Well over 2,000 years ago, along the northeast coast of Africa, stood one of the greatest cities of ancient times. The city-state of Carthage would rise from a humble settlement in 814 B.C. to the capital of a powerful empire rivaled only by Rome. Carthage was interested in and focused primarily on trade and commerce, however, they would not hesitate to use force to protect their interests and allies, no matter how powerful and feared their enemies were. Her armies and navies would crush Greek power in the Mediterranean after Greece had encroached and threatened her liabilities. The Carthage empire would consist of all Northern Africa from the east to the west, Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Balearic Isles, and all other islands that existed in the Mediterranean. At times Carthage would be allies with Macedonia, Syracuse, Spain, Numidia, Gaul, and for 11 years, the city of Rome. It was with the latter that Carthage would ultimately be put to the test and fail. Carthage and Rome would clash in three, violent "world wars" that cast all other cities and nations into the struggles. Had the two great cities worked together in a peaceful manner to contrive their differences, no doubt two great Mediterranean cultures would have evolved. However, as the case was, nothing could be ultimately settled by words and treaties, instead only by fire and steel. These wars were fought by Rome not just too gain an edge, but to completely destroy the city of Carthage because of their aspirations of land conquests. That there were three wars fought attests to the fact that both sides suffered extreme hardships, and the treaties that interluded the wars were done because even the victor, that being Rome, was exhausted from the horrors and struggles of war. These three wars are frequently called the "Punic Wars". The term "Punic" comes from the Latin word "Poenicus", meaning Carthaginian. During the second of these wars, emerged perhaps the greatest military commander that the world has ever known. His name was Hannibal Barca. The gold coins struck at Cartagena, Spain, from the year he was given supreme command of the Carthage armies bears his profile. A young, beardless face which would decide the fate of empires and ultimately change the face of the world forever. Although this book is about Hannibal, to fully comprehend the extent of the struggle between Carthage and Rome, the history of Carthage in the proceeding pages is also imperative.
Statue of Dido, the founder of Carthage
Founding of Carthage
The traditional founding of Carthage was 814 B.C. by Dido, the beautiful queen from the Phoenician city of Tyre. Tyre was a powerful maritime city that had achieved great wealth through trade. Tyre and other Phoenician city-states formed a "loose" alliance much the same as the Greek city-states. These cities were not known for powerful land armies, however, their navies were among the most powerful of the ancient world, many times assisting other nations, through hire or force, during wars. The Phoenicians were scattered throughout the world around modern Lebanon. The history of Tyre dates back to 1500 B.C. and until around 900 B.C. had established trading colonies only in the middle east. After this time Tyre and the other Phoenician cities began to focus their trade interests westward into the Mediterranean Sea and established trading colonies in Sicily, North Africa, Sardinia, and Spain. The two most prominent cities were Utica, in North Africa and Gades, in Spain. Around 814 B.C. Pygmalion, the King of Tyre, set about to have his sisters (Dido) husband, the high-priest Acerbas, murdered. Acerbas was second only to the King in regards to the power that he held in Tyre. He was very wealthy and had buried his wealth for protection. When the King heard about the extent of this wealth he had Acerbas murdered in hopes of aquiring this wealth through his sister, Dido. After hearing of her husbands death, Dido gathered her wealth and secretly set sail, under cover of darkness, with a small group of family and friends. Her small fleet set sail west, towards the Mediterranean, where the influence of her brother would be remote.
Founding Of Carthage
Dido and her followers building Carthage
Dido and her followers passed the Island of Sicily and sailed along the northeast African coast until ultimately arriving at an isthmus, which had a grand, natural harbor near modern Tunis, Tunisia. The site they picked to establish their city was also around 25 miles southeast of another Phoenician city, the before mentioned Utica. It was here that Dido confronted the local natives about the prospects of building a small city for her group. The natives, not too fond of the idea, told Dido that she could have as much land as she could cover with a single ox-hide and they then left, assuming that they had seen the last of her. Dido, however, asked men in her group to kill an ox and then skin the beast. Once this was done she directed that the ox-hide be cut into a very thin strip and then cut into two pieces which produced a large "x". This was placed upon a large hill on the isthmus and when the natives were brought to the site, they were amused and agreed to let Dido build her city as long as a tribute was paid every year. For now this small area upon the hill would be the city, later, however, this area would be in the center of one of the largest cities of ancient times and called the "Byrsa",meaning ox-hide in Greek. It was here that the last surviving citizens, wrought with starvation, devastation, and despair, would flee, amongst their holy temples, in a last, desperate defense against the Romans some 668 years later.
