- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Pottery
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Augustus - Facing Portrait
Bronze Disease
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Holy Land Antiquities
Horse Harnesses
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Medusa Coins
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew Script Styles
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Coin Legends and Inscriptions
Roman Keys
Roman Locks
Roman Militaria
Roman Military Belts
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu


Historia Numorum

Carthago (Müller, ii, pp. 66 sqq.). It is noteworthy that this wealthy commercial state, with its population of some 700,000 inhabitants, made no use whatever of coined money until the great invasion of Sicily, B.C. 410, brought her armies for the second time into contact with the Greeks. Then and not till then does it appear that the necessity arose for striking coins, and it may be assumed that the payment of the troops employed in the devastation of the flourishing Hellenic settlements in that island was the immediate occasion of the coinage. That the use of coined money and the art of coining were borrowed by the Carthaginians from their Greek enemies is obvious from the adoption of the Sicilian type of the head of Persephone, and from the unmistakably Greek style of the earliest Carthaginian pieces.

Some of the types appear to be characteristically Carthaginian; e. g. the palm-tree (φοινιξ), which is evidently a canting type, and the horse 's head, which seems to allude to the foundation-legend mentioned by Virgil (Aen. i. 442 ff.). Otherwise, the Punic inscription is the only indication that these series of coins are not purely Greek, and there is every reason to think that they were struck in Sicily and not in Africa, and that Greek artists were employed to engrave the coin-dies. In several instances the names of Carthaginian towns in Sicily occur upon the coins, such as רש מלקרת, Resh Melqarth = Cephaloedium, המטוא Motya, ציץ = Panormus (?), ארך Eryx, כפרא Kfra (Kaphara, Village) = Solus. These have been already described under the cities whose names they bear (pp. 136, 139, 158, 161 f., and 170). There are, however, several other series bearing the inscriptions קרתחדשת, Qart Chadsat (= New city of Carthage); מחנת, Machanat (= the Camp); עם מחנת ,עם המחנת, or שעם מחנת, Am Machanat, Am hammachanat, or Shâm Machanat (People of the Camp); מחשבם, Mechasbim (the Quaestors), &c., which cannot be distinctly classed to any particular locality in Sicily. Such coins may therefore be appropriately described as Siculo-Punic, that is to say, as coins struck in Sicily for the payment of the Carthaginian armies. The following are the principal varieties (see Holm, Gesch. Sic., iii, pp. 643 ff.):—

Siculo-Punic Coins. c. B.C. 410-310.

GOLD. Phoenician Standard.

Head of Persephone, of fine early style.
[B. M. Guide, Pl. XXVI. 37.]
Prancing horse; above (symbol of Baal).
AV 118 grs.
AV 23.8 grs.
Date-palm tree (φοινιξ).Horse 's head.
AV 15.3 grs.
Head of Persephone.Date-palm tree.
AV 36 grs.

קרת חדשת Forepart of horse, sometimes crowned by Nike.מחנת Date-palm tree. [Holm, No. 268, Pl. VIII. 1.].
AR Attic tetradrachm.


FIG. 390.

קרת חדשת Free horse, crowned by Nike.Date-palm tree (Fig. 390).
קרת חדשת or no inscription. Head of Persephone, with or without dolphins around.Free horse before palm-tree. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XXVI. 39, and Pl. XXXV. 37, 38.].
Horse 's head.Top of date-palm tree.
AR Obol.

FIG. 391.

Head of a queen, wearing tiara of Oriental form.שעם מחנת Lion and palm-tree (Fig. 391).

FIG. 392.

Head of Persephone surrounded by dolphins.עם מחנת or מ Horse 's head and palm-tree (Fig. 392).
Head of Herakles in lion-skin.עם ה מחנת ,שעם מחנת, or מחשבם Horse 's head and palm-tree. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XXXV. 36.].
Head of Persephone surrounded by dolphins.Quadriga.

The resemblance of the head of Herakles on the coins of this series to that on the earliest tetradrachms of Alexander the Great is a valuable indication of date.

The Siculo-Punic bronze coins of this period are not numerous.


Head of Persephone.Free horse.
Æ .7
Bust of Artemis (?).Id.
Æ .55
Date-palm tree.Pegasos.
Æ .65
Id.Horse 's head.
Æ .8
Head of Persephone.Horse 's head.
Æ .9

During the reign of Agathocles of Syracuse it would seem that the issue of Carthaginian money in Sicily came to an end.

Coins struck at Carthage, circ. B.C. 340-242.

