Cato Looms Like A Giant Over The Novel:

Cato the Elder was Roman who almost singlehandledly commanded the Third Punic War. He brought it about with his perpetual speeches “Carthage must be destroyed” in the Roman Senate House and showing off crops and goods that supposedly came from that city along the coast of North Africa to warn the Romans how close by it was located.

He owned a vast latifundia in the countryside outside Rome. He experimented with various crops such as grapes, olives, and livestock and wrote a Latin prose work On Farming, influencing Latin literature. He also wrote Latin prose works that have not survived such as the first history of Rome that we know about called Origines. He also composed an encyclopedia and a book of maxims, neither of which survive except in fragments. He might have been a Pliny the Elder two centuries earlier in Roman history.

He is certainly the one historical character whose personality looms largest over the Dora Benley historical thriller Carthage Must Be Destroyed. It will soon be published by Cheops Books LLC.

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Carthage Must Be Destroyed In Color:

Daniel Teran has finished the book cover for Carthage Must Be Destroyed —- in color. Cato stands in the Roman Senate addressing the populace. Cato is soon to be a major character in the upcoming historical thriller Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Dora Benley.

Cato the Elder ends every speech in the Roman Senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” He is a survivor of the Second Punic War fifty years before when Hannibal won the Battle of Cannae and almost marched on Rome itself. Cato reminds the Romans that Carthage has finished paying its war reparations to Rome and is now refurbishing its navy. It could sail against them again just as Hannibal himself had crossed the Alps a generation before.

The son of another senator, Gaius Antonius, is picked by Cato to follow him to Carthage to assess the situation. Gaius Antonius sketches the harbor. His eyes light on a ship that is being built. It looks like the finest of its fleet.

When Cato orders the Carthaginians to send one hundred hostages picked from the youth of the noble families of Carthage to Rome to be kept at his latifundia estate, the Princess Tanit arrives. She tries to charm everyone —- for awhile. But soon she and the sketches and maps that Gaius Antonius drew suddenly disappear along with all the hostages.

This sets off a multi-nation chase to get the drawings and maps back again. Cato wants to show the drawing of the fine naval vessel and the threats it represents to the Roman Senate. They are on the verge of declaring war. Cato and Gaius Antonius want to push the Roman Senate and people over the edge. Will they make it in time, or will the Carthaginians gain an advantage? Will Princess Tanit and her cohorts escape, or will they get their just deserts?

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Trump Acts On Roman Scale Against Syria:

It would be totally impractical to consult Parliament or Congress about the Syria strikes. First of all they have to be secret. They can’t be discussed in a public session of Congress or Parliament. In order to keep up with the US, England gave the PM the power to make strikes without consulting Parliament. The US President has evolved this power since WW2 even though if he wanted to start a formal war he would have to get Congress to agree the way Bush did.

Cameron consulted Parliament in 2013, and they voted it down, making Britain “look like a jerk.” The previous occupant at the White House added to the jerk quality of the lack of response by claiming he was going to consult Congress. That is why May did not do it this time and Trump certainly did not. Democracies are not good at making war. Think of the Roman Republic. During the Punic Wars, at first the consuls who were elected for one year each and were not doing well fighting Carthage. They didn’t have enough power to carry on the wars. They had to learn to appoint a Dictator for the duration of the war or they might lose. Finally they appointed Fabius Maximus. Even he did not stay dictator for very long. Cato the Elder during the Third Punic War had the power of being a Dictator without the title because of his speaking ability.

Finally the Romans got the idea in the first century BC and Sulla became Dictator when fighting the Athenians. This resulted in Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon and riding into Rome with his troops, not laying down his power at all. And finally Augustus became Princeps or first citizen of Rome, really the First Emperor. Battles required a chain of command and real authority.

Before the Romans the Greeks had a terrible time conducting military campaigns. Athens wasn’t a modern democracy. It was more like a democratic oligarchy. But it was disorganized, and their wars and battles often suffered from lack of real leadership. It is ironic that the greatest Greek general was Alexander the Great of Macedon who was a King.

During World War 2 Britain followed this Roman tradition and suspended elections for the duration of the war. Churchill was like a Roman dictator more than the US President was who had to stand for election no matter what. Churchill was the most successful British PM of the twentieth century.

No one would suggest that the common foot soldiers get to vote on the next strike in the war. So why should the populace of the country get to vote on the next moves? That is the same sort of nonsense.

Churchill is a major character in the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series. He appears in many different novels.

