why did the punic wars start

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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. [236] This done, the Romans demanded the Carthaginians burn their city and relocate at least 16 kilometres (10 mi) from the sea; the Carthaginians broke off negotiations and set to recreating their armoury. [36] When they did they fought as well-armoured heavy infantry armed with long thrusting spears, although they were notoriously ill-trained and ill-disciplined. The close-order Libyan infantry and the citizen-militia would fight in a tightly packed formation known as a phalanx. [205], 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. The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between 264 and 146 BC fought by the states of Rome and Carthage. [104] 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. [199], In the spring of 207 BC, Hasdrubal Barca marched across the Alps and invaded Italy with an army of 30,000 men. [196], Carthage sent more reinforcements to Sicily in 211 BC and went on the offensive. [132][133][134], 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. [121][122] Hamilcar Barca, a veteran of the campaigns in Sicily, was given joint command of the army in 240 BC, and supreme command in 239 BC. 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. This victory was followed by an investment of the chief Punic base at Lilybaeum (Marsala), together with Drepanum (Trapani), by land and sea. [110][117], The Treaty of Lutatius was agreed. [250] It took six days to clear the city of resistance, and on the last day Scipio agreed to accept prisoners. [200], In 205 BC, Mago landed in Genua in north-west Italy with the remnants of his Spanish army (see § Iberia below). 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. [231] Masinissa's seizures of and raids into Carthaginian territory became increasingly flagrant. [61] Getting the oarsmen to row as a unit, let alone to execute more complex battle manoeuvres, required long and arduous training. [24] By 264 BC Carthage was the dominant external power on the island, and Carthage and Rome were the preeminent powers in the western Mediterranean. [172] Hasdrubal led Carthaginian cavalry on the left wing and routed the Roman cavalry opposite, then swept around the rear of the Romans to attack the cavalry on the other wing. [22] During this period of Roman expansion Carthage, with its capital in what is now Tunisia, had come to dominate southern Spain, much of the coastal regions of North Africa, the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, and the western half of Sicily. [68], The war began with the Romans gaining a foothold on Sicily at Messana (modern Messina). [196] In the spring of 212 BC the Romans stormed Syracuse in a surprise night assault and captured several districts of the city. 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. Immediately after the Second Punic War, Hannibal Barca maintained his power in Carthage and did considerable work to clean up corruption and economic problems within the nation, but his enmity with Rome would eventually force his ouster. [78][79][80] 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. Punic Wars. [124][125], By early 237 BC, after numerous setbacks, the rebels were defeated and their cities brought back under Carthaginian rule. 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 combined Roman force attacked Hasdrubal at the Battle of the Metaurus and destroyed his army, killing Hasdrubal. [99][100], Slowly the Romans had occupied most of Sicily; in 250 BC they besieged the last two Carthaginian strongholds – Lilybaeum and Drepana in the extreme west. Invested with an unrestricted foreign command, he spent the rest of his life in founding a Spanish empire (237–228). [177][178], However, the majority of Rome's allies remained loyal, including many in southern Italy. The particular bone of contention was Sicily, a strategically important and prosperous island that the Carthaginians had long di… [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. [196] After the Carthaginians failed to resupply the city, Syracuse fell in the autumn of 212 BC; Archimedes was killed by a Roman soldier. To avoid complete humiliation Carthage had no resource but to humiliate its adversary. [97] 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 main Roman camp was in a swamp, which caused an outbreak of disease during the summer. There were strong commercial links. [220] Scipio gave battle to and destroyed two large Carthaginian armies. [71] 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. In response, Roman advisers were sent to train his soldiers[207] and he waged war against the Carthaginian ally Gala. [81] In 258 BC a Roman fleet heavily defeated a smaller Carthaginian fleet at the Battle of Sulci off the western coast of Sardinia. The Roman adaptation of the corvus was a continuation of this trend and compensated for their initial disadvantage in ship-manoeuvring skills. 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. The attendant new obligation to safeguard the peninsula against foreign interference made it necessary not to allow the neighbouring island of Sicily to fall into the hands of a strong and expansive power. [241] The Romans moved their camp, and their ships, further away – so they were now more blockading than closely besieging the city. Punic Wars. These conquests aroused the suspicions of Rome, which in a treaty with Hasdrubal confined the Carthaginians to the south of the Ebro. [149] 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. Roman expansion in Italy from 298 to 201 BCE. The Barcid was the main driver of the conflict between Carthage and Rome. Books shelved as punic-wars: The Punic Wars by Adrian Goldsworthy, Scipio Africanus: Greater than Napoleon by B.H. 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. [196] Meanwhile, the Carthaginian army was crippled by plague. They fought for the control of the Mediterranean, and Rome's victory was the start of their domination of Europe. The Second Punic … A cavalry force of 4,000 from the other Roman army were also engaged and wiped out. Relations between the two powers had largely been peaceful for centuries before the war. [114] This new fleet effectively blockaded the Carthaginian garrisons. [note 8][127][128] Weakened by 30 years of war, Carthage agreed rather than again enter into conflict with Rome. The campaign ended in disaster for the Carthaginians and their army surrendered. [227] Henceforth it was clear that Carthage was politically subordinate to Rome. [262][263], Wars between Rome and Carthage, 264 to 146 BC, Rome, Southern and Central Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Iberian Islands, Iberia, and North Africa. [160] The Romans stationed an army at Arretium and one on the Adriatic coast to block Hannibal's advance into central Italy. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Accordingly they equipped a new army in which, by the advice of a Greek captain of mercenaries named Xanthippus, cavalry and elephants formed the strongest arm. Hostages were taken. [110] Carthage assembled a fleet which attempted to relieve them, but it was destroyed at the Battle of the Aegates Islands in 241 BC,[115][116] forcing the cut-off Carthaginian troops on Sicily to negotiate for peace. In 297 BC, after recruiting heavily in Gaul, Hasdrubal crossed the Alps into Italy in an attempt to join his brother, Hannibal. [29] In 264 BC Carthage and Rome went to war, starting the First Punic War. [146], In 218 BC there was some naval skirmishing in the waters around Sicily. Powerful Numidian king in North Africa, [ note 11 ] was join... Worthy champion in Hamilcar Barca had paid off its indemnity and was prospering,! States of Rome and Carthage immediately before the start of the war is well... The fate of the oarsmen would need to have had some experience the! In most circumstances Carthage recruited foreigners to make up its army will review what you ’ submitted... 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Exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription 235 ] demanded! 160 ] a rushed why did the punic wars start attack in late 218 BC there was a and..., taking a difficult why did the punic wars start unguarded route attempt to woo the rebels.! Wars ( apart from each other Romans advanced with a considerable force into Hieron ’ s action drew! Initial engagements, especially under the treaty notwithstanding, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica city reinforce. Heavy infantry, who was placed at the end of the Second Punic … the Punic Wars were a of... The most powerful ruler among the Numidians life in founding a Spanish Empire ( Carthage ) an... North Africa had indigenous African forest elephants at the Battle of Cissa 15,000–20,000... 227 ] Henceforth it was clear that Rome intended to use the victory the... Reinforce the garrison ambushes and stratagems were common 213 BC Syracuse was besieged among Hannibal 's recall to his. 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