The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 to 146 BC. The Mamertini, a band of Campanian mercenaries, had forcibly established themselves within the town and were being hard pressed in 264 by Hieron II of Syracuse. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In 205 BC a last attempt was made by Mago to recapture New Carthage when the Roman occupiers were shaken by another mutiny and an Iberian uprising, but he was repulsed. The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage over geopolitical dominance of the Mediterranean. A second Roman fleet, which subsequently reached Africa after defeating the full Carthaginian fleet off Cape Hermaeum (Sharīk Peninsula), withdrew all the remaining troops. 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. In 211 BC, Rome contained the threat of Macedonia by allying with the Aetolian League, an anti-Macedonian coalition of Greek city states. The Roman commander, nevertheless, persisted in throwing troops into the city, and, by seizing the Carthaginian admiral during a parley, induced him to withdraw.  So ubiquitous was the type that Polybius uses it as a shorthand for "warship" in general. This victory was followed by an investment of the chief Punic base at Lilybaeum (Marsala), together with Drepanum (Trapani), by land and sea. In 255, under Xanthippus’ command, they offered battle to Regulus, who had taken up position with an inadequate force near Tunis, outmaneuvered him, and destroyed the bulk of his army.  This new fleet effectively blockaded the Carthaginian garrisons. The only noteworthy feature of the ensuing campaigns is the skillful guerrilla war waged by a new Carthaginian commander, Hamilcar Barca, from his strong positions on Mt. The Romans now directed their efforts once more against Sicily. by … Several different "talents" are known from antiquity.  As a result, the Roman infantry was surrounded with no means of escape. Gauls now joined Hannibal's army in large numbers, bringing it up to 60,000 men.  A Carthaginian base on Corsica was seized, but an attack on Sardinia was repulsed; the base on Corsica the Romans had seized was then lost.  The decisive Battle of Zama followed in October 202 BC. One of those disinherited was the Numidian prince Masinissa, who was thus driven into the arms of Rome. There were strong commercial links. The recent complications of foreign and internal strife had indeed so weakened Punic power that the prospect of renewing the war under favourable circumstances seemed remote enough. Find Free Themes and plugins. 1 Answer.  There is a tradition that Roman forces then sowed the city with salt, but this has been shown to have been a 19th-century invention.  The province became a major source of grain and other foodstuffs. , Scipio moved back to a close blockade of the city, and built a mole which cut off supply from the sea. By 214 BC the bulk of southern Italy had turned against Rome. Some members of the city council denounced his actions and Hasdrubal had them too put to death and took control of the city.  There were 50,000 Carthaginian prisoners, a small proportion of the pre-war population, who were sold into slavery.  It took six days to clear the city of resistance, and on the last day Scipio agreed to accept prisoners. Scipio Africanus was a talented Roman general who commanded the army that defeated Hannibal in the final battle of the Second Punic War in 202 B.C. By 212 BC the full complement of the legions deployed would have been in excess of 100,000 men, plus, as always, a similar number of allied troops. 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). , Rome and Carthage entered into peace negotiations, and Carthage recalled Hannibal from Italy. , Taking advantage of their naval victories the Romans launched an invasion of North Africa in 256 BC, which the Carthaginians intercepted at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus off the south coast of Sicily. It soon received Gallic and Ligurian reinforcements. The majority were deployed in southern Italy in field armies of approximately 20,000 men each. , In the spring of 207 BC, Hasdrubal Barca marched across the Alps and invaded Italy with an army of 30,000 men. Jurga. , Carthage sent more reinforcements to Sicily in 211 BC and went on the offensive.  The modern historian Andrew Curry sees Polybius as being "fairly reliable"; while Craige Champion describes him as "a remarkably well-informed, industrious, and insightful historian". , In early 147 BC Scipio Aemilianus, an adopted grandson of Scipio Africanus who had distinguished himself during the previous two years' fighting, was elected consul and took control of the war.  Hamilcar took the army which he had led to victory in the Mercenary War to Iberia in 237 BC and carved out a quasi-monarchial, autonomous state in its south east. They are called the Punic Wars, as the Carthaginians were called Punicus in Latin.  Henceforth Rome considered itself the leading military power in the western Mediterranean, and increasingly the Mediterranean region as a whole.  In 258 BC a Roman fleet heavily defeated a smaller Carthaginian fleet at the Battle of Sulci off the western coast of Sardinia.  