1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Carthage (ancient city)
CARTHAGE (Phoenician Kart-hadshat, “New City”; Gr. Καρχηδών, Lat. Carthago or Carchedon), one of the most famous cities of antiquity, on the north coast of Africa; it was founded about 822 B.C. by the Phoenicians, destroyed for the first time by the Romans in 146 B.C., rebuilt by the Romans, and finally destroyed by the Arabs in A.D. 698. It was situated in the heart of the Sinus Uticensis (mod. Gulf of Tunis), which is protected on the west by the promontory of Apollo (mod. Ras Ali el Mekki), and on the east by the promontory of Mercury or Cape Bon (mod. Ras Addar). Its position naturally formed a sort of bastion on the inner curve of the bay between the Lake of Tunis on the south and the marshy plain of Utica (Sukhara) on the north. Cape Gamart, the Arab village of Sidi-bu-Saïd and the small harbour of Goletta (La Goulette, Halk el Wad) form a triangle which represents the area of Carthage at its greatest, including its extramural suburbs. Of this area the highest point is Sidi-bu-Saïd, which stands on a lofty cliff about 490 ft. high. On Cape Gamart (Kamart) was the chief cemetery; the citadel, Byrsa, was on the hill on which to-day stand the convent of Les Pères Blancs (White Fathers) and the cathedral of St Louis. The harbours lay about three-fifths of a mile south of Byrsa, near the modern hospital of the Khram, at Cartagenna. The tongue of land, which runs from the harbours as far as Goletta, to the mouth of the Catadas which connects the Lake of Tunis with the sea, was known as taenia (ribbon, band) or ligula (diminutive of lingua, tongue). The isthmus connecting the peninsula of Carthage with the mainland was roughly estimated by Polybius as 25 stades (about 15,000 ft.); the peninsula itself, according to Strabo, had a circumference of 360 stades (41 m.). The distance between Gamart and Goletta is about 6 m.
From Byrsa, which is only 195 ft. above the sea, there is a fine view; thence it is possible to see how Carthage was able at once to dominate the sea and the gently undulating plains which stretch westward as far as Tunis and the line of the river Bagradas (mod. Mejerda). On the horizon, on the other side of the Gulf of Tunis, rise the chief heights of the mountain-chain which was the scene of so many fierce struggles between Carthage and Rome, between Rome and the Vandals:—the Bu-Kornaïn (“Two-Horned Mountain”), crowned by the ruins of the temple of Saturn Balcaranensis; Jebel Ressas, behind which lie the ruins of Neferis; Zaghwan, the highest point in Zeugitana; Hammam-Lif, Rades (Ghades, Gades, the ancient Maxula) on the coast, and 10 m. to the south-west the “white” Tunis (λευκὸς Τύνης of Diodorus) and the fertile hills of Ariana. All round Byrsa, alike on the plain and on the slopes, are fields of barley, vineyards and patches of cactus, interrupted only by huge heaps of rubbish and excavation-mounds, the haunts of green lizards, and by houses and villages built of materials drawn for many a century from the ancient ruins.
The ancient harbours were distinguished as the military and the commercial. The remains of the latter are to be seen in a partially ruined artificial lagoon which originally, according to Beulé, had an area of nearly 60 acres; there were, however, in addition a large quay for unloading freight along the shore, and huge basins or outer harbours protected by jetties, the remains of which are still visible at the water-level. The military harbour, known as Cothon, communicated with the commercial by means of a canal now partially ruined; it was circular in shape, surrounded by large docks 16¼ ft. wide, and capable of holding 220 vessels, though its area was only some 22 acres. In the centre was an islet from which the admiral could inspect the whole fleet.
Among the other ruins which have been identified are the circus or hippodrome, traversed by the railway at the north of the village of Duar-es-Shat; the forum, between Cothon and Byrsa, where stood the Curia, the regular place of assembly of the senate, and near which were the moneychangers’ shops, the tribunal, the temple of Apollo, and in the Byzantine period the baths of Theodora. Three main streets led from the forum to Byrsa.
The hill of St Louis, the ancient citadel of Byrsa, has a circuit of 4525 ft. It appears to have been surrounded at least at certain points by several lines of fortifications. It was, however, dismantled by P. Scipio Africanus the younger, in 146 B.C., and was only refortified by Theodosius II. in A.D. 424; subsequently its walls were again renewed by Belisarius in 553. On the plateau of Byrsa have been found the most ancient of the Punic tombs, huge cisterns in the eastern part, and near the chapel of St Louis the foundations of the famous temple of Eshmun (see below), and the palace of the Roman proconsul.
