Carthaginian infanticide

Carthaginian infanticide not just Roman propaganda


Recent research revealed that the Carthaginians really did kill their own infant children, a practice once dismissed as just ancient Greek and Roman propaganda.

Ancient Carthage was a Semitic civilisation centred on the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in North Africa on the Gulf of Tunis.  Founded in 814 BC, Carthage established control over other Phoenician settlements throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa and what is now Spain, which lasted until the end of the 3rd century BC.  For much of its history, Carthage was in a constant state of struggle with the Greeks on Sicily and the Roman Republic, which led to a series of armed conflicts known as the Punic Wars.  So when ancient Greeks and Romans made reports of ritual sacrifice of children, their claims were not taken seriously. But this has become one of the most bitterly debated questions in classical archaeology.

“This is something dismissed as black propaganda because in modern times people just didn’t want to believe it,” said Josephine Quinn, a lecturer in ancient history at Oxford. ““But when you pull together all the evidence – archaeological, epigraphic and literary – it is overwhelming and, we believe, conclusive: they did kill their children, and on the evidence of the inscriptions, not just as an offering for future favours but fulfilling a promise that had already been made.”

The argument about whether Carthaginians did or did not commit infanticide was brought into focus after the discovery of cemeteries known as tophets in the early 20th century on the outskirts of Carthage in modern Tunisia, and at other Carthaginian sites in Sicily and Sardinia. The graves held tiny cremated bones packed into urns and buried under tombstones giving thanks to the gods.

Carthaginian tophet urns from the 3rd or 4th century BC containing burned bones. 

 While some have claimed that these are simply the remains of children who died before or soon after birth, Quinn and her colleagues, a group of Punic archaeologists and historians from Italy and the Netherlands, reject this theory due to the sheer number of child remains that were found.

"The inscriptions are unequivocal: time and again we find the explanation that the gods 'heard my voice and blessed me'. It cannot be that so many children conveniently happened to die at just the right time to become an offering – and in any case a poorly or dead child would make a pretty feeble offering if you're already worried about the gods rejecting it," said Quinn.

Another convincing piece of evidence was the finding of animal remains buried in the same way, sometimes in the same urns as the bones of the children.  Quinn also draws attention to the fact that ancient writers, such as the Roman historian Diodorus, gave graphic accounts of Carthaginian child sacrifice.

However, Quinn admits that many of her academic colleagues were appalled by her conclusions and that this is because it is a conclusion that no one wants to believe is true, like some taboo is being broken. "We like to think that we're quite close to the ancient world, that they were really just like us – the truth is, I'm afraid, that they really weren't."

By April Holloway

Comments

Christianity helped to bring an end to infanticide and child sacrifice. However, today we have abortion, and there are satanists who sacrifice newborn infants to satan--so we are no better today, maybe even worse.

One of the symptoms of the demise of a civilization is the devaluing of human life. Now that abortion is widespread in the world, there is an increase in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

So, let me get this right. You are equating abortion with child infanticide and human(child) sacrifice. That’s some pretty strange thinking rationalization going on there

You are also claiming that child sacrifice is still being conducted and of course if such a practice is being conducted it is by satanists. Funny, isn’t there a story in the Bible where someone is told that to prove their love for God they have to sacrifice their child. Thus the love of God trumps the love of child and human life for that matter. Please provide proof for your amazing accusation, or do you have an ulterior motive to make such a claim. Such as the drifting away of people from the Christian faith(s) and trying to convince those who have strayed to come back into the fold. It reminds me of the time in our society back in the 80’s and 90’s in the field of psychology. Where all of a sudden there where claims being made by children and or adults that their children where being subjected to ‘satanic’ rituals etc.
None of which was ever proven to be true.

Euthanasia or assisted suicide does not mean the end of the world. Abortion does not mean the end of the world nor of civilization, culture or society. These subjects may eroded at the Christian faith/beliefs but to many throughout the world it does not bring their world to an end.

Sorry for the double post, I do not know how to delete. The image is interesting in many ways. The blasting of the horns, like in Tolkien's description of Melkor's music that was converse to the music created by the other Valar, it was blasting of horns, loud and chaotic.
I am reminded of in the Game of Thrones...the infants being sacrificed to the walking dead. This is also representing that the worshipers of this evil spirit have to have the vital energy of others because they do not have life on their own....they do not have an immortal soul. The Sultan Valad's poem...."she looks like a soul....".

We murder thousands of unborn every day. Why is this so hard to believe that they sacrificed their children? I doubt they were so stupid to kill off everyone. Obviously there would not have been a Carthage.

t was a Canaanite civilization, not Semitic. The child sacrifice (infanticide) were indeed true (here's a similarity with a Semitic culture: Abraham was also requested to sacrifice his child - I guess God didn't stop the Carthaginian Phoenicians on time like He did with Abraham). It's silly to sacrifice children when you are a civilization in "constant" war and struggle with Greece and Rome... you'll need all the men you can have - especially that the "Punic Wars" lasted more than 100 years. Given that Hamalcar Barca and Hannibal Barca (the kings of Carthage) are still considered military geniuses, whose tactics and achievements are taught in every military school in the world, It wouldn't make sense that child sacrifice practices were being held during the war... If it ever did, It must have been stopped by the warrior kings, and that's where the debate can arise from.

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