Rome City of Conquest and Punic Wars


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  • Over next 400 years, Rome’s expansion was driven by its need to expand its land and trade and eventually by greed Republic needed land to reward its armies. Romans believed that land was the only important form of wealth, and farming and soldiering were the honourable occupations gained resources in Sicily (grain); Spain (cooking oil); other cities in east (wine, produce, leather and woolen goods) Expansion in south led to clashes with the trading peoples called the Carthaginians (North Africa) Increase in military activity led to massive increase in the trade in arms and armour Creation of colonies that were composed of full Roman citizens who remained loyal (ie. discharged soldiers) and were linked by roads and a unified currency Wealth from captured cities in form of taxes, importing goods = massive building projects; as well as was used to pay soldiers Romans took many influences from Greeks (alphabet, how to build stone and brick, architecture, religion, art, government)
  • Roman Legions: most disciplined and efficient infantry in ancient history
  • The First Punic War broke out in 264 BC; it was concentrated entirely on the island of Sicily. Rome beseiged many of the Carthaginian cities on Sicily, and when Carthage attempted to raise the seige with its navy, the Romans utterly destroyed that navy. For the first time since the rise of the Carthaginian empire, they had lost power over the sea-ways.    The war ended with no particular side winning over the other. In 241 BC, the Carthaginians and Romans signed a treaty in which Carthage had to give up Sicily, which it didn't miss, and to pay an indemnity to cover Roman costs for the war, which it could well afford. But Carthage soon faced rebellion among its mercenary troops and Rome, in 238 BC, took advantage of the confusion by seizing the island of Corsica. The Romans greatly feared the Carthaginians and wanted build as large a buffer zone as possible between them and the Carthaginians. By gaining Sicily, the Romans had expelled the Carthaginians from their back yard; they now wanted them out of their front yard, that is, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia west of the Italian peninsula.    The Carthaginians were furious at this action; even Roman historians believed it was a rash and unethical act. The Carthaginians began to shore up their presence in Europe. They sent first the general Hamilcar and then his son-in-law, Hasdrubal, to Spain to build colonies and an army. Both Hamilcar and Hasdrubal made allies among the native Iberians, and their armies, recruited from Iberians, grew ominous as Carthaginian power and influence crept up the Iberian peninsula.
  • Following its defeat in the First Punic War, Carthage rebuilt its strength by expanding its empire in Spain. Growing increasingly anxious, the Romans had imposed a treaty on Carthage not to expand their empire past the Ebro river in Spain. However, when a small city in Spain, Saguntum, approached Rome asking for Roman friendship and alliance, the Romans couldn't resist having a friendly ally right in the heart of the Carthaginian Iberian empire.    A few years later, however, in 221 BC, a young man, only twenty-five years old, assumed command over Carthaginian Spain: Hannibal . At first, Hannibal gave the Saguntines wide berth for he wished to avoid coming into conflict with Rome. But the Saguntines were flush with confidence in their new alliance and began playing politics with other Spanish cities. Hannibal, despite direct threats from Rome, attacked Saguntum and conquered it.    The Romans attempted to solve the problem with diplomacy and demand that Carthage dismiss Hannibal and send him to Rome. When Carthage refused, the second Punic War began in 218 BC. Rome, however, was facing a formidable opponent; in the years following the first Punic War, Carthage had created a powerful empire in Spain with a terrifyingly large army. Hannibal marched that terrible army out of Spain and across Europe and, in September of 218, he crossed the Alps with his army and entered Italy on a war of invasion. Although his army was tired from the journey, he literally smashed the Roman armies he encountered in northern Italy. Within two months, he had conquered the whole of northern Italy, with the exception of two cities. These spectacular victories brought a horde of Gauls from the north to help him, fifty thousand or more; his victory over Rome, as he saw it, would be guaranteed if he could convince Roman allies and subject cities to join Carthage. The Romans were divided as to whether they could beat Hannibal in open warfare and they knew that he and his army were alone and far from any supplies. Despite Hannibal's certainty that Roman allies would join him, the allies remained faithful to Rome. So on the eve of his invasion of Rome, Hannibal steered south. The Romans, desperate because of their losses, asked Quintus Fabius Maximus to become absolute dictator of Rome. Fabius determined to avoid open warfare at any cost and simply shadowed and harassed the Carthaginian army until they were weak enough to be engaged with openly. His instinct was to wait out Hannibal; he was hated for this policy—the Romans called him "The Delayer" and eventually removed him from power. But when Hannibal marched into Cannae in southern Italy and started decimating the countryside in 216 BC, the two inexperienced consuls which had replaced Fabius as generals of the army sent an army of eighty thousand soldiers against him. This army, vastly outnumbering the Carthaginian army, was completely wiped out by Hannibal' "pincer" strategy: the largest defeat Rome ever suffered. The battle had proven that Fabius was right all along to avoid direct battles, so the Romans went back to his strategy of waiting out Hannibal. Roman allies in the south of Italy literally ran to Hannibal's side; the whole of Sicily allied itself with the Carthaginians. In addition, the king of Macedon, Philip V, who controlled most of the mainland of Greece, allied himself with Hannibal and began his own war against Roman possessions in 215 BC.    