Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Carthage and the Carthaginians
Reginald Bosworth Smith (1839–1908)
Carthage and the Carthaginians, by R. Bosworth Smith (1878). This book aims to give a picture of ancient Carthage, and of her two greatest citizens, Hamilcar and Hannibal; while a chapter on Carthage as it is to-day is appended. Its author, assistant master at Harrow and formerly an Oxford Fellow, has made a careful study of all the materials that have come down to us on the subject. Scholarship, personal observations made on several visits to the spot, and excellence of style, unite to make the book instructive and interesting. The characterization is distinct and forcible, the battle scenes are vivid. That the best results came of the rivalry of Carthage with Rome, the author perceives. He regards Hannibal as “the foremost general of all time”; and asserts that a sufficient answer to the question why was it not best for him to march at once on Rome after the battle of Cannæ, is the fact that he did not do so. Of Scipio Africanus, Hannibal’s great rival, though the historian calls him “one of the greatest of Roman heroes,” he asserts that he was “only three parts a Roman,” lacking genuine Roman respect for law and authority, and possessing an alien strain of Greek culture. More space is given proportionately to the First Punic War than is usual; the author’s reason for doing so being that, in his opinion, it throws more light on the energies and character of the Carthaginians as a whole than does the second: “The Second Punic War brings Hannibal before us; the First, the State which produced him.”  1

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