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Carthage archaeological site
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Carthage Antoninus-Pius-Thermen.JPG
Ruins of the Antoninus Pius Baths
National territory: TunisiaTunisia Tunisia
Type: Culture
Criteria : (ii) (iii) (vi)
Surface: 616.02 ha
Reference No .: 37
UNESCO region : Arabic states
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1979  ( session 3 )
Carthage (Tunisia)

Coordinates: 36 ° 51 ′ 10 ″  N , 10 ° 19 ′ 24 ″  E

Animation of the city of Carthage

Carthage ( Latin mostly Carthage , more rarely Carthage , ancient Greek Καρχηδών Karchēdṓn , Etruscan Karθazie ; from the Phoenician-Punic ??????? Qart-Ḥadašt "new city", meaning: "new Tire ") was a large city in North Africa near present-day Tunis in Tunisia . In ancient times, Carthage was initially the capital of the sea and trading power of the same name. The inhabitants of Carthage were referred to as Punians (derived from Phoenicians ) by the Romans . After the destruction of Carthage by the Romans, the Carthaginian Empire fell in the 2nd century BC. In the Roman Empire ; Carthage was re-founded under Gaius Iulius Caesar and soon rose again to become an important city. Only with the end of antiquity came the end of the importance of the place.

Today Carthage ( Arabic قرطاج Qartādsch , DMG Qarṭāǧ ) a suburb of Tunis. TheCarthage archaeological site was added to the World Heritage List in 1979 and is a tourist attraction.


Carthage is located on the African Mediterranean coast around ten kilometers east of present-day Tunis in northern Tunisia. Carthage was on the most important Phoenician trade route between the Levant and Gibraltar . Its location on the Strait of Sicily allowed it to control maritime trade in the Mediterranean. This was a major reason for the city's economic and military dominance. At the same time there was a connection from Sicily to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the northern Mediterranean area .

The city itself lay on a peninsula bordered by the Gulf of Tunis to the east, the Sebkhet Ariana lagoon to the north and the Lake of Tunis to the south . The location was strategically favorable because it made it easy to defend the city on the land side. The Byrsa -Hügel was the center of both the Punic and Roman Carthage. North of the actual city area, but still within the city walls, was the agricultural area of ​​Megara in ancient times.


Historical map (around 1888)

This section covers the history of the city ​​of Carthage.


Carthage was founded in the 9th or 8th century BC. Founded by Phoenician settlers from Tire . In contrast to the older colony Utica ("Old (City)") they called the city "New City", Qart-Hadašt . Dionysius of Halicarnassus dates the founding of Carthage to the year 814 BC. The oldest archaeological finds can be traced back to the second half of the eighth century BC. To date.

Only the historian Junianus Justinus names the founding of Carthage in connection with “ Elissa ” (Dido among the Romans), Punic “'Išt”. Elissa is said to have been the daughter of Mutto, King of Tire . While fleeing from persecution by her brother Pumjaton , she came to the Gulf of Tunis via Cyprus . The local chief promised her as much land as she could encompass with a cow skin . Elissa then cut the cowhide into thin strips, put them together and was able to mark a large piece of land. This coastal strip formed the Byrsa , the nucleus of Carthage. After the founding of Carthage, Elissa sacrificed herself on a stake to guarantee the city's prosperity.

The name "'Išt" (Elissa) is attested several times in Punic onomastics , although its meaning "the active one" has not been clarified with certainty and that a woman led such a far-reaching expedition does not correspond to the circumstances at that time and is therefore not very credible. The existence of an "Elissa cult " is also controversial . The previous escape also has legendary features. Further details of the story are based on Greek folk etymology . All in all, the " Justinus source " is therefore to be assessed as not very reliable. There is no reliable evidence for the founding of Carthage. A modified form of this legend can be found in Virgil's Aeneid .

Punic time

Location of Carthage and Carthaginian sphere of influence
around 264 BC Chr.