The situation looked bad for the Romans; however, none of the central Italian allies had gone over to Hannibal's side after Cannae. The Romans had been chastened by their defeat and absolutely refused to go against Hannibal, whose army moved around the Italian countryside absolutely unopposed. Hannibal, however, was weak in numbers and in equipment. He didn't have enough soldiers to lay seige to cities such as Rome, and he didn't have either the men or equipment to storm those cities by force. All he could do was roam the countryside and lay waste to it. In 211, he marched right up the walls of Rome, but he never laid siege to it. So confident were the Romans, that on the day that Hannibal marched around the walls of Rome with his cavalry, the land on which he had camped was sold at an auction in Rome, and it was sold at full price!    The Romans, however, very shrewdly decided to fight the war through the back door. They knew that Hannibal was dependent on Spain for future supplies and men, so they appointed a young, strategically brilliant man as proconsul and handed him the imperium over Spain. This move was unconstituional, for this young man had never served as consul. His name: Publius Cornelius Scipio (237-183 BC). Scipio, who would later be called Scipio Africanus for his victory over Carthage (in Africa), by 206 had conquered all of Spain, which was converted into two Roman provinces. Hannibal was now left high and dry in Italy.    Scipio then crossed into Africa in 204 BC and took the war to the walls of Carthage itself. This forced the Carthaginians to sue for peace with Rome; part of the treaty demanded that Hannibal leave the Italian peninsula. Hannibal was one of the great strategic generals in history; all during his war with Rome he never once lost a major battle, although he had lost a couple small skirmishes. Now, however, he was forced to retreat; he had, despite winning every battle, lost the war. When he returned to Carthage, the Carthaginians took heart and rose up against Rome in one last gambit in 202 BC. At Zama in northern Africa, Hannibal, fighting against Scipio and his army, met his first defeat. Rome reduced Carthage to a dependent state; Rome now controlled the whole of the western Mediterranean including northern Africa. This was the defining historical experience of the Romans. They had faced certain defeat with toughness and determination and had won against overwhelming odds. Their system of alliances had held firm; while Hannibal had depended on the allies running to his side, only the most remote Roman allies, those in the south and Siciliy, left the Roman alliance. For the rest of Roman history, the character of being Roman would be distilled in the histories of this seemingly desperate war against Carthage. The Second Punic War turned Rome from a regional power into an international empire: it had gained much of northern Africa, Spain, and the major islands in the western Mediterranean. Because Philip V of Macedon had allied himself with Hannibal and started his own war of conquest, the second Punic War forced Rome to turn east in wars of conquest against first Philip and then other Hellenistic kingdoms. The end result of the second Punic War, in the end, was the domination of the known world by Rome.
  •   In the years intervening, Rome undertook the conquest of the Hellenistic empires to the east. In the west, Rome brutally subjugated the Iberian people who had been so vital to Roman success in the second Punic War. However, they were especially angry at the Carthaginians who had almost destroyed them. The great statesman of Rome, Cato, is reported by the historians as ending all his speeches, no matter what their subject, with the statement, "I also think that Carthage should be destroyed." Carthage had, through the first half of the second century BC, recovered much of its prosperity through its commercial activities, although it had not gained back much power. The Romans, deeply suspicious of a reviving Carthage, demanded that the Carthaginians abandon their city and move inland into North Africa. The Carthaginians, who were a commercial people that depended on sea trade, refused. The Roman Senate declared war, and Rome attacked the city itself. After a seige, the Romans stormed the town and the army went from house to house slaughtering the inhabitants in what is perhaps the greatest systematic execution of non-combatants before World War II. Carthaginians who weren't killed were sold into slavery. The harbor and the city was demolished, and all the surrounding countryside was sown with salt in order to render it uninhabitable.
