How were relations between Carthage and Ptolemaic Egypt?

#3
There was extensive trade between the cities under Carthage's hegemony and those under Ptolemaic Egypt (including Cyrene). There is a chapter on this in The Hellenistic West by Prag and Quinn. Trade relationships had been there for a long time. Miles shows in Carthage Must Be Destroyed that Egyptian products are among the earliest products found at Carthaginian sites. This makes sense since there were extensive contacts between Egypt and the Phoenicians of the Levant. Carthaginian, Liby-Phoenician and Numidian art and architecture was thus influenced by Egyptian culture. In many cases their art seems blatantly Egyptian. In some cases you have fascinating and beautiful buildings like the mausoleum in Sabratha that incorporates Egyptian, Levantine, Greek and Roman styles into something unique.

In the 5th or 4th century BC Carthage fought Cyrene for control over the modern Libyan coast, thus the myth of the brothers Philaeni, who sacrificed themselves for a Carthaginian win (in Sallust's The Jugurthine War). However, in general the Carthaginians do not appear to have been very eastwards-looking in their approach to imperialism, nor were the Ptolemies very westwards-looking. The Ptolemies did have Cyrene and the other poleis of the pentarchy of Cyrenaica in their control, thus why there is a city named Ptolemais, and so their empire was somewhat proximate to the cities of Emporia/Tripolitania (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, Oea) that were under Carthaginian control. But wars don't appear to have happened. As someone who's been to Libya this doesn't surprise. The country consists of vast expanses of coastline with few natural harbours and very little in the way of fertile hinterland. There was also not a great deal to be gained strategically from control of Emporia. For example, as Miles details in his Carthage book, if you controlled Sicily you controlled key parts of trade routes through the central Mediterranean (the Tyrrhrenian trade route and the silver trade route between Spain and the eastern Mediterranean). Emporia was mostly important because of her trans-Saharan trade links, but I imagine Cyrenaica had similar links herself.

Although Alexander apparently had his sights on Carthage when he died, and was preparing a massive expedition against the African power, the one time the Carthaginians and Ptolemies duked it out was when Ophellas of Cyrene, once a companion of Alexander and now the governor of Cyrenaica for Ptolemy, took it upon himself to support Agathocles of Syracuse when the latter invaded Carthaginian Africa in 310 BC. The Carthaginians and Syracusans had been fighting a war since 312, and after defeating him in battle, in 311 the Carthaginians besieged the tyrant in Syracuse herself. Agathocles' daring solution was to sneak out of Syracuse' Great Harbour, evade the Carthaginian fleet and land in Africa where he could take the enemy off-guard and threaten the Carthaginian homeland. After defeating the Carthaginians in a couple of battles he proceeded to threaten their capital. However, his army was small and he probably had to contend with Carthage's famous Triple Wall (described in Appian). He thus made overtures to Carthage's oppressed African subjects (inviting them to rebel), Numidians and Ophellas of Cyrene for help. Agathocles promised Ophellas control of Carthaginian Africa. Ophellas resolved upon helping Agathocles, mustered an army and brought in some Athenian soldiers as well, thanks to a marriage alliance. Many other Greeks also joined his expedition in the hopes of material gain. He then marched his army of 10,000 men, 600 horse and 100 chariots from Cyrene to the Carthaginian hinterland. There is no evidence that Ptolemy (who did not yet call himself king) backed Ophellas, but the latter was his governor, and so this is the closest thing we have to a war between the two.

It was a difficult march due to shortages of food and water and because of repeated snake bites, which again says something about why Carthage and Egypt generally didn't fight one another. When Ophellas finally arrived Agathocles betrayed him and took control of his army. Diodorus writes (20.42.3-5): 'The Carthaginians, on hearing of their presence, were panic stricken, seeing that so great a force had arrived against them; but Agathocles, going to meet Ophellas and generously furnishing all needed supplies, begged him to relieve his army from its distress. He himself remained for some days and carefully observed all that was being done in the camp of the new arrivals. When the larger part of the soldiers had scattered to find fodder and food, and when he saw that Ophellas had no suspicion of what he himself had planned, he summoned an assembly of his own soldiers and, after accusing the man who had come to join the alliance as if he were plotting against himself and thus rousing the anger of his men, straightway led his army in full array against the Cyreneans. Then Ophellas, stunned by this unexpected action, attempted to defend himself; but, pressed for time, the forces that he had remaining in camp not being adequate, he died fighting. Agathocles forced the rest of the army to lay down its arms, and by winning them all over with generous promises, he became master of the whole army. Thus Ophellas, who had cherished great hopes and had rashly entrusted himself to another, met an end so inglorious.' This happened in 309. Agathocles' expedition ended with defeat in 307, although in the same year Agathocles' forces were victorious in Sicily, leading to a status-quo end to the war in 306.

