As Carthaginians (Latin Poeni ) were by the Romans the Semitic Phoenicians in North Africa called. The terms " Punic ", " Phoenicians " and Carthaginians found largely synonymous use. Etymologically, the name is due to the Punic term " Ponnim ", which means " inhabitants of the Low Countries " means ( this is an allusion to the circumstances of the Levantine coast, where the Phoenician city residents of coastal land in this way Canaan by the tribes of the mountains of Lebanon demarcated ). Synonymous with the term is particularly common for the Carthaginians, the inhabitants of its capital Carthage or the Punic cities other comprehensive Carthaginian empire, but also for the people of Tyre, Sidon and other Phoenician -ups throughout the Mediterranean. As a Punic city foundations are Agadir, Gadir and Ajdir, where Aŷdīr, wall ',' attachment ' meant. Furthermore, the city of Carthage and its colonies (about Cartagena), and numerous other cities in Spain, Africa (Utica ) and Cyprus.
Often this term appears in connection with the three Punic Wars. These were military conflicts for supremacy in the western Mediterranean between Rome and Carthage in the years 264-146 BC, which ended with the destruction of the Carthaginian maritime empire.
The Carthaginians spoke Punic, the late form of the Phoenician, a Northwest Semitic language. According to Augustine, the language of the Carthaginians in North Africa was still spoken in late antiquity among the rural population. It is assumed that only the Arab Punic completely repressed. Elements of the Punic can be found as a substrate in Berber.