As little does any special influence
seem to have belonged to the kings; they acted chiefly as supreme
judges, and they were frequently so named (shofetes, -praetores-).
The power of the general was greater. Isocrates, the senior
contemporary of Aristotle, says that the Carthaginians had an
oligarchical government at home, but a monarchical government in
the field; and thus the office of the Carthaginian general may be
correctly described by Roman writers as a dictatorship, although the
gerusiasts attached to him must have practically at least restricted
his power and, after he had laid down his office, a regular official
reckoning--unknown among the Romans--awaited him.
There existed no
fixed term of office for the general, and for this very reason he was
doubtless different from the annual king, from whom Aristotle also
expressly distinguishes him. The combination however of several
offices in one person was not unusual among the Carthaginians, and it
is not therefore surprising that often the same person appears as at
once general and shofete.