Section IV three Punic Wars

Punic War refers to the three major wars between ancient Rome and Carthage, two ancient slave countries, for the domination of the western Mediterranean between 264 BC and 146 BC. Because ancient Rome called Carthage bunic, it was called the bunic war.


Rome originated in the Italian peninsula. It was originally a small city-state, and the main residents were farmers. In the early 3rd century BC, Rome unified the Italian peninsula and became a major power in the Mediterranean. After the unification of the Italian peninsula, the slave owner group continued to expand overseas, and Sicily, which is rich in food and plays an important role in maritime trade, became its main target. Sicily is only separated from the Italian peninsula by a narrow strait about 3 kilometers wide, which is controlled by Carthage at this time. The expansion of Roman forces to Sicily is bound to conflict with Carthage.

as early as when Roman forces infiltrated southern Italy, Pyrrhus, king of ebrus in Northwest Greece, led elite troops to land in Italy at the request of talington, a Greek city in southern Italy. He defeated the Roman army in 280 BC, but was soon defeated by Rome. He was forced to withdraw from Italy and fled home in the spring of 275 BC. During this war, a group of Italians calling themselves “mamedin” among Syracuse mercenaries suddenly occupied Messina in the northeast of Sicily. King Hailong II of Syracuse immediately sent troops to surround Messina. “Malmedin” immediately divided into two factions and turned to Carthage and Rome respectively. Carthage took the lead, defeated Halon II and controlled Messina; Rome controlled regim on the other side of Messina. Fearing that Carthage occupied Syracuse and swallowed Sicily alone, the assembly of Rome senturia decided to send troops to help one of the “mamedin”. Thus, in 264 BC, the Roman army entered Sicily and went on an expedition to Carthage. The first Punic War broke out.


(1) the first Punic War (264-241 BC)

in 264 BC, the Roman army landed in Sicily. At the beginning of the battle, Rome had an advantage in land war, defeated the Carthaginians and occupied Syracuse. Then he took down agrigent, a city on the southwest coast of Sicily, plundered and sold more than 20000 captives as slaves. However, Rome did not go well in the naval battle. Carthage has a strong maritime force, hundreds of warships, and is equipped with the latest Maritime Technology in the Hellenistic period. With experienced navy soldiers and well-trained paddlers, Carthage dominated the western Mediterranean for a time. Rome and Carthage were at a disadvantage after the war at sea, and the coastal areas of Italy were also surprised by Carthage ships. To this end, Rome rapidly developed the Navy with the greatest strength. With the help of Greek technicians in southern Italy, it took a year to build 100 five deck warships and 20 three deck warships. Then Greek instructors helped train rowers and navy soldiers, quickly developed a new navy team, and then created a suspension bridge known as “crow”. In 260 BC, the Roman Navy met Carthage on the Cape of meri near Messina, with 120 and 130 ships respectively. After the battle started, the Roman ship quickly sailed to the other side. When it approached the enemy ship, it immediately put a small suspension bridge on the enemy’s deck and clamped the other side like a crow’s mouth. Roman soldiers took the opportunity to rush onto the enemy ship from this “living springboard” and fight with the Carthaginians. The Carthaginians were unprepared and responded passively. As a result, they were defeated and lost 50 ships. The Roman army won the naval battle for the first time and controlled the waters near Sicily.

in 256 BC, Roman consul leguru led a huge fleet of 330 ships and more than 100000 people on an expedition to Africa, quickly broke through the defense line of the Carthage fleet, landed in North Africa, won victories and occupied some cities. With the continuation of the war, the problem of Roman troops and food became more and more serious. Therefore, the Roman Senate decided to withdraw most of its troops, leaving leguru with 15000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 40 ships in Africa. Carthage took advantage of this to fight back against the Romans. With the help of Greek mercenaries, he defeated the Roman army. Leguru became a prisoner and was later killed. The defeated soldiers who were lucky to escape encountered a sea storm on their way home, almost all of them were destroyed, and Rome suffered huge losses. Later, the Romans made great efforts to build ships. In 242 BC, a fleet was built with private donations, and the naval battle against Carthage resumed the following year. The two sides fought fiercely in Sicily, and Carthage general hamilka. Bacca stuck to several strongholds and fought back against Rome, but was defeated by the Romans, and his territory was also won by the Romans.

