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Carthage (cWOD)

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Carthage was the center of a North African and Mediterranean empire that rivaled Rome until the 2nd century BCE, when it was sacked and destroyed by Rome at the end of the Third Punic War. In the World of Darkness, Carthaginian society was dominated by the vampiric clan Brujah, who came closer to achieving their Idealistic goals there than at any other time before or since.

OverviewEdit

The Brujah still draw inspiration from legends of the great scholars and philosophers that flourished in Carthage, 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. Carthage's prince at the time, a coward and weakling named Himilcar the Pale, utterly failed to keep these forces in check, and as a result his rulership became all but nominal in the Carthaginian empire's final years.

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 to act 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, and Himilcar was struck down in one blow. 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 elder 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 legends say that the clan's frenzied demeanor dates back to the loss of the dream of Carthage. No small number of the clan's Idealists focus strictly on a version of their clan's history in Carthage that is romanticized to the point of fiction, while others see the fall of Carthage and its Brujah as a harsh object lesson, one from which all Kindred have much to learn. 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 (or perhaps precisely because) many Brujah deny the extent to which their own clan was complicit in the corruption of their city and of the ideals it represented in their eyes.

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.

When Cybele bound Moloch and Troile, she also destroyed the Tophet-Well of Carthage, denying Moloch its monstrous power, and sealed it with the fallen ruler-lovers. In the modern nights, however, something is stirring in Carthage's ruins, casting the smoke of burning innocents into the night sky once more. Grisly offerings are left at an unhallowed temple, and from the spawning pit within emerge vampires devoted to Moloch's incomprehensible will.

ReferencesEdit

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