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History of Punic-era Tunisia: chronology

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History of Punic-era Tunisia: chronology

The History of Punic era Tunisia, part I introduces the region during its long period (commencing as early as the 12th century BCE) under the sway of a Semitic civilization from the eastern Mediterranean: Phoenicia. Arriving first as traders, the Phoenicians (known in the west under the name 'Punic') eventually founded the city-state of Carthage. This city grew in wealth and became the political focus in an extended network of Punic trading bases throughout the western Mediterranean. Legends later arose about the foundation of this famous city, whose elegance and power were well known among the ancients. The potency of the Punic presence largely displaced the Berbers; Carthage became the prevailing culture in the region.

The native Berbers, however, retained their ethnic identity while under the long dominance of Carthage. During this era, which lasted until the 2nd century BCE, the Berbers were either politically mastered by Carthage or else retreated to satellite positions on the periphery of the Punic sphere. Nonetheless, the Berbers borrowed many of the city's cultural advances, specifically regarding government and commerce, agriculture and war.

As a transplant from its Phoenician base, Punic culture established itself on African soil, where it underwent its own unique cultural development. The city-state prospered, expanding the range of its commercial dominance across the western Mediterranean, incorporating the many other trading outposts, towns, and cities, founded by Phoenicians. Searching for trading opportunities, new lands were explored by sea. A rivalry with the Greeks (who had followed the Punic expansion westward across the Mediterranean) was inevitable, yet faded when the Greeks under Alexander turned eastward. The city of Carthage and the farmlands surrounding it rose to new heights; its trading partners and allies also sharing in its prosperity. Then another rival emerged in the western Mediterranean: Rome. After three long-remembered, epic wars, the city-state of Carthage fell to the Roman Republic.[1][2][3]


  • Sea traders of the east 1
  • Founding of Carthage 2
  • Berber relations 3
  • Regional sovereignty 4
  • Rivalry with the Greeks 5
  • Punic Wars with Rome 6
  • Reference notes 7
  • See also 8

Sea traders of the east

The historical era opens with the advent of traders coming by sea from the eastern Mediterranean. Eventually they were followed by a stream of colonists, landing and settling along the coasts of Africa and Iberia, and on the islands of the western seas.

Technological innovations and economic development in the eastern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, and along the Nile, increased the demand for various metals not found locally in sufficient quantity. Phoenician traders recognized the relative abundance and low cost of the needed metals among the goods offered for trade by local merchants in Hispania, which spurred trade.[4] In the Phoenician city-state of Tyre, much of this Mediterranean commerce, as well as the corresponding trading settlements located at coastal stops along the way to the west, were directed by the kings, e.g., Hiram of Tyre (969-936).[5]

