Talk:Ancient Carthage

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Why this page exists[edit]

Tho it was definately not a traditonal model, there was definately a Carthaginian Empire. Carthage was recongized as the authority by its neighbors and treated more or less like a seat of government, even among states that were more or less equals. The city of Carthage has a history that is older and longer than the empire, thus it obviously deserves its own page. I beseech (yeah i probably spelled that wrong) you all to help in improving this page and keeping it a separate article from Carthage. The Roman Empire and the city of Rome have two separate pages. It only makes since that this Carthaginian Empire and the city of Carthage do likewise. Scott Free 20:42, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

(Sorry for my basic English) - Looking for help for an article in it:wiki about Carthagenian expansion here I find nothing about the military expedition of Malco (how for english? Malchus?) 550 b.C. (ca.) in Sicily, an 10 years after in Sardinia. Can anybody help? (See also Justin (historian) XVII, 7 and XIX)  :)) Thanks! Vale! User Horatius on

Was Carthage an Empire?[edit]

Except that Carthage was a republic - hegemony would be a better description.Dejvid (talk) 11:20, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Being a republic is wholly irrelevant. The French colonial empire was a republic for most of its history as a major power. WP:Name requires that the most common name be used. This is by far the most common name. Google gives a sum total of 129 hits for "Carthaginian hegemony", and most of those are not alternative terms for the empire, just phrases referring to Carthage's power over something. "Carthaginian Empire" gets 18,800 hits, and is used by the EB and other authoritative sources [1] Paul B (talk) 14:52, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
It is true that you will find quite a lot of references to a Carthaginian Empire but only as a term of convenience. The trouble comes when people take it to mean that Carthage's rule was of the same type as that of, say, the Roman Empire. Your ref took me to a map - I would be surprised if Britanica has an article on 'Carthaginian Empire'. Hegemony is at least accurate.Dejvid (talk) 15:31, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
It does not matter whether or not it is accurate in your or my opinion. What matter are naming rules and established usage. In any case accuracy is a matter for dispute. There is no rigid definition of "empire" after all. It's just a word with quite loose application. The Holy Roman Empire, the Second Athenian Empire the German Empire and the British Empire were all very different. It does not have to resemble the Romans just because the word is Latin in origin. Paul B (talk) 15:54, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Try following up some of the links. The ones to 'Carthaginian Empire' are in general things like maps, fiction or 19th cent paintings. The links you get with hegemony are more historical treatments. I'm not though particularly wedded to the term hegemony - I'm saying that Empire is clearly wrong.Dejvid (talk) 16:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what "links" you are referring to. Are we still talking about the EB? The fact that the EB does not have a full article on the subject is completely irrelevant. Wikipedia has far more articles than the EB does. What matters is that it uses the term. If you are referring to the google links, the ones that use hegemony do not use it as a substitute for empire. They are just phrases in which the word 'hegemony' appears. Try Google books and you will also see that the term continues to be widely used. It is not "clearly wrong" just because you say so. That's not how we work. You are creating a rigid model of what "empire" should be and then saying that the Carthaginian model does not conform to it. But that's not how language works. Paul B (talk) 17:31, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
It is true that words change over time. The problem with the term empire is that it has acquired new meanings without losing the old ones. Empire today has very pejorative meaning. In the 19th Century it didn't have that and historians who started labeling maps with "Carthaginian Empire" had in mind the (in their view) well managed British Empire. Now it conjures up images of "I Claudius" and Caligula making his horse consul. The thing is, historians do not really have a consistent term for Carthage-beyond-her-Polis-territory. The article is based on the idea that we need an article on Carthage as state rather than Carthage the city. Historians, in general, use the term Carthage for both. I'd be very surprised if you can find a contemporary historian that asks the question "Was Carthage an empire?" and then answers yes. A more neutral way of making a split would be to hive off a History of Carthage page which is actually what this page currently is.Dejvid (talk) 10:51, 20 December 2008 (UTC)
Well, I hardly think that the alleged "pejorative" connotations of the term should be at issue. What matters is most common use. In practice "hegemony" over a large, dispersed set of locations is indistinguishable from "empire". Indeed the word "imperium" meant pretty much the same as "hegemony" does. As for "I Claudius", are you seriously suggesting that pop-culture should be the determinent of terminology? You don't like the word empire because stereotypes of mad emperors are "conjured up"? I agree there is too much of the history of Carthage here and too little about the expansion of its imperium/hegemony. Paul B (talk) 21:17, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
True the original meaning of imperium was pretty much the same as "hegemony". Original is very much the operative word. Empire has been acquiring meanings to such as an extent that the original meaning has been buried. The point about "I Claudius" is that Empire is now a highly POV term to be avoided unless there are good reasons to use it. The term is not generally used. Even in google books the hits tend to be 19th century books and even then are not what they first appear. eg The History of Rome: From the First Punic War to the Death of Constantine By Barthold Georg Niebuhr, Leonhard Schmitz uses the term "While Hamilcar was establishing a Carthaginian Empire in Spain". A neutral solution would be to follow other examples such as for Athens and Sparta eg History of Athens.Dejvid (talk) 23:41, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Proposed Move to Carthage (state)[edit]

