Carthage (Latin: Carthago or Karthago, Ancient Greek: Καρχηδών Karkhēdōn, Arabic: قرطاج Qarṭāj, Berber: ⴽⴰⵔⵜⴰⵊⴻⵏ Kartajen, Hebrew: קרתגו kartago, from the Phoenician Qart-ḥadašt קַרְתְּ חַדַשְתְּ meaning New City, implying it was a ‘new Tyre’) is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC which has given place to the current suburb outside Tunis, Tunisia, with a population (2004 Census) of 20,715.
The first civilization that developed within the city’s sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word “Phoenician”) or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis. According to Roman legend it was founded in 814 BC by Phoenician colonists from Tyre under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido). It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other’s homeland. Hannibal’s invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy; however, Carthage emerged from the conflict at its historical weakest after Hannibal’s defeat at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. After the Third Punic War, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became the Empire’s third most important city and the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until the Muslim conquest when it was destroyed a second time in 698 AD.