The money struck at Carthage itself consists wholly of gold (seldom pure), electrum, and bronze, down to the time of the acquisition of the rich silver mines of Spain, and the foundation of Carthago Nova in that country by Hasdrubal, the son-in-law of Hamilcar Barca, B.C. 242, when large silver coins, both Carthaginian and Hispano-Carthaginian, appear to have been first issued.

The gold and electrum money here referred to, which falls into the interval between the age of Timoleon and the end of the first Punic war, is as follows :—

FIG. 393.

Head of Persephone, wearing necklace with pendants. Horse standing (Fig. 393).
AV 145 grs.
Id.Horse and palm-tree.
AV 73 grs.
Id.Horse standing. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XLVII. 41.].
EL. 118 grs.
Head of Persephone.Horse and palm-tree.
EL. 58 grs.
Id.Horse standing, looking back.
EL. 27 grs.

These coins follow the Phoenician standard (drachm 59 grs.; 1½ dr. 88 grs.; didrachm 118 grs.; 2½ dr. 147 grs.). The bronze coins resemble the electrum drachms in size and types.

Circ. B.C. 241-146.

The period after the first Punic war is characterized by the great influx of precious metals from the newly acquired Spanish mines, and by the issue of large electrum, silver, and bronze coins. The development of style is so gradual that it is difficult to draw a line between the coins preceding and the coins following the second Punic war, although certain groups may be safely attributed to the period B.C. 241-146.


Head of Persephone. [Num. Chron., 1899, Pl. VIII. 8.]בארצת Prancing horse and palm-tree.
EL. 350 grs.
Id. [Müller, Fig. 66.]Horse standing, looking back.
EL. 193 grs.


Id. [B. M. Guide, Pl. LIX. 33.]Horse standing; above, radiate disk flanked by two uraei.
EL. 175 grs.
Id. [B. M. Guide, Pl. LIX. 34.]Horse standing.
EL. 118 grs.
Id. (flat style).Id.
EL. 46 grs.
Id.Horse and palm-tree.
EL. 36 grs.
AV or EL. 29 grs.


FIG. 394.

Head of Persephone.Prancing horse (Fig. 394).
(Dodekadrachm) AR 704 grs.

FIG. 395.

Id. (Fig. 395).בארצת (B 'rtsth) Pegasos.
(Dekadrachm) AR 574 grs.
Id. [Müller, ii, No. 128.]Id.
(Octadrachm) AR 453.4 grs.
Id. [Müller, ii, Fig. 99.]Horse standing; above, radiate disk, flanked by two uraei.
AR 364 grs. (6 Dr.)
Id. [Ibid., Fig. 129.]Horse 's head.
AR 341 grs.
Id. [B. M. Guide, Pl. LIX. 36.]Horse; above, star.
AR 228 grs. (4 Dr.)
Id. [B. M. Guide, Pl. XLVII. 43; LIX. 37.]Horse and palm-tree; Horse looking back; Horse standing or trotting.
AR various smaller denominations.
Id. (serrated edge).Horse.
AR 204 grs.
Id.Horse and palm-tree.
POT. 170 grs.
Id.Horse and star.
POT. 44 grs.

The standard of the above-described coins is the Phoenician, the denominations being 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2½, 2, 1½, 1¼, and 1 drachm, together


with certain smaller divisions. The metal is not always of the purest quality. The inscription בארעת is supposed to stand for Byrsa, the citadel of Carthage. Some of the bronze coins, which for the most part resemble the silver in type and style, are of very large size, exceeding in weight the heaviest bronze coins of the Ptolemies and equivalent to about two of the contemporary Roman asses of the Sextantal reduction (supra, p. 19).

With the last electrum coins of Carthage of 46 grs. we may compare the contemporary electrum coins of Capua struck during the revolt of that city from Rome in the Hannibalic war (B.C. 216-211). (Supra, p. 35.) The similarity of the Capuan coins to those of Carthage in weight (46 grs.) and style, as well as in the base quality of the alloy of which they are composed, renders it highly probable that Capua, while the army of Hannibal was wintering there, B.C. 216-215 (Livy, xxiii. 18; Strabo, v. 4. 13), assimilated her coinage to that which was current among the Carthaginian troops, unless, indeed, the Capuan pieces were issued by the Carthaginians themselves. The silver Carthaginian coins with serrated edges probably belong to the same period.

The greater part of the money of Carthage towards the end of this period consists of bronze coins of very bad style and execution.

