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Religion of Carthage, by Roy Decker

Introduction to ancient Carthaginian religious practices.


The Carthaginian culture is one of the most mysterious of ancient times. Little remains of their literature and none of their history, except what was recorded by her bitter enemies the Greeks and Romans. The religion of Carthage is strange to us today, but not so alien to her contemporaries.

The belief system of the western Phoenicians (or Punic peoples) -- that is, the Carthaginians and the people of the other Phoenician colonies along the coast of Africa, Iberia, and the islands of Sardinia, Corsica, Malta, and the western portion of Sicily -- was very similar to that of the old city states of Phoenicia or Canaan, as referred to in the Old Testament. Carthaginians worshiped a pantheon of gods and goddesses similar to those of the cultures with which they had contact. They even adopted some of the gods of their neighbors. Punic gods were exacting entities, requiring sacrifice and appeasement to avoid their displeasure and to court their favor.

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