• AE Learning Blog Team

The First Punic War

In time because of the competitive nature of trade within the Mediterranean which

included the Carthaginians, the Greeks and Rome, conflict arose. The First Punic

War was a conflict between Carthage (in Africa) and Rome (in Europe). The source

of the initial conflict was that Carthage had attempted to set up a garrison on

the island of Sicily in the City of Messina. A garrison is a place where troops are

stationed to defend a city or fortress. A war between the two great powers began

in 264 BC and a series of battles commenced. The Battle of Cape Ecnomus was a

naval conflict in 256 BC between the two powers off the coast of Sicily and is one of

the largest naval battles in world history involving about 350 ships on each side and

300,000 soldiers combined.

The sides were almost in equal in terms of the military forces deployed for the battle but the Romans had the upper hand and half of the Carthage’s fleet was sunk. Later in 255 BC Rome attacked Africa directly at the Siege of Aspis and this was the first time the war spilled out into African territory.

After 23 years of conflict Rome had lost 700 ships and 50,000 men but gained more

dominance in the Mediterranean that it had previously. A peace treaty was then

signed between Carthage and Rome.