About 325 ft. from the railway station of La Malga are the still imposing ruins of the amphitheatre. Near by, at the spot called Bir el Jebana, Père Delattre has discovered four cemeteries, one of which contains the tombs of state officials or servants of the imperial government. Rather more than half a mile north-west of Byrsa are the huge cisterns of La Malga, which, at the time of the Arab geographer, Idrīsī, still comprised twenty-four parallel covered reservoirs, 325 ft. by 711 ft.; of these fourteen only remain.
On the hill of the Petit Séminaire, which is separated from Byrsa by a valley, Père Delattre has discovered a Christian basilica, the baths of Gargilius, large graves with several levels of tombs, and much débris of sculpture, which, however, is insufficient to enable us to say that this is the site of the temple of Tanit or Juno Caelestis. The quarter of Dermèche, near the sea, whose name recalls the Latin Thermis or Thermas, is remarkable for the imposing remains of the baths (thermae) of Antoninus. In one place called Douimés was the Ceramicus where excavation has discovered a graceful basilica, proto-Punic tombs, potters’ ovens with numerous terra-cotta moulds which were abandoned after the siege in 146 B.C., and finally a Roman palace with superb marble statues. Farther on are huge reservoirs of Borj-Jedid which are sufficiently well-preserved to be used again.
Behind the small fort of Borj-Jedid is the plateau of the Odeum where the theatre and fine marble statues of the Roman period have been laid bare; beyond is the great Christian basilica of Damus-el-Karita (perhaps a corruption of Domus Caritatis); in the direction of Sidi-bu-Saïd is the platea nova, the huge stairway of which, like so many other Carthaginian buildings, has of late years been destroyed by the Arabs for use as building material; on the coast near St Monica is the necropolis of Rabs where Delattre dug up fine anthropoid sarcophagi of the Punic period.
In the quarter of Megara (Magaria, mod. La Marsa) it would seem that there never were more than isolated buildings, villas in the midst of gardens. At Jebel Khaui (Cape Kamart) there is a great necropolis, the sepulchral chambers of which were long ago rifled by Arabs and Vandals. This cemetery had a Jewish quarter.
We must mention finally the gigantic remains in the western plain of the Roman aqueduct which carried water from Jebel Zaghwan (Mons Zeugitanus) and Juggar (Zucchara) to the cisterns of La Malga. From the nymphaeum of Zaghwan to Carthage this aqueduct is 61 Roman miles (about 56 English miles) long; in the plain of Manuba its arches are nearly 49 ft. high.
Though several famous travellers visited and described the ruins of Carthage during the first thirty years of the 19th century, such as Major Humbert, Chateaubriand, Estrup, no scientific investigations took place till 1833. In that year Captain Falbe, Danish consul at Tunis, made a plan of the ruins so far as they were visible. In 1837 there was formed in Paris, on the initiative of Dureau de la Malle, a Société pour les fouilles de Carthage; under the auspices of this body Falbe and Sir Grenville Temple undertook researches, and a little later Sir Thomas Read, English consul, following the example of the Genoese and the Pisans, carried away to England the mosaics, columns and statues of the baths of Antoninus. The Abbé Bourgade, chaplain of the church of St Louis erected in 1841, collected together Punic stelae and other antiquities from the surrounding plain; these formed the nucleus of the magnificent museum subsequently formed by Père Delattre at the instigation of Cardinal Lavigerie. Between 1856 and 1858 Nathan Davis made excavations on the supposed site of the Odeum, and in 1859 Beulé undertook his celebrated investigations on Byrsa. Among other explorers were A. Daux in 1866; von Maltzan in 1870; E. de Sainte-Marie in 1874; Ch. d’Hérisson in 1883; E. Babelon and S. Reinach in 1884; Vernaz in 1885; Gauckler in 1903. Of these the majority were sent officially by the French government. But their attempts were partial, disjointed and without any systematic plan; they were entirely superseded by the brilliant and persevering work of R. P. Delattre. The Musée Lavigerie, the result of his labours, contains a vast archaeological treasure, the interest of which is doubled by the fact that it stands in the very midst of the ancient site. Unfortunately Delattre’s work suffered too often from the absence of a cordial understanding with the directors of the antiquities department, La Blanchère and P. Gauckler, who, having themselves undertaken excavations, transported their finds to the Bardo museum, by the help of the public funds at their disposal.
The main authority for the topography and the history of the excavations is Aug. Audollent’s Carthage romaine (Paris, 1901). A topographical and archaeological map of the site was published under the direction of Colonel Dolot and with the assistance of Delattre and Gauckler by the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique in 1907.
History.—The history of Carthage falls into four periods: (1) from the foundation to the beginning of the wars with the Sicilian Greeks in 550 B.C.; (2) from 550 to 265, the first year of the Punic Wars; (3) the Punic Wars to the fall of Carthage in 146 B.C.; (4) the periods of Roman and Byzantine rule down to the destruction of the city by the Arabs in A.D. 698.
