The Punic Wars started with the Roman presence at Messana in Sicily and its pressure on Syracuse to aid them in attacking the Carthaginian base at Akragas. [23], Beginning in 480 BC, Carthage had fought a series of inconclusive wars against the Greek city states of Sicily, led by Syracuse. The approximate extent of territory controlled by Rome and Carthage immediately before the start of the First Punic War. The fighting took place primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, and also in North Africa, Corsica and Sardinia. [64], All warships were equipped with rams, a triple set of 60-centimetre-wide (2 ft) bronze blades weighing up to 270 kilograms (600 lb) positioned at the waterline. [179] All except the smallest towns were too well fortified for Hannibal to take by assault, and blockade could be a long-drawn-out affair, or if the target was a port, impossible. The interval between the First and Second Punic Wars (241–218, https://www.britannica.com/event/Punic-Wars, UNRV History - The Punic Wars and Expansion, Punic Wars - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). [160] A large Roman army was lured into combat by Hannibal at the Battle of the Trebia, encircled and destroyed. Carthage was already well-established, and Rome was growing in size and power. [60], As novice shipwrights, the Romans built copies that were heavier than the Carthaginian vessels, and so slower and less manoeuvrable. At Mylae (Milazzo), off the north Sicilian coast, their admiral Gaius Duilius defeated a Carthaginian squadron of superior maneuvering capacity by grappling and boarding. A second Roman fleet, which subsequently reached Africa after defeating the full Carthaginian fleet off Cape Hermaeum (Sharīk Peninsula), withdrew all the remaining troops. [29] In 264 BC Carthage and Rome went to war, starting the First Punic War. [143], In 219 BC a Carthaginian army under Hannibal besieged, captured and sacked Saguntum[132][144] and in spring 218 BC Rome declared war on Carthage. The outcome of the wars established the enduring legacy of the Roman Empire as one of the greatest in the whole of history. [207] Observing that the three Carthaginian armies were deployed apart from each other, the Romans split their forces. [171] The Roman Senate authorised the raising of a force of 86,000 men, the largest in Roman history to that point. Due to the fact that Rome and Carthage were not located in Sicily, much of the battle took place through the use of blockades at sea, with little land combat occurring on Sicily.The start of the land combat took place at Messana, where the Romans were able to defeat the Syracusan and Carthaginian soldiers. read more . [58][59] In 260 BC Romans set out to construct a fleet and used a shipwrecked Carthaginian quinquereme as a blueprint for their own. [196] After the Carthaginians failed to resupply the city, Syracuse fell in the autumn of 212 BC; Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. The fighting took place primarily o… Roman expansion in Italy from 298 to 201 BCE. The Roman adaptation of the corvus was a continuation of this trend and compensated for their initial disadvantage in ship-manoeuvring skills. The Second Punic War was often known as Hannibal’s War in Rome.It was in a real sense the personal war of Hannibal. Infantry were usually positioned in the centre of the battle line, with light infantry skirmishers to their front and cavalry on each flank. An indemnity of 10,000 silver talents[note 11] was to be paid over 50 years. Tradition holds that Phoenician settlers from the Mediterranean port of Tyre (in what is now Lebanon) founded the city-state of Carthage on the northern coast of Africa, just north of modern-day Tunis, around 814 B.C. The Third Punic War: The Third Punic War was the final war in the Punic Wars and ended with the complete destruction of Carthage. The Barcid was the main driver of the conflict between Carthage and Rome. [114] This new fleet effectively blockaded the Carthaginian garrisons. How did the Third Punic War start? During the Pyrrhic War of 280–275 BC, against a king of Epirus who alternately fought Rome in Italy and Carthage on Sicily, Carthage provided materiel to the Romans and on at least one occasion used its navy to ferry a Roman force. [225] Unlike most battles of the Second Punic War, the Romans had superiority in cavalry and the Carthaginians in infantry. [101] Repeated attempts to storm Lilybaeum's strong walls failed, as did attempts to block access to its harbour, and the Romans settled down to a siege which was to last nine years. The origin of these conflicts is to be found in the position which Rome acquired, about 275 bce, as leader and protector of all Italy. [55] A quinquereme carried a crew of 300: 280 oarsmen and 20 deck crew and officers. This is what. At some point also Rome entered into relations with Saguntum (Sagunto), a town on the east coast, south of the Ebro. By a magnificent effort on the part of private citizens a fleet of 200 warships was equipped and sent out to renew the blockade of Lilybaeum. In response, Roman advisers were sent to train his soldiers[207] and he waged war against the Carthaginian ally Gala. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... You may have heard of D-Day, the Battle of Hastings, and Waterloo, but do you know their historical significance? In 297 BC, after recruiting heavily in Gaul, Hasdrubal crossed the Alps into Italy in an attempt to join his brother, Hannibal. He was defeated in the Battle of Zama in 202 BC and Carthage sued for peace. [244] Hasdrubal had Roman prisoners tortured to death on the walls, in view of the Roman army. The main Roman camp was in a swamp, which caused an outbreak of disease during the summer. At that point, they each see the other as a threat. [191], A rebellion in support of the Carthaginians broke out on Sardinia in 213 BC, but it was quickly put down by the Romans. [71][75][76] The Romans built a navy to challenge Carthage's,[77] and using the corvus inflicted a major defeat at the Battle of Mylae in 260 BC. The Punic Wars were the fiercest wars. The Romans facing Hannibal in southern Italy tricked him into believing the whole Roman army was still in camp, while a large portion marched north and reinforced the Romans facing Hasdrubal. In 254 they captured the important fortress of Panormus (Palermo), but when Carthage threw reinforcements into the island the war again came to a standstill. Approximately 1,200 of the infantry, poorer or younger men unable to afford the armour and equipment of a standard legionary, served as javelin-armed skirmishers, known as velites. The Carthaginian formation collapsed; Hannibal was one of the few to escape the field. The Roman commander, nevertheless, persisted in throwing troops into the city, and, by seizing the Carthaginian admiral during a parley, induced him to withdraw. [248][249] When the main assault began it quickly captured the city's main square, where the legions camped overnight. The First Punic Wars Begin . [180] Carthage's new allies felt little sense of community with Carthage, or even with each other. The Carthaginian council upheld Hannibal’s action and drew upon itself a declaration of war. [38] On occasion some of the infantry would wear captured Roman armour, especially among Hannibal's troops. The loss of naval supremacy not only deprived the Carthaginians of their predominance in the western Mediterranean but exposed their overseas empire to disintegration under renewed attacks by Rome. [220] Scipio gave battle to and destroyed two large Carthaginian armies. [16] Modern historians usually take into account the writings of various Roman annalists, some contemporary; the Sicilian Greek Diodorus Siculus; the later Roman historians, Livy (who relied heavily on Polybius[17]), Plutarch, Appian (whose account of the Third Punic War is especially valuable[18]) and Dio Cassius. [183] It was the only time during the war that Carthage reinforced Hannibal. In 219 Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum and carried the town in spite of a stubborn defense. 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