For the first two centuries of its existence, Carthage was dependent on its mother city, Tire; that is, it constantly paid taxes to the mother city. When the Phoenician motherland in 539 BC Was conquered by the Persians , Carthage broke away from Tyrian influence. In the following years it developed into an important sea and trading power and founded colonies in Sicily , Sardinia , Corsica , the Balearic Islands , on the North African coast and on the southern Mediterranean coast of Spain . The long-lasting conflicts during the Persian Wars of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. BC, which Carthage as a Persian ally with the Greek colonies , especially Syracuse and, since its foundation, also with Nikaia ( Nice ), did not detract from its rise. During this time Carthage was exposed to a strong influence of the Greek culture, but allied with the Etruscans and Persians. During the Persian Wars, two events of historical importance in the western Mediterranean mirror those in the eastern:

The city prospered with the boom in sea trade. In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC Carthage had become the richest city in the Mediterranean region . 400,000 people lived in it, another 100,000 lived in the adjacent agricultural area of ​​the Megara.

The three Punic Wars against the emerging Rome ultimately led to the decline of Carthage. The second of these wars, however, led to a serious threat to Rome itself through the Carthaginian general Hannibal .

Roman time

Carthage ruins
( Antoninus Pius Thermen )
Amphitheater (2006)

After three years of siege, the Romans under Scipio Aemilianus conquered Carthage in 146 BC. At the end of the Third Punic War . Hasdrubal's defenders offered fierce resistance. During the six-day conquest, the Roman troops looted and destroyed a large part of the city by setting fire to it. 50,000 of the surviving residents then surrendered to the Romans and were sold into slavery . According to the famous demand of the older Cato - mostly reproduced as Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ("By the way, I mean that Carthage must be destroyed") - the rest of the city including the castle (Byrsa) was then systematically down to the foundation walls looped. The legend that salt was strewn on Carthage's soil to make the area sterile, on the other hand, dates from the 19th century and is not proven by ancient sources. However, the urban area lay fallow for a century. The cultural achievements were also eliminated in the destruction. Documents that had not been destroyed were given to allied Numidian princes. Only the work on agriculture in the Mago was translated into Latin by order of the Roman Senate and may have been partially used in later Roman descriptions of agriculture.

In 122 BC During the course of his social policy, the reformer Gaius Sempronius Gracchus tried to re-establish Carthage as Colonia Junonia Carthago . However, he met resistance from the Senate . After Gracchus' violent death, the project was abandoned again. After all, it was Julius Caesar to whom Carthage owed its resurrection. After his victory over Pompey in 46 BC. Caesar decided to have Carthage rebuilt. This project was only realized under Augustus , the 29 BC. Chr. 3000 settlers settled in Carthage. The city was now called Colonia Iulia Concordia Carthago . Large parts of the remains of the building that had remained in the ground up to that point were irretrievably destroyed, in particular due to the removal of the Byrsa hill.

The Roman governor, the senatorial proconsul of the province of Africa Proconsularis , resided in Carthage ; this post was also one of the most prestigious in the entire empire during the imperial era . There was a rapid upswing, particularly due to the trade in grain and pottery. In the 2nd century AD Carthage was the fourth largest city of the Roman Empire after Rome , Alexandria and Antioch with over 300,000 inhabitants . In 238 the proconsul was proclaimed by rebels as Gordian I to be the counter-emperor - the revolt was put down, but marked the beginning of the end for Emperor Maximinus Thrax .

Carthage was the center of early Christianity in North Africa. As early as the 2nd century there was a large Christian community in Carthage; Due to its size, the city was the most important bishopric in the western half of the empire alongside Rome. The files of the Scilitan martyrs who were executed in Carthage in 180 are the oldest Christian document in Latin. In 203 Saints Felicitas and Perpetua died in the arena of Carthage. Important church fathers such as Tertullian and Cyprian worked in Carthage and shaped Christian literature in Latin . In his time as bishop (248-258), Cyprian was able to establish the Christian community of Carthage through numerous synods of African bishops as the leading community in the province of Africa , whose authority also radiated to Spain, Gaul and Italy. He even rivaled the Bishop of Rome, but was ultimately unable to prevail against him. At the same time, the persecution of Christians increased: Cyprian, who had fled from persecutors in 250, demonstratively died a martyr's death in 258 .

