Salammbô (1862) is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the 3rd century BC, 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 the pre-Imperial Rome’s conflict with the North African Phoenician colony of Carthage.
Flaubert’s contemporary readers, familiar with his previous realistic work Madame Bovary, were shocked and, in some instances, even appalled by the indiscrimate violence and sensuality prevalent all throughout the novel which is why, notwithstanding the praise it received for the style it was written in as well as the story it tells, Salammbô remains controversial among the literary circles even to this day. Regardless, 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 in it making an impact on the contemporary fashion in France. Since then, however, it has fallen into obscurity in much of the Anglophone world.
– from wikipedia