In addition to the coins certainly struck at Carthage itself there are a number of others, indistinguishable in style and type from the undoubted Carthaginian issues, which from the fact of their frequent occurrence in Spanish Finds, have been assigned to the Carthaginian possessions in Spain (see Zobel, Monatsber. d. kon. Akad. d. Wissensch., Berlin, 1863, p. 253 f.). The evidence is, however, far from conclusive (see Babelon, Rev. Num., 1889, pp. 403 f., 407 f.). Others in gold, silver, and bronze are conjecturally attributed by Müller (ii. 147) to Sardinia, after it ceased to form part of the Carthaginian dominions.

Head of Persephone.Bull standing; above, star; beneath, crescent enclosing disk.
AV 59, 46.5 grs.
Young male head diademed.Bull standing; symbol, ear of corn.
AR 113 grs.
Young male head diademed.Bull standing; symbol, uraeus.
AR 54 grs.
Head of Persephone.Three ears of corn, surmounted by crescent containing disk.
Æ 1.15-.9
Id.Bull standing; above, star.
Æ .8
Id. [Bull. Arch. du Com. des Trav., 1899, p. cciii.]Plough.
Æ .9

The following coins are also of uncertain mints (Müller, pp. 145, 146) :—

Head of Athena in triple-crested helmet.
[Müller, No. 4.]
Horse standing (perhaps Spanish).
Æ 1.05
Head of Apollo laureate. [Müller, No. 1.]Horse and radiate disk, flanked by two uraei (perhaps Sicilian).
Æ 1.05


Head of young Ares (?) helmeted.
[Müller, No. 3.]
Palm-tree (perhaps Spanish).
Æ .8
Head of Athena in crested helmet.
[Müller, No. 6.]
Horse, head reverted.
Æ .75

Carthage under the Romans.

Carthage was rebuilt by Julius Caesar, B.C. 45, and in B.C. 29 it was recolonized by Augustus. As a Roman colony it struck bronze coins down to the reign of Tiberius. Inscr., KAR VENERIS, Temple of Venus. Abbreviated names of the SVF[ETES] or Duumviri, also C. I. C. D. D. P. P. = Colonia Julia Carthago, decreto decurionum, permissu proconsulis, &c. (Müller, ii, p. 149).


The small group of coins below tells the history of Carthage over two centuries from 439 A.D. to 647 A.D. 


In the first century, the Vandals lived in the lands between the Elbe and Vistula.  About 330, Constantine the Great granted the Vandals lands in Pannonia on the right bank of the Danube.  In 406 the Vandals crossed into the Roman Empire and for the next two-and-a-half years pillaged, looted, and ruined towns and cities across Gaul. The Vandals plundered so wantonly that the word vandal is still used to describe a person who recklessly destroys property.  In 409 the Vandals settled in Spain.

In 429 Gaiseric convinced his people to abandon Spain for North Africa. Boniface, a discontented governor in the African provinces of Rome may have invited him. Eighty thousand in number, including thirty thousand warriors, the Vandals crossed at the Straights of Gibraltar and seized lands from the local Berbers. After five years of war, in 435, Rome and Gaiseric made peace. Huneric, the son of Gaiseric, was initially held by the court at Ravenna as pledge of peace, but after a few years he was released.  

Shortly after Huneric 's release, on 19 October 439, Gaiseric attacked Carthage and gained the city by surprise.  During the Vandal conquest, a fire destroyed a large portion of the city and the Vandals themselves destroyed several major theaters and churches.  

Gaiseric made Carthage his capital, left the efficient Roman bureaucracy intact, and the Vandal kingdom of Africa prospered.  In 455 Gaiseric invaded Italy, sacking Rome while his fleets made war on much of the Mediterranean. Corsica, the Italian coast, Sardinia and Sicily all felt the terror of his forces.  Gaiseric died in early 477, outliving the Western Empire by one year.

The throne went to his eldest son Huneric.  Huneric died in 484 AD, and was followed in the kingship by Gunthamund (484-496 AD), Thrasamund (496-523 AD), Hilderic (523-530 AD), and the last Vandal king Gelimir (530-535 AD). 

Imitative siliqua of Honorius, 440-490 A.D.

Imitative siliqua of Honorius, Wroth BMC 6 - 9, Carthage, 1.6g, 15.5 mm, axis 350; obverse [DN]HON[ORI]VSPFAV[G], Honorius diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.  R: VRBS ROMA, Roma seated left on cuirass holding Victory on globe and reversed spear, in ex RVPS (Ravenna) off-flan.  Although Honorius died in 423 A.D., Gaiseric, Huneric, and Gunthamund issued imitative siliqua of Honorius as late as 490 A.D.

