- Symbol: Elephant with howdah
- Musical Theme: Hymn to Nikkal (composed by Geoff Knorr)
- Music Set: Middle East and Africa
- Architecture: Mediterranean
- Spy Names: Hamilcar, Mago, Baalhaan, Sophoniba, Yzebel, Similce, Kandaulo, Zinnridi, Gisgo, Fierelus
- Preferred Religion: Islam
One of the most versatile civilizations, the Carthaginians are undoubtedly one of the best seafaring civilizations. If you are playing in Gods & Kings, the free Harbor for each coastal city is a great advantage in the early game, allowing additional Production from sea resources immediately, and disposing of the need to build roads to connect your cities for the formation of city connections (of course, it's advisable you do this eventually)! Their mastery of the early seas is also assured with the Quinquereme, arguably the strongest early game sea vessel.
In Brave New World, however, having a free Harbor in every city is much less useful for military purposes, since Harbors no longer provide Production. Instead, they now work with the new Trade Route gameplay feature, allowing the Carthaginians to establish much more profitable sea trade routes early on. Use this to your advantage by filling all trading slots with sea trade routes.
The Carthaginians are also specialists at earning Great Generals thanks to their other unique unit, the African Forest Elephant. And of course, they're the only civilization able to cross mountains in the early game, which is possible after their first Great General appears. Others have to build aircraft to be able to cross the mountains, which is possible only in the late game. Therefore, the Carthaginians can use this early game advantage to conquer their enemies behind the mountains. Be wary, though, because the units will take quite a large amount of damage (50 HP) if they end a turn on a mountain.
The ancient kingdom of Carthage, founded by fabled queen Dido, grew from a small settlement of exiles to a powerful civilization that rivaled the great and formidable Roman Empire. Ideally situated along the northern coast of Africa, Carthage became an increasingly crucial center of trade along the Mediterranean throughout the 1st millennium BC. However, this success was not without consequences, as Carthage eventually drew the ire of both Greece and Rome, and the ensuing conflicts with these intimidating rivals became the stuff of legend.
Geography and Climate
Founded on the Gulf of Tunis in North Africa, Carthage was ideally positioned to take advantage of the existing trade routes established throughout the Mediterranean. The city of Carthage itself was one of the largest of the era, with massive walls and multiple harbors to facilitate shipping and receiving. Located in a region of diverse geography and climate, Carthage most likely experienced much of the same weather found in the area today - that is hot, dry summer seasons followed by mild winters.
The first settlers of Carthage came from the Kingdom of Tyre, part of the ancient Phoenician civilization. Retold over the centuries in both historical record and folklore, the story of Carthage's founding is intertwined with the legend of Dido, first queen of Carthage. Dido's cunning escape from Tyre and eventual settlement in North Africa serves as the liveliest account of the city's creation, although traditional historians accredit Phoenician colonists with the task. There is little debate, however, that the city was first settled sometime around 814 BC, taking its name from the Phoenician "Qart-hadast," meaning "The New Town." In Dido's tale, she is said to have acquired the land from a local king, after he agreed to sell her as much land as she could cover with an ox hide. Dido quickly cut the ox hide into strips, which she then laid out to encircle a large hill and the surrounding area - the birthplace of Carthage.
Expansion of Power
Founded among the prospering trade routes of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it wasn't long before Carthage established itself as a formidable new empire in the region. As their forbearers in Phoenicia were conquered and dispersed during the 4th and 5th centuries BC, Carthage stood as the strongest of the remaining colonies, and soon held sway over all those once loyal to Tyre. Carthage's attempts to establish control over the surviving Phoenician colonies quickly brought them into conflict with Greece and Rome, who sought to claim the resource-rich lands of Sicily and southern Italy as their own.
Wars with Greece
The increasing tension with Greece over control of Sicily led to a series of conflicts that came to be known as the Sicilian Wars. During the 7th century BC, Greece continued to expand its colonies in southern Italy and to the west in Sicily, as trade prospered, despite the growing rivalry with Carthage. Eventually, Carthage was forced to deal with the Greeks' continued encroachment into the territory that was once firmly Phoenician, not only to ensure a steady flow of income, but also to forcefully assert that Carthage would protect the remaining Phoenician colonies.
