Why did the Phoenicians establish Carthage?
to fight Rome
to serve as a trading post
to sell slaves
to control the gold trade
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The study of the history of Carthage is often problematic. Due to the subjugation of the civilization by the Romans at the end of the Third Punic War, very few Carthaginian historical primary sources survive. There are a few ancient translations of Punic texts into Greek and Latin, as well as inscriptions on monuments and buildings discovered in North Africa. However, the majority of available primary source material about Carthaginian civilization was written by Greek and Roman historians, such as Livy, Polybius, Appian, Cornelius Nepos, Silius Italicus, Plutarch, Dio Cassius, and Herodotus.
These authors came from cultures which were nearly always in competition, and often in conflict, with Carthage. The Greeks contested with Carthage for Sicily, for instance, and the Romans fought the Punic Wars against Carthage. Inevitably the accounts of Carthage written by outsiders include significant bias. Recent excavation of ancient Carthaginian sites has brought much more primary material to light. Some of these finds contradict or confirm aspects of the traditional picture of Carthage, but much of the material is still ambiguous.
Carthage is indisputably of key importance to Roman history. The first great imperial opponent of Rome, they took the Romans to the very brink of defeat. The battles in the titanic struggle between the two powers helped forge the Roman legions and navies into the supreme fighting force in the Mediterranean.