Salammbô cover





Salammbô (1862) is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BCE, immediately before and during the Mercenary Revolt which took place shortly after the First Punic War. Flaubert's main source was Book I of Polybius's Histories. The novel kickstarted a renewed interest in the history of pre-Imperial Rome's conflict with the North African Phoenician colony of Carthage. Contemporary readers, familiar with Flaubert's previous realistic work, Madame Bovary, were shocked and, in some instances, appalled by the indiscriminate violence and sensuality prevalent throughout the novel, which is why, notwithstanding the praise it received for its style and story, Salammbô remains controversial in literary circles to this day. Nevertheless, it was a massive best-seller, which sealed the author's reputation as one of the most prominent French writers of the 19th century, with even some of the Carthaginian costumes described influencing contemporary French fashion. Since then, however, it has fallen into obscurity in much of the Anglophone world.
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