The Punic Wars

The Punic Wars
Michael Harris
Professor Michael Curran
Humanities 101
November 13, 2010

    The Punic Wars were three separate wars fought between Rome and Carthage. From the beginning of the first war until the end of the third war over a century had elapsed. These wars were the most important wars fought by the Roman’s. Rome had been known as a superior land power but in order to have a chance of victory against Carthage, they had to master the art of maritime warfare. They were so successful in creating a naval force to stand up to the Carthaginian Navy that they became known as a maritime superpower. Rome was also transformed from an agrarian economy to a merchant based economy after the wars. These victories in war over Carthage created the foundation for the Roman Empire (Gascoigne, 2001, ongoing, para. 1).
    The first of the three Punic Wars was from (264-241 B.C.).   Before the start of the war, Rome was not considered a major power in the Mediterranean although they had control over most of Italy’s mainland. The Roman army was made up of citizens and they were paid for their service. As Rome’s population expanded, so did their military. Carthage on the other hand was a more established nation with a higher profile. Unlike Rome, Carthage’s army was not entirely made up of its citizens. Most of the soldiers were mercenaries from Numidia and Libya in Africa and some were from Spain (Rickard, n.d., para. 2-5). The beginning of the war started in Sicily over a land dispute between the Greek colonies and Carthaginian settlements. Rome did not become involved in the war until the Greek colony of Messina requested their help. The war quickly turned into conflict between Rome and Carthage. Rome was far superior at fighting on land but was still not in control of the war due to Carthage’s massive maritime advantage. In the year (260 B.C.) Rome made the decision to challenge Carthage on the sea. The Romans, with no naval expertise were able to capture a...