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Analysis Of The Three Punic Wars

816 words - 4 pages

The first Punic war started like this...Tradition holds that Phoenician settlers from the Mediterranean port of Tyre founded the city-state of Carthage on the northern coast of Africa, around 814 B.C. By 265 B.C. Carthage was the wealthiest and most advanced city in the region, as well as its leading naval power. Though Carthage had clashed violently with several other powers in the region, its relations with Rome were historically friendly, and the cities had signed several treaties defining trading rights over the year . In 264 B.C., Rome decided to intervene in a dispute on the western coast of the island of Sicily involving an attack by soldiers from the city of Syracuse against the city of Messina. While Carthage supported Syracuse, Rome supported Messina, and the struggle soon exploded into a direct conflict between the two powers, with control of Sicily at stake. Over the course of nearly 20 years, Rome rebuilt its entire fleet in order to confront Carthage's powerful navy, scoring its first sea victory at Mylae in 260 B.C. and a major victory in the Battle of Ecnomus in 256 B.C. Though its invasion of North Africa that same year ended in defeat, Rome refused to give up, and in 241 B.C. the Roman fleet was able to win a decisive victory against the Carthaginians at sea, breaking their legendary naval superiority. At the end of the First Punic War, Sicily became Rome's first overseas province.
The Second punic war...Over the next decades, Rome took over control of both Corsica and Sardinia as well, but Carthage was able to establish a new base of influence in Spain beginning in 237 B.C., under the leadership of the powerful general Hamilcar Barca and, later, his son-in-law Hasdrubal. According to Polybius and Livy in their histories of Rome, Hamilcar Barca, who died in 229 B.C., made his younger son Hannibal swear a blood oath against Rome when he was just a young boy. Upon Hasdrubal's death in 221 B.C., Hannibal took command of Carthaginian forces in Spain. Two years later, he marched his army across the Ebro River into Saguntum effectively declaring war on Rome. The Second Punic War saw Hannibal and his troops–including as many as 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and a more than 30 elephants–march from Spain across the Alps and into Italy, where they scored a...

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