Punic Wars

Essay by ladeeiaUniversity, Master'sA+, July 2004

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Rome fought three Punic wars. The first war involved the Roman's outside of Italy, was the beginning of the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean, and lasted more than two decades. The second was a hard war that resulted in massive losses for the Romans in both material and manpower. The third was for vengeance and the Romans finally destroyed their bitter enemy.

The First Punic War started in 264 BC; it was entirely on the island of Sicily against Carthage. Carthage is an island and Rome has to create a navy to fight the Cathegians. Companion mercenaries who were brought in by the Greeks seized the town of Messana. They used Messana as a base for raiding nearby towns. The Mamertines were hostile to Pyrrhus, but after his departure, Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, attacked them. The Mamertines wanted a Carthaginian garrison. Mamertines then requested Roman assistance against the Carthaginians. When the Romans agreed to protect the Mamertines, war with Carthage resulted.

They fought for a while and it goes by inconclusive. Carthage asks for peace, and Rome demands Sicily as a colony and Carthage agrees. Sicily becomes it is first outside province.

After the end of the First Punic War in 241 BC, Carthage began to concentrate on controlling Spain to achieve control over its mineral resources and mount an army to fight against the Roman legions. This policy was started by Hamilcar Barca and continued under his son, Hannibal. The Second Punic War, fought between Carthage and the Roman Republic from 218-202 BC, was the final major Carthaginian military opposition to Rome's domination in the Mediterranean. Hamilcar lead Carthage into Spain, and they built a big arm. Hamilcar got sick and was about to die, so he had his son Hannibal sign a pledge in blood that he...