Punic Wars

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Rome and Carthage possession changes during the Punic Wars
Carthaginian possessions
Roman possessions Domain changes during the Punic Wars.gif
Rome and Carthage possession changes during the Punic Wars
  Carthaginian possessions
  Roman possessions

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. [1] At the time, they were some of the largest wars that had ever taken place. [2] The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry. [3]

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian peninsula, dating from the 8th century BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Ancient Carthage empire defined as the Phoenician city-state of Carthage and its sphere of influence, esp. during 7th to 3rd centuries BC

Carthage was a Phoenician state that included, during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, its wider sphere of influence known as the Carthaginian Empire. The empire extended over much of the coast of Northwest Africa as well as encompassing substantial parts of coastal Iberia and the islands of the western Mediterranean Sea.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets, and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Contents

The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflicts of interest between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic. The Romans were initially interested in expansion via Sicily (which at that time was a cultural melting pot), part of which lay under Carthaginian control. At the start of the First Punic War (264-241 BC), Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire. Rome was a rapidly ascending power in Italy, but it lacked the naval power of Carthage. The Second Punic War (218-201 BC) witnessed Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC, followed by a prolonged but ultimately failed campaign of Carthage's Hannibal in mainland Italy. By the end of the Third Punic War (149-146 BC), after more than a hundred years and the loss of many hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, Rome had conquered Carthage's empire, completely destroyed the city, and became the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean.

Roman Republic Period of ancient Roman civilization (509–27 BC)

The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

Sicily Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

First Punic War first war between the Roman Republic and Carthage, fought between 264 and 241 BCE

The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic, the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. For 23 years, in the longest continuous conflict and greatest naval war of antiquity, the two powers struggled for supremacy, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, and also in North Africa.

With the end of the Macedonian Wars – which ran concurrently with the Punic Wars – and the defeat of the Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great in the Roman–Seleucid War (Treaty of Apamea, 188 BC) in the eastern sea, Rome emerged as the dominant Mediterranean power and one of the most powerful cities in classical antiquity. The Roman victories over Carthage in these wars gave Rome a preeminent status it would retain until the 5th century AD.

Macedonian Wars

The Macedonian Wars were a series of conflicts fought by the Roman Republic and its Greek allies in the eastern Mediterranean against several different major Greek kingdoms. They resulted in Roman control or influence over the eastern Mediterranean basin, in addition to their hegemony in the western Mediterranean after the Punic Wars. Traditionally, the "Macedonian Wars" include the four wars with Macedonia, in addition to one war with the Seleucid Empire, and a final minor war with the Achaean League. The most significant war was fought with the Seleucid Empire, while the war with Macedonia was the second, and both of these wars effectively marked the end of these empires as major world powers, even though neither of them led immediately to overt Roman domination. Four separate wars were fought against the weaker power, Macedonia, due to its geographic proximity to Rome, though the last two of these wars were against haphazard insurrections rather than powerful armies. Roman influence gradually dissolved Macedonian independence and digested it into what was becoming a leading global empire. The outcome of the war with the now-deteriorating Seleucid Empire was ultimately fatal to it as well, though the growing influence of Parthia and Pontus prevented any additional conflicts between it and Rome.

Seleucid Empire former country

The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty, which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; Seleucus I Nicator founded it following the division of the Macedonian Empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great. Seleucus received Babylonia, and from there, expanded his dominions to include much of Alexander's near-eastern territories. At the height of its power, the Empire included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.

Antiochus III the Great Seleucid ruler

Antiochus III the Great was a Hellenistic Greek king and the 6th ruler of the Seleucid Empire. He ruled over the region of Syria and large parts of the rest of western Asia towards the end of the 3rd century BC. Rising to the throne at the age of eighteen in 222 BC, his early campaigns against the Ptolemaic Kingdom were unsuccessful, but in the following years Antiochus gained several military victories and substantially expanded the empire's territory. His traditional designation, the Great, reflects an epithet he assumed. He also assumed the title Basileus Megas, the traditional title of the Persian kings. A militarily active ruler, Antiochus restored much of the territory of the Seleucid Empire, before suffering a serious setback, towards the end of his reign, in his war against Rome.

