granted when you live in peaceful times (and countries).

  11. Great history lesson, and we love archaeological ruins. As for your question, Africa has always sparked my imagination, even before I ever made it there personally. Something about its history, culture, art and environmental ecology that never ceases to fascinate me. Hopefully we’ll make it back there soon…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1542 - Reply

      I really like Africa, too. Especially the countries in the south.

  12. Vera Marie Badertscher 12 June 2012 at 1533 - Reply

    Just about everyplace in Greece sparks my imagination, but I had the most amazing feeling of deja vu when I visited the Forum in Athens. I could swear I lived there in a past life. The first and only time I’ve gotten that feeling about a place.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1553 - Reply

      I’m sad to say I’ve never had that deja vu feeling. Rather wish I had.

  13. Christy @ Technosyncratic 13 June 2012 at 0306 - Reply

    It’s great to read about strong women — too bad her city got destroyed! 🙁 I really enjoy exploring archaeological ruins, so if (when?) we’re in Tunisia I would definitely check this out.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 13 June 2012 at 1545 - Reply

      Too many strong women have gone unnoticed, I think. (But then they usually didn’t write the history books).

  14. Andrea 13 June 2012 at 2127 - Reply

    Yes definitely – when we saw Jerash in Jordan, for example, I couldn’t help but use my imagination to envision how people lived in that place. It’s fun to explore ruins.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 June 2012 at 1011 - Reply

      Oh yes, I remember Jerash. I was at a concert there many years ago. Magical place.

  15. Turkey's For Life 11 November 2012 at 2005 - Reply

    Love your photo – definitely true to the subject. We recently visited some Roman ruins in Izmir that really caught our imagination – the best thing about them was that we weren’t expecting the ruins to be particularly spectacular. In actual fact, they were just fab! 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 November 2012 at 1608 - Reply

      Love it when a place exceeds expectations.

  16. Monica Toress 8 February 2013 at 1205 - Reply

    What an amazing photo. I have a couple of these “lucky shots” in my collection and I absolutely love them. I feel like a professional photographer when I can capture the true beauty of an awesome place. And every time it is pure luck.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 3 July 2013 at 1014 - Reply

      Know exactly what you mean, Monica 🙂

  17. Bastiaan 20 June 2013 at 0458 - Reply

    Hello Sophie, Carthage look like a really inspiring place! I hope to visit it one day! A place that sparked my imagination is Borobudur in Indonesia (I just posted about it on my website). Especially when you visit it at sunrise it’s absolutely stunning. But a lot of places I visited on my travels are pretty amazing. Just a few examples are the tiger leaping gorge in China, the Giant Buddha in Leshan China and the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines. All amazing places!

    Thanks for sharing this and I will keep following your blog and subscribe to your newsfeed!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 20 June 2013 at 1036 - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Bastiaan. You’ve been to some fascinating places I’ve yet to see. In fact, I’ve never even heard of Chocolate Hills. Will check it out 🙂

  18. Andy 14 October 2013 at 1008 - Reply

    That area has such an interesting history, and Carthage is such a mystery. I wonder how many things were lost when it was destroyed for the first time. Thanks for sharing, great pictures.

  19. Sally 23 October 2013 at 0807 - Reply

    Enchanting history. Thanks for the education.

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