The Topography and Might of Ancient Carthage

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Carthage, seat of power for several generations of powerful traders and fierce fighters, was famous as a fortified city, home to two massive harbors within extremely well-fortified walls.

Protecting the city were 34-feet-thick, 46-feet-high walls. Sources differ on the length of the walls: Some sources say that the walls were 18 miles in length; other sources say 23 miles in length. Towers dotted the walls, which were built to withstand sieges by also incorporating interior space in which to facilitate a standing army of tens of thousands of men and hundreds of war elephants.

Ancient Carthage

The soldiers were well-equipped, armed as they were with shields, swords, javelins, and other weapons churned out by the city's well-oiled workshops.

A citadel, called Byrsa, dominated the interior landscape and was home to various temples.

At its height, the Carthaginian navy boasted 220 warships. They all fit in one of the city's two harbors, each in its own dock. The other harbor facilitated the large amount of trade that flowed in and out of the city.

The west-facing entrance to both harbors was 70 feet wide. The rectangular outer harbor was the trade harbor. The circular inner harbor housed the navy.

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David White