Siege of Lilybaeum (250 BC)
The Siege of Lilybaeum was a battle of the First Punic War that pitted a Roman Consular army led by Gaius Atilius Regulus Serranus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus against a Carthaginian army under the command of the general Himilcon. The battle resulted in a Roman retreat from the siege after the destruction of their fleet at Drepana. After their victory at the Battle of Panormus of the previous year, the Roman Senate decided to raise an army to decisively put an end to the fighting in Sicily. To this end, a new fleet was commissioned to be made up of 240 ships; the two consuls that year were sent to Sicily at the head of four legions. The Roman forces were made up of up to 100,000 men, including the crews of galleys and the auxiliary troops that accompanied the legions. Caius Atilius Regulus Serranus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus both had significant military experience having both served as consuls; the Romans arrived at Lilybaeum and began their siege of the city, building siege works around the city including rams, trenches and siege towers.
They further attempted to mine underneath the city walls and to block the city's port with their fleet. The Carthaginian force was up to this point, based exclusively on a force of 10,000 mercenaries inside the city. Carthage had relied on mercenary armies and did not maintain its own standing army. According to the historian Polybius, many of the mercenary captains gathered together and decided to desert to the Roman side after fears were raised that they did not stand a chance against the Romans; the Carthaginian command gained knowledge of this plot and the traitors were not allowed to return to the city once they entered the Roman camp. The loyalty of the remaining mercenaries was thereafter not in question and the city was shortly thereafter reinforced by fresh troops from Carthage; the fleet that brought these reinforcements sailed to the Carthaginian base at modern day Trapani and were able to run the Roman blockade of Lilybaeum to bring supplies to the town. After a storm destroyed the Roman defensive works protecting their siege craft, the Carthaginians came out of the city on sorties and set most of the Roman siege weapons on fire, destroying them.
This damage could have been repaired with time. The following year and non battle tested consuls arrived at the siege with reinforcements; the senior consul, Publius Claudius Pulcher, decided to launch an attack against the Carthaginian fleet at the First Battle of Drepana which turned into the worst naval disaster for the Roman fleet in the entire war. 93 of their ships were captured by the Carthaginian navy, with a mere 30 Roman ships escaping destruction or capture. Publius Claudius Pulcher was disgraced and called back to Rome where he was fined for his incompetence. Shortly after the defeat at Drepana, another Roman fleet under the second new consul, Lucius Junius Pullus, was destroyed by the Carthaginians; the Romans attempted to reroute all trade away from the city in an effort to isolate Drepana. In response, Carthage designated Hamilcar Barca, the Carthaginian chief of Sicily in 247 BC to concentrate his forces elsewhere on the island. Attempts to take Lilybaeum by the Romans did not stop until their decisive victory at the Battle of the Aegates Islands in 241 BC.
This defeat forced Carthage to negotiate a peace on Roman terms. One of the terms that Carthage was obliged to agree to was the complete abandonment of Sicily which included Lilybaeum. Roman consul Publius Claudius Pulcher was disgraced, he received a heavy fine as a result of losing the engagement. Polybius; the Histories. The Loeb Classical Library. Translated by W. R. Paton. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Diodorus Siculus; the Library of History. The Loeb Classical Library. Translated by C. H. Oldfather. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Walbank, F. W.. A Historical Commentary on Polybius. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Freeman, E. A.. The History of Sicily. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morrison, J. S.. Greek and Roman Oared Warships, 399-30 B. C. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Siege of Lilybaeum, 250-241 B. C
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica. Sardinia is politically a region of Italy, whose official name is Regione Autonoma della Sardegna / Regione Autònoma de Sardigna, enjoys some degree of domestic autonomy granted by a specific Statute, it is divided into four provinces and a metropolitan city, with Cagliari being the region's capital and its largest city. Sardinia's indigenous language and the other minority languages spoken on the island are recognized by the regional law and enjoy "equal dignity" with Italian. Due to the variety of its ecosystems, which include mountains, plains uninhabited territories, rocky coasts and long sandy beaches, the island has been defined metaphorically as a micro-continent. In the modern era, many travelers and writers have extolled the beauty of its untouched landscape, which houses the vestiges of the Nuragic civilization; the name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *srd- romanised as sardus.
