Punic Wars  

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"The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars, Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily; took Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal); and destroyed the city of Carthage in 146 BC, giving Rome supremacy in the Mediterranean. By the end of the Republic (27 BC), Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa. The Roman Empire emerged with the end of the Republic and the dictatorship of Augustus. Seven-hundred and twenty-one years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with the first struggle against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, and have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires."--Sholem Stein

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The Punic Wars were a series of wars (taking place between 264 and 146 - BC) that were fought between the Roman Republic and Ancient Carthage.

The First Punic War broke out on the island of Sicily in 264 - BC. It was regarded as "the longest and most severely contested war in history" by the Ancient Greek historian Polybius. The fighting, which consisted predominantly of naval warfare, largely took place on the waters of the Mediterranean surrounding Sicily. The conflict began because Rome's imperial ambitions had been interfering with Carthage's ownership claims of the island of Sicily. Carthage was the dominant power of the western Mediterranean at the time, and had an extensive maritime empire; meanwhile, Rome was a rapidly expanding state that had a powerful army but a weak navy. The conflict lasted for 23 years and caused substantial materiel and human losses on both sides; the Carthaginians were ultimately defeated by the Romans. By the terms of the peace treaty, Carthage paid large war reparations to Rome and Sicily fell to Roman control—thus becoming a Roman province. The action of taking control of Sicily had further entrenched Rome's position as a superpower in the Mediterranean and the world as a whole. The end of the war also sparked a significant, but unsuccessful, mutiny within the Carthaginian Empire referred to as the Mercenary War. The First Punic War officially came to an end in 241Template:NbsBC.

The Second Punic War began in 218Template:NbsBC and witnessed Hannibal's crossing of the Alps and invasion of mainland Italy. This expedition enjoyed considerable early success, but after 14 years the survivors withdrew. There was also extensive fighting in Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal); on Sicily; on Sardinia; and in North Africa. The successful Roman invasion of the Carthaginian homeland in Africa in 204Template:NbsBC led to Hannibal's recall. He was defeated in the Battle of Zama in 202Template:NbsBC and Carthage sued for peace. A treaty was agreed in 201Template:NbsBC which stripped Carthage of its overseas territories, and some of their African ones; imposed a large indemnity, to be paid over 50 years; severely restricted the size of its armed forces; and prohibited Carthage from waging war without Rome's express permission. Carthage ceased to be a military threat.

Rome contrived a justification to declare war on Carthage again in 149Template:NbsBC in the Third Punic War. This conflict was fought entirely on Carthage's territories in what is now Tunisia and largely centred around the Siege of Carthage. In 146Template:NbsBC the Romans stormed the city of Carthage, sacked it, slaughtered most of its population and completely demolished it. The previously Carthaginian territories were taken over as the Roman province of Africa. The ruins of the city lie Template:Convert east of modern Tunis on the North African coast.

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