after 23 years of war, Carthage was exhausted and had to authorize hamilka to negotiate peace with Rome. At this time, Rome also felt lack of money and strength, so it signed a peace treaty with Carthage. According to the peace treaty, Carthage paid a large amount of compensation to Rome, a total of 3200 Tarrant, which was paid within 10 years, and Sicily and all the islands between Sicily and Italy were ceded to Rome. The first Punic War ended with the victory of Rome.

(2) the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.)

in the first Punic War, Carthage suffered serious losses, which exhausted the domestic people and even the military pay, resulting in sharp domestic contradictions and unrest. Mercenary riots, slaves and native residents responded, and the Carthage rulers took great efforts to suppress them. Later, the Carthage rulers decided to expand their colonial power in Spain to make up for the losses in the last war and solve the problem of resources. In 237 BC, hamirca led his troops into Spain. In 228 BC, hamilka was killed in a battle, and his son-in-law hasde Lubar became the successor, further expanded his power and established the new Carthage city on the southeast coast of Spain. It has an important strategic position and rich natural resources. Carthage has obtained a lot of human and material resources. It provided abundant resources for the future war against Rome. Rome did not stop expanding after the first Punic War. It took advantage of the mercenary riots in Carthage and forcibly occupied CarthageSardinia and Corsica, which were controlled by the government, and Sicily, were set up with two provinces respectively. At the same time, it occupied Gaul south of the Alps and established an alliance with sagonto on the eastern coast of Spain. In 221 BC, hasdlubar was killed, and Hannibal, the son of hamilka, succeeded the commander of Carthage. In 219 BC, Hannibal sent troops to capture sagonto. The Romans issued an ultimatum to Carthage and threatened him with war. Without an answer from Carthage, Rome launched an attack, which broke out the Second Punic War.


Hannibal’s battle line

in the spring of 218 BC, Roman troops were divided into two routes: one crossed the Tunis Strait from Sicily and landed at Carthage; He went all the way to Spain to clamp down Hannibal’s army, so as to attack Spain and Africa at the same time, so that Carthage could not look at each other. In this regard, Hannibal had expected to march into Italy to put the other side on the defensive. Hannibal made a precise deployment: leaving part of the Navy and army, led by his brother, to meet the attack of the Roman army; Another 20000 soldiers were sent to Africa to enhance the security of Carthage and North Africa. They led 90000 infantry, 12000 cavalry and 37 war elephants to set out from new Carthage for Italy.

the Romans soon found the other party’s strategic intention, immediately gave up the plan to attack Africa and Spain, all returned to Rome and concentrated on Hannibal. Hannibal’s army suddenly appeared on the Po River plain after a hard March and long journey, which shocked the Romans. In October, the Roman consul sippia led his army to the Ticino River, a tributary of the Po River, and encountered Hannibal’s army. Hannibal gave full play to his cavalry advantage, attacked the other party, defeated sippia, then crossed the Po River and ambushed the Roman army returning from North Africa near the terlibya river.

Rome failed again and again and had to rethink the countermeasures. At the beginning of 217 BC, two new consuls were elected and a group of new troops were recruited to form a team of 13 legions, 65000 infantry and 300 cavalry. Some of them were sent to Sicily, Spain and Sardinia for reinforcements. The remaining 80000 troops were commanded by two consuls Sevilla and Flamini to guard the avenue aurelia on the west coast and the avenue imilia in the East, Stop Hannibal from going deep into central Italy. Hannibal quickly mastered the other party’s intelligence, understood the other party’s action plan, and quickly came up with countermeasures. In early April, he led his troops from the east along a little traveled path, through four days and three nights of rapid march, and finally bypassed the fortified positions of the Roman army and stepped on the road to Rome. Flamini did not expect the other party to escape his defense so quickly, and immediately led the army to chase after him. Hannibal chose a valley on the North Bank of Lake Tracy Meno and set an ambush here. Flamini knew nothing about it and led all the Roman troops into the valley. The Carthaginians immediately surrounded and attacked, the light infantry and the central main force rushed down the mountain, and the cavalry blocked the retreat. The Romans were unprepared and confused, and the battle formation could not be launched in the narrow valley. Finally, they were quickly annihilated, Flamini was killed, 15000 people were killed, and thousands of people were captured.

