Carthage (called by the Carthaginians Karth-ftadtha, the new city; the Carthago of the Romans, Kapxnowv of the Greeks), an ancient city and state in the north of Africa. The city, near the site of modern Tunis, on a peninsula which extends into a small bay of the Mediterranean, was founded, according to the legend, by Dido, a Phoenician princess, about 880 B. C. Of the early history, first settlement, and chronology of Carthage, beyond the fact that the original colonists were Phoenicians from Tyre, nothing definite is known; and ancient writers materially differ as to the date of the foundation of the city. Probably it was older, as at one period it was more important, than its rival Rome, and soon after its settlement it became very populous by the influx of Africans who came thither for traffic. How long Carthage remained under a monarchv, or what events occurred in its early history, is unknown, at least for a period of 300 years; but from the beginning it was an important maritime and commercial city, with a trade extending to all the ports in the Mediterranean, and inland to the Nile and to the Niger. Beyond the straits of Hercules the commerce of Carthage reached to the W. coast of Africa, to northern Europe, and even, it is supposed, to the Azores. About 508 B. C. the Carthaginians made a treaty with the Romans, relating mainly to commerce; and by this treaty (whose genuineness is contested by modern scholars), which Polybius (iii. 22, 20) translated from the original brazen tablets in the capitol, it appears that Sardinia and a part of Sicily were then subject to Carthage. It gradually extended its supremacy over all the islands in the western half of the Mediterranean. Its foreign trade was mainly a monopoly, which the treaty with Rome shows it meant to maintain.
Beyond her commercial importance, and later in history something of her successes and reverses in war, less is known of Carthage than of any other nation of antiquity. She has left no literature, no monuments, no traces of her people or her language, with the exception of a few inscriptions on coins, and a few verses in one of the comedies of Plautus. Even among the writers of nations with whom she carried on commercial business and waged wars, the notices of her polity, population, religion, manners, and language are few and far between; and the Romans are charged with destroying the Punic archives for three centuries. Although the waters of every sea were white with her sails, and the shores of every land, hospitable or inhospitable, civilized or savage, were planted with her colonies or frequented by her mariners, no relic of her laws, language, or blood remains. Were it not for the wars which terminated her existence as a nation and a people, we should scarcely be aware of the existence of a city the inhabitants of which had visited the Western isles, the Canaries, and the Cape Verds; had braved, if they had not actually crossed, the waters of the Atlantic; and had excavated the tin mines of Cornwall. Even of the Carthaginians in their wars we knowr little, and this is by the names and the deeds of her generals, several of whom were among the greatest of antiquity, not by the constitution, composition, or character of her armies.
Through Aristotle and Polybius we have learned something of her political system and her government, and a little of her religion. Of her civic customs, social habits, domestic institutions, amusements, and industry, with the exception of some few hints in relation to her navigation, commerce, and agriculture, we are ignorant. No writer has so concisely and ably brought together what is known of the great commercial republic of antiquity as Dr. Thomas Arnold, in his "History of Rome," from which a portion of the following is condensed. In the middle of the 4th century B. C. the Carthaginians possessed the northern coast of Africa, from the middle of the Greater Syrtis to the pillars of Hercules, a country reaching from lon. 19° E. to 6° W., and a length of coast which Polybius reckoned at above 16,000 stadia. In that part where the coast runs nearly N. and S. from the Her-maean headland or Cape Bon to the Lesser Syrtis was one of the richest tracts to be found; and here the Carthaginians had planted their towns thickly, and had covered the open country with their farms and villas.
This was their περιoιkίς the immediate domain of Carthage, where fresh settlements were continually made as a provision for the poorer citizens; settlements prosperous, indeed, and wealthy, but politically dependent. Distinct from these settlements of the Carthaginians were the sister cities of Carthage, founded by the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon. Among these colonies were Utica, Hadrumetum, the two cities known by the name of Leptis (situated the one near the western extremity of the Greater Syrtis, and the other on the coast, between the Lesser Syrtis and the Hernaean headland) and Hippo. These were the allies of Carthage, and some of them were at the head of small confederacies of states. In the beginning the Phoenicians in Africa occupied their forts and domains by sufferance, and paid tribute to the natives, as an admission that they did not own the soil. Subsequently the settlers became sovereigns. The natives were driven back from the coasts and confined to the interior, where they became mere tillers of the soil, and were subject to despotic rule, to severe taxation, and to conscription for service in the Carthaginian armies.
