PDF Rome Spreads Her Wings: Territorial Expansion Between the Punic Wars

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Carthaginian citizenship was more exclusive, and the goal of the state was more focused on protecting the trade infrastructure than expanding the citizen body. This contrasts with the Roman Republic , which in the course of her wars created an alliance system in Italy that expanded her lands and also expanded her citizen body and military manpower by adding allies with varying degrees of political rights.

Carthage, while she continued to expand until BC, did not have a similar system to increase her citizen numbers. She had treaties in place with various Punic and non-Punic cities the most famous and well known ones being the ones with Rome , detailing the rights of each power and their sphere of influence.

Enemy at the gates: the Second Punic War, 218–202 BC

The Punic cities not under direct Carthaginian control probably had similar treaties in place. The Libyo-Phoenicians, who lived in the African domain controlled by Carthage, also had rights similar to those of Carthaginian citizens. Carthaginian citizens were exempt from taxation and were primarily involved in commerce as traders or industrial workers.

As a result, Carthage, unlike the other agricultural nations, could not afford to have her citizens serve in a long war, as it diminished her commercial activities. Carthage was initially ruled by kings, who were elected by the Carthaginian senate and served for a specific time period. The election took place in Carthage, and the kings at first were war leaders, civic administrators and performed certain religious duties.

According to Aristotle , kings were elected on merit, not by the people but by the senate, and the post was not hereditary. However, the crown and military commands could also be purchased by the highest bidder. Initially these kings may have enjoyed near absolute power, which was curtailed as Carthage moved towards a more democratic government.

Punic Wars Books (3) - Ancient History Encyclopedia

Gradually, military command fell to professional officers, and a pair of suffets replaced the king in some of the civic functions and eventually kings were no longer elected. Records show that two families had held the kingship with distinction during — BC. The Magonid family produced several members who were elected kings between BC and BC, who were in the forefront of the overseas expansion of Carthage. Hanno "Magnus", along with his son and grandson, held the kingship for some years between and BC.

Records of other elected kings or their impact on Carthaginian history are not available. The suffets , who would ultimately displace the kings, were elected by the people.


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Suffets would ultimately discard their military duties and become purely civic officials. The Phoenicians encountered little resistance in developing their trade monopoly during — BC. The emergence of the Etruscans as a sea power did little to dent the Phoenician trade. The power of the Etruscans was localized around Italy, and their trade with Corsica, Sardinia and Iberia had not hindered Phoenician activity. Trade had also developed between Punic and Etruscan cities, and Carthage had treaties with the Etruscan cities to regulate these activities, while mutual piracy had not led to full-blown war between the powers.

Carthage's economic successes, and its dependence on shipping to conduct most of its trade, led to the creation of a powerful Carthaginian navy to discourage both pirates and rival nations. This, coupled with its success and growing hegemony, ultimately brought Carthage into increasing conflict with the Greeks , the other major power contending for control of the central Mediterranean. In conducting these conflicts, which spanned between — BC, the overseas empire of Carthage also came into being under the military leadership of the "kings".

The Etruscans, also in conflict with the Greeks, became allies of Carthage in the ensuing struggle. By the middle of the 6th century BC, Carthage had grown into a fully independent thalassocracy. Under Mago r.

Rome Spreads Her Wings : Territorial Expansion Between the Punic Wars

Mago, the 6th century ruler of Carthage, initiated the practice of recruiting the army from subject peoples and mercenaries, because "the population of Carthage was too small to provide defence for so widely scattered an empire. The commercial territories regularly visited by Punic traders encompassed all the western maritime region. Trading partnerships were established nearby, among the Numidian Berbers to the west along the African coast as well as to the east with Berbers in Libya.

Carthage founded many trading stations in the western Mediterranean, which often developed into cities. In the Iberian peninsula : Cartagena and other posts along its south and east coasts, including Gades north of the straits on the Atlantic side.

South of the straits was Lixus in Mauretania. Further, Carthage enjoyed an alliance with the Etruscans , who had established a powerful state in north-west Italy. Among the clients of the Etruscans was the then infant city of Rome.

Rome Spreads Her Wings: Territorial Expansion Between the Punic Wars.

A 6th century Punic-Etruscan treaty reserved for Carthage a commercial monopoly in southern Iberia. Punic ships sailed into the Atlantic. A merchant sailor of Carthage, Himilco , explored in the Atlantic to the north of the straits, i. Carthage would soon supplant the Iberian city of Tartessus in carrying the tin trade from Oestrymnis southward into the Mediterranean. Another sailor, Hanno the Navigator , explored the Atlantic to the south, along the African coast well past the River Gambia.

The traders of Carthage were known to be secretive about business and particularly about trade routes; it was their practice to keep the straits to the Atlantic closed to the Greeks. The nature of the conflict between Carthage and the Greeks was more due to economic factors rather than ideological and cultural differences. The Greeks did not wage a crusade to save the world from Imperium Barbaricum but to extend their own area of influence, neither was Carthage interested in wiping out Greek ideals. It was the vulnerability of the Carthaginian economy to Greek commercial competition that caused Carthage to take on the Greeks during the early years of her empire.

