Carthage

Carthage

Overview
Carthage is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis
Gulf of Tunis
Gulf of Tunis is a large gulf in northeastern Tunisia. It is located at around . Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, lies at the southern edge of the Gulf, as have a series of settled places over the last three millennia....

, developing from a Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colony of the 1st millennium BC. It is currently a suburb of Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715.

The first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis.
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Timeline

202 BC   Second Punic War: At the Battle of Zama, Roman legions under Scipio Africanus defeat Hannibal Barca, leader of the invading Carthaginian army.

439   The Vandals, led by King Gaiseric, take Carthage in North Africa.

533   General Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire defeats Gelimer and the Vandals at the Battle of Ad Decimium, near Carthage, North Africa.

533   Byzantine general Belisarius makes his formal entry into Carthage, having conquered it from the Vandals.

 
Encyclopedia
Carthage is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis
Gulf of Tunis
Gulf of Tunis is a large gulf in northeastern Tunisia. It is located at around . Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, lies at the southern edge of the Gulf, as have a series of settled places over the last three millennia....

, developing from a Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colony of the 1st millennium BC. It is currently a suburb of Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715.

The first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis. According to Greek historians it was founded by Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colonists from Tyre under the leadership of Elissa who was re-named (Queen Dido) in Virgil's Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

. It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse and Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland.

Hannibal's invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

 and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy; however, Carthage emerged from the conflict weaker after Hannibal's defeat at the Battle of Zama
Battle of Zama
The Battle of Zama, fought around October 19, 202 BC, marked the final and decisive end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus defeated a Carthaginian force led by the legendary commander Hannibal...

 in 202 BC. After the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became the Empire's fourth most important city and the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until the Muslim conquest
Umayyad conquest of North Africa
The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid Arab Muslim expansion following the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of Byzantine Syria. Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad caliphate....

 when it was destroyed a second time in AD 698.

Topography


Carthage was built on a promontory
Promontory
Promontory may refer to:*Promontory, a prominent mass of land which overlooks lower lying land or a body of water*Promontory, Utah, the location where the United States first Transcontinental Railroad was completed...

 with inlets to the sea to the north and south. The city's location made it master of the Mediterranean's maritime trade. All ships crossing the sea had to pass between Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and the coast of Tunisia, where Carthage was built, affording it great power and influence.
Two large, artificial harbours were built within the city, one for harbouring the city's massive navy of 220 warships and the other for mercantile trade. A walled tower overlooked both harbours.

The city had massive walls, 23 miles (37 kilometres) in length, longer than the walls of comparable cities. Most of the walls were located on the shore and thus could be less impressive, as Carthaginian control of the sea made attack from that direction difficult. The 2.5 to 3 miles (4 to 4.8 kilometres) of wall on the isthmus
Isthmus
An isthmus is a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas usually with waterforms on either side.Canals are often built through isthmuses where they may be particularly advantageous to create a shortcut for marine transportation...

 to the west were truly large and, in fact, were never penetrated.

The city had a huge necropolis
Necropolis
A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

 or burial ground, religious area, market places, council house, towers and a theatre and was divided into four equally sized residential areas with the same layout. Roughly in the middle of the city stood a high citadel called the Byrsa.

Carthage was one of the largest cities in Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 times (by some estimates only Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 was larger) and was among the largest cities in pre-industrial history.

History




The historical study of Carthage is problematic. Because its culture and records were destroyed by the Romans at the end of the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

, very few Carthaginian primary historical sources
Primary source
Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied....

 survive. While there are a few ancient translations of Punic texts into Greek and Latin, as well as inscriptions on monuments and buildings discovered in North Africa, the main sources are Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 historians, including Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

, Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

, Appian
Appian
Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

, Cornelius Nepos
Cornelius Nepos
Cornelius Nepos was a Roman biographer. He was born at Hostilia, a village in Cisalpine Gaul not far from Verona. His Gallic origin is attested by Ausonius, and Pliny the Elder calls him Padi accola...

, Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus
Silius Italicus, in full Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus , was a Roman consul, orator, and Latin epic poet of the 1st century CE,...

, Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Dio Cassius
Dio Cassius
Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus , known in English as Cassius Dio, Dio Cassius, or Dio was a Roman consul and a noted historian writing in Greek...

, and Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

. These writers belonged to peoples in competition, and often in conflict, with Carthage. Greek cities contested with Carthage for Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, and the Romans
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 fought three wars against Carthage
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

. Not surprisingly, their accounts of Carthage are extremely hostile; while there are a few Greek authors who took a favorable view, these works have been lost.

Queen Elissa (Dido)



According to Roman sources, Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colonists from modern-day Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, led by Queen Dido (Elissa) founded Carthage. Queen Elissa (also known as "Alissar"), was an exiled princess of the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre. At its peak, the metropolis she founded, Carthage, came to be called the "shining city," ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean and leading the Phoenician (or Punic) world.

Elissa's brother, King Pygmalion of Tyre
Pygmalion of Tyre
Pygmalion was king of Tyre from 831 to 785 BC and a son of King Mattan I .During Pygmalion's reign, Tyre seems to have shifted the heart of its trading empire from the Middle East to the Mediterranean, as can be judged from the building of new colonies including Kition on Cyprus, Sardinia , and,...

, had murdered her husband, the high priest. Elissa escaped the tyranny of her own country, founding the "new city" of Carthage and subsequently its later dominions. Details of her life are sketchy and confusing, but the following can be deduced from various sources. According to Justin, Princess Elissa was the daughter of King Matten of Tyre (also known as Muttoial or Belus II). When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her and her brother, Pygmalion. She married her uncle Acherbas (also known as Sychaeus), the High Priest of Melqart
Melqart
Melqart, properly Phoenician Milk-Qart "King of the City", less accurately Melkart, Melkarth or Melgart , Akkadian Milqartu, was tutelary god of the Phoenician city of Tyre as Eshmun protected Sidon. Melqart was often titled Ba‘l Ṣūr "Lord of Tyre", the ancestral king of the royal line...

, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king. This led to increased rivalry between religion and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acherbas. Pygmalion assassinated Acherbas in the temple and kept the misdeed concealed from his sister for a long time, deceiving her with lies about her husband's death. At the same time, the people of Tyre called for a single sovereign, causing dissent within the royal family.

The mention of Queen Elissa (Dido) in Virgil's Aeneid


In the Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 epic of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

, the Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Queen Elissa, is first introduced as an extremely respected character. In just seven years, since their exodus from Tyre, the Carthaginians have rebuilt a successful kingdom under her rule. Her subjects adore her and present her with a festival of praise. Her character is perceived by Virgil as even more noble when she offers asylum to Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

 and his men, who have recently escaped from Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, Mercury
Mercury (mythology)
Mercury was a messenger who wore winged sandals, and a god of trade, the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology. His name is related to the Latin word merx , mercari , and merces...

, sent by Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

, reminds Aeneas that his mission is not to stay in Carthage with his new-found love, Dido, but to sail to Italy to found Rome. Virgil ends his legend of Dido with the story that, when Aeneas tells Dido, her heart broken, she orders a pyre
Pyre
A pyre , also known as a funeral pyre, is a structure, usually made of wood, for burning a body as part of a funeral rite...

 to be built where she falls upon Aeneas' sword. As she lay dying, she predicted eternal strife between Aeneas' people and her own: "rise up from my bones, avenging spirit" (4.625, trans. Fitzgerald) she says, an invocation of Hannibal. The details of Virgil's story do not, however form part of the original legend and are significant mainly as an indication of Rome's attitude towards the city she had destroyed.

Carthaginian Republic




The Carthaginian Republic was one of the longest-lived and largest states in the ancient Mediterranean. Reports relay several wars with Syracuse
Syracuse, Italy
Syracuse is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in...

 and finally, Rome, which eventually resulted in the defeat and destruction of Carthage in the third Punic war.