(1) Foundation to 550 B.C.—From an extremely remote period Phoenician sailors had visited the African coast and had had commercial relations with the Libyan tribes who inhabited the district which forms the modern Tunis. In the 16th century B.C. the Sidonians already had trading stations on the coast; with the object of competing with the Tyrian colony at Utica they established a trading station called Cambē or Caccabē on the very site afterwards occupied by Carthage. Near Borj-Jedid unmistakable traces of this early settlement have been found, though nothing is known of its history. According to the classical tradition Carthage was founded about 850 B.C. by Tyrian emigrants led by Elissa or Elissar, the daughter of the Tyrian king Mutton I., fleeing from the tyranny of her brother Pygmalion. According to the story, Elissa subsequently received the name of Dido, i.e. “the fugitive.” Cambē welcomed the new arrivals, who bought from the mixed Libyo-Phoenician peoples of the neighbourhood, tributaries of the Libyan king Japon, a piece of land on which to build a “new city,” Kart-hadshat, the Greek and Roman forms of the name. The story goes that Dido, having obtained “as much land as could be contained by the skin of an ox,” proceeded to cut the skin of a slain ox into strips narrow enough to extend round the whole of the hill, which afterwards from this episode gained the name of Byrsa. This last detail obviously arose from a mere play on words by which Βύρσα “hide,” “skin,” is confused with the Phoenician bosra, borsa, “citadel,” “fortress.” In memory of its Tyrian origin, Carthage paid an annual tribute to the temple of Melkarth at Tyr, and under the Roman empire coins were struck showing Dido fleeing in a galley, or presiding over the building of Byrsa. On the Vatican Virgil there is a representation in miniature of workmen shaping marble blocks and columns for Dido’s palace.
The early history of Carthage is very obscure. It is only in the 6th century that real history begins. By this time the city is unquestionably a considerable capital with a domain divided into the three districts of Zeugitana (the environs of Carthage and the peninsula of C. Bon), Byzacium (the shore of the Syrtes), and the third comprising the emporia which stretch in the form of a crescent to the centre of the Great Syrtis as far as Cyrenaica. The first contest against the Greeks arose from a boundary question between the settlements of Carthage and those of the Greeks of Cyrene. The limits were eventually fixed and marked by a monument known as the “Altar of Philenae.” The destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar (q.v.), in the first half of the 6th century, enabled Carthage to take its place as mistress of the Mediterranean. The Phoenician colonies founded by Tyre and Sidon in Sicily and Spain, threatened by the Greeks, sought help from Carthage, and from this period dates the Punic supremacy in the western Mediterranean. The Greek colonization of Sicily was checked, while Carthage established herself on all the Sicilian coast and the neighbouring islands as far as the Balearic Islands and the coast of Spain. The inevitable conflict between Greece and Carthage broke out about 550.
(2) Wars with the Greeks.—In 550, the Carthaginians, led by the suffetes Malchus, conquered almost all Sicily and expelled the Greeks. In 536 they defeated the Phocaeans and the Massaliotes before Alalia on the Corsican coast. But Malchus, having failed in Sardinia, was banished by the stern Carthaginian senate and swore to avenge himself. He laid siege to Carthage itself, and, after having sacrificed his son Carthalo to his lust for vengeance, entered the city as a victor. He ruled until he was put to death by the party which had supported him. Mago, son of Hanno, succeeded Malchus, as suffetes and general-in-chief. He was the true founder of the Carthaginian military power. He conquered Sardinia and the Balearic Islands, where he founded Port Mahon (Portus Magonis), and so increased the power of Carthage that he was able to force commercial treaties upon the Etruscans, and the Greeks of both Sicily and Italy. The first agreement between Carthage and Rome was made in 509, one year after the expulsion of the Tarquins, in the consulship of Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius. The text is preserved by Polybius (Hist. iii. 22-23). It assigned Italy to the Romans and the African waters to Carthage, but left Sicily as a dangerous neutral zone.
Mago was succeeded as commander-in-chief by his elder son Hasdrubal (c. 500), who was thrice chosen suffetes; he died in Sardinia about 485. His brother Hamilcar, having collected a fleet of 200 galleys for the conquest of Sicily, was defeated by the combined forces of Gelo of Syracuse and Theron of Agrigentum under the walls of Himera in 480, the year in which the Persian fleet was defeated at Salamis (some say the two battles were simultaneous); it is said that 150,000 Carthaginians were taken prisoners. The victory is celebrated by Pindar (Pyth. i.).