By three thousand years ago the

See also

  1. ^ For a description of the geography and climate of Tunisia, see History of Tunisia.
  2. ^ For reference to authorities see here the text that follows.
  3. ^ This page continues at History of Punic-era Tunisia, part II.
  4. ^ Cf., B.H.Warmington, "The Carthaginian period" at 246-247, in General History of Africa, vol. II (UNESCO 1990).
  5. ^ Yuri B. Tsirkin, "Phoenician and Greek Colonization" at 347-365, 351, in Igor M. Diakonoff, editor, Early Antiquity (Univ.of Chicago 1991), translated from Rannyaya Drevnost (Moskva: Nauka 1982, 1989).
  6. ^ B.H.Warmington, "The Carthaginian period" at 246-260, 247, in General History of Africa, vol. II (UNESCO 1990), Abr. Ed.
  7. ^ Cf., Yuri B. Tsirkin, "Phoenician and Greek Colonization" at 347-365, in Igor M. Diakonoff, editor, Early Antiquity (Univ.of Chicago 1991), translated from Rannyaya Drevnost (Moskva: Nauka 1982, 1989).
  8. ^ Gilbert and Colette Picard, Vie et Mort de Carthage (Paris: Hachett 1968), translated as The Life and Death of Carthage (New York: Taplinger 1969), at 30. Here kart meant "city", hudesht "new" (pronounced Carchedon by ancient Greeks; Carthago in ancient Latin).
  9. ^ The placement of the vowels for KRT HDST being somewhat of a conjecture, Smith would pronounce the city Kirjath Hadeschath in his Carthage and the Carthaginians (1878, 1902) at 10.
  10. ^ Robert Hetzron classifies Punic with Canaanite and Arabic, along with Aramaic, under Central West Semitic. The South Arabian and the Ethiopic languages are classified South West Semitic. Akkadian alone makes East Semitic. Hetzron cited in Merritt Ruhlen, A Guide to the World's Languages. Volume 1: Classification (Stanford Univ. 1987) at 90, 92.
  11. ^ Cf., Lancel, Serge (1992; 1995). Carthage. Librairie Artheme Fayard; Blackwell. pp. 351–360. 
  12. ^ B. H. Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 22, noting for comparison that the first Greek colony in the west Cumae was founded south of Rome about sixty years later, and Cumae's foundation date is "relatively secure".
  13. ^ Serge Lancel, Carthage (Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard 1992), translated as Carthage. A history (Oxford: Blackwell 1995) at 23-25.
  14. ^ Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969) at 28-35.
  15. ^ B.H. Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 23-24, observes that the 814 date of Timaeus parallels dating given by Josephus writing in the first century CE. Josephus cites a certain Menandros of Ephesus whose king list for Tyre places Pygmalion's reign at the end of the ninth century, when his sister Elissa founded Carthage. Menandros is stated to have used Phoenician records. See here below regarding Pygmalion and Elissa (Dido).
  16. ^ Flavius Josephus, Against Apion {Rome 93 A.D.}, at Book I, 18, (125), in The Works of Josephus, translated by Whiston (London 1736; new edition: Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson 1987) at 772-814, 780-781. Josephus quotes Menander the Ephesian: "Now, in the seventh year of [Pygmalion's] reign, his sister fled away from him, and built the city of Carthage in Libya."
  17. ^ Lancel, Carthage. A history (1992, 1995) at 1-3, 16 (ancient authors, including Velleius Paterculus and the Pseudo-Aristotle); 4 (archeology); 9 (Bible), 20-23 (traditions).
  18. ^ José María Blazquez, "Fenicios en la Península Ibérica (1100 - final siglo VI a.C.)" in Historia de España Antigua (Madrid: Ediciones Cátedra, 2d ed. 1983) ed. by Blazquez, Presedo, Lomas, & Fernandez Nieto, vol. I at 277-297; 279 (gold mask from Gades; cylindrical seal from Río Vélez/Málaga); 281, 287-288 (e.g., Pliny, Diodorus, Strabo); 285-289 (Bible).
  19. ^ Antonio Arribas, The Iberians (New York: Friderick A. Praeger 1964) [Ancient Peoples and Places], at 47-51 (twelfth-century presence of Phoenicians traders in Hispania).
  20. ^ Philip K. Hitti, History of Syria. Including Lebanon and Palestine (New York: Macmillan 1951) at 102 n.4.
  21. ^ I Kings 10:22.
  22. ^ Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 16-17, where Tarshish might refer to a cargo, a ship, or a place. Tarshish ships sailed over the Red Sea to Ophir, as well as across the Mediterranean to Tartessus in Hispania.
  23. ^ Raphael Patai, The Children of Noah. Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times (Princeton Univ. 1998) at 12-13, 40, 134. At 133 Patai notes the Jewish reliance on Phoenician shipwrights and craft in building and managing the ships, citing I Kings 22:49, as well as the biblical moral critique in II Chronicles 20:35-37.
  24. ^ More on the Punic Tarshish trade as found in the Bible: here at end of this section, i.e., Ezekiel 27.
  25. ^ The Wadi Majardah was also known to the ancient classical world as the river Bagradas. E.g., Appian, The Civil Wars, II, 44, as translated (Penguin Books 1996) at 92.
  26. ^ Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 17-19. The ruins of Utica, within the modern Republic of Tunisia and now situated 10 km inland, have been excavated to some extent, especially regarding a cemetery dating to the eighth century B.C.E. No conclusive earlier finds have been identified, but the ruins were very disturbed before its trained excavation and much work remains to be done.
  27. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 69.
  28. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at .
  29. ^ Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 18, and at 27: 30 km being "a good day's sailing".
  30. ^ Etymologically Dido comes from the same [Semitic] root as does David which means "beloved". Elissa [Greek version; from Phoenician Elishat] is the feminine form of the remote Phoenician creator god El, also a name for the God of the Hebrews. Smith, Carthage and the Carthaginians (1878, 1902) at 13.
  31. ^ Probably Dido is an epithet from the Semitic root dod, "love". Barton, Semitic and Hamitic Origins (1934) at 305.
  32. ^ But cf., Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 23-24, 35-36.
  33. ^ E.g., I Kings chapters 16, 18, 21, and II Kings chapter 9. Some place Jezebel's origin at Sidon, a Phoenician city-state and major rival to Tyre; more likely at that time Tyre and Sidon were united.
  34. ^ Donald Harden, The Phoenicians (New York: Frederick A. Praeger 1962) at 52, 66. Harden at 53 gives a schema of the "Royal Houses of Tyre, Israel, and Judah in the Ninth Century B.C." Jezebel was mother of kings both in Israel and in Judah. Jezebel's daughter Athaliah wed the King of Judah, where Athaliah later became queen.
  35. ^ Jezebel, as wife of King Ahab of Israel, orchestrated sinister plots from her position at court. Her daughter Athaliah when Queen of Judah (r. 842-836) also involved herself in murderous court intrigue leading to her death. Allen C. Myers, editor, The Eerdman's Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1987) at 580-581 (Jezebel), 28-29 (Ahab), 30-31 (Ahaziah, King of Israel, son of Jezebel and Ahab), 559-560 (Jehoram, King of Israel, son of Jezebel and Ahab); 560 (Jehoram, King of Judah, husband of Athaliah), 103-104 (Athaliah, Queen of Judah, daughter of Jezebel and Ahab), 31 (Ahaziah, King of Judah, son of Jehoram and Athaliah).
  36. ^ Jezebel might be compared to Bathsheba, whose adulterous affair with King David (r., c. 1010–970) led to the covert murder of her soldier husband. Later on, she apparently connived in the execution of Adonijah, a rival to her son Solomon. Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Harvard Univ. 1973) at 227 (Uriah), 237 (Adonijah). Yet the Hebrew Bible condemns Jezebel (who killed Hebrew prophets) but not Bathsheba (whose adultery was a youthful affair, and whose latter alleged offense is subject to different interpretations).
  37. ^ Intrigue and palace revolts were then common to the royal courts of Phoenicia, Judah and Israel. Soren, Khader, Slim, Carthage (1990) at 24. Historically, of course, similar criminality by royals is reported in many nations.
  38. ^ Pygmilion is a Greek form of a Phoenician name, which was perhaps Pumai-jaton. Stéphane Gsell, Histoire ancienne de l'Afrique du Nord, volume 1 (Paris: Librairie Hachette 1921) at 391.
  39. ^ Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus at XVIII,5.
  40. ^ David Soren, Aicha Ben Abed Ben Khader, Hedi Slim, Carthage. Uncovering the Mysteries and Splendors of Ancient Tunisia (New York: Simon & Schuster 1990) at 23-24 (Dido's escape from Tyre), 17-29 (Dido), 23-25 (Trogus). Trogus appears to be following the events as recorded by the historian Timaeus (c. 300) of Sicily, whose works are largely lost. Much of the writings of Trogus himself are lost, but its abbreviated content survives in an ancient summary by Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus. Dates for Justin are approximate: the second, third, or fourth century.
  41. ^ Harden, The Phoenicians (1962) at 66-67.
  42. ^ The captured temple women of Cyprus are possibly symbolic or a metaphor, parallel to the rape of the Sabine women in Roman lore, notes Lancel in his Carthage (1992, 1995) at 34.
  43. ^ Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 38, reads in Justin's Epitome the tribe Maxitani, per the Punic district pagus Muxi, instead of interpreting it as a corrupt form of the tribe Mauri or the Mauritani.
  44. ^ Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus at XVIII,6.
  45. ^ Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969) re Dido at 31, 47, 154.
  46. ^ The celebration of Dido thereafter demonstrates the Carthaginian's abiding respect for committed dedication to an all-encompassing purpose, even to taking the ultimate step of self-sacrifice. Cf., Soren, Khader, Slim, Carthage (1990) at 28.