Army



According to Polybius, Carthage relied heavily, though not exclusively, on foreign mercenaries, especially in overseas warfare. The core of its army was from its own territory in north Africa (ethnic Libyans and Numidians
Numidians
The Numidians were Berber tribes who lived in Numidia, in Algeria east of Constantine and in part of Tunisia. The Numidians were one of the earliest natives to trade with the settlers of Carthage. As Carthage grew, the relationship with the Numidians blossomed. Carthage's military used the Numidian...

, as well as "Liby-Phoenicians" — i.e. Phoenicians proper). These troops were supported by mercenaries from different ethnic groups and geographic locations across the Mediterranean who fought in their own national units; Celt
Celt
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.The earliest archaeological culture commonly accepted as Celtic, or rather Proto-Celtic, was the central European Hallstatt culture , named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria....

ic, Balearic
Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of Spain in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain with Palma as the capital...

, and Iberian
Iberians
The Iberians were a set of peoples that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula at least from the 6th century BC...

 troops were especially common. Later, after the Barcid conquest of Iberia, Iberians came to form an even greater part of the Carthaginian forces. Carthage seems to have fielded a formidable cavalry force, especially in its north African homeland; a significant part of it was composed of Numidian contingents of light cavalry
Numidian cavalry
Numidian cavalry was a type of light cavalry developed by the Numidians, most notably used by Hannibal during the Second Punic War. They were described by the Roman historian Livy as "by far the best horsemen in Africa."...

. Other mounted troops included the now extinct North African elephant
North African Elephant
The North African Elephant was a possible subspecies of the African Bush Elephant , or possibly a separate elephant species, that existed in North Africa until becoming extinct in Ancient Roman times. These were the famous war elephants used by Carthage in the Punic Wars, their conflict with the...

s, trained for war, which, among other uses, were commonly used for frontal assaults or as anti-cavalry protection. An army could field up to several hundred of these animals, but on most reported occasions fewer than a hundred were deployed. The riders of these elephants were armed with a spike and hammer to kill the elephants in case they charged toward their own army.

Navy



The navy of Carthage was one of the largest in the Mediterranean, using serial production to maintain high numbers at moderate cost. The sailors and marines of the Carthaginian navy were predominantly recruited from the Punic citizenry, unlike the multi-ethnic allied and mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 troops of the Carthaginian armies. The navy offered a stable profession and financial security for its sailors. This helped to contribute to the city's political stability, since the unemployed, debt ridden poor in other cities were frequently inclined to support revolutionary leaders in the hope of improving their own lot. The reputation of her skilled sailors implies that there was in peacetime a training of oarsmen and coxswains, giving their navy a cutting edge in naval matters.

The trade of Carthaginian merchantmen was by land across the Sahara and especially by sea throughout the Mediterranean and far into the Atlantic to the tin-rich islands of Britain and to West Africa. There is evidence that at least one Punic expedition under Hanno
Hanno the Navigator
Hanno the Navigator was a Carthaginian explorer c. 500 BC, best known for his naval exploration of the African coast...

 sailed along the West African coast to regions south of the Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer
The Tropic of Cancer, also referred to as the Northern tropic, is the circle of latitude on the Earth that marks the most northerly position at which the Sun may appear directly overhead at its zenith...

, describing how the sun was in the north at noon.

Polybius
Polybius
Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

 wrote in the sixth book of his History that the Carthaginians were "more exercised in maritime affairs than any other people." Their navy included some 300 to 350 warships. The Romans, who had little experience in naval warfare prior to the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

, managed to finally defeat Carthage with a combination of reverse engineering captured Carthaginian ships, recruitment of experienced Greek
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 sailors from the ranks of its conquered cities, the unorthodox corvus
Corvus (weapon)
The corvus or harpago was a Roman military boarding device used in naval warfare during the First Punic War against Carthage....

 device, and their superior numbers in marines and rowers. In the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

 Polybius describes a tactical innovation of the Carthaginians, augmenting their few triremes with small vessels that carried hooks (to attack the oars) and fire (to attack the hulls). With this new combination, they were able to stand their ground against the superior Roman numbers for a whole day.

