They were not liable however either to recruiting or to the land-tax, but contributed a definite amount of men and money, Little Leptis for instance paying the enormous sum annually of 365 talents (90,000 pounds); moreover they lived on a footing of equality in law with the Carthaginians, and could marry with them on equal terms.(3) Utica alone escaped a similar fate and had its walls and independence preserved to it, less perhaps from its own power than from the pious feeling of the Carthaginians towards their ancient protectors; in fact, the Phoenicians cherished for such relations a remarkable feeling of reverence presenting a thorough contrast to the indifference of the Greeks. Even in intercourse with foreigners it is always "Carthage and Utica" that stipulate and promise in conjunction; which, of course, did not preclude the far more important "new town" from practically asserting its hegemony also over Utica. Thus the Tyrian factory was converted into the capital of a mighty North -African empire, which extended from the desert of Tripoli to the Atlantic Ocean, contenting itself in its western portion (Morocco and Algiers) with the occupation, and that to some extent superficial, of a belt along the coast, but in the richer eastern portion (the present districts of Constantine and Tunis) stretching its sway over the interior also and constantly pushing its frontier farther to the south. The Carthaginians were, as an ancient author significantly expresses it, converted from Tyrians into Libyans. Phoenician civilization prevailed in Libya just as Greek civilization prevailed in Asia Minor and Syria after the campaigns of Alexander, although not with the same intensity. Phoenician was spoken and written at the courts of the Nomad sheiks, and the more civilized native tribes adopted for their language the Phoenician alphabet;(4) to Phoenicise them completely suited neither the genius of the nation nor the policy of Carthage.
The epoch, at which this transformation of Carthage into the capital of Libya took place, admits the less of being determined, because the change doubtless took place gradually. The author just mentioned names Hanno as the reformer of the nation. If the Hanno is meant who lived at the time of the first war with Rome, he can only be regarded as having completed the new system, the carrying out of which presumably occupied the fourth and fifth centuries of Rome.
The flourishing of Carthage was accompanied by a parallel decline in the great cities of the Phoenician mother-country, in Sidon and especially in Tyre, the prosperity of which was destroyed partly by internal commotions, partly by the pressure of external calamities, particularly of its sieges by Salmanassar in the first, Nebuchodrossor in the second, and Alexander in the fifth century of Rome. The noble families and the old firms of Tyre emigrated for the most part to the secure and flourishing daughter-city, and carried thither their intelligence, their capital, and their traditions. At the time when the Phoenicians came into contact with Rome, Carthage was as decidedly the first of Canaanite cities as Rome was the first of the Latin communities.
Naval Power Of Carthage
But the empire of Libya was only half of the power of Carthage; its maritime and colonial dominion had acquired, during the same period, a not less powerful development.
In Spain the chief station of the Phoenicians was the primitive Tyrian settlement at Gades (Cadiz). Besides this they possessed to the west and east of it a chain of factories, and in the interior the region of the silver mines; so that they held nearly the modern Andalusia and Granada, or at least the coasts of these provinces. They made no effort to acquire the interior from the warlike native nations; they were content with the possession of the mines and of the stations for traffic and for shell and other fisheries; and they had difficulty in maintaining their ground even in these against the adjoining tribes. It is probable that these possessions were not properly Carthaginian but Tyrian, and Gades was not reckoned among the cities tributary to Carthage; but practically, like all the western Phoenicians, it was under Carthaginian hegemony, as is shown by the aid sent by Carthage to the Gaditani against the natives, and by the institution of Carthaginian trading settlements to the westward of Gades. Ebusus and the Baleares, again, were occupied by the Carthaginians themselves at an early period, partly for the fisheries, partly as advanced posts against the Massiliots, with whom furious conflicts were waged from these stations.
In like manner the Carthaginians already at the end of the second century of Rome established themselves in Sardinia, which was utilized by them precisely in the same way as Libya. While the natives withdrew into the mountainous interior of the island to escape from bondage as agricultural serfs, just as the Numidians in Africa withdrew to the borders of the desert, Phoenician colonies were conducted to Caralis (Cagliari) and other important points, and the fertile districts along the coast were turned to account by the introduction of Libyan cultivators.
Lastly in Sicily the straits of Messana and the larger eastern half of the island had fallen at an early period into the hands of the Greeks; but the Phoenicians, with the help of the Carthaginians, retained the smaller adjacent islands, the Aegates, Melita, Gaulos, Cossyra--the settlement in Malta especially was rich and flourishing--and they kept the west and north-west coast of Sicily, whence they maintained communication with Africa by means of Motya and afterwards of Lilybaeum and with Sardinia by means of Panormus and Soluntum. The interior of the island remained in the possession of the natives, the Elymi, Sicani, and Siceli. After the further advance of the Greeks was checked, a state of comparative peace had prevailed in the island, which even the campaign undertaken by the Carthaginians at the instigation of the Persians against their Greek neighbours on the island (274) did not permanently interrupt, and which continued on the whole to subsist till the Attic expedition to Sicily (339-341). The two competing nations made up their minds to tolerate each other, and confined themselves in the main each to its own field.