How Big Was Dido’s Cow Hide Kingdom?
Dido founded the ancient city of Carthage. After her brother murdered her father and fled the country, she wound up in the realm of King Hiarbas. King Hiarbas granted her wish by giving her a parcel of land enclosed by an ox hide. Dido cut the hide into thin strips, and the ox hide provided her with enough land to build a kingdom. The ox hide was the first resource Dido used to establish her kingdom.
Dido’s first stop was Kition in Cyprus
The goddess Dido’s first stop was Kition, a city on the island of Cyprus. She picked up a priest of the god Astarte and promised him and his descendants a position as High Priest. She then set sail to North Africa, where she was helped by the Phoenician colony Utica. There, she promised to give her colonists land covered in ox hide.
After Alexander’s death, Cyprus became part of the Ptolemaic Empire. After Alexander’s death, Ptolemy (the general who served under him) established the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt. However, Cyprus remained a part of the Ptolemaic Empire, with a governor based in New Paphos. Later, in the Ptolemaic period, the city was ruled by Pumiathon, and its temples were burned.
Dido’s ox hides the kingdom
Dido’s ox hide kingdom was huge! In a myth, the princess traveled from Cyprus to North Africa in search of new land. She first stopped in Cyprus, where she picked up the priest of Astarte, promising him and his descendants the position of High Priest. Then, she made landfall on the coast of northern Africa and negotiated with a local chieftain for a small plot of land. Dido was able to purchase as much land as she could fit onto one ox hide.
To obtain the ox hide, Dido cut the ox hide into strips, which she used to encircle a hill. The hill eventually became the city of Carthage, called Byrsa. This was an amazing feat. Those who inhabited the ox hide kingdom would have been able to live in luxurious palaces and dig a large swimming pool, thanks to the oxhide!