Carthage (/ˈkɑːrθɪdʒ/; Punic: 𐤒𐤓𐤕•𐤇𐤃𐤔𐤕, translit. Qart-ḥadašt, lit. 'New City'; Latin: Carthāgō) was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea.
Phoenicians founded Carthage in 814 BC. Initially a dependency of the Phoenician state of Tyre, Carthage gained independence around 650 BC and established its political hegemony over other Phoenician settlements throughout the western Mediterranean, this lasting until the end of the 3rd century BC. At the height of the city's prominence, it served as a major hub of trade, with trading stations extending throughout the region.
For much of its history, Carthage was on hostile terms with the Greeks in Sicily and with the Roman Republic; tensions led to a series of armed conflicts known as the Sicilian Wars (c. 600–265 BC) and the Punic Wars (264–146 BC) respectively. The city also had to deal with potentially hostile Berbers, the indigenous inhabitants of the area where Carthage was built. In 146 BC, after the third and final Punic War, Roman forces destroyed Carthage then redesigned and occupied the site of the city. Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies subsequently fell into Roman hands.
|814 BC–146 BC|
Carthage and its dependencies in 264 BC
|Common languages||Punic, Phoenician, Berber (Numidian), Ancient Greek|
|Government||Monarchy until 480 BC, republic thereafter|
|King, later Shophet ("Judge")|
• Foundation of Carthage
According to Roman sources, Phoenician colonists from modern-day Lebanon, led by Dido (also known as Queen Elissa), founded Carthage circa 814 BC. 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 Sea and leading the Phoenician world.
Elissa's brother, Pygmalion of Tyre, had murdered Elissa's 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 Belus II of Tyre. When he died, the throne was jointly bequeathed to her brother, Pygmalion, and her. She married her uncle Acerbas, also known as Sychaeus, the High Priest of Melqart, a man with both authority and wealth comparable to the king. This led to increased rivalry between the religious elite and the monarchy. Pygmalion was a tyrant, lover of both gold and intrigue, who desired the authority and fortune enjoyed by Acerbas. Pygmalion assassinated Acerbas 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.
In the Roman epic of Virgil, the Aeneid, Queen Dido, the Greek name for Elissa, is first introduced as a highly esteemed 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 and his men, who had recently escaped from Troy. A spirit in the form of the messenger god, Mercury, sent by Jupiter, 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 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. Aeneas goes on to found the Roman Kingdom. 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 founded, exemplified by Cato the Elder's much-repeated utterance, "Carthago delenda est", "Carthage must be destroyed".
The Phoenicians established numerous colonial cities along the coasts of the Mediterranean to provide safe harbors for their merchant fleets, to maintain a Phoenician monopoly on an area's natural resources, and to conduct trade free of outside interference. They were also motivated to found these cities by a desire to satisfy the demand for trade goods or to escape the necessity of paying tribute to the succession of empires that ruled Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, and by fear of complete Greek colonization of that part of the Mediterranean suitable for commerce. The Phoenicians lacked the population or necessity to establish large self-sustaining cities abroad, and most of their colonial cities had fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, but Carthage and a few others developed larger populations.
Although Strabo's claim that the Tyrians founded three hundred colonies along the west African coast is clearly exaggerated, colonies were established in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Iberia, and to a much lesser extent, on the arid coast of Libya. The Phoenicians were active in Cyprus, Sardinia, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, Crete, and Sicily, as well as on the European mainland at present-day Genoa in Italy and Marseille in present-day France. The settlements at Crete and Sicily were in perpetual conflict with the Greeks, but the Phoenicians managed to control all of Sicily for a limited time. The entire area later came under the leadership and protection of Carthage, which in turn dispatched its own colonists to found new cities or to reinforce those that declined with the loss of primacy of Tyre and Sidon.
The first colonies were settled on the two paths to Iberia's mineral wealth — along the Northwest African coast and on Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. The centre of the Phoenician world was Tyre, which served as its economic and political hub. The power of this city waned following numerous sieges by Babylonia, and then its later voluntary submission to the Persian king Cambyses and incorporation within the Persian empire. Supremacy passed to Sidon, and then to Carthage, before Tyre's eventual destruction by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Each colony paid tribute to either Tyre or Sidon, but neither city had actual control of the colonies. This changed with the rise of Carthage, since the Carthaginians appointed their own magistrates to rule the towns and Carthage retained much direct control over the colonies. This policy resulted in a number of Iberian towns siding with the Romans during the Punic Wars.
In 509 BC, a treaty was signed between Carthage and Rome indicating a division of influence and commercial activities. This is the first known source indicating that Carthage had gained control over Sicily and Sardinia.
By the beginning of the 5th century BC, Carthage had become the commercial center of the West Mediterranean region, a position it retained until overthrown by the Roman Republic. The city had conquered most of the old Phoenician colonies (including Hadrumetum, Utica, Hippo Diarrhytus and Kerkouane), subjugated the Libyan tribes (with the Numidian and Mauretanian kingdoms remaining more or less independent), and taken control of the entire Northwest African coast from modern Morocco to the borders of Egypt (not including the Cyrenaica, which was eventually incorporated into Hellenistic Egypt). Its influence had also extended into the Mediterranean, taking control over Sardinia, Malta, the Balearic Islands, and the western half of Sicily, where coastal fortresses such as Motya or Lilybaeum secured its possessions. Important colonies had also been established on the Iberian Peninsula. Their cultural influence in the Iberian Peninsula is documented, but the degree of their political influence before the conquest by Hamilcar Barca is disputed.
Carthage's economic successes, and its dependence on shipping to conduct most of its trade, led to the creation of a powerful Carthaginian navy. This, coupled with its success and growing hegemony, brought Carthage into increasing conflict with the Greeks of Syracuse, the other major power contending for control of the central Mediterranean.
The island of Sicily, lying at Carthage's doorstep, became the arena on which this conflict played out. From their earliest days, both the Greeks and Phoenicians had been attracted to the large island, establishing a large number of colonies and trading posts along its coast; battles had been fought between these settlements for centuries.
