Punic War Essay

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War between Rome and Cartage was not inevitable. These two cites had treaties that existed for many years outlining their respective boundaries and trade routes. Both had equal access to Sicily, which proved as the trigger for the First Punic War. The First Punic War broke out in 264 B.C. when Rome interfered in a dispute on the Carthaginian-controlled island of Sicily (“Punic Wars”). Carthage, being considered the greater naval threat, decided to ally themselves with Hiero of Syracuse. Rome, on the other hand, did not possess their own navy so they instead relied on their allies’ navy. It was not until 260 BC that Rome decided to build its own navy that was based off of a rumored stolen Carthaginian war ship that had been abandoned by her crew during a storm. Despite all effort on land, it was the fighting at sea that decided the outcome of the First Punic War. Drepana being the only naval battle of the war won by the Carthaginians did support this fact (Rickard, J)
The battle at Drepana took place in 249 BCE between Rome and Carthage. Rome attacked Carthage outside of one of their last standing cities Drepana off the west Sicilian coastline. The battle was strategically mapped out by a Roman Commander, Consul Pulcher, who wanted to blockade the Carthaginian harbor in an effort to destroy their naval fleet. Carthage ultimately won this battle by placing their ships in a more strategic position than the Romans (Rickard, J). This Battle helped the Romans learn a valuable lesson about the consequences of overconfidence.
After the Roman defeat in Africa in 255 BC, the war in Sicily continued. After much fighting, by 249 BC the Romans had reduced the Carthaginian presence in Sicily to two cities, Lilybaeum and Drepana. Lilybaeum was c...

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... misjudged Adherbal's determination, and also approached too close to the shoreline. Another key factor that led to his downfall was General Adherbal’s quick and organized movement of his fleet out of the harbor, trapping the Romans (De Santis).
Back in Rome, Pulcher was blamed for the defeat at Drepana. He was tried, found guilty, and fined heavily by the Roman Senate, and barely escaped execution. General Adherbal on the other hand was celebrated as a hero in Carthage. Even with the major naval victory in the waters of Drepana, the Carthaginian could not overcome the Romans in the overall war between the two. The Carthaginians were eventually forced to sign a treaty that forced them to vacate from Sicily, pay a large fine, and not fight against Roman allies. Only 23 years later would they begin a new war against each other called the Second Punic War. (Rickard, J)
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