It makes its first appearance on the Nora Stone, where the word Šrdn testifies to the name's existence when the Phoenician merchants first arrived. According to Timaeus, one of Plato's dialogues and its people as well might have been named after a legendary woman going by Sardò, born in Sardis, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia. There has been speculation that identifies the ancient Nuragic Sards with the Sherden, one of the Sea Peoples, it is suggested that the name had a religious connotation from its use as the adjective for the ancient Sardinian mythological hero-god Sardus Pater, as well as being the stem of the adjective "sardonic". In Classical antiquity, Sardinia was called a number of names besides Sardò or Sardinia, like Ichnusa and Argirofleps. Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 24,100 square kilometres, it is situated between 8 ° 8' and 9 ° 50' east longitude. To the west of Sardinia is the Sea of Sardinia, a unit of the Mediterranean Sea.
The nearest land masses are the island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Tunisia, the Balearic Islands, Provence. The Tyrrhenian Sea portion of the Mediterranean Sea is directly to the east of Sardinia between the Sardinian east coast and the west coast of the Italian mainland peninsula; the Strait of Bonifacio is directly north of Sardinia and separates Sardinia from the French island of Corsica. The coasts of Sardinia are high and rocky, with long straight stretches of coastline, many outstanding headlands, a few wide, deep bays, many inlets and with various smaller islands off the coast; the island has an ancient geoformation and, unlike Sicily and mainland Italy, is not earthquake-prone. Its rocks date in fact from the Palaeozoic Era. Due to long erosion processes, the island's highlands, formed of granite, trachyte, basalt and dolomite limestone, average at between 300 to 1,000 metres; the highest peak is part of the Gennargentu Ranges in the centre of the island. Other mountain chains are Monte Limbara in the northeast, the Chain of Marghine and Goceano running crosswise for 40 kilometres towards the north, the Monte Albo, the Sette Fratelli Range in the southeast, the Sulcis Mountains and the Monte Linas.
The island's ranges and plateaux are separated by wide alluvial valleys and flatlands, the main ones being the Campidano in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari and the Nurra in the northwest. Sardinia has few major rivers, the largest being the Tirso, 151 km long, which flows into the Sea of Sardinia, the Coghinas and the Flumendosa. There are 54 artificial dams that supply water and electricity; the main ones are Lake Coghinas. The only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. A number of large, salt-water lagoons and pools are located along the 1,850 km of the coastline; the climate of the island is variable from area to area, due to several factors including the extension in latitude and the elevation. It can be classified in two different macrobioclimates, one macrobioclimatic variant, called Submediterranean, four classes of continentality, eight thermotypic horizons and seven ombrotypic horizons, resulting in a combination of 43 different isobioclimates. During the year there is a major concentration
Sulci or Sulki, was one of the most considerable cities of ancient Sardinia, situated in the southwest corner of the island, on a small island, now called Isola di Sant'Antioco, which is, joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus or neck of sand. South of this isthmus, between the island and the mainland, is an extensive bay, now called the Golfo di Palmas, known in ancient times as the Sulcitanus Portus; the foundation of Sulci is expressly attributed to the Carthaginians, it seems to have become under that people one of the most considerable cities of Sardinia, one of the chief seats of their power in the island. However, as noted by archaeologists the city was founded by Tyrians during the late 9th century bc, most of the inhabitants were native Sardinians, it remained independent until Carthage conquered it in the late 6th century bc Its name was first mentioned in history during the First Punic War, when the Carthaginian general, Hannibal Gisco, having been defeated in a sea-fight by Gaius Sulpicius Paterculus, took refuge at Sulci, but was slain in a tumult by his own soldiers.
