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The Punic Wars: Carthage vs. Rome

Punic Wars Research Topic

Punic Wars Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

To Ticinus succeeded Trebia, where, in the consulship of Sempronius, the second outburst of the Punic war was spent. On that occasion, the crafty enemy, having chosen a cold and snowy day, and having first warmed themselves at their fires, and anointed their bodies with oil, conquered us, though they were men that came from the south and a warm sun, by the aid (strange to say!) of our own winter.

This is an excerpt of Florus’ account of the Punic Wars concerning the Battle of Trebia (December 18, 218 BC), which saw Hannibal’s Carthaginian army rout the Romans during the second installment of a set of three wars that would eventually cement Rome’s place as the most powerful player in the Mediterranean region.

The Punic Wars occurred between 264 and 146 BC, in the middle of Rome’s Republican period. They began when both Rome and Carthage, a North African city-state in what is now Tunisia, intervened in military dispute on the island of Sicily between Syracuse and the Mamertines.

The First Punic War, 264-241 BC, was largely a naval war for control of Sicily. Despite Carthage’s initial naval superiority, Rome was victorious and Sicily became the republic’s first province.

The Second Punic War, 218-201 BC, is the most well-known of the Punic Wars because of the Hannibal’s bold traversing of the Alps on Elephants to attack the Romans in Italy. Hannibal had a string of victories with the Battle of Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene and the Battle of Cannae, in which 50,000 Roman soldiers were killed in a single day. Despite his successes, Hannibal eventually had to return home to protect Carthage, where his defeat at the Battle of Zama ended the war.

The Third Punic War, 149-146 BC, was essentially a siege of Carthage, and the result was Scipio Aemilianus’ (Scipio Africanus the Younger) destruction of the city and Roman domination of the Mediterranean by an imperial republic.

Educators, eLibrary has great information for your history classes, as evidenced by the eLibrary article and Research Topics links above. If you are doing a lesson on the Punic Wars, you can direct your students these links and to the immediately relevant RTs below. Or, feel free to just assign this blog entry to them for an overview of the topic.

Research Topics:

Punic Wars

Ancient Rome

Carthage

Hannibal