  47. ^ Virgil, Aeneid, as translated by Fitzgerald (New York: Vintage 1990). In the Aeneid Virgil attempted, in part, to personify Carthage and Rome, and mythically explain their subsequent antagonism. The story line follows Aeneas as he escapes from his city of Troy after its capture by the Greeks. Eventually, following adventures he arrives (as steered by the gods) in Italy where he acts in the foundation of Rome. In the meantime, during the course of his journeys, he landed at Carthage where the Queen Dido and Aeneas became lovers.
  48. ^ The Queen bought as much land as an ox hide would cover, then cut it at the edge round and round into a very thin, long strip, enough to surround the citadel area. For the Romans this exemplified Berber simplicity and Phoenician sophistry. Lancel, Serge (1992, 1995). Carthage. pp. 23–25. 
  49. ^ Reference to Dido's purchase of the Byrsa: Virgil, Aeneid (Vintage 1990) at 16, lines 501-503 [I, 367-368].
  50. ^ Appian (circa 95-165), Romaiken Istorian [Roman History], at Book VIII: chap. 1, sec. 1.
  51. ^ Virgil, Aeneid (Vintage 1990). The god Jupiter compels the hero Aeneas to leave Dido and travel to his destiny at Rome (at pages 103-105, lines 299-324, 352-402 [IV, {220s-230s, 260s-290s}]). The Queen Dido then dies by her own hand and is consumed in a sacrificial fire (at 119-120, lines 903-934 [IV, {650s-670s}]). Later, Aeneas meets Dido in the underworld (at 175-176, lines 606-639 [VI, {450s-470s}]).
  52. ^ Tanit, known also for fertility, was a goddess of vegetation similar to the Roman Ceres. George Aaron Barton, Semitic and Hamitic Origins. Social and Religious (Univ.of Pennsylvania 1934) at 305-306, where he cites the work of Lewis R. Farnell per Dido of the Aeneid.
  53. ^ Virgil's epic has spawned the operas Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869). Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 23.
  54. ^ B. H. Warmington, "The Carthaginian period" at 246-260, 247, in General History of Africa, volume II, Ancient Civilizations of Africa (UNESCO 1990), Abridged Edition.
  55. ^ Warmington previously noted that the ancient Greeks did not possess sufficient knowledge nor a firm grasp on the information then available, concerning their contemporaries the Phoenicians, nor Phoenician history; thus the Greeks were not trustworthy guides. B. H. Warmington, Carthage (Robert Hale 1960; reprinted by Penguin) at 24-25.
  56. ^ Cf., Gwyn Prins, "Oral History" at 114-139, in New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Pennsylvania State Univ. 1992). "To show awareness of the pitfalls of invented tradition and hence in the explanations offered, the historian must also reveal what it was like to have been there--a bard in Homeric Greece; a villager in Africa... ." Ibid. at 137.
  57. ^ Ezekiel, chapters 27 and 28. His praise is followed by a warning from his God for the cities to repent.
  58. ^ Gilbert Charles Picard and Colette Picard, Vie et mort de Carthage (Paris: Hachette 1968), translated as The Life and Death of Carthage (New York: Taplinger 1969), at 15-16 (Ezekiel).
  59. ^ Ezekiel, 27: 3, 12.
  60. ^ With regard to the Jews and the city of Carthage, Jewish settlement there and in the region now called Tunisia may have begun as early as the sixth century, after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E. André N. Chouraqui, Between East and West. A History of the Jews of North Africa (Paris 1952, 1965; Philadelphia 1968; reprint Atheneum 1973) at 8.
  61. ^ Homer (before 700 BC) in the Odyssey (XV: 249-250), translated by E.V. Rieu (Penguin 1946) at 240-242, tells the tale of a notorious ship of Phoenicians stopping at an island to trade.
  62. ^ For Homer's epic compared to literature of the east, including the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh (third millennium), see Cyrus H. Gordon, Before the Bible chapter VII (1962); reprinted as "The Epics Drawn from a Common Eastern Mediterranean Tradition" at 93-102, in Homer's History (1970) ed. by C.G.Thomas.
  63. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969), at 16-17 (location of Tarshish).
  64. ^ Raphael Patai, The Children of Noah. Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times (Princeton Univ. 1998) at xviii, 40, 133-134.
  65. ^ Harden, The Phoenicians (1962, 2d ed. 1963) at 64, 160.
  66. ^ Richard J. Harrison, Spain at the Dawn of History. Iberians, Phoenicians, and Greeks (London: Thames and Hudson 1988) at 41-50 (Phoenician colonies); 80-92 (Carthage); 41, 81-83 (Gadir).
  67. ^ Cf., Antonio Arribas, The Iberians (New York: Friderick A. Praeger 1964) [Ancient Peoples and Places], 47-51 (Tartessos and Gadir); cf. at 190-193 (ancient authors).
  68. ^ Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969) at 17.
  69. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 27 (Tyre to Gadir), 83 (silver).
  70. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969), at 24-26 (Homer), 23-28, 34-35 (primitive sites similar to earliest Carthage).
  71. ^ Warmington (London: Robert Hale 1960, 2d ed. 1969), e.g., p. 46: "Libyans of Tunisia" (an anachronistic term), cf., p. 61 (citing Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius.
  72. ^ Sallust (86-35), Bellum Iugurthinum (c.42 B.C.), 19-20, translated by S.A.Handford as The Jugurthine War (Penguin 1963) at 55-56.
  73. ^ Laroui, The History of the Maghrib (1970, 1977) at 55, 60, 65.
  74. ^ Brett and Fentress, The Berbers (1989) at 41-42.
  75. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 37.
  76. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1968, 1969) at 15-17.
  77. ^ Cf. Perkins, Tunisia (1986) at 15.
  78. ^ Michael Brett and Elizabeth Fentress, The Berbers (Oxford: Blackwell 1996) at 24-25.
  79. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 64-65.
  80. ^ The 22nd Dynasty. Erik Hornung, History of Ancient Egypt. An introduction ([1978]; Cornell University 1999) at 128-131.
  81. ^ Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, A History of the Maghrib (Cambridge University 1971) at 20.
  82. ^ E.g., Soren, Ben Khader, Slim, Carthage. Uncovering the mysteries and splendors of ancient Tunisia (New York: Simon & Schuster 1990) at 18-20, observes imperial pretensions.
  83. ^ The Wadi Majardah was anciently called the Bagradas. Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 270.
  84. ^ B. H. Warmington, "The Carthaginian Period" at 246-260, 248-249, in General History of Africa, volume II. Ancient Civilizations of Africa (UNESCO 1981, 1990), edited by G. Mokhtar.
  85. ^ Kenneth J. Perkins, Tunisia (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press 1986) at 15.
  86. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 86.
  87. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 172, 125.
  88. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 2d ed. 1969), p. 81.
  89. ^ Cf., Richard Miles, Carthage must be destroyed (NY: Viking 2010), p. 80.
  90. ^ "Pro Berber" view points (contrary to prevailing "Punicophilia" literature) are presented by Abdullah Laroui in his L'Histoire du Maghreb: Un essai de synthèse (Paris: Librairie François Maspero 1970), translated by Ralph Manheim as The History of the Maghrib. An Interpretive Essay (Princeton University 1977) at 42-44.
  91. ^ Cf., Le Berbère, lumière de l'Occident (Nouvelles Editions, 1984).
  92. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 65, 84-86.
  93. ^ Laroui, The History of the Maghrib (1970, 1977) at 52, 58.
  94. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, Penguin 1964), p. 86 (quote).
  95. ^ Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 172. The Picards, however, remark that the resulting Greek defeat showed "how strong was the hold of Carthage over her African territory."
  96. ^ The Romans also met with instances of "disloyalty" by Berber leaders, witness their long war against Jugurtha (c.160-104), the Berber King of Numidia. Sallust (86-c.35), The Jugurthine War (Penguin 1963), translated by Handford.
  97. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 83, citing (not quoting) Plutarch (46-120 CE), Moralia 799D.
  98. ^ Charles-Picard, Daily life in Carthage (Paris: Hachette 1958; London: Geo. Allen & Unwin 1961), p. 123. The Khamessat contract "gave the landowner four-fifths of the income".
  99. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, Penguin 1964), p. 86; Warmington, Carthage (2d ed. 1969), p. 80.
  100. ^ Picard and Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 203-209.
  101. ^ Polybius (203-120), The Histories at I, 72.
  102. ^ The Mercenary revolt occurred after the First Punic War (see below).
  103. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 86-87.
  104. ^ R. Bosworth Smith, Carthage and the Carthaginians (London: Longmans, Green 1878, 1908) at 45-46:
    "[T]he most ruinous tribute was imposed and exacted with unsparing rigour from the subject native states, and no slight one either from the cognate Phoenician states. ... Hence arose that universal disaffection, or rather that deadly hatred, on the part of her foreign subjects, and even of the Phoenician dependencies, toward Carthage, on which every invader of Africa could safely count as his surest support. ... This was the fundamental, the ineradicable weakness of the Carthaginian Empire... ."
  105. ^ Compare the contradictions described in Brett & Fentress, The Berbers (1996) at 24-25 (Berber adoption of elements of Punic culture), 49-50 (Berber persistence in their traditional belief).
  106. ^ Warmington, Carthage (1960; 2d ed. 1969) at 45 (quote), 52 (the enlisted).
  107. ^ Lancel (1968). Carthage. A history. pp. 20–25, 79–86. 
  108. ^ Gilbert Picard and Colette Picard, Vie et mort de Carthage (1968) translated as Life and Death of Carthage (New York: Taplinger 1969) at 59-72.
  109. ^ Glenn Markoe, The Phoenicians (Univ. of California 2000) at 54-56.
  110. ^ Gilbert Charles-Picard and Colette Charles-Picard, La Vie quotidienne à Carthage au temps d'Hannibal (Paris: Librairie Hachette 1958), translated as Daily Life in Carthage at the time of Hannibal (London: George Allen and Unwin 1961) at 171 (Nora), 172 (Etruscan treaty).
