Step aside you authors of epic novels! Get lost you groupies who can't do without your fix of fiction set in antiquity. Medieval fantasy, get a life. Because Richard Miles puts them all to shame and it's not fiction he's written. I am in thrall of this man. To turn dense, evidence based history into a poignant (almost Shakespearean) retelling of the confrontation between two classical superpowers of the Mediterranean is an extraordinary feat. Forget Hannibal and his bloody Alp-crossing pachyderms. Miles starts at the very beginning with the founding of Roma in the middle of Italian peninsula and Qrt Hdst on the North African coast.
Before Rome become mistress of the Mediterranean, it was the Carthaginians who called the shots. Their decentralized empire based mainly on commerce was very different from the Roman one that would replace it. While Rome fought wars with Carthage (the Punic wars), the city-state also fought with basically everyone else in the vicinity. So why did Roman acrimony rise to such levels as to have Cato the Elder utter the famous words "Delenda est Cartago" - Carthage must be destroyed? And why despite defeating the Carthaginians in the final Punic War did the Romans set out to wipe the city off the map, butcher its population and rake salt into its fields? Well, you'll have to read the book (or check Wikipedia) to find out why. I would recommend the former because it's insanely brilliant non-fiction.