Punic War Essay

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Andrew Graham International Conflict Research Paper April 12th 2014 Causes of the 1st Punic War The 1st Punic War was a conflict between the Roman Republic and the city of Carthage. It lasted 23 years, starting in 264 BC and ending in 241 BC. The conflict was fought in the western Mediterranean, primarily for influence over the island of Sicily and was fought both on land and at sea. The 1st Punic War has its origins in this struggle for Sicily. It started when the Mamertines, a group of former mercenaries, began to wage against Syracuse, an independent Greek city-state on the island. The Mamertines appealed to both the Romans and the Carthaginians for help. Carthage offered protection, but it was not enough for the Mamertines and so, the appealed to Rome. Rome sent troops to aid the Mamertines, who threw out their Carthaginian protectors. As a result, Carthage allied Syracuse, and the war began. Rome eventually emerged victorious from the conflict, and gained control over most of Sicily. This essay argues that the Power Transition Theory and the Bargaining Model of War accurately explain why Rome and Carthage went to war in 264 BC. The Bargaining Model of War is one of the theories that can explain why the 1st Punic War happened. The main argument of the Bargaining Model of War is that War is an extension of politics. According to the Bargaining Model of War, war is not the breakdown of diplomacy, but rather an extension of it. States use both negotiation and war in order to get as many goods as they can. There is always a bargaining range, in which states can make a deal to avoid war. Since war is costly, states will always try to avoid war rather than fighting, as long as they can come to a deal in ... ... middle of paper ... ...lt to gauge the point of a power transition between Carthage and Rome, it is beyond a doubt that the two states were evenly matched. In conclusion, the Power Transition Theory and the Bargaining Model of War accurately explain why Rome and Carthage went to war in 264 BC. The two states met all the criteria that the Bargaining Model of War says under which wars can occur. Both Rome and Carthage disagreed over the outcome of a war between the two, were unable to commit to not fighting in the future, and the disputed good, the strategic island of Sicily, was indivisible. Under the Power Transition Theory, Rome was a rising challenger to Carthage’s dominance in the western Mediterranean. While it is difficult to determine the power of ancient states like Rome and Carthage, the two were certainly evenly matched, which created an unstable environment suitable for war.

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