I- Cyrus the Great Plan to recover Croesus (Mago I) Treasure
What we already know:
Dido's and Croesus treasures landed in Carthage.
Bassus tiped Nero with information of an existing treasure in a cave in North Africa.
Croesus paid the Carthagian priests to be King of Carthage under the name of Mago I.
No one knows about the end of Croesus except Cyrus the great.
In this post we will know how Cyrus the Great made a successful plan to recover Croesus treasure, this plan was at work from 550 BC to 149 BC the fall of Carthage
1- Cyrus the Great: (c. 600 BC or 576 BC–530 BC), also known as Cyrus II or Cyrus of Persia, was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. Under his rule, the empire embraced all the previous civilized states of the ancient Near East,expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, Cyrus the Great created the largest empire the world had yet seen.
The reign of Cyrus the Great lasted between 29 and 31 years. Cyrus built his empire by conquering first the Median Empire, then the Lydian Empire and eventually the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Either before or after Babylon, he led an expedition into central Asia, which resulted in major campaigns that brought "into subjection every nation without exception." Cyrus did not venture into Egypt, as he himself died in battle, fighting the Massagetae along the Syr Darya in December 530 BC. He was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, who managed to add to the empire by conquering Egypt, Nubia, and Cyrenaica during his short rule.(a)
Cyrus the Great
2- The Hurrians: (also Khurrites) were a people of the Ancient Near East who lived in Northern Mesopotamia and adjacent regions during the Bronze Age. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni. The population of the Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu.
The Mitanni were closely associated with horses. The name of the country of Ishuwa, which might have had a substantial Hurrian population, meant “horse-land”. A famous text discovered at Hattusa deals with the training of horses. The man who was responsible for the horse-training was a Hurrian called Kikkuli. The terminology used in connection with horses contains many Indo-Aryan loan-words. (b)
3- The Assyrians: the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people (frequently known as Assyrians, Syriacs, Syriac Christians, Suroye/Suryoye, Chaldeans, and other variants, see names of Syriac Christians) are an ethnic group whose origins lie in the Fertile Crescent. Today that ancient territory is part of several nations; the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac people have been minorities under other ethnic groups' rule since the early Middle Ages. They have traditionally lived all over Iraq, northeast Syria, northwest Iran, and the Southeastern Anatolia region of Turkey.(c)
Assyria and Babylon became major powers. There were further influxes of peoples such as Hurrians, Kassites, Hittites and Mitanni, the former two peoples ruled Babylon for a time, and the Hittites and Mitanni dominated Assyria for a short period. Hurrians and Kassites seem to have disappeared into the general population in southern Mesopotamia, while the Mitanni and Hittites were overthrown and driven out of the north.
"In Achaemenian times there was an Assyrian detachment in the Persian army, but they could only have been a remnant. That remnant persisted through the centuries to the Christian era, and continued to use in their personal names appellations of their pagan deities. This continuance of an Assyrian tradition is significant for two reasons; the miserable conditions of these late Assyrians is attested to by the excavations at Ashur, and it is clear that they were reduced to extreme poverty under Persian rule." (d)
The Assyrian demand for precious metals was the main cause of Phoenician colonization in the Western Mediterranean.(e)
Map of the Assyrian Empire
4- Numidians: were Berber tribes who lived in Numidia, in Algeria east of Constantine and in part of Tunisia . The Numidians were one of the earliest natives to trade with the settlers of Carthage. As Carthage grew the relationship with the Numidians blossomed. Carthage's military used the Numidian cavalry as mercenaries. Numidia provided some of the highest quality cavalry of the Second Punic War, and the Numidian cavalry played a key role in a number of battles, both early on in support of Hannibal and later in the war after switching allegiance to the Roman Republic.(f)
The Numidians are originally persians contingent in the army, they settled first in the desert with the Gaetuli and become Pharusii, some of them moved north between Mauretania and Carthage to create Numidia.(g)
