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Slag van die Aegates -eilande, 241 vC


Slag van die Aegates -eilande, 241 vC

Die slag van die Aegates -eilande was die laaste en beslissende stryd van die Eerste Puniese Oorlog. Toe die oorlog twintig jaar vroeër begin het, was Roman 'n landmag en Kartago die voorste vlootmag in die westelike Middellandse See. Nou sou die oorlog eindig met 'n dawerende oorwinning van die Romeinse vloot.

Die Romeine het die meerderheid van die vlootgevegte wat tydens die oorlog plaasgevind het, gewen, maar hulle het 'n reeks groot rampe gely en vier groot vloot in storms verloor. In 249 v.C. hulle het 'n deel van hul vloot verloor in hul enigste groot vlootoorwinning van die oorlog, die slag by Drepanum, en het toe die res van die vloot verloor in nog 'n storm. Gedurende die volgende sewe jaar het hulle geen moeite gedoen om hul vloot te herbou nie. Die hoofrede hiervoor was finansiële uitputting. Die Romeinse staat kon dit nie bekostig om sy leërs in die veld te hou en om 'n nuwe vloot te bou nie. Die Romeine het gekies om hul leërs in die veld te hou en het 'n beleg van Lilybaeum, die belangrikste Carthaagse basis wat op Sicilië bly, gehandhaaf wat vanaf 250 v.C. tot aan die einde van die oorlog.

Na meer as ses jaar het dit duidelik geword dat die Romeinse leërs nie die oorlog op Sicilië kon voltooi nie. In 247 v.C. Kartago het Hamilcar Barca op kommando op Sicilië gestuur, en hoewel hy nie die Romeinse greep op Lilybaeum kon breek of inderdaad 'n beduidende Romeinse besitting kon vang nie, het hy 'n aktiewe guerrillaoorlog op Sicilië gevoer en kon hy selfs beperkte aanvalle op die Italiaanse kus.

Teenoor hierdie dooiepunt het die Senaat besluit om nog 'n laaste poging aan te wend om die oorlog op see te wen. Met openbare fondse uitgeput, het die senaat besluit om 'n swaar lening aan die rykste manne van die staat op te lê, wat terugbetaal sou word as die Romeine wen. Die meeste rykes wat betrokke was, was natuurlik in die senaat, hoewel handel sedert die verowering van die Griekse stede in die suide van Italië in die jare voor die uitbreek van die oorlog in Rome begin belangrik geword het.

Sonder 'n tradisie van skeepsbou was al die Romeinse vloot gebaseer op afskrifte van gevange Carthaginiese skepe. Volgens Polybius is hierdie nuwe vloot gebou op 'n nuwe model, wat 'n blokkade -hardloper kopieer wat by Lilybaeum gevang is. Hierdie skip was blykbaar in besit van 'n Kartagoër, genaamd Hannibal van Rhodes, wat daarop dui dat die ontwerp van die skip iets aan die eiland te danke gehad het. In die geval blyk dit dat die ontwerp van die skepe nie 'n beduidende rol gespeel het in die Romeinse oorwinning nie.

Selfvoldaanheid in Kartago was baie meer belangrik. In 249 het hulle hul vloot by Drepanum behou. Teen 242, sewe jaar na die vernietiging van die laaste Romeinse vloot, het Kartago haar vloot huis toe getrek en haar ervare bemannings ontslaan.

In die somer van 242 vaar die nuwe Romeinse vloot, onder bevel van die konsul Lutatius Catulus, na Sicilië. Hy het geen Karthagiese vloot gevind nie en het troepe by Drepanum laat beland om die plek te beleër, en konsentreer daarna op die opleiding van sy matrose. Catulus sou ongeveer nege maande tyd kry om sy onervare matrose in kundige matrose te verander.

Carthago het gereageer deur nuwe bemannings vir hul skepe te werf. In die lente van 241 was die vloot uiteindelik gereed om te vaar, onder bevel van 'n admiraal genaamd Hanno (soos baie ander Kartago -generaals en admirale van hierdie oorlog). Sy vloot was belas met voorraad vir die beleërde garnisoene op Sicilië. Hanno se plan was om na die Aegates -eilande, wes van Sicilië, te vaar en van daar af na die basis van Hamilcar Barca by Eryx te gaan. Toe hy daar was, sou hy die voorrade aflaai, die mees ervare van Hamilcar se huursoldate aan boord neem en die Romeinse vloot aanval.

Catulus het besluit om dit te voorkom. Die lang opleidingstyd het nou vrugte afgewerp. Op die dag van die geveg het die wind uit die weste gewaai, wat Hanna se vloot gehelp het en dit vir die Romeine moeiliker gemaak het om bymekaar te bly. Slegte weer het die Romeine immers vier vorige vlote gekos. Hierdie keer was die Romeinse matrose klaar met die taak en kon hulle in die geveg opstaan, wat Hanna genoop het om 'n geveg te voer onder die minste gunstige omstandighede.

Die gevegte was voorspelbaar eensydig. Catulus se slaggereed skepe met hul ervare bemanning en sorgvuldig geselekteerde mariniers het Hanno se swaar belaste skepe en hul onervare bemannings 'n verpletterende nederlaag toegedien. Polybius het die Kartago -verliese aangeteken toe 50 skepe gesink en 70 gevange geneem het. Hanno is tereggestel weens sy mislukking in die geveg.

