The ancient city of Carthage, pronounced; Kart-hadasht in Phoenician, while Carthago in Latin, is a Phoenician city on the North-western coast of Africa, which is now a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia.
Carthage was archeologically dated back in 9th-8th century BC, a record that disputes what the Carthaginians claimed of the city being created in 814 BC by princess Dido who ran away from her ruthless brother, Pygmalion. However, archeologists stated that the traders founded the city of Carthage from Phoenicia, who named it Kart-hadasht, which means, ‘New City.’
It was founded by the Phoenicians in the Western Mediterranean to dominate the business in the city of Tyre which involves, tin, gold, silver, and copper.
After Alexander the Great invaded Tyre in 332 BC, Carthage grew in population with the number of refugees arriving from Tyre.
Carthage, who still saw Tyre as its birthplace and worshipped the Tyre’s deity, Melquart till the 6th century BC, Tyre was ruined by the Babylonians. Other Phoenician colonies like Utica and Gades in Hispania signed a treaty with Carthage for protection and support while paying taxes to them who use it to fund their military strength and settle their mercenary soldiers.
Carthage went from being a colony to becoming an empire. It became prosperous by the end of the 7th century BC. It became one of the leading commercial hubs around the West Mediterranean controlling Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, North Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica till the Roman conquest in 264 – 146 BC known as the Punic Wars. After Carthage was destroyed, the Roman Republic established a Roman Carthage.
However, the empire and Rome signed friendly treaties and have fought side by side against the Greeks. Still, Rome was traditionally afraid of powerful kingdoms, which brought about the conflict of the Punic Wars, which was fought on three occasions to dis-possess the Carthaginians of the West Mediterranean.
Punic is the language spoken in Carthage. The Phoenicians speak a Semitic language. Kart-hadasht went into alliance with the Etruscans that controlled Rome till the end of the 6th century BC. They supported the Persian king Xerxes in 480 BC when he went to war with the Greeks at the east of the Mediterranean although they lost the battle, the Carthaginians never went to fight directly against the Greeks. Instead, they were focused on expanding their territory.
After becoming an empire, Carthage went from a monarchial ruling system to operating a meritocracy system of government where power was vested annually on two bodies as the suffetes (kings) and a council of elders called the Adirim (mighty ones). Under their military sector, an office of a general was created for a particular mission until its completion.
A council of 104 judges checkmated the generals.
IN THE HISTORY OF CARTHAGE, THE CITY WAS DIVIDED INTO FIVE ERAS:
- Ancient Carthage (814 -146 BC) – This era was brought to an end by the Roman Republic.
- Roman Carthage (146 – 439 CE) – Ruled by the Romans till Gaiseric, who was the Vandal ruler, attacked and plundered the city riches.
- Vandal Carthage (439 – 534 CE) – Gelimer, who was the king of Vandal, was attacked and defeated by a Byzantine army under Belisarius.
- Arab Carthage (698 – 1270 CE) – The Arabs invaded Vandal Carthage, and that was the birth of Tunis.