Punic Wars

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The Punic Wars (from Latin Poeni = Punier ) are a series of three wars of antiquity (264 to 146 BC) between the sea and trading power Carthage and the young Roman Empire , which emerged victorious from this conflict.



The Carthaginians, called Poeni (Punians) by the Romans , were a long-established seafaring people who lived in the middle of the 3rd century BC. BC controlled the western Mediterranean . Carthage, located in what is now Tunisia , was initially a colony of the Phoenician city ​​of Tire . When Tire came under pressure due to the expansion of the Assyrians , Babylonians and Persians , Carthage succeeded in the 6th century BC. To take over most of the Phoenician colonies and to become the new mother city and protective power for them. Early on, the city controlled the west of Sicily with the impregnable fortress Lilybaion , among other things , without ever gaining the entire island. Before the middle of the 3rd century BC The relationship between Rome and Carthage was a cooperative one, which can be seen from several treaties.

Ruins of Roman Carthage ( Antoninus-Pius-Thermen )

When Rome saw an opportunity to achieve a bridgehead in Sicily, Carthage opposed it because it saw its own possessions in the west of the island endangered. This initial local conflict expanded into a struggle for hegemony in the western Mediterranean during the First and Second Punic Wars . It lasted 43 years and was pursued energetically and with great use of resources by both sides.

Although Rome was on the verge of defeat several times, it won both wars due to its ultimately superior reserves of man and material, whereas Carthage emerged noticeably weakened. After the final triumph at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. Carthage lay on the ground and in fact saw itself reduced to the status of a Roman vassal state , which was no longer allowed to pursue an independent foreign policy. At the same time, the Roman conservatives under Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder , in particular, are said to fear a resurgence of the enemy and give Carthage's North African rivals massive advantages. In addition, the city's wealth beckons. Finally, the Romans finally eliminated the Carthaginian state in the Third Punic War . They destroyed 146 BC The city itself (that the Romans sprinkled salt on the fields to make them sterile, however, is a modern legend) and established the new province of Africa . The city of Carthage was re-founded about a century later under Gaius Julius Caesar and experienced a renewed bloom in the following centuries as part of the Roman Empire , which lasted until the end of antiquity .


Reports on the Punic Wars include:


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