Background

Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War Heinrich Leutemann - Hannibals Ubergang uber die Alpen (cropped).jpg
Depiction of Hannibal and his army crossing the Alps during the Second Punic War

During the mid-3rd century BC, Carthage was a large city located on the coast of modern Tunisia. Founded by the Phoenicians in the mid-9th century BC, it was a powerful thalassocratic city-state with a vast commercial network. Of the great city-states in the western Mediterranean, only Rome rivaled it in power, wealth, and population. While Carthage's navy was the largest in the ancient world at the time, it did not maintain a large, permanent, standing army. Instead, Carthage relied mostly on mercenaries, especially the indigenous Numidians, to fight its wars. These mercenaries were primarily led by officers who were Carthaginian citizens. The Carthaginians were famed for their abilities as sailors, and many Carthaginians from the lower classes served in their navy, which provided them with a stable income and career.

Tunisia Country in Northern Africa

Tunisia (officially the Republic of Tunisia) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 165,000 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.

A thalassocracy is a state with primarily maritime realms, an empire at sea or a seaborne empire. Traditional thalassocracies seldom dominate interiors, even in their home territories. Examples of this are Phoenician Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage, or Srivijaya and Majapahit in Southeast Asia. One can distinguish this traditional sense of thalassocracy from an "empire", where the state's territories, though possibly linked principally or solely by the sea lanes, generally extend into mainland interiors: the Bruneian Empire (1368–1888) in Asia. Compare to tellurocracy.

A city-state is a sovereign state, also described as a type of small independent country, that usually consists of a single city and its dependent territories. Historically, this included cities such as Rome, Athens, Carthage, and the Italian city-states during the Renaissance. As of 2019, only a handful of sovereign city-states exist, with some disagreement as to which are city-states. A great deal of consensus exists that the term properly applies currently to Singapore, Monaco, and Vatican City. City states are also sometimes called micro-states which however also includes other configurations of very small countries, not to be confused with Micronations.

In 200 BC, the Roman Republic had gained control of the Italian peninsula south of the Po River. Unlike Carthage, Rome had a large and disciplined army, but lacked a navy at the start of the First Punic War. This left the Romans at a disadvantage until the construction of large fleets during the war.

Po (river) Italian river

The Po is a river that flows eastward across northern Italy. The Po flows either 652 km (405 mi) or 682 km (424 mi) – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary. The headwaters of the Po are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The Po ends at a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice. It has a drainage area of 74,000 km² in all, 70,000 in Italy, of which 41,000 is in montane environments and 29,000 on the plain. The Po is the longest river in Italy; at its widest point its width is 503 m (1,650 ft). The Po extends along the 45th parallel north.

First Punic War (264–241 BC)

The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war. It began as a local conflict in Sicily between Hiero II of Syracuse and the Mamertines of Messina. The Mamertines enlisted the aid of the Carthaginian navy, and subsequently betrayed them by entreating the Roman Senate for aid against Carthage. The Romans sent a garrison to secure Messina, so the outraged Carthaginians then lent aid to Syracuse. Tensions quickly escalated into a full-scale war between Carthage and Rome for the control of Sicily.

Africa (Roman province) Africa roman province

Africa Proconsularis was a Roman province on the northwest African coast that was established in 146 BC following the defeat of Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day Tunisia, the northeast of Algeria, and the coast of western Libya along the Gulf of Sirte. The territory was originally inhabited by Berber people, known in Latin as Mauri indigenous to all of North Africa west of Egypt; in the 9th century BC, Phoenicians built settlements along the Mediterranean Sea to facilitate shipping, of which Carthage rose to dominance in the 8th century until its conquest by the Roman Republic.

Hiero II of Syracuse 3rd-century BC Sicilian Greek ruler

Hiero II was the Greek Sicilian Tyrant of Syracuse from 270 to 215 BC, and the illegitimate son of a Syracusan noble, Hierocles, who claimed descent from Gelon. He was a former general of Pyrrhus of Epirus and an important figure of the First Punic War.