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Carthage Must Be Destroyed Book Cover:

Carthage Must Be Destroyed is the latest in a series of historical thriller novels by Dora Benley about the long ago ancestors of Colonel Sir Edward Ware, or General Lord Edward Ware, of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series about World War 1 and World War 2. Colonel Ware lives outside Salisbury, England, of recent notoriety with the Russian chemical attacks. He lives at his estate called Ware Hall which has been inhabited by his family since Roman times when his ancestor Lucius Antonius fled to Britain after Julius Caesar was assassinated.

Cato the Elder ended every speech in the Roman Senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” He was a survivor of the Second Punic War fifty years before. Hannibal won the Battle of Cannae and almost marched on Rome itself. He reminded the Romans that Carthage had finished paying its reparations and was now refurbishing its navy. It could sail against them again just as Hannibal himself had crossed the Alps a generation before.

The son of another senator, Gaius Antonius, is picked by Cato to follow him to Carthage to assess the situation. Gaius Antonius sketches the harbor. His eyes light on a ship that is being built. It looks like the finest of its fleet.

When Cato orders the Carthaginians to send one hundred hostages picked from the youth of the noble families of Carthage to Rome to be kept at his latifundia estate, the Princess Tanit arrives. She tries to charm everyone —- for awhile. But soon she and the sketches and maps that Gaius Antonius drew suddenly disappear along with all the hostages.

This sets off a multi-nation chase to get the drawings and maps back again. Cato wants to show the drawing of the fine naval vessel and the threats it represents to the Roman Senate. They are on the verge of declaring war, and Cato and Gaius Antonius want to push them over the edge. Will they make it in time, or will the Carthaginians gain an advantage? Will Princess Tanit and her cohorts escape, or will they get their just deserts?

Find out. Read Carthage Must Be Destroyed coming soon from Cheops Books LLC. This is a sketch of the cover drawn by artist Daniel Teran.

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Gaius and Cato Lead Hostages Out Of Africa:

The Carthaginians had come back into the room. They agreed to send the youths back to Rome with Cato, Gaius Antonius, and the Romans who had traveled to Carthage. They only asked for a day to choose the youths and assemble them. Cato and Gaius would return to the leader’s house tomorrow at the same time to receive the youths who would travel from Africa back to Rome with them.

Cato returned the next day at the exact same hour. Gaius had taken advantage of the twenty-four hours to sketch as many buildings and landscapes as he could find outside the doors of the grand mansion where they were staying by the sea. He had sat outside on the verandah and made sure to get all the harbor works including as many of the Carthaginian ships and naval vessels as possible. Cato had examined what he had done and had nodded approvingly.

Gaius had returned to the house of the leading man of Carthage packed and ready to depart. The Roman ship was in the harbor fully armed and waiting for them to join the sailors for the trip back to Rome. Cato was even more ready than he was. He had brought some of the sailors with him and was dictating orders to the captain even as he waited. He always liked to take a no-nonsense approach to matters at hand.

The youths —- both girls and young men —- paraded in front of them and stood in a row in the banquet hall on the other side of the fireplace facing the Romans. They were dressed in such a fashion as if to impress them. They wore Greek clothes and outfits such as robes and chitons and outfits fashionable in both Alexandria and Tyre at the time as well as Carthage.

It did not take much time for Gaius to notice that one of the young ladies was staring straight at him. At first Gaius thought that it was only his imagination. But he kept on feeling her gaze burning through him and kept on repeatedly but reluctantly looking back at her.

Her long hair was black and midnight. So were her eyes with the long, spider-like lashes. Her skin was of a shade more olive-skinned than what Gaius was used to back in Italy. Lavinia for instance had milk white fair skin. The Roman nobility prided themselves on their fair skin. They thought only slaves and Greeks had olive skin —- Greeks and their Semitic cousins such as the population of places like Tyre and Carthage.

She seemed to be aware of Gaius’s discomfiture. She raised her hand to her lips and grinned. He could even imagine that he heard the girl laughing at him and his simpleton-like behavior.

“Where will these youths be housed?” the Carthaginian leader asked Cato. “Since they are our sons and daughters, the pride of Carthage, we have a right to ask.” He faced Cato down.

“I will take full responsibility to house your young people in a fashion to which they are accustomed. They will be safe with us as long as you keep your agreement and make peace with your neighbors in Africa,” Cato directed. “In one year’s time we will send a delegation to Carthage to check on the results of what has been established. If the situation here checks out, I will sail to Carthage and escort your youths and maidens back to you.”