These two leaders of the powerful house of the Barcidae each left three sons. Those of Hasdrubal were Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Sapho; those of Hamilcar, Himilco, Hanno and Gisco. All, under various titles, succeeded to the authority which it had already enjoyed. About 460 Hanno, passing beyond the Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar), founded settlements along the West African coast in the modern Senegal and Guinea, and even in Madeira and the Canary Islands.
In Sicily the war lasted for a century with varying success. In 406 Hannibal and Himilco destroyed Agrigentum and threatened Gela, but the Carthaginians were forced back on their strongholds in the south-west by Dionysius the Elder, Dionysius the Younger, Timoleon and Agathocles successively, whose cause was aided by a terrible plague and civil troubles in Carthage itself, A certain Hanno, unquestionably of the Barcide house, attempted to seize the supreme power, but his partisans were overwhelmed and he himself suffered the most cruel punishment. Profiting by these troubles, Timoleon defeated the Carthaginians at Crimissus in 340, and compelled them to sue for peace. This peace was not of long duration; Agathocles crossed to Africa and besieged Carthage, which was then handicapped by the conspiracy of Bomilcar. Bomilcar was crucified, and Agathocles having been obliged to return to Sicily, his general Eumarcus was compelled to carry his army out of Africa, where it had maintained itself for three years (August 310 to October 307). After the death of Agathocles, the Carthaginians re-established their supremacy in Sicily, and Mago even offered assistance to Rome against the invasion of Pyrrhus (480). Pyrrhus crossed to Sicily in 277, and was preparing to emulate Agathocles by sailing to Africa when he was compelled to return to Italy (see Sicily: History).
Delivered from these dangers and more arrogant than before, Carthage claimed the monopoly of Mediterranean waters, and seized every foreign ship found between Sardinia and the Pillars of Hercules. “At Carthage,” said Polybius, “no one is blamed, however he may have acquired his wealth.” The sailors took the utmost care to conceal the routes which they followed; there is a story that a Carthaginian ship, pursued by a Roman galley as far as the Atlantic, preferred to be driven out of her course and sunk rather than reveal the course to the Cassiterides, whither she was bound in quest of tin. The owner being saved, the senate made good his losses from the public treasury (Strabo, iii. 5. 11).
(3) Wars with Rome.—The first Punic War lasted twenty-seven years (268–241); it was fought by Carthage for the defence of her Sicilian possessions and her supremacy in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Romans, victorious at the naval battles of Mylae (Melazzo) and Ecnomus (260 and 256), sent M. Atilius Regulus with an army to Africa. But the Carthaginians, by the help of the Spartan Xanthippus, were successful, and Regulus was captured. The fighting was then transferred to Sicily, where Hasdrubal was defeated at Panormus (250); subsequently the Romans failed before Lilybaeum and were defeated at Drepanum, but their victory at the Aegates Islands ended the war (241). Carthage now desired to disband her forces, but the mercenaries claimed their arrears of pay, and on being refused revolted under Spendius and Matho, pillaged the suburbs of Carthage and laid siege to the city itself. Only the genius of Hamilcar Barca raised the siege; the mercenaries were caught in the defile of the Axe, where they were cut down without mercy. This war, which all but ruined Carthage, is known to the Roman historians as the bellum inexpiabile.
This peril averted, Carthage undertook the conquest of Spain. It was the work of Hamilcar, and lasted nine years up to the day of Hamilcar’s death, sword in hand, in 228. His son-in-law, Hasdrubal Pulcher, built Carthagena in 227 and concluded with Rome a treaty by which the Ebro was adopted as the boundary of the Carthaginian sphere. On his death the soldiers chose for themselves as leader Hannibal, son of Hamilcar. At this period Carthage, with a population of perhaps 1,000,000, was in the enjoyment of extraordinary prosperity alike in its internal industries and in its foreign trade. The manufacture of woven goods, especially, was a flourishing industry; the Greek writer Polemo records a special treaty dealing with Carthaginian fabrics which were a recognized luxury throughout the ancient world. In Sicily, Italy and Greece the Carthaginians sold especially black slaves, ivory, metals, precious stones and all the products of Central Africa, which came thence by caravan. In Spain they sought copper and silver, and it was by them that the modern mines of Huelva, as also those of Osca and Carthagena, were first exploited. The district round Carthage, with its amazing fertility, was the granary of the city, as it was later that of Rome. Mago had drawn up a treaty dealing with agriculture and’ rural economy generally, which was subsequently brought to Rome and translated into Latin by Decimus Silanus by order of the senate (J. P. Mahaffy, “The Work of Mago,” in Hermathena, xv. pp. 29-35).
