Punicus Phoenician Tyre Carthage
Carthage – powerful, wealthy commercial city with a great fleet. Founded by Phoenicians from
Tyre (modern day Syria).
Carthage is very close to Italy across from Sicily (10 miles... map looks more like 75 miles.
Where did she get 10 miles from?).
Carthage had ratified treaties to protect her trading ventures in W. Mediteranean – Carthage
controlled N Africa, controlled W Siciliy, Sardinia and Corsica, and S Spain. She had made a
treaty with Rome and allies, and Greeks who were in Massilia (modern day Marseilles).
Carthage wanted to control all W. Med, and had the sea power to do it. She was wary of Rome’s
rapidly rising power.
Clash of the titans predicted 9 centuries earlier. Aenius’ fleet from Greek to Italy blown off
course, landed in Carthage. Aenius met Queen Dido. Virgil’s Aenia provides mythical
explanation for bitter enmity for bitter rivalry between Rome and Carthage. Set in 12BC, after
fall of Troy. Aenius, who laid foundations for new race of Romans; Dido loved him; Aenius was
reminded by Mercury, messenger god, that he had a higher destiny to fulfill (to found the Roman
race). Aenius dumped Dido, sailed away. Dido calls down curse on Aenius’ descendents, claims
they will always be the enemies of the Carthaginians; eternal warfare between her people and
his. Some avenger will arise from her ashes to punish such treachery as she has suffers at
Aenius’ hands. (curse in book 4 of Virgil’s Aenia). The unknown avenger prophesized was the
Carthage general Hannibal. Brought Roman empire to verge of ruin in 2 punic war. In her
curse, a reason for the devestating Punic wars of Roman history.
1rst punic war: 264 - 241 BC war over island of Sicily. Rome was victorious; Sicily became
the first of Rome’s many provinces, followed a little later by Corsica and Sardinia.
Broke out in 264 BC because of an incident on Sicily involving the Mamertines (campaigning
mercenaries, from Campania S of Rome). They were besieged by the Syracusans in Messana (in
modern straits of Messina – separate Sicily from Italy), a very strategic position. Mamertines
appealed to Carthaginian force for protection; once Carthaginians won, Mamertines appealed to
Rome to help expel the Carthaginians who had come to their rescue. So Carthaginians allied with
Syracusans; in 264, Romans came to the rescue, saved Messana. But now at war with Carthage. The Romans feared that Carthaginians could pose a serious threat if won Messana – could use as
a base to invade Italy. Carthage viewed Rome’s occupation of Messana to be interfering with her
turf, Sicily, in violation of the existing treaty between the nations.
In 262, Rome besieged Agrigentum, on S coast of Sicily, a Carthaginian stronghold. Won it!
WHOOOO! Romans then realized they totally needed a fleet to challenge Carthage’s supremacy
at sea. So they built one, gave warships grappling hooks and hinged gangplanks so that Roman
Marines could ram and then board enemy ships to engage in hand to hand combat. **With new
fleet, Romans won naval victory in 260 off NE Siciliy near Mylae*** First big Roman victory in
this Punic war.
In 256, Romans invaded Africa. Another naval victory off Ecnomus – second big victory with
new fleet. In 255, suffered major setbacks – crushing defeat on land and many ships destroyed by
a storm at sea.
After the failed invasion of Africa, the war was confined entirely to Sicily. In 254, Romans
captured Panormus (modern day Palarno), reducing Carthaginian control of Sicily to Lilybaeum
and their naval base on the W coast at Drepana.
In 247, tide suddenly turned. Losses at sea. Carthaginian appointed Hamilcar Barca (Hannibal’s
father) attacked Sicily, and up Italian coast. Rome rebuilt the navy, took Lilybaeum.
Carthaginian had to negotiate peace. Agreed to evacuate Sicily and pay Rome. Carthage’s naval
supremacy was shattered, Rome established as legit naval force, supplanting her enemy as the
dominant power in the W Mediteranean. Carthage lost control over all her interests on Sicily.
Sicily became first Roman province in 241 BC.
When the Carthaginian garrisons on Sardinia revolted, they appealed to Rome to intervene.
Rome uses it as opportunity to get Sardinian and Corsica from Carthage; incorporated together as
second Roman province. As a result of Rome’s acquisition of those three islands, Rome totally
controlled western Med.
Carthage’s empire recovered on Hamilcar’s rule, conquest of S. Spain. Hamilcar dies in 229BC.
His son in law, Hasdrubal, continued to expand Punic Empire in Spain, founds New Carthage in
SE of Spain. (Carthago Nova) Carthaginian capital in Spain, important naval base. B/c
Carthaginian expansion in Spain alarmed the Greeks of Massilia (in France, modern day
Marseilles), so the Romans concluded a treaty.
The Ebro Treaty, 226 BC with Hastrubal, giving him free reign S of the river Ebro in N. Spain,
but prohibiting him from waging war N of that. Hannibal succeed Hasdrubal, became chief general in Spain. Hannibal besieged Saguntum in
219 BC triggered outbreak of second Punic War
2 punic war 218-201 BC
Hannibal vs Scipio most famous Punic war
in 219BC, Hannibal besieged Saguntum, won. Hannibal realized that, unlike Rome, Carthage
hadn’t rebuilt fleet. She lacked her former naval power to transport armies and blockade
enemies. He believed that, without a good fleet, he should directly invade Italy, so Carthage and
N Africa were not at risk of being destroyed.
Hannibal planned to cross the Pyrinese mountains, go over the alps, descend in Italy. He hoped
to enlist recruits along the way and break up Rome’s federation of allies wherever possible. He
departed from New Carthage in 218; army included elephants. He crossed the Pyrinese and the
Roman river massilia before Scipio could head him off. Scipio sails back, waits for Hannibal in
cisalpine gul. Attacks Hannibal at Ticinus.
218 – Battle of Ticinus River – Romans lose. Hannibal crossed Po River!
218 – Battle of Trebia River – Romans super defeated, lost N Italy. Hannibal kept going, crossed
Apinines, invaded Etruria.
217 – Battle of Lake Trasimene – ambushed Roman army. Annihilated almost whole army,
including the Consul Flaminius. This was a crisis: Quintus Fabius Maximus appointed the
dictator. Cautius: the “Cunctator,” the delayer.
*216 Battle of Cannae – Romans marched on Hannibal, S. Italy, one of Romes worst bloodbaths.
In those 3 years, some of Rome’s worst defeats, happened on their own soil.
Some of Rome’s allies, Syracuse and Capula (near Naples, in Candidae) showed disloyalty to
Rome, deserted to Hannibal, who had proven himself a far superior military genius than any of
213 Tarentum, S Italy, was captured by Hannibal.
The Romans resolve did not falter. Gradually began to recover their lost allies and land. Negative
start to 2 Punic War, but Rome doesn’t give up.
213 Syracuse besieged, and recaptured to Roman control.
211 Capua recaptured (near Naples)
210 Agrigentum in Sicily N recaptured.
209 Tarentum in S Sicily recaptured. Meanwhile, the war was being waged on the Spanish front, by Scipio and his brother. Roman
215 Dertosa (Spain)
212 Saguntum (Spain) (the city that really started the whole thing).
In 211, serious loss – Hannibal’s brother Hasturbal [ two Hastribuls – Hannibal’s borther and his
borther in law. This one is his brother] destroyed Roman army and both Scipio brothers,
allowing Carthage to recover all their territory south of Ebra River.
211 – both Scip