The Mamertines were mercenaries of Italian origin who had been hired from their home in Campania by Agathocles, Tyrant of Syracuse and self-proclaimed King of Sicily. After Syracuse lost the Third Sicilian War, the city of Messana was ceded to Carthage in 307 BC. When Agathocles died in 289 BC he left many of his mercenaries idle and unemployed in Sicily. Most of them returned home but some liking the climate and the prospect of adventure on a foreign island remained. They played a major role in the lead up to the First Punic War.

After a harsh defeat at the Battle of Agrigentum in 262 BC, the Carthaginian leadership resolved to avoid further direct land-based engagements with the powerful Roman legions, and concentrate on the sea where they believed Carthage's large navy had the advantage. Initially the Carthaginian navy prevailed. In 260 BC, they defeated the fledgling Roman navy at the Battle of the Lipari Islands. Rome responded by drastically expanding its navy in a very short time. Within two months, the Romans had a fleet of over one hundred warships.

Aware that they could not defeat the Carthaginians in traditional ramming combat, the Romans used the corvus , an assault bridge, to leverage their superior infantry. The hinged bridge would be swung down onto enemy vessels with a sharp spike to secure the two ships together. Roman legionaries could then board and capture Carthaginian ships. This innovative Roman tactic reduced the Carthaginian navy's advantage in ship-to-ship engagements.

However, the corvus was also cumbersome and dangerous, and was eventually phased out as the Roman navy became more experienced and tactically proficient. Save for the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Tunis in Africa, and the early naval defeats, the First Punic War was a nearly unbroken string of Roman victories. In 241 BC, Carthage signed a peace treaty under the terms of which they evacuated Sicily and paid Rome a large war indemnity. The long war was costly to both powers, but Carthage was more seriously destabilized.

Interval between the First and Second Punic Wars

A Carthaginian shekel, dated 237-227 BC, depicting the Punic god Melqart (equivalent of Hercules/Heracles), most likely with the features of Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal Barca; on the reverse is a man riding an elephant Dishekel hispano-cartagines-2.jpg
A Carthaginian shekel, dated 237-227 BC, depicting the Punic god Melqart (equivalent of Hercules/Heracles), most likely with the features of Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal Barca; on the reverse is a man riding an elephant

According to Polybius, there had been several trade agreements between Rome and Carthage, even a mutual alliance against king Pyrrhus of Epirus. When Rome and Carthage made peace in 241 BC, Rome secured the release of all 8,000 prisoners of war without ransom and, furthermore, received a considerable amount of silver as a war indemnity. However, Carthage refused to deliver to Rome the Roman deserters serving among their troops. A first issue for dispute was that the initial treaty, agreed upon by Hamilcar Barca and the Roman commander in Sicily, had a clause stipulating that the Roman popular assembly had to accept the treaty in order for it to be valid. The assembly not only rejected the treaty but increased the indemnity Carthage had to pay.

Carthage had a liquidity problem and attempted to gain financial help from Egypt, a mutual ally of Rome and Carthage, but failed. This resulted in delay of payments owed to the mercenary troops that had served Carthage in Sicily, leading to a climate of mutual mistrust and, finally, a revolt supported by the Libyan natives, known as the Mercenary War (240–238 BC). During this war, Rome and Syracuse both aided Carthage, although traders from Italy seem to have done business with the insurgents. Some of them were caught and punished by Carthage, aggravating the political climate, which had started to improve in recognition of the old alliance and treaties.

During the uprising in the Punic mainland, the mercenary troops in Corsica and Sardinia toppled Punic rule and briefly established their own, but were expelled by a native uprising. After securing aid from Rome, the exiled mercenaries then regained authority on the island of Sicily. For several years, a brutal campaign was fought to quell the insurgent natives. Like many Sicilians, they would ultimately rise again in support of Carthage during the Second Punic War.

