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Carthage

conditions, geographical, advance, peoples, land, sea, mediterranean and controls

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CARTHAGE We have seen how, protected in various ways, early civilizations had peace to develop. The geographic conditions both gave the protection and controlled the direction which the energies of the people should take, on the one hand by determining the line of least resist ance, and on the other by reacting on the mind and causing it to choose courses of action which in the long run might be the easier, but which at first might be more difficult. Now we must remember two things in order to under stand the further progress of history and the way in which geographical controls have acted.

(i) The peoples inhabiting the regions already re ferred to were subject to these controls for many ages, and under the influence of these controls the characters of the people, their tastes, habits and ways of living became fixed, so that even when in course of time some of the stock were forced or induced to move to other lands, the characteristics acquired through many generations were transmitted to their descendants.

How this " transmission " takes place does not matter; in some cases there may be some direct physical inherit ance, in others the transmission takes place by some form of teaching, direct or indirect.

Henceforward history is not so simple as it was in earlier stages. The lessons learned by men under one set of conditions have to be modified to suit a new set of conditions. The new geographical conditions act as controls, but their action may be somewhat modified by the continued action of the old geographical con ditions on the minds of men. The momentum of the machine, of which we spoke in the first chapter, is of importance.

(ii) Also, though some peoples were so favoured that they learned more quickly how to make the most of the energy that came to them, though they stand out so prominently because they show how energy may be saved, yet other men and races, perhaps stimulated by the more civilized, were advancing in knowledge of how to make the most of life. The average civilization of the world was gradually rising, but those folk who merely copy without originating must always be of less account than those who originate the advance. By the period we are now considering, many peoples were more highly civilized than were the ancient Egyptians of whom we learn first, but others had progressed much further still, and it is always the races which are in the forefront of the advance that tend to dominate the rest ; hence the history of the world is largely determined by the more advanced peoples, the form which the advance takes being controlled by the geographical conditions.

Remembering these facts we shall see that the next stage is an advance, that it is a natural advance, and that geographical conditions control that advance both directly and indirectly.

The Phoenicians were induced to become traders by sea because of their position ; because they were traders by sea they found it convenient to establish more or less permanent stations on coasts to which and from which they took their wares. All the coasts of the Mediterranean were thus dotted with their trading posts. The Greeks, as we have seen, gradually ousted their rivals from whatever posts they held in the Aegean, and Alexander, in securing the sea by taking to himself all the coasts of the Levant as far round as Alexandria, was only giving the last blow to the prosperity of the great Phoenician trading communities of the eastern Mediterranean.

Trading communities composed of peoples of Phoeni cian stock did, however, continue to exist in the western Mediterranean. These had been planted by the Phoeni cians of Phoenicia beyond the range of Greek influence, and were again and again reinforced by bands of emi grants from Levantine shores when the rule of the land powers behind became too oppressive. Such settlements were for long mere commercial factories like those planted by the British in India. Of these the most important was the group of cities in what is now Tunis. Looking at our maps of Africa we shall see that in the north west, between the desert and the sea, there is a belt of land exposed during a part of the year to the westerly winds, which bring rain; it is mainly highland and largely plateau. This is really an " island " in which a civilization of a kind might have a chance of evolving, but it is too large to be ruled by a power that has not reached a considerable degree of organization,' while it is too homogeneous to be divided into small pieces. The eastern and western ends are, however, somewhat distinct from the middle, as they contain plains or valleys of some extent. In the eastern or Tunis end—the end nearest their old home — the Phcenicians naturally planted their colonies. The inhabitants of these colonies were friendly to the natives, and did not look on them selves as owners of the soil. They were traders and sea-traders ; they looked on the possession of land as unnecessary, not became of anything in their present surroundings, but because of the influence of other geographical conditions to which they were no longer exposed. They had been stimulated to act as they did by the existence of the " Way," but in the western Mediterranean there was no corresponding land way.

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