“However,” he looked at the leader of Carthage with thunder in his eyes which was all too typical of Cato’s brusque manner of dealing with everyone, Carthingians and Romans alike, “if you do not make peace and you do not assure us that there will be no more of this nonsense in Africa, then your children —- the milk of your youth —- will be sold into slavery and will never be returned to you again.” Cato threatened them.

Gaius tried to maintain a stern demeanor as suited the circumstances, but inwardly he could not help but cringe. In effect they had sailed here on a Roman war ship and it was in the harbor, but that was about half a mile away. If the leaders got angry at the provocations Cato threw out at them, they could be dead men before the Roman soldiers from the ship could rescue them.

The leaders again retreated into a side room to discuss the matter among themselves. They returned to nod at Cato. But the looks they cast them showed what they were really thinking.

Cato rose and motioned for Gaius as well as his attendants and the youths to follow him. They began their procession out of the room and out of the building towards the docks, soon to be out of Africa all together. But they had not gotten very far before Gaius felt a hand as light as a feather on his arm. He turned to see that same girl with the moon-like eyes next to him.

“My name is Tanit,” she said in perfect Latin.

Gaius was startled. Cato had given him a lecture on the ship here about the customs of the Carthaginians. Tanit was their Moon Goddess. In Roman no girl would name herself after a Goddess. No one was called Juno or Minerva. But here despite the presumption so it was.

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Cato The Elder Speaks To The Senate House:

While Gaius sat beside his father and listened, the revered Senator, perhaps the most revered in the entire Senate House, rose to his full height to speak. Everyone else immediately fell silent. Gaius Antonius sitting there beside his father the Senator could hear “Sh-h-h-h-h-h-h!” followed by a great hush over the entire Senate. When not a sound could be heard the elderly Senator who hardly even showed his age though he was now in his seventies looked around at everyone and took them in seemingly one by one before he began to speak.

Gaius could not turn away after Cato’s eyes passed over him and seemed to touch him though he had not come near him physically. The lines in his face and forehead were deep and seemingly carved there as if in marble. His eyes missed nothing and felt as if they had turned Gaius’s very soul inside out. His craggy appearance only set the atmosphere for what was to come.

He held his head erect and stiffened his spine looking down his long, pointed nose that stuck out from his face as if to warn the unwary that Marcus Porcius Cato was about to descend upon them. With a look so serious and grave he could have frightened Jupiter himself, Cato began to speak.
He traced the history of the Roman involvement with the city state on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, or “Our Sea” as the Romans liked to call it. He announced that it had now been going on for a century and needed to come to an end very soon.

Gaius whispered to his father, “But I thought it was at an end after the last war!” he objected. “That was now over fifty years ago. He was only twenty. Fifty years seemed like a long time to him, half a century in fact.

“Sh-h-h-h-h!” his father hissed at him, frowning.

“We defeated Carthage during two very costly wars!” Cato declared. “One war our grandfathers fought. The one before our great-grandfathers fought. I has cast a pall over our Republic ever since. We don’t know what the enemy may be up to next.”

All the Senators looked at each appalled.

“We tried to give Carthage a chance. We even tried to make friends with them after the last war and take them into our orbit of sister cities fronting Our Sea. But now they are abusing our trust again, trying to make war against their sister city. How do we know that this is not a first step in a planned rise to power and then hegemony over the Mediterranean?” Cato exclaimed flinging out his arms.
The Senators shook their heads and shuddered.

“They give us specious reasons about how their neighbor Numidia is trying to impinge upon their state. But this could be the beginning of the end for our republic which has grown tired of warfare and no longer wants to expend the effort to defend itself.”

Cato made sure to eye each Senator individually as if this senator and that senator might be individually responsible for that infringement upon honor and duty. Gaius shivered. He was too young to remember much. But the censorious, no-nonsense expression on Cato’s face reminded him of his pedagogues in the classroom.

“So soon does Rome forget the horrors of the last Punic War. When has there ever been a battle like Cannae? When have we ever lost so many men in one day? Who here did not lose a near and dear ancestor on that day?”

Cato moved from his seat and came around the room confronting each senator individually until many a man broke down weeping.

“Hear me, oh Rome,” Cato returned to his seat and waved his arms about in the air as if he were trying to attract the attention of the gods themselves. “Hear me when I say that Carthage must be destroyed!”

If he ever lived beyond today, Gaius knew he would never forget those words.

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