Eventually, Rome annexed Corsica and Sardinia by revisiting the terms of the treaty that ended the first Punic War. As Carthage was under siege and engaged in a difficult civil war, they grudgingly accepted the loss of these islands and the subsequent Roman conditions for ongoing peace, which also increased the war indemnity levied against Carthage after the first Punic War. This eventually plunged relations between the two powers to a new low point.

After Carthage emerged victorious from the Mercenary War there were two opposing factions: the reformist party was led by Hamilcar Barca while the other, more conservative, faction was represented by Hanno the Great and the old Carthaginian aristocracy. Hamilcar had led the initial Carthaginian peace negotiations and was blamed for the clause that allowed the Roman popular assembly to increase the war indemnity and annex Corsica and Sardinia, but his superlative generalship was instrumental in enabling Carthage to ultimately quell the mercenary uprising, ironically fought against many of the same mercenary troops he had trained. Hamilcar ultimately left Carthage for the Iberian peninsula where he captured rich silver mines and subdued many tribes who fortified his army with levies of native troops.

Hanno had lost many elephants and soldiers when he became complacent after a victory in the Mercenary War. Further, when he and Hamilcar were supreme commanders of Carthage's field armies, the soldiers had supported Hamilcar when his and Hamilcar's personalities clashed. On the other hand, he was responsible for the greatest territorial expansion of Carthage's hinterland during his rule as strategus and wanted to continue such expansion. However, the Numidian king of the relevant area was now a son-in-law of Hamilcar and had supported Carthage during a crucial moment in the Mercenary War. While Hamilcar was able to obtain the resources for his aim, the Numidians in the Atlas Mountains were not conquered, like Hanno suggested, but became vassals of Carthage.

The Iberian conquest was begun by Hamilcar Barca and his other son-in-law, Hasdrubal the Fair, who ruled relatively independently of Carthage and signed the Ebro Treaty with Rome. Hamilcar died in battle in 228 BC. Around this time, Hasdrubal became Carthaginian commander in Iberia (229 BC). He maintained this post for some eight years until 221 BC. Soon the Romans became aware of a burgeoning alliance between Carthage and the Celts of the Po river valley in northern Italy. The latter were amassing forces to invade Italy, presumably with Carthaginian backing. Thus, the Romans preemptively invaded the Po region in 225 BC. By 220 BC, the Romans had annexed the area as Gallia Cisalpina. [4] Hasdrubal was assassinated around the same time (221 BC), bringing Hannibal to the fore. It seems that, having apparently dealt with the threat of a Gallo-Carthaginian invasion of Italy (and perhaps with the original Carthaginian commander killed), the Romans lulled themselves into a false sense of security. Thus, Hannibal took the Romans by surprise a mere two years later (218 BC) by merely reviving and adapting the original Gallo-Carthaginian invasion plan of his brother-in-law Hasdrubal.

Map of the Mediterranean in 218 BC 218BCMAPMEDITERRANEAN.jpg
Map of the Mediterranean in 218 BC

After Hasdrubal's assassination by a Celtic assassin, Hamilcar's young sons took over, with Hannibal becoming the strategus of Iberia, although this decision was not undisputed in Carthage. The output of the Iberian silver mines allowed for the financing of a standing army and the payment of the war indemnity to Rome. The mines also served as a tool for political influence, creating a faction in Carthage's magistrate that was called the Barcino .

In 219 BC, Hannibal attacked the town of Saguntum, which stood under the special protection of Rome. According to Roman tradition, Hannibal had been made to swear by his father never to be a friend of Rome, and he certainly did not take a conciliatory attitude when the Romans berated him for crossing the river Iberus (Ebro), which Carthage was bound by treaty not to cross. Hannibal did not cross the Ebro River (Saguntum was near modern Valencia – well south of the river) in arms, and the Saguntines provoked his attack by attacking their neighboring tribes who were Carthaginian protectorates and by massacring pro-Punic factions in their city. Rome had no legal protection pact with any tribe south of the Ebro River. Nonetheless, they asked Carthage to hand Hannibal over, and when the Carthaginian oligarchy refused, Rome declared war on Carthage. [5]