The beginning was humble for Carthage as the colonists cultivated the lands and traded with the natives. As the city grew, Carthage acquired more surrounding land to expand her city and agreed to increase the tribute that they paid to the natives each year. Being built on the isthmus, Carthage possessed a grand harbor which soon numerous nations and cities would frequent for trade. Further inland, conjoined to this harbor, was another circular harbor which would house the cities war galley's. This harbor was capable of housing 220 galley's which were stored under floating shelter's. In the middle of the harbor was an island where the admiral's headquarters was constructed. This harbor was totally hidden from the sea and the entrance from the other harbor was guarded by huge chains. A large sea-wall also stood 25 feet above the water to protect from any attacks from the sea. This wall was conjoined from the land by another wall that would protect the city from any other aggression which could potentially be directed towards the city from land. . This enormous wall stretched for 25 miles and stood 40 feet tall and was 45 feet wide at the base. Row upon row of encasement's were also cut on the inside of the wall that at any single time could house 300 war elephants,20,000 infantry, 4,000 calvary, and huge quantities of grain. Later other leaders would also construct two smaller walls for even greater protection. Tall, six story lookout towers were constructed every 200 yard for the entire 25 miles of the wall. The undertaking of the first wall must have taken years to complete. It was made almost entirely from limestone which was extracted from limestone deposits as far as 130 miles away near the ancient city of Thapsus which was situated southeast of Carthage.
Picture depicting Carthage Women
Public Baths of Carthage
Carthage's two harbors
As Carthage continued to grow larger and richer, the natives and other cities began to grow nervous of this city hidden behind such massive fortifications. Carthage continued to fit larger commercial fleets for trade as well as making sure that her war galleys were ready for protection against pirates. Carthage continued to cultivate the lands, which during this time was very fertile. Fair breezes often engulfed the city from the sea. They also discovered that when harvesting mollusks in the Mediterranean sea, inside their shells was a purple ink which they extracted. They then perfected a process where this ink was turned into a dye which was then used to color clothes and other garments. The amount that Carthage charged for these colored items that the world had never before laid their eyes upon was huge as only the noble and the rich could afford such garments. This attributed to the color being recognized as royalty during ancient times. Carthage craftsmen also discovered the process which enabled see-through glass to be created for windows in homes and temples for the first time. As mentioned before, golden fields of grain were abundant throughout the Carthaginian countryside. The amount produced far exceeded their needs and much was exported. Other exports included dried figs that were harvested from the numerous fig trees that dotted the countryside. Carthage also exported huge quantities of salted catfish which were raised in farming ponds. Carthage shipwrecks in the Mediterranean that have been recovered frequently are found to have numerous clay urns that sometimes are still sealed. These sealed urns, when opened, often contain salt and catfish bones. Another export for which Carthage was famous and which helped them attain great wealth was wine. Carthage also imported numerous raw materials. Gold and silver from Spain, vast amounts of timber from Sardinia and Corsica, also lead and copper from the islands of the Mediterranean. Carthage also imported much of their art from Greece and the artisans in Carthage often copied Greek designs.
The commercial influence of Carthage spread to over 40,000 square miles! In the beginning the process by which Carthage merchants traded their goods were simple. The Carthage ships would anchor off the shore and small boats would take the merchandise to shore. The Carthaginians would them leave what they wanted to trade on the shore and return to their ships. The natives, upon seeing the ships with the purple sails, would go to the shore and segregate what they wanted and place what they wanted to give for the merchandise before leaving. The Carthage merchants would then return and if they thought the trade that was offered was fair, they would take what was offered and leave. If not, they would re-offer and the process would repeat itself. Soon Carthage would abandon this practice and instead they would focus upon establishing trading posts throughout the Mediterranean Sea as this was far more productive. Towns such as Acholla, Tipasa, Gigtha, Gouraya, Rachgoun, Andalouses, and Mesa Madakhl were just a few of these colonies. These colonies further advanced the city. Soon six story apartment buildings were constructed throughout the city to house the growing population. Brick roads lined the city, perfumed, public baths were constructed throughout the city, and large temples engulfed the Byrsa. The rich would construct huge palaces throughout the countryside. The Carthaginian women were known throughout the world for their beauty and their long, flowing hair. As Carthage continued to attain great wealth her influence was steadily spread throughout northeast and north central Africa until ultimately almost all the cities and towns were subject states from which Carthage would extract a yearly tribute.The only exception seemed to be Utica who until around 540 B.C. was recognized as an independent state by Carthage. After this date Utica existed as a "privileged ally" of Carthage and their relationship seemed to disinigrate after the first Punic war.
