How Powerful Was Ancient Carthage?

Ancient Carthage was among the most powerful cities in the world. It ruled a sizable part of the Mediterranean coast which included Southern Spain, Northern Africa, Sicily, Corsica, and the Sardinia Islands during the middle of the 6th century B.C.E.

Initially, Carthage was a monarchy that was ruled by a King. The government, however, changed it to a republic at around 4th century B.C.E.

The Senate of Ancient Carthage was comprised of at least 300 wealthy citizens who made the laws and regulations of the state.

During ancient times, Carthage was in constant struggle with the Roman Republic which resulted in a series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars.

Himalaya Mountains

Carthage fought and lost to Rome in the first Punic War which took place in 264 B.C.E. It was also during this time that the Carthaginian relinquished their control of Sicily to Rome.

The Second Punic War, on the other hand, began during 218 B.C.E. and ended on 201 B.C.E. Carthage which was led by its Hannibal managed to cross the Alps to attack Rome in Italy.

Even though they won several battles in Italy, the Carthaginians started to weaken as the war continued. Eventually, the Romans beat Carthage and gained control of Northern Africa and Spain.

The Empire of Carthage subsequently ended after the third Punic War which occurred between 149 B.C.E. and 146 B.C.E. In addition, the cities that were allied with Carthage became a part of the Roman Republic.

Ancient Carthage

Other than its wars with the Roman Republic, Ancient Carthage also went on to battle with a number of empires over the control of Sicily. These wars were typically classified as the Greek-Punic Wars or the Sicilian Wars.

Regardless of all these battles, neither side was able to gain complete control over the islands. The Greeks stayed in control of the Eastern Sicily while the Carthaginians ruled Western Sicily.

Oracle Bone Script

Interesting Facts about Ancient Carthage

  • Carthage became a major component of the Roman Empire after it was rebuilt by Dictator Julius Caesar.
  • The term “Punic” was derived from the Latin word “Punicus” which is what the Romans called the residents from Carthage.
  • Similar to the Greeks, the Carthaginians believed in many Gods. The primary gods of Carthage were Baalhamon and his wife Tanit.
  • Hannibal brought 37 elephants with him when he crossed the Alps and attacked Rome in Italy. It is, however, important to note that most of these elephants died before arriving into Italy.
  • The Carthaginians were active traders. As a matter of fact, their trading ships sailed to ports all around the Mediterranean Sea daily.
  • The Carthaginian Harbor was consists of 220 docks that are ornamented with Greek sculpture.
  • Accounts of Carthage were severely destroyed after the Punic Wars. Most of what is known about Carthage today is from popular Roman writers such as Livy and Plutarch.
  • Rome and Carthage signed a treaty in 509 B.C.E. to indicate a division of influence and commercial endeavors. This was the first known document which indicated that Carthage had gained control of Sardinia and Sicily.

What are the main leaders of Carthage called?

Carthage elected two major leaders annually. Its leaders are primarily called “Suffetes” which meant judges.

How long did the Carthaginians rule the Mediterranean Sea?

Carthage ruled the Mediterranean Sea between 650 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E.

How long did the Sicilian Wars last?

The Sicilian wars started from 480 B.C.E. to 307 B.C.E.

Who founded Carthage?

Legend has it that Carthage was discovered by Phoenician Queen Elissa at around 813 B.C.E. It gained prominence after Alexander the Great destroyed the city of Tyre in 332 B.C.E. At present, Ancient Carthage is known today as the country of Tunisia.