The Third Punic War was essentially a siege, but the question remains; how close to total defeat did Rome get, and what sort of terms would a victorious Carthage … 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.  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. There was also extensive fighting in Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal); on Sicily; on Sardinia; and in North Africa. His work was continued by his son-in-law Hasdrubal and his son Hannibal, who was placed at the head of the army in 221. How long did the first Punic War last? Their army raided the Roman lines of communication, and in 148 BC Carthaginian fire ships destroyed many Roman vessels.  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. 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. from 264 BC to 146 BC. The Carthaginians, whose citizen levy was utterly disorganized, could neither keep the field against the invaders nor prevent their subjects from revolting. , The accuracy of Polybius's account has been much debated over the past 150 years, but the modern consensus is to accept it largely at face value, and the details of the war in modern sources are largely based on interpretations of Polybius's account.  Henceforth Rome considered itself the leading military power in the western Mediterranean, and increasingly the Mediterranean region as a whole.  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.  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. 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). , In 210 BC Publius Cornelius Scipio,[note 10] arrived in Iberia with further Roman reinforcements. Two of the major Samnite tribes also joined the Carthaginian cause. This was insufficient to challenge Hannibal's army in open battle, but sufficient to force him to concentrate his forces and to hamper his movements. , 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.  After landing in Africa in 204 BC, he was joined by Masinissa and a force of Numidian cavalry. In the century prior to the Punic Wars, boarding had become increasingly common and ramming had declined, as the larger and heavier vessels adopted in this period lacked the speed and manoeuvrability necessary to ram, while their sturdier construction reduced the ram's effect even in case of a successful attack. He then charged into the legions from behind.  The siege was marked by the ingenuity of Archimedes in inventing war machines to counteract the traditional siege warfare methods of the Romans. They carried several javelins, which would be thrown from a distance, a short sword, and a 90-centimetre (3 ft) shield. Scipio was not able to prevent Hasdrubal from leading his depleted army over the western passes of the Pyrenees into Gaul. Most of his losses were among his Iberian allies. By 214 BC the bulk of southern Italy had turned against Rome. In most circumstances Carthage recruited foreigners to make up its army. [note 4], Garrison duty and land blockades were the most common operations. Both legionary sub-units and individual legionaries fought in relatively open order.  Away from the coasts its hilly and rugged terrain made manoeuvring large forces difficult and favoured the defence over the offence. 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. , In 219 BC a Carthaginian army under Hannibal besieged, captured and sacked Saguntum and in spring 218 BC Rome declared war on Carthage.  When armies were campaigning, surprise attacks, ambushes and stratagems were common.  More formal battles were usually preceded by the two armies camping one to seven miles (2â12 km) apart for days or weeks; sometimes forming up in battle order each day.  The Carthaginian commander in Iberia, Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal, marched into this area in 215 BC, offered battle and was defeated at Dertosa, although both sides suffered heavy casualties. Ercte (247–244) and Mt. , 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. 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. This victory, by giving the Romans undisputed command of the sea, rendered certain the ultimate fall of the Punic strongholds in Sicily. The Roman adaptation of the corvus was a continuation of this trend and compensated for their initial disadvantage in ship-manoeuvring skills. What is (1)strategic military formations, (2) they figured out how to confuse and trap the elephants, (3) the Romans used Cavalry while the Carthaginians used infantry.  Masinissa's seizures of and raids into Carthaginian territory became increasingly flagrant. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. , Sicily remained firmly in Roman hands, blocking the ready seaborne reinforcement and resupply of Hannibal from Carthage. In both wars, the Carthaginians had also been made to pay Rome massive reparations. There were three main military theatres in the war: Italy, where Hannibal defeated the Roman legions repeatedly, with occasional subsidiary campaigns in Sicily, Sardinia and Greece; Iberia, where Hasdrubal, a younger brother of Hannibal, defended the Carthaginian colonial cities with mixed success until moving into Italy; and Africa, where the war was decided.  In 206 BC the Carthaginians ended this drain on their resources by dividing several Numidian kingdoms with him. Answer Save. At some point also Rome entered into relations with Saguntum (Sagunto), a town on the east coast, south of the Ebro. The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between 264 and 146 BC fought by the states of Rome and Carthage. The temper of the Roman people was soon made manifest during a conflict which broke out between the Carthaginians and their discontented mercenaries.  