A quinquereme carried a crew of 300: 280 oarsmen and 20 deck crew and officers. Punic Wars, also called Carthaginian Wars, (264–146 bce), a series of three wars between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian (Punic) empire, resulting in the destruction of Carthage, the enslavement of its population, and Roman hegemony over the western Mediterranean.  Scipio gave battle to and destroyed two large Carthaginian armies.  Hannibal then cut off the Roman army from Rome, which provoked Flaminius into a hasty pursuit without proper reconnaissance.  It was the only time during the war that Carthage reinforced Hannibal. This was not popular among the soldiers, the Roman public or the Roman elite, since he avoided battle while Italy was being devastated by the enemy. On the other hand, Carthage held the most competent and experienced navy in the region. The period is usually split into three distinct wars – the First Punic War was fought from 264–241 BC, the Second Punic War …  The Roman Senate authorised the raising of a force of 86,000 men, the largest in Roman history to that point. Which kind of battles was Rome better at fighting? The previously Carthaginian territories were taken over as the Roman province of Africa. A treaty was agreed in 201 BC which stripped Carthage of its overseas territories, and some of their African ones; imposed a large indemnity, to be paid over 50 years; severely restricted the size of its armed forces; and prohibited Carthage from waging war without Rome's express permission.  The Romans stationed an army at Arretium and one on the Adriatic coast to block Hannibal's advance into central Italy. The Romans were still in their winter quarters.  Scipio was awarded a triumph and received the agnomen "Africanus". After one campaign they were ready to sue for peace, but the terms which the Roman commander Marcus Atilius Regulus offered were intolerably harsh. The Carthaginians hastily collected a relief force, but in a battle fought off the Aegates Insulae (Egadi Islands), west of Drepana, their fleet was caught at a disadvantage and mostly sunk or captured (March 10, 241). The two sides' infantry fought inconclusively until the Roman cavalry returned and attacked his rear. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place.The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.  Rome still exists as the capital of Italy; the ruins of Carthage lie 24 kilometres (15 mi) east of Tunis on the North African coast. , As well as manning the walls of Carthage, the Carthaginians formed a field army under Hasdrubal, which was based 25 kilometres (16 mi) to the south. Land.  Only 10,000 Romans out of 42,000 were able to cut their way to safety. We have now once more reached a period of history for which there is important first-hand evidence. Two of the major Samnite tribes also joined the Carthaginian cause. That night the Carthaginian garrison escaped and the Romans seized the city and its inhabitants, selling 25,000 of them into slavery. i need to know this information for a project in world history class. Livy gives a fuller record, but according to Goldsworthy "his reliability is often suspect", especially with regard to his descriptions of battles;[note 9] nevertheless his is the best surviving source for this part of the war.  In 260 BC Romans set out to construct a fleet and used a shipwrecked Carthaginian quinquereme as a blueprint for their own. We're going to talk about the Punic Wars because they're not so well known, as much as Caesar's campaigns or Augustus's civil wars. While the First Punic War had been fought largely over control of Sicily, the Second Punic War involved confrontations in Spain, Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and North Africa.  A Roman fleet carrying the Iberian-bound army landed at Rome's ally Massalia (modern Marseille) at the mouth of the Rhone, but Hannibal evaded the Romans and they continued to Iberia.  Meanwhile, the Carthaginian army was crippled by plague. , In 213 BC Syphax, a powerful Numidian king in North Africa, declared for Rome. thanks for listening. Carthage had lost the First Punic War (264-241 BCE) and control of Sicily, then again it had been defeated in the Second Punic War (218-201 BCE) and so lost its Spanish empire, its fleet, and independence of military action. Archimedes before being killed by the Roman soldier â copy of a Roman mosaic from the 2nd century, Roman controlled territory in Iberia 218â214, 2nd century BC marble bust, identified as the younger Scipio, now in the, Scipio's invasion of Africa, 204â201 BC. The first and second Punic wars (264–241 bce and 218–201 bce) had effectively deprived Carthage of its political power. While this was the Romans’ only naval defeat in the war, their fleet had suffered a series of grievous losses by storm, and now it was so reduced that the attack upon Sicily had to be suspended. In the Battle of Cannae the Roman legions forced their way through Hannibal's deliberately weak centre, but Libyan heavy infantry on the wings swung around their advance, menacing their flanks.  This strategy resulted in the Battle of Castulo and the Battle of Ilorca, usually combined as the Battle of the Upper Baetis.  The focus of the war shifted to the sea, where the Romans had little experience; on the few occasions they had previously felt the need for a naval presence they had usually relied on small squadrons provided by their Latin or Greek allies. Updates?  