  111. ^ Cary and Warmington, The Ancient Explorers (London: Methuen 1929; revised, Baltimore: Pelican 1963) at 45-47 (Himilco), at 63-68 (Hanno), at 47 (straits closed). The Phoenicians themselves had followed the Minoans in the ancient sea trade, Ibid., at 23-29.
  112. ^ Cf., Hanno the Carthaginian, Periplus (Chicago: Ares 1977), ed. and transl. by Al. N. Oikonomides.
  113. ^ Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage at 72-78.
  114. ^ Text of treaty in Gras, Rouillar, & Teixidor, L'Univers phénicien (París: Les Éditions Arthaud 1989) at VII, "documents".
  115. ^ Ancient Greek sailors were familiar with the Mediterranean early on. For example in the epic of Homer (redacted before 700 BC) The Odyssey IX, as translated by E.V.Rieu (Penguin 1946) at 141-142, appears the tale of the "lotus eaters" whose location has been reckoned the island of Jerba, off the southeast coast of modern Tunisia.
  116. ^ The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (c.480s-425) also mentions the lotus eaters, in his Histories IV, 175, 181, as translated by Aubrey de Selincourt (Penguin 1954, 1972) at 330 & 332 (the Lotophagi).
  117. ^ Regarding Homer and Herodotus per the island of Jerba: John Anthony (aka John Sabini), Tunisia. A personal view of a timeless land (New York: Scribners 1961) at 192-194.
  118. ^ Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1968) at 78-80 (Himera), 131-134 (Hanno).
  119. ^ Lancel, Carthage at 88-91 (Himera), 114, 115 (Dionysius vs. Hanno).
  120. ^ Warminton, Carthage (1960, 1964) at 115-116.
  121. ^ As a result of the fear at Carthage "a large amount of treasure and precious offerings were sent to the god Melcart at Tyre." Also, "200 children of the most noble families were chosen by the authorities and sacrificed" to the Punic deity Baal Hammon. Three hundred more children were later "voluntarily surrendered by parents" for sacrifice. Warmington, Carthage (1960, 2d ed. 1969) at 122; 149.
  122. ^ Picard, Life and death of Carthage (1968) at 166-167 (Persian occupation of Phoenicia, and taking of Tyre by Alexander [in 332]), 167-171 (Agathocles).
  123. ^ Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 197 & 249 (anxiety over Agathocles perhaps leads to child sacrifice at Carthage).
  124. ^ Markoe, Phoenicians (University of California 2000) at 61.
  125. ^ Jamil M. Abun-Naysr, A History of the Maghrib (Cambridge Univ. 1971) at 17-20.
  126. ^ Serge Lancel, Carthage. A history (Blackwell 1992, 1995) at 88-102.
  127. ^ E. W. Bovill, The Golden Trade of the Moors (Oxford 1958, 1968) at 18-28.
  128. ^ Polybius (203-120), The Histories III, 22-26, translated in part as The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin Books 1979) at 199-203.
  129. ^ Picard and Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 72-77, 135.
  130. ^ Cf., Arnold J. Toynbee, Hannibal's Legacy (Oxford University 1965): Appendix on treaties between Carthage and Rome.
  131. ^ John B. Lazenby, "Carthage and Rome" 225-241, at 229-230, in The Cambridge Companion to The Roman Republic edited by Harriet I. Flower (Cambridge University 2004).
  132. ^ Theodor Mommsen, in his History of Rome (Leipzig 1854-1856; London 1862-1866, reprint Dent, London 1911) at 56 (Bk.III, end of Ch.2), comments that Rome's victory here was due to the fortunes of war "and to the energy of her citizens, but still more to the errors of her enemies in the conduct of the war--errors far surpassing even her own."
  133. ^ The first war had shown "significant divisions" among the leaders of Carthage and a "general ineptitude". Lazenby, "Carthage and Rome" 225-241, at 238, in The Cambridge Companion to The Roman Republic (2004).
  134. ^ Picard and Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969)at 182-202.
  135. ^ B. H. Warmington, Carthage (London: Robert Hale 1960, 2d ed. 1969), chap. 7 at 154-185, Mercenary War at 190, Sardinia at 190-191.
  136. ^ Polybius (203-120), The Histories III, 9-10, translated in part as The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin Books 1979) at 187-188. Polybius relates the story of Hannibal's youthful oath never to befriend Rome, required by his father Hamilcar Barca. Polybius, The Histories III, 11; Penguin translation (1979) at 189. As to the existing treaty, and discussion of the fault for the war and its origin, cf., The Histories III, 27-33; Penguin translation (1979) at 204-209.
  137. ^ Polybius also discusses and rejects theories about the war's origins proposed by Fabius, the Roman historian and senator. Polybius, The Histories III, 8-9; Penguin translation (1979) at 185-187.
  138. ^ Cf., John B. Lazenby, "Carthage and Rome" at 225-241, 231, in The Cambridge Companion to The Roman Republic edited by Harriet I. Flower (Cambridge University 2004).
  139. ^ B. H. Warmington, Carthage (London: Robert Hale 1960, 2d ed. 1969) at 191, who discusses the division at Carthage between the merchant supporters of Hamilcar and Hannibal, and pro-peace landed aristocrats under Hanno.
  140. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita (c.20 B.C.), Book XXI, 5-38, translated as The War with Hannibal (Penguin Books 1965) at 26-63.
  141. ^ Polybius (203-120), The Histories Book III, 14-15, 17, 20-21, 27-56, translated in part as The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin Books 1979) at 190-193, 194-195, 197-199, 204-229.
  142. ^ Lazenby (2004) states that for Hannibal in 212, "the two largest cities [i.e., Capua and Tarentum] in Italy were in his hands and some 40 percent of Rome's allies were on his side." Lazenby notes "the refusal, as late as 209, of twelve of the thirty Latin states to supply their contingents to the Roman army." But in the end, "Hannibal's strategy was a failure." John B. Lazenby, "Carthage and Rome" at 225-241, 234, in The Cambridge Companion to The Roman Republic edited by Harriet I. Flower (Cambridge Univ. 2004).
  143. ^ H. H. Scullard, A History of the Roman World, 753 to 146 (London: Methuen 1935; 4th ed. 1980, reprint Routledge 1991) at 225-229.
  144. ^ Polybius (203-120), The Histories Book XV, 5-16, translated in part as The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin Books 1979) at 468-479.
  145. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita (c.20 B.C.), Book XXX, 32-36, translated as The War with Hannibal (Penguin Books 1965) at 658-665.
  146. ^ Zama had been the traditional capital of the Massyli of Numidia, whose king became Masinissa. Picard and Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage (Paris; New York 1969) at 89.
  147. ^ Abun-Nasr, A History of the Maghrib (1971) at 25-28. Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 376-401; Picard and Picard, Life and Death of Carthage (1969) at 230-267.
  148. ^ Theodor Mommsen, Romische Geschichte (3 volumes, Leipzig 1854-1856, 6th ed. 1875), translated by Wm. Dickson as History of Rome (4 volumes 1862, 4th ed. 1894), Punic Wars in volume two; H. H. Scullard, History of the Roman World, 753-146 BC (London: Methuen 1935, 4th ed. 1980; reprint Routledge, London 1991), "Part II Rome and Carthage" at 155-239.
  149. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita (c.20 B.C.), Books XXI-XXX, translated as The War with Hannibal (Penguin Books 1965).
  150. ^ Lancel, Carthage (Paris: Librairie Arthème Fayard 1992), translated as Carthage. A history" (Oxford: Blackwell 1995, 1997) at 395-402.
  151. ^ Scullard, History of the Roman World, 753-146 (1935; 4th ed. 1980, 1991) at 306-307.
  152. ^ "Cato, they say, stirred up the third and last war against the Carthaginians." Plutarch (c.46-120), Bioi Paralleloi, translated by John Dryden, revised, as Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (New York: The Modern Library [no date]), "Marcus Cato" at 411-431, 431.
  153. ^ R. Bosworth Smith, Carthage and the Carthaginians (London: Longmans Green 1878, 1908) at 346-347.
  154. ^ Scullard, History of the Roman World, 753-146 (1935; 4th ed. 1980, 1991) at 306-307, 309; 362 (Scipio circle).
  155. ^ In his name Publius Terentius Afer the Afer then signified the Berber people (from whence the continent's name Africa). H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (London: Methuen 1936; 3d ed. 1954, reprint Dutton, New York 1960) at 72-80, 72-73 ('Afer', Scipio circle). Professor Rose (at 73,n12 and 511) cites Suetonius (70-c.140): his Vita Terentii, included in his De uiris illustribus.
  156. ^ Tenny Frank, Life and Literature in the Roman Republic (University of California 1930, 1957), Chapter IV, "Terence and his Successors" at 99-129, 104-106, 115-123.
  157. ^ Michael Grant, Roman Literature (Cambridge University 1954, reprint Penguin 1958) at 32-34.
  158. ^ H. J. Rose, A Handbook of Latin Literature (1936; 3d ed. 1954, 1960) at 51-52.
  159. ^ Eighteen lines in Poenulus are spoken in Punic by the principal character Hanno. The Comedies of Plautus translated by Henry Thomas Riley (London: G. Bell and Sons 51912): Poenulus, Act 5, scene 1.
  160. ^ B. H. Warmington, Carthage (1960; reprint Penguin 1964) at 163.
  161. ^ Diogenes Laertius (fl. 3rd century), Bioi kai gnomai ton en philosophia eudokimesanton, translated by Caponigri as Lives of the Philosophers (Chicago: Henry Regnery [1969], reprint Gateway), "Zeno" 229-252, at 229-231.
  162. ^ Lancel, Carthage (1992, 1995) at 401-406, 409-427.
  163. ^ Scullard, History of the Roman World, 753-146 AD (1935; 4th ed. 1980, 1991) at 306-317. Scipio Aemilianus of the Scipio circle nonetheless served as Roman Consul in 147 (and again in 134).
  164. ^ Polybius (203-120) attempts to give both sides, presenting the case against Rome, preceded and followed by rather weak arguments defending its actions. Polybius, The Histories Book XXXVI, 9, translated as The Rise of the Roman Empire (Penguin 1979) at 535-537.
  165. ^ Soren, Khader, Slim, Carthage (1990) at 170-171, 265-266. Following the Arab conquest in 705, "the ancient stone blocks, columns and pillars" of Carthage were used in the construction of the new city of Tunis nearby. Ibid. at 265.

