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Carthage Goes to War with Rome

From the middle of the 3rd century to the middle of the 2nd century BC, Carthage was engaged in a series of wars with Rome. These wars, known as the Punic Wars, ended in the complete defeat of Carthage by Rome. The most prominent figure of the Punic war s was General Hannibal of Pheonician Carhtage. During these wars, it is likely that the colonizing expeditions of the Carthaginians were supported by many emigrants from the Phoenician homeland.

Hannibal

(b. 247 BC, North Africa--d. c. 183-181, Libyssa, Bithynia), Phoenician Carthaginian general, one of the great military leaders of antiquity, who commanded the Carthaginian forces against Rome in the Second Punic War (218-201 BC).

Early life

Hannibal was the son of the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca. According to Polybius and Livy, the main Latin sources for his life, Hannibal was taken to Spain by his father and at an early age was made to swear eternal hostility to Rome. From the death of his father in 229/228 until his own death c. 183, Hannibal's life was one of constant struggle against the Roman republic.

His earliest commands were given to him in the Carthaginian province of Spain by Hasdrubal, son-in-law and successor of Hamilcar; and it is clear that he emerged as a successful officer, for, on the assassination of Hasdrubal in 221 BC, the army proclaimed him, at the age of 26, its commander in chief, and the Carthaginian government quickly ratified his field appointment.

Hannibal immediately turned himself to the consolidation of the Punic hold on Spain. He married a Spanish princess, Imilce, then began to conquer various Spanish tribes. He fought against the Olcades and captured their capital, Althaea; quelled the Vaccaei in the northwest; and in 221, making the seaport Cartagena (Carthage Nova, the capital of Carthaginian Spain) his base, won a resounding victory over the Carpetani in the region of the Tagus River.

In 219 BC Hannibal made an attack on Saguntum, an independent Iberian city south of the Ebro River. In the treaty between Rome and Carthage subsequent to the First Punic War (264-241), the Ebro had been set as the northern limit of Carthaginian influence in the Iberian Peninsula.

Saguntum was indeed south of the Ebro, but the Romans had "friendship" (though perhaps not an actual treaty) with the city and regarded the Carthagin...

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...arthage unopposed (AD 533). Carthage, after its capture by the Arabs in 705, was totally eclipsed by the new town of Tunis.

Though Roman Carthage was destroyed, much of its remains can be traced, including the outline of many fortifications and an aqueduct. The former Byrsa area was adorned with a large temple dedicated to Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva, and near it stood a temple to Asclepius. Also on the Byrsa site stood an open-air portico, from which the finest Roman sculptures at Carthage have survived. Additional remains of the Roman town include an odeum, another theatre constructed by Hadrian, an amphitheatre modeled on the Roman Colosseum, numerous baths and temples, and a circus.

The Christian buildings within the city, with the exception of a few Vandal structures, are all Byzantine. The largest basilica was rebuilt in the 6th century on the site of an earlier one. Churches probably existed during the 3rd and 4th centuries, but of these no traces remain.

The ancient Phoenician language survived in use as a vernacular in some of the smaller cities of North Africa at least until the time of St Augustine, bishop of Hippo (5th century AD).

Source:

Encyclopedia Britannica.
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