5- Masaesylii and Massylies: they are the most important two tribes which forms the Numidians the Masaesylii are based in the west Known by their King Syphax and the Massylies based in the east known by their king Massinissa(h)
Massinissa Famous King of Massylies (238 BC - 148 BC)
6-Numidian cavalry: was a type of light cavalry developed by the Numidians, most notably used by Hannibal during the Second Punic War. They were described by the Roman historian Livy as "by far the best horsemen in Africa." The Numidian cavalry's horses, ancestors of the Arabian horse, were smaller than those of the contemporary Roman cavalry and were well adapted for faster movement. To conserve weight, the cavalrymen did not use a saddle or bridle, did not wear armor, and carried smaller shields. Their weaponry consisted mainly of spears and javelins, in addition to a short sword.(i)
7- The Battle of Zama: fought around October 19, 202 BC, marked the final and decisive end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, allied with Berber Numidian forces, defeated a Carthaginian force led by the legendary commander Hannibal. Soon after this defeat on their home ground, the Carthaginian senate sued for peace, which was given to them by the Roman Republic on rather humiliating terms, ending the 17-year war.(j)
8- Hasdrubal the Boeotarch: was a Carthaginian general involved in the Punic Wars.Little is known about Hasdrubal the Boeotarch, the general who lost the Third Punic War to Scipio Aemilianus, Consul of the Roman Republic at the Siege of Carthage in 146 BC. His military skill was not to be doubted, as his army had been well trained and equipped and his work at defending Carthage cost the Romans a difficult campaign to suppress the defenders, but his tactical skills were dwarfed by his contemporaries, Masinissa and Scipio. He also had a wife and two sons, who, according to an account by Polybius, threw themselves into a burning temple when they saw Hasdrubal's army defeated by the Roman attackers. Hasdrubal surrendered himself to the Romans after his family's unfortunate deaths, but what happened to him after that is not known.
This may be the same general Hasdrubal who was defeated near the town of Tunes (now Tunis) by the Numidian king, Masinissa, just after war was declared (149 BC).(k)
9-Adherbal: The son of Micipsa, and grandson of Masi-nissa, had the kingdom of Numidia left to him by his father in conjunction with his brother Hiempsal and Jugurtha, b. c. 1 1 8. After the murder of his brother by Jugurtha, Adherbal fled to Rome and was restored to his share of the kingdom by the Romans in b. c. 117. But Adherbal was again stripped of his dominions by Jugurtha and besieged in Cirta, where he was treacherously killed by Jugurtha in B. c. 112, although he had placed himself under the protection of the Romans. (Sail. Jug. 5, 13, 14, 24, 25, 26; Liv. Ep. 63 ; Diod. Exc. xxxiv. p. 605. ed. Wess.) (l)
10- The Battle of Carthage:
a- was the major act of the Third Punic War between the Phoenician city of Carthage in Africa (a suburb of present-day Tunis) and the Roman Republic. It was a siege operation, starting sometime between 149 and 148 BC, and ending in the spring of 146 BC with the sack and complete destruction of the city of Carthage.
After a Roman army under Manius Manilius landed in Africa in 149 BC, Carthage surrendered and handed over hostages and arms. However, the Romans demanded the complete destruction of the city, and surprisingly to the Romans the city refused, the faction advocating submission overturned by one in favor of defense.
The Carthaginians manned the walls and defied the Romans, a situation which lasted for two years due to poor Roman commanders. In this period, the 500,000 Carthaginians inside the wall transformed the town into a huge arsenal. They produced about 300 swords, 500 spears, 140 shields and 1,000 projectiles for catapults daily.
The Romans elected the young but popular Scipio Aemilianus as consul, a special law being passed to lift the age restriction. Scipio restored discipline, defeated the Carthaginians in a field battle, and besieged the city closely, constructing a mole to block the harbor.
In the spring of 146 BC the Romans broke through the city wall but they were hard pressed to take the city. Every building, house and temple had been turned into a stronghold and every Carthaginian had taken up a weapon. The Romans were forced to move slowly, capturing the city house by house, street by street and fighting each Carthaginian soldier who fought with courage born of despair. Eventually after hours upon hours of house-to-house fighting, the Carthaginians surrendered. An estimated 50,000 surviving inhabitants were sold into slavery. The city was then leveled. The land surrounding Carthage was declared ager publicus, and it was shared between local farmers, and Roman and Italian ones.