Reference notes

In the aftermath, the region (much of modern Tunisia) was annexed by the Roman Republic as the new Province of Africa. The city of Carthage was eventually rebuilt by the Romans under Julius Caesar, beginning in 46 BCE. It later became capital of Africa Province and a leading city of the Empire. The entire province, Berber and Punic with a large Latin and multinational influx, then experienced a centuries-long renaissance. Long after the fall of Rome, the re-built city of Carthage would be again undone.[165]

  • The Third Punic War (149-146) began following armed conflict between Carthage and the Numidian king Masinissa (r.204-148), who for decades had been attacking and provoking the city. Carthage eventually responded, yet by prosecuting this defensive war the city had broken its treaty with Rome. Hence when challenged by Rome Carthage surrendered to Rome's superior strength. The war faction in control at Rome, however, was determined to undo Carthage; cleverly hiding its true aims while talks proceeded (wherein Carthage gave up significant military resources), Rome eventually presented Carthage with an ultimatum: either evacuate the city which would then be destroyed; or war. Roman armies landed in Africa and began to lay siege to the magnificent city of Carthage, which rejected further negotiations. The end came: Carthage was destroyed; its surviving citizens enslaved.[162][163][164]

There were likewise citizens of Carthage, who increasingly accepted the cultural influence of the Hellenic world. For example, Hasdrubal a son of Carthage (also known as Cleitomachus) became a student of Greek philosophy and traveled to join the Platonic Academy at Athens. Several decades later Hasdrubal himself became its leader, the scholarch (129-110).[160] Hasdrubal may be said to have followed in the footsteps of a Phoenician trader from Cyprus, Zeno of Citium (335-265), who earlier in Athens had founded another, the Stoic, school of philosophy.[161] Despite the above Roman peace faction and such multiple, cultural and artistic interactions between Rome and Carthage within the context of the Mediterranean world, again war came.

Yet the Roman military hero of the Second Punic War, Scipio Africanus (236-183, Consul 205, 194) favored a generous policy toward Hannibal. Later Scipio's son-in-law Scipio Nasica (183-132; Consul 162, 155) supported the cause of Carthage.[154] Indeed, the pro-Hellenic Scipio circle at Rome, which included Scipio Aemilianus (185-129) and Polybius (203-120) the Greek historian, welcomed and embraced the Berber Publius Terentius Afer (195-159). Terence was born in Carthage yet in Rome he had mastered the Latin language well and became a celebrated Roman playwright.[155][156][157] Also the Roman comedy entitled Poenulus ("The Carthaginian") of circa 190 by the popular dramatist Plautus (c.250-184) had featured an extended family from Carthage who in Greece triumphed over the nefarious schemes of a leno, a Roman slaver.[158][159]

Masinissa (240-148).

Yet Carthage soon revived under the reforms initiated by Hannibal and, free of defense burdens, prospered as never before. In 191 Carthage offered to pay off early the idemnity due Rome, causing alarm in the anti-Punic faction there. Then the corrupt and rigid oligarchy in Carthage joined with this Roman faction to terminate Hannibal's reforms; eventually Hannibal was forced to flee the city. Many Romans continued to nurse a hot, across-the-board opposition to Carthage.[151] The anti-Punic faction was led by the conservative, anti-Hellenic politician Cato (234-149, Consul 195, censor 184) who, before the last Punic war, at every occasion in the Senate at Rome had proclaimed, Delenda est Carthago! ["Carthage must be blotted out!"].[152][153]

In 204 Roman armies under Scipio landed at Utica near Carthage, which forced Hannibal's return to Africa. One Numidian king, Syphax, supported Carthage; however, Syphax met an early defeat. Rome found an old ally in another Berber king of Numidia, the scrambling Masinissa, who would soon grow in power and fame. Decisively, he chose to fight with Rome against Carthage. At the Battle of Zama in 202 the Roman general Scipio Africanus, with Masinissa commanding Numidian cavalry on his right wing, defeated Hannibal Barca, ending the long war.[144][145][146] Carthage lost all of its trading cities and silver mines in Hispania, and its other possessions in the western Mediterranean; also lost: Carthage's political influence over the Berber Kingdoms (Numidia and Mauretania), which became independent Roman allies. Masinissa, traditional king of the Numidian Massyli, was restored to an enlarged realm. Carthage, reduced to its immediate surroundings, its actions restricted by treaty, was required to pay a very large indemnity to Rome over fifty years.[147][148][149][150]