Gunthamund, c. 484-496 A.D.

50 nummia, Blackburn and Greirson (G&B) #8 to 10, Carthage, 0.6g, 12.2mm, axis 180; obverse DNXG[VNTHA], bust right with diadem, cuirass, and paludamentum; reverse DN under line, within wreath; chipped

Trasamund, 496-523 A.D.

50 nummia, BM 12-14, Hahn pl 42, 6a-b, MEC 17-18, Carthage, 0.9g, 13.6mm, axis 45; obverse [DNRX]TRHSA[MV]ND, bust right with diadem, cuirass, and paludamentum; reverse DN between line and elongated L, all within wreath; chipped

Hilderic, 523-530 A.D.

3597. Bronze nummus, H 21, Grierson/Blackburn 24-5, gVF, .59g, 8.9mm, 180°, Carthage mint, 523-530 A.D.; obverse diademed head right; reverse cross in wreath


The Vandals gradually grew soft with the riches of their conquests.  In 533 Emperor Justinian ordered Belisarius, his great general, to subdue the Vandals.  On 13 September 533, Belisarius met King Gelimir and his brother Ammatas with their army at the tenth milestone south of Carthage. The tide of battle stood against the Byzantines until Ammatas was killed. Gelimir lost his nerve and the Vandal army disintegrated in flight. Belisarius quickly occupied Carthage. Within two years the last of Gelimir 's loyalists were eliminated. Gelimer was honorably treated and received large estates in Galicia. Most of the Vandal men were made slaves of the Romaion (Byzantines).  The Vandals were eliminated as a people and disappeared from history.

Justinian I, 534-545 A.D.

Silver 1/2 siliqua?, SBCV 253 (siliqua), DOC 280 (siliqua), VF, Carthage mint, 0.6g, 12.2mm, axis 0; obverse DN[IVSTINI] ANVSPPAC, bust right with diadem, cuirass, and paludamentum; reverse VOT MVLT HTI within wreath; minor chip reverse 7:00; possibly an underweight siliqua, but this coin is not only half weight but also has smaller bust and die than the two SB 253 siliqua FORVM has handled, reverse is struck with a full siliqua size die, half siliqua of this type are not listed in SBCV or DOC, possibly unpublished denomination, very rare, or even unique

Justinian I, 534-545 A.D.

Silver siliqua, SBCV 254, DOC -, VF, 0.6g, 13.3mm, axis 180, Carthage mint; obverse [DNIVSTINI]ANVSPP, bust right with diadem, cuirass, and paludamentum; reverse monogram, cross above, S below, within linear border encircled by wreath; this issue was copied in fairly large numbers by the Ostrogoths, however, based on its provenance with a group of other Carthage siliqua, it is likely an official mint issue; holed in antiquity for use a jewelry, rare

Justin II, 565-578 A.D.

Silver 100 nummi, F/VF, SBCV 392B, .5g, 12.4mm, axis 180, Carthage mint; obverse [DNIVSTI]NVSPP, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing holding shield; reverse monogram, cross above, C (=100) below within border; chipped; extremely rare, not listed Dumbarton Oaks, Sear 's Byzantine Coin Values has only line drawing vice the usual photograph

Justin II, 565-578 A.D.

Bronze half follis, Hahn-76, Vita type, 13.88g, 26.2mm, 140º, Carthage mint, second officina, 572-573 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINO ET SOFIA AC,  busts of Justin and Sophia, crowned, facing, VITA (off flan) below exergue line, cross center; reverse large K between ANNO and VIII  (regnal year 8), cross above, S below, KAR in ex, scarce

Heraclius, 614-641 A.D.

Silver half siliqua, DOC class III, SBCV 871, DOC 233, MIB 149, DOC 233, MIB 149, Wroth BMC 343-6, Tolstoi 319-20, Ratto 1460-64, Morrison (CBN) 3-11, S 871, gVF (very conservative grade by Mr. Sear), 0.66g, 11.6mm, 100º, Carthage mint, 614-618 A.D. or less likely 628-629 A.D.; obverse D N ERACLIO PP AV, bust of Heraclius facing, beardless, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with pendilia and cross; reverse no inscription; to left bust of Heraclius Constantine, Heraclius ' son, wearing chlamys with tablion and crown with pendilia and cross, to right bust of Martina, Heraclius ' wife, wearing robes and crown with long pendilia and cross, cross between heads, scarce


Byzantine type coinage was struck by Khusru II during his temporary domination of Alexandria, 618-628 A.D.  It may seem strange that a Persian king would wear a crown surmounted by a cross, as on the coin below.  However, his wife, Sira was a Christian, he was a benefactor of the church of St. Sergius in Edessa; he honored the Virgin; and he sometimes wore a robe embroidered with a cross which he had received as a gift from the Emperor Maurice Tiberius (c.f. Grieson in DOC II, part 1 pp. 233-4). 

