Punic Wars

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Punic Wars


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The First Punic War (264 to 241 BC) was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For more than 20 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, and also in North Africa. The war signaled the beginning of a strategic transformation in the western Mediterranean.[1] Carthage began the war as the great sea-power of the western Mediterranean, while Rome had but a small fleet of fighting ships.[2] Over the course of the war, Rome built up a powerful navy, developed new naval tactics, and strategically used their navy, army, and local political alliances on Sicily in order to achieve a victory that expelled the Carthaginians from Sicily.[2] The First Punic War ended with a treaty between Rome and Carthage, but years of bloodshed were to follow in the Second and Third Punic Wars before the strategic issue of power in the western Mediterranean was resolved in favor of Rome, and in the total destruction of Carthage.

Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the Mediterranean, when the Roman Republic established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage and the Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid Empire. One of his most famous achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army which included elephants from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into Italy.

The first Punic war was fought to establish control over the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. In 264 the Carthaginians intervened in a dispute between the two principal cities on the Sicilian west coast, Messana and Syracuse, and so established a presence on the island.

At the start of the first Punic War, Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire. Rome was a rapidly ascending power in Italy, but it lacked the naval power of Carthage.

Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.) 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.

The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and (by the Romans) The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC[1] and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic and its allied Italic socii, with the crucial participation of Numidian-Berber armies and tribes on both sides. The two states had three major conflicts against each other over the course of their existence. They are called the "Punic Wars" because Rome's name for Carthaginians was Poeni, derived from Poenici (earlier form of Punici), a reference to the founding of Carthage by Phoenician settlers.




Hannibal Barca