By tradition the oldest Phoenician settlement on the north African coast, 33 km. (21 mi.) NE of Tunis. Utica was a busy port at the mouth of the river Bagradas. It was always an important part of the empire of Carthage. It was besieged by Cornelius Scipio Africanus in 204. A supporter of Masinissa against Carthage in 149, Utica was rewarded by Rome with lands of the fallen city, and was made a civitas libera (see free cities) and the capital of the new Roman province of Africa in 146. Italian financiers and merchants soon settled in the city, and Pompey made the port his base for the swift campaign which won Africa from the Marians (81). Later Utica remained loyal to the Pompeian cause, and was the scene of Porcius Cato 2's suicide. Heavily fined for its senatorial sympathies, Utica lost influence as Roman Carthage grew, but it received Latin rights (see ius latii) under Augustus and became a colony (see colonization, roman) ) under Hadrian.
Subjects: Classical Studies.