By 480 BC, Gelo, the tyrant leader of Greek Syracuse, backed in part by support from other Greek city-states, was attempting to unite the island under his rule. This imminent threat could not be ignored, and Carthage — possibly as part of an alliance with Persia — engaged military force under the leadership of the general Hamilcar. Traditional accounts, including those of Herodotus and Diodorus, give Hamilcar's army a strength of three hundred thousand men; though this is certainly exaggerated, it must nonetheless have been of formidable strength.
En route to Sicily, however, Hamilcar suffered losses (possibly severe) due to poor weather. Landing at Panormus (modern-day Palermo), Hamilcar spent 3 days reorganizing his forces and repairing his battered fleet. The Carthaginians marched along the coast to Himera, and made camp before engaging in the Battle of Himera. Hamilcar was either killed during the battle or committed suicide in shame. As a result, the nobility negotiated peace and replaced the old monarchy with a republic.
By 410 BC, Carthage had recovered after serious defeats. It had conquered much of modern-day Tunisia, strengthened and founded new colonies in Northwest Africa; Hanno the Navigator had made his journey down the African coast, and Himilco the Navigator had explored the European Atlantic coast. Expeditions were also led into Morocco and Senegal, as well as into the Atlantic. In the same year, the Iberian colonies seceded, cutting off Carthage's major supply of silver and copper, while Hannibal Mago, the grandson of Hamilcar, began preparations to reclaim Sicily.
In 409 BC, Hannibal Mago set out for Sicily with his force. He captured the smaller cities of Selinus (modern Selinunte) and Himera before returning triumphantly to Carthage with the spoils of war. But the primary enemy, Syracuse, remained untouched and, in 405 BC, Hannibal Mago led a second Carthaginian expedition to claim the entire island. This time, however, he met with fierce resistance and ill-fortune. During the siege of Agrigentum, the Carthaginian forces were ravaged by plague, Hannibal Mago himself succumbing to it. Although his successor, Himilco, successfully extended the campaign by breaking a Greek siege - capturing the city of Gela and repeatedly defeating the army of Dionysius, the new tyrant of Syracuse - he, too, was weakened by the plague and forced to sue for peace before returning to Carthage.
In 398 BC, Dionysius had regained his strength and broke the peace treaty, striking at the Carthaginian stronghold of Motya. Himilco responded decisively, leading an expedition which not only reclaimed Motya, but also captured Messina. Finally, he laid siege to Syracuse itself. The siege was close to a success throughout 397 BC, but in 396 BC plague again ravaged the Carthaginian forces, and they collapsed.
The fighting in Sicily swung in favor of Carthage in 387 BC. After winning a naval battle off the coast of Catania, Himilco laid siege to Syracuse with 50,000 Carthaginians, but yet another epidemic struck down thousands of them. Dionysius then launched a counterattack by land and sea, and the Syracusans surprised the enemy fleet while most of the crews were ashore, destroying all the Carthaginian ships. At the same time, Dionysius's ground forces stormed the besiegers' lines and routed the Carthaginians. Himilco and his chief officers abandoned their army and fled Sicily. Himilco returned to Carthage in disgrace and was very badly received; he eventually committed suicide by starving himself.
Sicily by this time had become an obsession for Carthage. Over the next fifty years, Carthaginian and Greek forces engaged in a constant series of skirmishes. By 340 BC, Carthage had been pushed entirely into the southwest corner of the island, and an uneasy peace reigned over the island.
In 315 BC, Agathocles, the tyrant (administrating governor) of Syracuse, seized the city of Messene (present-day Messina). In 311 BC he invaded the last Carthaginian holdings on Sicily, breaking the terms of the current peace treaty, and laid siege to Akragas.
Hamilcar, grandson of Hanno the Great, led the Carthaginian response and met with tremendous success. By 310 BC, he controlled almost all of Sicily and had laid siege to Syracuse itself. In desperation, Agathocles secretly led an expedition of 14,000 men to the mainland, hoping to save his rule by leading a counterstrike against Carthage itself. In this, he was successful: Carthage was forced to recall Hamilcar and most of his army from Sicily to face the new and unexpected threat. Although Agathocles's army was eventually defeated in 307 BC, Agathocles himself escaped back to Sicily and was able to negotiate a peace which maintained Syracuse as a stronghold of Greek power in Sicily.
Between 280 and 275 BC, Pyrrhus of Epirus waged two major campaigns in the western Mediterranean: one against the emerging power of the Roman Republic in southern Italy, the other against Carthage in Sicily.
Pyrrhus sent an advance guard to Tarentum under the command of Cineaus with 3,000 infantry. Pyrrhus marched the main army across the Greek peninsula and engaged in battles with the Thessalians and the Athenian army. After his early success on the march Pyrrhus entered Tarentum to rejoin with his advance guard.
In the midst of Pyrrhus's Italian campaigns, he received envoys from the Sicilian cities of Agrigentum, Syracuse, and Leontini, asking for military aid to remove the Carthaginian dominance over that island. Pyrrhus agreed, and fortified the Sicilian cities with an army of 20,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry and 20 war elephants, supported by some 200 ships. Initially, Pyrrhus's Sicilian campaign against Carthage was a success, pushing back the Carthaginian forces, and capturing the city-fortress of Eryx, even though he was not able to capture Lilybaeum.
Following these losses, Carthage sued for peace, but Pyrrhus refused unless Carthage was willing to renounce its claims on Sicily entirely. According to Plutarch, Pyrrhus set his sights on conquering Carthage itself, and to this end, began outfitting an expedition. However, his ruthless treatment of the Sicilian cities in his preparations for this expedition, and his execution of two Sicilian rulers whom he claimed were plotting against him led to such a rise in animosity towards the Greeks, that Pyrrhus withdrew from Sicily and returned to deal with events occurring in southern Italy.
Pyrrhus's campaigns in Italy were inconclusive, and Pyrrhus eventually withdrew to Epirus. For Carthage, this meant a return to the status quo. For Rome, however, the failure of Pyrrhus to defend the colonies of Magna Graecia meant that Rome absorbed them into its "sphere of influence", bringing it closer to complete domination of the Italian peninsula. Rome's domination of Italy, and proof that Rome could pit its military strength successfully against major international powers, would pave the way to the future Rome-Carthage conflicts of the Punic Wars.