Khusru II, Persian Sassinid King, Byzantine type coinage of occupied Alexandria 618-628 A.D.

Bronze dodecanummium (12 nummi), DOC 192, MIB 202a, Wroth BMC 276, Tolstoi 107-8, Ratto 1314-15, CBN 30-31, Berk 586, Hahn 202a, VF, patches of corrosion, 17.91g, 24.5mm, 180º, Alexandria mint, 618-628 A.D.; obverse bust of the Sassanid King Khusru II wearing a crown with pendilia and surmounted by a cross within a crescent, star left, crescent moon right; reverse large I B with cross potent on globe between, ALEX in exergue, very scarce


The Byzantine emperors resumed the imperial coinage of Alexandria after their recapture of Egypt in 628 A.D.

Constans II, 641-647 A.D.

Silver siliqua, DOC class I, SBCV 1048, DO-130, VF, Carthage mint, 0.4g, 11mm, axis 225; obverse ]COST ANT[, bust facing, beardless, wearing chlamys, and crown with cross; reverse cross potent on base, chipped, scarce


Arab invaders conquered the region in the 7th century A.D., and the former Romano-Christian culture was replaced by Islam. Although practically destroyed by the Arabs in 698, the site was populated for many centuries afterward. The land was now known as Ifriqiya, and power was wielded by a succession of ruling dynasties, including the Aghlabites, the Fatimids, and the Zeirids.  Later invasions were made by the Sicilian Normans under Roger II in the 12th century and by the Spanish in the first half of the 16th century.  LOUIS IX of France died there in 1270, while on crusade.

A Short History of Carthage

Carthage was founded by the Phoenician city Tyre. The Phoenicians were forced into their then current position by the Jews and Egyptians. This area was abundant with supplies that could build and outfit ships. Naturally, the Phoenicians became the foremost traders in the whole of the Mediterranean. There are even some who claim they circumnavigated Africa!

Tyre, through size and trading, became the dominant city of Phoenicia. The Phoenicians were known for their mineral resources and their distribution of the world 's goods. Sometimes, however, overpopulation in the city or discontent would cause colonies to be formed. Gades, founded around 1200 BC in Spain, was of Phoenician origin. Utica was founded from 1200-1000 BC, both cities much older than Carthage. Tyre itself founded many colonies between 1000-600 BC. Tyre was captured and sacked by Alexander in 332 BC.

Carthage is said to have been settled in the eighth century BC. Contrary to prior thinking, Carthage was not founded as a trading post but as a full-fledged colony. Carthage 's astounding growth was probably due to its being on several important trade routes.

Carthage from its very beginning was a prime trading center engaging in the Iberian, Italian, and Levantine trading routes. With the decline of Tyre and the Iberian trade Carthage took over due to its heavier reliance on the Tyrrhenian trade. After its founding and several centuries after, Carthage had to import most of its food due to a lack of land.

During the sixth century Carthage began its expansion into Africa. During the fourth century even more of Africa came into the Punic sphere and Carthage became an agricultural powerhouse. Punic trade with Sardinia had been going on almost since Carthage was founded. Punic settlements in Africa and Spain were brought into the Punic fold, usually by alliance. The Carthaginian signed a military and economic treaty with the Etruscans in the sixth century BC. A combined Punic-Etruscan fleet drove the Greek refugees from Corsica. A commercial treaty was also signed with Rome in 509 BC.

Phoenician cities in Sicily were also absorbed by Carthage in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. A private intervention not state backed was crushed at Himera in 480 BC. In 410 BC military intervention was once again used in Sicily. Segesta, a Carthaginian ally, and Selinus, a Syracusan ally, Selinus was captured and its walls were razed. Himera, however, after being captured was sacked and fully destroyed. The Carthaginian army was then paid off and disbanded.

Carthage continued to expand absorbing most Phoenician cities in the western Mediterranean.

Several more wars were fought between Syracuse and Carthage, but the one with the largest impact was Agathocles ' invasion of Africa. In 311-310 BC Carthaginian Africa was invaded by 13,500 men and 60 ships under his command. 

