Carthage, Third Century B.C., during the second Punic War. The story concerns a girl, Cabiria, who is separated from her parents and in her odyssey through the world of ancient Rome she observes the eruption of Mt. Etna, endures capture by pirates, views the barbaric splendor of Carthage, and witnesses both human sacrifice and Hannibal crossing the Alps. When young Cabiria is about to be sacrificed to the god Moloch, she is saved by the Roman Fulvio Axilla and his faithful servant Maciste. Many years later, the two recognize her as the beautiful Elissa, Sofonisba's (the king of Carthage's daughter) favorite and entrapped by the high priest Kharthalo. The final defeat of Carthage by the Romans crowns the birth of love between Axilla and Cabiria. Inspired by grand opera and Italy's imperialist victory in the Libyan War (1911-12), the Italian movie industry produced dozens of historical epics in the period just before WW I. The most influential and successful of these was this visually spectacular film which set the standard for big-budget feature-length movies around the world. In addition to the meticulous care given to costume and set design, Cabiria was also filmed in on location in North Africa, Sicily and the Italian Alps.