In the Greek and Roman chronicles the city-state of Carthage located in North Africa was described as an uncivilized place in which its inhabitants moved only for commercial interests. This idea that has come down to us does not correspond to the truth and from the 19th century onwards researchers began to rediscover the authentic Punic-Carthaginian state.
The fight for control of the Mediterranean
Towards the middle of the third century BC. C the Romans began the conquest of new territories in the Mediterranean.
For more than two decades, Rome and Carthage clashed to control the main sea routes. The Romans were victorious and imposed harsh penalties on the vanquished. In that context Aníbal, the son of Amílcar Barca, decided to take revenge on Rome and in the battles of Trebia and Cannas he managed to bend the Roman troops. The final balance was favorable to Rome, which managed to defeat the Carthaginians in the famous Punic Wars .
According to various archaeological studies, Carthage was founded in the 10th century BC and its first settlers were the Phoenicians. With the passage of time the city-state became a maritime and commercial power and its interests ended up colliding with two great civilizations: Greece and Rome.
Today we know that Carthage had well-governed institutions and its administration was characterized by a division between the legislative and executive branches.
As it was an open society in which people of Phoenician origin coexisted with local people, foreigners were well received and could hold positions in the public administration .
From the political point of view they had a very advanced constitution for their time and Aristotle himself recognized it in his work the Politics. In the economic and social sphere, the merchants of the city-state were a historical precedent for the bourgeois.
For its part, from an urban point of view, the city was designed with very advanced criteria: perfectly designed streets, neighborhoods with cisterns to store water and houses with several levels where small craft workshops were installed.
The Carthaginian people stood out for their commercial activity in the Mediterranean and thanks to their powerful fleet they made some expeditions along the African coasts. Also, they were large farmers who introduced novel irrigation systems.
The Punic-Carthaginian empire
For more than three hundred years the city of Carthage extended its colonies and commercial networks in wide Mediterranean territories: Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, the south of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.