Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Carthage in 479–265 bce reached a size and prosperity equaling any leading Greek city-state. Despite its defeat in Sicily in 480 bce, its economic reach across the Mediterranean grew, and so did its indirect hegemony over North Africa’s coasts almost to Cyrenaica in the east and the edges of Numidia in the west. Carthaginians’ openness to external cultural influences—Greek, Egyptian, and native Libyan—made them effectively a multicultural society, as archaeological and historical evidence makes clear. Although little written evidence from Carthaginian sources survives, the probably genuine Periplus of Hanno the King, composed around 500–450 and extant in a perhaps shortened Greek translation, throws light on the city’s readiness to extend its reach even beyond the Straits of Gibraltar (a reach confirmed by Herodotus and others), while the three treaties with Rome preserved in Greek by Polybius, dating probably between ca. 500 and 279, illuminate Carthaginian interstate relations in the central and western Mediterranean. The physical city spread beyond its archaic limits, with residential housing appearing between the hill of Byrsa and the shoreline (in place of artisanal workshops), as well as another residential quarter to Byrsa’s west and a massive seawall built along the eastern shoreline as far as the swampy lagoons that much later became the city’s famous hidden ports. One of these newer sectors may be the “New City” in Diodorus’s account of the abortive coup of Bomilcar in 308. During the fifth century, Carthaginian hegemony was imposed on neighboring Libyan communities, and by 310, the fertile Cape Bon peninsula was intensively cultivated by Carthaginian proprietors, as Agathocles’s invading forces noted. Even renewed and repeated conflicts with Syracuse and other Siceliot states from 410 onward rarely set back Carthage’s prosperity and power.

Keywords: Byrsa, Hanno’s Periplus, Tanit, Magonids, Numidia, Syracuse, Timoleon, Pyrrhus

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.