Punic Wars > Carthage
A Carthaginian silver shekel depicting Hamilcar Barca wearing a laurel wreath, c. 230 BC, from the Mogente Hoard of Valencia, Spain, now in the British Museum
Carthage was a republic that dominated the political, military and economic affairs of the western Mediterranean Sea, especially on the North African coasts and islands, and above all, due to its navy. It originated as a Phoenician colony in Africa, near modern Tunis. Carthage had become a wealthy center for trade networks extending from Gadir (Cádiz) along the coasts of southern Iberia and North Africa, across the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, and the western half of Sicily, to the ports of the eastern Mediterranean, including Tyre, its mother city, on the shores of the Levant. At the height of power, just before the First Punic War, Carthage was hostile to foreign ships (such as Roman and Greek vessels) in the western Mediterranean.