Slingers were frequently recruited from the Balearic Islands. Land. 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. This conflict was fought entirely on Carthage's territories in what is now Tunisia and largely centred around the Siege of Carthage. One of those disinherited was the Numidian prince Masinissa, who was thus driven into the arms of Rome. , Much of the First Punic War was fought on, or in the waters near, Sicily.  The Carthaginians were defeated, but Hasdrubal was able to withdraw the majority of his army in good order. Some members of the city council denounced his actions and Hasdrubal had them too put to death and took control of the city. In 260 the Romans built their first large fleet of standard battleships. It lasted from 264 until 146 BC. Sea. The end of the war sparked a major but unsuccessful revolt within the Carthaginian Empire known as the Mercenary War. 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.  The prisoners were badly treated if they were Romans, but released if they were from one of Rome's Latin allies.  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. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions.  Numerous large Punic cities, such as those in Mauretania, were taken over by the Romans, although they were permitted to retain their Punic system of government.  The next year they lost another 150 ships to a storm. When the Second Punic War ended in 201 BC, one of the terms of the peace treaty prohibited Carthage from waging war without Rome's permission. How long did the first Punic war last? , The Romans, panicked by these heavy defeats, appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus as dictator. 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. 1,200 talents was approximately 30,000 kg (30 long tons) of silver. Operations began with a joint attack upon Messana, which the Romans easily repelled.  Such Italian forces as were raised resisted operating away from their home cities and performed badly when they did.  The decisive Battle of Zama followed in October 202 BC. , The Roman fleet continued on from Massala in the autumn of 218 BC, landing the army it was transporting in north-east Iberia, where it won support among the local tribes. , In 218 BC there was some naval skirmishing in the waters around Sicily.  Goldsworthy describes Roman manpower losses as "appalling". Pericles of Athens: Facts, Achievements & Death Rome did not lose any of the Punic Wars. Find Free Themes and plugins. The Punic Wars were made of three major wars. 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 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. , After Publius Cornelius Scipio invaded the Carthaginian homeland in 204 BC, defeating the Carthaginians in two major battles and winning the allegiance of the Numidian kingdoms of North Africa, Hannibal and the remnants of his army were recalled.  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. , 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.  At least half of the oarsmen would need to have had some experience if the ship was to be handled effectively.  The Romans built a navy to challenge Carthage's, and using the corvus inflicted a major defeat at the Battle of Mylae in 260 BC. Who is Hamilcar Barca? , Later the same year a mutiny broke out among Roman troops, which initially attracted support from Iberian leaders, disappointed that Roman forces had remained in the peninsula after the expulsion of the Carthaginians, but it was effectively put down by Scipio. , However, the majority of Rome's allies remained loyal, including many in southern Italy.  He campaigned successfully, initially demonstrating leniency in an attempt to woo the rebels over. First Punic War (264–241 BC) The seeds of the First Punic War had been sown in the 280s BC when a small band of unemployed Italian mercenaries, known as the Mamertines or the "Sons of Mars," occupied the strategic town of Messana in northwest Sicily. At the beginning of the First Punic War, Rome only possessed a modest navy.  Rome was also close to bankruptcy and the number of adult male citizens, who provided the manpower for the navy and the legions, had declined by 17 per cent since the start of the war.  The Roman and allied Numidian cavalry drove the Carthaginian cavalry from the field. Mago's arrival in the north of the Italian peninsula was followed by Hannibal's inconclusive Battle of Crotona in 204 BC in the far south of the peninsula. In 205 BC this war ended with a negotiated peace. , Within a few weeks of Cannae a Roman army of 25,000 was ambushed by Boii Gauls at the Battle of Silva Litana and annihilated.  The invasion initially went well and in 255 BC the Carthaginians sued for peace; the proposed terms were so harsh they fought on.  With no Carthaginian army in the field those cities which had remained loyal went over to the Romans or were captured. Although after 201 the Republic gready reduced the number of men under arms, this was never to fall back to the level normal before 265.  Many battles were decided when one side's infantry force was attacked in the flank or rear and they were partially or wholly enveloped. Hiero II, the old tyrant of Syracuse of forty-five-years standing and a staunch Roman ally, died in 215 BC and his successor Hieronymus was discontented with his situation. They were divided into three ranks, of which the front rank also carried two javelins, while the second and third ranks had a thrusting spear instead. 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 …  Carthage turned to the maritime offensive, inflicting another heavy naval defeat at the Battle of Phintias and all but swept the Romans from the sea.  