Carthage In Ancient Rome

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The grand history of Ancient Rome’s empire is marked with much conflict and war. Some of the most prominent and historic of these conflicts were against a powerful Western Mediterranean power known as Carthage. Carthage was powerful enough to be seen as one of Rome’s greatest rivals. In fact, the power of Carthage was so great that she almost conquered Rome itself. In this paper, we will trace how Carthage almost became the equal of Rome, and how the conflict between these two powerhouses led to Rome becoming a great naval power.

Carthage was the first foreign power outside of Italy that Rome had come into contact with. Carthage “was originally a colony of Tyre, and had come to be the capital of a great commercial empire on the northern coast of Africa” (Morey, 1901). The city initially began as a small port on the coast, which, was only established as a stop for Phoenician traders to
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Carthage became a dependent state of Rome, and was required to pay a tribute of ten thousand talents over the course of fifty years. Carthage was also forbidden to wage wars without the consent of Rome (Morey, 1901). Moreover, Carthage was required to relinquish all but ten of their warships, and any remaining war elephants. “Grain and reparations for lost supplies also had to be provided to Rome, as well as having the responsibility of collecting runaway slaves and returning them” ("Results of the Second Punic War", n.d.). If this situation wasn’t already terrible for Carthage, she also had to struggle to defend herself against neighbouring Numidia, which was an ally of Rome. Carthage went to war with Numidia, and in doing so, violated her peace treaty with Rome. Carthage was then ordered to pay a war debt to Numidia. This came right after Carthage had finally paid her debt to Rome, thus, this new debt was simply crippling (Mark,
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