Punic Wars – Rome vs. Cartago. Punic Wars

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During the process of territorial expansion of its power across the Mediterranean Sea region, Pomegranate had to face in three wars the city of Cartago, located in the Gulf of Tunisia, North Africa. At Punic Wars they were extremely important for Rome to completely dominate the Mediterranean Sea.

Will we learn more about these wars?

The origin of the term punic is related to the formation of the city of Carthage. For the Romans, Punic was the Carthaginian, inhabitant of the African city. The term was derived from poenicus, which is still a word derived from phoinix, which means Phoenician, in Greek.

The city of Carthage was founded by the Phoenicians, people who inhabited the Middle East, and became an important commercial empire. The Carthaginians dominated the trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as controlling territories in the north. from Africa and also on the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia, locations close to the Peninsula Italic.

In their expansion across the Italian Peninsula, the Romans intended to obtain foodstuffs to supply the cities under their command, contain threats from neighboring peoples, in addition to obtaining an increasing number of slaves to maintain its structure socioeconomic status. In this expansion, they came into conflict with the Carthaginians.

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THE First Punic War occurred in 264 a. Ç. and 241 a. Ç. and had Roman victory. As a result, Carthage had to pay heavy indemnities to the Romans, further losing its possessions on the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia.

THE second Punic War brought more threats to Rome. occurred between 218 a. Ç. and 201 a. Ç., the war began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca invaded Sagunto, a commercial city allied with Rome. The Romans defended Sagunto, starting the war. However, Rome was close to being invaded by the Carthaginians, after Hannibal's troops left the Iberian Peninsula, crossed the Alps and reached the Italian Peninsula.

The Carthaginians achieved several victories in the region, but had to return to Carthage, when the Roman general Scipio decided to attack North Africa. The strategic objective was to take advantage of Hannibal's military campaign in the Italian Peninsula and take the defenses of Carthage unprotected.

the action of Scipio (which received the title of African) worked, because after the Battle of Zama, in 201 a. a., the Romans overcame the troops of Aníbal, that even counted on great elephants to carry out the attacks. With the defeat, the Carthaginians again lost their possessions, paid a large indemnity and returned the prisoners of war, leaving only the territories of North Africa.

But the Romans wanted to destroy Carthage. Consul Catão's phrase became famous, who at the end of his speeches in the Senate always repeated it: “Delenda is Carthage!”, which means “Carthage must be destroyed”. The destruction came with the third Punic War, while on 146 a. Ç. the Romans surrounded, invaded and razed the city completely. Most of the population died and the survivors were turned into slaves.

In the period of the Punic Wars, the Romans still managed to conquer other peoples in the eastern Mediterranean area, such as the Macedonians, the Syrians and the Greeks. With the victory in the Punic Wars and over all other peoples, Rome managed to dominate the entire Mediterranean Sea, starting to call it “Mare Nostrum”, which meant "our sea".

By Tales Pinto
Master in History

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