In die nadraai van hierdie nederlaag het Kartago besluit om te onderhandel. Hamilcar het die gesag gekry om vrede te maak. Catulus het ingestem tot redelike vrygewige voorwaardes. Kartago sou Sicilië ontruim. Nie Rome of Kartago sou oorlog voer teen die ander bondgenote nie. Kartago sou Rome 'n skadeloosstelling van 2 200 talente betaal, wat net die koste van die laaste Romeinse vloot sou dek. In Rome word hierdie terme as te vrygewig beskou, maar kommissies wat uit Rome gestuur is, het slegs geringe veranderinge aangebring, wat nog 1000 talente bygevoeg het en die Puniese oorlogskepe verbied het om die Italiaanse waters binne te gaan. Hierdie weergawe van die verdrag is deur beide kante aanvaar, en die Eerste Puniese Oorlog het na meer as twintig jaar tot 'n einde gekom.



Die einde: die slag van die Egeïte -eilande

Alhoewel die Romeine hul maritieme ambisies laat vaar het, het hulle voortgegaan om die oorlog op land te vervolg, sonder enige twyfel oor hul uiteindelike sukses. Die Kartagoërs het min gebruik gemaak van hul vlootoorheersing; die paar aanvalle wat teen Italië uitgevoer is, het baie min bereik, terwyl die oorlog sporadies op Sicilië voortgeduur het. Eers laat 243 het die Romeine weer besluit om hul vloot te herbou en die oorlog tot 'n beslissende gevolgtrekking te bring. Tog kon die staat hierdie projek nie uit eie hulpbronne bekostig nie, en die geld is verskaf deur privaat burgers, een of twee of drie wat saamstaan ​​om die koste van die bou en toerusting van 'n quinquereme te voorsien. Die geld was 'n lening wat terugbetaal moet word na die oorwinning toe die staat se finansies herstel het, maar dit blyk rentevry te wees en moet geïnterpreteer word as 'n gebaar van egte patriotisme. Die Romeinse elite identifiseer hulself duidelik sterk met die staat op 'n manier waarop moderne sinisme ons nie moet laat twyfel nie. 40

Op hierdie manier is 200 quinquereme gebou, en weereens is 'n Kartago -ontwerp gekopieer, want almal is geskoei op Hannibal die Rhodian se gevange skip. Morrison en Coates het voorgestel dat beide hierdie skip en die nuwe Romeinse vloot in werklikheid 'viere' was. Hulle beweer dat 'n quinquereme aansienlik hoër was as 'n quadrireme en dat Hannibal se skip nie suksesvol deur die gevangene 'vier' sou kon klim nie, met verwysing na 'n voorval in die Tweede Puniese Oorlog toe die kleiner skepe nie 'n gestremde 'vyf' kon vang nie. Maar in daardie geval was die ontmoeting onverwags, terwyl die Romeine van plan was om Hannibal se vaartuig met hul vinnige 'vier' te lei en daarvolgens voorberei het. Dit was moontlik omdat hul mariniers in die getal was eerder as om nie die vyanddek te bereik nie, dat die 'viere' in die latere voorval nie die 'vyf' kon vat nie. Daar is geen goeie rede om te twyfel aan Polybius se stelling dat die nuwe Romeinse vloot quinquereme was nie. 41

Een van die konsuls vir 242, Aulus Postumius Albinus, beklee die priesterskap wat bekend staan ​​as die flamen Martialis en is dit deur godsdienstige taboe verbied om die stad te verlaat, en daarom is die vloot toevertrou aan die bevel van sy kollega, Caius Lutatius Catulus, gesteun deur die senior praetor, Quintus Valerius Falto. Die Romeine het onmiddellik die druk op die laaste groot vestings van Sicilië op hul vyand hernu, deur die hawe by Drepana te verower en Lilybaeum van die see af te sny. Die magte van Hamilcar Barca is nou afgesny van die hervoorsiening per see. Polybius verklaar uitdruklik dat die belangrikste Romeinse doelwit in hierdie operasies was om 'n groot ontmoeting met die Kartago -vloot uit te lok, omdat hulle meen dat die nederlaag daarvan 'n groter slag sou wees as enige suksesse wat op Sicilië behaal kan word. Om hierdie rede het Catulus baie moeite gedoen om sy skepe elke dag op see te oefen en die bemanning tot 'n hoë doeltreffendheidsopleiding op te lei. Sy matrose was nie toegelaat om te mors met die swaarkry en die ontbering van beleg nie, maar is gesond gehou en van 'n goeie dieet van kos en drank voorsien. Teen 241 was die Romeinse vloot in 'n uitstekende toestand, die bemanning ervare en vaardig, die skepe was baie beter ontwerp as in die verlede. Die aantal skepe wat in die voorafgaande twintig jaar gebou is en die praktykervaring van die Romeine in vlootbedrywighede kan net die vaardighede van hul skeepsbouers verfyn. 42

Die Kartagers was baie minder goed voorbereid vir die komende ontmoeting, want hulle het min gebruik gemaak van die vlootoorheersing wat hulle bereik het ná Drepana en die Romeinse weerverliese. Die Puniese vloot het sedertdien in die jare min gedoen, en dit blyk dat relatief min skepe in diens gehou is. Dit het 'n rukkie geneem om die bemanning bymekaar te kry vir die vloot van ongeveer 250 skepe wat hulle bymekaargemaak het om na Sicilië te stuur. Vir die eerste keer in die oorlog sou die gemiddelde Kartago -bemanning minder goed opgelei wees as hul Romeinse eweknieë. Dit is ook moontlik dat baie spanne onder sterkte was, hoewel sekerheid onmoontlik is. Hulle doel was tweeledig. In die eerste plek was die prioriteit om die skepe met graanvoorrade te laai vir die leër van Hamilcar en die oorblywende Puniese garnisoene op Sicilië. Die Romeinse druk op hierdie troepe moes dit vir hulle moeilik gemaak het om te oorleef deur kos te soek. Nadat die voorraad afgelaai is, moes die vloot die keuse van die soldate van Hamilcar aan boord neem om as mariniers te dien en die Romeinse vloot te soek en te vernietig. In hierdie operasie is bevel gegee aan ene Hanno, wat moontlik dieselfde man was wat die nederlae by Agrigentum in 261 en Ecnomus in 256 gelei het. 43