the news of the tragic defeat of Lake trasimeno quickly spread to Rome. The residents in the city were in panic, and the government immediately mobilized the whole people to stick to the city. However, Hannibal had no intention of attacking Rome at this time. Instead, he moved eastward and went south along the Adriatic coast, claiming that he was the liberator of the Italians, put the captured Romans in chains, and released all other Italian prisoners without Roman citizenship without ransom, so as to isolate and weaken Rome, and set up a defensive camp on the east coast of Apulia.

the situation is urgent. Fabian was elected dictator in Rome as supreme commander and menuhis as deputy commander. Fabian carefully studied the lessons of several defeats of the Romans. After fully estimating the balance of power between the two sides, he decided to avoid the other side and not have a direct conflict with it. Instead, he followed up with many troops and attacked some sporadic troops, so as to consume Hannibal’s troops and supplies. This attrition tactic (or procrastination tactic) was correct at that time, but it was puzzled or doubted by many people. Even Fabian’s subordinates were dissatisfied with this strategy. Therefore, Fabian handed over the command after six months in office. At the beginning of 216 BC, varo and palus were elected Roman consuls. Varo strongly advocated a decisive battle with Carthage and promised the Roman people that the war would end on the day they saw the enemy.

in May, two consuls, as commander-in-chief of Rome, led 80000 infantry and 6000 cavalry to fight with Carthage in canny in the lower reaches of the ofedu River in apuria. At this time, Hannibal had 40000 infantry and 10000 cavalry. He arranged the team into a half moon protruding forward in the middle. The protruding part in the middle was weak soldiers, and the two wings were equipped with elite troops, which were deployed on both sides by the cavalry branch. In Rome, three parallel sequences were used: cavalry on the left, allied cavalry on the right and heavy infantry in the center, forming the main battle line; Light infantry are deployed in front of the main front. The central front is commanded by palus, Sevilla on the left and varo on the right.

at the beginning of the battle, the Roman infantry rushed to the infantry of the other side. The Carthage central army retreated rapidly, and its two winged armies quickly surrounded and advanced, gradually forming an opposite half moon. Hannibal ordered 500 light infantry with short swords to flee to the Romans, hand over their spears and shields and disguise their surrender. The Romans placed the demobilized soldiers at the guard. Then Hannibal ordered the cavalry to attack the Roman Cavalry, and finally surrounded the Roman army, which fell into chaos. At noon, the southeast wind was strong, and the strong wind picked up a lot of dust. The eyes of the Roman soldiers who had been in a mess were fascinated by the wind and sand. Taking this opportunity, Carthage soldiers in the downwind direction hurled arrows at each other. The Carthaginian soldiers who pretended to surrender also took their daggers from their bodies and stabbed the Roman soldiers. When it was dark, most of the Roman army died, only more than 10000 people survived, Sevilla and palus died in the war, and only varo survived. Hannibal lost only 6000 people. The battle of Canny is a landmark in the history of world military affairsThe battle shows Hannibal’s outstanding military talent.