Fall



The fall of Carthage came at the end of the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

 in 146 BC at the Battle of Carthage
Battle of Carthage (c.149 BC)
The Battle of Carthage was the major act of the Third Punic War between the Phoenician city of Carthage in Africa and the Roman Republic...

. Despite initial devastating Roman naval losses and Rome's recovery from the brink of defeat after the terror of a 15-year occupation of much of Italy by Hannibal, the end of the series of wars resulted in the end of Carthaginian power and the complete destruction of the city by Scipio Aemilianus. The Romans pulled the Phoenician warships out into the harbor and burned them before the city, and went from house to house, capturing, raping and enslaving the people. Fifty thousand Carthaginians were sold into slavery
Slavery in ancient Rome
The institution of slavery in ancient Rome played an important role in society and the Roman economy. Besides manual labor on farms and in mines, slaves performed many domestic services and a variety of other tasks, such as accounting...

. The city was set ablaze, and razed to the ground, leaving only ruins and rubble. After the fall of Carthage, Rome annexed the majority of the Carthaginian colonies, including other North African locations such as Volubilis
Volubilis
Volubilis is an archaeological site in Morocco situated near Meknes between Fez and Rabat along the N13 road. The nearest town is Moulay Idriss. Volubilis features the best preserved Roman ruins in this part of northern Africa...

, Lixus
Lixus (ancient city)
Lixus is the site of an ancient city located in Morocco just north of the modern seaport of Larache on the bank of the Loukkos River. The location was one of the main cities of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana.-Geography:...

, Chellah
Chellah
Chellah, or Sala Colonia is a necropolis and complex of ancient Roman Mauretania Tingitana and medieval ruins at Rabat, Morocco. It is the most ancient human settlement on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.-History:...

, and Mogador. The legend that the city was sown with salt
Salting the earth
Salting the earth, or sowing with salt, is the ritual of spreading salt on conquered cities to symbolize a curse on its re-inhabitation. It originated as a practice in the ancient Near East and became a well-established folkloric motif in the Middle Ages.-Destroying cities:The custom of purifying...

 is not mentioned by the ancient sources; R.T. Ridley suggested that the story originated from 1930 in section of the Cambridge Ancient History written by B Hallward whose influence might be an account of Abimelech
Abimelech
Abimelech was a common name of the Philistine kings.Abimelech was most prominently the name of a king of Gerar who is mentioned in two of the three wife-sister narratives in Genesis...

's salting of Shechem
Shechem
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel...

 in Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 9:45. Warmington admitted his fault in repeating Hallward's error but mentions an example of the story that goes back to 1299 when Bonaface VIII destroyed Palestrina.

Byrsa


On the top of the Byrsa
Byrsa
Byrsa was the walled citadel above the harbour in ancient Carthage. It was also the name of the hill it rested on. The name is derived from the Phoenician word for citadel....

 hill, location of the Roman Forum
Forum (Roman)
A forum was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls...

, was unearthed a residential area from the last century of existence of the Punic city, more precisely from the early 2nd century. It was excavated by the French archaeologist Serge Lancel. The neighborhood between houses and shops and private spaces is particularly significant.

The habitat is typical, even stereotypical. The street may be used as a store; a tank is installed in the basement to collect water for domestic use, and a long corridor on the right side leads to a courtyard containing a sump
Sump
A sump is a low space that collects any often-undesirable liquids such as water or chemicals. A sump can also be an infiltration basin used to manage surface runoff water and recharge underground aquifers....

, around which various other elements may be found. In some places the ground is covered with mosaics called punica pavement, sometimes using a characteristic red mortar.

