Carthaginian History: Timeline

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Timeline of Carthaginian History

by Richard M. Heli
Military Games by Historical Period

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The Settlement Period
(all dates BC)
  • 814 Carthage founded by Elissa (Dido), sister of the King of Tyre.
  • 800? First Phoenician presence on Sardinia.
  • 770 Founding of Gadir, gateway to Spanish silver.
  • 700-500 Heavy Greek colonization of Sicily, Southern Italy, Southern Provence, Andalusia and Cyrenaica, encircling Carthaginian territory.
  • 654 Carthage founds colony in the Balearic Islands at Ibiza.
  • 600 Carthage fails to prevent Phocaean Greek colony at Massilia (Marseilles).
  • 580 First attempt by Greeks to drive Phoenicians out of Sicily.
  • 574 Tyre falls to Nebuchadnezzar.
  • 550 Carthage allies with the Etruscans against the Greeks.
  • 550 Carthaginian force led by Malchus defeats Greeks in Sicily, but is vanquished in Sardinia. Malchus banished, marches on Carthage, is caught and executed.
  • 550? Carthaginian colonies formed along coast of Africa, Algeria, Hadrumetum, Leptis.
  • 539 Asian Phoenicia falls to Cyrus the Great of Persia.
  • 535 Carthage, with Etruscans, destroys Phocaean colony in Corsica and closes Sardinia-Corsica off to the Greeks.
  • 510 Dorieus, a Spartan prince, is expelled from Tripolitania.
  • 510 Rome throws off Etruscan rulers and establishes independent republic.
  • 507 First treaty with Rome
  • 498 Hippocrates and Theron seize control in Syracuse and attempt to throw Phoenicians off western part of the island.
  • 480 Alliance with Persia fails to destroy Greeks, military defeat in Sicily as fleet is cut off by superior Athenian forces (Himera). Revolution overthrows Mago dynasty and establishes Court of 104 Magistrates.
The Early Republic
  • 480 Carthaginian force under Hamilcar the Magonid defeated by Sicilian Greeks at Himera cutting off access to the East. Hamilcar commits suicide on the battlefield.
  • 479-450 Carthage conquers most of Tunisia. Colonies in North Africa founded or strengthened. Mago's expedition across the Sahara.
  • 410 Phoenicians in Spain join with Celtiberians to secede from Carthage, denying the state important silver and copper revenues. Overland tin trade cut off.
  • 410 Himilco's expeditions in the Atlantic. Hanno's expeditions to Morocco and Senegal.
  • 409 Carthage initiates attempts to conquer Sicily. Hannibal, grandson of Hamilcar, takes the fortified towns of Selinus and Himera by use of siege towers.
  • 405 Hannibal Mago and hundreds of troops die in epidemic outside fortified town of Acragas. Himilco, his relative, takes over command, is defeated by force out of Syracuse, and has supply disrupted in naval action. Syracusan forces strengthen garrison.
  • 405 Carthaginian squadron breaks through Greek blockade -- the besieged escape under cover of night, Punic forces collect spoils.
  • 405 Himilco takes town of Gela, defeating Syracusan force, then takes town of Camarina.
  • 405 Himilco marches on Syracuse. Army is laid low by epidemic. Himilco seeks peace. Syracuse grants control of most of Sicily and must pay tribute to Carthage. Treaty confirms Dionysius I as dictator (tyrannos) of Syracuse. First Sicilian War concluded.
  • 398 Dionysius sacks Motya -- Carthaginians permanently relocate main Sicilian base to fortified town of Lilybaeum.
  • 397 Himilco drives Dionysius back to Syracuse and resumes siege. In naval action, sinks or boards 100 Syracusan naval vessels and takes 20,000 prisoners.
  • 396 Epidemic lays Punic forces low for a third time in Sicily. Dionysius capitalizes and defeats Himilco in pitched battle. He survives, but upon return to Carthage, starves himself to death. Fighting continues.
  • 393 Carthaginian force under Mago, nephew of Himilco, defeated trying to re-take Messana.
  • 392 Mago defeated a second time. Truce signed.
  • 384 Carthage renews war, initiating minor skirmishes.
  • 375 Carthage defeated at Cabala -- Mago and 10,000 soldiers killed. Mago's son Himilco defeats Dionysius near Himera -- truce favorable to Carthage concluded.
  • 367 Dionysius attacks Carthaginian base at Lilybaeum -- stopped when fleet defeated by warships under Hanno the Great.
  • 366 Dionysius I dies, still at war with Carthage.
  • 360 Hanno the Great crucified following unsuccessful attempt to usurp power.
  • 350 Carthage leading Western power.
  • 348 Second treaty with Rome.
  • 343 Mago sails to Syracuse to drive out the usurper. Fails and commits suicide in order to avoid court martial upon his return. Hasdrubal and Hamilcar make a second attempt, losing a battle at Segesta. Hasdrubal executed. Gisco, son of Hanno the Great, authorized to make peace -- Sicily divided along Halycus River. 2nd Sicilian War ends.
  • 340 Power struggle in Syracuse ends with Timoleon of Corinth victorious.
  • 338 Uneasy, yet prosperous peace in Sicily.
  • 334 Alexander the Great conquers the Eastern World. Carthage makes peace with the Greek empire and with the Lagos monarchy in Egypt.
  • 323 Alexander dies.
  • 315 Agathocles of Syracuse takes Messana.
  • 311 Agathocles lays siege to Acragas and crosses the Halcyus, violating the peace treaty.