No other mention of the name occurs in history until the civil war between Caesar. The citizens of Sulci received in their port the fleet of Nasidius, the admiral of Pompey, furnished Pompey with supplies. Caesar imposed on the city a contribution of 100,000 sesterces, besides increasing its annual tribute of corn. Notwithstanding this infliction, Sulci seems to have continued under the Roman Empire to be one of the most flourishing towns in the island. Strabo and Mela both mention it; the Itineraries give a line of road proceeding from Tibula direct to Sulci, a sufficient proof of the importance of the latter place. It was one of the four chief episcopal sees into which Sardinia was divided, seems to have continued to be inhabited through a great part of the Middle Ages, but ceased to exist before the 13th century; the remains of the ancient city are distinctly seen a little to the north of the modern town of Sant'Antioco, on the island or peninsula of the same name: and the works of art which have been found there bear testimony to its flourishing condition under the Romans.
The name of Sulcis is given at the present day to the whole district of the mainland opposite to Sant'Antioco, one of the most fertile and best cultivated tracts in the whole of Sardinia. The Sulcitani of Ptolemy are evidently the inhabitants of this district; the Itineraries mention a town or village of the name of Sulci on the E. coast of Sardinia, which must not be confounded with the more celebrated city of the name. It was situated at Girasole or Tortolì; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed.. "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray
Battle of the Lipari Islands
The Battle of the Lipari Islands or Lipara in 260 BC was the first encounter between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War. A Roman squadron of 17 ships commanded by the senior consul for the year Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio was trapped in Lipara harbour by 20 Carthaginian ships under Boodes; the inexperienced Romans made a poor showing. After some successes with their army in Sicily such as the conquest of Agrigentum, the Romans felt confident enough to build and equip a fleet that would allow them to control the Mediterranean Sea; the Republic ordered and drilled the crews of a fleet of about 150 quinqueremes and triremes in a record two months. The patrician Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio was given the command of fleet, he put to sea with the first 17 ships produced. As the first Roman warships they spent some time training in home waters before sailing to Messana. There they prepared for the main fleet's arrival and supported the logistics of Roman army at the crossing to Sicily.
While Scipio was at the Strait of Messina he received information that the garrison of Lipara was willing to defect to the Roman side. Lipara was the main port of the Lipari Islands and was a constant threat to Roman communications across the Strait. What happened next is described as a treacherous act of the Carthaginians, but the sources do not give much detail and are pro-Roman. Though the crews were still inexperienced and the newly designed and built ships were still undergoing their sea trials, the consul could not resist the temptation of conquering an important city without a fight and sailed to Lipara, it has been suggested by some ancient sources that the offer to surrender Lipara was a ruse inspired by Carthage to encourage the Romans to commit their ships where they could be ambushed. The Romans entered the harbour at Lipara; the Carthaginian fleet was commanded by Hannibal Gisco, the general defeated at the Battle of Agrigentum and was based at Panormus, modern-day Palermo, some 100 kilometres from Lipari.
When he heard of the Romans' advance to Lipara he despatched 20 ships under Boodes, a Carthaginian aristocrat, to the town. The Carthaginians trapped the Romans in the harbour. Boodes led his ships in an attack on the Romans inside the harbour the next morning. Scipio's men offered little resistance; the inexperienced crews were no match for the well drilled Carthaginians and were outfought. Some Romans fled inland and the consul himself was taken prisoner. All of the Roman ships were captured, most with little damage; the battle was little more than a skirmish, is notable as the first naval encounter of the Punic Wars and the first time Roman warships had been engaged in battle. Scipio was released ransomed, his easy defeat earned him the pejorative cognomen Asina. This cognomen was all the more insulting because "asina" was the feminine form of the word donkey, as opposed to the masculine form "asinus". In spite of this Scipio's career prospered and he was consul for a second time in 254. Shortly after the Lipara disaster the junior consul, Gaius Duilius, avenged the humiliation by winning the Battle of Mylae, a major fleet action in which the Carthaginians lost 44 ships.
