How Disease Affected the History of Ancient Carthage
Carthage was the dominant empire in the western Mediterranean Sea c.265 bce until challenged by a new power—Rome. Carthage and Rome subsequently fought many wars to see who would control the Mediterranean. These conflicts were called the three Punic Wars that lasted on and off from 264 bce until the fall of Carthage in 146 bce when Rome totally destroyed Carthage from fear that it would rise up again to challenge Rome’s power.
Most of these wars were fought over the control of Sicily, which held a dominant position in the middle Mediterranean; for the power who held Sicily controlled access to the western Mediterranean. During these campaigns in Sicily the Carthaginian army was never able to win because its forces were always being destroyed by various infectious diseases such as measles, smallpox and influenza.