My boyfriend booted up Sim City the other day and started building a new city from scratch. As he did so, he saw that I was watching and sheepishly said, “I never come up with names for my cities. I always leave them named ‘New City’. I’m not that creative.”
He frowned at his perceived awkwardness and started laying roads and power plants and zones and pipes.
So I said, “There was an ancient culture called the Phoenicians. They lived in city states on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea near modern Syria and Lebanon. They were renowned mariners and even invented the alphabet that is the basis for the one we now use.
“They had a rivalry with the ancient Greeks and established colonies all around the Mediterranean coast. Their most prosperous one was called Carthage. When the Phoenician cities were conquered and subjugated into other empires, Carthage was left on its own.
“Carthage eventually became a great power and, similar to the Phoenician rivalry with the Greeks, the Carthaginians had a rivalry with the Romans. After a series of fierce wars, and despite its maritime prowess and economic superiority, Carthage was eventually subdued by the Romans.
“Despite being conquered, the city of Carthage has a rich legacy. Many modern cities, like Cadiz and Cartagena in Spain, can trace their roots to Carthage.
“By the way, the name Carthage comes from the Phoenician name Qart-hadast.
“That translates to New City.”
By this time, his town had begun to develop nicely. He smiled and said, “I like that story.”