A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels - Volume 18 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 938 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels.
the western continent, as far as the harbours, which lay on the same side of the city.  There were two harbours, so placed and constructed as to communicate with each other.  They had one entrance, seventy feet in breadth, which was shut up and secured by strong chains stretched across it.  One of these harbours was exclusively set apart for merchant ships; and in its vicinity were to be found every thing necessary for the accommodation of the seamen.  In the middle of the other harbour was an island called Cothon; though, according to some writers, this was the name of the harbour itself.  The word Cothon, we are informed by Festus, (and his etymology is confirmed by Bochart and Buxtorf,) signifies, in the oriental languages, a port not formed by nature, but the result of labour and art.  The second harbour, as well as the island in it, seems to have been intended principally, if not exclusively, for ships of war; and it was so capacious, that of these it would contain 220.  This harbour and island were lined with docks and sheds, which received the ships, when it was necessary to repair them, or protect them from the effects of the weather.  On the key were built extensive ranges of wharfs, magazines, and storehouses, filled with all the requisite materials to fit out the ships of war.  This harbour seems to have been decorated with some taste, and at some expence; so that both it and the island, viewed at a distance, appeared like two extensive and magnificent galleries.  The admiral’s palace, which commanded a view of the mouth of the harbour and of the sea, was also a building of considerable taste.  Each harbour had its particular entrance into the city:  a double wall separated them so effectually, that the merchant vessels, when they entered their own harbour, could not see the ships of war; and though the admiral, from his palace, could perceive whatever was doing at sea, it was impossible that from the sea any thing in the inward harbour could be perceived.

Nor were these advantages, though numerous and great, the only ones which Carthage enjoyed as a maritime city; for its situation was so admirably chosen, and that situation so skilfully rendered subservient to the grand object of the government and citizens, that even in case the accidents of war should destroy or dispossess them of one of their harbours, they had it in their power, in a great measure, to replace the loss.  This was exemplified in a striking and effective manner at the time when Scipio blocked up the old port; for the Carthaginians, in a very short time, built a new one, the traces and remains of which were plainly visible so late as the period when Dr. Shaw visited this part of Africa.

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