Did the ancient Carthaginians practice child sacrifice?

Our literary sources about ancient Carthage unanimously testify that the residents of that great city regularly offered their children as human sacrifices to the gods Ba’al and Tanit.  This practice was supposedly known as the “Moloch.”  However, none of those sources was a text written by a Carthaginian.  We have writings about Carthage and its parent nation of Phoenicia by Greeks, Romans, and Jews, three peoples against whom the Carthaginians and their Phoenician cousins fought wars.  Since the Greeks, Romans, and Phoenicians all expressed horror of human sacrifice, we might well look on these reports with a measure of scepticism. 

A study of Carthaginian remains published last month in PLoS One did not find evidence to confirm the idea that the Carthaginians sacrificed their children.  The researchers could search only the contents of certain funerary urns, leaving open the possibility that the Carthaginians may have disposed of the ashes of their sacrificed children otherwise than in those urns.  So the question is still unsettled.

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