Remembering Dido – and the fate of Carthage

It is a curious fact that between the foundation of Tunis by the Arabs in the 7th century and the foundation of Tel Aviv in the early 20th century no major cities were created on the shores of the Mediterranean. Even those cities were not quite new: Tunis, as Katherine Pangonis points out, was partly constructed out of rubble from Roman Carthage, situated nearby; and Tel Aviv originated as a Jewish suburb of Jaffa. Nor were ancient Mediterranean cities as sizeable as we imagine. Only Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople can be called megalopolises, and Constantinople lies much closer to the Black Sea than the Mediterranean. Pangonis’s lively new book therefore