Late antiquity and Islamic expansion

In the 4th century Carthage lost some of its importance, but remained a flourishing metropolis, as Africa continued to be the most important grain supplier to the city of Rome. Towards the end of the 4th century, the church father Augustine of Hippo studied in Carthage. The commander of the Roman troops there, the comes Africae , held an important position of power, as he was able to put Italy under pressure by controlling the grain supply. One after the other in the years around 400 the comites Gildo , Heraclianus and Bonifatius rose up against the Western Roman government in Carthage. It was this strategic as well as economic importance of the city that aroused the desires of Germanic military leaders. While the two Visigothic leaders Alarich and Athaulf failed in their attempts to cross over to Africa , Geiseric finally succeeded.

In 439 Carthage was conquered by the warriors' association of the Vandals , which under his rex Geiserich had already crossed from Spain to North Africa in 429 during the so-called migration of peoples and had finally conquered all of Africa . There is no evidence of major destruction in connection with the conquest by the Vandals in Carthage; the high school also remained. Geiseric used the rich area as a supply base for his men, threatened many areas of western Rome from here and tried repeatedly to blackmail the imperial government in Italy. A large-scale attempt by western and eastern Roman troops to recapture the area failed in 468. In 474, Emperor Zenon Geiseric recognized the rule of Africa , even if the area formally remained part of the Roman Empire . Carthage was the capital of the Vandal Empire until it was conquered by Eastern Roman troops under the general Belisarius in 533/534 .

In the period that followed, Carthage was the seat of an Eastern Roman governor, its own Praetorian prefect and an army master and the seat of the administration for imperial North Africa, which was then reorganized as the exarchate of Carthage under Emperor Maurikios around 590 . The North African Church also achieved the renewal of its old privileges as early as 535, and Emperor Justinian established nine professorships in 534: five for medicine and two each for Latin rhetoric and grammar. Carthage's heyday was over, however, a certain rebloom can be observed around 600: Many buildings in the center were renewed and renovated, while at the same time the populated urban area shrank. Emperor Herakleios (610-641) had come to power through a coup by his father , the exarch of Carthage, against Phocas and briefly considered moving the capital of the empire to Carthage because of the threat to Constantinople from the Persian Sassanids and the Avars .

An important archaeological find is the late antique treasure of Carthage .

From 647 onwards, the Arabs also advanced into North Africa as part of the Islamic expansion . The renegade imperial exarch Gregory , cut off from supplies from the motherland, succumbed after a brief resistance to the superior power of the Arabs, who soon founded the province of Ifrīqiya with the capital Kairouan . The heavily fortified Carthage did not finally fall to the attackers until 698 after the Byzantine defeat in the Battle of Carthage and was destroyed by the Arabs. This ended the late antiquity for Africa . From then on, the nearby city of Tunis took on the role of an administrative center. For centuries, the ruins of Carthage served as a quarry for the buildings in Tunis, Kairouan, Sousse and other Arab cities.

Political system of Carthage in the Punic period


The knowledge about the constitution of Carthage is based next to the Punic epigraphy on the ancient authors Aristotle , Polybios , Diodor , Livius and Justinus . Aristotle studied in his political philosophy work policy various existing forms of government, including the Carthaginian. Aristotle compares the Carthage constitution to that of Sparta and expresses both praise and criticism of the Carthaginian state structure. One problem with the reconstruction of the Carthaginian state constitution is that the Carthaginian state offices are often inaccurately designated in the Latin and Greek sources.

At first, kings were at the head of the Carthaginian state , following the example of the mother city of Tire. Later on, the Carthaginian state was an oligarchy with democratic elements, similar to the Roman Republic .

At the head of the Carthaginian community stood two sufets , called "kings" by Roman and Greek authors, who were re-elected every year. Their role corresponded roughly to that of the consuls of Rome or the Doges of Venice. They headed the magistrate , to which other offices belonged, such as the office of the “great” (Punic rab , possibly responsible for state finances) and their own general office. The most important political body was the Senate , which had to decide on political questions. It was chaired by a committee of 30 senators. An additionally elected judges' tribunal consisted of 100 senators and acted as the highest court. There was also a people's assembly in which all citizens were entitled to vote.


The city-state of Carthage ruled a large empire in the western Mediterranean. The inhabitants of Carthage granted the conquered areas a relatively large amount of autonomy and limited themselves to the administration, the collection of taxes and the recruiting of armed forces. The Carthaginian-controlled areas were divided into administrative districts, which were controlled by officials. Old Phoenician foundations such as Utica and Greek colonies in Sicily were allowed to retain their local administrations.