According to Aristotle, the Carthaginians and others whom they traded with had treaties regarding commerce to regulate their exports and imports.
The early republic of Carthage depended heavily on its trade with Tartessos and other the cities of the Iberian peninsula, from which it obtained vast quantities of silver, lead, and, even more importantly, tin, which was essential for the manufacture of bronze objects by the civilizations of antiquity. Its trade relations with the Iberians and the naval might that enforced Carthage's monopoly on trade with tin-rich Britain and the Canary Islands allowed it to be the sole significant broker of tin and maker of bronze. Maintaining this monopoly was one of the major sources of power and prosperity for Carthage, and a Carthaginian merchant would rather crash his ship upon the rocky shores of Britain than reveal to any rival how it could be safely approached. In addition to being the sole significant distributor of tin, its central location in the Mediterranean and control of the waters between Sicily and Tunisia allowed it to control the eastern nations' supply of tin. Carthage was also the Mediterranean's largest producer of silver, mined in Iberia and the North African coast, and, after the tin monopoly, this was one of its most profitable trades. One mine in Iberia provided Hannibal and his family with 300 pounds of silver a day from which they funded their mercenary army.
Carthage produced finely embroidered and dyed textiles of cotton, linen, wool, and silk, artistic and functional pottery, incense, and perfumes. Its artisans worked with glass, wood, , ivory, bronze, brass, lead, gold, silver, and precious stones to create a wide array of goods, including mirrors, highly-admired furniture and cabinetry, beds, bedding, and pillows, jewelry, arms, implements, and household items. It traded in salted Atlantic fish and fish sauce, and brokered the manufactured, agricultural, and natural products of almost every Mediterranean people.
In addition to manufacturing, Carthage practiced highly advanced and productive agriculture, using iron ploughs, irrigation, and crop rotation. Mago wrote a famous treatise on agriculture which the Romans ordered translated after Carthage was captured. After the Second Punic War, Hannibal promoted agriculture to help restore Carthage's economy and pay the war indemnity to Rome (10000 talents or 800,000 Roman pounds of silver), and he was largely successful.
Carthage produced wine, which was highly prized in Rome and Greece. Rome was a major consumer of raisin wine, a Carthaginian specialty. Fruits, nuts, grain, grapes, dates, and olives were grown, and olive oil was exported in competition with Greece. Carthage also raised fine horses, similar to today's Arabian horses, which were greatly prized and exported.
Carthage's merchant ships visited every major port of the Mediterranean, Britain, the coast of Africa, and the Canary Islands. These ships were able to carry over 100 tons of goods. The commercial fleet of Carthage was comparable in size and tonnage to the fleets of major European powers in the 18th century.
Merchants at first favored the ports of the east: Egypt, the Levant, Greece, Cyprus, and Asia Minor. But after Carthage's control of Sicily brought it into conflict with Greek colonists, it established commercial relations in the western Mediterranean, including trade with the Etruscans.
Carthage also sent caravans into the interior of Africa and Persia. It traded its manufactured and agricultural goods to the coastal and interior peoples of Africa for salt, gold, timber, ivory, ebony, apes, peacocks, skins, and hides. Its merchants invented the practice of sale by auction and used it to trade with the African tribes. In other ports, they tried to establish permanent warehouses or sell their goods in open-air markets. They obtained amber from Scandinavia and tin from the Canary Islands. From the Celtiberians, Gauls, and Celts, they obtained amber, tin, silver, and furs. Sardinia and Corsica produced gold and silver for Carthage, and Phoenician settlements on islands such as Malta and the Balaeric Islands produced commodities that would be sent back to Carthage for large-scale distribution. Carthage supplied poorer civilizations with simple things, such as pottery, metallic products, and ornamentations, often displacing the local manufacturing, but brought its best works to wealthier ones such as the Greeks and Etruscans. Carthage traded in almost every commodity wanted by the ancient world, including spices from Arabia, Africa and India, and slaves (the empire of Carthage temporarily held a portion of Europe and sent conquered white warriors into Northern African slavery.)