When Agathocles died in 288 BC, a large company of Italian mercenaries who had previously been held in his service found themselves suddenly without employment. Rather than leave Sicily, they seized the city of Messana. Naming themselves Mamertines (or "sons of Mars"), they became a law unto themselves, terrorizing the surrounding countryside.
The Mamertines became a growing threat to Carthage and Syracuse alike. In 265 BC, Hiero II, former general of Pyrrhus and the new tyrant of Syracuse, took action against them. Faced with a vastly superior force, the Mamertines divided into two factions, one advocating surrender to Carthage, the other preferring to seek aid from Rome. While the Roman Senate debated the best course of action, the Carthaginians eagerly agreed to send a garrison to Messana. A Carthaginian garrison was admitted to the city, and a Carthaginian fleet sailed into the Messanan harbor. However, soon afterwards they began negotiating with Hiero. Alarmed, the Mamertines sent another embassy to Rome asking them to expel the Carthaginians.
Hiero's intervention had placed Carthage's military forces directly across the narrow channel of water that separated Sicily from Italy. Moreover, the presence of the Carthaginian fleet gave them effective control over this channel, the Strait of Messina, and demonstrated a clear and present danger to nearby Rome and her interests.
As a result, the Roman Assembly, although reluctant to ally with a band of mercenaries, sent an expeditionary force to return control of Messana to the Mamertines.
The Roman attack on the Carthaginian forces at Messana triggered the first of the Punic Wars. Over the course of the next century, these three major conflicts between Rome and Carthage would determine the course of Western civilization. The wars included a Carthaginian invasion led by Hannibal Barca, which nearly prevented the rise of the Roman Empire.
Shortly after the First Punic War, Carthage faced a major mercenary revolt which changed the internal political landscape of Carthage (bringing the Barcid family to prominence), and affected Carthage's international standing, as Rome used the events of the war to base a claim by which it seized Sardinia and Corsica.
The Second Punic War lasted from 218 to 202 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean, with the participation of the Berbers on Carthage's side. The war is marked by Hannibal's surprising overland journey and his costly crossing of the Alps, followed by his reinforcement by Gaulish allies and crushing victories over Roman armies in the battle of the Trebia and the giant ambush at Trasimene. Against his skill on the battlefield the Romans deployed the Fabian strategy. But because of the increasing unpopularity of this approach, the Romans resorted to a further major field battle. The result was the crushing Roman defeat at Cannae.
In consequence many Roman allies went over to Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade, during which more Roman armies were destroyed on the battlefield. Despite these setbacks, the Roman forces were more capable in siegecraft than the Carthaginians and recaptured all the major cities that had joined the enemy, as well as defeating a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus. In the meantime in Iberia, which served as the main source of manpower for the Carthaginian army, a second Roman expedition under Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage by assault and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the battle of Ilipa. The final showdown was the battle of Zama in Africa between Scipio Africanus and Hannibal, resulting in the latter's defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.
The Third Punic War (149 to 146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars. The war was a much smaller engagement than the two previous Punic Wars and primarily consisted of a single main action, the Battle of Carthage, but resulted in the complete destruction of the city of Carthage, the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome, and the death or enslavement of thousands of Carthaginians. The Third Punic War ended Carthage's independent existence.
The government of Carthage changed dramatically after the total rout of the Carthaginian forces at the battle of Himera on Sicily in 483 BC. The Magonid clan was compelled to compromise and allow representative and even some democratic institutions. Carthage remained to a great extent an oligarchal republic, which relied on a system of checks and balances and ensured a form of public accountability. At the head of the Carthaginian state were now two annually elected, not hereditary, Suffets (thus rendered in Latin by Livy 30.7.5, attested in Punic inscriptions as SPΘM /ʃuftˤim/, meaning "judges" and obviously related to the Biblical Hebrew ruler title Shophet "Judge"), similar to modern day executive presidents. Greek and Roman authors more commonly referred to them as "kings", as they were in effect, if not in name, the monarchs of Carthage. SPΘ /ʃufitˤ/ might originally have been the title of the city's governor, installed by the mother city of Tyre.
In the historically attested period, the two Suffets were elected annually from among the most wealthy and influential families and ruled collegially, similarly to Roman consuls (and equated with these by Livy). This practice might have descended from the plutocratic oligarchies that limited the Suffet's power in the first Phoenician cities. A range of more junior officials and special commissioners oversaw different aspects of governmental business such as public works, tax-collecting, and the administration of the state treasury.
The aristocratic families were represented in a supreme council (Roman sources speak of a Carthaginian "Senate", and Greek ones of a "council of Elders" or a gerousia), which had a wide range of powers; however, it is not known whether the Suffets were elected by this council or by an assembly of the people. Suffets appear to have exercised judicial and executive power, but not military, as generals were chosen by the administration. The final supervision of the Treasury and Foreign Affairs seems to have come under the Council of Elders.
There was a body known as the Tribunal of the Hundred and Four, which Aristotle compared to the Spartan ephors. These were judges who acted as a kind of higher constitutional court and oversaw the actions of generals, who could sometimes be sentenced to crucifixion, as well as other officials. Panels of special commissioners, called pentarchies, were appointed from the Tribunal of One Hundred and Four: they appear to have dealt with a variety of affairs of state.
Although the city's administration was firmly controlled by oligarchs, democratic elements were to be found as well: Carthage had elected legislators, trade unions and town meetings in the form of a Popular Assembly. Aristotle reported in his Politics that unless the Suffets and the Council reached a unanimous decision, the Carthaginian popular assembly had the decisive vote — unlike the situation in Greek states with similar constitutions such as Sparta and Crete. Polybius, in his History book 6, also stated that at the time of the Punic Wars, the Carthaginian public held more sway over the government than the people of Rome held over theirs (a development he regarded as evidence of decline). This may have been due to the influence of the Barcid faction.
