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Punic Wars; Knock Out Essay Style

937 words - 4 pages

The Punic Wars led to the Roman dominance of the western Mediterranean and the destruction of Carthage. The First Punic War established Roman control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. In the Second Punic War Hannibal attempted to conquer Rome that resulted in great loss of Carthaginian territories. The Third Punic War resulted in the final destruction of Carthage, the enslavement of its population, and Roman hegemony over the western Mediterranean.The First Punic War (264-241 BC) was the outcome of growing political and economic rivalry between the Romans and Carthaginians. The greatest naval power of the Mediterranean at that time was the North African city of Carthage near modern day Tunis. The Carthaginians were originally a Phoenician colony. While the Romans were steadily increasing their control over the Italian peninsula, the Carthaginians were extending their empire over most of North Africa and into Spain. These two mighty empires came into contact in the middle of the third century BC when Rome's power had reached the southern tip of Italy. Between Carthage and Italy lay the huge island of Sicily. Rome saw Sicily as great farming ground to feed its growing population. Rome besieged many of the Carthaginian cities on Sicily, and when Carthage attempted to raise the siege with its navy, the Romans destroyed that navy. For the first time since the rise of the Carthaginian Empire, they had lost power over the seaways. The war ended with no particular side winning over the other.The Second Punic War (218-201 BC) was a series of wars between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian Empire that resulted in Roman hegemony over the western Mediterranean. Eventually after the First Punic War, Carthage acquired a new base in Spain, where they could renew the war against Rome. In 219 Hannibal, a brilliant strategist and leader captured Sagunto on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Rome demanded his withdrawal, but Carthage refused, and Rome declared war. Because now Rome controlled the sea, Hannibal led his army overland through Spain and Gaul and then across the Alps. Roman troops tried to halt his advance but were outmatched, and Hannibal's hold over northern Italy was established. But Hannibal was still afraid to attack Rome directly. Instead, he took over other cities, such as Capua, the second largest town in Italy. He hoped to provoke the local population to rebel. But despite his certainty that Roman allies would join him, those allies remained faithful to Rome. The Romans, desperate because of their losses, asked Fabius Maximus to become absolute dictator of Rome. His strategy was to avoid direct warfare at any cost and to simply harass the Carthaginians until they will be weak enough to approach openly. But when Hannibal marched into Cannae in southern Italy and started destroying the countryside in 216...

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