There were three Punic or Carthaginian Wars is Roman history. These were between 264 and 146 BC. These wars were the first great wars of Roman expansion outside Italy. The enemy of Rome had a large empire that stretched along the coast of North America and southern Spain and some parts of Sicily. This empire was known as Carthage. The purpose of these wars was to decide which power would become the dominant force around the Mediterranean Sea.
The first Punic War lasted from 264-241 BC. It was fought mainly at sea, off the coast of Sicily. This was the first time Rome had built a navy. Rome besieged many of the Carthaginian cities on Sicily, and when Carthage attempted to raise the siege with its navy, the Romans utterly destroyed them. For the first time since the rise of the Carthaginian Empire, the Carthaginians had lost power over the sea-ways. The war ended with no particular side winning over the other. In 241 BC, the Carthaginians and Romans signed a treaty in which Carthage had to give up Sicily and to pay an indemnity to cover Roman costs for the war.
The second Punic War was fought between 218-202 BC. In 221 BC, a young man, only twenty-five years old, assumed command over Carthaginian Spain. This young man was known as Hannibal. According to the Roman historian Livy, Hannibal was a man of great strength, endurance and skill. He was fearless in exposing himself to danger and was always the first and last soldier to enter and leave battle. However, he was inhumanly cruel and untruthful. Hannibal marched his huge army of almost 60,000 soldiers and some war elephants across the Alps and straight into Italy all the, way from Spain. On the way, he lost almost half of his army and all his war elephants and came to face Rome with only 26,000 soldiers. Although his army was tired from the journey, he literally smashed the Roman armies in northern Italy. During the next sixteen years Hannibal won a series of great battles in Italy. In the Battle of Cannae...
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