Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Carthage, 800 BC-146 BC.

I have just finished a book--beach reading if you will--by an English historian named Richard Miles called "Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization". The book was about the founding of the city around 800 BC to its obliteration by the Romans in around 146 BC. The book goes through all the waxing and waning of the great city, both Punic Wars and, of course, Hannibal's near-conquering of the Roman empire during the Second Punic War.

It's good to read a book on the collapse of a civilization when it looks like your own is dieing. When the stock market is more volatile than my mother. And when religious extremists and such threaten the inherently liberal principles this nation was founded upon.

It's also good perspective to read such a book when you're living through an era of change in the business. No one knows what the new "new thing" will be. No one's really figured out, outside of maybe Amazon and a few others, how to make the internet pay. No one really know how to reach diffident if not hostile consumers.

The thing about Carthage, and most other disintegrating communities is that from the view of a couple of decades or a couple of millennia, their demise looks complete and nihilistic. But the fact is Carthage, though it was razed to the ground by vindictive Roman armies, didn't really die.

Its people suffered, no doubt. But they made like Yogi Bear used to when Ranger Rick was too hot on his tail. They melded into the forest. They merged with others. They took on other roles. They rebuilt. They survived.

As the city of Nagasaki has--on this the 66th anniversary of its atomization.

As TV will. As most agencies will in some form or another.

Survival is hard.
Entities are not permanent.
They mutate and morph.
But they go on.
As does life.


Anonymous said...

didn't read the book but we learned a lot about Punic wars in HS.
it's also a good lesson on how big systems desperately need to make outside "enemies" to avoid the necessary changes.

and how one great leader can do the impossible but after he's gone, things evaporate. genius rarely has heir.

geo said...

Good points, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...