How much is known of the Carthaginian language, which as I understand it is called Punic and descended from Phoenician? Google searches show some sketches of alphabet characters and such, but do we know enough to be able to learn it as a viable language today, the way we can with Latin? Are there many samples and fragments available for study? If not, is there a specific reason why the language of such a powerful empire has been lost (e.g. did the Romans try to purge it or something), or was it just the ravages of time?
The reason we can't speak Phoenician today as we can with Latin is that Phoenician has no vowels, so we know many of the words but have no idea how the Carthaginians would have pronounced them.
Also the reason why little of the Carthaginian writing is left today is because it wasn't rewritten. Most of the Latin writings we have stem from manuscripts that where copied during Charlemagne's reign, but in the middle ages no one (to my knowledge) was interested enough to copy the Phoenician scripts. (probably because they couldn't read them: even knowledge of Greek was nearly non-existant). Most of those who did survive only did so because they had been translated to Latin in the classical era.