In the midst of this prosperity the Second War with Rome broke out. At this time the genius of Carthage is incarnate in Hannibal; his campaigns in Spain, Italy and Africa have won the admiration of military experts of all periods. The war became inevitable in 210 when Hannibal captured Saguntum, which was in alliance with Rome. Passing through Spain and Gaul, Hannibal resolved to carry the war into the heart of Italy (218–217). The battles of the Ticinus, Trebia and Trasimene Lake are but stages in the wonderful progress which culminated in the battle of Cannae (August 2, 216). The road to Rome was now open to him, but he did not profit by his advantage, while the Carthaginian senate, to its shame, withheld all further support. His brother Hasdrubal with his relieving army was defeated at the Metaurus in 207; the Romans recovered their hold in Spain, and, seeing that Hannibal was unable to move in Italy, carried the war back to Africa. Hearing that Scipio had taken Utica (203) and defeated Hasdrubal and Syphax, king of Numidia, Hannibal returned from Italy, but with a hastily levied army was defeated at Zama (October 19, 202). The subsequent peace was disastrous to Carthage, which lost its fleet and all save its African possessions.
After the Second War Carthage soon revived. The population is said still to have numbered 700,000, and despite its humiliation, the city never ceased to inspire alarm at Rome. The Numidian prince Massinissa, rival of Syphax and a Roman protégé, took advantage of a clause in the treaty of 202, which forbade Carthage to make war without the consent of the Roman senate, to extend his possessions at the expense of Carthage. In response to a protest from Carthage an embassy including M. Porcius Cato the Elder was sent to inquire into the matter, and Cato was so impressed with the city as a whole that on returning to Rome he never made a speech without concluding with the warning “Delenda est Carthago.”
At this time there were three political parties in Carthage: (1) that which upheld the Roman alliance, (2) hat which advocated the Numidian alliance, and (3) the popular party. These three were led respectively by Hanno, Hannibal Passer, Hasdrubal and Carthalo. The popular faction, which was turbulent and exasperated by the bad faith of the Romans, expelled the Numidian party and declared war in 149 on Massinissa, who was victorious at Oroscope. Rome then intervened, determined finally to destroy her now enfeebled rival. War was declared on the pretext that Carthage had engaged in war with Massinissa without the sanction of Rome. The third Punic War lasted three years, and after a heroic resistance the City fell in 146. The last champions of liberty entrenched themselves under Hasdrubal in the temple of Eshmun, the site of which is now occupied by the chapel of St Louis. The Roman troops were let loose to plunder and burn. The thick bed of cinders, blackened stones, broken glass, fragments of metal twisted by fire, half-calcined bones, which is found to-day at a depth of 13 to 16 ft. under the remains of Roman Carthage between Byrsa and the harbours, bears grim witness, in accord with the accounts of Polybius and Appian, to the terrible fate which overtook this part of the city. Before long a commission arrived from Rome to decide the fate of the province of Carthage. In the city itself, temples, houses and fortifications were levelled to the ground, the site was dedicated with solemn imprecations to the infernal gods, and all human habitation throughout the vast ruined area was expressly forbidden.
Constitutional History.—The narrative must here be interrupted by an account of the political and religious development of Phoenician Carthage. Carthage was an aristocratic republic based on wealth rather than on birth. Indeed, the popular party, which included certain noble families such as the Barcidae, was always powerful, and thus government by demagogues was not infrequent. So Aristotle, writing about 330, emphasizes the importance of great wealth in Carthaginian politics. The government was in fact a plutocracy. The aristocratic party was represented by the two suffetes and the senate; the democratic by the popular assembly. The suffetes (Sofetim) presided in the senate and controlled the civil administration; the office was annual, but there was no limit to re-election. Hannibal was elected for twenty-two years. The senate, which, like that of Tyre, was composed of 300 members, exercised ultimate control over all public affairs, decided on peace and war, nominated the Commission of Ten, which was charged with aiding and controlling the suffetes. This commission was subsequently replaced, by a council of one hundred, called by the Greeks gerousia. This tribunal, which maintained law and order and called the generals to account, gradually became a tyrannical inquisition. Frequently it met at night in the Temple of Eshmun On Byrsa, in secret sessions described by Aristotle as συσσίτια τῶν ἑταιριῶν.
The popular assembly was composed, not of all the citizens, but of the timuchi (Gr. τιμἠ, ἔχειν), i.e. those who possessed a certain property-qualification. The election of the suffetes had to be ratified by this assembly. The two bodies were almost always in opposition, and this was one of the chief causes of the ruin of Carthage.
The army was recruited externally by senators who were sent to the great emporia or trade-centres, even to the most remote, to contract with local princes for men and officers. The payments, agreed upon in this way, were frequently in arrears; hence the terrible revolts such as that of the “bellum inexpiabile.” It was not till the 3rd century that Carthage, in imitation of the kings of Syria and Egypt, began to make use of elephants in war. The elephant used was the African type (elephas capensis), which was smaller than the Asiatic (elephas indicus), though with longer ears. In addition to the mercenaries, the army contained a legion composed of young men belonging to the best families in the state; this force was important as a nursery of officers.
