The Carthage Empire was formed in 814 B.C. According to legend, this was when Princess Dido, of Tyre fled from her home, current day Lebanon. This was to escape from the clutches of her brother Pygmalion who had killed her husband, heir to the throne of Tyre after her father died. She fled across the Mediterranean with some citizens of Tyre and landed at the tip of Northern Africa, Carthage or current day Tunisia. There, she saw that Carthage was almost like an island jutting out into the Mediterranean, with 2 inlets on either side. It had natural defences, just like Tyre, Dido’s homeland. This was the reason why Princess Dido chose this as the place for her new city, Carthage. Thus, Carthage was founded. By 500 BC, It had become a major Mediterranean power establishing colonies in Corsica, Ibiza, North Africa, The Balearic Islands and Sardinia. It had a population of over 300 000. Its reign started to decline when Hannibal lost the 2nd Punic War. Therefore, we will be focusing on the time period starting from 500 BC till the end of the 2nd Punic War (202 BC). Under Commerce, we are focusing on international trade (trade between The Carthage Empire, North Africa and other cities of the Iberian Peninsula) and how it became an international metropolis due to its strategic location near the Mediterranean trade routes. Under Conflict, we are focusing on military (advanced navy) and territorial expansion (Punic Wars). We will be focusing on Carthage’s advanced shipbuilding techniques and how they managed to hold their own against a bigger and stronger enemy (Rome) during the 2nd Punic War. Under Culture, we are focusing on religion and practices. The Carthaginians worshipped most of the gods that were worshipped by the Phoenicians. Also, they had practices like killing their own children. Under Community, we are focusing on government. The government of Carthage was an oligarchical republic, which relied on a system of checks and balances and ensured a form of public accountability. Our hypothesis is that the extent of the Carthaginian Navy and weaponry managed to hold up a superior empire, namely the Romans, for such a long time. We intend to prove that our hypothesis is true.
In this portion we will be talking about Carthaginian government and governing styles. Aristotle himself ranks this republic as one of the best and as an example for all to follow. He says this due to the fact that from Carthage’s formation to his time, no considerable sedition had disturbed the peace, nor had any big tyrant arisen. Therefore, let us take a closer look at Carthage’s government and governing style. Government
The government of Carthage was made of 3 main authorities. They were the 2 supreme magistrates called suffets, 600 people in the senate and the common public. The suffets played the role of king, dictator and consul. They were elected annually from the most wealthy and influential families. These suffets were empowered to elect the senate and presided over them. One example of a successful dynasty of suffets would be the Magonids. Hamilcar and his son, Hannibal came from this dynasty and brought much success to the Carthaginians through their countless victories against Rome which allowed Carthage to sustain itself as their offensive nature delayed Rome’s invasion into Carthage. The senate formed the very soul of the government and were honoured on basis of their age, experience, birth, riches, and most importantly their merit.
Public Involvement in Politics
When there was no clear majority in the number of votes, the matter was brought to the people of the public. This can be seen as an effective way to crush factions, produce harmony and to enforce and corroborate good counsel. As a result of this, the Carthaginian forces could be funnelled into the war efforts instead of busying themselves with major internal conflicts. Their people had confidence in the government, therefore there were no...
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