Goldworthy, Adrian. The Fall of Carthage. London: Phoenix. ISBN 9780304366422. Harris, William Vernon. War and imperialism in Republican Rome, 327-70 B. C. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780198148661. Polybius, The General History of Polybius, Book I, 21
Battle of the Bagradas River (255 BC)
The Battle of the Bagradas River known as the Battle of Tunis, was a Carthaginian victory over Rome in the spring of 255 BC during the First Punic War. The superior cavalry of the Carthaginians and their allies permitted a pincer attack on the Roman infantrymen, provoking a rout and slaughter; the mercenary Spartan general Xanthippus was hired by the city of Carthage following heavy-handed negotiations by Rome. He made the Romans fight on open ground, which allowed him to maximise the effect of the excellent Carthaginian cavalry and elephants; the Roman army under Marcus Atilius Regulus was based at Tunis. Faced by the resurgent Carthaginian army, Regulus was keen to gain another victory rather than risk the chance that someone else would get the glory of eventual victory. Xanthippus deployed the Carthaginian phalanx in the centre, mercenary infantry on the right, a line of elephants in front of the infantry, the elite Carthaginian cavalry split between the two flanks; the Carthaginians had 12,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, 100 war elephants.
The Romans had 500 cavalry. The Romans were formed in their normal formation, with the legionary infantry in the centre and the outnumbered cavalry on the flanks; the Carthaginians started the battle with an attack by the elephants. This tied up the main force of Roman infantry; the Roman cavalry, outnumbered eight to one, was defeated. Only on their left did the Romans have any success, when 2,000 troops allied troops, defeated the mercenaries facing them, chased them back past their camp. Meanwhile, in the centre the elephant attack had been withstood, but only a few isolated units of Roman infantry managed to get past them to attempt to attack the Carthaginian phalanx, those were defeated; the Carthaginian cavalry charged the shaken Romans from both sides, destroying what cohesion was left. Only the 2,000 troops successful earlier in the battle escaped to be rescued by the Roman fleet; the Romans lost 12,000 killed and 500 captured, while the Carthaginians lost only 800 mercenaries killed. Regulus was taken prisoner.
Some Roman writers claim that his eyelids were cut off and he was trampled to death by an enraged elephant. However Polybius does not mention it and Diodorus suggests he died from natural causes; the defeat, serious disasters in storms at sea, ended any chance that Rome would defeat Carthage in Africa, ensured that the rest of the war was fought in Sicily and at sea. Battle of the Bagradas River, other battles in antiquity Lazenby, John Francis; the First Punic War: A Military History. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-2673-6. OCLC 34371250. Rankov, Boris. "A War of Phases: Strategies and Stalemates 264–241". In Hoyos, Dexter. A Companion to the Punic Wars. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-405-17600-2
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic, the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. For 23 years, in the longest continuous conflict and greatest naval war of antiquity, the two powers struggled for supremacy on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, in North Africa; the war began in 264 BC with the Roman conquest of the Carthaginian-controlled city of Messina in Sicily, granting Rome a military foothold on the island. The Romans built up a navy to challenge Carthage, the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean, for control over the waters around Sicily. In naval battles and storms, 700 Roman and 500 Carthaginian quinqueremes were lost, along with hundreds of thousands of lives. Command of the sea was lost by both sides repeatedly. A Roman invasion of Carthaginian Africa was destroyed in battle at the Bagradas and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians in 255. In 23 years, the Romans conquered Sicily and drove the Carthaginians to the west end of the island.
