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From the novel, “Hannibal’s Elephant Girl, Book Three”.


Hannibal’s wedding bracelet for his bride; Princess Imilce. Carved into the gold is Queen Elissa, who, 600 summers before Hannibal and Imilce’s wedding, founded the city-state of Carthage.


The legend of the founding of Carthage, as told to Liada by Yzebel.

“This story is about our Mother Goddess, Queen Elissa. Many, many summers ago, even before the lifetime of my father’s grandfather, Queen Elissa, whom the Romans call Dido, came to the shores of Byrsa from her ancient homeland far to the east. She asked the people living here for a small piece of land where she could settle with the few followers who had wandered across the sea with her. The chief of those crafty and deceitful people told Queen Elissa, ‘You may have the amount of land that might be enclosed by the hide of a single ox, and the price will be one talent of silver.’”

“Talent?” Liada stood to put her empty bowl on the table. “What is a talent?”

 “A talent is a large bar of silver.” She picked up her knife. “Twice the length of my knife, and equal to the weight one man can carry for one day. Its value is that of six war elephants, or maybe seven.” She took a carrot from the basket and sliced it into the huge pot. “Our Elissa was very beautiful, with long, flowing curls and a sweet smile, but she wasn’t so dull-witted as she might have appeared to those simple natives.


After some thought, she accepted their proposition. Then, with the help of her handmaidens, she proceeded to cut an ox hide into many thin strips. Queen Elissa then laid these strips end to end in a wide arc extending from the shore of the sea, around a hill, and back to the shore on the other side.

 “‘I will have that land, now enclosed by the hide of a single ox,’ Elissa told the chief of those people.

“Seeing how they were outsmarted, the natives grudgingly gave her the land and wished her good fortune in building a settlement. They went away with the talent of silver to brood over their loss.

“Elissa had selected a section of shoreline containing one of the finest natural harbors along the whole southern coast of the Thalassa Sea, called Mare Internum by the Romans. This would later prove to be very beneficial to Queen Elissa and the settlement she named New City, which is our Carthage.”


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