The remains have been preserved through the embankments, substructures of the later Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 forum, whose foundation piles dot the district. The housing blocks are separated by a grid of straight streets of a width of approximately six metres, with a roadway consisting of clay. We also note in situ stairs to compensate for the fall of the hill. Construction of this type presupposes organization and political will, and has inspired the name of the neighborhood, "Hannibal district", referring to the Punic general or Suffete  at the beginning of the 2nd century BC.

Roman Carthage



When Carthage fell, its nearby rival Utica
Utica, Tunisia
Utica is an ancient city northwest of Carthage near the outflow of the Medjerda River into the Mediterranean Sea, traditionally considered to be the first colony founded by the Phoenicians in North Africa...

, a Roman ally, was made capital of the region and replaced Carthage as the leading center of Punic trade and leadership. It had the advantageous position of being situated on the Lake of Tunis and the outlet of the Majardah River, Tunisia's only river that flowed all year long. However, grain cultivation in the Tunisian mountains caused large amounts of silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

 to erode into the river. This silt was accumulated in the harbor until it was made useless, and Rome was forced to rebuild Carthage.

By 122 BC, Gaius Gracchus
Gaius Gracchus
Gaius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman Populari politician in the 2nd century BC and brother of the ill-fated reformer Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus...

 founded a short-lived colonia
Colonia (Roman)
A Roman colonia was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.-History:...

, called Colonia Iunonia
Colonia Junonia
Colonia Junonia refers to an Ancient Roman colony established in 122BC under the direction of Gaius Gracchus. The colony was located at the site of the destroyed city of Carthage, a reason for its widespread unpopularity with Romans. Those superstitious about the site spread reports of ill...

, after the Latin name for the punic goddess Tanit, Iuno caelestis. The purpose was to obtain arable lands for impoverished farmers. The Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 abolished the colony some time later, in order to undermine Gracchus' power.

After this ill-fated attempt, a new city of Carthage was built on the same land by Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 in 49-44 BC period, and by the 1st century it had grown to be the second largest city in the western half of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, with a peak population of 500,000. It was the center of the Roman province of Africa, which was a major breadbasket of the Empire.

Carthage also became a centre of early Christianity. In the first of a string of rather poorly reported Councils at Carthage a few years later, no fewer than seventy bishops attended. Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 later broke with the mainstream that was represented more and more by the bishop of Rome, but a more serious rift among Christians was the Donatist
Donatist
Donatism was a Christian sect within the Roman province of Africa that flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries. It had its roots in the social pressures among the long-established Christian community of Roman North Africa , during the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian...

 controversy, which Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 spent much time and parchment arguing against. In 397 at the Council at Carthage, the biblical canon for the western Church was confirmed
Development of the Christian Biblical canon
The Christian Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the Christian Bible. Books included in the Christian Biblical canons of both the Old and New Testament were decided at the Council of Trent , by the Thirty-Nine Articles , the Westminster...

.

The political fallout from the deep disaffection of African Christians is supposedly a crucial factor in the ease with which Carthage and the other centres were captured in the 5th century by Gaiseric, king of the Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, who defeated the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 general
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Bonifacius
Bonifacius
Comes Bonifacius was a Roman general and governor of the Diocese of Africa. Along with his rival, Flavius Aëtius, he is sometimes termed "the last of the Romans."...

 and made the city his capital. Gaiseric was considered a heretic too, an Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, and though Arians commonly despised Catholic Christians, a mere promise of toleration might have caused the city's population to accept him. After a failed attempt to recapture the city in the 5th century, the Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 finally subdued the Vandals
Vandalic War
The Vandalic War was a war fought in North Africa, in the areas of modern Tunisia and eastern Algeria, in 533-534, between the forces of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Vandal Kingdom of Carthage...

 in 533-534.

Thereafter the city became the seat of the praetorian prefecture of Africa
Praetorian prefecture of Africa
The praetorian prefecture of Africa was a major administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire, established after the reconquest of northwestern Africa from the Vandals in 533-534 by emperor Justinian I...

