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Word for the Wise February 05, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Punic

Today we remember the formal end to the third, and final, Punic War. (来源:英语麦当劳-英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

The mayors of Rome and Carthage put an official end to the Third Punic War when they signed a peace treaty on February 5th, 1985. The actual fighting, as history buffs will recall, had taken place back in the second century B.C.E. But because it took more than 2,200 years to sign a treaty concluding what was, in essence, a three year war, the Third Punic War gets the dubious nickname of "the longest war in history."

So if the war was between Carthage and Rome, where does the name Punic come from? From the Roman victors. Carthaginians were known to the Greeks as Phoenicians, and to the Romans as Poeni. In the Third Punic War, the Romans crushed the city of the Poeni: Carthage was first besieged, then burned, and finally its surviving 50,000 or so residents were sold into slavery.

As if that weren't enough, the victors also spoiled the word Punic. After the wars, the Romans applied that adjective not only to the Poeni but to anyone considered "faithless" or "treacherous."

 
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