Intermarriage of the settlers with the native women resulted in a race of half-castes, known as Liby-Phoenieians, or Afro-Phoenicians; and colonies of them were sent to the Atlantic coast of Africa, and probably of Spain also, beyond the pillars of Hercules. It is traditional that one voyage from Carthage was undertaken mainly to settle 30,000 Afro-Phce-nicians on the African coast S. of the straits of Gibraltar. So early as the 7th century B. C. the trade of Carthage began with the Spanish seaports, especially with Tartessus or Tarshish. At the beginning of the 4th century B. C. the whole coast of Spain, both Atlantic and Mediterranean, was full of Carthaginian trading posts and settlements, mostly of small size and of little if any political importance. Sardinia and Corsica were both subject to Carthage, while on the shores of Sicily she had also strong fortresses, trading posts, seaports, and dockyards. From the natives of all these countries, as well as mercenaries from Gaul, Liguria, and the coasts of the Adriatic, were recruited the large and effective armies by which the Carthaginians maintained the quiet of their provinces, and pushed their foreign conquests. - The political constitution of Carthage is said to have resembled that of Sparta, in that it combined the elements of monarchy, of aristocracy, and of democracy.
But it is difficult to ascertain exactly how they were combined, or which predominated, during the greater period of her existence. During her struggle with Rome the aristocratic element prevailed, and appears to have been an aristocracy mainly of commercial wealth, not of birth; although there was to a certain extent a hereditary nobility which furnished the two chief magistrates, variously called kings and sufietes, who formed originally the supreme and nearly despotical executive, as well as being leaders in war, but were reduced by successive usurpations of the nobility to functions and powers not differing essentially from those of the doges of Venice. Then there was a senate of 104 members, and also a council of 100 members. There seems to have been besides a pentarchy, who formed the highest magistracy. Davis conjectures that the senate had periodically five outgoing and five incoming members, and that those whose term expired served for a period as a pentarchy, and could summon in times of perplexity 100 men for a select council.
The multiplication of offices was a part of the system at Carthage, and the sutfetes - a term identical with the Hebrew word which is rendered "judges" in the Scriptures - as well as the other principal magistrates, bought their dignities, so that high office was inaccessible except to the rich. The power of the commons was exceedingly small; they had neither originating powers nor judicial functions; yet, as ample provision was made for the poorer classes, and as the surplus population was always disposed of, profitably and advantageously to themselves, by a system of colonization at the government expense, the lower orders remained for many centuries contented with the constitution of their country. Poly-bius says that during her wars with Rome the constitution of the city became more and more democratic. - "The language of Phoenicia," says Dr. Arnold, "was a cognate tongue with the Hebrew, if it were not, as is held by Gesenius and others of the best authorities, identical with the earliest Hebrew of the Old Testament, and varying from it no more than does the dialect of the later Hebrew writers.
It is evident, however, from the fact that the Carthaginian tongue seems to have been nowhere studied by the inhabitants of the nations with whom they had treaties and constant commercial intercourse, even among the most learned men and the most distinguished scholars, that it could have contained little or nothing worthy of preservation." Of their architecture and their arts we have as yet few relics and records. The houses of Carthage are believed to have been several stories high, of which the lower story alone was built of massive material, and the others were moulded, as Pliny says, of earth. When such buildings are pulled down, or decay, they are nothing but a heap of rubbish. The Romans rebuilt the city on top of this, and in digging their foundations they often cut through rich mosaic pavements and other ornaments of the lower stories of the original town. The mosaics recently excavated and considered relics of Punic Carthage are of exquisite workmanship. The city grew to bo 23 m. in circuit, and had two harbors, an outer and an inner, the latter being surrounded by a lofty wall. Across the peninsula was a triple wall 3 m. long, and between the walls were stables for 300 elephants and 4,000 horses, and barracks for 2,000 infantry, with magazines and stores.
Cothon, an island in the centre of the inner harbor, was lined with quays and docks for 220 ships. Above the city, on the western heights, was Byrsa, the citadel, as its Phoenician name signified, which, however, the Greeks identified with their βυρσa, hide, and thus formed their legend of the purchase of the spot on which the original town stood. (See Dido.) When it surrendered to the Romans 50,000 people marched out of it. On its summit was the famous temple of AEscu-lapius. At the N. W. angle of the city were 20 immense reservoirs, each 400 ft. by 28, filled with water brought by an aqueduct from a distance of 52 m. The suburb Me-gara, beyond the city walls, but within those that defended the peninsula, was the site of magnificent gardens and villas, which were adorned with every kind of Grecian art; for the Carthaginians were rich before the Romans had even conquered Latium. The navy was the largest in the world, and in the sea tight with Regulus there were 350 ships, carrying 150,000 men. Modern excavations have led to the discovery of the groundwork of a temple, probably that of Cronos, or Baal Ham-man, and the quantities of fragments of precious marbles found about it indicate that it must have been gorgeously decorated.
