What was the reasoning behind the Punic Wars? How did these wars change Roman society and colonization? Why are these wars seen as a pivotal turning point in Roman development?
Professor and Classmates,
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage, with many of the traditional reasons contributing to the wars. The First Punic War was created by a crisis that broke out on the western coast of Sicily. The city of Messana was attacked, who then requested the support from both Rome and Carthage. Carthage, a superior naval force, was the first to respond. Rome, not to be outdone, continued to build its forces and destabilize the region; thus provoking war.
The Second Punic War was again created by destabilization in the region and due to the retaliatory actions of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca. The general seemingly attempted to compensate for the loss of the first war and Sicilian territory; moved into Spain in order to be positioned to wage wars/battles against Saguntum, a Roman ally. Rome objected and pushed Carthage hand over Hannibal. The Carthaginian senate was unwilling to do so and this refusal started the Second Punic War.
The Third Punic war basically started due to a perceived threat to Rome’s security. Carthage, after paying restitutions to Rome for 50 years per their treaty, started a war against the neighboring state Numidia. Rome marked these actions as a threat and sent an envoy to Carthage to attempt to dismantle their city. Roman troops continued to wage war on the city and after many days, Carthage surrendered.
These wars facilitated the overall expansion of Rome. They went from what could be perceived as a small fledgling city to a supreme super power of the time. Rome would eventually fall but not until 476 CE, hundreds of years later. Additionally, these wars can be seen as the turning point in Rome’s overall advancements in many areas. Specifically in Naval warfare, wealth, and other military training. This training enabled Rome’s Armies to eventually take lands and build wealth for the nation, becoming what many consider one of the greatest empires that ever existed.
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Punic Wars.” Encyclopedia Britannica, October 3, 2022. https://www.britannica.com/event/Punic-Wars
Mark, J. 2018. Punic Wars. https://www.worldhistory.org/Punic_Wars/