Carthage & Hannibal

Barca, Colonies, Punic Wars









Ancient Carthage

 The  metropolis of Carthage was not the Phoenicians' first colony, but it grew to be the largest and most famous. Created in 814 BC, it was called Kart-hadasht which meant "new city", to distinguish it from the older Phoenician outpost of Utica which was nearby on the coast of North Africa. The arrival of Carthage ushered in a new era of growth among the Phoenician colonies.

See Elissa for the story of how this great city was started by a large fleet from Tyre in Lebanon.

Elissa, the legendary

founder of Carthage

In its early days, Carthage grew quickly and peacefully. While many people assume democracy was created by the Greeks and Romans, that is not entirely the case. Even Aristotle commented favorably on the constitutional government of Carthage, which answered directly to its people.

Just before 550 BC, General Mago formed the first army known to exist among the Phoenician people. This was caused by events on nearby Sicily, where Phoenicians had once lived and traded all across the island. Over the years, Greeks had arrived and pushed the Phoenicians into the western part of the island. Now Mago pushed back. Seventy years of fruitless battles followed, after which Carthage's military leaders fell out of favor. The city returned once more to peaceful cultivation of its colonies and sea trade. Details of Carthage's many experiences are told in Chapters 17 to 22 of Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean.

Excerpt on Carthage and

colonies from the book

o   How Carthage differed from the other colonies

o   Democracy in early Carthage

Hannibal Barca

When Alexander the Great captured the east coast of the Mediterranean -- including all the original Phoenician cities -- Carthage and its colonies were left on their own. This happened in 332 BC. A hundred years later a great leader named Hannibal Barca arose to lead Carthage against the young but ambitious city of Rome. These series of battles came to be known as the Punic Wars, because "Poeni" was the Roman word for Phoenicians, and they recognized Carthage as a Phoenician city.  The first Punic War (264 - 241 BC) was a complete disaster for Carthage, causing it to lose the island of Sicily.

Carthaginian elephants charge the Roman legions

In the second Punic War (218 - 202 BC) Hannibal famously led his army and elephants over the Alps to attack the Romans on their own soil. For many years, he led his victorious army up and down what is known today as Italy. On every battlefield he defeated the Roman legions. Unable to stop Hannibal in Italy, the Romans took the fight to the Phoenician colonies in Spain, and captured all those cities. Eventually, Hannibal was lured to North Africa -- supposedly for peace negotiations -- where Roman troops were finally able to defeat him.

The third and final Punic War (149 - 146 BC) led to Rome's complete destruction of Carthage. That devastating defeat ended Carthage's brilliant time of glory. A unique look at this great city's descent from peacefulness to warfare is shown in Punic Wars.

Carthage and its lands covered much of present-day Tunisia. See an update on the revolution in Tunisia here:

Revolution in Tunisia

Contents of This Site

Phoenicians Home Page


Phoenicians Origin


Ancient Ships and Sea Trade

Punic Wars, Peace

Ancient Mediterranean

Egypt, Pyramids & Cedar

Sea Peoples

The Minoans

Solomon's Temple

Templars in Lebanon



Phoenicians Images

Cedars of Lebanon

Byblos, Sidon and Tyre




Adonis Legend

Aphrodite Legend

Isis and Osiris Legend

Europa Legend

Elissa Legend


Cathago delenda est

2004-2020 Santorini