Punic Wars

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  • Topic: Carthage, Roman Republic, Second Punic War
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  • Published : October 5, 2010
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Punic Wars

The three Punic wars consisted of a series of conflicts of interest, especially land control, between the growing Roman Republic and the already existing Carthaginian Empire. The Punic wars started in year 246 BC and extended until year 146 BC. During this period, the Romans had control over the main peninsula of Italy and Carthage ruled the islands and also the commerce of the West part of the Mediterranean. These two empires were in good terms at one point; however, a dispute regarding the islands of Sicily and Corsica started the first war. During the first Punic war the Romans resulted victorious as well as in the second Punic war, yet this was the most important one since it lasted from 218 to 202 BC. These two wars resulted in an increased expansion of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, the main outcome that was produced during the third Punic war was the destruction of a very prosperous city for an unreasonable cause. Interestingly enough, centuries after this event took place we are able to presence how history repeats itself and not in a very righteous way.

The main reason why Rome and Carthage went to battle during the first Punic war, which occurred from 264 to 241 BC, was to determine the control of the islands of Corsica and Sicily. Before this event, Carthage had apprehended many territories that had made it very easy for them to dominate the western part of the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless, when the Carthaginians decided to conquer Messana, which is now called Messina, located near the northeast corner of Sicily, the Romans considered this a threat to their territory and responded with an attack to the Phoenicians , another name for Carthaginians hence the name Punic, forcing them to withdraw from the area. During 260 BC, the Roman forces try to acquire total control of Sicily, but they had no advantage over the Phoenicians who were stronger; even so the Romans were able to force out the Carthaginians from Corsica. During many years the Punics were struggling, but the Romans were defeated in 256 BC when it attempted to set up a beachhead in Africa. For many years Carthage was successful, but this came to an end when the battle returned to Sicily in 241 BC, a flotilla of about 200 battleships provided the Romans a definite control over the island of Sicily. A year later the Phoenicians succumbed conceding the Lipari Islands as well as Sicily to the Romans and well-disposed to pay an indemnity. As stated in the previous paragraph, disputes regarding land control were the cause of the first Punic War. In every succeeding event that takes place there is usually a relationship within the outcomes. With that said, a relationship exists between the first Punic war and the second Punic war; they both left Rome as a big Empire. Years following the first Punic war the Romans took control of the island of Corsica and Sardinian from the Phoenicians and also obliged them to pay a greater compensation subsequent to the war. Given these reasons Phoenicians restarted the war against the Romans by obtaining a base in Spain under the leadership taken by Hamilcar Barca, his son Hannibal, and Hasdrubal, Hamilcar’s son-in-law. During 219 BC Carthage conquered Saguntum, located on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula. In consequence Rome commanded his retreat, but Carthage opposed to Rome’s orders and the effect was the declaration of war by Rome. Since Rome had control of the sea, Hannibal and his forces decided to get through Rome by land instead. Hannibal was successful and when the Romans tried to fight the Carthaginians they were defeated and as a result Hannibal and his troops established on the north of Italy. In 217 BC Hannibal decided to advance to the south of Italy, although his intentions were not to attack the Roman city, but for the only purpose of creating a rebellion from the inhabitants of the locations where he marched to. In 207 BC Hasdrubal repeated Hannibal’s venture to take...
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