These trade ships went all the way down the Atlantic coast of Africa to Senegal and Nigeria. One account has a Carthaginian trading vessel exploring Nigeria, including identification of distinguishing geographic features such as a coastal volcano and an encounter with gorillas . Irregular trade exchanges occurred as far west as Madeira and the Canary Islands, and as far south as southern Africa. Carthage also traded with India by traveling through the Red Sea.
Archaeological finds show evidence of all kinds of exchanges, from the vast quantities of tin needed for a bronze-based metals civilization to all manner of textiles, ceramics and fine metalwork. Before and in between the wars, Carthaginian merchants were in every port in the Mediterranean, buying and selling, establishing warehouses where they could, or just bargaining in open-air markets after getting off their ships.
The Etruscan language has not yet been deciphered, but archaeological excavations of Etruscan cities show that the Etruscan civilization was for several centuries a customer and a vendor to Carthage, long before the rise of Rome. The Etruscan city-states were, at times, both commercial partners of Carthage and military allies.
The population of Carthage grew rapidly, however, they did not inter-marriage with the natives of the land, instead keeping amongst themselves. Proof of this can be attributed to scientific studies. These studies find that men who live today in Lebanon,( ancient Tyre) have a certain, exclusive defect to a certain gene in their body. Graves that have been dug from men who lived and died in Tyre reflect the same defect, showing that it was passed down generation over generation. Remains from Carthage males were then tested from their graves and the same gene had the same defect, proving that men from Tyre brought the defect with them during their voyage with Dido. This was then passed on from generation to generation among the males of Carthage as well. However, when Carthage was destroyed by the Romans the defect seams to have been eradicated in Africa as the men living in Tunis today (ancient Carthage) do not have the same defect., proving that the Carthaginians did not inter-marriage, except to secure alliances as you will read later. This would prove to be a fatal flaw later as Carthage, unlike Rome, would never allow people from her subject states to ever be a Carthaginian citizen. Had they done this, perhaps, loyalty would have been stronger during the troubles that she would later face..
Map of the Mediterranean
Carthage armies and navies
The population of Carthage was said to be at 500,000 at its peak, second, it is said, only to Alexandria, and among the largest ever before the industrial revolution. Even with this huge population, Carthage, alone was not large enough to sustain numerous armies, at least not to oppose the Roman empire. Just before the 3rd war it is reported that Carthage housed upwards of 700,000 people. If this was the case, surely many were African refugees who had fled for safety behind her massive walls in advance of the Roman forces. A select group of noblemen would give their first-born male child to the state and they would be raised by the state for war. These elite men would form the "sacred guard", as they were called, forming infantry and Calvary divisions that were among the best in her armies. The rest of her armies were generally made up of mercenaries from all corners of her emerging empire. These men fought for Carthage for money and although they were many times a very formidable force, their loyalty were at times suspect. The men who commanded the Carthage armies were, almost always, Carthaginian noblemen. Many came from a select few families, among who, the most famous and most successful were that of the Barca family. It was leaders from this family who nearly propelled Carthage to ultimate victories over the Romans. Carthage seemed to rely more upon the calvary wings of their armies over that of the infantry. Their Numidian allies from the west supplied the best cavalry that the world had ever known. Expert horseman, these men were considered "light infantry" and rode without saddles and little armor. They were utilized as "shock" troops during the wars with Rome. Moving with lightening speed, they would strike the Romans, retreat, and before the Romans could regroup, they would strike again. The "heavy" cavalry wings comprised of African and Spanish horsemen who were well-protected with battle armor and who possessed the best weapons. However, the most famous and feared of the Carthage cavalry units were their war elephant units. These beasts were trained relentlessly by a select group of Carthaginians. Utilized primarily during the opening engagements of battle they often were well worth the effort, however, as you will read later, at times they could cause just as much damage to their own armies. To give an idea of how beneficial they were for the Carthage armies, imagine being a Roman foot soldier with only a small shield and sword for protection, without ever having laid an eye on such a beast before, perhaps, not even knowing what they were. . Next, imagine a solid wall of these "tanks" rushing towards you covered in thick battle armour and being directed by Carthaginian archers who were protected inside large baskets that were secured upon the top of these beasts. The chaos would have been great as these men tried to avoid being trampled and gored all the while as they were being pelted by the archers from above. Next, they would here the deafening sound of the approaching Carthage army, organized and fresh, running at full speed, into their disorganized ranks.