First off, most (if not all) 21st century historians do not use the term Carthaginian Empire. It seems to have been more common in the 19th Century - I presume this is because they were making an analogy with the British Empire. There is something distinctly odd about referring to Carthage as an Empire when its main rival, Rome was not. Rome's rule of Sicily is notorious for being exploitative, her relations with her allies was hardly one of equality and her disregard for the land rights of the Gauls of Cisapline Gaul was on a par with the worst cases of 19th Century colonialism. The rationale for this page is that we need an article to describe Carthage the state as opposed to Carthage the city. If that is the intention, Empire is inappropriate. The only basis that Carthage could be considered an Empire is by analogy with 19th century colonial empires. A colonial Empire is not the state as whole and hence the city of Carthage would not be part of Carthage's empire. Carthage was a city state which included a hinterland round Carthage on the lines of a Greek polis. Beyond that was territory which was dependent on the Polis (ie city state) of Carthage.

Given that Empire in relation to Carthage is so little used today it makes sense to use a neutral term.Dejvid (talk) 10:51, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

"Carthaginian Empire" is a conventional term and I see nothing wrong with it. However, it may be the case that it is not too widely used anymore. I don't know. I do know that I (and certainly many others) have heard it. It is irrelevant that the whole state is sometimes called "Carthage" after its capital city. Srnec (talk) 05:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree that "Carthaginian Empire" (or "Carthaginian empire") are suitable conventional terms, but we do need to sort it out. About six months ago I merged the histories of pages that had been forked off by cut-and-paste moves evidently due to disagreements over the title and scope. I don't think "Carthage (state)" is a great alternative, since we're not talking about a "state" really. Carthage itself was a state, and eventually controlled other Phoenician settlements, but the whole of territory under the sway of Carthage was not one "state".
What Wikipedia has done in similar cases to this in the past where we need to distinguish between the ancient civilization and the unit itself, is to just add "ancient" to the title, as in Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, etc. Perhaps that's what we should do here.--Cúchullain t/c 12:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
When people use Carthaginian Empire in a conventional sense it is pretty harmless and does not imply that they see it as the same kind of political entity as the Roman Empire etc. The trouble is that on Wikipedia once you call something like Empire people start assigning it to categories as an Empire, sticking it on templates of Empires and the like. I prefer Carthaginian Republic but for reasons that are unclear to me that wasn't acceptable. Carthage (state) was my attempt at a compromise. Carthaginian hegemony and Carthaginian thalassocracy are both accurate terms but are not familiar to most users. Ancient Carthage I like a lot. It is in common usage and doesn't carry any unfortunate baggage. Dejvid (talk) 14:00, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Ancient as opposed to medieval or modern? Seems a tad unnecessary... Srnec (talk) 03:40, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry I don't understand. Why unnecessary? There is of course an article on plain Carthage. Maybe this page is simply unnecessary and we should merge this page with that or with the History of Carthage page. Ancient Carthage is reasonably accurate. Empire is, however, simply false unless Empire is defined so loosely to be meaningless.Dejvid (talk) 12:14, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there was the Roman-era Carthage, which survived into the Middle Ages (though it was greatly reduced in importance after the Islamic conquest) and is still there today, so referring to it as "ancient" is not unusual. Whatever we name it, we need an article on the Phoenician civilization that centered on Carthage that spread across the Mediterranean. I don't have a problem with "Carthaginian Empire", but Dejvid is correct that it may give the mistaken impression that there was always a monarch. As I say, my suggestion is "Ancient Carthage"; our articles on "Ancient Egypt", "Ancient Rome", etc. seem to do pretty well at covering the same types of things we need to cover for Carthage.--Cúchullain t/c 13:11, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I would prefer "ancient Carthage" since it fits with other article titles on bygone civilizations, but I fail to see how "Carthaginian Republic" was a flawed title. The article "Roman Republic" describes a city which controlled vast amounts of foreign territories (much like Carthage), yet we do not resort to calling it an "empire" until a new system of imperial government was established by Augustus.--Pericles of AthensTalk 18:12, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
My problem with "Ancient Carthage" is that, to me, "ancient" means "pre-Islamic", not "Punic". Roman rule of Carthage dates to antiquity as well, so is it not ancient? But why merge information about the Roman period into this article just accommodate a new title? "Carthaginian Republic" is just as accurate as "Carthaginian Empire", but is it more conventional, more well-known, more recognisable? If somebody tries to come along and call, say, Hannibal a "Carthaginian Emperor", we just revert it (though we may wish to subject them to a judicial beating). We cannot bow for the sake of convenience to every confused royalty/genealogy/history-of-empires-and-epoch-making-battles hobbyist. Srnec (talk) 04:34, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
I think "Carthaginian Republic" has similar problems to "Carthaginian Empire", in that the entity was not technically a republic for the whole period described, as there was initially a monarchy. I'd say it's also clearly less in use; for instance a Google Books search for "Carthaginian Empire" returns more than 6 thousand, compared to only 738 for "Carthaginian Republic".
