The Carthaginians harbor dreams of a sprawling seaport with quays too numerous to count and wares too marvelous to comprehend. Not many would wager against them.
The mythical history of Carthage begins in 814 BCE, when a small group of Phoenicians led by Elissa built a city on the shores of North Africa. Elissa, also known by the name Dido, was said to have fled the city of Tyre after her husband was murdered by his brother, King Pygmalion.To learn more:
Following the decline of Tyre, the city of Carthage asserted its dominance over the Phoenician trading posts in the western Mediterranean. Taking advantage of its position as a trading hub, the city built an impressive maritime empire that used the power of its navy to control trade routes. However, its territorial ambitions led to conflict with the Greeks and even more so with Rome. From 264 to 146 BCE, the two cities fought in colossal battles during the three “Punic” wars. Incidentally, it was during the second of these wars that the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca led his army and its war elephants on a famous journey across the Alps to the gates of Rome. Nonetheless, Carthage finally succumbed to its rival in 146 BCE. Ransacked, its people reduced to slavery, the city that always managed to get back on its feet was this time completely destroyed. Only its so-called “Punic” culture continued to exist through its language and religion.Did you know?
Legend has it that the Romans sprinkled salt around Carthage to sterilize the ground so the city could never rise again from the ashes. However, no contemporary source mentions these facts. Moreover, the spreading of a rare commodity like salt over such a large area would obviously have been far too expensive.