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Mr. Giotto"s online Textbook » ancient Rome » an initial Punic War

First Punic WarThe battle for Sicily

large viewMap the the empires at the start of the first Punic War

The first Punic war (264-241 BC)

The first Punic war was a conflict in between Rome and Carthage. This was a lengthy war, start in 264 BC and also not ending until 241 BC. Most of the dispute took ar on the island the Sicily, or in the waters surrounding Sicily. In ~ one suggest Rome attacked Carthaginian floor in Africa, an extremely close to Carthage itself. This campaign was no successful, due to the fact that a Spartan, named Xanthippus, led the Carthaginian pressures in defending their homeland.

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Carthage was originally cleared up by Phoenicians around 800 BC. Princess Dido, native the Phoenician city-state that Tyre, established this city ~ above the phibìc African coast. The Phoenicians were great sailors and traders of largely glass, cream color carvings, and also their well known purple-dyed clothing. Punic actually way "purple" in Latin, for this reason you might say this to be the purple War.

Rome had actually been widening into one empire, specifically after the Samnite Wars and the Pyrrhic War, these conflicts left Rome in command of many of Italy, except for the Po sink in the north, which was the house of the Gauls.

When King Pyrrhus the Epirus left the island the Sicily to return to Italy he said, “Oh what a battlefield i leave because that Rome and Carthage,” he expected that Rome and also Carthage would go to war on the island that Sicily. He was correct.

Carthage, in ~ the begin of the war, controlled most that Sicily, except for the city-state that Syracuse in the south-eastern edge of the island. Due to the fact that Rome managed the entire Italian peninsula, and also Sicily is much less thantwo miles from Italy, the was just a issue of time prior to these two realms clashed.

The Romans crossed over the strait of Messina, the body of water that separates Italy and Sicily,with an army to give aid to the Mamertines, a group of Italian mercenary fighters as soon as hired through the king that Syracuse, yet now on your own, they had actually taken end the city of Messana in the north eastern edge of Sicily. Also though it appeared unacceptable come offer aid to the Mamertines, who had actually taken a city by force, the Romans were more concerned with the Carthaginians expanding their power throughout the island. This is just how Rome got associated in its an initial war outside of Italy.

Rome had actually a strong army, yet no navy to speak of, meanwhile Carthage had actually one that the finest navies at the time. In order come be effective in this war, Rome would have to improve its navy. Rome acquired a big break when it recorded a Carthaginian warship, which had been captured in low-tide. The Romans then made several copies of this ship, utilizing it as a design for their own warships.

The Romans knew the they lacked experience at sea, for this reason to have actually a chance versus the solid Carthaginian navy, the Romans added a corvus (crow) to the front of their warships. The corvuswas a kind of leg that might be relocated in every directions. Together the roman ships approached an enemy ship, they would drop the corvus down onto the the deck of the ship and then 120 soldiers would rush throughout and take the opponent ship. In this way, the Romans turn a sea fight into a soil battle. The corvus did have actually a disadvantage, it made the Roman boats top-heavy, and daunting to maneuver.

In 260 BC, the Romans won a decisive battle versus the Carthaginian marine at Mylae turn off the northern coast of Sicily using the corvus. As time went on, the roman inn navy enhanced to the point where the corvus was no much longer necessary.

Neither side can win a decisive victory in Sicily, so the Romans chose to build a big fleet that ships and also invade Africa. By acquisition the dispute to the Carthaginian homeland, Rome thought the Carthaginians wouldaccept tranquility on roman inn terms. The Romans won a good naval battle at Cape Ecnomus in 256 BC, and also then invaded Africa with a huge army, commanded by Regulus. This army, however, was defeated by Xanthippus, the Spartan, who was hired by the Carthaginians to enhance their army.

On the island the Sicily, one Carthaginian commander had been really successful fighting the roman inn army, his surname was Hamilcar Barca. Rome eventually cut off supplies coming right into to Sicily from Africa through their navy, and Hamilcar and also Carthage were eventually forced come sue because that peace. This made Hamilcar Barca angry and also frustrated. Hamilcar had to agree to leaving Sicily through his afri mercenary (hired soldiers) army and return come Africa.

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Rome won the first Punic War as soon as Carthage agreed to terms in 241 BC, in act so, Rome ended up being the leading navy in the Mediterranean Sea, Carthage had actually to pay for battle damages, and Rome took manage of every one of the Carthaginian lands on the island that Sicily. Hamilcar Barca was figured out to look for revenge against the Romans. The bad feelings between these 2 powers was just beginning!

First Punic battle timeline (264-241 BC)

264 BC – Romans cross right into Sicily to aid the Mamertines

260 BC – roman inn navy uses corvus to victory at Mylae

256 BC - Sea battle of Cape Ecnomus, Rome wins there is no the use of the corvus

255BC – Consul Regulus defeated by Xanthippus, the Spartan, in Africa

241 BC – Carthage tires of war, sues for peace

Outcome – Rome takes Sicily, climate Sardinia and Corsica. Carthage pays a heavy fine.