For ten days in the course of the 2nd fortnight of September, the Spanish metropolis of Cartagena in Murcia hosts the annual Carthaginians and Romans Pageant. An enormous pageant website is remodeled into an historical metropolis the place each locals and vacationers participate within the reenactment of historic occasions which came about within the metropolis in the course of the Second Punic Struggle. This enormous camp, situated subsequent to the Estadio Cartagonova, is residence to many short-term bars, meals stalls and craft markets the place contributors, wearing elaborate costumes, come to benefit from the festivities. Main occasions that are commemorated embrace the inspiration of the traditional metropolis of Carthage (Qart Hadasht) by the Carthaginian basic Asdrubal the Stunning round 227 BC, the departure of Hannibal to Rome and the conquest of the town by Scipio Africanus in 209 BC.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino

Historic Background to the Pageant

The Phoenicians have been a seafaring civilization primarily based primarily alongside the coast of modern-day Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Syria and south west Turkey between 1500 BC and 300 BC. Their affect additionally unfold to the Western Mediterranean the place they established colonies which included Carthage, an historical metropolis in modern-day Tunisia. Carthage was established because the capital of the Carthaginian individuals who turned a serious menace to the Roman Empire in the course of the three Punic Wars which came about between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC.

The Second Punic Struggle which lasted from 218 BC to 201 BC is the idea for the Pageant of Romans and Carthaginians. The battle started after Hannibal’s Carthaginian military attacked the Roman-backed hill city of Saguntum (modern-day Sagunto, close to Valencia) in 219 BC. After fierce battles the individuals of Saguntum turned to Rome for assist however none got here. This led to an eight month siege which ended with all of the the inhabitants being slaughtered having failed to simply accept Hannibal’s situations of give up.

Following the Siege of Saguntum Hannibal arrange a base at New Carthage (Carthago Nova) which was modern-day Cartagena. From right here he started to plot his march north via the Pyrenees, the Alps and eventually to Rome itself. Historical past information this occasion not for the 90,000 sturdy military which he put collectively for his journey however for the crew of 37 battle elephants which accompanied them.

Ten years later (209 BC) on the Battle of Cartagena the Roman basic Scipio efficiently led an assault on the town which led to its enjoying an vital function within the Iberian Roman Empire till 435 AD when it was sacked by the Vandals.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta
Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino

Evolution of the Carthaginians and Romans Pageant

A tragic accident on the conclusion of the Fiestas del Carmen y Santiago in 1972 brought on the demise of ten individuals in Cartagena. Consequently the town didn’t host any fashionable festivals till 1990 when the primary version of Carthaginians and Romans fiesta came about.

Solely about 600 individuals distributed in 10 troops and seven legions took half in that first pageant when the principle characters of Hannibal, Scipio the African, Himilce and the Nice Girl of Rome have been established. In subsequent years the variety of contributors continued to develop and new characters from the Second Punic Struggle have been unveiled. The Pageant of Carthaginians and Romans was formally recognised as being of Regional Vacationer Curiosity in 1993. The next yr noticed the participation of 25 troops and legions which was the utmost quantity allowed. In 1996 the festivities have been recognised by the Affiliation of Historic Festivals of Spain.

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Pageant of Carthaginians and Romans (1999) the occasion was recognised as being of Nationwide Vacationer Curiosity. Continued development of the pageant noticed main infrastructural enhancements within the festive camp and residents have been allowed to observe the Nice Battle from the highest of the Sea Wall.

In 2016 the Pageant of Carthaginians and Romans in Cartagena acquired the institutional backing of the Autonomous Neighborhood of the Area of Murcia and the next yr was formally recognised as being of Worldwide Vacationer Curiosity.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta
Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino

Romans and Carthaginians Pageant Calendar

The official program of the Romans and Carthaginians Pageant stays just about unchanged yr after yr. All occasions are freed from cost, apart from the Nice Roman Circus, which requires the acquisition of a ticket for entry to the location. In some occasions there’s a cost per seat, though there may be at all times the chance to attend the occasion standing for free of charge.

The pageant camp is situated subsequent to the Estadio Cartagonova which is the soccer stadium of FC Cartagena who play within the Spanish 2nd division. This venue is prone to transfer to a everlasting residence on a bit of land behind the Centro Comercial Mandarache in time for the 2023 occasion.

First Friday:

The Arrival of the Sacred Hearth takes place from a ship which makes its entrance via the port of Cartagena.

The Lighting of the Sacred Hearth is a spectacle wherein the priestesses, clergymen and vestals invoke the Punic and Roman Gods to ship the sacred fireplace. It’s carried out on the Cerro del Molinete, one of many 5 hills of Cartagena.

The Proclamation of the Festivities takes place within the esplanade of the Metropolis Corridor and its pronouncement falls annually on some personage of native or nationwide significance.

The March to the Festive Camp takes place after the proclamation when all of the troops and legions march to the festive camp. The city crier then cuts the ribbon which inaugurates the festive camp and permits the doorway of the Sacred Hearth.

Earlier than the official proclamation there may be an act often called the Pregonillo wherein a gaggle of veteran festeros stroll via the streets of the town centre saying the upcoming begin of the festivities.

First Saturday:

The Basis of Qart Hadasht is a present carried out consecutively on three totally different levels within the metropolis and tells the story of the Barca household from the demise of Amilcar to the inspiration of Qart Hadasht by the Carthaginian basic Asdrubal Janto El Bello in 227 BC.

First Sunday:

The Dies Lustricus is a Roman youngsters’s pageant wherein all of the festeros born within the final yr are baptized by the Roman ceremony. As well as, a small play is carried out, accompanied by dance performances. The kin of every baptized youngster pay tribute to the Gods with baskets of fruit, that are donated to charity, and obtain a diploma sealed with the palm of the kid’s hand smeared in ink.

