Engineering an Empire: Carthage (2006)

History Channel

Ruins of Carthage. The first civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence is referred to as Punic (a form of the word "Phoenician") or Carthaginian. The city of Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the centre of Tunis. According to Roman legend it was founded in 814 BCE by Phoenician colonists from Tyre under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido). It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean. The resulting rivalry with Syracuse and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland. Source: Wikipedia
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Documentary Description


After its founding at the end of the ninth century B.C., this city soon grew into one of greatest civilizations of the Ancient World - a remarkable city-state that dominated the Mediterranean for over 600 years. Over that span of time, Carthaginian engineers harnessed their extensive resources and manpower to develop some of the ancient world's most groundbreaking technology. Like the Egyptian and Greek masters before them, they built colossal structures able to withstand the ravages of time and man. Carthage was protected by a massive harbor that held hundreds of war ships - which formed the core of antiquity's most formidable navy. And to protect the capital, an intricate series of defensive walls were erected that stretched for more than 23 miles, and housed a standing army of more than 20,000 men.



For generations, Carthage defined power, strength and ingenuity for the ancient world. But by the third century B.C., the empire's existence was threatened by another emerging superpower across the pond - Rome. The two civilizations clashed in a series of three epic wars; a to-the-death struggle for supremacy that would last 118 years. When all was said and done, it would be the Romans who would inherit unrivalled status as the world's lone superpower, and go on to redefine the meaning of power and ingenuity. But when the Romans engineered their empire, they were only following the lead of the Carthaginians. From the city's grand harbor to the rise of one of history's greatest generals, Hannibal Barca, this episode will examine the architecture and infrastructure that enabled the rise and fall of the Carthage Empire.

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