The Carthaginian army originally consisted of the citizens of the city itself. With the expansion of the Carthaginian state, ever larger proportions of troops from the subjugated peoples or allies and finally mercenaries were added. Mainly fighters were recruited from the Numidians , Iberians , Libyans , Elymians and Sicelians , as well as Sardinians , Italians , Celts and Greeks .

The different peoples were used by the Carthaginians according to their typical fighting style. Good examples here are the Numidians, who served as light cavalry , and the inhabitants of the Balearic Islands, who made excellent slingers. The respective contingents were commanded by Carthaginian officers, but sometimes remained under the command of their own leaders.

The Carthaginians themselves served for the most part in the fleet , but there were also land troops that consisted of Carthaginians themselves. The core unit of these associations was the so-called " Holy Band ", an elite force of 2,500 men, which presumably also served as a kind of officers' school, from which the military leaders of the non-Carthaginian units were then recruited. In addition to this unit, there were also other Carthaginian land troops in not inconsiderable numbers. Only in the Second Punic War in Hannibal's army did the units of allies and mercenaries predominate .


In the Carthaginian army there was a kind of army assembly, similar to but different from the army assembly of the Macedonians . At the death of their general, such an army assembly elected the successor from among the officers . The election only became final if the popular assembly in Carthage confirmed it.

The Carthaginian generals and senior officers came from the city's leading families and repeatedly formed regular military dynasties in which the sons also became generals . Usually commanders were elected by the people's assembly. The attitude of the Carthaginian state towards its generals was ambivalent. After defeat or failure it happened that the general was executed . There was also a significantly stronger control of the state over the military than in other comparable states of the time. After the end of a campaign, the high officers had to give strict account to the council of one hundred and four. During the time of the campaign itself, however, the general was deprived of any normal rights and was allowed to act freely.

The respective commander-in-chief could appoint the subordinate commanders and lower officers at will . With foreign units, especially with those of allies, the ordinary officers were almost always from the ranks of these peoples themselves.

For a long time the army of Carthage was characterized by a certain backwardness. In the wars in Sicily, for example, chariots were still used for a long time when they had long since ceased to be used anywhere else. The armament and organization always seem backward. What is striking here is the high number of epidemics that have struck Carthaginian armies for a long time, which raises questions about camp organization and hygiene. The land army only modernized itself in the battles against Pyrrhus . The famous Carthaginian war elephants were only introduced around this time.

The core of the Carthaginian army was consistently the phalanx based on the Greek model. The phalanx was modernized at the time of the First Punic War by Greek military advisors who, as mercenaries, reorganized the armed forces based on the models of the Diadochian empires. In the war against the Romans, however, the phalanx was increasingly supplemented with light troops until it was perhaps even abandoned in the Second Punic War .


The Carthaginian cavalry also only became significant in the aftermath of the First Punic War, before that it played only a minor role in the armies of Carthage. Increasingly larger units of Numidian and Iberian cavalry were deployed by the Barkids . It was not until the Second Punic War that the Carthaginian cavalry became a major military force.


The Carthage Navy consisted of a considerable number of war galleys . The ships themselves were always up to date and the Carthaginians also developed their own new types of ships. In the beginning, the trireme was the standard warship with three levels of rudder and one man at each rudder, then the Carthaginians developed the quadrireme as a new type of ship. The number of rudder levels was reduced to two again and two men were employed at each oar. Likewise, the quinquereme developed by the Greeks was very quickly adopted and improved in Carthage.

A typical Carthaginian warship was between 35 m and 45 m long and 5 m to 6 m wide. The crew of a Carthaginian quinquereme was about 300 men. The Carthaginians relied heavily on ramming enemy ships in battle at sea and therefore used fewer marines on deck, which made the ships faster due to the lower load, but also more susceptible to boarding .

The Carthaginians used the dry docks invented by the Phoenicians and pulled the ships into special ship sheds in the well-known circular war port in Carthage. From the number of berths available there, one can deduce a fleet of around 350 warships for the wedding of Carthage, which consequently would have required a crew of around 100,000 men. With the expansion of the Carthaginian state along the coasts, the fleet had to grow larger and larger over time, which withdrew more and more citizens from the army in order to operate the ships.

