An Introduction to Ancient Rome

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Part 2: War as a Way of Life

Rome's neighbors both had things the Romans wanted and wanted things the Romans had. This resulted in many wars.

Some of the most famous of these early wars were between Rome and Carthage. They were three in all, and they were called the Punic Wars (from the Roman word for Carthaginian).

Carthage at that time was the capital of a large civilization that had cities and colonies all around the Mediterranean Sea. The first dispute arose over Sicily, an island off the coast of Roman territory. The result was the First Punic War, won by Rome.

One of the results of this war was the Roman invention of the corvus, a device that would change the course of history. The corvus was a wooden plank that was carried on a ship and used to lock two ships together so soldiers could cross from one ship to another and fight hand-to-hand. The Carthaginians were better sailors and bigger ships, but a Roman ship would get close to a Carthaginian ship and then lock the two together, allowing Roman soldiers (who were better at hand-to-hand fighting) to turn a naval battle into a land battle.

The Carthaginian commander at that time was Hamilcar Barca, whose son Hannibal became one of the most famous generals in human history.

Next page > The Struggles with Carthage > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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David White