Meanwhile, Hispania remained throughout the year 211 the domain of armies under Hannibal's three brothers: Hasdrubal, Mago, and Hanno, and also the Punic leader Hasdrubal Gisco. Yet Roman forces soon began to contest Carthage for its control. In 207 an overland attempt by his brother Hasdrubal to reinforce Hannibal in Italy failed. Rome became encouraged. By 206, the fortunes of war in Hispania had turned against Carthage; the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio (later Africanus, 236-183) had decisively defeated Punic power in the peninsula.[143]

At first Hannibal ("grace of Baal") won great military victories against Rome on its own territory, at Trasimeno (217), and at Cannae (216), which came close to destroying Rome's ability to wage war. But the majority of Rome's Italian allies remained loyal; Rome drew on all her resources and managed to rebuild her military strength. For many years Hannibal enjoyed the support of those cities who defected from Rome, including Capua south of Rome and Tarentum in the far south; Hannibal remained on campaign there, maintaining his army and posing an existential threat to Rome and her remaining Italian allies. Yet the passage of years appeared to forestall Hannibal's chances, although for a while Rome's fate appeared to hang in the balance.[142]

  • As to the Second Punic War (218-201), the ancient Greek historian Polybius gives three causes: the anger of Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal) whose army in Sicily the Romans did not defeat in the first war; the Roman seizure of Sandinia during the Mercenary revolt; and, creation by the Barcid military family of a new Punic power base in Hispania.[136][137][138][139] Nonetheless, the immediate cause was a dispute concerning Saguntum (near modern Valencia) in Hispania. After prevailing there, Hannibal Barca set out northward, eventually leading his armies over the Alps into Italy.[140][141]

Following the defeat of Carthage, their mercenaries revolted against them, which threatened the survival of the Punic social order. Yet Carthage endured, under their opposing leaders Hanno II the Great, and Hamilcar Barca. During this crisis at Carthage, Rome refused to aid the rebels (underpaid mercenaries and dissident Berbers), but later occupied Sardinia.[134][135]

  • The First Punic War (264-241) started in a dispute over Messina, a city in eastern Sicily. "[P]robably both sides miscalculated the reaction of the other. The war... escalated beyond anyone's expectations... . [B]egun over one town in Sicily [it] became a struggle for the whole island."[131] The conflict developed into a naval war in which the Romans learned how to fight at sea and then decisively defeated the Punic fleet. Carthage lost Sicily (all of its former western portion) and paid a huge indemnity. Evidently Carthage had not then been ready to wage war against an equal power.[132][133]

The emergence of the Roman Republic led to sustained rivalry with the more anciently established Carthage for dominion of the western Mediterranean. As early as 509 BC. Carthage and Rome had entered into treaty status, chiefly regarding trading areas; later in 348, another similar treaty was made between Carthage, Tyre, Utica, and Rome; a third Romano-Punic treaty in 280 regarded wars against the Greek invader Pyrrhus.[128][129][130] Yet eventually their opposing interests led to disagreement, suspicion, and conflict.

Punic Wars with Rome

During these centuries Carthage enlarged its commercial sphere, augmenting its markets along the African coast, in southern Iberia, and among the islands of the western Mediterranean, venturing south to develop rudiments of the Saharan trade, and exploring commercial opportunities in the Atlantic. Carthage also established its authority directly among the Numidian Berber peoples in the lands immediately surrounding the city, which grew more prosperous.[125][126][127]

In 311 near Syracuse, Punic armies under another Hamilcar defeated the Greek leader Agathocles (r.317-289). Agathocles then attempted a bold strategic end-run by putting his forces aboard ships, leaving Sicily, and landing his Greek army at Cape Bon very near Carthage. The city became alarmed with palpable anxiety.[121] Yet Carthage again defeated Agathocles (310-307). Thereafter the Greek world, preoccupied with its conquest of the Persian Empire in the east, lost interest in expanding its colonies in Sicily. Greek influence in the western Mediterranean became supplanted by Rome, the new rival of Carthage.[122][123][124]

The Greeks were energetic traders by sea,[115][116][117] who had been establishing emporia throughout the Mediterranean region in furtherence of their commercial interests. These parallel activities both by the Greeks and by Carthage led to persistent disputes over influence and control of commercial spheres, particularly in Sicily. When combined with the permanent foreign conquest of Phoenicia in the Levant, these Greek commercial challenges had caused many Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean to choose the leadership of Carthage. In 480 BC (concurrent with Persia's invasion of Greece), Mago's grandson Hamilcar landed a large army in Sicily in order to confront Syracuse (a colony of Corinth) on the island's eastern coast; yet the Greeks decisivelly prevailed at the Battle of Himera. A long struggle ensued, with intermittent warfare between Syracuse and Carthage. In 367 Hanno I the Great won a major naval victory over the tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse (r.405-367), thereby blocking his attempt to take Punic Lilybaeum in western Sicily.[118][119][120]

Colonies, fourth century BC: Greek (red tags), and Phoenician (gold).

In the 530s there had been a three-sided naval struggle between the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Etrusco-Punic allies; the Greeks lost Corsica to the Etruscans and Sardinia to Carthage. Then the Etruscans attacked Greek colonies in the Campania south of Rome, but unsuccessfully. As an eventual result, Rome threw off their Etruscan kings of the Tarquin dynasty. Then the Roman Republic and Carthage in 509 entered into a treaty, which had the purpose of defining their respective commercial zones.[113][114]

Rivalry with the Greeks

Punic ships sailed into the Atlantic. A merchant sailor of Carthage, Himilco, explored in the Atlantic to the north of the straits, i.e., along the coast of the Lusitanians and perhaps as far north as Oestrymnis (modern Brittany), c. 500 BC. Carthage would soon supplant the Iberian city of Tartessus in carrying the tin trade from Oestrymnis southward into the Mediterranean. Another sailor, Hanno the Navigator, explored the Atlantic to the south, along the African coast well past the River Gambia. The traders of Carthage were known to be secretive about business and particularly about trade routes; it was their practice to keep the straits to the Atlantic closed to the Greeks.[111][112]

The commercial territories regularly visited by Punic traders encompassed all the western maritime region. Trading partnerships were established nearby, among the Numidian Berbers to the west along the African coast as well as to the east with Berbers in Libya. Carthage founded many trading stations in the western Mediterranean, which often developed into cities. Island posts included: Palermo in western Sicily, Nora in southern Sardinia, Ibiza in the Balearics. In the Iberian peninsula: Cartagena and other posts along its south and east coasts, including Gades north of the straits on the Atlantic side. South of the straits was Lixus in Mauretania. Further, Carthage enjoyed an alliance with the Etruscans, who had established a powerful state in northwest Italy. Among the clients of the Etruscans was the then infant city of Rome. A sixth-century Punic-Etruscan treaty reserved for Carthage a commercial monopoly in southern Iberia.[107][108][109][110]

Hasdrubal, younger brother of Hannibal Barca (247-c.182).