A specialty of Carthaginian shipbuilding was the mass production of ships within a short period of time, which was possible through the use of prefabricated parts and a standardization of these parts. The Romans took over this design feature from the Carthaginians and were also able to set up large fleets in a short time.



The Punians were excellent seafarers. It is therefore not surprising that maritime trade played a central role in the Carthage economy. Located at the crossroads of the trade routes between the eastern and western and the northern and southern Mediterranean , Carthage was also one of the main transshipment points for foreign goods.

The main commercial interest of the Carthaginians was the acquisition of metal. They mainly imported silver from southern Spain, where there were high-yield mines near the city of Carthago Nova (today Cartagena ), as well as from Sardinia and Etruria . Gold likely came from West Africa through direct or indirect trade . The demand for less valuable metals such as copper and iron could probably be covered by domestic deposits in North Africa. The tin necessary for bronze production was imported across the Atlantic coast from Galicia or from southern Spain. Under the sailor Himilkon , the Carthaginians even undertook an expedition to Britain in order to develop the tin deposits there.


North Africa was an agriculturally very productive area in ancient times , and recent research emphasizes that agriculture, along with trade, played an important role early on. Possibly those in the upper class who belonged more to a merchant aristocracy competed with the big landowners. In Roman times, the province of Africa was considered to be a “ granary of Rome” alongside Egypt until late antiquity ; the area was still partly forested at that time and therefore held the crust . The Punians had developed advanced agricultural techniques early on. The Carthaginian writer Mago wrote in the early 2nd century BC An agrarian encyclopedia that has not survived, but was often quoted by Roman authors. In Byzacena , an area that roughly corresponds to today's Tunisian Sahel , and in the Medjerda Valley, the Punians achieved excellent harvests. In addition to wheat , olive trees , grapevines , fig trees and date palms were cultivated intensively .

The fishing was a lucrative industry. Tuna have been caught off the coast of Carthage . Above all, however, fishing was carried out off the Atlantic coast of Spain and today's Morocco , from where the salted fish was exported to Carthage and in the form of garum to other places in the Mediterranean.


The production of products in the city of Carthage consisted mainly of weaving and dyeing works , as well as factories for ceramic production . Apart from textiles , the products were not exported, but were primarily aimed at the domestic market. Another important branch of the economy was shipbuilding . The wood required for this could be obtained from the oak and pine forests still in the area around Carthage at that time . Using the additive lime , high-quality iron was produced in a multi-stage process . In general, metallurgy was so advanced that only further detailed studies will provide insights into the causal relationships of the power of the Carthaginian Empire. Bronze was made from tin and copper and processed into vessels and other objects. Arms production flourished, especially in times of war.


Bronze coin Carthage, head of the Tanit, late 4th century BC Chr.
Reverse side of the coin, horse in front of palm tree

The first Carthaginian coins did not begin until after the Carthaginian invasion of Sicily (around 410 BC), where the Carthaginians came to appreciate the already highly developed Greek coinage . The first Carthaginian coins were therefore made in Sicily. These Siculo-Punic coins were therefore strongly based on Greek models. From the middle of the 4th century BC The head of the Tanit dominates the obverse of the coins and a standing horse on the lapel, occasionally with a palm tree in the background. From Hamilcar and his descendants for the Spanish possessions from approx. 237/234 BC. Minted own coins.



Grave stele with Tanit symbol on the tophet

At first , Astarte and Melkart were worshiped as main gods in Carthage, as is customary in the Phoenician motherland . From the 5th century BC BC Tanit and Baal-Hammon developed into the main gods of Carthage. Tanit was venerated as the patron saint of the city, her husband Baal Hammon was considered the god of fertility. Another important deity in the Carthaginian pantheon was Eschmun . Foreign cults such as that of the Egyptian goddess Isis were also practiced in Carthage.

It is believed that the Carthaginians practiced human sacrifice . Ancient authors such as Diodor and Plutarch report that children, mainly firstborns from wealthy families, were placed in the arms of a Moloch statue and then dropped into a fire by a mechanism. The written tradition is supported by finds of bones from small children on the Tofet of Carthage. The interpretation as human sacrifice is best known through Gustave Flaubert's novel Salammbô (1862), but it is controversial - it is possible that stillborn children were cremated and children who died very early.


