First Punic War (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: The First Punic War pitted Roman military forces against Carthage in an effort to expand Roman authority in the Mediterranean.
Summary of Event
The First Punic War was a milestone in Roman history. Modern scholarship rejects the old interpretation that entry into this conflict committed Rome to a policy of expansion on an altogether new scale. The Roman victory in 241 b.c.e. marked the emergence of Rome as the dominant power in the western Mediterranean. The policies Rome adopted in Sicily and elsewhere at the conclusion of the war had permanent repercussions both at home and in foreign affairs.
The Mediterranean world in the early third century b.c.e. consisted in the east of large territorial empires in areas conquered by Alexander the Great. In the west were three major states and numerous tribal peoples. Carthage, a merchant oligarchy, dominated the coast of Africa from modern Tunisia westward to Morocco, Spain, the western corner of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. Rome, the second state, controlled the southern two-thirds of Italy. The portion inhabited by Roman citizens was the ager Romanus; the rest belonged to nominally independent allies (socii), of whom the Latins were relatively privileged while the majority were subordinate to Rome. As of yet, Rome had no possessions and scant interest beyond the peninsula.
The small kingdom of Syracuse in the...
(The entire section is 1507 words.)
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