Die Kartagoërs volg dieselfde roete as die vyftig skepe wat versterkings en voorrade bevat wat Hannibal, seun van Hamilcar, in 250 in Lilybaeum ingevaar het. Op pad na die Aegates -eilande, net wes van Sicilië, stop hulle by die westelikste hiervan, bekend as 'die Heilige Eiland', en wag op 'n gunstige briesie om hulle na Eryx te bring voordat die Romeine van hul teenwoordigheid bewus was en kon reageer. Cat-ulus het egter 'n verslag van hul aankoms ontvang en onmiddellik ekstra mariniers aan boord geneem wat uit die leër getrek is en na 'n ander van die eilande in die groep oorgesteek het. Die volgende dag, 10 Maart 241, waai die wind sterk uit die weste in die rigting waarop Hanno gehoop het. Die Puniese skepe het hul seile gelig en die aanloop begin om met hul landmagte te skakel. Catulus staan ​​voor 'n moeilike besluit. Die swaar deining was teen die Romeine, aangesien hul roeiers hard daarteen sou moes veg as hulle sou beweeg en die Puniese vloot sou onderskep. In die verlede het Romeinse bevelvoerders wat die elemente kavalier behandel het, skouspelagtige rampe gelei. Maar as Catulus vertraag het, sou dit onwaarskynlik wees dat die Kartagoërs hom by Hamilcar aansluit en 'n groot aantal ervare soldate aan boord neem. Catulus het die risiko geneem en in die see gesteek.

Die noukeurig opgeleide en voorbereide Romeinse bemannings het toe hul waarde bewys, goed met die oop see omgegaan en 'n lyn gevorm om die vyand te onderskep voordat hulle Sicilië bereik. In reaksie daarop het die Kartagoërs hul seile laat sak en hul maste afgeneem om voor te berei op die geveg. Polybius sê dat die Puniese bemanning mekaar aanmoedig terwyl hulle die vyand neerslaan, maar dat dit 'n ernstige nadeel was. Hulle skepe was oorlaai met die voorrade wat hulle vervoer het, hulle het min mariniers en hul bemanning was swak opgelei. Die Romeine sou nie net die voordeel hê om aan boord te gaan nie, maar hulle skepe was vir 'n keer vinniger, meer manoeuvreerbaar en beter voorbereid op ramme. Die verskil tussen die twee kante was vinnig duidelik, want die Romeine het vyftig skepe gesink en nog sewentig gevange geneem. Polybius noem nie Romeinse verliese nie, maar Diodorus impliseer dat die geveg minder uitgemaakte was, en dat vir die 117 Puniese skepe wat verlore gegaan het, twintig hiervan met alle hande gesink het, die Romeine dertig vaartuie laat sink en vyftig kreupel was. Hy beweer egter ook dat die Romeinse vloot 300 eerder as 200 skepe getel het. Beide skrywers gee relatief lae syfers vir die aantal Puniese gevangenes, gegewe hul groot verliese in skepe Polybius wat 10 000 sê, terwyl Diodorus ons vertel dat Philinus dit 6 000 gemaak het, maar ander bronne 4,040. Dit is gebruik om die suggestie dat die Puniese skepe ondermyn is, te ondersteun, maar dit kan wees dat meer mense verdrink het toe hul skepe gestamp en gestamp is as wat normaal was vir 'n seestryd in hierdie tydperk omdat die omstandighede erger was. 44

Gelukkig vir die Kartagoërs het die wind verander tydens die geveg, wat na 'n oostelike rigting verander het, wat baie van hul skepe in staat gestel het om weer maste en seile op te sit en te ontsnap. Die Romeine, wat doelbewus voorbereid was op die geveg, het waarskynlik nie maste gedra nie en kon nie ver ry nie. Die graafmachines van die Marsala -wrakke het egter vermoed dat hierdie ligte Puniese oorlogskepe moontlik in die nadraai van hierdie nederlaag gesink is, sodat die Romeinse strewe effens meer effektief was as wat ons bronne suggereer. Catulus keer terug na Lilybaeum om die blokkade voort te sit en die buit van sukses te hanteer, beide die gevange skepe en gevangenes. Gou het die konsul en die praetor begin twis oor wie die eer vir die oorwinning verdien. Die praetor Falto sou later beweer dat Catulus op die slagdag ongeskik was as gevolg van 'n wond aan die bobeen wat tydens 'n skermutseling buite Lilybaeum opgedoen is. Albei mans is toegelaat om 'n triomf te vier. 45

Die slag van die Aegates -eilande het die oorlog beslis. Die leër van Hamilcar Barca en die paar vestings wat op Sicilië oorgebly het, was nou heeltemal geïsoleer. Kartago het nie die wil gehad nie, of volgens Polybius hulpbronne om nog 'n vloot te bou en nog 'n keer probeer om die oorheersing van die vloot uit Rome terug te keer. Die Puniese aristokrasie het blykbaar geen poging aangewend om die voorbeeld van die Romeinse elite te volg en hul privaat rykdom tot beskikking van die staat te stel nie. Gegewe die moeilikheid by die bemanning van die laaste vloot, was dit moontlik 'n tekort aan mannekrag eerder as hulpbronne om skepe te bou wat die heropbou van die vloot verhinder het. Om watter rede ook al, het die Kartagoërs nederlaag toegegee en besluit om vrede te maak. 46