By the middle of the 6th century BC, Carthage had grown into a fully independent thalassocracy. Under Mago (r., c.550-530) and later his Magonid family, Carthage became preeminent among the Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean, which included nearby Utica. Mago, the 6th-century ruler of Carthage, initiated the practice of recruiting the army from subject peoples and mercenaries, because "the population of Carthage was too small to provide defense for so widely scattered an empire." Hence, Libyans, Iberians, Sardinians, and Corsicans were soon enlisted.[106]

Regional sovereignty

[105] The Punic relationship with the majority

Carthage was faulted by her ancient rivals for the "harsh treatment of her subjects" as well as for "greed and cruelty".[97][98] Her Libyan Berber sharecroppers, for example, were required to pay one-half of their crops as tribute to the city-state during the emergency of the [103] Again, the tribune demanded by Carthage was onerous.[104]

Yet in times of stress at Carthage, when a foreign force might be pushing against the city-state, some Berbers would see it as an opportunity to advance their interests, given their otherwise low status in Punic society. Thus, when the Greeks under Agathocles (361-289) of Sicily landed at Cape Bon and threatened Carthage (in 310), there were Berbers under Ailymas who went over to the invading Greeks.[95] Also, during the long Second Punic War (218-201) with Rome (see below), the Berber King Masinissa (c.240-148) joined with the invading Roman general Scipio, resulting to the war-ending defeat of Carthage at Zama, despite the presence of their renown general Hannibal; on the other hand, the Berber King Syphax (d.202) had supported Carthage. The Romans too read these cues, so that they cultivated their Berber alliances and, subsequently, favored the Berbers who advanced their interests following the Roman victory.[96]

Masinissa (c.240-148), King of Numidia, Berber & Roman script.

As the centuries passed there naturally grew a Punic society of Phoenician-descent but born in Africa, called Libyphoenicians. This term later came to be applied also to Berbers acculturated to urban Phoenician culture.[92] Yet the whole notion of a Berber apprenticeship to the Punic civilization has been called an exaggeration sustained by a point of view fundamentally foreign to the Berbers.[93] There evolved a population of mixed ancestry, Berber and Punic. There would develop recognized niches in which Berbers had proven their utility. For example, the Punic state began to field Berber Numidian cavalry under their commanders on a regular basis. The Berbers eventually were required to provide soldiers (at first "unlikely" paid "except in booty"), which by the fourth century BC became "the largest single element in the Carthaginian army".[94]

The Berbers had become involutary 'hosts' to the settlers from the east, and obliged to accept the Punic dominance of Carthage for many centuries. The Berbers belonged to the lower social class when in Punic society. Nonetheless, therein they persisted largely unassimilated, as a separate, submerged entity, as a culture of mostly passive urban and rural poor within the civil structures created by Punic rule.[89] In addition, and most importantly, the Berber peoples also formed quasi-independent satellite societies along the steppes of the frontier and beyond, where a minority continued as free 'tribal republics'. While benefitting from Punic material culture and political-military institutions, these peripheral Berbers (also called Libyans) maintained their own identity, culture and traditions, continued to develop their own agricultural and village skills, while living with the newcomers from the east in an asymmetric symbiosis.[90][91]

Lack of contemporary written records make the drawing of conclusions here uncertain, which can only be based on inference and reasonable conjecture about matters of social nuance. Yet it appears that the Phoenicians generally did not interact with the Berbers as economic equals, but employed their agricultural labor, and their household services, whether by hire or indenture; many became sharecroppers.[86] For a period the Berbers were in constant revolt. In 396 there was a great uprising. "Thousands of rebels streamed down from the mountains and invaded Punic territory, carrying the serfs of the countryside along with them. The Carthaginians were obliged to withdraw within their walls and were besieged." Yet the Berbers lacked cohesion, and although 200,000 strong at one point they succumbed to hunger; their leaders were offered bribes; "they gradually broke up and returned to their homes."[87] Thereafter, "a series of revolts took place among the Libyans [Berbers] from the fourth century onwards."[88]

"Because the Carthaginians imported their religion, their laws, and their governmental concepts from the more sophisticated lands of the Near East, they exposed the indigenous Berbers to a more complex and fully developed culture. This exposure set in motion the integration of the Berbers into a Mediterranean world in which they had previously functioned only on the fringes. The dichotomy between the lifestyle of the urban (and urbane) Carthaginians and that of the primitive, rural-dwelling Berbers was immediately apparent. Aside from commercial transactions, limited contact occurred between the two groups, and each retained a clear sense of identity."[85]

Eventually the Phoenician trading stations would evolve into permanent settlements, and later into small towns, which would presumably require a wide variety of goods as well as sources of food, which could be satisfied in trade with the Berbers. Yet here too, the Phoenicians probably would be drawn into organizing and directing such local trade, and also into managing agricultural production. In the 5th century Carthage expanded its territory, acquiring Cape Bon and the fertile Wadi Majardah,[83] later establishing its control over productive farm lands within several hundred kilometers.[84] Appropriation of such wealth in land by the Phoenicians would surely inspire some resistance by the Berbers, although in warfare, too, the technical training, social organization, and weaponry of the Phoenicians would seem to work against the tribal Berbers. This social-cultural interaction in early Carthage has been summarily described:

In fact for a time their numerical and military superiority (the best horse riders of that time) enabled some Berber kingdoms to impose a tribute payable by Carthage, a condition that continued into the 5th century.[79] Also, due to the Berbero-Libyan Meshwesh dynasty's rule of Egypt (945-715),[80] the Berbers near Carthage commanded significant respect (yet probably appearing more rustic than elegant Libyan pharaohs on the Nile). Correspondingly, in early Carthage careful attention was given to securing the most favorable treaties with the Berber chieftains, "which included intermarriage between them and the Punic aristocracy."[81] In this regard, perhaps the legend about Dido, the foundress of Carthage (see above), as related by Trogus is apposite. Her refusal to wed the Mauritani chieftain Hiarbus might be indicative of the complexity of the politics involved.[82]

Berber Kingdoms in Numidia, c. 220 BC.
Green: Masaesyli under Syphax;
Gold: Massyli under Gala, father of Masinissa.
Further East: city-state of Carthage.

[78] The earliest Phoenician landing stations located on the coasts were probably meant merely to resupply and service ships bound for the lucrative metals trade with the

The grand tribal identities of 'Berber antiquity' (then often known as Libyans)[71] were said to be three (roughly, from west to east): the Mauri, the Numidians by Carthage, and the Gaetulians. The Mauri inhabited the far west (ancient Mauritania, now Morocco and central Algeria). The Numidians were located in the regions between the Mauri and the city-state of Carthage. Both the Numidians and the Mauri had significant sedentary populations living in villages, and their peoples both tilled the land and tended herds. The Gaetulians were less settled, with predominantly pastoral elements, and lived in the near south on the margins of the Sahara.[72][73][74] For their part, the Phoenicians came from the perhaps most advanced multicultural sphere then existing, the Fertile Crescent. Accordingly, the material culture of Phoenicia was likely more functional and efficient, and their knowledge more explanatory, than that of the early Berbers. Hence, the interactions between Berber and Phoenician were often asymmetrical. The Phoenicians worked to keep their cultural cohesion and ethnic solidarity, and continuously refreshed their close connection with Tyre, the mother city.[75]

