Thus happened what, happily, has rarely happened in history before or since. An ancient seat of civilization, together with the race which inhabited it, its arts and its sciences, its laws, its literature, and its religion, was swept away at a single stroke, leaving hardly a wrack behind; and with it vanished the last rival whom Rome had to fear, the one state which ever met her on equal terms, and therefore alone stood between her and universal empire; the one possible check upon the evils which the decay of the republican spirit, the increase of wealth, the abuse of conquest, and the temptations of absolute power were sure to bring in their train. It is a thrice melancholy picture. It is the second book of the Æneid in stern and simple fact. The great Roman poet needed not to draw upon his imagination for a single detail of his splendid picture of the fall of Troy. The burning and the slaughter, the crash of falling houses, the obliteration of a wealthy and an ancient city which had held imperial sway for many, nay, for seven hundred years—it was all there, written in letters of blood and fire, in the record of his own country’s most signal achievement! It was a loss not to be replaced. The territory of Carthage, indeed, for the century or two that the republic was yet to last, supplied Rome with corn for her markets, and with wild beasts and gladiators for her arena. It gave, in fact, to the populace their’ bread and their Circensian games, all that when the republic had fallen they would ever want, and all that they would ever have. A poor equivalent this for the mighty city, the queen of the Mediterranean and its islands, the explorer of the Ocean beyond, the nurse of commerce and colonization, the mother of Hamilcar Barca and Mago, of Hasdrubal and Hannibal!