by Dexter Hoyos
Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword / Philadelphia: Casemate, 2019. Pp. xviii, 238+.
Illus., maps, biblio., index. $39.95. ISBN: 1781593574
Carthaginian Imperialism Unmasked
Carthage’s military history reaches back centuries before its well known generational conflict with Rome (264-146 BC. In his latest work, Prof. Hoyos (Sydney), author of Rome Victorious and A Companion to Roman Imperialism, among other works in ancient history, gives us a good look at these wars and Carthage’s social and military institutions as well.
After a short, critical overview of the sources, Hoyos opens by noting that, as with most colonies of Phoenician origins, Carthage’s political, social, and economic institutions did not differ much from those of the Greeks or Romans, it was essentially an oligarchic republic. He then discusses the city’s military forces, a navy manned largely by citizens, an army heavy in mercenaries, and an impressively fortified capital city.
Hoyos follows with several chapters covering the city’s many wars, exercises in imperialism that go largely overlooked by an anti-Roman tradition in some scholarly circles. There were wars against other Phoenician colonies, Carthage’s African neighbors, the native Sicels and long-settled Greeks of Sicily (at times possibly in alliance with Persia, busily trying to conquer mainland Greece), as well as in Sardinia and in Spain, this last a region that came to be dominated by the famed Barcid family, deliberately for the purpose for carrying on war against Rome. Hoyos includes some excellent notes, with analyses of particular knotty issues. And while he doesn’t stress the point, Hoyos shows that like Rome, Carthage was an aggressive power in its own right, as well as a commercial enterprise.
Carthage’s Other Wars is a very good read for those with an interest in Classical Antiquity, and a reminder that the Romans were hardly the only imperialist warmongers of the ancient world.
Note: Carthage’s Other Wars is also available in several e-editions.
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