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The proximate reason of the first outbreak to be a situation in the city the Messana (Messina), commanding the straits between Italy and Sicily. The Mamertini, a band of Campanian mercenaries, had actually forcibly developed themselves within the town and also were being difficult pressed in 264 by Hieron II the Syracuse. The Mamertini appealed come both Rome and also Carthage, and also the Carthaginians, arriving first, inhabited Messana and also effected a reconciliation v Hieron. The roman commander, nevertheless, persisted in throwing troops into the city, and, by seizing the Carthaginian admiral during a parley, induced him come withdraw. This aggression furious war through Carthage and Syracuse.

Operations began with a joint assault upon Messana, i beg your pardon the Romans conveniently repelled. In 263 the Romans progressed with a significant force into Hieron’s territory and induced that to seek peace and alliance through them. Lock besieged and captured the Carthaginian basic at Agrigentum in 262 but made little impression upon the Carthaginian fortresses in the west of the island and upon the towns of the interior.


In 260 the Romans constructed their very first large fleet of conventional battleships. In ~ Mylae (Milazzo), turn off the north Sicilian coast, their admiral Gaius Duilius beat a Carthaginian squadron of premium maneuvering volume by grappling and also boarding. This left Rome totally free to soil a pressure on Corsica (259) and expel the Carthaginians however did not suffice to ease their master on Sicily. A huge Roman fleet sailed out in 256, repelled the entire Carthaginian fleet turn off Cape Ecnomus (near modern Licata) and established a fortified camp on African soil at Clypea (Kélibia in Tunisia). The Carthaginians, whose citizen levy was utterly disorganized, could neither keep the field against the intruders nor protect against their subjects from revolting. ~ one project they were prepared to sue for peace, however the terms which the roman inn commander Marcus Atilius Regulus available were intolerably harsh. As necessary they fitted a new army in which, by the advice of a Greek captain of mercenaries called Xanthippus, cavalry and also elephants formed the strongest arm. In 255, under Xanthippus’ command, they readily available battle come Regulus, who had taken up place with an inadequate force near Tunis, outmaneuvered him, and destroyed the bulk of his army. A second Roman fleet, i m sorry subsequently got to Africa after defeating the complete Carthaginian fleet off Cape Hermaeum (Sharīk Peninsula), withdrew every the continuing to be troops.


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Roman war galley
A Roman battle galley through infantry top top deck; in the Vatican Museums.
Alinari/Art Resource, new York

The Romans now directed their initiatives once more against Sicily. In 254 they caught the vital fortress of Panormus (Palermo), yet when Carthage threw reinforcements into the island the war again pertained to a standstill. In 251 or 250 the Roman basic Lucius Caecilius Metellus at critical brought about a pitched fight near Panormus in i m sorry the enemy’s pressure was properly crippled. This success was followed by an invest of the cook Punic basic at Lilybaeum (Marsala), together with Drepanum (Trapani), by land and also sea. The besiegers met through a gallant resistance and also in 249 to be compelled to withdraw by the ns of your fleet in a surprise strike upon Drepanum, in i m sorry the admiral Publius Claudius Pulcher to be repulsed with a ns of 93 ships. If this to be the Romans’ only naval loss in the war, your fleet had suffered a series of grievous accident by storm, and now it to be so reduced that the attack upon Sicily had to it is in suspended. In ~ the exact same time, the Carthaginians, who felt no less severely the financial strain of the an extensive struggle, diminished their forces and made no effort to deliver a counterattack. The just noteworthy attribute of the ensuing campaigns is the skillful guerrilla war waged through a brand-new Carthaginian commander, Hamilcar Barca, from his strong positions ~ above Mt. Ercte (247–244) and Mt. Eryx (modern Erice) (244–242) in western Sicily, whereby he effectually screened Lilybaeum from any attempt on that by the roman inn land army.

In 242 Rome resumed operations in ~ sea. By a magnificent effort on the component of personal citizens a fleet the 200 warships was equipped and sent the end to renew the blockade of Lilybaeum. The Carthaginians hastily accumulated a relief force, yet in a fight fought off the Aegates Insulae (Egadi Islands), west the Drepana, your fleet was caught at a disadvantage and mostly sunk or caught (March 10, 241). This victory, by providing the Romans undisputed command the the sea, rendered details the ultimate fall of the Punic strongholds in Sicily. The Carthaginians as necessary opened negotiations and also consented to a peace through which they yielded Sicily and the Lipari (Eolie) islands to Rome and also paid one indemnity that 3,200 talents.

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The interval in between the first and second Punic wars (241–218 bce)

The lose of naval supremacy not just deprived the Carthaginians of your predominance in the west Mediterranean yet exposed their overseas realm to disintegration under renewed assaults by Rome. The temper that the Roman human being was shortly made manifest throughout a problem which damaged out between the Carthaginians and their discontented mercenaries. A pistol breach the the treaty was perpetrated as soon as a Roman force was sent to occupy Sardinia, who insurgent garrison had readily available to surrender the island (238). To the remonstrances of Carthage the Romans responded with a direct declaration that war, and only withheld their strike upon the formal cession the Sardinia and also Corsica and also the payment of a more indemnity.