Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Punic Wars were some of the bloodiest and most difficult wars that the ancient Romans fought. More specifically, the Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between the Romans and the Carthaginians from 264 B.C to 146 B.C.

During this time, the Carthaginians and the Romans were the two great powers of the West. Moreover, they were both in the process of expansion. From this perspective, we can see that there was going to be a head on collision. This came to pass over a few conflicts in Sicily.

Many of these conflicts were resolved through treaties after intermittent battles.  Polybius, the great Greek historian of Rome and an eye-witness of these events, wrote extensively between the war between Rome and Carthage and recorded the treaties.

The most famous war between the two groups was the second war, where Hannibal the greatest of Carthaginian general crossed the Alps with his army and war elephants and destroyed three consular armies. The battle at Cannae, where the Romans were slaughter will never be forgotten.  Hannibal almost accomplished his purpose of destroying Rome itself. The was finally stopped by Scipio Africanus at the battle of Zama.

In the final war, Rome razed Carthage and they seized to exist as a power.

fact-finder | Student

The Punic Wars were three conflicts between Rome and Carthage (a North African city) that took place from 264 B.C. to 146 B.C. Rome waged these wars to expand its empire. The first of the Punic Wars occurred in 264 B.C. when Rome attacked and conquered Messina (part of the island of Sicily) in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, which were part of the Carthaginians territory.

During the Second Punic War (218–201 B.C.), the Carthaginians and Romans fought to control mineral-rich Spain. After the Carthaginian general Hannibal (247?–183?) and his army captured the Roman-allied city of Sagunto, Spain, they traveled north and east. They crossed the Alps (a European mountain range) and invaded Italy, but suffered defeat when they met the Roman army. In 202 B.C., the pivotal battle of the Second Punic war took place in the North African town of Zama (southwest of Carthage). There the Roman army led by General Scipio Africanus (236–183 B.C.) crushed the Carthaginians led by Hannibal. As a result of this defeat, Carthage lost its holdings in Spain and had to pay a war indemnity (compensation for damage) to Rome.

The peace treaty between Carthage and Rome lasted for fifty years, until the Carthaginians finally rebelled against Roman rule. The Romans waged the Third Punic War to put down the rebellion. After three years of sieges and battles, the Romans won the war, destroying Carthage, and declaring Africa a Roman province.

Further Information: Green Robert. Hannibal. New York: Franklin Watts, 1996; Halsall, Paul, ed. Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. [Online] Available, October 25, 2000; Nardo, Don. The Battle of Zama. San Diego: Lucent, 1996; Nardo, Don. The Punic Wars. San Diego: Lucent, 1996.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question