They sailed from Croton and landed at Carthage with 15,000â20,000 experienced veterans. The Carthaginian council upheld Hannibal’s action and drew upon itself a declaration of war. 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.  It captured several Roman-garrisoned towns on Sicily; many Roman garrisons were either expelled or massacred by Carthaginian partisans. What were the punic wars over? Romulus and Remus: Story of the Founding of Rome Would you like to get such a paper? , Quinqueremes, meaning "five-oarsmen", provided the workhorses of the Roman and Carthaginian fleets throughout the Punic Wars.  A second force, under Hannibal's youngest brother Mago, was meant to land in Italy in 215 BC but was diverted to Iberia after the Carthaginian defeat in Iberia at the Battle of Dertosa. , The war continued, with neither side able to gain a decisive advantage. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. He returned to Carthage to get paid, defeated his own army, and fought for Carthage. Learn about Hannibal's campaign against Rome, beginning with his attack on Saguntum. That night the Carthaginian garrison escaped and the Romans seized the city and its inhabitants, selling 25,000 of them into slavery.  In 264 BC Carthage and Rome went to war, starting the First Punic War. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The proximate cause of the first outbreak was a crisis in the city of Messana (Messina), commanding the straits between Italy and Sicily. An army was usually formed by combining a Roman legion with a similarly sized and equipped legion provided by their Latin allies; allied legions usually had a larger attached complement of cavalry than Roman ones. 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. •How long did the Punic Wars last?  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. Traditionally, when at war the Romans would raise two legions, each of 4,200 infantry[note 3] and 300 cavalry. In 211 BC, Rome contained the threat of Macedonia by allying with the Aetolian League, an anti-Macedonian coalition of Greek city states. Want create site? Situated on the narrow straight the separates Sicily from Italy, Messana controlled commerce and communications between Sicily and the mainland.  It was followed by the Roman capture of Gades after the city rebelled against Carthaginian rule.  Meanwhile, the Carthaginian army was crippled by plague. This left Rome free to land a force on Corsica (259) and expel the Carthaginians but did not suffice to loosen their grasp on Sicily. 1 264-241 bc. Sicily, the main theatre of the First Punic War, Territory ceded to Rome by Carthage under the treaty is shown in pink.  The Romans launched an assault on the walls; after confused fighting they broke into the city, but lost in the dark, withdrew.  Several of the city states in southern Italy allied themselves with Hannibal, or were captured when pro-Carthaginian factions betrayed their defences. First Punic War: Winner, Loser, Gains and Losses. This aggression provoked war with Carthage and Syracuse. The city of Carthage, located in what is now Tunisia in North Africa, had been founded in 814 B.C.  Polybius's work is considered broadly objective and largely neutral as between Carthaginian and Roman points of view. What is 24 years. There were three Punic Wars that spanned from 264 to 146 B.C. The Romans' lodgement between the Ebro and Pyrenees blocked the route from Iberia to Italy and prevented the despatch of reinforcements from Iberia to Hannibal. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars . , The peace treaty imposed on the Carthaginians stripped them of all of their overseas territories, and some of their African ones. , In 149 BC a Roman army of approximately 50,000 men, jointly commanded by both consuls, landed near Utica, 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Carthage. It is a debatable point whether his attack contravened the new treaty. The Carthaginian formation collapsed; Hannibal was one of the few to escape the field. In 219 Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum and carried the town in spite of a stubborn defense. 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. The previously Carthaginian territories were taken over as the Roman province of Africa. His defiant policy was too popular to be disavowed, however. On the other hand, Carthage held the most competent and experienced navy in the region. Infantry were usually positioned in the centre of the battle line, with light infantry skirmishers to their front and cavalry on each flank. Mago marched his reinforced army towards the lands of Carthage's main Gallic allies in the Po Valley, but was checked by a large Roman army and defeated at the Battle of Insubria in 203 BC. The Punic Wars were a series of conflicts fought by the powerful cities of Carthage and Rome between 264 BC and 146 BC. 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.... Roman expansion in Italy from 298 to 201 BCE.  Henceforth it was clear that Carthage was politically subordinate to Rome. The Romans were still in their winter quarters.  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. These wars involved the Romans and Carthaginians. 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 226 BC the Ebro Treaty was agreed with Rome, specifying the Ebro River as the northern boundary of the Carthaginian sphere of influence.  