Die hulpbronne wat in die vlootveldtogte van die oorlog bestee is, was groot, en Polybius beweer dat die Romeine ongeveer 700 oorlogskepe en die Kartagoërs byna 500 verloor het, hoewel daar betwyfel word of die getalle akkuraat is. Die swaarste Romeinse verliese het almal in storms plaasgevind, en dit het verseker dat die ongevalle wat die spanne gely het, buite verhouding groot was. Baie van die bemannings van hierdie Puniese skepe is gered, hoewel dit soms beteken dat hulle in ballingskap moes gaan. Dit was die oorwinnaars wat die grootste verliese op see gely het. Uiteindelik het die Romeine gewen omdat hulle genadelose vasberadenheid en strewe na oorwinning hulle gewillig gemaak het om die hoë prys daarvan by mense en skepe te aanvaar. Die aanvanklike besluit om 'n Romeinse vloot te skep, is ten minste gedeeltelik gemotiveer deur 'n begeerte om die Italiaanse kus te verdedig teen die vervalle van die Puniese vloot, maar die Romeine sou hul vlootmag konsekwent aggressief gebruik. Die ondersteuning van die vloot het die Romeinse landmagte in Sicilië in staat gestel om meer suksesvol voort te gaan met die taak om die Puniese vestings daar te onderwerp. Die eerste aksie van die vloot was die gewaagde as onsuksesvolle poging om Lipara te gryp. Die vindingrykheid wat die corvus het die Romeinse skepe toegelaat om die superieure Kartagoense skepe in die geveg die hoof te bied en te verslaan, en het die toenemende Romeinse bereidwilligheid aangemoedig om ontmoetings op see te soek. Die direkte aanval op Noord -Afrika toon weer die Romeinse bereidwilligheid om die geveg te eskaleer in 'n poging om 'n beslissende resultaat te bereik. Die Romeinse vertroue is in bedwang gebring deur die groot verliese in die storms in 255-254, en weer deur die nederlaag by Drepana en die katastrofiese storm in 249, maar elke tjek was slegs tydelik. By elke geleentheid het die Romeine uiteindelik hul vloot herbou en besluit om 'n ander moeite. As die nuwe vloot in 241 erg verslaan is - 'n werklike moontlikheid as die Kartagers hul skepe kon aflaai en met Hamilcar se veteraan -huursoldate kon stamp - dan moet die vertraging voordat die Romeine weer die see kon betwis, sekerlik was nog langer.

Gedurende die oorlog kon die Kartagoërs nie veel gebruik maak van hul aanvanklik beter vloot nie, en dit laat afneem nadat hulle in 249 se oorheersing van die vloot teruggekry het. Die doel was altyd om die stryd te volhard en voort te sit, eerder as om dit tot 'n slotsom te dwing. Galeie vloote was sterk afhanklik van landbasisse vanweë die relatief kort omvang van hul oorlogskepe. Dit het beteken dat die beheer van die see uiteindelik gebaseer was op die beheer van die basisse in die gebied, wat die belangrikheid van die kusstede van Sicilië en in mindere mate van Sardinië toeneem. Die oorlog in Sicilië het die sterk vestings van Kartago geleidelik verminder, wat ondanks die tydelike kontrole en die herowering van sommige vestings nooit gestaak is nie. Ondanks die lang tyd wat hulle in hul poste gebly het, het die Carthaagse bevelvoerders dit nooit reggekry om 'n gesamentlike offensief te handhaaf om verlore terrein terug te wen en die Romeine van die eiland te verdryf nie. Hulle suksesse op land het meestal nie net plaaslike betekenis gehad nie, maar was dikwels klein. Die prestasies van die Puniese vloot was eweneens gering en dit kon nooit 'n groter voordeel trek uit sy groter vaardigheid en ervaring nie. Drepana, die enigste geveg wat die Kartagoërs gewen het, was veral kleiner as die meeste ander botsings, waarby minder as 150 skepe aan weerskante betrokke was. Namate die grootte van die vloot groter geword het, het die superioriteit van die Puniese vloot afgeneem. Die skouspelagtige suksesse daarvan, soos die blokkade by Lilybaeum, was altyd klein, en selfs dit is uiteindelik deur Rome nagegaan. 47


Slag van die Egeïste in 241 vC

Grot van Genovese - prehistoriese heiligdom met skilderye.

Ruïnes van 'n Bisantynse kerk (11 km)

Ruïnes van 'n Bisantynse kerk

Casa Romana, Hiera Nesos (11 km)

Romeinse wagtoring op die eiland Marettimo.

