Cartagena was founded about the year 243 B.C. by the Carthaginian Hasdrubal, and was called Carthago Nova or New Carthage, to distinguish it from the African city of Carthage.
His name occurs as an element in Carthaginian proper names (Hannibal, Hasdrubal, &c.), and a tablet found at Marseilles still survives to inform us of the charges made by the priests of the temple of Baal for offering sacrifices.
It was among the twelve colonies that were punished for refusing help to Rome in 209 B.C. It was considered a suitable point to oppose a threatened march of Hasdrubal on Rome.
Here occurs the romantic story of Sophonisba, daughter of the Carthaginian Hasdrubal, who had been promised in marriage to Massinissa, but had subsequently become the wife of Syphax.
On its banks Hasdrubal, while marching to the aid of Hannibal in 207 B.C., was defeated and slain by the Roman army, this being the decisive battle of the Second Punic War.
In 207 Marcus Livius Salinator, after the defeat of Hasdrubal at the battle of Sena, vowed another temple to Juventas in the Circus Maximus, which was dedicated in 191 by C. (or M.) Licinius Lucullus; it was destroyed by fire in 16 B.C. and rebuilt by Augustus.