[2015] Alison Strasser: The Punic Wars

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by klimeks
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
Ancient History
Grade:
10,11,12

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[2015] Alison Strasser: The Punic Wars

The Second Punic War saw Hannibal and his troops–including as many as 90,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and a number of elephants–march from Spain across the Alps and into Italy, where they scored a string of victories over Roman troops at Ticinus, Trebia and Trasimene. Hannibal’s daring invasion of Rome reached its height at Cannae in 216 B.C., where he used his superior cavalry to surround a Roman army twice the size of his own and inflict massive casualties. In 203 B.C., Hannibal’s forces were forced to abandon the struggle in Italy in order to defend North Africa, and the following year Scipio’s army routed the Carthaginians at Zama. Hannibal’s losses in the Second Punic War effectively put an end to Carthage’s empire in the western Mediterranean, leaving Rome in control of Spain and allowing Carthage to retain only its territory in North Africa.

The Punic Wars264 BC-146BC

The First Punic War264-241 B.C.

The Third Punic War149-146 B.C.

The SecondPunic War218-201 B.C.

The Third Punic War, by far the most controversial of the three conflicts between Rome and Carthage, was the result of efforts by Cato the Elder and other hawkish members of the Roman Senate to convince their colleagues that Carthage (even in its weakened state) was a continuing threat to Rome’s supremacy in the region. In 149 B.C., after Carthage technically broke its treaty with Rome by declaring war against the neighboring state of Numidia, the Romans sent an army to North Africa, beginning the Third Punic War. After tightening the Roman positions around Carthage, Aemilianus launched a forceful attack on its harbor side in the spring of 146 B.C., pushing into the city and destroying house after house while pushing enemy troops towards their citadel. After seven days of horrific bloodshed, the Carthaginians surrendered, obliterating an ancient city that had survived for some 700 years. The surviving 50,000 citizens of Carthage were sold into slavery.

The First Punic War was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war. It began as a local conflict in Sicily between Hiero II of Syracuse and the Mamertines of Messina. First Punic War was a nearly unbroken string of Roman victories. In 241 BC, Carthage signed a peace treaty under the terms of which they evacuated Sicily and paid Rome a large war indemnity. Carthage spent the years following the war improving its finances and expanding its colonial empire in Hispania under the militaristic Barcid family. Rome's attention was mostly concentrated on the Illyrian Wars. In 219 BC Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca, attacked Saguntum in Hispania, a city allied to Rome, starting the second Punic War.


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