Bearded head pendant, 4th / 3rd cent. Century BC Chr.

Punic art was initially based on its Phoenician predecessors. The Carthaginians were exposed to Greek influence early on via the Greek colonies in Sicily . From the 4th century BC The influence of Hellenism was particularly strong.

The numerically most represented examples of Punic art are the votive monuments from the burial precincts (Tofets). From the 5th century BC High limestone steles adorned with reliefs appear. The most common motif is the Tanit symbol and the half-moon disc. Representations of people or animals are also less common.

Language and literature

The inhabitants of Carthage spoke Punic , a variant of the Phoenician language. Punic belongs to the Semitic languages and is related to Hebrew . The Punic script is an italic variant of the Phoenician alphabet and was in use until the 1st century AD.

The majority of the Punic language has been passed down only through inscriptions, almost all of which have a religious content. Mostly it concerns dedications on memorial stones or gravestones on the places of worship or necropolis. The inscriptions are usually short and formulaic. One of the few texts with a non-sacral character is an inscription from Carthage dealing with the inauguration of a street or a gate (the translation of the Punic term is not certain). Shorter inscriptions can be found on ceramic fragments or pieces of jewelry.

The literature of the Punians, the existence of which is confirmed by ancient authors, has not survived. The library of Carthage was built during the destruction of the city in 146 BC. Destroyed. The Periplus of Hanno , the report on a sea voyage along the African west coast, in a Greek handed translation. The writer Mago wrote in the 2nd century BC An important work on agriculture , which has not survived, but is quoted by Roman authors. Short Punic passages appear only in Plautus ' comedy Poenulus .

The Punic, Roman and Modern Carthage

The Punic Carthage

Ruins of Punic houses on Byrsa Hill
Grave steles on the Tophet

Knowledge of Carthage from the Punic era is quite limited, as only a few remains from this period have been preserved due to the destruction of the city in the Third Punic War . It is believed that the city had a settlement area of ​​more than 240 hectares and an extension of 800 m along the coastline. The population of Carthage is estimated at 400,000. The road network of Carthage was laid out at right angles. The city was protected by fortifications on both land and sea. The 13 m high and 40 km long wall enclosed a larger area, which also included the agricultural area of ​​Megara. During excavations, the foundations of a sea wall were uncovered.

The center of Punic Carthage was the Byrsa Hill, the Acropolis of Carthage. It is believed that there was a citadel and a large temple of Eschmun here. However, since the hill was leveled by the Roman building activity, this cannot be proven. A Punic residential area has been excavated on the south-eastern flank of the hill. The adobe houses built on stone foundations were multi-story (the historian Appianus reports six-story houses) and were built around an inner courtyard. They had mosaic floors , bathing pools and underground cisterns to collect rainwater. Another surviving Punic residential area is that from the 3rd century BC. So-called Magonidenviertel ( Quartier Magon ) near the bank , originating in the 4th century BC .

The port facility, which consisted of a trading port and a naval port, was located on the coast. The commercial port was a 456 x 356 m rectangular basin that was connected to the open sea by a canal. A second canal connected the commercial port with the naval port or Kothon , a round basin with a diameter of 325 m. It offered space for 220 warships. In the middle of the war port was an artificial island with the admiralty building. The harbor basins have been preserved to this day.

Ancient authors such as Appianus mention a central square ( agora ) and public buildings not far from the port , which, however, have not been archaeologically proven.

The holiest place in Punic Carthage was the tophet, a burial and cult site and the place where, according to legend, Elissa is said to have landed. During excavations, twelve layers of graves were uncovered, dating from the 8th century BC. . Until the early Christian period ranging AD, and found more than 1,500 inscribed with religious symbols decorated steles . First Baal-Hammon, later the city goddess Tanit, was worshiped on the Tophet .

The Roman Carthage

Ancient Carthage Plan
Mosaic in a Roman archaeological site in Carthage (Roman Villas)

The topography of Roman Carthage, which was rebuilt around a century after the destruction of the Punic metropolis, is similar to that of the Punic period. The Forum and Capitol were on Byrsa Hill. The city was expanded to include a residential area and a new port.