  • 310 Carthaginian force under Hamilcar, grandson of Hanno the Great defeats Greek force at Himera. Siege of Syracuse begins.
  • 309 Agathocles sails force of 14,000 to Africa. Carthage meets with 40,000 foot, 1000 cavalry and 2000 chariots under Bomilcar and Hanno. Greeks are victorious, Carthage losing 3000 on the battlefield, but city is impregnable. Siege of Syracuse continues.
  • 308 Greeks form local allies -- Egypt contributes 10,000. Greeks control Tunisian province and fighting continues.
  • 308 Bomilcar tries to make himself dictator in Carthage. Is defeated and tortured to death.
  • 307 Greek victory outside Syracuse. Hamilcar captured and killed.
  • 307 While Agathocles oversees events in Syracuse, Carthage defeats the Greek and allied forces. Despite Syracusan reinforcement, Greek cause in Africa is doomed. Greeks desert to Carthaginian commanders Hanno and Himilco in vast numbers. Treaty favorable to Carthage concluded.
  • 306 Third treaty with Rome.
  • 300 Pytheas explores the Atlantic, Euthymenes the coasts of Africa.
  • 289 Agathocles dies. Pre-war division of Sicily resumes. 3rd Sicilian War ends.
  • 279 Pyrrhus of Epirus, relative of Alexander the Great, invades southern Italy and Sicily. Defeats Phoenicians and forces them off the island, leaving Lilybaeum as the only remaining stronghold.
  • 279 Agreement with Rome against Pyrrhus.
  • 277? Carthage sinks 70 of Pyrrhus' 110 ships and Pyrrhus gives up the war.
  • 272 A woman hurls a tile from a rooftop as Pyrrhus invests Argos, killing him before he can begin his second invasion of Sicily.
The Late Republic
  • 263 First War with Rome begins over Sicily.
  • 262 Rome victorious at Messana. Syracuse goes over to Romans. Acragas falls to Romans.
  • 261 Carthage raids Italian coast. Rome builds its first fleet. Carthaginian defeat at sea off Mylae. Commander Hannibal crucified. Victory at Thermae.
  • 257 Another sea defeat and Romans land in Africa, take Tunis. Carthage, under forces led by Hasdrubal and Bostzer, defeats Rome before the gates, largely with Numidian cavalry, led by Greek mercenary leader Xanthippus.
  • 256 Hanno the Great II expands territory in North Africa.
  • 253 Rome wins a brilliant naval victory off the Aegates Islands, west of Sicily, cutting off African supply bases. Hasdrubal defeated outside Panormus and is executed by his own forces. Truce called.
  • 247 Hamilcar Barca re-organizes forces on Sicily, but receives no reinforcement.
  • 241 War ends in defeat. Sicily is lost, fleet destroyed and finances ruined due to crippling indemnity.
  • 241-237 Mercenaries revolt and stir up poverty-stricken peasants in Libya and Utica. Eventually defeated by Hamilcar. Rome obtains Sardinia-Corsica as price of staying neutral.
  • 237 Hamilcar Barca reconquers Spain.
  • 229 Hamilcar dies, succeeded by son-in-law Hasdrubal.
  • 228 Carthago Nova (Cartagena) founded by Hasdrubal.
  • 226 Treaty with Rome defines Ebro River as boundary between spheres.
  • 221 Hasdrubal assassinated by an Iberian -- succeeded by Hannibal.
  • 219 Hannibal and brother Hasdrubal conquer the entire Peninsula up to the Ebro.
  • 218 Hannibal takes Roman-supported town of Saguntum.
  • 218 Hannibal marches over the Ebro, into the Alps and invades Italy with the help of Gallic allies. Victory over Cornelius Scipio at Ticinus. Victory at Trebia over Sempronius Longus. Rome defeats Hanno in Spain and Rome is victorious at sea near Lilybaeum -- Malta lost to Carthage.
  • 217 Victory at Lake Trasimene over Flaminius.
  • 216 Victory at Cannae over Terentius Varro. Greek sovereigns Philip V of Macedonia and Hiero of Syracuse join Carthage's cause, though without committing deeply.
  • 214 Syracuse falls to Roman forces commanded by Marcellus.
  • 210-205 Scipio with aid of Numidian Prince Massinissa conquers Spain for Rome. Scipio invades Africa, takes Tunis.
  • 204 Scipio allies with Libyans, Moors and Numidians and Numidian Prince Massinissa to take the war to Africa. Carthage backs rival Numidian Syphax who along with Hasdrubal Gisco is defeated by Scipio in two successive battles. Mago is defeated in northern Italy attempting to reinforce Hannibal. A peace treaty is declared and Hannibal returns to Africa.
  • 202 Carthaginan attack on Roman convoy which has run aground re-opens the war. Hannibal defeated at Zama to end Second War with Rome. Fleet reduced to ten triremes, domain limited to eastern Tunisia, Massinissa installed as king of the Numidians at Cirta (Constantine), high indemnities and Carthage denied permission to wage war.
  • 202-150 Trade with North Africa and Greece continues. Agriculture improved to bring in new revenues.
  • 195 Hannibal becomes Suffete. State reform, new methods of election.
  • 194 Hannibal flees to court of Antiochus to escape his Roman enemies.
  • 183 Hannibal dies by his own hand to escape Romans in Bithynia.
  • 150 Carthage attacks Numidians in response to Massinissa's land grabs. Numidia victorious and further indemnities exacted.
  • 149 Rome declares war in retaliation for treaty violation.
  • 146 Carthage falls to Scipio Aemilianus. City burnt to the ground. "Delenda est Carthago."
June 22, 1998
Copyright (C) 1994-1999

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