The day a forced marriage destroys a world power
Massinissa, king of Numidia, cries out with rage. He has just learned that his fiancée, Sophonisba, has been married to his greatest competitor: Syphax, the king of West Numidia. What sounds like a scene out of an ancient soap opera will fundamentally change the history of Europe: Rome will become a mighty world power— and Carthage will fall. But first thing’s first: In 218 BC the Second Punic War gets under way between Rome and Carthage, the two most powerful states in the Mediterranean. It is a stalemate situation; one must fall in order for the other to grow into an empire. And at first it does not look good for Rome. The legendary commander Hannibal crosses the Alps with his troops and inflicts painful defeats on Rome. In North Africa, Syphax is fighting on Rome’s side— but he is beaten by a talented rider and forced to make peace with Carthage. The victorious commander’s name is King Massinissa of Numidia. He is promised the beautiful Sophonisba’s hand in marriage. From then on Massinissa fights on the side of Hannibal against the Romans and brings them to the brink of utter defeat. But then Carthage’s leaders make a fatal mistake: They break their promise. In order to get their former opponent Syphax on their side, they permit him to marry Sophonisba. Massinissa vows revenge— he switches sides to fight for Rome. With his help Roman troops land in North Africa and besiege Carthage; Hannibal must halt his campaign and retreat. This marks Rome’s rise to superpower status. Massinissa becomes king of a unified Numidia; Carthage is destroyed in the Third Punic War.