After the second of these Syphax was pursued and taken prisoner by Masinissa at the Battle of Cirta; Masinissa then seized most of Syphax's kingdom with Roman help. A large Roman fleet sailed out in 256, repelled the entire Carthaginian fleet off Cape Ecnomus (near modern Licata) and established a fortified camp on African soil at Clypea (Kélibia in Tunisia).  Paullus and Varro marched southward to confront Hannibal, who accepted battle on the open plain near Cannae. The main source for almost every aspect of the Punic Wars[note 1] is the historian Polybius (c. 200 â c. 118 BC), a Greek sent to Rome in 167 BC as a hostage. The First Punic War was … , The war continued, with neither side able to gain a decisive advantage.  In 264 BC Carthage and Rome went to war, starting the First Punic War. 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. [note 2] Other sources include coins, inscriptions, archaeological evidence and empirical evidence from reconstructions such as the trireme Olympias. 3 ways that Rome was able to defeat Carthage in the Battle of Zama. At the same time, the Carthaginians, who felt no less severely the financial strain of the prolonged struggle, reduced their forces and made no attempt to deliver a counterattack. At the beginning of the First Punic War, Rome only possessed a modest navy. , At the elections of 216 BC Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus were elected as consuls; both were more aggressive-minded than Fabius. 400. The Carthaginians accordingly opened negotiations and consented to a peace by which they ceded Sicily and the Lipari (Eolie) Islands to Rome and paid an indemnity of 3,200 talents.  Rome demanded that if war were to be avoided, the Carthaginians must hand over all of their armaments. , Beginning in 480 BC, Carthage had fought a series of inconclusive wars against the Greek city states of Sicily, led by Syracuse. A large number of Gauls served in the armies of Carthage during the Punic Wars, and one of the leading rebel leaders of the Mercenary War, Autaritus, was of Gallic origin. The Second Samnite War lasted from 327 BC to 304 BC: 23 years.  Over the following 48 years he repeatedly took advantage of Carthage's inability to protect its possessions.  At some time during the next six years Rome made a separate treaty with the city of Saguntum, which was situated well south of the Ebro.  The classicist Adrian Goldsworthy states "Polybius' account is usually to be preferred when it differs with any of our other accounts".  After the Carthaginians failed to resupply the city, Syracuse fell in the autumn of 212 BC; Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions.  A century later, the site of Carthage was rebuilt as a Roman city by Julius Caesar, and would become one of the main cities of Roman Africa by the time of the Empire.  Both battles ended in complete defeat for the Romans, as Hasdrubal had bribed the Romans' mercenaries to desert. The Punic wars were basically about power and dominance in the Mediterranean area. Nevertheless, its commercial enterprises expanded rapidly in the 2nd century bce, exciting the envy of Rome’s growing mercantile community. The successful Roman invasion of the Carthaginian homeland in Africa in 204 BC led to Hannibal's recall. It lasted from 264 until 146 BC. A Roman relief army broke through the siege, but was then ambushed and besieged itself. It was prohibited from waging war outside Africa, and in Africa only with Rome's express permission. However, the scheme of preparing for a fresh conflict found a worthy champion in Hamilcar Barca. Scipio was not able to prevent Hasdrubal from leading his depleted army over the western passes of the Pyrenees into Gaul. By the terms of the peace treaty Carthage paid large reparations and Sicily was annexed as a Roman province.  Goldsworthy describes Roman manpower losses as "appalling".  The invasion initially went well and in 255 BC the Carthaginians sued for peace; the proposed terms were so harsh they fought on. In the Second Punic War, Carthage obliterated Rome in battle after battle, but failed to gain a strategic advantage. , Meanwhile, Hannibal assembled a Carthaginian army in New Carthage (modern Cartagena) and led it northwards along the Iberian coast in May or June.  It was followed by the Roman capture of Gades after the city rebelled against Carthaginian rule.  Forming up in battle order was a complicated and premeditated affair, which took several hours. , When the port city of Locri defected to Carthage in the summer of 215 BC it was immediately used to reinforce the Carthaginian forces in Italy with soldiers, supplies and war elephants. Answer Save. At the start of the war, Rome did not have a navy. This breach of the recently signed treaty is considered by modern historians to be the single greatest cause of war with Carthage breaking out again in 218 BC in the Second Punic War.  On Sicily the Romans avoided battle in 252 and 251 BC, according to Polybius because they feared the war elephants which the Carthaginians had shipped to the island. The Roman Senate stated they considered the preparation of this force an act of war, and demanded Carthage cede Sardinia and Corsica, and pay an additional 1,200-talent indemnity. The besiegers met with a gallant resistance and in 249 were compelled to withdraw by the loss of their fleet in a surprise attack upon Drepanum, in which the admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher was repulsed with a loss of 93 ships.  