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Despite the latter’s superior numbers and innovative tactics, the Carthaginians suffered a crushing and decisive defeat. Along with their superior capability in siegecraft, they were able to recapture all the major cities that had joined the enemy, as well as defeat a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the Battle of the Metaurus. Pyrrhus overcame the Carthaginian garrison at Heraclea Minoa and seized Azones, which prompted cities nominally allied to Carthage, such as Selinus, Halicyae, and Segesta, to join his side. Following these losses, Carthage sued for peace, offering large sums of money and even ships, but Pyrrhus refused unless Carthage renounced its claims to Sicily entirely. When Agathocles of Syracuse died in 288 BC, a large company of Italian mercenaries previously in his service found themselves suddenly unemployed. The adventurous Earl came to Cairo and apparently died from pneumonia following complications from a mosquito bite. Following Carthage’s destruction, Rome established Africa Proconsularis, its first province in Africa, which roughly corresponded to Carthaginian territory. During the First Punic Wars, the Romans under the command of Marcus Atilius Regulus managed to land in Africa, though were ultimately repelled by the Carthaginians. Carthage itself managed to resist the Roman siege for three years, until Scipio Aemilianus-the adopted grandson of Scipio Africanus-was appointed consul and took command of the assault.

Over the course of the next century, these three major conflicts between Rome and Carthage would determine the course of Western civilization. We stopped at a point overlooking Lake Mary where this sign explained with maps and diagrams that we were looking across the lake at Triple Divide Peak, one of the few places in the world where streams feeding three major watersheds originate. Faced with a vastly superior force, the Mamertines divided into two factions, one advocating surrender to Carthage, the other preferring to seek aid from Rome. As a result, the Roman Assembly, although reluctant to ally with a band of mercenaries, sent an expeditionary force to return control of Messana to the Mamertines. The subsequent Roman attack on Carthaginian forces at Messana triggered the first of the Punic Wars. Envelopment is a secondary attack. The Mamertines became a growing threat to Carthage and Syracuse alike. In particular, the growing Roman Republic sought the famously rich agricultural lands of Carthage and its African territories, which had been known to the Romans following their invasion in the previous Punic War. The Roman invasion was soon stalled by defeats at Lake Tunis, Nepheris, and Hippagreta; even the diminished Carthaginian navy managed to inflict severe losses on a Roman fleet through the use of fire ships.

Carthaginian forces were admitted to the city, and a Carthaginian fleet sailed into the Messanan harbor. Moreover, the presence of the Carthaginian fleet gave them effective control over this strategically important bottleneck and demonstrated a clear and present danger to nearby Rome and her interests. This gave the monster all the powers of breakfast. Located near the site of Carthage, its purpose was to provide arable land for impoverished farmers, but it was soon abolished by the Roman Senate to undermine Gracchus’ power. Nearly a century after the fall of Carthage, a new “Roman Carthage” was built on the same site by Julius Caesar between 49 and 44 BC. Consequently, many Roman allies went over to Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade, during which more Roman armies were nearly consistently destroyed on the battlefield. Against his skill on the battlefield the Romans employed the Fabian strategy, which resorted to skirmishes in lieu of direct engagement, with the aim of delaying and gradually weakening his forces. Despite these setbacks, the Romans had the manpower to absorb such losses and replenish their ranks. Meanwhile, in Iberia, which served as the main source of manpower for the Carthaginian army, a second Roman expedition under Scipio Africanus took New Carthage and ended Carthaginian rule over the peninsula in the Battle of Ilipa.

The Romans thus resorted to another major field battle at Cannae, but despite their superior numbers, suffered a crushing defeat, suffering, it is said, 60,000 casualties. His entrance into northern Italy was followed by his reinforcement by Gaulish allies and crushing victories over Roman armies in the Battle of the Trebia and the giant ambush at Trasimene. The Third Punic War was a much smaller and shorter engagement than its predecessors, primarily consisting of a single main action, the Battle of Carthage. Two Roman emperors in the third century, Septimius Severus and his son and successor Caracalla, were of Punic descent. The third and final Punic War began in 149 BC, largely due to the efforts of hawkish Roman senators, led by Cato the Elder, to finish Carthage off once and for all. Plutarch claimed that the ambitious king of Epirus now had his sights on Carthage itself, and began outfitting an expedition. However, soon afterwards they began negotiating with Hiero. In 265 BC, Hiero II of Syracuse, former general of Pyrrhus, took action against them.