Eratosthenes, head of the Library of Alexandria, noted that the Greeks had been wrong to describe all non-Greeks as barbarians, since the Carthaginians as well as the Romans had a constitution. Aristotle also knew and discussed the Carthaginian constitution in his Politics (Book II, Chapter 11). During the period between the end of the First Punic War and the end of the Second Punic War, members of the Barcid family dominated in Carthaginian politics. They were given control of the Carthaginian military and all the Carthaginian territories outside of Africa.
Carthage did not maintain a large, permanent, standing 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 Northwest Africa (ethnic Libyans and Numidians (modern northern Algeria), 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. For instance, the Celts and Balearics and Iberians were recruited to fight in Sicily. Particularly, Carthage had been employing Iberian troops for a long time even before the Punic Wars; this was supported by the accounts of Herodotus and Alcibiades who both described the fighting capabilities of the Iberians among the western Mediterranean mercenaries. Later, after the Barcids conquered large portions of Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal), Iberians came to form an even greater part of the Carthaginian forces.
Carthage seems to have fielded a formidable cavalry force, especially in its Northwest African homeland; a significant part of it was composed of light Numidian cavalry. Other mounted troops included North African elephants (now extinct), trained for war, which, among other uses, were commonly used for frontal assaults or as anticavalry 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. The Carthaginians also fielded troops such as slingers, soldiers armed with straps of cloth used to toss small stones at high speeds.
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 Phoenician citizenry, unlike the multiethnic allied and mercenary 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 training of oarsmen and coxswains occurred in peacetime, 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 Cassiterides, and also to Northwest Africa. Evidence exists that at least one Punic expedition, that of Hanno, may have sailed along the West African coast to regions south of the Tropic of Cancer.
Polybius 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, managed to finally defeat Carthage with a combination of reverse-engineered, captured Carthaginian ships, recruitment of experienced Greek sailors from the ranks of its conquered cities, the unorthodox corvus device, and their superior numbers in marines and rowers. In the Third Punic War, 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 numerically superior Romans for a whole day.
Carthaginian commerce extended by sea throughout the Mediterranean and perhaps into the Atlantic as far as the Canary Islands, and by land across the Sahara desert. According to Aristotle, the Carthaginians and others had treaties of commerce to regulate their exports and imports.
The empire of Carthage depended heavily on its trade with Tartessos and with other cities of the Iberian peninsula, from which it obtained vast quantities of silver, lead, copper and – even more importantly – tin ore, which was essential for the manufacture of bronze objects by the civilizations of antiquity. Carthaginian trade-relations with the Iberians, and the naval might that enforced Carthage's monopoly on this trade and the Atlantic tin trade, made it the sole significant broker of tin and maker of bronze in its day. Maintaining this monopoly was one of the major sources of power and prosperity for Carthage; Carthaginian merchants strove to keep the location of the tin mines secret. In addition to its role as the sole significant distributor of tin, Carthage's central location in the Mediterranean and control of the waters between Sicily and Tunisia allowed it to control the eastern peoples' supply of tin. Carthage was also the Mediterranean's largest producer of silver, mined in Iberia and on the Northwest African coast; after the tin monopoly, this was one of its most profitable trades. One mine in Iberia provided Hannibal with 300 Roman pounds (3.75 talents) of silver a day.
Carthage's economy began as an extension of that of its parent city, Tyre. Its massive merchant fleet traversed the trade routes mapped out by Tyre, and Carthage inherited from Tyre the trade in the extremely valuable dye Tyrian purple. No evidence of purple dye manufacture has been found at Carthage, but mounds of shells of the murex marine snails from which it derived have been found in excavations of the Punic town which archaeologists call Kerkouane, at Dar Essafi on Cap Bon. Similar mounds of murex have also been found at Djerba on the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisia. Strabo mentions the purple dye-works of Djerba as well as those of the ancient city of Zouchis. The purple dye became one of the most highly valued commodities in the ancient Mediterranean, being worth fifteen to twenty times its weight in gold. In Roman society, where adult males wore the toga as a national garment, the use of the toga praetexta, decorated with a stripe of Tyrian purple about two to three inches in width along its border, was reserved for magistrates and high priests. Broad purple stripes (latus clavus) were reserved for the togas of the senatorial class, while the equestrian class had the right to wear narrow stripes (angustus clavus).
Carthage produced finely embroidered silks, dyed textiles of cotton, linen, and wool, artistic and functional pottery, faience, incense, and perfumes. Its artisans worked expertly with ivory, glassware, and wood, as well as with alabaster, bronze, brass, lead, gold, silver, and precious stones to create a wide array of goods, including mirrors, furniture and cabinetry, beds, bedding, and pillows, jewelry, arms, implements, and household items. It traded in salted Atlantic fish and fish sauce (garum), and brokered the manufactured, agricultural, and natural products of almost every Mediterranean people.
In addition to manufacturing, Carthage practised highly advanced and productive agriculture, using iron ploughs, irrigation, crop rotation, threshing machines, hand-driven rotary mills and horse mills, the latter two which they invented in the late 6th century BC and 375–350 BC, respectively. After the Second Punic War, Hannibal promoted agriculture to help restore Carthage's economy and pay the war indemnity to Rome (10,000 talents or 800,000 Roman pounds of silver), and he was largely successful. When Rome conquered and destroyed Carthage in 146 BC, the Roman Senate decreed that Mago's famous treatise on agriculture be translated into Latin.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that Carthage developed viticulture and wine production before the 4th century BC, and even exported its wines widely, as indicated by distinctive cigar-shaped Carthaginian amphorae found at archaeological sites around the western Mediterranean, although the contents of these vessels have not been conclusively analysed. Carthage also shipped quantities of raisin wine, the passum of antiquity. Fruits including figs, pears, and pomegranates, as well as nuts, grain, grapes, dates, and olives were grown in the extensive hinterland, while olive oil was processed and exported all over the Mediterranean. Carthage also raised fine horses, the ancestor of today's Barb horses.