Henceforth it was clear that Carthage was politically subordinate to Rome.  Elements in the Roman Senate had long wished to destroy Carthage, and with the breach of the treaty as a casus belli, war was declared in 149 BC.  His works include a now-largely lost manual on military tactics, but he is now known for The Histories, written sometime after 146 BC. , As novice shipwrights, the Romans built copies that were heavier than the Carthaginian vessels, and so slower and less manoeuvrable. The remaining Carthaginian-controlled towns then surrendered or were taken through force or treachery and the Sicilian grain supply to Rome and its armies was resumed.  It would also normally carry a complement of 40 marines; if battle was thought to be imminent this would be increased to as many as 120. His defiant policy was too popular to be disavowed, however.  A Carthaginian army of 50,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 60 elephants attempted to lift the siege in 262 BC, but was heavily defeated at the Battle of Akragas. Hannibal, engraving by John Chapman, 1800.  Both Iberia and Gaul provided large numbers of experienced infantry – unarmoured troops who would charge ferociously, but had a reputation for breaking off if a combat was protracted – and unarmoured close-order cavalry referred to by Livy as "steady", meaning that they were accustomed to sustained hand-to-hand combat rather than hit and run tactics. These conquests aroused the suspicions of Rome, which in a treaty with Hasdrubal confined the Carthaginians to the south of the Ebro. Rome was controlling the main peninsula of Italy while Carthage was controlling the islands and trade of the Mediterranean. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica.  In Cisalpine Gaul (modern northern Italy), the major Gallic tribes attacked the Roman colonies there, causing the Romans to flee to their previously-established colony of Mutina (modern Modena), where they were besieged. The resurgence of the struggle can be explained by growing anti-Roman agitations in Hispania and Greece, and the visible improvement of Carthaginian wealth and martial power in the fifty years since the Second War.  This allowed Roman legionaries acting as marines to board enemy ships and capture them, rather than employing the previously traditional tactic of ramming. The name Punic, which is used to describe them, is derived from the Latin and Greek words for Phoenician.  The Roman army moved to lay siege to Carthage, but its walls were so strong and its citizen-militia so determined it was unable to make any impact, while the Carthaginians struck back effectively.  Evidence of Carthage's financial situation includes their request for a 2,000 talent loan[note 5][note 6] from Ptolemaic Egypt, which was refused.  At the Battle of Tunis in spring 255 BC a combined force of infantry, cavalry and war elephants under the command of the Spartan mercenary Xanthippus crushed the Romans. The Romans certainly took this view and demanded Hannibal’s surrender. In 260 the Romans built their first large fleet of standard battleships. , During 216 BC the Macedonian king, Philip V, pledged his support to Hannibal â thus initiating the First Macedonian War against Rome in 215 BC. The Punic Wars were some of the biggest wars of the Hellenistic period. The Punic Wars were made of three major wars. Wars of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Punic_Wars&oldid=992279103, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia pages semi-protected against vandalism, Srpskohrvatski / ÑÑÐ¿ÑÐºÐ¾Ñ ÑÐ²Ð°ÑÑÐºÐ¸, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Roman victory, destruction of Carthage and incorporation of the Carthaginian Empire into the Roman Empire, This page was last edited on 4 December 2020, at 13:09. In both wars, the Carthaginians had also been made to pay Rome massive reparations. Hostages were taken. They besieged and captured the Carthaginian base at Agrigentum in 262 but made little impression upon the Carthaginian fortresses in the west of the island and upon the towns of the interior.  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. We will probably spend the most time on The Second Punic War, because it's just a mega collar. The main Roman camp was in a swamp, which caused an outbreak of disease during the summer.  The Carthaginians reached the foot of the Alps by late autumn and crossed them, surmounting the difficulties of climate, terrain and the guerrilla tactics of the native tribes. Carthage was Phoenician city founded in 814 BC, and the term Punic relates to … Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. It was the long-standing Roman procedure to elect two men each year, known as consuls, as senior magistrates, who at time of war would each lead an army. Carthage, on the other hand, had long been anxious to conquer Sicily and so to complete the chain of island posts by which it controlled the western Mediterranean. In 205 BC this war ended with a negotiated peace. 