Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Carthage, ancient city on the north coast of Africa just east of modern Tunis which played a part in wine history as a result of the maritime expansion of the phoenicians who settled there in the late 9th century bc. A famous passage of the historian Diodorus (20. 8) paints a vivid picture of the country estates of the Carthaginian elite of the late 4th century bc, flourishing on the fertile soils around Carthage with a mix of farming, which included viticulture. However, at no period did Carthaginian wine figure prominently in trade. It was eclipsed by North Africa’s importance as a producer of corn and olive oil, most particularly in the period when it was part of the Roman empire. Still, there can be little doubt that Carthage’s élite shared the same interest in viticulture as the rest of the Mediterranean world.