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Carthage And The Punic Wars Essay

1194 words - 5 pages


Carthage was first founded as a trading post in the year of 814 BC.
Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Princess Elyssa-Dido on a peninsula
from Africa which extends into the Mediterranean Sea. According to legend
Elyssa_Dido fled from her brother Pygmalion, the king of Tyre, after he killed her husband. The post benefited from the vast market for the goods that it traded and grew in importance quickly. It first had warehouses in which raw metals and finished metal products which the Phoenicians used and had made were stored. Carthage then started making metal products for Spain. These products were cheap due to they traded these cheap goods to Spain for the raw metals. Carthage soon became a huge trading empire, containing much of north Africa, Sicily, and Spain. In the fifth century BC, Carthage was the largest of all existing Mediterranean ports. Carthage soon minted its own coins. The Carthaginians soon developed high skills in the building of ships. They used this to dominate the seas for centuries. Their most important trading goods were silver, lead, ivory, gold, beds, bedding, pottery, jewelry, glassware, wild animals from Africa, fruit, and nuts.

     Carthage had two first class ports. One was a trading port which was
rectangular and the other was a man-made military port which was circular.
These two ports were connected by a canal. The Carthaginians also had great
communication since they controlled the sea, the fastest way of communication at
that time.

     The Carthaginians began a 240 year long struggle for survival with the
Greeks then the Romans in the year 410 BC. It all started when the Sicily city of Segesta asked for help against its mortal Greek enemy of Selinius. Carthage, in a lightening fast campaign sacked both Selinius, and the large Greek city of
Agrigento. The Carthaginians failed in their attempt to siege Syracusa. After the siege upon Syracusa, the Syracusians built many weapons of war, including the catapult. They then sacked the important Carthaginian city of Moyta. For over the next one hundred years the Carthaginians battled the Syracusians. Rome and Carthage allied and eventually defeated the Syracusians’ army at that time ran by Phyrrus of Epirus.

     Rome had signed three peace treaties with Carthage, however in 246 BC
Rome decided that with the Roman conquest of southern Italy, the Carthaginians
in Sicily were now too close for comfort. This began the Punic wars. There were three Punic wars. Rome and Carthage were the two strongest contenders of the central Mediterranean Sea of that time. In each of these wars Carthage lost. These wars lasted off and on from 246 BC to 149 BC, with Carthage eventually being destroyed.

     The First Punic War started in 264 BC and lasted to 241 BC. In the first half of the 3rd century BC Carthage held many territories that made it easy to control and dominate the...

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