, which during the Emperor Maurice's
Maurice (emperor)
Maurice was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602.A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians...

 reign, was made into an Exarchate, as was Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. These two exarchates were the western bulwarks of Byzantium, all that remained of its power in the west. In the early 7th century, it was the Exarch of Carthage, who overthrew Emperor Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

.

Islamic Carthage


The Exarchate of Africa
Exarchate of Africa
The Exarchate of Africa or of Carthage, after its capital, was the name of an administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire encompassing its possessions on the Western Mediterranean, ruled by an exarch, or viceroy...

 was not able to withstand the Muslim
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

 conquerors of the 7th century. Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 Caliph Abd al-Malik in 686 AD sent a force led by Zuhayr ibn Qais who won a battle over Byzantines and Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 led by Kusaila
Kusaila
Kusaila or Kasila or Kusayla was a 7th century chief of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and head of the Sanhadja confederation...

, on the Qairawan plain, but could not follow that up. In 695 AD Hasan ibn al-Nu'man
Hasan ibn al-Nu'man
Hasan ibn an-Nu`uman al-Ghasani , amir of the Umayyad army in North Africa. The nisba indicates he either came from Ghassān in Yemen or was part of an Arab tribe originally from that area.-Biography:...

 captured Carthage and advanced into the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

. A Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 fleet arrived and retook Carthage, but in 698 AD Hasan ibn al-Nu'man
Hasan ibn al-Nu'man
Hasan ibn an-Nu`uman al-Ghasani , amir of the Umayyad army in North Africa. The nisba indicates he either came from Ghassān in Yemen or was part of an Arab tribe originally from that area.-Biography:...

 returned and defeated Tiberios III
Tiberios III
Tiberios III was Byzantine emperor from 698 to 21 August 705. Although his rule was considered generally successful, especially in containing the Arab threat to the east, he was overthrown by the former emperor Justinian II and subsequently executed.-Rise to power:Tiberius was a Germanic naval...

 at the Battle of Carthage
Battle of Carthage (698)
The Battle of Carthage was fought in 698 AD between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims, Emperor Leontius sent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the droungarios Tiberius Apsimarus. They entered the harbor...

. The Byzantines withdrew from all of Africa except Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

. Roman Carthage was destroyed, just as the Romans had destroyed the Carthaginian Republic in 146 BC. Carthage was replaced by Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 as the major regional centre. The destruction of the Exarchate of Africa marked a permanent end to Roman/Byzantine influence there.

Modern times


Carthage remains a popular tourist attraction and residential suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

 of Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

. The Tunisian presidential palace is located in the city.

In February 1985, Ugo Vetere, the mayor of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, and Chedly Klibi, the mayor of Carthage, signed a symbolic treaty "officially" ending the conflict between their cities, which had been supposedly extended by the lack of a peace treaty for more than 2,100 years.

Carthage in fiction


Carthage features in Gustave Flaubert's historical novel Salammbô
Salammbô (novel)
Salammbô is a historical novel by Gustave Flaubert. It is set in Carthage during the third century BCE, 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...

 (1862). Set around the time of the Mercenaries' War, it includes a dramatic description of child sacrifice, and the boy Hannibal narrowly avoiding being sacrificed.

In The Dead Past
The Dead Past
"The Dead Past" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, first published in the April 1956 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. It was later collected in Earth Is Room Enough and The Best of Isaac Asimov , and adapted into an episode of the science-fiction television series Out of the...

, a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

, a leading character is an ancient historian who is trying to disprove the allegation that the Carthaginians carried out child sacrifice.

In Kushiel's Mercy
Kushiel's Mercy
Kushiel's Mercy is the final novel in Kushiel's Legacy by Jacqueline Carey. It is the sequel to Kushiel's Justice. Kushiel's Justice follows Kushiel's Scion, which makes Kushiel's Mercy the sixth book in the series, or the third book in the series dubbed the Imriel Trilogy.-What Came Before:After...

 by Jacqueline Carey
Jacqueline Carey
Jacqueline Carey is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.-Life:She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore in London as part of a work exchange program. While there, she decided...

