The Punic Wars

The cycle of wars between the Roman Republic and Carthage is known as the Punic Wars. The mane of the wars is derived from the word “Punicus” that meant “Carthaginian”. The series of the Punic Wars consisted of three wars. All together, the wars lasted for more than 100 years. The Punic Wars launched because of the intention of Rome to expand its territory.

The First Punic War

The First Punic War started in 264 B.C. It was a military conflict between Carthage and Rome. Both countries intended to seize control over Sicily. The first major battle was the Battle of Agrigentum, wherein the Romans defeated the Carthaginian army. However, the Carthaginian fleet crushed the Roman navy in the Battle of the Lipari Islands. After that battle, the Romans added new assault ships to their fleet. The crucial fight was the Battle of Egadi Islands. The Carthaginian fleet could not resist the Romans and was destroyed. As a result, a peace treaty was signed in 241 B.C. Under the terms of the treaty, Carthage left Sicily and paid Rome a war indemnity.

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The Second Punic War

In 218 B.C., the Carthaginian commander Hannibal attacked a city of Saguntum, the ally of Rome in Hispania. As a result, The Second Punic War was launched. The warfare was conducted in Italy, Hispania and Sicily.

Hannibal crossed through the Alps and intruded into Italy. He inflicted defeat on the Roman legions in the Battle of the Trebia and the Battle of Cannae. However, his strategy to break the peace between Rome and other countries failed. The war proceeded in Africa, where the Roman legions decisively defeated the Carthaginian army in the Battle of Zama. As a result, the sides concluded an agreement in 201 B.C. According to it, Carthage had to pay Rome a war indemnity. In addition, Carthage lost its overseas possessions and did not have the right to conduct any war without the permission of Rome.

The Third Punic War

The aim of the last Punic War was to siege Carthage and destroy it. In 149 B.C. Rome demanded to demolish Carthage and rebuilt it far from the coast. The Carthaginians refused to fulfill the requirement. As
a result, Rome declared the war. The Third Punic War was defensive. The Roman army needed three years to break the defense of the Carthaginians. In 146 B.C., the Romans under the command of Scipio Aemilianus occupied Carthage and burned it down to the ground.

Scipio Family

The Roman cognomen Scipio meant that a person belonged to the Cornelii family. The first mention of the Cornelii Scipiones dates back to the 4th century B.C. Scipio family was highly respected in the Roman Republic. The members of the family were consuls and successful military leaders. The most famous representatives of the Scipio family were the general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus and praetor Lucius Cornelius Scipio.

The Scipiones led the luxurious way of life. For example, Scipio Africanus built pompous houses and wore gorgeous Greek clothes. In addition, he supported the idea of obtaining education by women and children. Scipio Aemilianus patronized many scholars and philosophers.

The Conquest of Asia Minor

Rome continued expansion of its eastern territory. In 190 B.C., the Roman legions defeated the Seleucid army in the Battle of Magnesia. Under the terms of Treaty of Apamea, the Seleucid king Antiochus III the Great surrendered his territory to Rome. However, Rome obtained the complete control over Asia Minor only after the death of Attalus III in 133 B.C. According to Attalus’s testament, Asia Minor came into Rome’s possession and became its province.

It should be noted that Rome had a significant impact on the culture of Asia Minor. Brilliant examples of Roman architecture spread throughout such cities as Pergamum and Ephesus. The Palace of Ephesus, the Theatre of Pergamum and the Altar of Zeus were built there.

Thus, the Roman history covers a long period of wars and land seizure. The victories of the Romans in various battles notably expanded their territory and made Rome the mightiest state in the Mediterranean.

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