The Barcid Empire

The 'Barcid Empire' consisted of the Punic territories in Iberia. According to the historian Pedro Barceló, it can be described as a private military-economic hegemony backed by the two independent powers, Carthage and Gades (modern Cádiz). These shared the profits of the silver mines in southern Iberia with the Barcas family and closely followed Hellenistic diplomatic customs. Gades played a supporting role in this field, but Hannibal visited the local temple to conduct ceremonies before launching his campaign against Rome. The Barcid Empire was strongly influenced by the Hellenistic kingdoms of the time and for example, contrary to Carthage, it minted silver coins in its short time of existence. [6] [ page needed ]

Second Punic War (218–201 BC)

The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian general Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Roman army in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.

While fighting Hannibal in Italy, Hispania, and Sicily, Rome simultaneously fought against Macedon in the First Macedonian War. Eventually, the war was taken to Africa, where Carthage was defeated at the Battle of Zama (201 BC) [7] by Scipio Africanus. The end of the war saw Carthage's control reduced to only the city itself.

Hannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants, though many of them did not survive, passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome Hannibal in Italy by Jacopo Ripanda - Sala di Annibale - Palazzo dei Conservatori - Musei Capitolini - Rome 2016 (2).jpg
Hannibal's feat in crossing the Alps with war elephants, though many of them did not survive, passed into European legend: detail of a fresco by Jacopo Ripanda, ca. 1510, Capitoline Museums, Rome
A Carthaginian coin possibly depicting Hannibal as Hercules (i.e. Heracles) Dc-hannibal-coin.png
A Carthaginian coin possibly depicting Hannibal as Hercules (i.e. Heracles)

There were three military theaters in this war: Italy, where Hannibal defeated the Roman legions repeatedly; Hispania, where Hasdrubal, a younger brother of Hannibal, defended the Carthaginian colonial cities with mixed success until eventually retreating into Italy; and Sicily, where the Romans held military supremacy.

Hannibal

After assaulting Saguntum in Hispania (219 BC), Hannibal attacked Italy in 218 BC by leading the Iberians and three dozen elephants through the Alps. Although Hannibal surprised the Romans and thoroughly beat them on the battlefields of Italy, he lost his only siege engines and most of his elephants to the cold temperatures and icy mountain paths. In the end he could defeat the Romans in the field, but not in the strategically crucial city of Rome itself, thus leaving him unable to win the war.

Hannibal defeated the Roman legions in several major engagements, including the Battle of the Trebia (December 218 BC), the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and most famously the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), but his long-term strategy failed. Lacking siege engines and sufficient manpower to take the city of Rome itself, he had planned to turn the Italian allies against Rome and to starve the city out through a siege. However, with the exception of a few of the southern city-states, the majority of the Roman allies remained loyal and continued to fight alongside Rome, despite Hannibal's near-invincible seeming army devastating the Italian countryside. [8] Rome also exhibited an impressive ability to draft army after army of conscripts after each crushing defeat by Hannibal, allowing them to recover from the defeats at Cannae and elsewhere and to keep Hannibal cut off from aid.

Hannibal never successfully received any significant reinforcements from Carthage. Despite his many pleas, Carthage only ever sent reinforcements successfully to Hispania. This lack of reinforcements prevented Hannibal from decisively ending the conflict by conquering Rome through force of arms.

The Roman army under Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus intentionally deprived Hannibal of open battle in Italy for the rest of the war, while making it difficult for Hannibal to forage for supplies. Nevertheless, Rome was also incapable of bringing the conflict in the Italian theatre to a decisive close. Not only did Roman legions contend with Hannibal in Italy and with Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal in Hispania, but Rome had embroiled itself in yet another foreign war, the first of its Macedonian wars against Carthage's ally Philip V, at the same time.

Through Hannibal's inability to take strategically important Italian cities, through the general loyalty Italian allies showed to Rome, and through Rome's own inability to counter Hannibal as a master general, Hannibal's campaign continued in Italy inconclusively for sixteen years. Though he managed to sustain his forces for 15 years, Hannibal did so only by ravaging farm-lands, keeping his army healthy, which brought anger among the Romans' subject states. Realizing that Hannibal's army was outrunning its supply lines quickly, Rome took countermeasures against Hannibal's home base in Africa by sea command and stopped the flow of supplies. Hannibal quickly turned back and rushed to home defense, but suffered defeat in the Battle of Zama (202 BC).