The trade network which Carthage inherited from Tyre depended heavily on Carthage keeping commercial rivals at arm's length. The goods produced by Carthage were mainly for the local African market and were initially inferior to Greek goods. She bartered low-priced goods for metals, then bartered those for finished goods in the east and distributed these through their network. The threat from the Greek colonists was threefold: undercutting the Phoenicians by offering better products; taking over the distribution network; and preying on Punic shipping. While the Greek colonies also offered increased opportunities for trade and piracy, their nosing into areas of Punic influence caused the Punic cities to look for protection from their strongest city.

Carthage took up the challenge. Over the next century, hundreds of Greek colonies sprang up along the Southern Italian and Sicilian coastlines except Western Sicily. There are no records of Phoenicians initially clashing with Greeks over territory; in fact, the Phoenicians had withdrawn to the Western corner of Sicily in the face of Greek expansion. However, the situation changed sometime after BC, when the first Greek trader visited Tartessos , and by BC Carthage was actively warring with the Greeks to curb their colonial expansion.

By BC, the once-Phoenician lake had turned into a conflict zone with the Greeks rowing about in all corners. Carthaginian interests in Iberia, Sardinia and Sicily were threatened, which led to a series of conflicts between Carthage and various Greek city-states. Twenty years after the establishment of Massalia , the Phoenician cities in Sicily repelled an invasion of Dorian Greek settlers in Sicily while aiding the Elymians of Segesta against the Greek city of Selineus in BC.

The result was the defeated Greeks establishing themselves in Lipera, which became a pirate hub, a threat to all commerce Greek included. Shortly after this event, Carthaginians under a "king" called Malchus warred successfully against the Libyan tribes in Africa, and then defeated the Greeks in Sicily, sending a part of the Sicilian booty to Tyre as tribute to Melquart.

Malchus next moved to Sardinia, but suffered a severe defeat against the natives. He and his entire army were banished by the Carthaginian senate. They in turn returned to Africa and besieged Carthage, which duly surrendered. Malchus assumed power, but was later deposed and executed. The Carthaginian army, which up to this point had been a predominantly citizen militia, became one primarily made up of mercenaries. In the s there had been a three-sided naval struggle between the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Etrusco-Punic allies; the Greeks lost Corsica to the Etruscans and Sardinia to Carthage.

Then the Etruscans attacked Greek colonies in the Campania south of Rome, but unsuccessfully. As an eventual result, Rome threw off their Etruscan kings of the Tarquin dynasty. Then the Roman Republic and Carthage in entered into a treaty, which had the purpose of defining their respective commercial zones. The Greeks were energetic traders by sea, [77] [78] [79] who had been establishing emporia throughout the Mediterranean region in furtherance of their commercial interests. These parallel activities both by the Greeks and by Carthage led to persistent disputes over influence and control of commercial spheres, particularly in Sicily.

When combined with the permanent foreign conquest of Phoenicia in the Levant, these Greek commercial challenges had caused many Phoenician colonies in the western Mediterranean to choose the leadership of Carthage. In BC concurrent with Persia 's invasion of Greece , Mago's grandson Hamilcar landed a large army in Sicily in order to confront Syracuse a colony of Corinth on the island's eastern coast; yet the Greeks decisively prevailed at the Battle of Himera.

A long struggle ensued, with intermittent warfare between Syracuse and Carthage.


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Agathocles then attempted a bold strategy by putting his forces aboard ships, leaving Sicily, and landing his Greek army at Cape Bon , very near Carthage. The city became alarmed with palpable anxiety. Thereafter the Greek world, preoccupied with its conquest of the Persian Empire in the east, lost interest in expanding its colonies in Sicily. Greek influence in the western Mediterranean became supplanted by Rome, the new rival of Carthage.

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During these centuries Carthage enlarged its commercial sphere, augmenting its markets along the African coast, in southern Iberia, and among the islands of the western Mediterranean, venturing south to develop rudiments of the Saharan trade, and exploring commercial opportunities in the Atlantic. Carthage also established its authority directly among the Numidian Berber peoples in the lands immediately surrounding the city, which grew more prosperous. No records of any confrontations between the two powers are available, but a legend describes how the powers agreed on a border in Libya.

Two pairs of champions set out for Carthage and Cyrene on the same day, each pair running towards the other city. When the runners met, the Carthaginian pair had covered more ground. Accused of cheating by the Greeks, they consented to be buried alive on the meeting spot, so that the territory between that spot and Carthage would become part of the Carthaginian domain.

The Carthaginian champions were brothers, called Philaeni, and the border was marked by two pillars called the "Altars of the Philaeni". The African territorial boundary between the Western and Eastern Roman Empires was later set on this spot. Mago I , a general of the army, had assumed power in Carthage by BC. The Etruscans took control of Corsica, Carthage concentrated on Sardinia, ensuring that no Greek presence would be established in the island. The defeat also ended the westward expansion of Greeks for all time. A war with Greek Massalia followed. Carthage lost battles but managed to safeguard Phoenician Iberia and close the Strait of Gibraltar to Greek shipping, [92] while Massalians retained their Iberian colonies in Eastern Iberia above Cape Nao.

Carthaginians in support of the Phoenician colony Gades in Iberia, [94] also brought about the collapse of Tartessos in Iberia by BC, either by armed conflict or by cutting off Greek trade. Carthage also besieged and took over Gades at this time.