After both sides had been brought to a state of near exhaustion, the Romans mobilized their citizenry's private wealth and created a new fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus. The Carthaginian fleet was destroyed at the Aegates Islands in 241, forcing the cut-off Carthaginian troops on Sicily to give up. A peace treaty was signed in which Carthage was made to pay a heavy indemnity and Rome ejected Carthage from Sicily, annexing the island as a Roman province; the war was followed by a failed revolt against the Carthaginian Empire. The Romans exploited Carthage's weakness to seize the Carthaginian possessions of Sardinia and Corsica in violation of the peace treaty; the unresolved strategic competition between Rome and Carthage would lead to the eruption of the Second Punic War in 218 BC. The series of wars between Rome and Carthage took the name "Punic" from the Latin adjective for Carthaginian, Punicus; this refers to the Carthaginian heritage as Phoenician colonists. A Carthaginian name for the conflicts does not survive in any records.
Rome had emerged as the leading city-state in the Italian Peninsula, a wealthy, expansionist republic with a successful citizen army. Over the past one hundred years, Rome had come into conflict, defeated rivals on the Italian peninsula incorporated them into the Roman political world. First, the Latin League was forcibly dissolved during the Latin War the power of the Samnites was broken during the three prolonged Samnite wars, the Greek cities of Magna Graecia submitted to Roman power at the conclusion of the Pyrrhic War. By the beginning of the First Punic War, the Romans had secured the whole of the Italian peninsula, except Gallia Cisalpina in the Po Valley. Carthage was a republic that dominated the political and economic affairs of the western Mediterranean Sea on the North African coasts and islands, above all, due to its navy, it originated as a Phoenician colony near modern Tunis. Carthage had become a wealthy centre for trade networks extending from Gadir along the coasts of southern Iberia and North Africa, across the Balearic Islands, Corsica and the western half of Sicily, to the ports of the eastern Mediterranean, including Tyre, its mother city, on the shores of the Levant.
At the height of power, just before the First Punic War, Carthage was hostile to foreign ships in the western Mediterranean. North African peoples, such as the Berbers, in the area around Carthage were loosely associated with Carthage. In the midst of the First Punic War, some tribes rebelled against Carthage, opening a second front while the Carthaginians battled the Romans in Sicily. Greek colonists were a major presence in the western Mediterranean, following centuries of colonial settlement and conflicts with Rome over Magna Graecia and with Carthage over places such as Sicily; the rich, strategically influential, well-fortified Greek colony of Syracuse was politically independent of Rome and Carthage. Hostilities of the First Punic War began with developments involving the Romans and Greek colonists in Sicily and southern Italy. In 288 BC, the Mamertines, a group of Italian mercenaries hired by Agathocles of Syracuse, occupied the city of Messana in the north-eastern tip of Sicily, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives.
At the same time, a group of Roman troops made up of Campanian "citizens without the vote" revolted and seized control of Rhegium, lying across the Straits of Messina on the mainland of Italy. In 270 BC, the Romans regained control of Rhegium and punished the survivors of the revolt. In Sicily, the Mamertines ravaged the countryside and collided with the expanding regional empire of the independent city of Syracuse. Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Mamertines near Mylae on the Longanus River. Following their defeat, the Mamertines appealed to both Carthage for assistance; the Carthaginians acted first, approached Hiero to take no further action and convinced the Mamertines to accept a Carthaginian garrison in Messana. Either unhappy with the prospect of a Carthaginian garrison or convinced that the recent alliance between Rome and Carthage against Pyrrhus reflected cordial relations between the two, the Mamertines, hoping for more reliable protection, petitioned Rome for an alliance.
However, the rivalry between Rome and Carthage had grown since the war with Pyrrhus and that alliance was no longer feasible. According to the historian Polybius, considerable debate took place in Rome on the questio
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. At the time, they were some of the largest wars that had taken place; the term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus, meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry. The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflicts of interest between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic; the Romans were interested in expansion via Sicily, part of which lay under Carthaginian control. At the start of the First Punic War, Carthage was the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean, with an extensive maritime empire. Rome was a ascending power in Italy, but it lacked the naval power of Carthage; the Second Punic War witnessed Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC, followed by a prolonged but failed campaign of Carthage's Hannibal in mainland Italy. By the end of the Third Punic War, after more than a hundred years and the loss of many hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, Rome had conquered Carthage's empire destroyed the city, became the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean.
