chapter  XII
20 Pages


IT was just at the date which serves as starting point for this book (146 B.C.) that the Republic for the first time set foot in this land with intent to remain there. After the destruction of Carthage it was necessary to stay in Africa in order to prevent the vanquished competitor from rising again under a new name with a population derived from the neighbouring towns; but the government of the day judged it sufficient to occupy a narrow strip of territory equivalent to about one third of our Tunis, i.e. the north-eastern part of it, which is still the most populous and the best situated from a political point of view. Occupation of this territory meant the exclusion of other peoples and the preservation of Italy. Like the French under Louis-Philippe, the Romans did not at once conceive the idea of extending their conquest any further; the fosse of Scipio was symbolical of this wise moderation, marking off the Roman territory on the west and on the south between Thabraca (Tabarca) and Thenœ (Henchir-Tina)2 opposite the islands of Karkena. This district was called quite simply Africa: a “somewhat pretentious” name and “full of menace,” according to Boissière;3 though, on the other hand, it might imply that this was the only piece of land which Rome proposed to annex in Africa. The capital was Utica (Bu Schater), rewarded by this title-as well as by an increase in its territoryfor having made its submission to Rome in advance. All of the former domain of Carthage that was not included in this zone and had been subdued by the recent exploits of Massinissa was left to that king, who had been an ally of the Republic

1CLVII, map and chap. III. 2LXXIV, p. x. 3LXVII, p. 182.