The Libyans supplied both heavy and light infantry for the Carthage army and were the most disciplined. They fought with long spears in a tight phalanx much like the Macedonians. The Iberian's also provided a strong supply of infantry. The Iberian's and Libyans fought in white tunics that had purple borders. The rest of the infantry units fought in their own native gear. Carthage armies also utilized skirmishers to prod their enemies defenses in hopes of finding a weak area to attack. The best of these were the Balearic slingers who were deadly accurate with slinging stones and iron projectiles. The infantry was segregated so that each nation fought as their own unit. This was done due to the many different languages that were spoken in the armies, enabling communication to be effective. This was also done to lessen the chances of desertion and retreat in their armies. Men would generally fight more strong willed when fighting with family and friends and would be less likely to show cowardice.
The Carthage navy was comprised of triremes, quadriremes, and quinquiremes, each representing either 3,4,or 5 levels of rowers. These ships usually had large, sharp bronze spikes protruding from the front. Unlike the Romans, who utilized slaves for rowers, Carthage employed and paid their sailors from the ranks of the poor from their city. At any given day 300-350 war ships would regularly patrol the Mediterranean. These warships enabled their merchant ships to pass unmolested from port to port as they went about their trade. Before the Romans altered the way that sea battles took place, of which you will read later, the battles would consist of ships ramming their foes, causing them to sink. During these times often more ships and lives would be lost to the sea due to unexpected storms than actual battles.
Painting of the Battle of Zama
Ramming Spike on Punic Ships
Replica of a Carthage trimene warship
Carthaginian religion and government
The Carthaginians were a deeply religious civilization. The most important gods included Baal Hammond, Tanit, Eshmun, and Melqart. At first the primary god was Baal, which meant "Lord" in the Phoenician language. Later the goddess Tanit appeared to hold more prominence. Baal was more associated with war and the protection of the city from foreign aggression was his purpose. His name was associated with many key players in Carthage history, including the most famous, Hannibal. His name meant "favorite of Baal". Tanit was the goddess of good fortune and of the harvest. The majority of Carthage coins depicted her face upon the front. Eshmun was the god associated with healing during times of plague and sickness. Melquart was important during the early years of Carthage as he was the "lord" of her mother city, Tyre. Later as time passed his significance ebbed in Carthage as to the before mentioned gods.
There has been great debate as to the validity that Carthage sacrificed children to their gods, primarily Baal. The Romans had said that this practice was common in the Punic city, however, no mention of this has ever been made in any surviving Punic text. The two most prominent Roman historians, Livy and Polybius, of whom most of Carthaginian history is indebted with, never mentioned this in any of their writings. Recent findings have turned up large numbers of sealed urns which contained the bones and ashes of children almost always younger than 4 years old. To the historians who support the notion of child sacrifice, they point to this as clear evidence that it did indeed take place. Other historians point out that these gravesites were simply the sites where children where buried and cremated after they perished from natural causes and diseases. They point out as proof that many of the urns had remains of babies which were from miscarriages or who had died in infancy.
Carthage Children Gravesites
Carthage Statue of Baal Hammond(War god)
The Carthaginians spoke the Phoenician language and used their alphabet
Carthage was ruled by kings from 814 B.C. until 308 B.C. The kings lost power around 480 B.C. after the death of a king named Hamilcar1. A constitution was developed and the city was governed by a council of 100 elders who were elected for life. It was they who ultimately determined who would lead their armies, for how long, and when they would be reinforced. Almost always their decisions were determined by what would be the most beneficial to the city financially. Their great concern for gathering wealth would help them in the short run, however, in the long run it would prove to be fatal. That the constitution was very strong can be attributed to the fact that only one known attempt was ever made to overthrown the council and restore power to the monarchy, this being a king named Bolmicar in 308 B.C. He was unsuccessful and was crucified because of his attempt. After this attempt, Carthage became a republic and was one until her destruction. After the kings were no more, Carthage would elect two "Suffets" each year to lead the city, with final say always being in the hands of the elders. These Suffets generally would come from two different political parties. One who favored peace with the Romans, and instead wanted to expand their empire further into the interior of Africa, and the other, who were able to recognize that Roman military territorial expansion aspirations would one day be at her very walls in Africa. It was from this later group that the powerful "Barca clan" ascended to the world stage. Hamilcar Barca would lead Punic forces in the first war and his three sons, Hannibal, Hasdrubal, and Mago would follow in the second war. It was from this family that Rome would suffer far beyond their belief. The Barcids realized that the only hope to save their city as an independent state would require that Rome be destroyed or greatly weakened to the status of a secondary city. These men often acted with independence of Carthage do to the cities failure to assist them in times of need.