Some of the Punic inscriptions that have come to light are wonderful for the proportion and exquisiteness of the characters. Of their religion we know from Scripture and from more recent history that it was a cruel and bloody superstition. They worshipped on high places, and they had sacred groves, as well as idols. Their principal god was Baal, Belsamen, or the bright one, considered by the Greeks as identical with Cronos or Saturn, and who in process of time became in some features assimilated to Apollo. He was evidently the tire god or sun god, and to him were ottered the human sacrifices, of children more especially, who were placed on the extended palms of the metallic statue, whence they rolled into a fiery furnace. With the sun god was associated a female deity, Ashtoreth or Astarte, expressive probably of the productive power of nature under the generative power of the sun, and worshipped as the queen of heaven. The worship of Amnion was associated with that of Baal and of the sacred elephant; while that of Melkarth (Melh-karth, king of the city), the Phoenician Hercules, was celebrated by the lighting of yearly funeral pyres, and the release of an eagle, typical of the sun and of the legendary phoenix.
The offering of human sacrifices extended as far westward as to Cadiz, where there existed a temple and statue of Baal-Saturn. - The first period of the history of Carthage extends to the beginning of the war with Syracuse, from the commence-ment of the city, whenever that occurred, nominally about 880 to 480 B. C.; during which time she had conquered her African empire, Sardinia, and the adjacent isles; waged wars with Massilia and the Etrurians, on commercial grounds; prosecuted her voyages of discovery, traffic, and colonization along the coasts of Spain and far out into the Atlantic; established trading intercourse with the Scilly isles and parts of the British coast; and, as some believe, pushed her adventures so far as to the inhospitable shores of the Baltic, where she is reported to have collected amber. About 480 begins the second period of Carthaginian history. It opens with their efforts to conquer and attach to their empire the great, rich, and fertile island of Sicilv, and closes in 264 with the outbreaking of the first Punic war. The Syracusan war was waged long and with various success.
In the simultaneous attempt of the Persians on the Hellenic, and the Carthaginians on the Sicilian Greeks, the Carthaginians under Hamilcar were defeated at Hi-mera, by Gelon, tyrant of Syracuse, and The-ron of Agrigentum, with nearly as much loss as was their ally, Xerxes, at Salamis. Tradition says that of 300,000 Carthaginians, 150,-000 were killed in battle or flight, and the rest were taken prisoners; while of 2,000 ships of war and 3,000 transports, 8 only escaped, and these were cast away, only a few men saving themselves in a small boat and carrying to Carthage the news of the total loss of the fleet and army. As a condition of peace the Carthaginians were compelled to pay 2,000 talents in silver, build two temples, and renounce human sacrifices in their Sicilian trading posts and settlements. In the war with Hiero, Ge-lon's successor, about 410, Hannibal, son of Gisco, conquered and held in occupation the cities of Himera, Selinus, and Agrigentum. With Dionysius they were for a short time at peace, and then employed themselves in consolidating their former conquests on the island, which were now' very rich and strong, consisting of well fortified seaports, fortresses, dockyards, naval stations, and garrisons, backed by considerable territorial domains of great productiveness and wealth.
After the reestab-lishment of republicanism in the Greek cities by Timoleon, the Carthaginians were almost invariably unfortunate. Agathocles, however, on attempting, after the policy of Dionysius, to drive them out of the island, was defeated and besieged in his capital of Syracuse; but he broke out of the beleaguered city with a portion of his army, and carried the war into Africa. There he overran the open country, took 200 towns, and, although he was twice personally called back to Sicily to quell mutinies and restore order in his home dominions, actually maintained himself four entire years on African soil, at the gates of Carthage. At length his fortune turned, his armies in Africa were obliged to surrender, and in the year 306 he concluded a peace which restored order to Sicily, and established both parties in possession of the territories each held before the breaking out of the war. After his death the Carthaginians increased their possessions and power in Sicily, and established themselves as actual masters and sovereigns of the Balearic isles, Corsica, Sardinia, and the Lipari islands, thus girding the whole Roman seaboard with a belt of insular fortresses. Thus far, however, all was peace and amity between the two great western republics of antiquity.
Ten years after the retreat of Pyrrhus, the Romans were undisputed masters of Italy. Carthage had become yet more influential in Sicily, and was bent on converting influence and ascendancy into empire and possession. The little strait of Messina alone divided the possessions and separated the armed forces of the two powerful, ambitious, encroaching, and jealous states, and a contest between them was inevitable. It arose with the invocation of Roman aid by the Mamertines, belonging to an Italian city of Sicily, against the Carthaginians; this being gladly rendered, as by a people seeking pretext of war, gave birth to the first Punic war, which broke out in 2G4, and may be regarded as the commencement of the third period of Carthaginian history. This war lasted 23 years. It was waged (with the exception of the invasion, defeat, and capture of Marcus Regulus on Carthaginian territory) either on the island of Sicily or on the waters of the Mediterranean. On the latter, at first, the Romans suffered bloody defeats and maritime disasters.