One of the most magnificent Roman buildings in Carthage was the Antoninus Pius Baths , which were completed in 162 . The bathhouse was located directly on the sea and, with an extension of approx. 200 m, was the largest thermal baths outside of Rome. The building survived the Arab conquest and was only destroyed in the 11th century when the nomadic tribe of the Banū Hilāl invaded . Today the ruins are one of Carthage's most important attractions.

In the vicinity of the Antoninus-Pius-Thermen was the Magonviertel, in which the German Archaeological Institute dug. Nearby were the Roman theater and the Gallienus Baths , where the Carthage Religious Discussion was held in 411 . Inland are the now poorly preserved amphitheater of Carthage, which once held 50,000 spectators, and the cisterns of La Malga, which ensured the city's drinking water supply. In the northern part of Carthage there was a nine- aisled early Christian basilica from the 5th century.

The modern Carthage

Of date palms lined coastal road in Carthage overlooking the Mediterranean

Today Carthage is a posh villa suburb of Tunis , the location of the largest university in the country and the location of the Tunisian presidential palace .

The Cathedral of St. Louis sits enthroned on the Byrsa Hill . The cathedral was built by the French colonial rulers in 1890 on the site of the tomb of Louis IX. was accepted. He died in Carthage in 1270 during the seventh crusade . Until 1965, the largest church in North Africa was the seat of the Archbishop of Carthage, today it serves as a cultural center. The National Archaeological Museum is located in the former monastery next to the cathedral.

The TGM electric high-speed train connects Carthage with downtown Tunis. Tunis-Carthage Airport is located west of Carthage, on the north bank of the Lake of Tunis . To the north of Carthage are the suburbs of Sidi Bou Saïd , La Marsa and Gammarth on the Mediterranean coast.

The Carthage excavations are one of the most important tourist attractions in Tunisia. Most tour operators offer day trips from the seaside resorts on the Mediterranean coast to Tunis, Carthage and Sidi Bou Said.


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  • Christophe Hugoniot: Rome en Afrique. De la chute de Carthage aux débuts de la conquête arabe. Flammarion, Paris 2000 (Champs Université. Histoire), ISBN 2-08-083003-1 .
  • Werner Huss : Carthage. Beck, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-39825-1 .
  • Richard Miles: Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization. London [u. a.] 2010, ISBN 0-7139-9793-1 .
  • Hans Georg Niemeyer (ed.): Karthago. The results of the Hamburg excavation under the Decumanus Maximus . Volume 1–2, Zabern, Mainz 2007, ISBN 978-3-8053-3684-0 .
  • Sabine Peters (Red.): Hannibal ad portas. Power and wealth of Carthage . Accompanying volume for the large special exhibition in Karlsruhe. Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe , Karlsruhe 2004, ISBN 3-937345-00-0 (also published by Theiss, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-8062-1892-7 and Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, ISBN 3-534-18193-X )
  • Friedrich Rakob (ed.): The German excavations in Carthage . Volume 1–3, Zabern, Mainz 1991–1999, ISBN 3-8053-0985-6 .
  • Jürgen Suess et al: Carthage. Power and wealth of the ancient great power . MediaCultura, Brühl 2004, ISBN 3-00-014215-0 . (CD-ROM)
  • Martina Trapp: Presentation of Cartagian history in German historical studies and in school books from the middle of the 19th century to the end of National Socialism. Research on the history of reception. Dissertation at the University of Regensburg, 2003 ( PDF , 219 pages, 1.6 MB)

Web links

Commons : Carthage  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Carthage  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gertraud Breyer: Etruscan language in Latin excluding the specifically onomastic area . Peeters, Löwen 1993, p. 452.
  2. ^ Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum . Pars Prima, Inscriptiones Phœnicias Continens, Tomus I. E Republicæ Typographeo, Parisiis 1881, p. 25 ( digitized version  - Internet Archive ).
  3. a b Werner Huss: History of the Carthaginians (Department 3, Part 8) . Beck, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-406-30654-3 , pp. 41-42.
  4. ^ Szaivert / Sear, Greek coin catalog, Volume 2, Munich 1983, pp. 324 to 336
  5. Selma Abdelhamid: Carthage. The metropolis “surrounded by ports”. In: Michaela Reinfeld (Ed.): Archeology in the Mediterranean. In search of sunken shipwrecks and forgotten ports. Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2013, ISBN 978-3-8053-4675-7 , 148–158.