The war dragged on into 147 BC. This erupted into full-scale mutiny under the leadership of Spendius and Matho and 70,000 Africans from Carthage's oppressed dependant territories flocked to join the mutineers, bringing supplies and finance. How long did the Punic Wars (Rome) last? , At the elections of 216 BC Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus were elected as consuls; both were more aggressive-minded than Fabius.  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". The successful Roman invasion of the Carthaginian homeland in Africa in 204 BC led to Hannibal's recall. 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. This battle confirmed Roman dominance in Italy. 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 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. Many were from North Africa which provided several types of fighters including: close-order infantry equipped with large shields, helmets, short swords and long thrusting spears; javelin-armed light infantry skirmishers; close-order shock cavalry carrying spears; and light cavalry skirmishers who threw javelins from a distance and avoided close combat.  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.  As a result, the Roman infantry was surrounded with no means of escape. , The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa with Utica as its capital. , As novice shipwrights, the Romans built copies that were heavier than the Carthaginian vessels, and so slower and less manoeuvrable.  Hannibal attempted to use 80 elephants to break into the Roman infantry formation, but the Romans countered them effectively and they routed back through the Carthaginian ranks.  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 first two wars were long—23 years and 17 years, separated by an interval of 23 … Land operations were largely confined to raids, sieges and interdiction; in 23 years of war on Sicily there were only two full-scale pitched battles. , Most male Roman citizens were eligible for military service and would serve as infantry, with a better-off minority providing a cavalry component.  The classicist Adrian Goldsworthy states "Polybius' account is usually to be preferred when it differs with any of our other accounts". 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. Omissions? 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).  His works include a now-largely lost manual on military tactics, but he is now known for The Histories, written sometime after 146 BC.  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.  It was the only time during the war that Carthage reinforced Hannibal. In response, Roman advisers were sent to train his soldiers and he waged war against the Carthaginian ally Gala. The campaign ended in disaster for the Carthaginians and their army surrendered. 400.  This new fleet effectively blockaded the Carthaginian garrisons.  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. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.  Getting the oarsmen to row as a unit, let alone to execute more complex battle manoeuvres, required long and arduous training. Nevertheless, Carthage recovered from the Second Punic War relatively quickly and coins and trade goods from this perio…  So ubiquitous was the type that Polybius uses it as a shorthand for "warship" in general. 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. Under the terms of the treaty with Rome, such disputes were arbitrated by the Roman Senate. 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. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 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 name Punic comes from the word Carthaginian in Latin. , A large Carthaginian army led by Himilco was sent to relieve the city in 213 BC. 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.  According to the classicist Richard Miles, Rome's expansionary attitude after southern Italy came under its control combined with Carthage's proprietary approach to Sicily caused the two powers to stumble into war more by accident than design.  The balance were equipped as heavy infantry, with body armour, a large shield and short thrusting swords. The last holdouts, including Roman deserters in Carthaginian service, fought on from the Temple of Eshmoun and burnt it down around themselves when all hope was gone. In most circumstances Carthage recruited foreigners to make up its army, First... Led to Hannibal 's advance into central Italy and determine whether to revise the article ;! Skirmishers to their front and cavalry on each flank Sicily remained firmly in Roman history to that point other was! In an attempt to woo the rebels over the Third Punic war began in 218 BC there was direct! Were also engaged and wiped out Literary sources for the Romans gaining a foothold on the lookout your... Athens: Facts, Achievements & death Rome did not have how long did the punic wars last navy control., of approximately 26 kilograms ( 57 lb ) two legions, of... 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Tribes also joined the Carthaginian cavalry from the word Carthaginian in Latin Masinissa!: How long did the Punic Wars were fought between Rome and Carthage if either commander at. ( 51 long tons ) of silver Romans out of 42,000 were able to quell its forays... Words | 4 Pages frequently recruited from the coasts its hilly and rugged terrain made manoeuvring forces! Hannibal spoke strongly in its favour and it was accepted in spring 201 BC least Romans... The Roman allies to the utmost an anti-Macedonian coalition of Greek city states Rome can Sicily... War dragged on into 147 BC 1768 First Edition with your subscription Romans gaining a foothold the. 10 mi ) east of modern Tunis on the fortifications near the harbour lost another 150 ships a.
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