Before the end of the battle, a dramatic event took place: the few survivors had found refuge in the temple of Eshmun, in the citadel of Byrsa, although it was already burning. They negotiated their surrender, but Scipio Aemilianus expressed that forgiveness was impossible either for Hasdrubal, the general who defended the city, or for the Roman deserters. Hasdrubal then left the Citadel to surrender and pray for mercy (he had tortured Roman prisoners in front of the Roman army). At that moment Hasdrubal's wife allegedly went out with her two children, insulted her husband, sacrificed her sons and jumped with them into a fire that the deserters had started. The deserters then jumped into the fire too, and Scipio Aemilianus started crying. He shouted a sentence from Homer, a prophecy about the destruction of Troy, that could be applied now to Carthage's end:(m)
Battle of Zama. File:Schlacht beiZama Gemälde H P Motte
b-"The story of the final stages of the war are difficult to understand. Our sources accuse Hasdrubal of trickery, to get rid of the other Hasdrubal (Adherbal); and we read about his cruel behavior towards his fellow citizens. Finally, we read that he opened negotiations with the Romans and betrayed his own city. It is hard to establish the truth of these stories, but it is reasonable to assume that the last story stems from Roman propaganda and was vented out to demoralize the last Carthaginian opposition."(n)
c- Unfortunately, the watchdog merely created new troubles. As an ally of Rome, Massinissa could always raid Carthaginian land. In 154, Carthage decided to strike back, and began to build an army. Immediately, the Romans investigated the case, and they tried to strike a compromise. But Massinissa's raids continued, and in 151, the Carthaginians declared war upon the Numidians.
Their commander was Hasdrubal, who was unable to defeat Massinissa, and accepted negotiations. A compromise would be made by the Roman Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus. However, during the negotiations, Hasdrubal's supplies ran out, and Massinissa charged again, destroying the Carthaginian army. When the survivors tried to return home, Massinissa's son Gulussa continued the attacks. The greatest disaster, however, was that this incident gave Rome the pretext it needed to intervene. And indeed, Rome declared war. After all, Carthage had taken an initiative in its foreign policy.
The Carthaginians immediately condemned Hasdrubal to death, blaming him for the entire war, and hoping to avoid war with Rome. However, Hasdrubal escaped, recruited a private army, started to besiege Carthage, and was received back when it became obvious that Rome wanted war anyhow. He was appointed as supreme commander, an office he had to share with a grandson of Massinissa, who was also called Hasdrubal (Adherbal). The Romans were already at the gates and the Carthaginians toiled day and night to prepare the city's defenses.(o)
III- Understanding from Definitions:
Cyrus the Great decided to make a succesful strategy to recover Croesus treasure, first by choosing the best soldiers from the Assyrian detachment in the Persian army, these soldiers they are known with hight qualities in fighting, like their ancetors the Hurrians. Their noble aim is to arrive to north Africa from Spain and then travel South East, East then North, to separate into two groups and intermarring the Nommade ( Gaetuli ), to create two strong tribes neighbours to Carthage, under two different names ( Masaesylii and Massylies ).
They achieved their objectif after 400 years following differents strategies and tactics; the significant clear signs of these strategies the battle of Zama and the fall of Carthage.
The story of the end of Hasdrubal the Boeotarch has many similarities compared to the story of the end of Croesus cited in the second dilemma within this blog (story of the pyre). we understand from the two stories that Hasdrubal the Boeotarch made a deal for his safety with Adherbal son of Micipsa to transfer all the carthagians treasures including Dido and Croesus treasures to the capital of Numidia which is Cirta that was the base of Adherbal.
d- Yildiz, pp. 17, ref 9
g- The Cambridge history of Africa, Volume 2 By J. Desmond Clark, J. D.. Fage, Roland Oliver, Richard Gray, John E.. Flint, G. N.. Sanderson, A. D.. Roberts, Michael Crowder p178
h- The Cambridge history of Africa, Volume 2 edited by J. Desmond Clark p143