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Inhoud

Die hoofbron vir byna elke aspek van die Eerste Puniese Oorlog is die historikus Polybius (ongeveer 200 - ongeveer 118 v.C.), 'n Griek wat in 167 vC as gyselaar na Rome gestuur is. [1] [2] [nota 1] Sy werke bevat 'n handleiding oor militêre taktiek wat nog nie bestaan ​​nie, maar hy is veral bekend vir sy werk Die geskiedenis, iewers na 146 vC ongeveer 'n eeu na die geveg geskryf. [1] [4] [5] Polybius se werk word in die algemeen beskou as objektief en grotendeels neutraal, tussen die Carthaagse en Romeinse standpunte. [6] [7]

Kartago se geskrewe rekords is in 146 vC saam met hul hoofstad, Kartago, vernietig, wat beteken dat Polybius se verslag oor die Eerste Puniese Oorlog gebaseer is op verskeie (nou verlore) Griekse en Latynse bronne. [8] Polybius was, waar moontlik, 'n analitiese historikus wat persoonlik 'n onderhoud sou voer met deelnemers aan die gebeure waaroor hy geskryf het. [9] [10] Uit die 40 boeke wat bestaan ​​uit Die geskiedenis slegs die eerste handel oor die Eerste Puniese Oorlog. [11] Die akkuraatheid van Polybius se verslag is die afgelope 150 jaar baie gedebatteer, maar die moderne konsensus is om dit grotendeels op nominale waarde te aanvaar, en die besonderhede van die geveg, in moderne bronne, is feitlik heeltemal gebaseer op interpretasies van Polybius rekening. [11] [12] [13]

Die moderne historikus Andrew Curry meen dat "Polybius redelik betroubaar is [14], terwyl Dexter Hoyos hom beskryf as" 'n opvallend goed ingeligte, vlytige en insiggewende historikus ". [15] Ander (latere) geskiedenis van die oorlog bestaan, maar in fragmentariese of opsommende vorm [2] [16] en dek gewoonlik militêre operasies op land in meer detail eerder as op see. [17]

Moderne historici neem gewoonlik ook die latere geskiedenis van Diodorus Siculus en Dio Cassius in ag, hoewel die klassisist Adrian Goldsworthy verklaar dat "Polybius se rekening gewoonlik die voorkeur geniet as dit met enige van ons ander rekeninge verskil". [10] [nota 2] Ander bronne sluit in inskripsies, argeologiese bewyse en empiriese bewyse uit rekonstruksies soos die trireme Olympias. [19] Sedert 2010 is 'n aantal artefakte teruggevind van die terrein van die Slag van die Egeïste, die laaste slag van die oorlog, wat negentien jaar later geveg is. Hulle ontleding en die herstel van verdere items word voortgesit. [20]

Bedrywighede in Sicilië Edit

Die Eerste Puniese Oorlog tussen Kartago en Rome het in 264 vC uitgebreek. [21] Kartago was 'n gevestigde maritieme mag in die westelike Middellandse See. Rome het onlangs die vasteland van Italië suid van die rivier die Arno onder sy beheer verenig. Die onmiddellike oorsaak van die oorlog was beheer oor die Siciliaanse stad Messana (moderne Messina). Meer algemeen wou beide kante Syracuse, die magtigste stadstaat op Sicilië, beheer. [22] Teen 260 vC het die oorlog vier jaar geduur, en die Romeine het vorentoe gestap na Sicilië, met 'n aantal suksesse, waaronder die vang van Agrigentum, 'n belangrike Kartago -basis. Die Kartago -vloot het egter herhaaldelik toegeslaan op die agterste gebiede van die Romeine en selfs op die kus van Italië. Hulle beheer oor die see het dit ook vir die Romeine onmoontlik gemaak om die Kartago -stede wat aan die kus was, suksesvol te blokkeer. Die Kartagoërs was besig met hul tradisionele beleid om te wag dat hul teenstanders hulself moeg sou maak, in die verwagting dat hulle dan 'n paar of al hul besittings sou herwin en 'n onderling bevredigende vredesverdrag sou onderhandel. [23]

Skepe wysig

Tydens hierdie oorlog was die standaard oorlogskip die quinquereme, wat 'vyf-oared' beteken. [17] Die quinquereme was 'n kombuis, ongeveer. 45 meter (150 voet) lank, c. 5 meter (16 voet) breed op watervlak, met sy dek ongeveer c. 3 meter (10 voet) bo die see en ongeveer 100 lang ton (110 kort ton 100 ton) verplaas. Die kombuiskenner John Coates het voorgestel dat hulle 7 knope (13 km/h) vir lang periodes kan handhaaf. [24] Die moderne replika kombuis Olympias het 'n snelheid van 8,5 knope (10 km/h 16 km/h) behaal en ure lank aaneen op 4 knope (4,6 mph 7,4 km/h) gery. [17] Vaartuie is gebou as katafraktiese, of "beskermde" skepe, met 'n geslote romp en 'n volledige dek wat legioenen as mariniers en katapulte kan aanhang. [25] [26] Hulle het 'n aparte "roeibok" aan die hoofromp vasgemaak waarin die roeiers was. Hierdie eienskappe het die romp versterk, verhoogde drakrag en verbeterde toestande vir die roeiers. [27]

In 260 vC wou die Romeine 'n vloot bou en het hulle 'n skipbreukelinge Carthaagse quinquereme as 'n bloudruk vir hul eie gebruik. [28] As beginner -skeepsvaarders het die Romeine kopieë gebou wat swaarder was as die Karthagiese vaartuie, wat hulle stadiger en minder manoeuvreerbaar gemaak het. [29] Die quinquereme was die werkperd van die Romeinse en Kartagoense vloot dwarsdeur die Puniese oorloë, so alomteenwoordig dat Polybius dit as 'n afkorting vir 'oorlogskip' in die algemeen gebruik. [30] 'n Quinquereme het 'n bemanning van 300, waarvan 280 roeiers was en 20 dekpersoneel en offisiere [31], sou dit normaalweg ook 'n aanvulling van 40 mariniers bevat, [32] en as die geveg vermoed sou word, sou dit verhoog word tot soveel as 120. [33] [34]