Hasdrubal's campaign to reinforce Hannibal

Bust of Scipio Africanus from the Villa of the Papyri Escipion africano.JPG
Bust of Scipio Africanus from the Villa of the Papyri

In Hispania, a young Roman commander, Publius Cornelius Scipio (later to be given the agnomen Africanus because of his feats during this war), eventually defeated the larger but divided Carthaginian forces under Hasdrubal and two other Carthaginian generals. Abandoning Hispania, Hasdrubal moved to bring his mercenary army into Italy to reinforce Hannibal, but never made it and was defeated by Roman forces near the Alps. [8]

Third Punic War (149–146 BC)

The Third Punic War (149–146 BC) involved an extended siege of Carthage, ending in the city's thorough destruction. The resurgence of the struggle can be explained by growing anti-Roman agitations in Hispania and Greece, and the visible improvement of Carthaginian wealth and martial power in the fifty years since the Second War.

With no military, Carthage suffered raids from its neighbor Numidia. Under the terms of the treaty with Rome, such disputes were arbitrated by the Roman Senate. Because Numidia was a favored client state of Rome, Roman rulings were slanted heavily in favor of the Numidians. After some fifty years of this condition, Carthage had managed to discharge its war indemnity to Rome, and considered itself no longer bound by the restrictions of the treaty, although Rome believed otherwise. Carthage mustered an army to repel Numidian forces. It immediately lost the war with Numidia, placing itself in debt yet again, this time to Numidia.

This new-found Punic militarism alarmed many Romans, including Cato the Elder who, after a voyage to Carthage, ended all his speeches, no matter what the topic, by saying: "Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" – "And I also think that Carthage must be destroyed".

In 149 BC, in an attempt to draw Carthage into open conflict, Rome made a series of escalating demands, one being the surrender of three hundred children of the nobility as hostages, and finally ending with the near-impossible demand that the city be demolished and rebuilt away from the coast, deeper into Africa. When the Carthaginians refused this last demand, Rome declared the Third Punic War. Having previously relied on mercenaries to fight their wars for them, the Carthaginians were now forced into a more active role in the defense of their city. They made thousands of makeshift weapons in a short time, even using women's hair for catapult strings, and were able to hold off the initial Roman attack. A second offensive under the command of Scipio Aemilianus resulted in a three-year siege before he breached the walls, sacked the city, and systematically burned Carthage to the ground in 146 BC. When the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original pre-war population, were sold into slavery by the victors – the normal fate in antiquity of inhabitants of sacked cities. [9] Carthage was systematically burned for 17 days; the city's walls and buildings were utterly destroyed. The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa.

After Rome emerged as victorious, significant Carthaginian settlements, such as those in Mauretania , [7] were taken over and aggrandized by the Romans. Volubilis, for example, was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of the Roman conquests. It was built on the site of the previous Carthaginian settlement that overlies an earlier neolithic habitation. [10]

Related Research Articles

Second Punic War second war between the Roman Republic and Carthage, fought between 218 and 201 BCE

The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and by the Romans the War Against Hannibal, was the second of three wars between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of Greek polities and Numidian and Iberian forces on both sides. It was one of the deadliest human conflicts of ancient times. Fought across the entire Western Mediterranean region for 17 years and regarded by ancient historians as the greatest war in history, waged with unparalleled resources, skill, and hatred. It saw hundreds of thousands killed, some of the most lethal battles in military history, the destruction of cities, and massacres and enslavements of civilian populations and prisoners of war by both sides.

This article concerns the period 209 BC – 200 BC.

Hamilcar Barca Carthaginian general

Hamilcar Barca or Barcas was a Carthaginian general and statesman, leader of the Barcid family, and father of Hannibal, Hasdrubal and Mago. He was also father-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair.

