Ancient Carthaginians Killed Children as an Offering to God



Ancient Carthage , which existed from around 800 BC to 146 BC, was a Phoenician nation that prospered in northern Africa, and at one time was a great country with excellent culture and enormous wealth that competed with the Roman Empire. Carthage was a sophisticated nation, but it is said that there was a custom among people to give children to God as a sacrifice.

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Many ancient historians, such as Plutarch and Plato, refer to child sacrifice in Carthage, and the Carthaginian ruins ' Tofe ' in Tunisia has small monuments as if to support it.


Avi Alpert

However, most of the writings on Carthaginian customs were written by historians of Carthaginian enemies, such as the Romans and Greeks, and have been described by later archaeologists as 'racist propaganda and slander.' There was a strong view that For this reason, it has been said that the burnt remains of children found in Tophe were also said to be 'a child who left this world at a young age was mourned.'

Such a theory is disputed by Oxford University archaeologist Josephine Quinn, who published a 2014 paper on child sacrifice in Carthage.

“Some have tried to claim that these sites are burial grounds for stillborn and prematurely dead children,” Quinn said. It is inconceivable that so many children died at just the right time to be offered as offerings. Furthermore, there is the fact that the bones of animals that must have been sacrificed are buried in the same way, and sometimes placed in the same pot as the children. He argued that he was killed artificially, not of natural causes.

According to Mr. Quinn, in Carthage, hundreds of bones of children who are supposed to be sacrificed have been found, but considering that infant mortality was very high in BC, it is rather too small. Carthage's population is estimated to be about 500,000, but it is believed that there were only about 25 burials per year in the form found in the ruins.


Arthur F.

In the light of modern sensibilities, it is difficult to determine why the rituals were so barbaric, but the most likely reason is thought to be religious. Also, due to the high child mortality rate, parents at the time could not be too attached to the lives of children who might not be able to reach their first birthday anyway, Quinn pointed out.

In light of these circumstances, the descriptions of Carthaginian customs left by historians of the past look different.

“It would be slanderous by our standards, but people 2,500 years ago had no such intentions,” Quinn said. They tended to treat the custom as an oddity or a bizarre historical event, and were actually less critical of it, suggesting that the ancients thought and feared the same things as we do. You shouldn't imagine it,' he said.

The theory that ancient Carthaginians sacrificed their children to the gods is indirectly supported by the fact that Carthage was founded far from Phoenicia, the homeland of the Phoenicians, in present-day Lebanon. It is

'The ancient Carthaginians were probably like the Pilgrim Fathers who migrated from England to the Americas because they feared persecution, and were driven from their homes for being so zealous in their service to God,' said Quinn. spoke.

in Science, Posted by log1l_ks