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THE EARLY HISTORY OF CARTHAGE AND
THE ANTECEDENTS OF THE SECOND
In the earliest times of which history can take account we find the traces of an active trade in the Mediterranean waters which was mainly in the hands of the Phoenician merchants. The enterprising race which peopled the narrow strip of Canaan hemmed in between the mountains and the sea, soon found out its vocation in the carrying trade of the prehistoric world. Its colonists pushed their way along the coast of Asia Minor, and through the isles of the Ægean, planting their factories on every favoured spot, and opening up the mineral wealth or purple fisheries of the countries on their way; their interchange of national products gave the first stimulus to the energy
of many a backward race, while their merchant navy probably supplied the wants of the great land
Compare especially Polybius, Book 1.; Heeren, Carthaginians ; Movers, Phænizier; Lenormant, Manuel d'Histoire Ancienne. C. L.
power of Egypt, bringing together the scattered elements of tin and copper to be combined by the industrial arts of the early age of bronze. The course of these Phoenician adventurers was directed almost wholly by the interests of trade, but on the Northern coast of Africa their colonies assumed another character. There were indeed some early settlements from Sidon on the shore, as at Hippo and at Cambe, but these were probably of little note, till larger streams of immigrants appeared, who, unlike the rest, betook themselves to the interior, and lived an agricultural life. There is reason to believe that they were Canaanites from the inland, dispossessed perhaps by Israel under Joshua from the country on the North of Palestine, and guided from the ports of Sidon to their new homes by pilots already familiar with the country. Here they may have found some kindred races, peoples of the Hittite stock, who had spread from Egypt in the period known as that of the invasion of the Shepherd dynasties. The new. comers mingled with the native Libyans, and from their union in the course of ages grew the numerous populations found in later times in Zeugitana and Byzacene, and known as a mixed race by the name of Liby-phoenicians.
When Sidon fell before a sudden onset of the Philistines in B.C. 1209, Tyre stepped into her place, as the chief power of the Phænician league, which took up henceforth a more decided policy in the far West.
In the neighbourhood of the Ægean the Carian pirates and the Ionian traders were as enterprising as themselves, and one after another their factories had to be deserted, or fell into their rivals' hands, but in the West they came only into contact with less civilised races, who had no navy on their seas, and felt little jealousy of the modest settlements upon their coasts. First they planted the important town of Utica, and coasting thence they pushed across to Gades, where, attracted by the mines and other wealth of Southern Spain--the Tarsis of traditional fancythey made a chain of factories and forts along the shores up to and even beyond the Pyrenees, not forgetting to gain a foothold upon the neighbouring islands, and Sardinia above all. But rapid as was the progress of these colonies, they were all of themi eclipsed by the brilliant fortunes of a younger sister. Some noble refugees from Tyre, flying under the guidance of Elissar, Vergil's Dido, settled on the almost deserted site of the old Sidonian Cambe, near the centre of the great basin formed by the gulf of Tunis. There they resolved to make a home, and built themselves a stronghold which they called 'a new city,' Kirjath-Hadéschath, known to the Latins as Carthago (B.C. 872). The energy, and wealth, and powerful connections of the emigrants secured for the new settlement a rapid start in social progress ; its happy site between the rich corn lands of the Bagradas, and the splendid anchorage of its
natural harbours, seemed to mark out for it a career of supremacy in trade; while there were many possible allies and friends in the kindred communities upon the neighbouring coasts, or in the Liby-phonicians of the main land. With such consciousness of growing strength they could not long maintain the hunıble attitude towards the native races, which is typified in the tradition of the tribute paid for the ground on which the city had been built. Forced therefore before long into collision with the Libyan peoples, they forsook the old Phænician policy which shrank from territorial conquests, save on islands or projecting headlands; step by step they pushed their way into the interior, annexing wide tracts of cultivated soil, and driving back the Nomad tribes into their deserts.
Other causes also tended to force them into a career of imperial ambition. When Tyre was ruined by Nabuchodorossor, her colonies in the far West, in Sicily, Sardinia, Africa, and Spain, were thrown unprepared upon their own resources. The native races rose against them, the jealous Greeks seized the moment of their rivals' weakness, and there was nothing for it but to look round for timely aid or perish, They turned in their despair to Carthage, their vigorous and wealthy sister : she in her turn took up the legacy bequeathed by Tyre, and found a colonial empire ready made. But she had to fight hard to maintain it. War-navies were needed to keep her hold upon the distant islands : Liby-phenicians were drilled and armed and sent as colonists to secure the mines of Southern Spain, endangered by the native tribes. Their old enemies, the Greeks, meanwhile were making steady progress.
Much of the coast line of Sicily was in their hands, Phocæan colonies were planted on the shores of Gaul, as at Massilia, and on the North-East of Spain, and nearer home in Africa, the prosperous Cyrene was soon to trouble them with rivalry and war; Carthage accepted the defiance, and engaged as in a duel that must be fought out to the bitter end. After a hardfought struggle she checked the advance of the Phocæan colonists, destroyed one after another of their towns, and swept their navies from the sea, even forcing humbled Massilia to submit to see a Punic factory rise within sight of its port, some trace of which was found a few years since in a tariff of the sacrifices to be used in Baal's temple, as sanctioned by the magistrates of Carthage. With Cyrene she disputed merely the paramount lordship over the Libyan races, but after long hostilities they found that in that wide continent there was room enough for a separate career for each, and agreed upon a frontier line, to which tradition gave the name of the altars of the Philæni, from a romantic legend of the self-devotion of the arbitrators sent from Carthage.
But on the other hand the Greeks of Sicily stood