Carthage often engaged in treaties with other nations and formed military alliances. Around 546 B. C. Carthage formed a military alliance with the powerful Etruscans from Italy to battle the Greek empire. The Greeks were pushing west and had settled on the island of Corsica and were hostile towards both. Carthage and her Etruscan allies crushed the Greeks and remained allies until the fall of the Etruscans in Italy to the emerging Romans. Carthage also entered into 4 different treaties with the Romans. The first in 509 B.C. and the last in 279 B.C. The first shows that Carthage was the more dominant power and probably had a more dominant role in the language that was agreed upon. The second in 348 B.C. and third in 306 B.C. continued with Carthage dominance, however, seemed to reflect a growing Carthage concern that one day Rome would be regarded as a formidable enemy, based upon strong Roman conquests in Italy. The fourth ,and last, treaty was signed in 279 B.C., just 15 years before Carthage and Rome would enter upon the stage as enemies at the start of the first Punic War. In this treaty, Carthage offered her warships to Rome,if needed, against their war against the Greek Pyrrus, who had invaded Italy at the request of the Tarentines, who were engaged in a war with Rome and who's fortunes were fast fading against the vaunted Roman legions. Pyrrus entered Italy with some 20,000 soldiers and was reinforced by the Tarentines as well as other Italians who were subjected to Rome. Pyrrus was successful and defeated the Romans in three pitched battles. The last of which was at such a high cost of men, that he was forced to return to Tarentum and ultimately return Greece, unsuccessful in his attempt. The term "Pyrrus Victory" today refers to a victory that was at too high a cost.
Statue of Carthage god Melquart
Carthage in the New World
The islands of the Canaries have stone ruins, the most imposing being a number of 'stepped' pyramidal structures located right in the middle of a town. Farther out in the Atlantic, the Azores have turned up with a hoard of Carthaginian coins, a statue of the 'horse' of Carthage, and a number of pottery fragments that could be Punic, but cannot be definitely ascribed to them. The official view? "May have been a ship that got lost." Along the Atlantic seaboard of the Americas a number of stone "steles" (monuments) have been found, usually inscribed in Punic, and many have the name of Hanno -the admiral sent out from Carthage with the express mission of exploration and colonization about 500 BC. Oddly, in northeastern Pennsylvania near the town of Hawley, one of these stone steles was found, inscribed in Punic ("This monument placed by Hanno, do not deface") of course this must be yet another "hoax". Some universities are now saying that the Phoenician seafarers may have been trafficking the entire circumventable coast of Africa and the coast of India as early as 1500 to 1200 BC.
The alphabets of India, Ceylon and Sumatra all originated from Phoenician - this is eloquent evidence of far ranging contact.
Inscriptions on stone are found throughout the Americas, and coins of Carthage have been found in a number of states. Nearly all have been found close to navigable waters, and oddly all are of the earliest issues of Carthage, none later than the First Punic war have turned up. A metal urn with Phoenician themes and likely a Carthaginian trade item was unearthed near the junction of the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers in New York.
Divers investigating the odd stone formation off of Bimini Island, the closest in the Bahama chain to the United States, found a shipwreck, that dated to the 1800's - while searching they found that it lay atop an older shipwreck, one that is positively Carthaginian and dates to approximately 500 B C. Historical experts from Yale university confirmed the origins of the wreck. Evidence of other ancient shipwrecks exists, in particular a Carthage vessel located off the coast of Honduras as well as one found "deeply buried in sand" in Mexico in the 19th century, another which is as yet unidentified off the coast of Texas as well as what was most likely a trading vessel off Beverly, Massachusetts.
Carthaginian amphorae have been found in the Americas, as well as weapons, oil lamps, glass "trade" beads along the St Lawrence river among other "anomalous" finds.
The Syracusan (Greek 100bc) historian Diodorus said the Carthaginians had a "large island" which was located "far out in the Atlantic ocean" - on which there were "many mountains" and "large navigatable rivers". The land was rich in gold, gems, spices, etc. He stated that the Phoenicians had found it "by accident" while founding colonies on the west coast of Africa when some ships got lost.
Ancient Utica The only exception seemed to be Utica who until around 540 B.C. was recognized as an independent state by Carthage. After this date Utica existed as a "privileged ally" of Carthage and their relationship seemed to disinigrate after the first Punic war".
Carthage military harbor as it looks today
Rendition of what Carthage's military harbor looked like before being sacked by Rome.