The Punic Wars: How Rome conquered the Mediteranean

The Punic Wars were the three wars between the Mediterranean superpowers Carthage and Rome. Rome came out as champion and proceeded to reign unchallenged as the superpower of the world for over 400 years.

Scipio Africanus:Conquerer of Africa

After Scipio had conquered Iberia he set his sights on Africa itself. He was given command of the legions stationed in Sicily and was sent to threaten Carthage.

Roman landing at Messana, Sicily

Carthage takes first action and comes to the aid of the Mamertines at Messana after they had asked for either Roman or Carthaginian assistance to help defeat Hiero II of Syracuse.

Battle of Agrigentum

Carthage, after seeing Rome take both Messana and Syracuse, decide to round up an army to match them. An army of 50,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 60 elephants was dispatched to Sicily with the objective of used fortified cities as bases with which they would tire out the Roman legions and beat them in the open field.

Battle of Mylae

Despite having virtually no experience with naval warfare, the Romans decide to build a fleet. They recognized the need to challenge the Carthaginians naval power, doing this with a tool called the corvus. The corvus was a boarding contraption with which the Romans were able to board enemy ships and use their superior land power against them via legionaries.

Roman Invasion of North Africa

After a few years of back and forth fighting on the island of Sicily itself, Rome decides to try to end the war in a quicker fashion. They pull together an invasion force and construct a major fleet to transport the army across the sea. Carthage attempts to stop this with a fleet of 350 ships at the Battle of Cape Ecnomus and fails. Marcus Atilius Regulus and his Roman army lands in Africa and starts ravaging the countryside.

Roman victory

After this failed African expedition, the Romans turn their attention to Sicily once again. They pushed north capturing Thermae, Kephalodon and Panormus. After these three cities plus others were under Roman control, the Romans turned their attention towards Lilybaeum, the Carthaginian headquarters in Sicily.

Hannibal the aggressor

The second Punic war started over Sanguntum, a city that Hannibal laid siege to before he crossed the Alps. Setting base camp at the new city of New Carthage in southern Spain, just west of Sanguntum.

Fabian strategy

Quintus Fabius Maximus is appointed by the Senate as acting dictator with full military control. Fabius decides to combat Hannibal not through the traditional Roman method by defeating him in open combat, but by shadowing Hannibal and engaging in small skirmishes. This became known as the Fabian strategy.

Battle of Cannae

After Hannibal captured a major supply depot at Cannae. This forced the Romans to act, as this put the Carthaginians right in between Rome and her crucial supply sources.

Hannibal's continued success

After the Battle of Cannae, several Italian cities in the south part of the Italian peninsula defected and allied themselves with Carthage.

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