Om die roeiers as 'n eenheid te laat roei, sowel as om meer komplekse gevegsmaneuvers uit te voer, het lang en moeisame opleiding verg. [35] Ten minste die helfte van die roeiers moes 'n bietjie ervaring gehad het om die skip effektief te hanteer. [25] As gevolg hiervan was die Romeine aanvanklik benadeel teenoor die meer ervare Kartagoërs. Alle oorlogskepe was toegerus met 'n ram, 'n drievoudige stel bronslemme van 60 sentimeter breed wat tot 270 kilogram (600 lb) weeg by die waterlyn. Hulle is afsonderlik gemaak deur die verlore-was-metode om onbeweeglik aan die voorstoel van 'n kombuis te pas en met bronspunte vasgemaak. [36] [37] In die eeu voor die Puniese oorloë het aan boord al hoe meer algemeen geword en stamping het afgeneem, aangesien die groter en swaarder vaartuie wat in hierdie tydperk aangeneem is, nie die nodige spoed en wendbaarheid gehad het nie, terwyl hul stewiger konstruksie die ram se effek, selfs in die geval van 'n suksesvolle aanval. [38] [39]

Dit was die langdurige Romeinse prosedure om elke jaar twee mans, bekend as konsuls, te kies om elkeen hul militêre magte te lei. Die patrisiër Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio, die konsul van die jaar, het die bevel gekry oor die vloot. Hy het die eerste 17 skepe op die see gelê. As die eerste Romeinse oorlogskepe het hulle 'n geruime tyd in tuiswater opgelei voordat hulle na Messana gevaar het. Daar het hulle voorberei op die aankoms van die hoofvloot en die logistiek van die Romeinse leër ondersteun by die seepad na Sicilië. [40] [41]

Terwyl Scipio aan die Straat van Messina was, het hy inligting ontvang dat die garnisoen van die stad Lipara bereid was om na die Romeinse kant toe te gaan. Lipara was die belangrikste hawe van die Lipari -eilande en was 'n konstante bedreiging vir die Romeinse kommunikasie oor die Straat. Alhoewel sy bemanningslede nog onervare was en die nuut ontwerpte en geboude skepe nog besig was met hul proewe, kon die konsul nie die versoeking weerstaan ​​om 'n belangrike stad sonder 'n geveg te verower nie en vaar hy na Lipara. Sommige ou bronne het voorgestel dat die aanbod om Lipara oor te gee, 'n skelm is wat deur Kartago geïnspireer is om die Romeine aan te moedig om hul skepe te lok waar hulle in 'n hinderlaag kan val, maar die bronne gee nie veel detail nie en is gewoonlik pro-Romeins. [42] [43]

Die Romeine het die hawe by Lipara binnegegaan. Die Carthaagse vloot was onder bevel van Hannibal Gisco, die generaal wat die garnisoen by Agrigentum beveel het, en was gebaseer op Panormus (vandag Palermo) ongeveer 100 kilometer van Lipari. Toe hy hoor van die opmars van die Romeine na Lipara, stuur hy 20 skepe onder Boödes, 'n Kartago -aristokraat, na die stad. Die Kartagoërs het in die nag aangekom en die Romeine in die hawe vasgekeer. Boödes het die volgende oggend sy skepe gelei in 'n aanval op die Romeine in die hawe. Die manne van Scipio het min weerstand gebied. Die onervare bemannings pas nie by die goed geboorde Kartagoërs nie en is vinnig uitgedaag. Sommige Romeine het paniekerig geraak en na die binneland gevlug, en die konsul self is saam met baie van die ander Romeinse senior offisiere gevange geneem. Sommige latere verslae het Scipio verraderlik vasgelê terwyl hy besig was, maar dit is waarskynlik 'n Romeinse versinsel. Al die Romeinse skepe is gevange geneem, die meeste met min skade. [43] [44] [45] Die geveg was weinig meer as 'n skermutseling, maar dit is opvallend as die eerste maritieme ontmoeting van die Puniese oorloë en die eerste keer dat Romeinse oorlogskepe geveg het. [42]

Scipio is later vrygelaat, waarskynlik losgekoop. Sy maklike nederlaag het hom die pejoratiewe kognome besorg Asina, wat beteken donkie in Latyn. Dit was nog meer beledigend omdat "asina" die vroulike vorm van die woord donkie was, in teenstelling met die manlike vorm "asinus". Ten spyte hiervan het Scipio se loopbaan floreer en was hy 'n tweede keer konsul in 254 vC. [46] [47]

Kort na die Lipara -oorwinning het Hannibal Gisco met 50 Kartago -skepe verken toe hy die volledige Romeinse vloot teëkom. Hy het ontsnap, maar het die meeste van sy skepe verloor. [47] [48] Dit was na hierdie skermutseling dat die Romeine die corvus op hul skepe. [49] [50] Die corvus was 'n brug van 1,2 m (4 voet) breed en 11 m (36 voet) lank, met 'n swaar piek aan die onderkant, wat ontwerp was om deur te steek en in 'n vyandskip se dek vas te anker. Dit het mariniers makliker gemaak om aan boord van vyandelike skepe te gaan en hulle te vang. [33]

Later dieselfde jaar plaas die mede -konsul van Scipio, Gaius Duilius, die Romeinse leër -eenhede onder ondergeskiktes en neem die bevel oor die vloot. Hy seil vinnig en soek stryd. Die twee vloote het mekaar aan die kus van Mylae ontmoet in die Slag van Mylae. Hannibal Gisco het 130 skepe gehad, en die historikus John Lazenby bereken dat Duilius ongeveer dieselfde aantal gehad het. [51] Die gebruik van die corvus die Romeine vang 50 Kartagoanse vaartuie [nota 3] en gee die Kartagoërs 'n skerp nederlaag. [53]

