An informative and witty take on one of the most powerful cities of antiquity, from a trio of classical scholars active in revising popular notions of Carthage through museum and TV work. For many readers, associations of Carthage are limited to the daring of Hannibal or to salt-sown fields where the sacked city once stood. Here, these fragments are put in full context, unveiling a complete history of Carthage from its Phoenician origins to long after its devastation, when the descendants of that proud metropolis had become a vital part of the Roman Empire. At one time a principal trading center for the whole of the Mediterranean, its people were renowned for their battering and seafarming acumen, but mighty as they were at the peak of their influence, great was their fall. The authors (Soren: Classics/Univ. of Arizona; Khader: Curator of Tunisia's Bardo Museum; Slim: Director of Tunisia's Center of Classical and Byzantine Studies) offer the absorbing details with frequent splashes of lively commentary and amusing comparisons (Hannibal is labeled ""the Busby Berkeley of military formations""). By close attention to the Carthaginian world-view, as far as it is known in the light of recent archeological findings, a rich image of the city emerges complete with its dark side, which contemporaries and centuries of commentators have roundly condemned: the practice of periodically sacrificing some of their own children to their gods. An overview of regional history is continuous almost to the present day, although the city. based coverage ends with the eighth-century fall of Roman Carthage to the Arabs. Replete with assessments of cultural artifacts and social customs, this intellectually stimulating work has much to interest any reader with a taste for classical history.