Ancient Cities: The History of Carthage
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With trading as one of the major economy, the population of the Carthaginian Empire consisted of temporary visitors in most times consisting of traders, merchants, sailors etc. Growing urban population called for a change and upgradation of the existing urban fabric.
Along with the fortification and building of a massive new gate, an important feature of the urban expansion was the development of garden suburb Megara. Megara were large districts located next to the city wall, planted with gardens and large fruit bearing trees. Megara were not really a planned settlement but more like an urban sprawl which continue to grow like a semi-rural district. The old city on the other hand was fortified with the presence of city square similar to an Agora. The Megara or the new city was also believed to have been built as a measure to accommodate the huge number of armies.
The cityscape was dotted with numerous temples dedicated to its many Gods and Goddesses. Temples were usually flat roof like the temples of Phoenicians and Egyptian traditions. The entablatures of these temple roofs were intricately carved with geometric patterns and motifs influenced from Egyptian culture.
There are also existences of the architecture dedicated to the death mostly in the form of towers with either two or three tiers usually with a rectangular plan. Another important element in the scared architecture was the Tophet where cremated remains of the children were deposited. Houses in the ancient city of Carthage were mostly large dwellings with flat roofs. There was no standardized floor plan but large houses usually had an interior courtyard. Similar to Romans , there were apartment like buildings too with residences on upper floor and shops on the ground floor plan.
There have been instances of urban improvement projects. Workshops were replaced with structures laid out along the streets in a grid plan. There was a well-planned drainage system too. Much of the city was laid out for a pedestrian system. Not much has been found about the existence of public buildings other than temples.
Archaeological Site of Carthage
Ancient Carthage adopted many traditions from Phoenicians along with their policies. It also adopted the legacy of colonizing states. These colonies developed their own characteristics to suit the needs of the ever expanding empire. However, there was no clear distinction between Carthaginian and original Phoenician colonies making it difficult to attest the size and scale of the colonies. Presence of a good harbor among other things was a major deciding factor in establishing a colony for the Carthaginians.
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Apart from trading, presence of commodity like pine wood, wool, olive etc. The presence of resources like silver and lead made Ibiza and Mallorca colonies. In later phases, apart from presence of resources, strategic location became an important factor for establishing colonies so as to dominate more geography. The Punic wars were raged between Rome and Carthage for over a century. There were three Punic wars in which the First Punic War went on for over 20 years; however Rome could gain only a small territory of Carthage.
The First Punic war which was mostly land based helped Rome established as a naval power which was non-existent for a long time. The war ended with the yielding of Sicily to Rome. Carthage struggled to recover the huge cost of the war. In a few years, Rome seized two more colonies by breaking the peace treaty. The Second Punic War started about 20 years later with the young Hannibal Barca as the new general setting the stage to avenge the loss. Hannibal Commander was that charismatic leader which was elected by the citizen troop and the army which a rarity in those times.
Awed by his chivalry and defeating the Spanish Army, many communities sent their offers for submission. In just about a year time, he added as much territory to the Empire as his predecessors did in more than 16 odd years. The powerful Hannibal of Carthage defeated Roman legions in every encounter however he never captured the city of Rome. Had the Hannibal the commander marched directly to Rome, Carthage would have had an upper hand in the Second Punic War. The government of Carthage slowly started divulging its support owing to the rising cost of the never ending war.
The Second War proved a major setback for Carthage losing almost all its colonies except for immediate cities surrounding it. Even Hannibal the Conqueror could not save the Carthaginian Empire from its ill fate. Rome still felt the need to destroy Carthage completely as it was still envious of the continuing commercial success. The Final Punic War was fought without much provocation from Carthage and simply with the reason of destroying it altogether.
The Battle of Carthage lasted for only about three years and ended with the complete destruction of Carthage with the slaughter or slavery of about half its million population. Carthage had a choice of continuing the peace tradition of Phoenicians however the greed for more land and power led to its complete destruction. The success in the war with the Greeks made it believed it was invincible.
However, Carthaginian Empire made a lasting impact on the Mediterranean culture, political and practical life. Carthage was a cultural hub which adopted and adapted various other cultures such as the Libyan and its neighbors making it into a lively civilization. The third and final war that occurred in BCE sealed their disastrous fate.
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After that war, the Carthaginian Empire capitulated to the […]. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign up to our newsletter. Ancient Civilizations History Simplified. Nazca Civilization. Zapotec Civilization. Toltec Civilization. Olmec Civilization.
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The inevitable conflict between Greece and Carthage broke out about In they defeated the Phocaeans and the Massaliotes before Alalia on the Corsican coast. But Malchus, having failed in Sardinia, was banished by the stern Carthaginian senate and swore to avenge himself. He laid siege to Carthage itself, and, after having sacrificed his son Carthalo to his lust for vengeance, entered the city as a victor. He ruled until he was put to death by the party which had supported him.
History and civilization of ancient Carthage, the great North African Phoenician trading city
Mago, son of Hanno, succeeded Malchus, as suffetes and general-in-chief. He was the true founder of the Carthaginian military power. He conquered Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, where he founded Port Mahon Portus Magonis , and so increased the power of Carthage that he was able to force commercial treaties upon the Etruscans, and the Greeks of both Sicily and Italy.
The first agreement between Carthage and Rome was made in , one year after the expulsion of the Tarquins, in the consulship of Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius. The text is preserved by Polybius Hist. It assigned Italy to the Romans and the African waters to Carthage, but left Sicily as a dangerous neutral zone.
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Mago was succeeded as commander-in-chief by his elder son Hasdrubal c. His brother Hamilcar, having collected a fleet of galleys for the conquest of Sicily, was defeated by the combined forces of Gelo of Syracuse and Theron of Agrigentum under the walls of Himera in , the year in which the Persian fleet was defeated at Salamis some say the two battles were simultaneous ; it is said that , Carthaginians were taken prisoners. The victory is celebrated by Pindar Pyth. These two leaders of the powerful house of the Barcidae each left three sons.
All, under various titles, succeeded to the authority which it had already enjoyed. In Sicily the war lasted for a century with varying success. In Hannibal and Himilco destroyed Agrigentum and threatened Gela, but the Carthaginians were forced back on their strongholds in the south-west by Dionysius the Elder, Dionysius the Younger, Timoleon and Agathocles successively, whose cause was aided by a terrible plague and civil troubles in Carthage itself, A certain Hanno, unquestionably of the Barcide house, attempted to seize the supreme power, but his partisans were overwhelmed and he himself suffered the most cruel punishment.
Profiting by these troubles, Timoleon defeated the Carthaginians at Crimissus in , and compelled them to sue for peace. This peace was not of long duration; Agathocles crossed to Africa and besieged Carthage, which was then handicapped by the conspiracy of Bomilcar. Bomilcar was crucified, and Agathocles having been obliged to return to Sicily, his general Eumarcus was compelled to carry his army out of Africa, where it had maintained itself for three years August to October After the death of Agathocles, the Carthaginians re-established their supremacy in Sicily, and Mago even offered assistance to Rome against the invasion of Pyrrhus Pyrrhus crossed to Sicily in , and was preparing to emulate Agathocles by sailing to Africa when he was compelled to return to Italy see Sicily : History.