Punic Wars: An Introduction To The Punic Wars

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The Punic Wars, which took place between 264 and 146 BC, was a progression of warfare between Rome and Carthage. Therefore, the name “Punic” derives from the Latin adjective punicus, meaning “wars with Carthage.” These battles, which are divided into a series of three wars, can be regarded as the root of Rome’s transformation from an Italian to a Mediterranean power (Boatwright, Gargola and Talbert 2004: 104). The goal of this essay is to discuss this conflict between Rome and Carthage, and the effect that it had on the metamorphosis of Rome. To make the length of the battles more understandable, it will be discussed in three divisions: The first war (264-241), the second (218-201) and finally, the third (149-146).
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Carthaginians used Iberian mercenaries to fight these wars, such as gold and silver to pay sailors and soldiers. Carthage’s increase in authority made them capable of starting a new war with Rome. In addition to finances, Carthaginian had their military commander- Hannibal Barca (Miles, 2010: 50).
Hanibal is most famous for crossing the Alps with a herd of war elephants. More importantely, his army surrounded Roman armies in several batlles, leading to their defeat. Despite his achievements, Rome still posessed most of their allies, and were advantaged for this reason. According to Polybius (as quoted by (Boatwright 2004: 112) 250, 000 Romans, together with Campanians, could be summoned at any moment to serve the Roman army. In adition, 80,000 Latin soldiers acted on foot. Altogether, greatly outnumbering any army that the Carthaginians could deliver. As a result,they could never gain power over
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Carthage gave up their fleet and lost all their territory, blocking any prospect of revival . The war also put strain upon the Roman forces: there were high casualty rates and many men had to be drafted. Criminals and slaves were made soldiers to fill the ranks- Italy was close to devastation. Despite numerous setbacks, the Roman forces emerged dominant in western and, ultimately, centeal Mediterranean (Boatwright 2004: 119). A GROWING MEDITERRANEAN EMPIRE
After their second success, Rome’s power spread throughout the rest of the Mediterranean world. The Greek historian Polybius (as quoted by (Boatwright 2004: 120) described the fifty-three years after the Second Punic War as “a unique time in history.” This assortment is supported by the short span in which the Romans succeeded in gaining power over a great part of the civilized world (Boatwright 2004: 121).
The Roman city itself emerged as a political beacon. Many members of the society became wealthy and powerful people within the Mediterranean world Boatwright (2004: 122).
In addition to their growing wealth, O’Connell (2010: 35) notes that the Romans “drank deeply from the fountain of patriotism.” This love for their nation made the Romans stronger; forming a complex society. Although often facing defeat, it was with determination to prevail in the name of Rome
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