The Destruction of Sagunto represents the seize and destruction of the town of Sagunto by the hands of the Carthaginian troops.

The Centuriate Comitium represents a gathering of the Roman generals to plan their navy technique to defeat the Carthaginian troops of Hannibal Barca.

The Plenary Session of the Senate levels the session of the Senate of Rome that may give option to the declaration of battle. The script is totally rewritten annually to mirror native, regional, nationwide and worldwide present affairs and to incorporate festive and political gossip. On the finish of the occasion the viewers votes by a present of arms for the “Brutus of the 12 months Award”.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta
Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino


The Marriage ceremony of Hannibal and Himilce represents the betrothal of the Carthaginian basic Hannibal and the Iberian Princess Himilce, with the participation of all of the Carthaginian troops. The younger basic Hannibal Barca is proclaimed as Supreme Chief of the Carthaginian troops in Iberia and can seal a pact of friendship with the Iberian peoples by becoming a member of in marriage with the younger Iberian princess.

At first the bride and groom don’t settle for the imposition of marriage however, after attending to know one another, love is born and the marriage takes place on a detachable stage within the Port of Cartagena. Marriage ceremony celebrations then happen within the festive camp. All through the evening, free weddings by the Carthaginian and Celtic rites are celebrated within the festive camp for all vacationers and guests. Some troops additionally have fun categorical divorces.


The Oracle of the Goddess Tanit is a theatrical act wherein Princess Himilce consults the goddess Tanit about the way forward for the town and her marriage to Hannibal.


The Trials of Aspar and the Ludi Romani remodel the Carthaginian and Roman streets of the festive camp into fields of competitions, video games and sights for youngsters.

The Feriae Latino is held at evening within the Roman road of the festive camp and in it the festeros of all of the Roman legions carry out numerous free actions and invite the general public to a number of typical Roman meals and drinks.

The Design of the Gods is a theatrical act that exhibits Scevola, commander of the Legion Extraordinarii and Common Publius Cornelius Scipio consulting Marta the Syrian, pythoness of the goddess Belona, in regards to the imminent battle for the seize of Qart Hadasht. The Pythoness proclaims a Roman victory in alternate for the lifetime of the commander of the Extraordinarii.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta
Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino


Within the Disembarkation of the Carthaginian Armada, troops disembark within the port of Cartagena to affix Hannibal’s military earlier than starting the march to Rome. It additionally recreates the hiring of mercenaries wherein Common Hannibal affords a tribute to the mercenary troops in alternate for them to be his allies within the battle.

The March of Hannibal’s Departure to Rome is a parade of Carthaginian troops within the route of the festive camp wherein the Carthaginian energy is proven and the departure of the Carthaginian basic to Rome is commemorated.

Second Friday:

The Maritime Sports activities Battle is a rowing race within the harbour between two boats wherein the Carthaginian and Roman groups face one another. It’s the non-historical battle of the festivities of Carthaginians and Romans.

The Disembarkation of the Roman Armada recreates the arrival of the Roman naval forces below the command of Admiral Gaius Lelius who will be a part of the legions ready on land below the command of Common Publius Cornelius Scipio.

The Nice Battle for the Seize of Qart-Hadast is the emblematic act of the festivities that represents the combating between the Carthaginian and Roman armies, ending with the seize of the town by Publius Cornelius Scipio in 209 BC. It’s held on the slope of the Batel, subsequent to the Wall of Charles III and really near the archaeological stays of the Punic Wall of Cartagena.

The Parade of the Victory of Rome is a parade to the festive camp wherein solely the Roman legions participate. It’s a pattern of the ability of the Roman legions that enter the town of Qart Hadasht, which is designated with the Latin title of Carthage Nova.

Second Saturday:

The Tribute to the Fallen remembers the Roman troopers killed in battle, depositing a laurel wreath on the funeral monument of the Blind Tower, a powerful instance of Roman funerary structure that corresponds to a burial of the primary century BC, devoted to Titus Didius. On this act additionally a particular remembrance is made to all of the festeros deceased in the course of the yr.

The Common Parade of Troops and Legions is the one event when you may see all of the Carthaginian and Roman teams parade collectively. All of the troops and legions put on their finest garments in a parade that ends on the festive camp.

Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta
Carthaginians and Romans Fiesta – Photograph: Giorgio Montersino

Second Sunday:

The Nice Roman Circus is a present that represents gladiatorial and Greco-Roman fights, chariot races, beams and horses, dances and navy parades of Roman legionaries. Till 2009 it was held within the Estadio Cartagonova however has since moved to a conveyable bullring with capability for about 4,000 individuals. As a result of excessive price of assembling and disassembling any such infrastructure, it’s only held each two years.

The Act of the Victory of Rome levels the victory of Rome with the liberation of the hostages of Carthago, the supply of the 2 Wall Crowns, the cession of the command of the town to Marcus Sempronius and the proclamation of the Regulation of Rome. As a singular case within the historical past of Rome, Common Scipio delivers two Mural Crowns, one to the legionary Quintus Trebellius and the opposite to the sailor Sextus Digitius, for each disputing the glory of getting been the primary Roman to set foot in Qart Hadasht throughout its siege.

Within the Extinguishing of the Sacred Hearth the priestesses, clergymen, vestals and representatives of Troops and Legions, stroll via the streets of the festive enclosure, turning off and silencing in its path all of the camps, to succeed in the stage the place the Sacred Hearth will probably be extinguished and the Hymn of Cartagena will probably be intoned. Lastly, a fireworks show is launched to mark the tip of the Carthaginians and Romans Pageant.


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