Carthage's merchant ships, which surpassed in number even those of the cities of the Levant, visited every major port of the Mediterranean, as well as Britain and the Atlantic coast of Africa. These ships were able to carry over 100 tons of goods.
Carthage also sent caravans into the interior of Africa and Persia. It traded its manufactured and agricultural goods to the coastal and interior peoples of Africa for salt, gold, timber, ivory, ebony, apes, peacocks, skins, and hides. Its merchants invented the practice of sale by auction and used it to trade with the African tribes. In other ports, they tried to establish permanent warehouses or sell their goods in open-air markets. They obtained amber from Scandinavia, and from the Celtiberians, Gauls, and Celts they got amber, tin, silver, and furs. Sardinia and Corsica produced gold and silver for Carthage, and Phoenician settlements on islands such as Malta and the Balearic Islands produced commodities that would be sent back to Carthage for large-scale distribution. The city supplied poorer civilizations with simple products such as pottery, metallic objects, and ornamentations, often displacing the local manufacturing, but brought its best works to wealthier ones such as the Greeks and Etruscans. Carthage traded in almost every commodity wanted by the ancient world, including spices from Arabia, Africa and India, and slaves (the empire of Carthage temporarily held a portion of Europe and sent conquered barbarian warriors into Northern African slavery).
Herodotus wrote an account about 430 BC of Carthaginian trade on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. The Punic explorer and suffete of Carthage called Hanno the Navigator led an expedition to recolonise the Atlantic coast of Morocco that may have ventured as far down the coast of Africa as Senegal and perhaps even beyond. The Greek version of the Periplus of Hanno describes his voyage. Although it is not known just how far his fleet sailed on the African coastline, this short report, dating probably from the 5th or 6th century BC, identifies distinguishing geographic features such as a coastal volcano and an encounter with hairy hominids.
Archaeological finds show evidence of all kinds of exchanges, from the vast quantities of tin needed for a bronze-based metals civilization to all manner of textiles, ceramics and fine metalwork. Before and in between the wars, Carthaginian merchants were in every port in the Mediterranean, trading in harbours with warehouses or from ships beached on the coast.
The Etruscan language is imperfectly deciphered, but bilingual inscriptions found in archaeological excavations at the sites of Etruscan cities indicate the Phoenicians had trading relations with the Etruscans for centuries. The discovery in 1964 at Pyrgi in Italy of a shrine to Astarte, a popular Phoenician deity, containing three gold tablets with inscriptions in Etruscan and Phoenician, gives tangible proof of the Phoenician presence in the Italian peninsula at the end of the 6th century BC, long before the rise of Rome. These inscriptions imply a political and commercial alliance between Carthage and the Etruscan ruler of Caere that would corroborate Aristotle's statement that the Etruscans and Carthaginians were so close as to form almost one people. The Etruscan city-states were, at times, both commercial partners of Carthage and military allies.
Carthaginian religion was based on Phoenician religion (derived from the faiths of the Levant), a form of polytheism. Many of the gods the Carthaginians worshiped were localized and are now known only under their local names. Carthage also had Jewish communities.
The supreme divine couple was that of Tanit and Ba'al Hammon. The goddess Astarte seems to have been popular in early times. At the height of its cosmopolitan era, Carthage seems to have hosted a large array of divinities from the neighbouring civilizations of Greece, Egypt and the Etruscan city-states. A pantheon was presided over by the father of the gods, but a goddess was the principal figure in the Phoenician pantheon.
Surviving Punic texts are detailed enough to give a portrait of a very well organized caste of temple priests and acolytes performing different types of functions, for a variety of prices. Priests were clean shaven, unlike most of the population. In the first centuries of the city ritual celebrations included rhythmic dancing, derived from Phoenician traditions.
Cippi and stelae of limestone are characteristic monuments of Punic art and religion, found throughout the western Phoenician world in unbroken continuity, both historically and geographically. Most of them were set up over urns containing cremated human remains, placed within open-air sanctuaries. Such sanctuaries constitute striking relics of Punic civilization.
Carthage under the Phoenicians was accused by its adversaries of child sacrifice. Plutarch (20:14,4–6) alleges the practice, as do Tertullian (Apolog.9:2–3), Orosius, Philo and Diodorus Siculus. However, Herodotos and Polybius do not. Sceptics contend that if Carthage's critics were aware of such a practice, however limited, they would have been horrified by it and exaggerated its extent due to their polemical treatment of the Carthaginians. The Hebrew Bible mentions child sacrifice practiced by the Canaanites, ancestors of the Carthaginians. The Greek and Roman critics, according to Charles Picard, objected not to the killing of children but to the religious nature of it. As in both ancient Greece and Rome, inconvenient children were commonly killed by exposure to the elements.
Modern archaeology in formerly Punic areas has discovered a number of large cemeteries for children and infants, representing a civic and religious institution for worship and sacrifice called the Tophet by archaeologists. These cemeteries may have been used as graves for stillborn infants or children who died very early. Modern archeological excavations have been interpreted by many archeologists as confirming Plutarch's reports of Carthaginian child sacrifice. An estimated 20,000 urns were deposited between 400 BC and 200 BC in the tophet discovered in the Salammbô neighbourhood of present-day Carthage with the practice continuing until the early years of the Christian period. The urns contained the charred bones of newborns and in some cases the bones of fetuses and two-year-olds. There is a clear correlation between the frequency of cremation and the well-being of the city. In bad times (war, poor harvests) cremations became more frequent, but it is not known why. One explanation for this correlation is the claim that the Carthaginians prayed for divine intervention via child sacrifice; however, bad times would naturally lead to increased child mortality, and consequently, more child burials via cremation.
Accounts of child sacrifice in Carthage report that beginning at the founding of Carthage in about 814 BC, mothers and fathers buried their children who had been sacrificed to Ba`al Hammon and Tanit in the tophet. The practice was apparently distasteful even to Carthaginians, and they began to buy children for the purpose of sacrifice or even to raise servant children instead of offering up their own. However, Carthage's priests demanded the youth in times of crisis such as war, drought, or famine. Special ceremonies during extreme crisis saw up to 200 children of the most affluent and powerful families slain and tossed into the burning pyre.
