Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Time to party with the Romans and Carthaginians

FESTIVAL: ROMANS AND CARTHAGINIANS: 16 – 25 September 2016 in Cartagena, Spain. This is an annual festival, of which I was reminded by this advert for the Mediterranean Cartagena Tours Company. The historical background is summed up in this eurotourguide page on the festival, which includes this year's schedule: Cartagena Fiesta Romans & Carthaginians.
A little bit of history so it makes it easier to understand the re-enacted battles and events. From about 600BC the area was inhabited by the Carthagnians. Originally from modern day Lebanon, they fled their homeland after it was invaded, and settled in the area to become seafaring traders around the Mediterranean. The head of the main family was the Hamilcar Barca and he renamed the settlement Kart-Hardath which over time evolved into Quart-Hadast and then Cartagena. By 300BC the Romans had become very powerful and wanted to take control of these trading routes so embarked on the 1st Punic War. They didn't succeed and agreed to a truce. Peace reigned for a further 80 years, until 219BC. It was broken when the Carthagnians, lead by Hadrubal the son in law of Hamilcar Barca, decided to attack one of the Roman settlements. The Roman waited. Then Hannibal, after getting married to Himilce, departed in 217BC on his famous journey over the Alps with his 37 elephants, 100,000 infantry and 12,000 horsemen to attack Rome and claim it for the Carthagnian. The Romans took their chance, invaded and conquered a relatively undefended Cartagena during the 2nd Punic War.

Each day during the fiesta various parts of this story are re-enacted, so you'll need to visit everyday to get the whole story or return every year on a different day!! The acts for the fiesta take place in two main locations; one at the port and the other at the football ground. The 'Festival Camp' is located in the football stadium and is a great place to visit as there is lots going on. It is the site for some of the re-enactments and the headquarters for each association, the location of the artesian and craft market and the place to enjoy locally produced traditional food and drink! The port is the site for many of the battles, including the big one when the Romans arrive by boat and take control of the city.
Past PaleoJudaica posts noting the festival are here, here, here, and here. Sorry for the rotted links. Other posts involving Cartagena and its Punic history are here, here, here, and here.

Cross-file under Punic Watch.