With the end of the Macedonian Wars – which ran concurrently with the Punic Wars – and the defeat of the Seleucid King Antiochus III the Great in the Roman–Seleucid War in the eastern sea, Rome emerged as the dominant Mediterranean power and one of the most powerful cities in classical antiquity. The Roman victories over Carthage in these wars gave Rome a preeminent status it would retain until the 5th century AD. During the mid-3rd century BC, Carthage was a large city located on the coast of modern Tunisia. Founded by the Phoenicians in the mid-9th century BC, it was a powerful thalassocratic city-state with a vast commercial network. Of the great city-states in the western Mediterranean, only Rome rivaled it in power and population. While Carthage's navy was the largest in the ancient world at the time, it did not maintain a large, standing army. Instead, Carthage relied on mercenaries the indigenous Numidians, to fight its wars; these mercenaries were led by officers who were Carthaginian citizens.
The Carthaginians were famed for their abilities as sailors, many Carthaginians from the lower classes served in their navy, which provided them with a stable income and career. In 200 BC, the Roman Republic had gained control of the Italian peninsula south of the Po River. Unlike Carthage, Rome had a large and disciplined army, but lacked a navy at the start of the First Punic War; this left the Romans at a disadvantage until the construction of large fleets during the war. The First Punic War was fought on land in Sicily and Africa, but was a naval war, it began as a local conflict in Sicily between Hiero II of Syracuse and the Mamertines of Messina. The Mamertines enlisted the aid of the Carthaginian navy, subsequently betrayed them by entreating the Roman Senate for aid against Carthage; the Romans sent a garrison to secure Messina, so the outraged Carthaginians lent aid to Syracuse. Tensions escalated into a full-scale war between Carthage and Rome for the control of Sicily. After a harsh defeat at the Battle of Agrigentum in 262 BC, the Carthaginian leadership resolved to avoid further direct land-based engagements with the powerful Roman legions, concentrate on the sea where they believed Carthage's large navy had the advantage.
The Carthaginian navy prevailed. In 260 BC, they defeated the fledgling Roman navy at the Battle of the Lipari Islands. Rome responded by drastically expanding its navy in a short time. Within two months, the Romans had a fleet of over one hundred warships. Aware that they could not defeat the Carthaginians in traditional ramming combat, the Romans used the corvus, an assault bridge, to leverage their superior infantry; the hinged bridge would be swung down onto enemy vessels with a sharp spike to secure the two ships together. Roman legionaries could board and capture Carthaginian ships; this innovative Roman tactic reduced the Carthaginian navy's advantage in ship-to-ship engagements. However, the corvus was cumbersome and dangerous, was phased out as the Roman navy became more experienced and tactically proficient. Save for the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Tunis in Africa, the early naval defeats, the First Punic War was a nearly unbroken string of Roman victories. In 241 BC, Carthage signed a peace treaty under the terms of which they evacuated Sicily and paid Rome a large war indemnity.
The long war was costly to both powers, but Carthage was more destabilized. According to Polybius, there had been several trade agreements between Rome and Carthage a mutual alliance against king Pyrrhus of Epirus; when Rome and Carthage made peace in 241 BC, Rome secured the release of all 8,000 prisoners of war without ransom and, received a considerable amount of silver as a war indemnity. However, Carthage refused to deliver to Rome the Roman deserters serving among their troops. A first issue for dispute was that the initial treaty, agreed upon by Hamilcar Barca and the Roman commander in Sicily, had a clause stipulating that the Roman popular assembly had to accept the treaty in order for it to be valid; the assembly not only increased the indemnity Carthage had to pay. Carthage had a liquidity problem and attempted to gain financial help from Egypt, a mutual ally of Rome and Carthage, but failed; this resulted in delay of payments owed to the mercenary troops that had served Carthage in Sicily, leading to a climate of mutual mistrust and, final