Ancient Carthage

Born: 814 BC

Died: 146 BC

Birth Place: Tunisia

Known for: Carthage was a major trading and maritime power in the western Mediterranean until the mid-3rd century BC.

The word Carthage was derived from the Phoenician word meaning 'New City'.

Punic or Carthaginian is considered as the first civilisation developed in Carthage.

Since Carthage emerged as a rich and large city, it had rivalry with other cities, such as Rome and Syracuse.

Ancient Carthage

Life story


Sea and land


The capital of the ancient Carthaginian Empire was Carthage, founded in 814 BC as a colony of Tyre. It was located in the northern part of Africa.


Carthage had cities and towns that traded by sea and land. They made uncoloured glass and had modern harbours, becoming well known in the ancient world for their power and their special government system.


Carthage had wars with rivals such as the Berbers of North Africa, the Roman Republic, and the Sicilian Greeks.


By 650 BC, Carthage had grown powerful across Northwest Africa, Iberia, and islands of the Western Mediterranean. By 300 BC, it controlled a bigger area than any other empire, becoming one of the largest and richest cities in the ancient world.


Source of power


It was so rich because of its location, its fertile land, and important trading routes. Carthage traded things like food and manmade objects, and had one of the biggest and strongest armies and navies in the ancient Mediterranean.


From 246-146 BC, the Carthaginian Empire fought the Punic Wars against Rome. They were some of the largest and most advanced battles in the ancient world, and they nearly destroyed the Roman Empire. The Romans defeated Carthage in the final Punic War (146 BC). They made a new city in its place, ending the Carthaginian Empire.


Most of what we know today about the Carthaginian Empire comes from Roman and Greek writing. A lot of these texts were written during the Punic Wars, and were shaped by the rivalry between Rome and Carthage.


Historians don’t have many trade artefacts from early Carthage because they traded things like food and textiles. Over time, many of these have rotted away under the ground.

Where was Carthage located? Why do you think that Roman texts written about Carthage during the Punic Wars may not be the best texts to give us all the facts? What made the city of Carthage rich?

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