I think when most people (and sources) use phrases like "Ancient Carthage", they're talking about pre-Roman Carthage. After Rome destroyed the city itself and took all its territory, Carthage was part of ancient Roman civilization (and later Byzantine civilization, then Islamic civilization, later Tunisia, etc), not ancient Carthaginian civilization. As another note "Ancient Carthage" returns over 15,000 hits, far more than either "Carthaginian Empire" and "Carthaginian Republic", and all of the ones I've checked describe pre-Roman Carthage. But personally I think "Carthaginian Empire" is fine, though the several years of contention over it may indicate that something needs to be done.--Cúchullain t/c 13:49, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Since the main article Carthage deals generally about the entire history of Carthage, and this article is more in tone with the Phoenician era, "Carthage (city-state)" would seem like the most appropriate name. A lot of ancient and modern sources also use the term city-state when describing Carthage and her dependencies/other allied city-states (which were completely separate in a legal sense and had their own magistrates, etc.) [2]. Lt.Specht (talk) 07:09, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
The problem is this isn't about just the city state, but all of the territory subject to the city state (the "Empire", though there wasn't always a monarch).--Cúchullain t/c 12:16, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
While this is true, I still don't really see the big problem. The only part of the article which mentions the hegemony "empire" is the lede, everything else is is about the city of Carthage, and the protectorates/dependencies it had. The current lede, saying that the dependencies of Carthage somehow constituted a unified Monarchy/Republic is completely untrue. The King/Shophet of Carthage was only the ruler of the city of Carthage. The lede could be reworked to something like -
Carthage (from Phoenician: קַרְתְּ חַדַשְתְּ, Qart-ḥadašt) was a Phoenician city-state located in North Africa on the Gulf of Tunis, the current modern day suburb outside Tunis, Tunisia. It established a hegemony over other Phoenician city-states throughout North Africa and modern Spain which lasted from about 650 BC (independence from its metropoly Tyre) until 146 BC. At the height of the city's influence, it's hegemony extended over most of the western Mediterranean. The city was in a constant state of struggle with the Roman Republic, which led to a series of conflicts known as the Punic Wars. After the third and final Punic War, Carthage was destroyed and then occupied by Roman forces. Nearly all of the other Phoenician city-states and former Carthaginian dependencies fell into Roman hands from then on.
A source I found which addresses the "empire" or a unified state question quite well is Before the European challenge: the great civilizations of Asia and the Middle East by Jaroslav Krejčí, Anna Krejčová, which explains on page 47, "Neither Tyre, the most powerful of the city states in Phoenicia proper, nor Tyre's daughter, Carthage, the dominant city on the African shore and in the Western Mediterranean, developed their hegemony into any form of unified polity. Although the Carthaginian hegemony over the Phoenician settlements in the Western Mediterranean in some ways resembled an empire, in fact the role of the city of Carthage was merely that of a leader and protector of the other Phoenician city states which enjoyed an extensive autonomy...Apparently there was some important give-and-take in that arrangement: to keep her position as protector of the other Phoenician settlements, Carthage needed more soldiers than her own people could supply, and these were hired as mercenaries from the native African population. The only area where the Carthaginians enjoyed full sovereignty was in their possessions in southern Spain, which they acquired after their first war with Rome, as a result of which they lost the hegemony over the Phoenician settlements in Sardinia and Sicily." With this said, it seems that the proposed lede changes and move are entirely appropriate, and fits best to the actual situation. An option to go into greater detail about the hegemony might be to create an article like Carthaginian hegemony, as this article's current state deals only with the Phoenician city of Carthage itself. Lt.Specht (talk) 20:16, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
The article deals with more than simply the city itself, and if it were to be expanded to a high-quality article there would be any more discussion of its colonies and hegemony over other Phoenician settlements. "Carthaginian Empire" has its problems, but "Carthage (city-state)" adds the additional problem of limiting its scope to the borders of the city. Previously I suggested the title "Ancient Carthage", which avoids getting into these kinds of specifics at all. Under that title, your rewrite of the intro would be largely fine.--Cúchullain t/c 20:59, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Errr.. I can't seem to get the page moved.... Lt.Specht (talk) 22:09, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
So I see... the move history has gotten quite convoluted. I moved it to Ancient Carthage, assuming that's what you were trying for, but if anyone has a problem with this (or any other name) I'll move it back and it can go through a requested move.--Cúchullain t/c 22:26, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I figured since the discussion has been mainly dead for awhile the page might as well be moved, and if anyone has a problem with it, it can be moved back easily for more discussion. Lt.Specht (talk) 22:31, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
It's not my first choice but I believe it is the best compromise.Dejvid (talk) 23:22, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The current title is pretty much inaccurate. "Ancient Carthage" and "Carthage" mean the same thing in this context, yet Carthage is about the city and Ancient Carthage is about the empire. Neither of these titles make sense. Since "Carthage" can refer to two different articles (as can "Ancient Carthage") neither article should possess the title per WP:Precision. Carthage should be moved to Carthage (city). This article, on the other hand, is more complicated. I think Carthaginian Empire would be very suitable. It's widely used, widely known and it clearly fits the definition of an empire. I don't think there's any disagreement there. The only other acceptable option I could think of would be Carthaginian Republic, though I'm more hesitant to support this because it could just as well refer to the city as the empire. I think Carthaginian Empire is more than appropriate, but if anyone feels strongly about it "Republic" would be adequate. A really good step would be to split the article on Carthage into Carthage (city) for the modern city, Ancient Carthage for the city in antiquity, and Carthaginian Empire (or republic) for the territorial empire possessed by the ancient city. I will not get my hopes up for someone else to do it, but it might be worth doing down the road. Swarm X 16:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