Berber relations

Modern consensus locates this ancient, mineral-rich region (called Tarshish [TRSYS] by Ezekiel) in the south of Hispania,[63][64] possibly linked to Tartessos, a native city of the Iberians.[65] Here mining was already underway, and early on the Phoenicians founded the city of Gadir [GDR "strong wall"] (Latin Gades) (currently Cádiz).[66][67] Bronze then was a highly useful and popular material, made from copper and tin. Tin being scarce though in high demand, its supply became very profitable.[68] Yet Hispania was even more rich in silver. Originally Carthage was probably a stop on the way between Tyre and the region of Gadir, a stop where sailors might beach their boats and resupply with food and water.[69] Eventually, local trade would begin, and huts built; later more permanent homes and warehouses constructed, then fortified, perhaps also a shrine. All would change and transform on the day when a Queen of Tyre arrived with a fleet of ships, carrying nobility and well-connected merchants, and royal treasure.[70]

The 6th century Hebrew prophet Ezekiel in a lamentation nonetheless sings the praises of the Phoenicians, specifically of the cities of Tyre and Sidon.[57][58] "Tyre, who dwells at the entrance to the sea, merchant of many peoples on many coastlands... . ... Tarshish traficked with you because of your great wealth of every kind; silver, iron, tin, and lead they exchanged for your wares."[59][60] Homer describes such a Phoenician ship in the Odyssey.[61][62]

"Nothing of historical value can be derived from the foundation legends transmitted to us in various versions by Greek and Roman authors", comments professor Warmington.[54][55] Yet from such legends the modern reader may form some understanding of how the ancient people of Carthage spoke to each other about their city's beginnings, i.e., an aspect of their collective self-image, or perhaps even infer some of the subtlety in the cultural context of the accepted tradition, if not the personality of the characters nor the gist of the events themselves.[56]

The Roman poet Virgil (70–19 BC) presents Dido as a tragic heroine in his epic poem the Aeneid, whose hero Aeneas travels from Troy, to Carthage, to Rome.[47] The work contains inventive scenes, loosely based on the legendary history of Carthage, e.g., referring to the then well-known story how the Phoenician Queen cunningly acquired the citadel of the Byrsa.[48][49][50] In Virgil's epic, the god Jupiter requires the hero Aeneas to leave his beloved Dido, who then commits suicide and burns in a funeral pyre.[51] This episode employs not only the history or legends narrated by Trogus (mentioned above), but perhaps also subsequent mythic and cultic elements, as Dido would become assimilated to the Punic or Berber goddess Tanit. Each autumn a pyre was built outside the old city of Carthage; into it the goddess was thought to throw herself in self-immolation for the sake of the dead vegetation god Adonis-Eshmun.[52][53]

Aeneas tells Dido of the fall of Troy.
(Guérin 1815)

Dido's story is told by the Roman historian Pompeius Trogus (1st century BC), a near contemporary of Virgil. Trogus describes a sinister web of court intrigue in which the new king Pygmalion[38] (brother of Dido) slays the chief priest Acharbas (husband of Dido), which causes the Queen Elissa (Dido) along with some nobles to flee the city of Tyre westward in a fleet of ships carrying royal gold.[39][40] At Cyprus, four score temple maidens were taken aboard the ships.[41][42] Then her fleet continues on, landing in North Africa to found Carthage. Shortly after becoming established, according to Trogus, it is said that Hiarbus, a local Mauritani tribal chief, sought to marry the newly arrived queen.[43] Instead, in order to honor her murdered husband the priest, Dido took her own life by the sword, publicly casting herself into a ceremonial fire. Thereafter she was celebrated as a goddess at Carthage.[44][45][46]

Legends alive in the city for centuries assigned its foundation in 814 BC to a queen of Tyre, Elissa, also called Dido ("beloved").[30][31][32] Dido's great aunt must have been Jezebel, who was also the daughter of a King of Tyre, in this case Ithobaal [the biblical Ethbaal] (r. 891-859); Jezebel became wife to King Ahab of Israel (r. 875-853), according to the Hebrew Books of Kings.[33][34][35][36][37]

Tyre, the major maritime city-state of Phoenicia and prime mover in the Phoenician mercantile expansion into the western Mediterranean, first settled Carthage. Probably Carthage started as one of Tyre's permanent stations en route to its very profitable, ongoing trade in metals with southern Hispania.[28] Such stations were often established by Tyre at intervals of about 30 to 50 kilometers along the African coast.[29] Carthage would grow to out-rival all other Phoenician settlements.

If so, Utica would long predate Carthage. As the first Punic trading center in the region, Utica would have been for centuries the leading Punic presence among the native Berbers. The name Utica is derived from a Punic stem 'dtāq, meaning "to be old",[20] which lends some support to this chronology, for Carthage signifies "new city" (as stated above). The fleets of the King Hiram of Tyre, as recounted in the Bible, perhaps joined at times by ships assigned to Solomon, would date to the 10th century. "For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram."[21][22][23][24] The Punic port city of Utica was originally situated at the mouth of the fertile Wadi Majardah (Medjerda River),[25] at a point along the coast about 30 kilometers north of Carthage.[26] "Utica is named besides Carthage in the second treaty with Rome (348), and... appears again as nominally equal with Carthage in the treaty between Hannibal and Philip of Macedon (215). She does not appear in the first treaty with Rome (508), which perhaps means she was fully independent and not even bound in the [Carthage-Rome] alliance."[27] Of course, eventually Utica was surpassed by Carthage.

Founding dates several hundred years earlier are given by ancient authors (such as the aforementioned Timaeus, Pliny the Elder, and Strabo), for other Phoenician cities in the western Mediterranean. These include Gades (1110 BCE) in Hispania, and Utica (said by Pliny to be founded in 1101 BCE) near Carthage. Recent archeology has been unable to verify these earlier dates, yet objects made in Syria dating to the second millennium have been unearthed at and near Gades.[17][18][19]

Timaeus of Taormina, a Greek historian from Sicily c. 300 BC, gives the foundation date of Carthage as thirty-eight years before the first Olympiad (in 776), which accordingly would be the year 814 BC. Living in Sicily, Timaeus was close to Carthaginians and likely to hear their versions of the city's foundation; his date is generally accepted as approximate.[12][13][14] Accord is found in lost Phoenician records, cited second-hand by the Jewish historian Josephus (37-100).[15][16]

The city-state of Carthage and territories under its political control or commercial influence, circa 264 BC (before the First Punic War).

The city-state of Carthage (its ruins near present-day Tunis) was founded by Phoenicians coming from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. The city's name, written KRT HDST in their Punic language (using the consonant-only letters of their alphabet) and pronounced Kart Hudesht, meant literally "city new".[8][9] The Punic that was spoken in ancient North Africa developed there from its parent Phoenician, which is a Canaanite language, in the group of Northwest Semitic languages. Thus Punic was a "leaf" on the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic "tree"; native Berber languages form another Berber branch of the Afroasiatic language family.[10][11]

Founding of Carthage

To these migrants, lands in the western Mediterranean presented an opportunity and could be reached relatively easily by ship, without marching through foreign territory. Colonists sailed westward following in the wake of their commercial traders. The Greeks arrived later, coming to (what is now) southern France, southern Italy including Sicily, and eastern Libya. Earlier the Phoenicians had settled in (what is now) Sardinia, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Sicily, and Tunisia. At Tunisia the city of Carthage was founded, which would come to rule all the other Phoenician settlements.[7]


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