Fiestas that recreate the conquest of Cartagena by the Roman Escipion. A disembarkation commemorates the capture of the city in 209 BC by the Roman troops of Scipio, which leads into a festive week with alternate days devoted to either side. This fiesta takes place in the second half of September and celebrations run for ten days.The marriage of Hannibal and Himilco or the day of the Roman Circus, with gladiators and wild beasts, is followed by the great parade on Saturday, the big day of the fiesta, when all the troops and legions march on the city. From 21/09/2012 to 30/09/2012.
The city which is home to Spain’s main Mediterranean naval base, Cartagena, in the Murcia Region, was, as its name suggests, founded by the Carthaginians.
It was founded as Qart Hadasht (Punic for new city) by the Carthaginian general, Hasdrubal, in around 227, and soon became the Carthaginians’ main centre of operations in the Mediterranean.
Then came the Second Punic War and the Carthaginian commander, Hannibal, departed from Qart Hadasht in the Spring of 218 BC for his epic march over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy at the head of an army of thousands of troops, cavalry and war elephants.
Hannibal’s campaign against the Romans in Italy was to last for 16 years.
Rome was meanwhile concentrating its campaign outside Italy in Hannibal’s main source for fresh troops and supplies, Iberia. A heavy defeat at the Battle of the Upper Baetis in 211 BC wiped out almost the entire Roman army, and a new commander was sent to lead the Roman campaign in Spain.
Publius Cornelius Scipio, the man who would later defeat Hannibal in the Battle of Zama in 202, arrived in northern Spain in 210 BC, when all Spain South of the Ebro River was in Carthaginian control. He decided to make a daring assault on the Carthaginian capital in Hispania, and marched his troops from Tarragona to Qart Hadasht in the southeast in early Spring the following year, reaching the city in less than a week.
Hit by a joint attack from land and sea, Qart Hadasht was quickly taken and became Carthago Nova – New Carthage.
Today, the people of Cartagena celebrate that period of their rich history with the Cartagineses y Romanos festival, running for 10 days in the second half of September.
These relatively recent celebrations open on the penultimate Friday of the month with a call to the gods for the sacred fire to light the torch which will remain lit night and day throughout the festival. Later on that night, is the presentation of the Carthaginian troops and the Roman Legions, before they march to the festival’s military camp.
The following days see a living chess tournament, the wedding of Hannibal and Himilce, a Roman circus, and the Carthaginians disembarking in the port before a re-enactment of Hannibal’s departure from Qart Hadasht to Rome with 90,000 troops, 12,000 cavalry and 50 war elephants.
The next Friday sees the recreation of the sea battle which formed part of the Roman forces’ two-pronged attack on the city more than 2,000 years ago, followed that afternoon by the Legions disembarking to join their land troops before Qart Hadasht is taken for Rome.
The battle ends with the capitulation of the Carthaginian commander, and a victorious march through the streets of New Carthage by the Legions who took the city for Rome.
The final day sees a homage to the Roman soldiers who fell in the battle, and forces from both sides parade through the streets of Cartagena.
More information: www.cartaginesesyromanos.es
Category: Spain festivals