Still they persevered, and although when the war broke out they had not a ship of war, a mariner, or an officer who had seen sea service, in the end obtained the mastery of the Mediterranean, crushed the last fleet of the Carthaginians in a terrible conflict off the island of Favignana, at the W. angle of Sicily, and granted the peace which their enemy sued for, on condition that the Carthaginians should evacuate Sicily and all the isles thence to the Italian coast, release all Roman prisoners without exchange or ransom, and pay the expenses of the war, at the price of 3,200 Euboic talents, or $3,337,888, within the space of ten years. (See Hamilcar, and Hanno.) In the 22 years that followed before the commencement of the second Punic war, although the Carthaginians had lost Sardinia, of which the Romans, taking advantage of a mutiny of the Carthaginian mercenaries, made themselves masters, Carthage had more than repaired all her losses by the conquest and colonization of the vast and rich Spanish peninsula, with its virgin gold mines and its bold and hardy population, furnishing an inexhaustible supply of men to recruit the armies of the republic.
Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar, forced the war by laying siege to Saguntum (now Murviedro), an allied city of the Romans on the seacoast, and by crossing the Ebro contrary to protest, if not to treaty. The passage of Hannibal across the Alps, the victories of the Ticinus, the Trebia, Lake Thrasymene, and CannaB, the defeat on the Metaurus and the death of Hannibal's brother-in-law Hasdrubal, the 16 Italian campaigns, the simultaneous victories of the Roman arms in Spain and Sicily, the transfer of the war to Africa by the elder Scipio Afri-canus, the defeat of Zama, and the total submission, subjection, and disarming of Carthage, are the principal incidents of the second Punic war, which continued about 18 years, and was concluded in 201 by the virtual subjection of Carthage. (See Hannibal.) An interval of 52 years followed, during which Rome encouraged her allies to commit aggressions on Carthage; until that city, in despair, went to war to repel unendurable insult and provocation, regardless of the late treaty which forbade them to take up arms against any nation without consent of the Romans. After this the Romans, as the price of peace, extorted from them all their remaining ships of war, all their arms, military engines, and supplies, compelled them to give 300 hostages, and then commanded them, as the only alternative by which to escape destruction, to abandon their city and seashore position, and to remove 10 miles inland.
The third Punic war resulted, and for three years (149-146) the unarmed, almost defenceless citizens of Carthage maintained a warfare of despair. At the end of that space a second Scipio, the son of Paulus AEmilius, the conqueror of Perseus, adopted by the son of the conqueror of Hannibal, took the city by storm, and destroyed it, razing it to the ground, passing the ploughshare over its site, and sowing salt in the furrows, the emblem of barrenness and annihilation. The inhabitants fought from street to street, while the houses burned over their heads, during 17 days, until 55,000 X>ersons, the whole of the survivors of a nation, were shut up in the ancient citadel called Byrsa, where they surrendered at discretion, and were all sold into slavery. Hasdrubal only, the commander, with his wife, children, and 300 Roman deserters, took refuge in the temple of AEsculapius, with the determination to defend themselves to the last, and die under the ruins of the last Punic edifice. The heart of the leader failed him, and while his wife and all his followers met the death from which he meanly shrank, ho surrendered himself to be led in triumph, and to die by the hands of the Roman carnifex in the Tullianum. About 30 years after the destruction of Carthage, a portion of the city was temporarily restored. and called Junonia, by 6,000 colonists whom C. Gracchus brought over from Rome. Long afterward, in 46 B. C, Caesar planted a small colony on the ruins of Carthage; and Augustus, his successor, built a city, of the same name, at a small distance, which attained some eminence.
It became an important Christian bishopric A. D. 215. Cyprian held a council there in 252. It was conquered by Genseric from the Romans in 439, and continued to be the seat of the African empire of the Vandals until it was retaken by Belisarius in 534. It was finally destroyed by the Saracens in the caliphate of Abd-el-Melek in 698. - See Bot-ticher, Geschichte der Karthager (Berlin, 1827); Mtinter, Religion der Karthager (2d ed., Copenhagen, 1821); and Davis, "Carthage and her Remains" (New York, 1861). In connection with Phoenician antiquities, those of Carthage have been treated by Movers, Gesenius, and others.