This story about a Carthaginian boy named Hanno takes place during the era between the first and second Punic Wars. Instead of focusing on historical events, the author emphasizes the customs and daily lives of typical Carthaginian of the era. The drama of the story peaks when Hanno rescues his sister from the murderous priests of Carthage, and eventually joins the army of Hannibal.
The scene of this story is among the Carthaginians, an ancient people who lived more than two thousand years ago on the finest harbor in Northern Africa, and who undertook some of the most daring sea expeditions that the world has ever known; a nation of traders who founded so many colonies, amassed so much wealth, gained so much power, that Rome became envious and engaged them in three great conflicts.
These wars finally resulted not only in the Carthaginians being vanquished, but in one of the most complete annihilations of state and people, with their records of every kind, found anywhere in history.
Thus it is that almost the only accounts we have of this people have come to us through the "anger and envy and meanness" of their bitterest enemies. Notwithstanding this, one of their men has been accepted as a great world hero.
Hannibal belongs to the second of the chief Rome-Carthage conflicts (the Punic Wars), the most important of them all. Some one has spoken of this war as the struggle of a great nation against a great man. The Romans showed how they themselves regarded it by calling it "War with Hannibal."
What we know of the last Carthaginian defense of their homes (third Punic War), and still more of the wonderful genius and the unselfish patriotism of Hannibal is apt to win sympathizers for Carthage, despite her accusers. While striving to do her justice we must not forget two important points that seem proved against her as a whole.
One of these is the greed for gain which led to the placing of selfish interests above the welfare of the state. The other is the striking lack of respect for the rights of subject nations.
Perhaps you can see in what ways these helped to bring about the country's destruction.
Alameda, Calif., June 10, 1915.