Carthage was the capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia. Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the classical world.
The city developed from a Phoenician colony into the capital of a Punic empire which dominated large parts of the Southwest Mediterranean during the first millennium BC.The legendary Queen Alyssa or Dido is regarded as the founder of the city, though her historicity has been questioned. According to accounts by Timaeus of Tauromenium, she purchased from a local tribe the amount of land that could be covered by an oxhide. Cutting the skin into strips, she laid out her claim and founded an empire that would become, through the Punic Wars, the only existential threat to Rome until the coming of the Vandals several centuries later.
The ancient city was destroyed by the Roman Republic in the Third Punic War in 146 BC and then re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa. The city was sacked and destroyed by Umayyad forces after the Battle of Carthage in 698 to prevent it from being reconquered by the Byzantine Empire. It remained occupied during the Muslim period and was used as a fort by the Muslims until the Hafsid period when it was taken by the Crusaders with its inhabitants massacred during the Eighth Crusade. The Hafsids decided to destroy its defenses so it could not be used as a base by a hostile power again. It also continued to function as an episcopal see.