Die oorlog sou nog 19 jaar duur voordat dit eindig in 'n Kartago -nederlaag en 'n onderhandelde vrede. [54] [55] Daarna was Rome die leidende militêre mag in die westelike Middellandse See, en toenemend die Middellandse See as 'n geheel. Die Romeine het meer as 1 000 galeie tydens die oorlog gebou, en hierdie ervaring van die bou, bemanning, opleiding, verskaffing en instandhouding van sulke getalle skepe het die grondslag gelê vir die maritieme oorheersing van Rome vir 600 jaar. [56]


1 & ndash Slag van Agrigentum (262 vC)

Die konflik het goed begin vir Rome, aangesien dit die Kartago- en Sirakusaanse magte by Messana verslaan het. Onder 'n nuwe bevelvoerder, Messalla, het die Romeine voortgebou op die aanvanklike sukses deur Syracuse aan te val en Hieron tot oorgawe te dwing. Hy het ingestem om 'n bondgenoot van Rome te word in ruil vir die behoud van sy troon. Rome het egter die helfte van sy magte teruggestuur na Italië 'n aksie wat die Kartagoërs bemoedig het, wat daarna 'n ander leër na Sicilië gestuur het.

In 262 vC stuur die Romeine die konsul Megellus na Sicilië saam met 'n ander bevelvoerder met die naam Vitulus. Hulle het die Kartagoërs omring, onder leiding van Hannibal Gisco, wat in die stad Agrigentum op die eiland Sicilië gestasioneer was. Alhoewel daar 50 000 mense in die stad was, was die Kartago -garnisoen baie kleiner en het hulle 40 000 Romeine in die gesig gestaar. As gevolg hiervan het Gisco geweier om die stad te verlaat en met die vyand in gesprek te tree. Die Romeine het gedink dit was 'n teken van swakheid en het besluit om die gewasse in die omgewing vir voedsel te oes. Gisco het egter die kans aangegryp en die ongewapende Romeine aangeval. Verdere skermutselings het die verlies van baie mans tot gevolg gehad, en Gisco het geweet dat hy nie verdere verliese sou kon bekostig nie.

Intussen het die Romeine geweet dat hulle die vyand onderskat het en besluit op 'n strategie om die inwoners van die stad te verhonger. Na vyf maande, en met voorraad opraak, het Gisco 'n boodskap aan Kartago gestuur om hulp te vra. Hanno, wat moontlik die seun van Gisco en rsquos was, het tussen 30 000 en 50 000 mans aangekom, waaronder duisende kavallerie en minstens 30 oorlogsolifante. Hanno het Romeinse voorrade afgesny en na 'n paar maande het die Romeine geveg aangebied, maar hierdie keer het die Kartagoërs geweier. Gisco en die stad se bevolking het egter nou honger gely, sodat die twee leërs uiteindelik verloof geraak het.

Hanno het waarskynlik sy infanterie in twee lyne opgestel met die olifante in die rug en kavallerie op die vlerke. The Romans likely adopted their preferred triplex acies formation. After a lengthy battle, the Romans broke through enemy lines and routed the Carthaginians. Gisco and Hanno fled and, after initially pursuing them, the Romans turned back to take the city of Agrigentum. They plundered the city and sold approximately 25,000 people into slavery. Although this was common practice, it was a miscalculation as it angered nearby towns that would otherwise have been friendly to Rome. While the enemy commanders escaped which took the gloss off the victory, it was Rome&rsquos first large-scale military success outside of Italy and gave it the confidence to expand.


The text in this page contains many words and letters that should not be there. Is there something wrong with it?

Not so much wrong with the article no, as the mental reject who got their "jollies" out of defacing the page. It is called vandalism, and it is popular among those of low intelligence, stunted maturity, or those who are bored and lack any sense of imagination. Fortunatly, the work of such genetic backwashes is easy fixed, and has been reversed.

It’s back again. I’m not sure how to fix it, as I’m seeing it on the main page description of the article in my app. Beautyandterror (talk) 01:13, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

Can someone request the page be locked? Beautyandterror (talk) 01:13, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

If you are referring to this it has been removed. (CC) Tb hotch 01:17, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

Yes, excellent. I think I still had an old version of the page loaded. Glad it’s taken care of, thanks. Beautyandterror (talk) 01:19, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

Now I'm seeing next to the top line of the first paragraph "Italic text" in bold italics with an empty footnote. I've looked at the page source, & the source for the infobox, but I'm finding no clue where these words come from. A clue is that I've looked back a several revisions & still see these words I figure someone vandalized one of the templates used in this article. -- llywrch (talk) 06:31, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

And there is an invisible footnote in this page: you can see the error message in the section at the bottom. Someone figured out a nasty way to vandalize this page. -- llywrch (talk) 06:34, 12 March 2021 (UTC) It was in Template:Campaignbox First Punic War, which I've now corrected - the work of an anonymous IP. Furius (talk) 08:09, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

The battlebox lists the numbers of Carthaginian ships launched and lost as different than what the Favignan(sp.) island page does (i.e. 400 ships with 120 sunk). Which is right? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 63.150.229.189 (talk) 00:20, 10 March 2007 (UTC).

