Punic Wars > Bibliography

Bibliography

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

Background

The historical analysis of the Punic Wars and largely the study of Carthage and the Punic civilization is very fraught with problems and speculation. Most of the culture, records and history of the Carthaginians was destroyed following the end of the Third Punic War. There are very few primary source documents regarding the Punic Wars and a minuscule fraction of them are Carthaginian. In fact, we do not even know what they called the wars, we use the Roman name for them, based on the Roman name for their civilization.

In fact, it must also be understand there was a tremendous bias to justify this action by the Romans so they smeared the Carthaginians for centuries after. They were ridiculed in plays and even created insults out of their name. In light of this, most of our sources regarding the Punic Wars are Greek and Roman authors themselves. While here are some translations of Punic inscriptions into Greek and Latin these are few and far between.

It must be understand that even the Greek cities were in competition with Carthage at well, and even their accounts are not unbiased regarding this ultra-wealthy and envious civilization. In fact, there are several Greek authors known to have taken a favorable view against the Carthaginians but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) those works have been lost to history.

So in conclusion, when reading the history of the Punic Wars it is important to take into account the Roman and Greek bias. We attempted the best historical reconstruction of the conflict based on all of the sources, evidence and data available but despite this the objectivity of the content is still a controversy in history and archaeology.

Primary Sources

The main primary source writers for the Punic Wars included;

  • Livy
  • Polybius
  • Appian
  • Cornelius Nepos
  • Silius Italicus
  • Plutarch
  • Dio Cassius
  • Herodotus

Secondary Sources