V20: methuselahs rising
The Third City
The Carthaginian State was an informal hegemony of Phoenician city-states throughout North Africa and modern Spain which lasted until 146 BC. It was more or less under the control of the city-state of Carthage after the fall of Tyre to Babylonian forces. At the height of the city’s influence, it held a hegemony over most of the western Mediterranean. The empire was in a constant state of struggle with the Roman Republic, which led to a series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars. After the third and final Punic War, Carthage was destroyed then occupied by Roman forces. Nearly all of the empire fell into Roman hands from then on.
Carthage was the center of a North African and Mediterranean empire that rivaled Rome up until the Third Punic War in the 2nd century BCE. In the World of Darkness, Carthaginian society was dominated by the Brujah clan of vampires, who came closer to achieving their Idealist goals here than at any other time before or since.
The Brujah still draw inspiration from legends of the great scholars and philosophers that flourished here, in a culture where Kindred and kine were closer to one another than any point before or since. Indeed, some Brujah (and a few others) remember Carthage as the “Third City”, the spiritual and political heir of the First and Second Cities. However, other, darker tales speak of a degenerate blood cult under none other than Troile, the Antediluvian ancestor of the Brujah; of human sacrifices – including infant sacrifices – to infernal powers; and of collusion between Troile and the Baali Methuselah Moloch.
The Ventrue of Rome were fierce rivals of their Brujah cousins in Carthage. As Moloch drew Troile into desensitization and degeneration, news of the endemic corruption among Carthaginian Brujah spread to the Roman clans. The Malkavian seeress Tryphosa gave guidance to the Roman prince Camilla directing him against Carthage, and the Carthaginian Toreador Helena betrayed her city to the Romans. An alliance formed against the Brujah of Carthage; this alliance encompassed the Malkavians, Toreador, Lasombra, and their allies under the leadership of the Roman Ventrue. As the Third Punic War razed Carthage in 146 BCE, the collective forces of the Roman Cainite alliance defeated Carthage’s Brujah and Baali masters. In the end, Troile and Moloch were driven into torpor, entwined in an eternal lovers’ embrace beneath the salted fields of Carthage. The pair are mystically bound there by rituals that originated with the Baali Cybele, who sided with the Roman Ventrue against Moloch for reasons known only to her.
With the fall of Carthage, the Brujah were seen to have fallen from grace as well. Many of the clan’s Idealists focus strictly on a version of their clan’s history in that city that is romanticized to the point of fiction, while others see Carthage as a harsh object lesson to be learned from. Many legends say that the clan’s frenzied demeanor dates back to the loss of the dream of Carthage. Other Brujah see Carthage as something to be avenged, as in the case of Menele, childe of Troile, who has waged a bitter war with the traitor Helena for millennia. The legendary Brujah-Ventrue rivalry is thought to date back to the fall of Carthage, though some believe it dates back to the fall of the Second City, when Troile supposedly slew the Ventrue Antediluvian. The Brujah bear no small amount of animosity towards the Baali for their actions in Carthage, even though many Brujah deny the extent to which their own clan was complicit in the corruption of both their city and their ideals.
Some have attempted to reignite the idealistic spark among the Kindred that flourished in Carthage, but with no real or lasting success. The closest that any ever came was Michael’s Dream in Constantinople, which was ruined when the city was sacked and Michael diablerized at the end of the Fourth Crusade.