chapter  4
New Masters for Africa
Pages 15

The fertility of North Africa had certainly not been lost on Cato, brandishing figs in the Roman senate as he reiterated ‘Delenda est Carthago’,1 nor on his hearers; but the new masters of Africa did not at once set about exploiting the province which was to become, with Egypt, the most valuable as a source of food, at least cost in men and money. For a hundred years, their policy was dictated by their resolve that no power should again arise on the far side of the straits of Sicily which could threaten either their hold on Sicily or their sea routes across the Mediterranean. Not that their acquisition of Africa can be regarded as entirely accidental: during the next century and a half they established their rule round the whole of the Mediterranean basin, and north-west Africa could scarcely have escaped the common fate for long.