  • Rome City of Conquest and Punic Wars

    1. 2. <ul><li>LAND: Republic needed land to reward its armies. Romans believed that land was the only important form of wealth, and farming and soldiering were the honourable occupations </li></ul><ul><li>RESOURCES: Sicily (grain); Spain (cooking oil); other cities in east (wine, produce, leather and woolen goods) </li></ul><ul><li>CONFLICTS: Expansion led to clashes with the Carthaginians, Hellenistic Kingdoms </li></ul><ul><li>TRADE: Military expansion to protect sources of trade, fight piracy and banditry </li></ul><ul><li>COLONIES: settled and run by full Roman citizens who remained loyal (ie. discharged soldiers) and colonies were linked by roads and a unified currency </li></ul><ul><li>WEALTH: accumulating wealth gained from plunder, collecting taxes and importing goods which paid for massive building projects, paid for public works, bread, games </li></ul>
    2. 3. <ul><li>Originally composed of free citizens who had to perform military service </li></ul><ul><li>Used fighting methods of Greeks (phalanx) but developed new methods and tactics </li></ul><ul><li>Legions divided into maniples (cohorts) that could move independently and effectively in difficult terrain </li></ul>Contubernium: (tent group) 8 men who bunked together. Centuria: (century) 10 contubernium for a total of 80 men, commanded by a centurion Cohorts: (cohort) included 6 centuriae or a total of 480 fighting men, not including officers. Different cohorts in the legion would have different strengths and weaknesses Legio: (Legion) consisted of 10 cohorts. Additionally each Legion had a 120 man Alae (cavalry unit) called the Eques Legionis permanently attached to it possibly to be used as scouts and messengers.
    3. 4. <ul><li>Men carried a 25 kg pack on their backs </li></ul><ul><li>Legion standard, silver eagle was considered sacred and was always kept near the commanding general </li></ul><ul><li>Legions were strictly disciplined, and constantly exercised </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to perform duties or cowardice were sometimes corrected by the execution of 1 every 10 men – gives us the word “ decimation ” </li></ul>
    4. 5. <ul><li>Fortifications – Romans were masters of building fortifications. They built long walls to defend their cities, palisades to defend their camps or surround their enemies </li></ul><ul><li>Camps – while on campaign, the legion would build a fortified camp every single night. It provided a safe place to sleep, as well as a potential place to retreat if they lost a battle </li></ul><ul><li>War Machines - catapults could hurl a boulder 500m </li></ul>
    5. 6. <ul><li>First paved road called via Appia (Appian Way) </li></ul><ul><li>over 310 000 km of road built </li></ul>
    6. 7. <ul><li>1 st Punic War </li></ul><ul><li>264 BCE- 241 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>Rome vs. Sicily, Syracuse and Carthage </li></ul><ul><li>Rome wins and seizes Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia </li></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>218 BCE – 202 BCE </li></ul><ul><li>Hannibal takes ambitious journey from Spain with 36 000 troops and 37 elephants over Alps ; conquers most of Italian Peninsula with remaining 26 000 troops and 1 elephant </li></ul><ul><li>Four great battles with heavy Roman losses (ie. at Cannae, over 50 000 out of 86 000 Roman soldiers were annihilated in one day, but Hannibal can never take Rome itself </li></ul><ul><li>14 years later, the final Battle at Zama (202 BCE), Roman general finally defeats Hannibal and the Carthagians were forced to pay reparations to Rome, dismantle navy and forfeit commercial empire </li></ul>
    8. 9. <ul><li>149 BCE – 146 BCE: Rome is suspicious of a reviving Carthage </li></ul><ul><li>50 years after Hannibal’s defeat, Rome found an excuse to finish Carthage off after a Roman delegation was insulted </li></ul>When Carthage finally fell, the city was burned, the men slaughtered, the women (50,000 of them) sold into slavery, and the earth sown with salt so that no crops could ever grow again
    9. 10. <ul><li>Military Victories of the Republic </li></ul><ul><li>Control of the Italian Peninsula by 270 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Rome defeats Carthage, giving Rome control of North Africa and Carthage’s provinces in Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Macedonia and Greece are conquered and become Roman provinces </li></ul><ul><li>Pergamum (present day eastern Turkey) became province of Asia Minor, the first Roman possession in Asia </li></ul><ul><li>Gaul (France) conquered by Romans </li></ul>
    10. 11. Significance <ul><li>Rome became the dominant power in the Mediterranean </li></ul><ul><li>Tremendous growth of the city </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a professional army to meet military needs – end of the citizen army </li></ul><ul><li>The Roman army became an important political force </li></ul><ul><li>Republican institutions were weakened </li></ul><ul><li>Roman citizens came to expect wealth and luxury, military spirit declined over time </li></ul>