Agathocles, a tyrant of Syracuse, came to power through trickery and lost almost all the Sicilian cities besides Syracuse, his expeditionary force managed to slip out to Africa past the Punic blockading force. 

Agathocles defeated Punic armies numerous times, and the Punic army in Sicily was in shambles. Libyans and the Greek city Cyrene rallied to Agathocles ' aid and his army grew even larger. Bomilcar, a Punic general, tried to seize Carthage in a violent coup, but he was defeated by the Carthaginian citizens.

Agathocles, hearing that his remaining cities in Sicily had claimed independence, left for Sicily and left the army under his son Archagathus. The Carthaginians split their army into thirds each having one sphere of land, Archagathus did the same and several of his detachments were destroyed by Punic forces. 

When Agathocles returned there was nothing he could do. He fled to Sicily leaving two sons and his army in Africa. His sons were killed and the army surrendered to Carthage.

Agathocles ' men were either recruited into the Carthaginian army, settled in Sicily, put on work detail, or crucified. A peace was made soon after, Agathocles recognized all Punic possessions in Sicily and they paid him an amount of gold and grain. In this way, the first invasion of Africa was defeated. The Numidian and Libyan revolts were also put down afterwards.

The years went by and Carthage now had all most of Sardinia and Corsica, the western half of Sicily and some of Southeastern Spain. Carthage had also expanded its African holdings greatly acquiring much of northern Africa.

In the early third century, Rome tried to conquer the Greek cities of Italy also known as Magna Graecia. Pyrrhus took control of the coalition army and defeated Rome twice. Carthage offered Punic intervention but Rome rejected this.

At this time, another treaty was made between Carthage and Rome promising mutual cooperation militarily against Pyrrhus and agreeing to the same economic terms as previously agreed upon in the last treaty. Pyrrhus landed in Sicily in 278 BC. All Carthaginian cities in Sicily besides Lilybaeum fell quickly to the invader. Pyrrhus ' heavy handed actions alienated his Sicilian allies and he decided to sail back to Italy. The Carthaginians provided the Romans naval support and eventually Pyrrhus was defeated at Beneventum in 275 BC.

Punic control was eventually reestablished after Pyrrhus left. So after two massively costly wars, Carthage once again had peace. This was not to last, however, as a group called the Mamertines murdered the original male citizens of Messana and took over. This would be a cataclysmic event that would set the stage for three wars that would change the world forever.

Hannibal by Dodge
Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles
Hannibal by Serge Lancel

Moneta Historical Research by Tom Schroer

KARTHAGO (Carthage, Tunisia - 36°54'N, 10°16'E) lies on a peninsula which extends into the far western extreme of the Bay of Tunis. It is at the point where the Mediterranean narrows to about seventy-five miles, with Sicily on the other side. Carthage was founded by Phoenicians from Tyre (Es-Sur, Lebanon) about the time of the founding of Rome (traditionally 753 BC), with Carthaginian tradition supplying a date of about 814 BC while modern excavations have not yet found anything older than about 725 BC. The English adjective for anything pertaining to Carthage, "Punic", derives from the Latin "Punicus" (or "Poenicus"), which generally denoted a Phoenician, but more specifically a Carthaginian. The name "Carthage" is derived from the Phoenician name for the city, "Kart Hadasht" ("the new town"), which the Greeks mutated to Carchedon and the Romans to Karthago. One of the most abhorrent practices the Carthaginians carried with them from Tyre was the practice of child-sacrifice. The "Tophet", the area of human sacrifice west of the commercial port, contains the remains of nearly 20,000 children from newborns to four years old sacrificed to Baal-Hammon and buried in urns. At its pre-Roman peak, its population has been estimated at between 400,000 and 700,000.

Its natural harbor and its geographical location made it a natural anchorage for trader's ships. By the sixth century BC the Carthaginians had holdings in Sicily which brought them into conflict with Syracuse (Siracusa, Italy). Inevitably as Rome's power grew her sphere of interest expanded to include Sicily also. About 265 BC Syracuse determined to clear the mercenary group called the Mamertines from Messana (Messina, Italy), but the Mamertines appealed to Carthage as the traditional enemy of Syracuse. Carthage responded with a small garrison, but dissatisfied, the Mamertines then asked Rome for help and expelled the Carthaginians. Rome came to the assistance of the Mamertines in 264 BC, the first Roman interference in Sicily, and found themselves opposed by the odd alliance of Carthage and Syracuse! Thus began the First Punic War (264-241 BC). Hieron II of Syracuse quickly succumbed to Roman power and became one of the first "client kings" of Rome, but the Carthaginians waged war mostly though mercenaries until their financial reserve was exhausted. They finally made peace in 241 BC and evacuated Sicily.