Religion.—The religion of Carthage was that of the Phoenicians. Over an army of minor deities (alonim and baalim) towered the trinity of great gods composed of Baal-Ammon or Moloch (identified by the Romans with Cronus or Saturn); Tanit, the virgin goddess of the heavens and the moon, the Phoenician Astarte, and known as Juno Caelestis in the Roman period; Eshmun, the protecting deity and protector of the acropolis, generally identified with Aesculapius. There were also special cults: of Iolaus or Tammuz-Adonis, whom the Romans identified to some extent with Mercury; of the god Patechus or Pygmaeus, a deformed and repulsive monster like the Egyptian Ptah, whose images were placed on the prows of ships to frighten the enemy; and lastly of the Tyrian Melkarth, whose functions were analogous to those of Hercules. The statue of this god was carried to Rome after the siege of 146 (Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxxvi. 12. 39). From inscriptions we know the names of other minor deities, which are perhaps only other names of the same gods, e.g. Rabbat Umma, “the great mother”; Baalat haedrat, “mistress of the sanctuary”; Ashtoreth (Astarte), Illat, Sakon, Tsaphon, Sid, Aris (? Ares).
From the close of the 4th century B.C. the intimate relations between the Carthaginians and the Sicilian Greeks began to introduce Hellenic elements into this religion. In the forum of Carthage was a temple to Apollo containing a colossal statue, which was transported to Rome. The Carthaginians once at least sent offerings to Delphi, and Tanit approximated to some extent to Demeter; hence on the coins we find the head of Tanit or the Punic Astarte crowned with ears of corn, in imitation of the coins of the Greek Sicilian colonies. The symbol of Tanit is the crescent moon; in her temple at Carthage was preserved a famous veil or peplus which was venerated as the city’s palladium. On the innumerable votive stelae which have been unearthed, we find invocations to Tanit and Baal-Ammon, as two associate deities (θεοὶ πάρεδροι). The usual formula in these inscriptions is, “To the great lady Tanit, the manifestation [reflex, face] of Baal (Tanti-Penē-Baal) and to our lord Baal-Ammon, the vow of Bomilcar, son of Mago, son of Bomilcar, because they have heard his prayer” (Corp. inscr. semit. vol. i. pp. 276 f.; Audollent, Carth. Rom. p. 369).
Baal-Ammon or Moloch, the great god of all Libya, is represented as an old man with ram’s horns on his forehead; the ram is frequently found with his statues. He appears also with a scythe in his hand (“falcem ferens senex pingitur.” St Cyprian, De idol. vanit. 11). At Carthage children were sacrificed to him, and in his temple there was a colossal bronze statue in the arms of which were placed the children who were to be sacrificed (Diod. Sic. xx. 14; Justin xviii. 6, xix. 1; Plut. De superstit. 13, De sera num. vindic. 6.). The children slipped one by one from the arms into a furnace amid the plaudits of fanatical worshippers. These sacrifices persisted even under Roman rule; Tertullian states that even in his time they took place in secret (Apolog. cix.; cf. Delattre, “Inscript. de Carth.,” in Bulletin épigraphique, iv. p. 317; Audollent, op. cit. p. 398).
(4) Roman Period.—In 122 B.C., twenty-four years after the destruction of the city by Scipio Aemilianus, the Roman senate, on the proposal of Rubrius, decided to plant a Latin colony on the site. C. Gracchus and Fulvius Flaccus were entrusted with the foundation of the new city, which was christened Colonia Junonia, and placed under the protection of Juno Caelestis, the new name for the Punic Tanit. But its prosperity was obstructed both by unpropitious omens and by the very recollection of the ancient feud, and fifty years later Marius, proscribed by Sulla, found the ruins practically deserted. In the neighbourhood were the scattered remnants of the old Punic population, who, according to Athenaeus (Deipnosoph. v. 50), had actually had the assurance to send ambassadors to Mithradates the Great assuring him of their support against Rome. Ultimately M. Minucius Rufus passed a law abrogating that of 122 and suppressing the Colonia Junonia.
Julius Caesar, pursuing the lost supporters of Pompey, encamped on the ruins of the city, and there, according to tradition, had a dream which induced him to re-establish the abandoned colony. Returning to Rome, he despatched thither the poor citizens who were demanding land from him. Later on Augustus sent new colonists, and, henceforward, the machinery of administration was regularly centred there (Appian viii. 136; Dio Cass. lxxx. 1; Audollent, op. cit. p. 46). The proconsuls of the African province had hitherto lived at Utica; in 14–13 B.C. C. Sentius Saturninus transferred his headquarters to Carthage, which was henceforth known as Colonia Julia Carthago. Several inscriptions use this name, as also the bronze coins which bear the heads of Augustus and Tiberius, and were struck at first in the name of the suffetes, afterwards in that of duumviri.
