According to Greek historians, Elissa (Dido), an exiled queen of Tyre,
Its port became a center of commerce and naval power.
A later king, Mago I, established a powerful military, which expanded the Carthaginian empire
throughout the Mediterranean region. He invaded Sicily
and allied with the Etruscans against the
Greeks. The alliance ended when Rome expelled its Etruscan
The first Punic War (264-241 BC) resulted in the expansion of Roman territory. It mainly was
fought for control of Sicily, particularly the former Greek colony at Syracuse.
The Roman triumph encouraged Carthaginian cities on Sicily to side with Rome and Carthage dispatched
troops to battle Rome. This war also caused Rome to build a strong
navy to counter Carthaginian superiority. They overcame a fleet near Carthage in 256 BC at
Cape Ecnomus. A peace treaty in 241 BC ended the war.
During the second Punic War (218-201 BC) Hannibal, a highly
successful general, led a large army and an elephant troop across the Rhône River
and over the Alps.
He defeated several Roman armies in the battles of Trebia
and Lake Trasimene. His greatest feat was a decisive slaughter of a Roman
army in the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC
(see battle plan).
Hasdrubal II, Hannibal's brother, simultaneously contended with
Roman forces in Hispania and Rome fought its first Macedonian
war with Carthage's ally, King Philip V. Hasbrubal and two other generals
lost to Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and
withdrew their forces from Hispania, so as to aid Hannibal in defense of Carthage. However, Carthage sued for peace after
Scipio Africanus destroyed Carthaginian forces at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC.
Hannibal escaped to Gebze in modern
Turkey, where he later committed suicide at his
The third Punic War (149-146 BC) resulted from Rome's refusal to stop Numidian encroachments on Carthage. Rome
then attacked Carthage because the city used troops to fight the Numidians. In 149 BC Rome
sacked and destroyed Carthage;
only 55,000 people survived and became slaves to Rome.