The Romans and Carthaginians next collided in Spain, where both had established colonies. The great Carthaginian general Hannibal seized the city of Saguntum (Sagunto, Spain), a Roman ally, in 219 BC and thus started the Second Punic War (218-201 BC). Although the Carthaginians actually invaded Italy over the Alps, penetrated the length of Italy, and inflicted many grave defeats upon the Romans (most notably at Cannae in 216 BC, where estimates of the Roman dead range up to 70,000 men, the most crushing defeat ever inflicted upon a western army), the Romans simply refused to give up and slowly gained the advantage. By 206 the Carthaginians were pushed out of Spain, and Hannibal withdrew from Italy in 203 to counter a Roman threat to Carthage itself. Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (the Elder) had landed in Africa in 204 and beseiged Utica (Bordj bou Chateur, Tunisia) only thirty miles from Carthage. In the autumn of 202 Scipio decisively defeated Hannibal at the Battle of Zama and Carthage sued for peace. The result of the Second Punic War was that Carthage was reduced to her African possessions, forced to pay Rome a huge indemnity over a period of fifty years, and forced to disarm.

In 150 BC Cathage, having paid off the indemnity, rearmed and waged war on a Roman ally in Africa. The Third Punic War (149-146 BC) began with the Romans declaring war in 149, landing near Carthage and ordering the Carthaginians to abandon their town and resettle at least ten Roman miles from the sea. Carthage refused, and after a long siege Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus took the city by storm in 146 BC. He sold off the population, completely destroyed the city (it is said to have burned for 17 days), and symbolically plowed salt into the ground. Carthage's territory was annexed as the Roman province of Africa.

The site remained abandoned until Gaius Sempronius Gracchus as tribune in 124 BC sanctioned the founding of a colony on the ritually cursed site, against much Roman opposition. That colony, Junonia, was founded outside of the cursed ground of the old city, but probably did not long outlast Gracchus, who was killed in an insurrection in 121 BC. Carthage's neighbors sided with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in the civil war with Julius Caesar, and in 46 BC Caesar arrived in Africa to face Marcus Porcius Cato ("Uticensis") and his ally the Berber King Juba I. Caesar routed the Pompeian forces at Thapsus in 46 BC, with the suicides of Cato, Juba, and their general Quintus Caecilius Metellus Scipio soon followed. Juba's territories were annexed as the province of Africa Nova (New Africa), and the old province of Africa which included Carthage was renamed Africa Vetus (Old Africa).

Carthage was successfully re-founded by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus in 42 BC at the wish of Augustus, who was said to be carrying out Julius Caesar's plan. Augustus consolidated Africa Vetus and Africa Nova into a new province called Africa Proconsularis, and established Carthage as its capital. The pacification of the new colony was not complete, and the troublesome Berber tribes finally revolted under Tacfarinas about 14 AD, a revolt which was not extinguished until 23 AD.

The new province prospered under the Romans and soon became a major source of olive oil and grains for Rome. Carthage naturally enough became a Roman naval base sometime after the reign of Augustus and became Colonia Julia Concordia by the time of Tiberius. In the spring of 68 Lucius Clodius Macer (see CLODIUS MACER), the legate of the province's only legion, the III Augusta, seized Carthage and declared himself free of allegiance to Nero. He was killed in October of 68 by order of Galba, but his try for power shows the position which Carthage already occupied in the Roman economic and military system.

The second and third centuries were the peak of prosperity for Carthage under the Romans. The province was generally peaceful and large public works were built. One of the most notable was the aqueduct built under Hadrian about 125 which supplied Carthage with water from Zaghouan, nearly 83 miles away, making it the longest in the Empire. An enormous public bath, known as the Antonine Bath, also arose in the second century as did the amphitheater capable of seating 50,000 people. Its population swelled to about 300,000, which made it the third or fourth largest city in the Empire (after Rome, Alexandria, and possibly Antioch), and definitely the second largest city in the west.

In 238 the revolt of the Gordiani (see GORDIAN I and GORDIAN II) began in Thysdrus (El Djem, Tunisia) and soon spread to Carthage. Although the Gordiani were soon killed, their revolt succeeded in overthrowing Maximinus I, who was replaced by their relative Gordian III.