Although records of their skirmishes are limited, the Carthaginians primarily fought the Greeks on the island of Sicily itself. Initially Carthage simply aided the colonies in their individual efforts to resist Greek incursions, until open warfare erupted in 480 BC, when the Battle of Himera was fought on Sicily between the forces of Carthage under Hamilcar Mago and the armies of Greece led by Gelo, ruler of Syracuse. Although the details are unclear, Carthage was unceremoniously crushed by the Greek forces, allegedly suffering casualties in the hundreds of thousands. Hamilcar himself was killed, and, after just one great battle, Carthage was forced to withdraw, paying reparations to the Greeks in order to maintain control of their colonies in Sicily.
In 410 BC, Carthage once again set out to defeat Greece and wrestle control of Sicily, this time under the leadership of Hannibal Mago, grandson of the previously defeated Hamilcar Mago. Hannibal Mago met with greater success than his grandfather, conquering several Greek controlled cities before eventually returning to Carthage. In 405 BC, Mago finally attempted to sweep across all of Sicily, but he and his army were sickened by the plague, and Mago himself died shortly thereafter.
War with Greece continued throughout the 4th century BC, eventually culminating with the complete control of Sicily by Carthage. However, Greece and Carthage remained in conflict over the territory, a dispute that would eventually carryover into the Pyrrhic War.
Rome: Ally to Adversary
During the ongoing conflicts between the Greeks and Carthaginians, Rome moved to assert its dominance over the whole of Italy. By the 3rd century BC, Rome became embroiled in a conflict with the Greek state of Epirus, who came to the defense of Tarentum, an Italian colony involved in an increasingly tense diplomatic dispute with Rome. After several Roman ships were sunk in the harbor of Tarentum, Rome declared war on the colony, which drew Epirus into the fight. The Greek ruler, Pyrrhus of Epirus, won several early battles against the Romans, including the Battle of Heraclea in 280 BC. Rome sought reinforcements from Carthage, who agreed to create an alliance against the Greeks. Later at the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, Pyrrhus was again successful in defeating the Roman army, but at a steep cost. Losing several thousand men in the conflict, this battle is the origin of the phrase a "Pyrrhic Victory," which came to mean a victory that comes at too great of an expense. Within five years time, Pyrrhus was forced to fully withdraw, and Rome's control of Italy was unquestioned. Carthage now stood alone as the biggest threat to Roman dominance of the Mediterranean.
Advent of the Punic Wars
Not long after the conclusion of the Pyrrhic War, the continued expansion of Rome drew the ire of Carthage, as the two competitors fought not only for control of territory and trade, but also the prestige of being the dominant power of the region. A series of escalating clashes that came to be known as the Punic Wars erupted in 264 BC, when both powers became entangled in a local squabble over control of the Sicilian city of Messina. While the Romans excelled in land-based warfare, Carthage controlled the most intimidating navy of the time, and the Romans were forced to adapt to succeed against the Carthaginian fleet. By utilizing boarding platforms mounted on their ships, the Romans found a way to reassert their infantry skills while at sea. The First Punic War was concluded by 241 BC, with Carthage having suffered a number of serious defeats, allowing Rome's authority to climb unabated. Carthage was forced to pay Rome a hefty price for peace, leaving the country on unstable footing both economically and militarily.
During the period following the First Punic War, the Carthaginians were this time faced with a conflict of their own making. Throughout their history, Carthage relied on mercenaries for its infantry needs, as the nation focused on maintaining its naval superiority. In 240 BC, the unpaid mercenaries of Carthage who fought in the First Punic War took to arms and incited an uprising that quickly spread throughout the Carthaginian territories. During the ensuing conflict, Hamilcar Barca, father of legendary general Hannibal, valiantly led a limited Carthaginian force to victory over the rebels thanks in no small part to Barca's tactical genius. His success in quashing the rebellion bolstered his family name, and contributed directly to his son's future legacy as the greatest general of Carthage.