Sceptics maintain that the bodies of children found in Carthaginian and Phoenician cemeteries were merely the cremated remains of children who died naturally. Sergio Ribichini has argued that the tophet was "a child necropolis designed to receive the remains of infants who had died prematurely of sickness or other natural causes, and who for this reason were "offered" to specific deities and buried in a place different from the one reserved for the ordinary dead". However, recent study of archeological evidence confirms that the Carthaginians practiced human sacrifice.
Carthage features in Gustave Flaubert's historical novel Salammbô (1862). Set around the time of the Mercenary War, it includes a dramatic description of child sacrifice, and the boy Hannibal narrowly avoiding being sacrificed. Giovanni Pastrone's epic silent film Cabiria is narrowly based on Flaubert's novel.
The Young Carthaginian (1887) by G. A. Henty is a boys' adventure novel told from the perspective of Malchus, a fictional teenage lieutenant of Hannibal during the Second Punic War.
In The Dead Past, a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, a leading character is a historian studying ancient times who is trying to disprove the allegation that the Carthaginians carried out child sacrifice.
The Purple Quest by Frank G. Slaughter is about the founding of Carthage.
Die Sterwende Stad ("The Dying City") is a novel written in Afrikaans by Antonie P. Roux and published in 1956. It is a fictional account of life in Carthage and includes the defeat of Hannibal by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. For several years it was prescribed reading for South African year 11 and 12 high school students studying the Afrikaans language.
A duology by John Maddox Roberts, comprising Hannibal's Children (2002) and The Seven Hills (2005), is set in an alternate history where Hannibal defeated Rome in the Second Punic War, and Carthage is still a major Mediterranean power in 100 BC.
Mary Gentle used an alternate history version of Carthage as a setting in her novels Ash: A Secret History and Ilario, A Story of the First History. In these books, Carthage is dominated by Germanic tribes, and the premise is that the Visigoths conquered Carthage and set up a huge empire that repelled the Muslim conquest. In these novels, titles such as "lord-amir" and "scientist-magus" indicate a fusion of European and Northwest African cultures, and Arian Christianity is the state religion.
Stephen Baxter also features Carthage in his alternate history Northland trilogy; in Baxter's narrative it is Carthage that prevails and subjugates Rome.
Archaeological evidence confirms that Phoenician traders from Tyre founded the city of Qart-Ḥadašt—or "New City," as Carthage was known in its native language—in the second half of the ninth century BC.
The recent radiocarbon dates from the earliest levels in Carthage situate the founding of this Tyrian colony in the years 835–800 cal BC, which coincides with the dates handed down by Flavius Josephus and Timeus for the founding of the city.
Byrsa was a walled citadel above the Phoenician harbour in ancient Carthage, Tunisia, as well as the name of the hill it rested on.Cartagena, Spain
Cartagena (Spanish pronunciation: [kaɾtaˈxena]; Latin: Carthago Nova) is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2018, it has a population of 213,943 inhabitants, being the Region’s second-largest municipality and the country’s sixth-largest non-Province-capital city. The metropolitan area of Cartagena, known as Campo de Cartagena, has a population of 409,586 inhabitants.
Cartagena has been inhabited for over two millennia, being founded around 227 BC by the Carthaginian Hasdrubal the Fair as Qart Hadasht (Phoenician, meaning 'New Town'), the same name as the original city of Carthage. The city had its heyday during the Roman Empire, when it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and Carthago Spartaria, capital of the province of Carthaginensis. It was one of the important cities during the Umayyad invasion of Hispania, under its Arabic name of Qartayannat al-Halfa.Much of the historical weight of Cartagena in the past goes to its coveted defensive port, one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. Cartagena has been the capital of the Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the Mediterranean since the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century. As far back as the 16th century it was one of the most important naval ports in Spain, together with Ferrol in the North. It is still an important naval seaport, the main military haven of Spain, and is home to a large naval shipyard.
The confluence of civilizations as well as its strategic harbour, together with the rise of the local mining industry is manifested by a unique artistic heritage, with a number of landmarks such as the Roman Theatre, the second largest of the Iberian Peninsula after the one in Mérida, an abundance of Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine and Moorish remains, and a plethora of Art Nouveau buildings, a result of the bourgeoisie from the early 20th century. Cartagena is now established as a major cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean and an emerging cultural focus.
It is the first of a number of cities that eventually have been named Cartagena, most notably Cartagena de Indias (Cartagena of the Indies) in Colombia.Church of Carthage
The Church of Carthage (Church of Africa) was a local church established in the Roman province of Africa Proconsulare, with its ecclesiastical seat in ancient Carthage. It is in the Romanesque architectural style. The church continued to exist for a while after the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, but gradually died out.Hamilcar
Hamilcar (Punic: 𐤇𐤌𐤋𐤊, ḤMLK, or 𐤇𐤌𐤋𐤒𐤓𐤕, ḤMLQRT, "Melqart is Gracious"; Greek: Ἁμίλκας, Hamílkas; Hebrew: אחי-מלקרת) was a common Carthaginian masculine given name. The name was particularly common among the ruling families of ancient Carthage.
People named Hamilcar include:
Hamilcar the Magonid, "King" of Carthage, led the Carthaginian forces at the Battle of Himera in 480 BC during the First Sicilian War
Hamilcar, a general against Timoleon of Syracuse
Hamilcar, a brother of Gisco and possibly brother of Hanno, with whom he was executed in the middle of the 4th century BC
Hamilcar the Rhodian, possibly a Carthaginian spy in the entourage of Alexander the Great, executed when returning to Carthage.
Hamilcar, son of Gisgo and grandsonof Hanno the Great, led a campaign against Agathocles of Syracuse during the Third Sicilian War. He defeated Agathocles in the Battle of the Himera River in 311 BC. He was captured during the Siege of Syracuse and then killed in 309 BC.
Hamilcar, a general in Sicily and Africa from 261 to 255 BC during the First Punic War, distinct from the Hamilcar mentioned by Diodorus
Hamilcar was a Carthaginian commander whose greatest achievement was winning the Battle of Drepanum in 249 BC during the First Punic War.