It's the same with Ancient Rome and Rome. "Rome" talks about the city while "Ancient Rome" talks about the civilization. At the end of the day we want one article on the city and one on the wider civilization under the control/influence of the city during until the Third Punic War. I think this title is pretty good; we're unlikely to do much better.--Cúchullain t/c 18:00, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's not really the same. "Ancient Rome" would also be a bad title if the phrase wasn't so widely used to refer to Roman civilization in general. 'Ancient Rome' often refers to the republic and empire in everyday usage. "Ancient Carthage" really doesn't. It would be better to use more common terms, such as Carthaginian Empire or Carthaginian Republic (technically inaccurate as they may be, conventional terms are commonly used to describe historical entities). However if people feel strongly about not using these terms, "Carthaginian civilization" or "Carthage (civilization)" would probably work better, being accurate, descriptive and uncontroversial. If we can't decide to use a conventional term, we should use descriptive terms. "Ancient Carthage" may refer to the city, but "Carthage (civilization)" leaves no room whatsoever for interpretation. That would be a good thing. Swarm X 19:56, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Well first, that particularly problem is certainly the same; "Ancient Rome" is used to refer to the city as well as the civilization. For instance these books on "ancient Rome" are about the city itself.[3][4][5] But more importantly, the colonies outside the city of Carthage are only one part of the titling issue here: "Ancient Carthage" distinguishes it from "Roman Carthage" and modern Carthage. I didn't have a problem with "Carthagenian Empire" before, but others did, and at any rate I don't think it's a better title than "Ancient Carthage".--Cúchullain t/c 20:57, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
You're right, "Ancient Carthage" actually presents a larger problem than "Ancient Rome does" because "Ancient Carthage" is distinguished from "Roman" and "Modern" Carthage. I did provide several alternative suggestions to "empire". Swarm X 16:08, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