Battle of Zama final battle of the Second Punic War

The Battle of Zama—fought in 202 BC near Zama (Tunisia)—marked the end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (Scipio), with crucial support from Numidian leader Masinissa, defeated the Carthaginian army led by Hannibal.

Mago Barca, was a Barcid Carthaginian who played an important role in the Second Punic War, leading forces of Carthage against the Roman Republic in Iberia and northern and central Italy. Mago was the third son of Hamilcar Barca, was the brother of Hannibal and Hasdrubal, and was the brother-in-law of Hasdrubal the Fair.

Battle of the Aegates the final naval battle between Carthage and the Roman Republic in the First Punic War, resulting in a decisive Roman victory

The Battle of the Aegates was fought off the Aegadian Islands, off the western coast of the island of Sicily on 10 March 241 BC. It was the final naval battle fought between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War. The better-trained Roman fleet defeated a hastily raised, undermanned and ill-trained Punic fleet, which was a decisive Roman victory as Carthage sued for peace, resulting in the Peace of Lutatius leading to Carthage surrendering Sicily and some adjoining islands to Rome.

Hasdrubal Barca Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War, son of Hamilcar Barca, brother of Hannibal (died 207 BC)

Hasdrubal Barca, a latinization of ʿAzrubaʿal son of Hamilcar Barca, was a Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War. He was the brother of Hannibal and Mago Barca.

Mercenary War war

The Mercenary War, also called the Libyan War and the Truceless War by Polybius, was an uprising of mercenary armies formerly employed by Carthage, backed by Libyan settlements revolting against Carthaginian control.

Numidians

The Numidians were the Berber population of Numidia and in a smaller part of Tunisia. The Numidians were one of the earliest Berber tribes to trade with the settlers of Carthage. As Carthage grew, the relationship with the Numidians blossomed. Carthage's military used the Numidian cavalry as mercenaries. Numidia provided some of the highest quality cavalry of the Second Punic War, and the Numidian cavalry played a key role in a number of battles, both early on in support of Hannibal and later in the war after switching allegiance to the Roman Republic.

The Battle of Adys was fought in 255 BC between Carthage and a Roman army led by Marcus Atilius Regulus. Regulus inflicted a crushing defeat upon the Carthaginians, who then sued for peace. However, the First Punic War would continue because the terms offered by Regulus were so harsh that the people of Carthage resolved to keep fighting.

Battle of Utica battle

The Battle of Utica was the first major engagement in the Mercenary War between Carthaginian forces and part of the combined forces of the former mercenary armies previously deployed by Carthage to conduct the First Punic War and those of rebelling Libyan cities. The forces of Hanno the Great broke the siege of Utica. However, they failed to prepare any meaningful defense of the city once they liberated it or to maintain proper lookouts for enemy movement. As a result, the Carthaginian forces suffered heavy losses when the mercenary forces counter-attacked, captured the Carthaginian baggage and equipment and besieged the army of Hanno within Utica. Hanno managed to regain his freedom of maneuver later but failed to capitalize on opportunities to engage the rebel forces under favourable conditions. This prompted Carthage to mobilize another army under Hamilcar Barca.

Barcids

The Barcid family was a notable family in the ancient city of Carthage; many of its members were fierce enemies of the Roman Republic. "Barcid" is an adjectival form coined by historians ; the actual byname was Barca or Barcas, which means lightning. See ברקBaraq in Canaanite and Hebrew, برق, barq in Arabic, and similar words in other Semitic languages.

Hasdrubal the Fair Carthaginian military leader and politician

Hasdrubal the Fair was a Carthaginian military leader and politician, governor in Iberia after Hamilcar Barca's death, and founder of Cartagena.

