Carthage was a great city of antiquity, on the north coast of Africa, near modern Tunis, Tunisia. Dido was the legendary founder and queen of Carthage; the city was probably established as a trading post towards the end of the 9th century BC by Phoenicians.
Carthage fought many wars for the control of Sicily, which lay about 160 km to the north of Carthage and formed a natural bridge between North Africa and Italy.
In 480 BC, Carthaginian forces under General Hamilcar was defeated by Gelon, the tyrant of Gela and Syracuse. Further Carthaginian attempts to conquer Sicily were thwarted by armies under the command of the Syracusan tyrants Dionysius the Younger, Dionysius the Elder, Agathocles, and Pyrrhus, king of Epirus.
The Punic Wars were fought against the rising power of Rome. The First Punic War (264-241 BC) brought to the fore the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca. His conquests in southern Spain were completed by his son-in-law Hasdrubal and by his son Hannibal although Carthage had to cede its holdings in Sicily to Rome after the Roman victory at the Aegates Islands in 241 BC. During the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), Hannibal marched eastwards along the northern shore of the Mediterranean from Spain and crossed the Alps into Italy. Hannibal's final defeat, however, resulted in the loss of Spain and various island possessions of Carthage. In the Third Punic War (149-146 BC), the Romans under Scipio Africanus the Younger razed the city of Carthage, thus fulfilling the wish of the Roman statesman Cato the Elder.