BC V BCE[edit]

I noticed that most of the article used BC except for the lead which used BCE. Has been edited to reflect most common usage. (talk) 19:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Rename to Carthaginian Empire[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Jenks24 (talk) 11:40, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

Ancient CarthageCarthaginian Empire – Following the previous discussion in 2008, there was no consensus on renaming the article, though an alternative was made to make this article named "Carthaginian Empire", in order to distinguish from Carthage city (existing both in ancient and modern times). Please vote your opinion on this.Greyshark09 (talk) 22:48, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Support; this seems reasonable to me. "Carthaginian Empire" is a more descriptive name. Also, when sources use "ancient", it's usually lower-case - an adjective, not a proper name. bobrayner (talk) 02:15, 28 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose Well, we have both Ancient Rome and Roman Empire, but reading over the Government section of this article, I think it's wrong to call this state an empire. Greeks and Romans may have called the Carthaginian leaders kings, but they were elected for certain terms within the framework of a republic. So I have concerns about the factual accuracy of the proposed title. It's used today sure enough, but I can't help think it stems from Roman propaganda that has lasted throughout the centuries. Turning to the numbers game, the current title beats the proposed title 58,300 to 38,700; in Scholar, it's 1,270 to 573; in Books, it's 26,900 to to 10,200. --BDD (talk) 17:39, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This article is primarily about a civilisation rather than an empire. Andrewa (talk) 01:01, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Carthage was not ruled by emperors, not an empire. "Ancient Carthage" is not ideal, but it works well enough for the polity. Otherwise "Carthaginian Republic". But definitely not "Empire". Walrasiad (talk) 10:16, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


Sardinia and Corsica never been entirely colonized by carthagians, about Sardinia only few coastal areas have been interested by settlements, almost exclusively on the extreme south west of the island! Modify the map, please! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Ancient Carthage Portal[edit]

Suggest Portal:Carthaginian Republic, before Rome.--Lagoset (talk) 18:54, 20 July 2014 (UTC)


In the article appears that the ancient name for Carthage was Qart-ḥadašt, but this should be the name of Cartagena city, currently in Spain, as it means "New City". Is the name correct? -Theklan (talk) 12:19, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Carthage was a colony of the Phoenician city of Tyre, and thus was a "New City" before Cartagena. See Apuleius and Africa by Benjamin Todd Lee, ‎Ellen Finkelpearl, and ‎Luca Graverini [6] Carlstak (talk) 19:36, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

clearly some bad editorial choices have been made[edit]

Carthage, Ancient Carthage, History of Carthage, History of Punic-era Tunisia: chronology? All these are articles with significant topical overlap, content duplication, poor maintenance, and limited mutual awareness between whoever has been developing them. I am not sure how this could happen, but it is certainly among the worse cases of WP:CFORK I have come across.

I suppose the first comment on this talkpage, "Why this page exists: Tho it was definately not a traditonal model, there was definately a Carthaginian Empire", speaks volumes about the level of editorial expertise that has gone into this. But why has this been allowed to go on festering since 2007? --dab (𒁳) 07:55, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I support History of Punic-era Tunisia: chronology and Ancient Carthage being merged with History of Carthage. Kashta (talk) 14:13, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
I also support merging "History of Punic-era Tunisia: chronology" and "Ancient Carthage" with "History of Carthage". I think I'm up to the task of rewriting the material, as I've recently rewritten the entire text of History of Lisbon with references, incorporating the scant material there previously, except for the very last section, "21st Century", which I'm working on now.
This "History of Carthage" project will be much easier, as I won't have to create the entire text, and many of the refs have already been found. If editors can be patient, I will complete the work, then do some bold editing, as long as no one objects. I am open to suggestions. Carlstak (talk) 01:45, 19 January 2015 (UTC)