March 12, 2002
Pedantry Alert VI: Carthage Unsalted

I should probably send this straight to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, but I need more verbiage for my own website.

Although few outside the American Philological Association know it, the Romans did not in fact sow the ruins of Carthage with salt after they conquered the city and slaughtered its inhabitants in 146 B.C. That would have been going too far. The story, most recently repeated by VodkaPundit after Nicholas Kristof, is found in dozens of textbooks and websites. It started with one of the contributors to the Cambridge Ancient History back in the Twenties or Thirties, who apparently confused the Roman sack of Carthage with some Biblical story and failed to check his references. This was demonstrated very thoroughly in an article in a classical journal a few years ago, though I can't find the reference on the web, and my copy is in storage far from where I sit.

Hmmmmm . . . That's three petty corrections in a row. Maybe I should call my site 'SmarterBlogs'. Then again, for a very low $20.00 per error, I could send these corrections off-list to previously registered customers, with legally-enforceable written promises that they would never see the light of the Blogosphere. Have I just discovered a viable business model for the personal website? I would have to have a certain number of non-customers who refused to pay, or were not asked, and were then held up here as objects of ridicule and abuse. That would help attract interested readers and give web-journalists and bloggers the incentive to sign up, pay up, and avoid being made examples. A delicate balancing act would be necessary, since winning over the entire potential market would be counterproductive in the end.

Coming later this week, maybe even tonight: original thoughts on topics of geopolitical importance:
1. Why Mohammed Atta Drank and Went to Strip Shows (not as surprising as some think).
2. Dominoes or Leapfrog? Just What Game Are We Playing in the Middle East?
3. The Horns of a Trilemma: What Should Be Done with Our Bases in Saudi Arabia?
Tune in later for these exciting blogmas.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 12, 2002 10:20 PM