, Carthage is a conquering nation that is geographically and culturally based on the historical Carthage.

The Purple Quest by Frank G. Slaughter
Frank G. Slaughter
Frank Gill Slaughter , pen-name Frank G. Slaughter, pseudonym C.V. Terry, was an American novelist and physician whose books sold more than 60 million copies. His novels drew on his own experience as a doctor and his interest in history and the Bible...

 is about the founding of Carthage.

The TV Series Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a Starz television series that premiered on January 22, 2010. The series is inspired by the historical figure of Spartacus , a Thracian gladiator who from 73 to 71 BC led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Executive producers Steven S...

 and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is a Starz television mini-series and prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand, which premiered January 21, 2011. The series follows the character Gannicus , the first gladiator to become Champion of Capua representing Lentulus Batiatus...

, which are set in ancient Rome, feature a gladiator named Barca who is also known as "The Beast of Carthage" and was present at its fall.

See also


  • List of Kings of Carthage
  • Carthaginian Republic
    Carthaginian Republic
    Ancient Carthage was a civilization centered on the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located in North Africa on the Gulf of Tunis, outside what is now Tunis, Tunisia. It was founded in 814 BC...

  • History of Tunisia
    History of Tunisia
    The History of Tunisia is subdivided into the following articles:*Outlines of early Tunisia*History of Punic era Tunisia*History of Roman era Tunisia*History of early Islamic Tunisia*History of medieval Tunisia*History of Ottoman era Tunisia...

  • Phoenician languages
    Phoenician languages
    Phoenician was a language originally spoken in the coastal region then called "Canaan" in Phoenician, Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic, "Phoenicia" in Greek and Latin, and "Pūt" in Ancient Egyptian. Phoenician is a Semitic language of the Canaanite subgroup; its closest living relative is Hebrew, to...

  • Umayyad conquest of North Africa
    Umayyad conquest of North Africa
    The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid Arab Muslim expansion following the death of Muhammad in 632 CE. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of Byzantine Syria. Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad caliphate....

  • Phoenicians and wine
    Phoenicians and wine
    The Phoenicians were one of the first ancient cultures to have had a significant effect on the history of wine. The Phoenicians were an ancient civilization centered in the northern reaches of Canaan along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in what is now modern day Lebanon...

  • Punics
    Punics
    The Punics were a group of western Semitic-speaking peoples from Carthage in North Africa who traced their origins to a group of Phoenician and Cypriot settlers, but also to North African Berbers . Punics were probably a mix of Berbers and Phoenicians in terms of culture and ancestry...


Religion

  • Polybius
    Polybius
    Polybius , Greek ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic Period noted for his work, The Histories, which covered the period of 220–146 BC in detail. The work describes in part the rise of the Roman Republic and its gradual domination over Greece...

  • Hannibal's Campaigns. Tony Bath. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 1981.
  • La vie quotidienne à Carthage au temps d'Hannibal. Gilbert et Colette Charles-Picard. Paris: Hachette, 1958.
  • La légende de Carthage. Azedine Beschaouch. Paris: Gallimard, 1993.
  • Carthage: Uncovering the Mysteries and Splendors of Ancient Tunisia. David Soren, Aicha Ben Abed Ben Kader, Heidi Slim. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990.
  • The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, colonies and trade. Maria Eugenia Aubet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  • Itineraria Phoenicia.Edward Lipinski
    Edward Lipinski (orientalist)
    Edward Lipiński, is a Belgian scholar specializing in Biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies.-Life:His first major work, published in 1965, was a monumental monograph entitled La royauté de Yahwé dans la poésie et le culte de l’ancien Israël. In 1969, he was appointed professor at the Louvain...

    . Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters en Department Oosterse Studies, 2004. "Aeneid" Virgil

Navy


Further reading

  • Richard Miles. Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization (Viking; 2011) 521 pages

External links