Apparently, Carthage had them! And apparently, that was eventually bad, because when the Romans caught one they took it apart, found the numbered planks, and were therefore able to copy them and make something like 200 ships in 45 days. That sounds a bit ridiculous to me, but hey….
I found this out in an old doco on Carthage – I think I taped it last year or the year before, and only just got around to watching it last night. It was quite interesting – I actually learnt something new, like that Hannibal’s father actually set up Carthage #2 in Spain, and that people in Carthage #1 weren’t entirely happy with what he did. The doco started with the founding of Carthage, basically, talking about them using the Mediterranean as their own little pond. It very quickly gets to talking about the First Punic War, of course. This section was interesting, but it also leaned towards Rome – as these things always do – with sentences like Rome becoming a naval power “at last“: as if it was (gasp) inevitable that that would happen.
The bit I was disappointed about was the section on the Second Punic War, and Hannibal. There was, to my mind, too little on the man and very little even on the war itself! I did like the bit on Cato, though; a vicious little self-important declaimer is generally entertaining, especially at a two-millenium remove.
Most disappointingly, though, was the fact that I missed the end of the doco! It stopped right after talking about Carthage rebuilding, against the Roman treaty… so I didn’t get to diss them for including the ol’ salting the earth story.
Sad me. But it was a good doco.