Hamilcar Barca (c. 270–228 BC) served as a Carthaginian general during and after the First Punic War. His son was Hannibal, famous for his exploits during the Second Punic War.In various forms, the name sometimes appears in other cultures. The Italian name Amilcare was one of the given names of the dictator Benito Mussolini and the composer Amilcare Ponchielli. The Portuguese name Amílcar was one of the given names of the prominent African revolutionary Amílcar Cabral.Hannibal, New York
Hannibal is a town in Oswego County, New York, United States. The population was 4,854 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from the hero of ancient Carthage, Hannibal.The Town of Hannibal also contains a village also called Hannibal. The town is on the west border of the county.Hannibal (village), New York
Hannibal is a village in Oswego County, New York, United States. The population was 555 at the 2010 census. The village is named after Hannibal, the hero of ancient Carthage.
The Village of Hannibal is located in the western part of the Town of Hannibal on New York State Routes 3 and 104, and Oswego County Route 34.Hanno the Great
Hanno the Great (Punic: 𐤇𐤍𐤀, ḤNʾ) may refer to any of three different leaders of ancient Carthage, according to Gilbert Charles-Picard and Colette Picard: Hanno I the Great, Hanno II the Great, and Hanno III the Great. According to Warmington, there were three elders of Carthage called Hanno who were given the same nickname but he conjectures that it was a family nickname or a term not well understood by the ancient Greek or Roman writers. Warmington discusses only two of them (the Picards' Hannos I and II) but he does not use Roman numerals for them. Lancel mentions only one Hanno the Great, the Picards' "Hanno I". He references "Hanno II" but calls him simply "Hanno".Hasdrubal
Hasdrubal (Greek: Ἀσδρούβας, Hasdroúbas) is the latinized form of the Carthaginian name ʿAzrubaʿal (Punic: 𐤏𐤆𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋, ʿZRBʿL, "Help of Baal").
It may refer to:
Hasdrubal I of Carthage was the Magonid king of Ancient Carthage from 530 to 510 BC.
Hasdrubal the Fair (c. 270 BC – 221 BC), son-in-law of Hamilcar Barca
Hasdrubal Barca (245–207 BC), son of Hamilcar Barca and brother of Hannibal and Mago
Hasdrubal Gisco (died 202 BC), another commander in the Second Punic War
Hasdrubal the Bald, a Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War
Hasdrubal the Boetharch, the general of Punic forces in the Third Punic War c. 146 BC
Hasdrubal, commander of the service corps, a Carthaginian officer in the Second Punic War c. 218 BC
original name of Carthaginian Clitomachus (philosopher) (187/6–110/09 BC)Hasdrubal I of Carthage
Hasdrubal I (Punic: 𐤏𐤆𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋, ʿAzrubaʿal, "Help of Baal") was a Magonid king of Ancient Carthage, a kingdom with its capital, Carthage, located in present-day Tunisia, from 530 to 510 BC.History of the Jews in Carthage
History of the Jews in Carthage refers to the history and presence of people of Jewish ancestry in ancient Carthage.
Carthage (from the Phoenician Kart-Hadasht, the "New City", written without vowels in Punic as Qrthdst) was a city in North Africa located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis, across from the center of modern Tunis in Tunisia.
Though Josephus Flavius associated the city's foundation with Jews and some scholars have conjectured that small groups of Jews may have been present in Carthage as early as the Punic era, the earliest evidence of Jewish presence in the area dates to the second century C.E.List of Carthaginians
This an alphabetical List of ancient Carthaginians. These include all citizens of ancient Carthage remembered in history, before the final Roman destruction of the state.
Note that some persons may be listed multiple times, once for each part of the name.Military of Carthage
The military of Carthage was one of the largest military forces in the ancient world. Although Carthage's navy was always its main military force, the army acquired a key role in the spread of Carthaginian power over the native peoples of northern Africa and southern Iberian Peninsula from the 6th century BC and the 3rd century BC. Carthage's military also allowed it to expand into Sardinia and the Balearic Islands. This expansion transformed the military from a body of citizen-soldiers into a multinational force composed primarily of foreign mercenary units.
The Carthaginian military was a combined arms force, which comprised light and heavy infantry, siege engines, skirmishers, light and heavy cavalry, as well as war elephants and chariots. Supreme command of the military was initially held by the civilian Suffetes until the third century BC. Thereafter, professional military generals were appointed directly by the Carthaginian Senate.
Carthage's military battled the Greeks over control of the island of Sicily. These encounters influenced the development of the Carthaginians' weapons and tactics, causing Carthage to adopt the Greek-style hoplite soldier fighting in the phalanx formation. However, the Carthaginian war machine faced its biggest challenge in the military of the Roman Republic during the Punic Wars. While Carthage was finally defeated by Rome in 146 BC, its military achieved notable success under the command of Hamilcar Barca and his son Hannibal.Province of Arezzo
The province of Arezzo (Italian: provincia di Arezzo) is the easternmost province in the Tuscany region of central Italy. Its capital is the city of Arezzo. The province is bordered by the regions of Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, and the provinces Siena and Florence of Tuscany. It has an area of 3,233 square kilometres (1,248 sq mi), a total population of about 344,000 in 36 comuni (singular: comune)The north of the province of Arezzo contains the Pratomagno and Casentino mountain ranges and valleys, and the southern areas of the region contain the fertile Tiber and Chiana valleys. The province capital Arezzo was a major Etruscan urban centre known as Aritim, and a wall was built around the province in this period of rule. In Roman times, the settlement was given the latinized name Arretium and expanded down from the hills. Arretium assisted Ancient Rome in the Punic Wars against Ancient Carthage. After attacks from barbarians, the settlement mostly disappeared in around 400 AD.Towards the end of the 11th century, the settlement grew again into a city, despite being located near the powerful nations of Siena and Florence. Its location led to its ownership changing repeatedly; Florence owned the province after the Battle of Campaldino, later lost authority over it, and then annexed it again in 1384. Florence possessed the province until 1859, when Tuscany was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia during the Risorgimento. The province is in close proximity to Camaldoli, ancestral seat of the Camaldolese monks.Province of Vibo Valentia
The province of Vibo Valentia (Italian: provincia di Vibo Valentia; Vibonese: pruvincia i Vibbu Valenzia) is a province in the Calabria region of southern Italy, set up by a national law of 6 March 1992 which came into effect on 1 January 1996, and formerly part of the Province of Catanzaro. Its capital is the city of Vibo Valentia and its vehicle licence plate code is VV. The province has an area of 1,139 square kilometres (440 sq mi) (7.6% of the total surface of Calabria), and a total population of 168,894 (ISTAT 2005); the city Vibo Valentia has a population of 35,405. There are 50 comuni (singular: comune) in the province, see list of communes of the Province of Vibo Valentia.
