Latin expressions explained (9): Delenda carthago.
This Latin phrase is often found in the form of delenda carthago, and sometimes in its entirety, delenda est Carthago. It originates from the speeches of Cato the Elder between -150 and -149, a Roman politician and senator at the time. He ended all his speeches for a year with this formula, in order to drive home his idea: delenda Carthago, « Carthage must be destroyed. »
In the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the enemy of the Roman Republic was Carthage, a great prosperous city located in present-day Tunisia. After two wars (-264, -241, and -218, -202), Rome was called upon to once again undertake a Punic War against Carthage, and to destroy it so that it would never again be a threat to Rome. The Third Punic War took place from -149 to -146 with the siege of Carthage, and its complete destruction.
Delenda Carthago thus highlights an obsessive idea that is tirelessly defended, the repetition of the same formula, the same principle to convince.
He keeps repeating that he wants to travel around the world, it’s his delenda Carthago.
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