Punic Wars Renewed
The Second Punic War began in 218 BC, again over a regional dispute, this time in the Greek city of Saguntum on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain). By this time, legendary general Hannibal had risen to the position of Commander of the Carthaginian military. After continuing quarrels over control of the city, Hannibal led his army to Iberia and besieged Saguntum. Hannibal succeeded in capturing Saguntum and established a base of operations there, which immediately led to a declaration of war by Rome. In a surprising tactical maneuver, Hannibal made the decision to lead his army on an overland march to Italy, a monumental undertaking that stands as the hallmark of his campaign against Rome. In leading his army through the treacherous route, Hannibal hoped to invade Italy and catch the unsuspecting Romans off guard. As his force of more than 100,000 infantry and cavalry endured the grueling trek through the Pyrenees and then the Alps, many men were lost, and a number of prized war elephants fell to the bitter cold of the mountains.
The forces of Rome and Carthage eventually met at the Battle of the Trebia in northern Italy late in 218 BC. Despite the loss of troops during his march to Italy, Hannibal successfully bolstered his force by recruiting tribes from Gaul, who were keen to fight their Roman antagonists. Although accounts differ as to the details of the battle, it can be said with certainty that Rome was thoroughly defeated, losing thousands of men despite having fielded a greater army than Carthage.
As the war raged on, Hannibal was met with continued success, winning a number of early skirmishes before the Battle of Cannae, perhaps his greatest victory of the war. Fought near the village of Cannae on the southeastern coast of Italy, the battle was one of the largest of the war, as Rome attempted to counter Hannibal's push by fielding a massive number of legions. Unfortunately for Rome, throwing men into battle without proper direction provided no advantage, and Hannibal's tactics quickly overwhelmed the Romans. In a decisive blow, the Carthaginians ravaged the Roman columns, leading to casualties in the tens of thousands.
Following their demoralizing defeat at Cannae, the Romans began a campaign of attrition against Hannibal's forces, creating an eventual stalemate in Italy with neither side gaining additional ground. Although Hannibal was successful in capturing a number of colonies throughout Italy, the Romans had also made inroads in Iberia, conquering several crucial Carthaginian settlements there. The Romans' victories in Iberia revived their war effort, and under the leadership of Scipio Africanus, plans were laid for an invasion of Africa.
Hannibal returned to Carthage in 203 BC to face the impending threat from Scipio. Meeting at the Battle of Zama, Hannibal's depleted forces were outmatched by the freshly reinforced Roman army. Although Hannibal managed to escape from the battlefield with his life, much of his army was destroyed, and this defeat so close to home brought a quick end to the Second Punic War after more than a decade of near-constant strife.
Decline and Destruction
Rome agreed to a peaceful settlement of the conflict with Carthage, in exchange for monumental reparations and continuing tribute from their bested rival. Carthage had lost control of Iberia, and its standing on the world stage was greatly reduced. However, this was not the end of the longstanding rivalry, as the Third Punic War rose some 50 years later to settle the matter conclusively.
Rome resumed the conflict in 149 BC, using petty regional frays as the justification for the final conquest of Carthage and its people. After making a number of unreasonable demands, perhaps knowing that Carthage would refuse, the Romans besieged the city for three years. Enduring until 146 BC, the beleaguered people of Carthage were eventually forced to surrender, Carthage itself was burned to the ground and much of the remaining population was slaughtered, the survivors sold into slavery. This marked the end of once great and powerful Carthage, one of the most formidable kingdoms of the ancient world, and perhaps the greatest rival the Romans ever faced.
From humble beginnings as a settlement of exiles and wanderers, Carthage rose to become a center of trade and the greatest naval power of the ancient world. Ancient Carthage and its people are best remembered today for their legacy as the empire that challenged the unquestioned might of Rome.
The name "Punic" derived from the Latin name given to the Carthaginians by the Romans, "Punici," which itself came from "Poenici" designating the Phoenicians.
The people of Carthage worshipped the god Ba'al Hammon above all others, and he was represented by the ram. Ba'al Hammon was the god of fertility and the sky.
During his march to Italy, Hannibal is said to have lost vision in one of his eyes after it became infected while trudging through a marsh, but it apparently did little to slow his ambition.
List of Cities
- Main article: Carthaginian cities (Civ5)
- Carthage's unique ability is a reference to Carthage being a former colony of Phoenicia.
No White Flag Here
Beat the game on any difficulty as Dido.
As Carthage, Attack a Roman Unit with an African Forest Elephant from a mountain tile.
|Civilization V Civilizations |
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|1 Requires a DLC|