In 264 B.C., Rome became involved in what later became the Punic Wars. The Greek Colony of Messina (sometimes known as Messana) requested help from Rome when King Hiero from Syracuse invaded. Though this first war just begun as a skirmish between Messina and other Carthaginians, once Rome had expelled Hiero it escalated into a full-blown battle, with Rome capturing Messina and adding it to its ever-expanding republic. From 262-261 B.C., Rome continued to press on through Sicily, capturing Agrigentum after a long siege. This battle of Agrigentum was a big turning point, as it was the first major military battle in these wars. Throughout this first Punic War, Rome realized what a disadvantage it was at by not having a suitable navy to match that of Carthage. As a result of this, in 260 B.C. the Roman senate made the big decision to build a fleet. At the end of the war in 241 B.C., Rome made Carthage sign a treaty promising that Carthage would give up Sicily and that it would pay for Rome’s war... [continues]
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