710 BCE / XLIII Ann. Ab Urbe Condita
Since the long-past days of Dido, and her curse against Aeneas, the rulers of Carthage have fixed a thorny point in the sides of the gods. Their latest scheme had sought the downfall of the realms of mortals and divines alike.
The tyrant Carthaginian king, in fits of arrogance and blind hubris, had conspired in the shadows to arm the enemies of Olympus in hopes he might engineer some great cataclysm before his mortal frame met judgement in Erebus.
His plan was flawed. A cruel master is never rich in friends, and lies always beget more lies. The king was betrayed by a handful of virtuous followers, who rode under cover of night from the gates of Carthage to warn the gods of a plot.
The gallop of horses across icy plains stirred the god Poseidon, who wasted not a second in springing to action. Guided by torchlight and trickery, the brave human messengers led any divines who answered the call to reveal the secret caches of weaponry, which lay strewn about the Earth sewn into Gaea’s flesh.
Various mortals led Makaria and Dionysus to such locations, where they set the evil enclaves aflame. Hecate loosed tendrils of magic to snake across the land in search of more, scouring the world of the Carthaginian plague. The threat erased, Poseidon still boiled with rage. He climbed aboard his swiftest ship and bid the waves to carry him to Carthage, where the ocean’s might crashed furiously against the high walls. Arriving in the city, the sea god’s voice boomed across the rooftops. He ordered the citizens to flee, not wishing them to suffer a wrath meant solely for the king. At last satisfied with the deserted streets, Poseidon brought forth a mighty earthquake.
The towering battlements crumbled, and the great halls of the city burst into flame. The Earth-Shaker’s rage did not cease until the wretched city was razed to ash — as the prophecy of Aeneas had foretold long before.
As the natural world slowly reclaimed the ground where once stood Carthage, news of the city’s ruin spread across the land. The people threw Punic flags into fire, vowing no longer to labour under its cruel mark. No more would Romans rally behind the words “Carthago Delenda Est”, for now, its reckoning had at last come. They lifted a new cry in unison:
Carthago Deleta Est.
Oh Muse, preserve this episode as a cautionary parable. Cruelty and arrogance never prevail, nor do those who would stand against the divine laws of nature.
Homines cogitant, dei iudicant