About 296 the Emperor Maximian went to Carthage to establish a base of operations against the Quinquegentiani, Moorish tribes that were troubling the frontier. As was common in the Tetrarchic period, the establishment of a mint soon followed a military build-up. Although pre-Roman Carthage had struck coins from about 425 BC until its destruction, the Roman city only issued colonial issues under Augustus and Tiberius. The new imperial mint struck in gold, silver, and bronze until about the middle of 307 with types distinctive to Carthage, often employing the city's name in the reverse legend. After its closure, the staff of Carthage possibly was transferred to Ostia (opened in 308), since both were four-officina mints and the style is very similar. Carthage was probably closed as an acknowledgment of the political uncertainties there, culminating in the revolt of Lucius Domitius Alexander (see ALEXANDER) in 308. Alexander re-established a Carthage mint and struck crude coins for about three years until he was killed in 311 by an army sent by Maxentius.

The reign of Constantine I brought the toleration of Christianity and in 311 a major schism developed in the Christian Church in Africa over treatment of those who had apostatized during the Great Persecution of Diocletian but then desired re-admittance to the church. The so-called Donatist dispute turned violent and continued to trouble Carthage until the invasion of Africa by the Arian Vandals ended all orthodox bickering.

In the early fifth century the Count ('comes') of Africa, Boniface, was suspected of having imperial designs. He was ordered back to Ravenna in 427, but refused. Troops sent against him were soundly defeated in 427, but another attempt in 428 was having some success when Boniface decided that his only chance was in forming an alliance with the Vandals under King Gaiseric. He invited them to come to his aid, with the promise of the three Mauretanian provinces if successful. Accordingly, the entire Vandal nation, about 80,000 people, crossed to Africa from Spain in May, 429. They immediately became uncontrollable, and Boniface and Galla Placidia were forced into an alliance to preserve Africa for Roman culture. Boniface was soon besieged in Hippo (Hippone, Algeria) from May, 430 until July, 431 (the great Christian bishop and theologian Augustine died during the siege on August 28), when Gaiseric raised the siege because reinforcements from Placidia were approaching. However, he soon completely defeated the combined forces and seized Hippo. Boniface went to Italy but died there in 432. Carthage itself became the next Vandal target, and despite city walls built between 423 and 425, it fell easily to Gaiseric in 439. A half-hearted attempt was made in 441 to recover it, but the attempt came to nothing.

The eastern Roman Augustus Leo I suffered an enormous setback in 468 when a joint expedition with western forces against the Vandals in Africa came to disaster. In accordance with Leo's design, his chosen western colleague Anthemius created a joint east-west naval expedition to destroy Gaiseric, whose base was Carthage. Leo alone outfitted over 1113 ships and embarked over 100,000 men. The plan was for the eastern fleet to split into two, with one part attacking Carthage directly while the other embarked troops in Tripolitana (western Libya) to attack Carthage by land. The western fleet was to clear the Vandals out of Sardinia and then join the grand assault on Carthage. The plan began on a successful note, with the Vandals in Sardinia being taken by surprise, and the land forces of the eastern fleet successfully disembarked. The main eastern assault force under Leo's brother-in-law Basiliscus won some minor victories in the neighborhood of Sicily, but then hesitated long enough to allow the Vandals to regroup and smash Basiliscus. Basiliscus retreated to join up with the western force under Marcellinus, but Marcellinus had died by the hand of an assassin, and that force was leaderless. Hearing of the defeat of Basiliscus, the land force under Heraclius then withdrew without engaging the Goths. Basiliscus returned to Constantinopolis (see CONSTANTINOPLE) and the entire vastly expensive expedition collapsed. Not only had the eastern Empire been virtually bankrupted by the failure, but the reputation of the Roman Empire suffered mightily among the barbarians when it became known that the combined might of both the east and the west had failed against a single barbarian foe.

Carthage remained in Vandal hands until the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I re-conquered northern Africa from 533 until 543 with an army under his great general Belisarius. Carthage was one of the first cities to be recovered and a Byzantine mint was immediately opened which continued to strike until about 695, shortly before the Muslims overran the city. Muslim raiders began to trouble the area as early as 645, but Carthage was not finally lost to them until 697.

The remains of pre-Roman Carthage were virtually completely destroyed by the Romans themselves, but some remains from the Roman city can still be seen although the city proved a tempting quarry for the nearby city of Tunis, only nine miles away. The ancient theater capable of seating 5,000 people is perhaps the best preserved, but parts of the Antonine Baths and the aqueduct are still impressive.

All coins are guaranteed for eternity