History

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Origin 846 is named in honor of the Phoenician Queen Dido, daughter of Mattan I and the sister of Pygmalion who was born in 846 BC.

Queen Dido, the daughter of Mattan I, and sister of King Pygmalion was married to her uncle Acerbas, a wealthy Tyrian priest who lived in Tyre, Phoenicia. Acerbas knew Pygmalion was jealous because he was rich. He was worried that Pygmalion would try to kill him for his money, so he buried it to keep it safe. Unfortunately, he was right as King Pygmalion had him killed.

After Dido learns that Pygmalion has killed her husband she is desperate to escape Tyre as she knows that if she gives Pygmalion Acerbas’s money, he will kill her as well. To trick Pygmalion into believing that she has gotten rid of the money, she fills bags of sand and throws them into the sea. Knowing that Pygmalion will kill her for this, Dido recruits her followers to help her flee. They buy a boat and begin a perilous voyage across the Red Sea in search of a new home.

After a long voyage, Dido arrives at the coast of North Africa and settles in Carthage. In need of land, she visits Hiarbas, the Numidian King, to buy property. King Hiarbas tries to trick her and says she could have as much land as she could cover with a byrsa (Greek for ox hide); which is only about 7-inches in width and length. Realizing that Hiarbas is trying to cheat her, she outsmarts him by cutting an ox hide into a very thin long strip that measures twenty-two stadia (4,224 meters) which forces King Hiarbas to give her a hillside.

Dido begins extracting olive oil from abandoned olive trees, and she prospers. King Hiarbas impressed by her intelligence, knowledge and ability decides that she should marry him and sends a message to her entourage. Dido’s entourage are scared to tell her that Hiarbas wants to marry her and instead say that he wants to marry one of them. When they are finally forced to confess that Hiarbas wants to marry her, she shocks everyone by agreeing. She then invites everyone to a party building a fire in celebration. She tricks Hiarbas as the party is really a funeral and the fire is a pyre. At the party she stabs herself and dies by throwing herself into the fire.