Essay on The Punic Wars

Submitted By notleycha
Words: 1142
Pages: 5

The Punic Wars The omnipotent Roman Empire, constructed over centuries and established itself as the most influential organization in history. From the form of government we still use, to the art of war, and the philosophy that intrigues us today, we owe the Romans credit for changing our lives, even today. But what caused the urge for Rome to become so grand? The Punic Wars gave Rome a taste of what it was like to have power, riches, eminence, and fueled their expansion to transcendence. Before the first Punic War erupted, tension had built up over years between Rome and Carthage. To the people of that time, it seemed natural for a more supreme nation to have total domination over all the weaker ones. Rome and Carthage were the two most powerful nations of that region and as their power rose, so did the tension. By 265 BC, Rome controlled most of the Italian Peninsula, and was looking to expand. Sicily was the first region Rome looked to conquer but Carthage had taken control a major port at Messina that connected eastern and western Roman trade. With that, the race for domination had begun. With Carthage’s expansion into Roman territory, the tension bursted and the first Punic War broke out. In an attempt to start war with Rome, Carthage seized a vital port and strait that connected trade between east and west Rome. With this, Rome eagerly declared war with Carthage with the goal to dominate the other at their expense. Carthage had a more supreme navy, but Rome had a stronger army. To get onto Carthaginian shores, Rome would need to get past Carthage’s fleets of ships. To complete this task, Rome invented the crow, a large wooden plank with a nail at the end to connect two ships and raid the other, turning a disadvantage into an advantage. With this ingenuity, African shores were now accessible to Roman armies. Twenty-three years after the beginning of the war, Carthage surrendered. In return for all the fighting and blood shed that the first Punic War caused, Rome received complete ownership of Sicily and Carthage had to pay an immense indemnity. The first punch of the fight between Rome and Carthage had landed in Rome’s favor, and not needing to worry about Carthage for the moment, they could set their eyes on territorial expansion. In the time between the first and second Punic War, Rome looked to expand in all aspects. Three years after the war, mercenaries rebelled on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. The mercenaries asked for Rome’s assistance for when Carthage would send their armies to take back the islands. Rome declared the islands annexed from Carthage, and when Carthage protested, Rome threatened to declare war. Still recovering from war and paying off their indemnity, Carthage was in no shape to go to war and gave up the islands. Adding insult to injury, Rome then seized control of the islands and increased the indemnity. In 229 BC, Rome had the chance to prove their new prominent navy. Illyrian pirates harassed Roman ships on the open seas. Rome sent a military expedition and swiftly wiped out the pirates, doing so, they took control of Illyria itself. Rome also set their sights on the Po Valley in Gaul. They defeated many tribes and expanded to all northern Italian lands below the Alps. Expansion into Sardinia, Corsica, Illyria, Cisalpine Gaul, enlarged their territory, population and increased their volume of trade. After Carthage recovered from the first Punic War, they gained control of Spain, triggering Rome’s appetite to gain further control of Carthage increased. The battle for their corner of the world got even more heated as the tensions between the son of the leader of Carthage during the first Punic War, Hannibal, was hungry for revenge. Rome, expanding in mass, trade, and volume, saw this as threat for their well-being and a threat to commerce. As Hannibal and his forces started in Spain and moved their way through Europe, they had to overcome a major obstacle, the Alps. They proved