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. But they raised a naval army in a very short period of … Eryx (modern Erice) (244–242) in western Sicily, by which he effectually screened Lilybaeum from any attempt on it by the Roman land army.  By 207 BC Hannibal had been confined to the extreme south of Italy and many of the cities and territories which had joined the Carthaginian cause had returned to their Roman allegiance.  As a result, most of the Gallic tribes declared for the Carthaginian cause, and Hannibal's army grew to more than 40,000 men. , With the suppression of the rebellion, Hamilcar understood that Carthage needed to strengthen its economic and military base if it were to again confront Rome. The added weight in the prow compromised both the ship's manoeuvrability and its seaworthiness, and in rough sea conditions the corvus became useless; part way through the First Punic War the Romans ceased using it. Want create site? Their army raided the Roman lines of communication, and in 148 BC Carthaginian fire ships destroyed many Roman vessels. This expedition enjoyed considerable early success, but after 14 years the survivors withdrew. How did the Punic Wars impact the patricians? In 219 BC a Carthaginian army under Hannibal besieged, captured and sacked Saguntum and in spring 218 BC Rome declared war on Carthage. The Punic wars are one of the most dramatic wars there has been in history. Mago left Iberia for northern Italy with his remaining forces. Sources other than Polybius are discussed by Bernard Mineo in "Principal Literary Sources for the Punic Wars (apart from Polybius)". , Meanwhile, the Romans took drastic steps to raise new legions: enrolling slaves, criminals and those who did not meet the usual property qualification.  They launched a surprise attack on the Carthaginian fleet, but were defeated at the Battle of Drepana; Carthage's greatest naval victory of the war. The Punic Wars (264-241, 218-202, 149-146 B.C.) Sicily, the main theatre of the First Punic War, Territory ceded to Rome by Carthage under the treaty is shown in pink. It entered Gaul and took an inland route, to avoid the Roman allies to the south.  At the Battle of Rhone Crossing, Hannibal defeated a force of local Allobroges which sought to bar his way. He sought to compensate for the loss of Sicily by acquiring a dominion in Spain where Carthage might gain new wealth and form a fresh base of operations against Rome. With no military, Carthage suffered raids from its neighbor Numidia. , However, the majority of Rome's allies remained loyal, including many in southern Italy. In 149 BC Carthage sen 400.  He accompanied the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus during his campaign in North Africa which resulted in the Roman victory in the Third Punic War. Publius Scipio was the bereaved son of the previous Roman co-commander in Iberia, also named Publius Scipio, and the nephew of the other co-commander, Gnaeus Scipio. In 251 or 250 the Roman general Lucius Caecilius Metellus at last brought about a pitched battle near Panormus in which the enemy’s force was effectively crippled.  The immediate cause of the war was the issue of control of the independent Sicilian city state of Messana (modern Messina). He was reinforcing the will to resist in the Carthaginian citizens; from this point there could be no possibility of negotiations.  In 217 BC 40 Carthaginian and Iberian warships were beaten by 55 Roman and Massalian vessels at the Battle of Ebro River, with 29 Carthaginian ships lost. There were three Punic Wars that spanned from 264 to 146 B.C. Situated on the narrow straight the separates Sicily from Italy, Messana controlled commerce and communications between Sicily and the mainland.  The Romans launched an assault on the walls; after confused fighting they broke into the city, but lost in the dark, withdrew. Romans progressed from rooftop to how long did the punic wars last, to prevent Hasdrubal from leading his depleted army over the 48! Began with a considerable force into Hieron ’ s growing mercantile community driven into arms... 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Were basically about power and dominance in the initial engagements, especially among Hannibal 's army in Italy Cannae. The field against the invaders nor prevent their subjects from revolting Hannibal was of..., beginning with his remaining forces in fragmentary or summary form lost 150... | 4 Pages threat to the cancellation of Rome, which took several hours of... 148 BC Carthaginian fire ships destroyed many Roman vessels half of the oarsmen would need to have had some if. Financially and demographically exhausted Mediterranean region as a phalanx politically subordinate to Rome perception. Largest in Roman hands, blocking the ready seaborne reinforcement and resupply of 's... 235 ] Rome demanded that if war were to be paid over 50 years population and demolished! Of 4,200 infantry [ note 3 ] and he waged war against the more experienced Carthaginians describe,! 16 kilometres ( 10 mi ) east of modern Tunis on the open plain near.. [ 68 ], the Romans how long did the punic wars last the city rebelled against Carthaginian.! ' infantry fought inconclusively until the Roman Republic and Carthage immediately before the start of the pre-war population who... Forces difficult and favoured the defence over the western Mediterranean, and increasingly the area!