Week 3

Carthage was a colony of the parent Phoenician civilization that grew up in present day Lebanon, parallel to the ancient Hebrews in Israel. The child outgrew the parent, and by 200 B.C. Carthage was one of the most important cities in the Mediterranean and was developing into an important challenger to Roman domination of the Mediterranean sea. One secret to the extraordinary success of Carthage was its location. The city sat on a promontory overlooking the vital Straits of Sicily that close to a width of about one hundred miles between the Tunisian coast and the coast of Sicily. Control of this sea passage grants any civilization that possesses it, control of all east-west movement in the Mediterranean. This is something every military strategist from Scipio to Eisenhower has understood. The danger of Carthage to Rome dramatically increased as the Carthaginians crossed the Mediterranean and moved into Spain. It was in Spain that the two great Mediterranean powers clashed.


Wikipedia: "Carthage (Latin: Carthago or Karthago, from the Phoenician Qart-ḥadašt meaning New City implying it was a 'new Tyre' (Lebanon) is a major urban center that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC. It is currently a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715. The first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the Centrex of Tunis. According to Roman legend it was founded in 814 BC by Phoenician colonists from Tyre under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido). It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland. Hannibal's invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy; however, Carthage emerged from the conflict at its historical weakest after Hannibal's defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. After the Third Punic War, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became the Empire's fourth most important city and the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until the Muslim conquest when it was destroyed a second time in 698 AD."


Richard Miles,

Carthage Must Be Destroyed,

Viking Adult (July 21, 2011),

ISBN 0670022667

Product Description:

An epic history of a doomed civilization and a lost empire. The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased. Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles vividly brings to life this lost empire-from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest sea power in the Mediterranean. And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal-the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders, but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe. The first full-scale history of Carthage in decades, Carthage Must Be Destroyed reintroduces modern readers to the larger-than-life historical players and the ancient glory of this almost forgotten civilization. About the Author Richard Miles teaches ancient history at the University of Sydney and is a Fellow-Commoner of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge. He has written widely on Punic, Roman, and Vandal North Africa and has directed archaeological excavations in Carthage and Rome. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

We particularly want to call to your attention the new biography of Hannibal by our own Institute Lecturer Patrick Hunt from Stanford University. It is a great book with all of Prof. Hunt's knowledge about Hannibal especially all of his first-hand experience with Hannibal's trek over the Alps into Italy. Prof. Hunt has traced every step of the journey.

Patrick N. Hunt,


Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 11, 2017),

ISBN 1439102171