Pomponius Mela and Strabo already describe Carthage as among the greatest and most wealthy cities of the empire. Herodian puts it second to Rome, and such is the force of tradition that the Roman citizens resident in Carthage boasted of its Punic past, and loved to recall its glory. Virgil in the Aeneid celebrated the misfortunes of Dido, whom the colonists ultimately identified with Tanit-Astarte; a public Dido-cult grew up, and the citizens even pretended to have discovered the very house from which she had watched the departure of Aeneas. The religious character of these legends, coupled with the city’s resumption of its old role as mistress of Africa, and its independent spirit, reawakened the old distrust, and even up to the invasions of the Vandals the jealous rivalry of Rome forbade the reconstruction of the city walls.
The revolt of L. Clodius Macer, legate of Numidia, in A.D. 68 was warmly supported by Carthage, and one of the coins of this short-lived power bears the symbol of Carthage personified. At the moment of the accession of Vitellius, Piso, governor of the province of Africa, was in his turn proclaimed emperor at Carthage. A little later, under Antoninus Pius, we read of a fire which devastated the quarter of the forum; about the same time, i.e. under Hadrian and Antoninus, there was built the famous Zaghwan aqueduct, which poured more than seven million gallons of water a day into the reservoirs of the Mapalia (La Malga); the cost of this gigantic work was defrayed by a special tax which pressed heavily on the inhabitants as late as the reign of Septimius Severus; allusions to it are made on the coin-types of this emperor (E. Babelon, Revista italiana di numismatica, 1903, p. 157).
In the early history of Christianity Carthage played an auspicious part, in virtue of the number of its disciples, the energy and learning of their leaders, the courage and eloquence of its teachers, the persecutions of which it was the scene, the number of its councils and the heresies of which it witnessed the birth, propagation or extinction (see Carthage, Synods of). The labours of Delattre have filled the St Louis museum at Carthage with memorials of the early Church. From the end of the 2nd century there was a bishop of Carthage; the first was Agrippinus, the second Optatus. At the head of the apologists, whom the persecutions inspired, stands Tertullian. In 202 or 203, in the amphitheatre, where Cardinal Lavigerie erected a cross in commemoration, occurred the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas. Tertullian was succeeded (248) by a no less famous bishop Cyprian. About this time the proconsul Gordian had himself proclaimed (239) emperor at Thysdrus (El Jem). Shortly afterwards Sabinianus, aspiring to the same dignity, was besieged by the procurator of Mauretania; the inhabitants gave him up and thus obtained a disgraceful pardon (R. Cagnat, L’armée romaine d’Afrique p. 52; Audollent, op. cit. p. 73). Peace being restored, the persecution of the Christians was renewed by an edict of the emperor Decius (250). Cyprian escaped by hiding, and subsequently caused the heresy of Novatian to be condemned in the council of 251. In 257, in a new persecution under Valerian, Cyprian was beheaded by the proconsul Galerius Maximus.
About 264 or 265 a certain Celsus proclaimed himself emperor at Carthage, but was quickly slain. Probus, like Hadrian and Severus, visited the city, and Maximian had new baths constructed. Under Constantius Chlorus, Maxentius proclaimed himself emperor in Africa; this caused great excitement in Carthage, and the garrison, which was hostile to the pretender, compelled L. Domitius Alexander to assume the purple. Domitius was, however, captured by Maxentius and strangled at Carthage. About 311 there arose the famous Donatist heresy, supported by 270 African bishops (see Donatists and Constantine I.). At the synod of Carthage in 411 this heresy was condemned owing to the eloquence of Augustine. Two years later the Carthaginian sectaries even ventured upon a political rebellion under the leadership of Heraclianus, who proclaimed himself emperor and actually dared to make a descent on Italy itself, leaving his son-in-law Sabinus in command at Carthage. Being defeated he fled precipitately to Carthage, where he was put to death (413). Donatism was followed by Pelagianism (see Pelagius), also of Carthaginian origin, and these religious troubles were not settled when in May 429 the Vandals, on the appeal of Count Boniface, governor of Africa, crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and invaded Mauretania. Genseric, who was hailed with one accord by all the different sectaries as the champion of their several views, appeared in 439 before the walls of Carthage, which had been hastily rebuilt after five hundred years by the order of Theodosius II. The priest Salvianus has left a splendid picture of Carthage at this moment (de Gubern. vii. 16). It had 500,000 inhabitants, and 22 basilicas (several of which have been discovered by Delattre). Genseric entered almost without a blow (October 19, 439), and gave over the city to plunder before departing for his attack on Italy. From this time Carthage became, in the hands of the Vandals, a mere pirate stronghold, such as Tunis and Algiers were subsequently to become. Once, in 470, the fleet of the Eastern empire under the orders of Basiliscus appeared in the Bay of Carthage, but Genseric succeeded in setting fire to the attacking ships and from Byrsa watched their entire annihilation.