The Battle of Dertosa, also known as the Battle of Ibera, was fought in the spring of 215 BC on the south bank of the Ebro River across from the town of Dertosa. A Roman army, under the command of Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio Calvus and Publius Cornelius Scipio, defeated a similarly sized Carthaginian army under Hasdrubal Barca. The Romans, under Gnaeus Scipio, had established themselves in Hispania after winning the Battle of Cissa in 218 BC. Hasdrubal Barca's expedition to evict them had ended in the defeat of the Iberian contingent of the Carthaginian navy at the Battle of Ebro River in 217 BC. Hasdrubal launched another expedition in 215 BC, but the defeat at Dertosa cost the Carthaginians a chance to reinforce Hannibal at a critical juncture, and the Romans gained the initiative in Hispania. The Scipio brothers continued with their policy of subjugating the Iberian tribes and raiding Carthaginian possessions. After losing of most of his field army, Hasdrubal had to be reinforced with the army that was to sail to Italy and reinforce Hannibal. Thus, by winning this battle, the Scipios had indirectly prevented the situation in Italy from getting worse in addition to improving their own situation in Iberia. This battle also demonstrates the danger of implementing the double envelopment tactic.

Battle of the Great Plains Battle between Rome and Carthagie late in the Second Punic War

The Battle of the Great Plains, also known as the Battle of the Bagrades, was a battle fought between Scipio Africanus of Rome and a combined Carthaginian and Numidian army late in the Second Punic War. It occurred on the plains south of Bulla Regia around the upper Bagradas River. The attack was designed as diversionary tactic by Rome to disrupt Hannibal's attack on Italy. By defeating the Carthaginians, Scipio Africanus caused Hannibal to leave Italy and return to Africa, where he was later defeated at Zama.

Battle of Lilybaeum first naval clash between the navies of Carthage and Rome during the Second Punic War

The Battle of Lilybaeum was the first naval clash between the navies of Carthage and Rome during the Second Punic War. The Carthaginians had sent 35 quinqueremes to raid Sicily, starting with Lilybaeum. The Romans, warned by Hiero of Syracuse of the coming raid, had time to intercept the Carthaginian contingent with a fleet of 20 quinqueremes and managed to capture several Carthaginian ships.

Carthaginian Iberia Place in Carthaginian

The Carthaginian presence in Iberia lasted from 575 BC to 206 BC when the Carthaginians were defeated by the Roman Republic at the Battle of Ilipa in the Second Punic War.

The battle following the defection of Numidian chieftain Naravas to Hamilcar Barca was fought between Carthaginian forces commanded by Hamilcar Barca and part of the combined forces of Carthage's former mercenary armies during the Mercenary War, which Carthage had formerly employed during the First Punic War, and those of rebelling Libyan cities supporting the mercenaries.

Barcid conquest of Hispania

Under the leadership of the Barcid family, Ancient Carthage expanded its possessions in Spain from 237 to 218 BC after the end of the First Punic War in 241 BC and the Mercenary War in 238 BC.

References

  1. Chris Scarre, "The Wars with Carthage," The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome (London: Penguin Books, 1995), 24–25.
  2. Goldsworthy, The Punic Wars, p. 13
  3. Sidwell, Keith C; Jones, Peter V (1997). The world of Rome: an introduction to Roman culture. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN   978-0-521-38600-5.
  4. Fagan, Garret G. The History of Ancient Rome. Lecture 13: "The Second Punic War". Teaching Company, "Great Courses" series.
  5. Eckstein, Arthur M. Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome University of California Press (1 April 2009) ISBN   978-0-520-25992-8, p. 167.
  6. Barceló, P. A. Karthago und die Iberische Halbinsel vor den Barkiden Habelt, Bonn, 1988 (in German)
  7. 1 2 Pollard, Elizabeth (2015). Worlds Together Worlds Apart. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 249. ISBN   978-0-393-92207-3.
  8. 1 2 "The Romans: From Village to Empire: A History of Rome from Earliest Times to the End of the Western Empire" by M. Boatwright, et al. 2nd edition. 2011.
  9. Scullard, Howard Hayes: A History of the Roman World, 753 to 146 BC. Routledge, 2002, page 316. ISBN   0-415-30504-7On page 316 there is no reference to 50 000 Carthaginians taken captive.
  10. Hogan, C. Michael Volubilis at Megalithic Portal, 18 December 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2014

Further reading