How The Punic Wars Changed Rome And Carthage

1343 words - 6 pages

How the Punic Wars Changed Rome and Carthage
The Punic Wars were a series of wars that destroyed an empire. The three wars were fought between Rome and Carthage. The First Punic War started in 264 B.C. with a dispute over land in Sicily. These wars had a major effect showing that Rome was a dominant force. These wars also gave Rome land stretching from Italy down the eastern coast of Spain and through northern Africa until Carthage, Tunisia. This gave Rome much more power and resources.
The First Punic War started over a land dispute in Sicily. The dispute wasn’t even between Carthage and Rome. The problem was between Syracuse and Messina. While Carthage backed Syracuse, and Rome backed Messina which was most likely the cause of Rome bordering Messina and Carthage bordering Syracuse. The alliances led to a conflict between Rome and Carthage. Both empires had a major military power behind them. The differences between them were that Rome had a main land force and kept a weak navy while Carthage had a strong navy yet their land force was mercenaries who only fought for pay. “The Roman navy was traditionally considered less important, although ships were vital for the transportation of supplies and troops they have not developed an offensive naval capability.” (“Ancient Military History”).
There were many battles in all three Punic Wars. The first battle happened in the First Punic War. The Battle of Messana was the battle that really started the wars. Messana is located in Messina and it bordered the northeast tip of Sicily. The Romans won that day giving them a hold in Sicily. The Siege of Lilybaeum was a battle in Sicily in which Rome attacked Lilybaeum. The siege failed though. “The last period saw the long and unsuccessful siege of Carthaginian forces of Lilybaeum in Sicily, till both sides were exhausted.” (Glover 271). The Romans failed to gain Lilybaeum in that battle, but after the First Punic War there was a pact for peace and Carthage was forced to give up all lands in Sicily and they could not make war without permission from Rome. The Battle of Cannae happened during the Second Punic War. The general of Carthage was Hannibal Barca. He led his army through the eastern coast of Spain and through the Alps into Rome. At the Battle of Cannae Hannibal used great tactics to tragically defeat the Romans. The Romans attacked the lines of Carthage, but as they started to break through they became surrounded by the Libyans. “Hannibal gave the signal that told the Libyans to attack the flanks of the Roman army.” (Brooks 94). They flanked the Romans quickly giving them no time to retreat thus giving Carthage a major victory. This is known as one the worst defeats in Roman history. The final battle of the Third Punic War was the Battle of Carthage. The battle ended not only the Punic Wars but it also ended Carthage altogether. Rome sieged Carthage and took all of their lands stretching themselves through northern Africa.
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