Rome was once in an extremely dangerous situation after canny war. Some tribes and cities in central and southern Italy surrendered to Hannibal one after another, Syracuse in Sicily also supported Hannibal, and Philip V, king of Macedonia outside Italy, took the initiative to form an alliance with Hannibal. Rome avoided another decisive battle with Hannibal at this time in order to accumulate strength; On the other hand, punish those who deviate from Italy. From 213 BC to 211 BC, Rome sent troops to surround Syracuse and capture the city. Later, the city’s residents were slaughtered. While the famous scientist was immersed in research, he was stabbed to death by Roman soldiers. From then on, Rome resumed its rule in Sicily and gradually shifted from defensive to offensive.

at the same time, as the war lasted, Hannibal’s mercenaries gradually exposed their weaknesses. The supplies, money and resources of soldiers are increasingly exhausted. The Carthage government wanted to send troops to Italy for reinforcement, but it had to change its action because Rome sent troops to Spain. Hannibal had planned to organize an anti Roman alliance, but it failed in the end. The situation began to go against Hannibal.

in 210 BC, papoulius in Rome. Xipia occupied Spain’s new Carthage City, which is an important military base of Carthage. Rome released its prisoners of war and transported gold, silver, ivory and other treasures to Rome by ship. This move dealt a heavy blow to Hannibal. In 205 BC, sippia served as consul and led 30000 people on an expedition to Africa to smash the basic land of Katai. In 204 BC, xipia arrived in Africa, landed in Utica, a coastal city not far from Carthage, and then besieged Utica. Unable to attack for a long time, xipia had to surround it tightly.

at this time, the Carthage government called Hannibal home. In the summer of 202 BC, Hannibal led a team of about 20000 people to land in hadrumidun on the east coast of Carthage. After that, they rapidly expanded their forces and organized troops, so that the total force soon increased to 40000. Then Hannibal led his army to the north, close to Carthage, and formed a north-south attack on the xipia army on the south side of Carthage.

xipia immediately took countermeasures. On the one hand, he sent envoys to the allies for help, on the other hand, he resolutely decided to lift the siege on Carthage and Utica, march up the Baghdad River, go deep into the interior of Carthage, get rid of the enemy, cut off the main supply line of Carthage, and induce Hannibal to change his way to the west to wait for reinforcements and find an opportunity to fight a decisive battle.

in the autumn of 202 BC, sippia led his army to retreat to the west, burning, killing, looting and wanton destruction along the way, which made the Carthaginians extremely panic. The Carthaginian government repeatedly urged Hannibal to fight with sippia immediately. Hannibal, who was advancing northward, had to turn to the West and chased the xipia army with a forced army. Therefore, he was lured into the combat area expected by xipia and caught the trap of xipia. The two sides launched a fierce battle near Zama. The situation was extremely unfavorable to Hannibal. After a continuous March, he came here. He could not get the supplement of soldiers, and there was no reliable support point to rely on. There was no sufficient water source. The soldiers worked very hard, and their quality and training were far inferior to those of the Roman Cavalry; Xipia, on the other hand, took the lead in choosing favorable terrain in the Zama area and received 6000 infantry and 4000 cavalry from the Allied forces who came to help, with high morale. Hannibal ordered the elephants to charge forward in order to take the initiative. To cause a sudden halt in the front of the Roman or Roman armies. Sippia immediately ordered the Roman Cavalry to attack from both wings and defeat Hannibal’s left-wing and right-wing cavalry.

at the same time, the infantry of both sides are also in a decisive battle, and it is difficult to win or lose. The cavalry of sippia also rushed to support after defeating the other cavalry. Hannibal’s infantry were attacked on all sides and died in the end. Hannibal fled under the protection of a few cavalry. In this war, Rome lost only more than 1500 people, while 20000 people were killed and 20000 captured in Carthage.

Carthage was forced to seek peace from Rome. The two sides signed a peace treaty in 201 BC, and its conditions were very harsh on Carthage: Carthage gave up all the territory outside Africa; Hand over all war elephants and ships (only 10 ships are allowed); Compensate Rome with 10000 Rand, which shall be paid within 50 years; No war with any country without the consent of Rome; Hand over 100 hostages to Rome. Carthage became a vassal of Rome.