Byzantine Rule.—Under Genseric’s successors (see Vandals), Carthage was still the scene of many displays of savage brutality, though Thrasamund built new baths and a basilica. Ultimately Gelimer, the last Vandal king, was defeated at Ad Decimum by the Byzantine army under Belisarius, who entered Carthage unopposed (September 14, 533). The restored city now received the name of Colonia Justiniana Carthago; Belisarius rebuilt the walls and entrusted the government to Solomon. New basilicas and other monuments were erected, and Byzantine Carthage recovered for a century the prosperity of the Roman city.
At length the Arabs, having conquered Cyrenaica and Tripolitana (647), and founded Kairawan (670), arrived before Carthage. In 697 Hasan ibn en-Noman, the Gassanid governor of Egypt, captured the city almost without resistance. But the garrison left by the Arabs was quite unable to defend itself against the patrician Joannes, who retook the city and hastily put it in a state of defence. Hasan returned furious with anger, defeated the Byzantines again, and decreed the entire destruction of the city. His orders were fulfilled; and in 698 Carthage finally disappears from history. Once again only does the name appear in the middle ages, when the French king, Louis IX., at the head of the eighth crusade, disembarked there on the 17th of July 1270. He died, however, of the plague on the 25th of August without having recovered northern Africa for civilization.
Bibliography.—I. Ancient.—(a) Polybius, Diodorus Siculus, Livy, Appian, Justin, Strabo; (b) for the Christian period, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine; (c) for the Byzantine and Vandal, Procopius and Victor de Vita. All the references to the topography of Roman and Byzantine Carthage are collected in Audollent, Carthage romaine (1901), pp. 775-825, which also contains a full list of modern works (pp. 13-32. and p. 835).
II. Modern.—The most important are: Falbe, Recherches sur l’emplacement de Carthage (Paris, 1833); Dureau de la Malle, Topographie de Carthage (Paris, 1835); Nathan Davis, Carthage and her Remains (London, 1861); Beulé, Fouilles à Carthage (Paris, 1861); Victor Guérin, Voyage archéologique dans la régence de Tunis (Paris, 1862); E. de Sainte Marie, Mission à Carthage (Paris, 1884); C. Tissot, Géographie comparée de la province romaine d’Afrique (Paris, 1884–1888, 2 vols.); E. Babelon, Carthage (Paris, 1896); Otto Meltzer, Geschichte der Karthager (Berlin, 1879–1896, 2 vols.); Paul Monceaux, Les Africains, étude sur la littérature latine de l’Afrique; Les Paiens (Paris, 1898); Histoire littéraire de l’Afrique chrétienne (Paris, 1901–1909, 3 vols.); Pallu de Lessert, Vicaires et comtes d’Afrique (Paris, 1892); Fastes des provinces africaines sous la domination romaine (Paris, 1896–1901, 2 vols.); R. Cagnat, L’Armée romaine d’Afrique (Paris, 1892); C. Diehl, L’Afrique byzantine, histoire de la domination byzantine en Afrique (Paris, 1896); Aug. Audollent, Carthage romaine (Paris, 1901); A. J. Church and A. Gilman, Carthage in “Story of the Nations” series (1886). For the numerous publications of Père Delattre scattered in various periodicals see Etude sur les diverses publications du R. P. Delattre, by Marquis d’Anselme de Puisaye (Paris, 1895); Miss Mabel Moore’s Carthage of the Phoenicians (London, 1905) contains a useful summary of Delattre’s excavations. See further for the discussion of particular points: “Chronique archéologique africaine,” published by Stéph. Gsell, in the Revue africaine of Algiers, 1893, and following years; and in the Mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire de l’École française de Rome, vol. xv. (1895 and following years); Dr Carton, “Chronique archéologique nord-africaine,” in the Revue tunisienne. (E. B.*)
- The whole question of these harbours has been fully discussed by Cecil Torr, Otto Meltzer, R. Öhler, S. Gsell, M. de Roquefeuil; see Aug. Audollent, Carthage romaine, pp. 198 seq.; Revue archéol. 3rd series, xxiv.; Jahrbüch f. class. Philologie, vols. cxlvii., cxlix.; also Classical Review, vols. v., vii., viii.
- “of the Poeni (Phoenicians).”
- The identification of this Hanno with the son of Hamilcar is conjectural; see Hanno.
- For the military side of these wars see Punic Wars; Hannibal; Hasdrubal.