The Carthaginian formation collapsed; Hannibal was one of the few to escape the field. [112] Goldsworthy describes Roman manpower losses as "appalling". By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The Punic Wars (264-241, 218-202, 149-146 B.C.) Hasdrubal and his army retreated into the city to reinforce the garrison. 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. Answer to: How long did the First Punic War last? Omissions? [150] An army had previously been created by the Romans to campaign in Iberia, but the Roman Senate detached one Roman and one allied legion from it to send to north Italy. [102][103] 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 main Roman camp was in a swamp, which caused an outbreak of disease during the summer. Several different "talents" are known from antiquity. 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. The last war was kind of a punishment for Carthage from Rome. [64][65][66], Much of the First Punic War was fought on, or in the waters near, Sicily. [183] It was the only time during the war that Carthage reinforced Hannibal. The period is usually split into three distinct wars – the First Punic War was fought from 264–241 BC, the Second Punic War … The Punic Wars were a series of three wars between 264 and 146 BC fought by the states of Rome and Carthage. 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. Relevance. 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. [141] In 226 BC the Ebro Treaty was agreed with Rome, specifying the Ebro River as the northern boundary of the Carthaginian sphere of influence. [246], Scipio moved back to a close blockade of the city, and built a mole which cut off supply from the sea. 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. [232], 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. The Punic Wars of Rome determines the three wars of Rome and Carthage that spread over a span of over three centuries. [114] This new fleet effectively blockaded the Carthaginian garrisons. The Second Samnite War lasted from 327 BC to 304 BC: 23 years. The proximate cause of the first outbreak was a crisis in the city of Messana (Messina), commanding the straits between Italy and Sicily. [20], The Roman Republic had been aggressively expanding in the southern Italian mainland for a century before the First Punic War. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. How did the Punic Wars impact the patricians? [29] In 264 BC Carthage and Rome went to war, starting the First Punic War. 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 Romans were still in their winter quarters. 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. The Punic wars were basically about power and dominance in the Mediterranean area. [187] Hannibal repeatedly defeated Roman armies, but wherever his main army was not active the Romans threatened Carthaginian-supporting towns or sought battle with Carthaginian or Carthaginian-allied detachments; frequently with success. [151], 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 prohibited from waging war outside Africa, and in Africa only with Rome's express permission. The Roman commander, nevertheless, persisted in throwing troops into the city, and, by seizing the Carthaginian admiral during a parley, induced him to withdraw. 0. [162][168], The Romans, panicked by these heavy defeats, appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus as dictator. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. [211][213] He released the captured population and liberated the Iberian hostages held there by the Carthaginians to ensure the loyalty of their tribes,[211][213] although many of them were subsequently to fight against the Romans. [191], A rebellion in support of the Carthaginians broke out on Sardinia in 213 BC, but it was quickly put down by the Romans. The Punic wars are one of the most dramatic wars there has been in history. However, the scheme of preparing for a fresh conflict found a worthy champion in Hamilcar Barca. The close-order Libyan infantry and the citizen-militia would fight in a tightly packed formation known as a phalanx. In the Second Punic War, Carthage obliterated Rome in battle after battle, but failed to gain a strategic advantage. The Carthaginians were again beaten;[83] this was possibly the largest naval battle in history by the number of combatants involved. [58] This allowed Roman legionaries acting as marines to board enemy ships and capture them, rather than employing the previously traditional tactic of ramming. 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. 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. 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. Their very presence on the island of Sicily threatened Rome. [217], In 213 BC Syphax, a powerful Numidian king in North Africa,[207] declared for Rome. 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. [49][50] Forming up in battle order was a complicated and premeditated affair, which took several hours. [224] The decisive Battle of Zama followed in October 202 BC. The territory and allies of Rome and Carthage immediately before the start of the Second Punic War. [161] Only 10,000 Romans out of 42,000 were able to cut their way to safety. 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. [202] 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. The First Punic War was … Rome contrived a justification to declare war on Carthage again in 149 BC in the Third Punic War. 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. Infantry were usually positioned in the centre of the battle line, with light infantry skirmishers to their front and cavalry on each flank. 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. [166] The prisoners were badly treated if they were Romans, but released if they were from one of Rome's Latin allies. If either commander felt at a disadvantage, they might might march off without engaging. [41][43] The Carthaginians also employed war elephants; North Africa had indigenous African forest elephants at the time. 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. [224] 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. At the beginning of the First Punic War, Rome only possessed a modest navy. A cavalry force of 4,000 from the other Roman army were also engaged and wiped out. [155][156] The Carthaginians reached the foot of the Alps by late autumn[152] and crossed them, surmounting the difficulties of climate, terrain[152] and the guerrilla tactics of the native tribes. During the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., three wars were fought between Rome and Carthage. [196] In the spring of 212 BC the Romans stormed Syracuse in a surprise night assault and captured several districts of the city. [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. [142] 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. [136] After the First Punic War, Carthaginian possessions in Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal) were limited to a handful of prosperous coastal cities in the south. It lasted 23 years, until 241 BC, when after immense materiel and human losses on both sides the Carthaginians were defeated. We will probably spend the most time on The Second Punic War, because it's just a mega collar. [225] Unlike most battles of the Second Punic War, the Romans had superiority in cavalry and the Carthaginians in infantry. [55] A quinquereme carried a crew of 300: 280 oarsmen and 20 deck crew and officers. [61] Getting the oarsmen to row as a unit, let alone to execute more complex battle manoeuvres, required long and arduous training. [155][207] Both battles ended in complete defeat for the Romans, as Hasdrubal had bribed the Romans' mercenaries to desert. The approximate extent of territory controlled by Rome and Carthage immediately before the start of the First Punic War. [250] The next morning the Romans systematically worked their way through the residential part of the city, killing everyone they encountered and firing the buildings behind them. In 205 BC this war ended with a negotiated peace. [96] The next year they lost another 150 ships to a storm. 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. Hostages were taken. Operations began with a joint attack upon Messana, which the Romans easily repelled. [33] The balance were equipped as heavy infantry, with body armour, a large shield and short thrusting swords. [163] Hannibal attempted without success to draw the main Roman army under Gaius Flaminius into a pitched battle by devastating the area they had been sent to protect. This victory was followed by an investment of the chief Punic base at Lilybaeum (Marsala), together with Drepanum (Trapani), by land and sea. 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). [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. 3 149-146 bc. It soon received Gallic and Ligurian reinforcements. Which kind of battles was Carthage better at fighting? A Roman war galley with infantry on deck; in the Vatican Museums. [243][245] With no Carthaginian army in the field those cities which had remained loyal went over to the Romans or were captured. In 211 BC, Rome contained the threat of Macedonia by allying with the Aetolian League, an anti-Macedonian coalition of Greek city states. 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. Learn about Hannibal's campaign against Rome, beginning with his attack on Saguntum. [146], In 218 BC there was some naval skirmishing in the waters around Sicily. 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. There were strong commercial links. Mago left Iberia for northern Italy with his remaining forces. [232] Carthage had paid off its indemnity and was prospering economically, but was no military threat to Rome. [106][107], After more than 20 years of war, both states were financially and demographically exhausted. [62] At least half of the oarsmen would need to have had some experience if the ship was to be handled effectively. [26][27] 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. [232][243] The Carthaginians continued to resist vigorously: they constructed warships and during the summer twice gave battle to the Roman fleet, losing both times. [256] Numerous large Punic cities, such as those in Mauretania, were taken over by the Romans,[257] although they were permitted to retain their Punic system of government. 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