(3) the third Punic War (149-146 BC)

after the Second Punic War, Carthage was no longer able to fight against Rome politically and militarily, but it still had potential and gradually recovered economically. In this regard, Rome was worried that Carthage’s economic growth would pose a new threat to Rome politically and militarily. So Rome tried every means to find an excuse to fight again against Carthage. To the west of Carthage was a neighboring country called Numidia, which stood on the side of Rome. Masinysa, king of Numidia, often provoked Carthage because of the support of Rome. In 150 BC, masinia invaded Carthage, and Carthage was forced to fight back in self-defense. Rome declared war on Carthage on the pretext that Carthage violated the terms of the peace treaty of 201 BC, that is, he could not fight with other countries without the permission of Rome. The third Punic War broke out.

in 149 BC, the Roman army landed in Utica in Africa and ordered Carthage to agree to the following conditions and hand over 300 children of noble families as hostages; Hand over all weapons and military objects. Carthage agreed. Then Rome offered Carthage a plan to flatten the city of Carthage and move its residents to the inland 15 kilometers away from the sea. It was rejected by Carthage. Carthage decided to resist to the end, and actively prepared to cast all metals into weapons, mobilize the whole people to participate in the battle, and even released a group of slaves and incorporated them into the army. Even women also took active action to support war preparedness, cut their hair and make bowstrings, share a common hatred and defend the motherland.

Rome surrounded the city of Carthage, thinking that Carthage had handed over his weapons and was unable to resist, but Rome surrounded the city of Carthage for two years and still achieved nothing. The Roman army then cut down trees to build siege weapons, used two huge battering hammers to attack the city and destroyed part of the other side’s wall. Unexpectedly, the Carthage rushed out of the wall and burned the battering hammer of Rome when night fell Later, the Carthaginians used the plan of burning warships to burn Roman ships and raided Roman camps at night, so that Rome could not destroy the city. Nevertheless, Carthage did not break the siege and blockade of Rome. In 147 BC, after being elected as consul, little sippia was sent to Africa to continue the siege of Carthage. He ordered the soldiers to dig trenches, nail spikes in the trenches, and then surround the trenches with fences; They also built long walls and towers to watch, and built a siege line around the city of Carthage to prevent the other party from attacking and breaking through and transporting materials. Soon there was a famine in Carthage, and the residents were in an extremely difficult situation. Little sippia took the opportunity to launch a general attack on the city. The city people fled to the strongest Acropolis in the city, Bertha, where they fought with the Romans for 6 days and 6 nights. Finally, they were conquered by the Romans because they were outnumbered. The city of Carthage was razed to the ground, and the capitulators were sold as slaves. Carthage’s territory became the province of aphelika in Rome. The third Punic War ended.


The Punic War lasted for 118 years, ended with the fall of Carthage, and the powerful Roman Empire began to emerge. The far-reaching significance of the battle of Carthage tells us that a strong country must be supported by strong military strength. On the contrary, if a country cannot maintain its own military strength, it will only perish. Although the economic strength of the Carthaginians increased rapidly after the Second Punic War, they were still unable to protect their prosperous country without rebuilding the army, which doomed them to be a grain of dust in the ruins of failure in the long river of history.

influence ` evaluation of

the historical circles have such a determination on the nature of the third Punic War: it was a purely unreasonable, unjust and aggressive “imperialist war” of the Romans. After the Second Punic War, Carthage’s strength had been completely weakened and was unable to expand, but the Romans always regarded Carthage as “a thorn in the eye and a thorn in the flesh”. From 201 BC to 150 BC, the Romans were busy dealing with the Macedonians and Seleucids in the East and had no time to take into account the defeated Carthage. Therefore, they adopted the strategy and tactics of “mutual containment” in North Africa and used masinia to harass Carthage constantly to curb the recovery and development of Carthage. However, masinia’s aggressive act aroused the Carthaginians to work hard and accelerated the process of their economic recovery. The Romans feared that Carthage would become strong again and shake its hegemony in the Mediterranean world. After winning the war against Seleucus and Macedonia, they returned to the west to destroy Carthage.

in the third Punic War, although Carthage was subjugated, they left many moving and tragic deeds in the war against Roman aggression. Carthage fought a just, self-defense and anti aggression war in the third Punic War. It has left a glorious page in the long volume of human history.