In the early 240s, when Carthage and Rome were fighting the long First Punic War and both were being tested financially, Carthage asked Ptolemy II for a loan and Ptolemy refused. In 273 the king had established a friendship with Rome, although it's not necessarily clear that he was Carthage's enemy. In the 270s Ptolemy had probably seen the Romans as a people worth courting on account of their war against Pyrrhus and Tarentum. The Romans had perhaps seen Ptolemy as a potential ally against Syracuse and/or Carthage (the 1st Punic War began in 264). After all, the Ptolemies had the greatest fleet in the eastern Mediterranean. Carthage had the greatest in the central Mediterranean. Indeed, Lazenby in The First Punic War suggests that the Romans, at the time they established friendship with Ptolemy, were afraid of Carthage. In any case, the Ptolemies perhaps wisely did not involve themselves in the massive and draining First Punic War, and merely refused to give Carthage the asked-for loan. As Polybius comments (1.63-4-7): '(The First Punic War) had lasted without a break for twenty-four years and is the longest, most unintermittent, and greatest war we know of. Apart from all the other battles and armaments, the total naval forces engaged were, as I mentioned above, on one occasion more than five hundred quinqueremes and on a subsequent one very nearly seven hundred. Moreover the Romans lost in this war about seven hundred quinqueremes, inclusive of those that perished in the shipwrecks, and the Carthaginians about five hundred. So that those who marvel at the great sea-battles and great fleets of an Antigonus, a Ptolemy, or a Demetrius would, if I mistake not, on inquiring into the history of this war, be much astonished at the huge scale of operations. Again, if we take into consideration the difference between quinqueremes and the triremes in which the Persians fought against the Greeks and the Athenians and Lacedaemonians against each other, we shall find that no forces of such magnitude ever met at sea.'
 
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#4
I made a mistake by calling the Cyrenaican poleis the Pentarchy. Cyrenaica was called Pentapolis, and the five cities that explain that name are Cyrene, Taucheira (called Arsinoe under the Ptolemies), Euesperides (called Berenice under the Ptolemies), Balagrae and Barce.

Incidentally, here is a photo of the mausoleum in Sabratha that I referred to:

sabratha.jpg
 
#9
With a price on his head, by all accounts
Indeed. Hannibal fled Carthage for the Near East in 195. In 196 Hannibal had held the office of Suffete and had used his position to combat corruption. His enemies had thus told their friends in Rome that he was pushing for a new war, and when Roman agents arrived he fled to Carthage's mother city of Tyre and then to the court of Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire. There he served as an advisor and admiral during their war with Rome. After the Seleucids lost the war and he realised that the Romans were pressuring Antiochus to give him up, he fled to Prusias of Bithynia. There he served as an admiral in their war with Pergamon, and it is in that context that Hannibal supposedly had pots full of venomous snakes catapulted onto the decks of enemy vessels. Eventually the Romans were putting pressure on Prusias as well, and so Hannibal ended his life with poison, apparently drinking the liquid from a ring he wore in case of such an eventually. It was also claimed that he administered the construction of Artaxarta in Armenia, but you have to wonder how many stories were invented in the east claiming a bit of Hannibal.
 
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Mar 2017
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#10
There was extensive trade between the cities under Carthage's hegemony and those under Ptolemaic Egypt (including Cyrene). There is a chapter on this in The Hellenistic West by Prag and Quinn. Trade relationships had been there for a long time. Miles shows in Carthage Must Be Destroyed that Egyptian products are among the earliest products found at Carthaginian sites. This makes sense since there were extensive contacts between Egypt and the Phoenicians of the Levant. Carthaginian, Liby-Phoenician and Numidian art and architecture was thus influenced by Egyptian culture. In many cases their art seems blatantly Egyptian. In some cases you have fascinating and beautiful buildings like the mausoleum in Sabratha that incorporates Egyptian, Levantine, Greek and Roman styles into something unique."
Did that book talk about trade between Carthage & Egypt. Ptolemaic Egypt established a big trade in papyrus, wheat/barley, and luxury goods (fabrics, perfumes, ceramics, objects from the African interior like ebony & elephant tusks). It sounds like luxury goods were found in Carthage. Any idea what Carthage traded?