It was first settled by Italic tribe the Sicels and Vibo Valentia was established as a city in the 6th or 7th century, known as Hipponion by the Greeks of Messina and Reggio. Following this, the city was later recolonised by people from town Locri in the region of Calabria. Dionysius I of Syracuse had the city of Hipponion destroyed, and authority of the city subsequently passed to Ancient Carthage, tribe Bruttii, Greek Agathocles of Syracuse, and then the Locrians, before being conquered by Ancient Rome in around 230 BCE. In around 400 CE it was attacked repeatedly before being destroyed by the Muslims. Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor had the town rebuilt in the 13th century, and in 1284 it passed to the Ruffo family. Ferdinand I of Naples had a fort constructed in Pizzo Calabro in 1486.In June 2010 a dormant volcano was discovered off the coast of the province on the fault line that led to the 1905 Calabria earthquake. It is a mountainous province and is situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea.Punics
The Punics (from Latin punicus, pl. punici), also known as Carthaginians, were a people from Ancient Carthage (modern Tunisia and Northeastern part of Algeria) who traced their origins to the Phoenicians. Punic is the English adjective, derived from the Latin adjective punicus to describe anything Carthaginian. Their language, Punic, was a dialect of Phoenician.Tanit d'or
The Tanit d'or is the grand prize of the Carthage Film Festival, hosted biennially in Tunisia. The award is named for the lunar goddess of ancient Carthage and takes the shape of her symbol, a triangle surmounted by a horizontal line and a circle.
Previous winners of the Tanit d'or include:
1976: Les Ambassadeurs by Naceur Ktari
1988: Wedding in Galilee, by Michel Khleifi, Palestine,
1992: La nuit (Mohamed Malas, Syria)
1994: Les silences du palais (Arabic: صمت القصور) (Moufida Tlatli, Tunisia)
1996: Salut cousin (Merzak Allouache, Algeria)
1998: Vivre au paradis (Bourlem Guerdjou, Algeria)
2000: Dolé (Imunga Ivanga, Gabon)
2002: Le prix du pardon (Mansour Sora Wade, Senegal)
2004: A Casablanca, les anges ne volent pas (Mohamed Asli, Morocco)
2006: Making-Off (Arabic: آخر فيلم) (Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia)
2010: Microphone(Arabic:ميكروفون) (Ahmad Abdalla, Egypt)
2018: Fatwa (Arabic: فتوى) (Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud, Tunisia)Tophet
For the place in Ancient Carthage with that name, see Ancient Carthage.In the Hebrew Bible, Tophet or Topheth (Hebrew: תוֹפֶת; Greek: Ταφέθ; Latin: Topheth) was a location in Jerusalem in the Gehinnom where worshipers influenced by the ancient Canaanite religion engaged in the human sacrifice of children to the gods Moloch and Baal by burning them alive. Tophet became a theological or poetic synonym for Hell within Christendom.
The traditional explanation that a burning rubbish heap in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem gave rise to the idea of a fiery Gehenna of judgment is attributed to Rabbi David Kimhi's commentary on Psalm 27:13. He maintained that in this loathsome valley fires were kept burning perpetually to consume the filth and cadavers thrown into it.Trading post
A trading post, trading station, or trading house was a place or establishment where the trading of goods took place; the term is generally used, in modern parlance, in reference to such establishments in historic Northern America, although the practice long predates that continent's colonization by Europeans. The preferred travel route to a trading post or between trading posts, was known as a trade route.
Trading posts were also places for people to meet and exchange the news of the world or simply the news from their home country (many of the world's trading posts were located in places which were popular destinations for emigration) in a time when not even newspapers existed.
European colonialism traces its roots to ancient Carthage. Originally a trading settlement of Phoenician colonists, Carthage grew into a vast economic and political power throughout the Mediterranean, accumulating wealth and influence through its economic (trading) prowess. Numerous cities of importance once started their history as trading posts: Venice, New York City, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Naples, Rotterdam, Kansas City, etc.
The annexation of trading posts along ancient trade routes took place in the 16th and 17th century by European powers like the Dutch and English. It began with the capture of Ceuta (a terminus of the trans-Saharan trade route) by the Portuguese in 1415. They went on to establish further enclaves as they explored the coasts of Africa, Arabia, India and South East Asia in search of the source of the lucrative spice trade. Trading posts were also very common in the early settlements of Canada and the United States for the trade of such things as fur. They were also used in many camps across the United States as places to buy snacks, items and souvenirs.
The Hudson's Bay Company set up trading posts around Hudson Bay during the fur trade. Goods were traded for beaver pelts amongst the Europeans and the Native Americans. In the United States in the early 19th century, trading posts used by Native Americans were licensed by the federal government and called "factories". Tribes were to concede substantial territory to the United States in order to access the "factories" as happened at Fort Clark in the Treaty of Fort Clark in which the Osage Nation conceded most of Missouri in order to access the trading post.Zama (Tunisia)
Zama, also known as Xama, in what is now Tunisia is best known for its connection with what is called the Battle of Zama, in which, on 19 October 202 BC, Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal, ending the Second Punic War with victory for the Roman Republic, and breaking the power of Ancient Carthage.
|First Punic War|
|Second Punic War|
|Third Punic War|