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Lecture 3

HIST 3131 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Achaean League, Universal History, Aristocracy

Course Code
HIST 3131
Ben Kelly

of 3
Lecture 3
5:21 PM
The First Punic War
1. Early Carthage
o A trading nation (slave trading)
o Imperial control over areas of North Africa, Spain, Sicily and Balearic Islands
o Alliance with the other Phoenician colonies
o Methods of control:
Carthaginian army
Generals were aristocrats
Soldiers were mercenaries and surrounding areas peoples
Comes back to bite the Carthaginians
o 280's BCE mercenaries seize city of Messena
Mercenaries from Campania
o 270 BCE Rhegium seized, Roman garrison took over
Romans back home embarrassed
o 270-269 BCE Ruler of Syracuse builds up a military force, sick of city being rampaged
o 265-264 BCE Syracuse defeat Mamertines
Mamertines go to Carthaginians for help
Mamertines gives Messena to Carthage
Then they appeal to Rome for help, they respond and help the Mamertines
Rome and the Mamertines vs. Syracuse and Carthage
Why did the Romans help the Mamertines?
o Moral obligation
o Security concerns (Polybius)
o Desire for plunder/booty (Polybius)
o Mamertines put all their loyalty in Rome, this Rome must be good "patrons" and
morally help
o Romans didn't know they were stepping into war, they thought it was a squabble
with Carthage
What Polybius thinks, Romans agonized over the decision to help the Mamertines
"we can't punish those who seized Rhegium and help those who seized Syracuse"
Is it a realistic fear that Syracuse could have invaded Rome?
The people of Rome were aware of the possible plunder to be gained from this battle
The Course of the War
264 BCE Romans |defeated" both Carthaginians and Syracuse in separate battles
236 BCE Syracuse makes peace with Rome after being besieged
262-261 BCE Romans besieged Carthage forces in Agrigentum, Romans sold 25,000+
people into slavery
261 BCE Romans more aggressive, building Naval fleet
256 BCE Rome defeats Carthage off coast of Economos
o Rome decides to invade North Africa, capture Tunis
255 BCE Rome defeated at Tunis
o Shipwrecked on the way home
o Commander captured
254-242 BCE Stalemate in Sicily
o Carthaginians besieged in city of Lilybaeum ca. 250 BCE
241 BCE Roman fleet won the decisive battle at Aegates Islands, peace negotiated
o Peace treaty extremely favourable for Rome
o Carthage paid retribution for war to Rome
o The Roman people made the treaty, making it harsh on the Carthaginians
Aftermath of the First Punic War
Mercenary war
o They weren't paid well, so they rebelled against the Carthaginians
o Their subject allies turned on them too
o Sardinia revolted as well
Rome seized Sardinia by invitation of the Mercenaries ca. 236-235 BCE
Ebro treaty 226 BCE
o Even worse for Carthage
o Fed the fire against the Romans
226 BCE Carthaginians in Spain
o Hasdrubal founding towns in Spain, increasing the Carthaginian strength in Spain
o Treaty with Rome agreeing not to expand north above Italy
o Hannibal becomes the governor in Spain
o Aggressive policy in Spain
o Rome has alliance with city of Saguntum, Hannibal doesn't like this
o 220 BCE Saguntum requests protection from Rome against Hannibal and Carthage
o Hannibal rejects Rome's suggestion to leave Saguntum alone
o Hannibal sieges Saguntum after Rome says not to, creates war between Rome and
Polybius as a Historian
The man and his work
o A Greek man from Megalopolis
o Part of the Aristocracy of his city
o Several leagues of Greek city existed, he was of the Achean League
o 171-168 BCE Greece fighting Macedonian War
o Many leagues didn’t openly support Macedonians or obedience to Rome
o Deported to Rome as hostage in 168 BCE
o Stayed in Rome
o Befriended Scipio Aemilianus and family
o He was well connected with big aristocrats
o Hostage for 17 years before being released in 150 BCE
o Major work "Histories" 40 books covering from 264-146 BCE
o Only 5 books survived
The Purpose of his History
o Sees writing of history valuable as a guide to future conduct, especially for military
leaders and politicians
o Aimed to write a history useful to military and politicians
o Both Greek and Romans hope to find it useful
o Writing "pragmatic history" a history of military and political deeds
o As well as being educational, this work should be entertaining
Technical Aims of a historian
o Truth in an important way
o Factual distortion and personal contradiction
o Personally attack s other authors and historians
o Universal history, subjects must be broad
o Compares similarities and differences
o History is only useful if you examine history as a whole, not just bits and pieces
o Subject matter determined by need of material
o Attacks Temaius' use of speeches
o Speeches an important element in historical writing
o Often had no written record of the speech, most often writing about the speech,
had no access to eye witnesses
o Were these histories with speeches made up?
o Polybius adds speeches just to entertain the reader
o Speeches help explain what motivates actions
o Research:
o It's not enough to just read books and write
o You must see things for yourself, talk to eye witnesses
o Oral history more reliable than written
o Must travel and gain first hand knowledge of topography and geography of the
o He dismisses bookworm historians
o Explanatory History:
o Tries to explain why things happen, not just reporting what happened
o Writes anticipatory origins of war
o Discussions of geography important to historical writing
o Large scale geographical process
o Theory in Practise:
o The accuracy of speeches (Example, Hannibal at Zama)
o Suspicion of made up speeches
o Explanatory failures (timing of Roman aims for world domination and causes of the
2nd Punic war)
o Polybian Ethics (aristocratic ethics inconsistently applied)
o Polybius and Tyche (Tyche: GK trans. "chance")