== When were rams attached? From the section on Marine Archaeology: "It is believed that the rams were each attached to a sunken warship when they were deposited on the seabed." I wonder if this could be phrased better? There's an ambiguity in the "were . attached . when" formulation that implies that the rams could have been attached to the ships after they were sunk, which is either absurd, or serious archaeological fraud. One assumes the rams were attached to their respective ships before the battle. Bog (talk) 03:00, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

The result of the move request was: Move unopposed. (non-admin closure)Andy W. ( talk · ctb) 21:43, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Battle of the Egadi Islands → Battle of the Aegates – This article concerns an important event in Roman history, and so most scholarly literature uses the Roman name, not a modern one. The article was originally created at "Battle of the Aegates Islands", and remained there for several years, until another editor moved it without discussion, claiming that this name was "far more common". This Google Ngram appears to demonstrate otherwise: there are no book hits at all under the present title. A regular Google search shows hits, but many fewer than at the original name or the proposed name. "Battle of the Aegates" should be preferable to "Battle of the Aegates Islands", since there are no other Aegates the name is derived from the island of Aegusa (now Favignana), which is one of them. "Aegates Islands" is also unidiomatic in English, since Aegates is plural: we say "Bahamas" or "Bahama Islands", not "Bahamas Islands" "Caymans" or "Cayman Islands", not "Caymans Islands" so with the Balearics, Canaries, etc. The current page at this title is a simple redirect to this article, and it shouldn't be too hard to fix the other links here, as there are only a few dozen. P Aculeius (talk) 19:31, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

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Hi ArbieP, these edits have caused cite 90 to not link to any source, and introduced two new sources which are not used in the article. Perhaps you could rejig things so that cite 90 does point to an appropriate source again, and move any sources not used in the text to "Further reading"? Thanks Also, Encyclopædia Britannica should only be linked at first mention. Cheers. Gog the Mild (talk) 11:51, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

Hi, Gog Ta for your note I've put things right (I think). I'm a bit new in this area of editing. ArbieP (talk) 13:00, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

ArbieP No worries. Looks good now. PS A mixed bag of weather in Derby today. I assume similar where you are? Gog the Mild (talk) 13:13, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

Volatile! ArbieP (talk) 13:52, 27 July 2020 (UTC)

The last sentence in the text quoted below seems to conflate the number and origin of recovered rams with the number and origin of recovered helmets. Without reading the sources I can not correct the problem.>>

Since 2010 eleven bronze warship rams have been found by archaeologists in the sea within a 1 square kilometre (0.4 square miles) area off Phorbantia, along with ten bronze helmets and hundreds of amphorae. The rams, seven of the helmets, and six intact amphorae, along with a number of fragments, have since been recovered. Inscriptions allowed four of the rams to be identified as coming from Roman-built ships, one from a Carthaginian vessel, with the origins of the remaining two being unknown.

— Neonorange (Phil) 22:42, 10 March 2021 (UTC) Eleven rams have been found to-date, of which ten had been recovered as of 2014. Tusa & Royal (the source that provides the breakdown of their provenances) was published when only seven had been recovered, hence the disparity. Subsequently Jonathan Prag published a piece which you can read here. Seven have Latin inscriptions, one has a Punic inscription, two have lost their inscriptions, and one was still at the bottom of the sea as of 2014. The rams probably merit their own article, which could go into more detail about them and the debates around them (the date and provenance of the first one to be discovered is problematic and some of the "Roman-built ships" seem to have been captured and put into use in the Carthaginian navy). Furius (talk) 23:26, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

WP:MILMOS#INFOBOX - Do not introduce non-standard terms like "decisive", "marginal" or "tactical", or contradictory statements like "decisive tactical victory but strategic defeat. This is very clear. WP:FAOWN does not fossilize an article, especially on something as straightforward as this.Pipsally (talk) 03:32, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

That's a guideline, not a rule. and it doesn't become a rule until it gets consensus. 49.205.115.179 (talk) 06:29, 16 June 2021 (UTC) And as a guideline is best to follow it until there's a consensus not to Needn't be pushed pointlessly though. When there's uncertainty over if a battle was really decisive, this is fine to use. (That concern was what prompted this rule). But when there's no consensus to establish it unilaterally as a rule (as discussions so far have ended in stalemates), then it can't be zealously enforced as a rule. 49.205.115.179 (talk) 08:03, 16 June 2021 (UTC) FAC is one of the strongest consensuses an article can reach. Yes, that doesn't "fossilise" an article. If new information or a new source becomes available then the article will be revisited. It does mean that there is a consensus for the adherence or non-adherence to any non-binding guidelines unless and until a new, at least as strong, consensus is reached for a change. If you wish to challenge the consensus reached at FAC then a useful first step would be to explain why and to ping the editors who formally signed off on the current wording at FAC. Gog the Mild (talk) 10:31, 16 June 2021 (UTC) @Pipsally: I don't see anything wrong with the current phrasing. The infobox guidance is essentially there to prevent original research, which is not present here. It passed FAC with this wording, so a consensus needs to be formed to remove this here. You are currently WP:Edit warring here, which will likely end with a WP:AN/EW trip you will not enjoy if this continues. Please drop the stick and get a consensus through an rfc here on the talk page or other means and stop edit warring over this without consensus. Hog Farm Talk 18:16, 16 June 2021 (UTC) Thank you Hog Farm. Perhaps you could put "Decisive" back in the infobox? I don't want to fall foul of 3R. Gog the Mild (talk) 18:43, 16 June 2021 (UTC)

Hi Gog the Mild, the guidance at WP:MILMOS#INFOBOX does deprecate the use of qualifying terms, including "decisive". Hog Farm is only partially correct when they say that it is there to prevent original research. It is also that there is significant nuance to such terms that cannot be captured in isolation. "Decisive victory" can have various meanings. It could mean: defeated in detail, concluding a campaign or a meaning that is particular to the disciplines of military history or military science. It represents an opinion and conclusion of the author(s) and, in a scholarly work, they will detail their rationale for reaching such a conclusion. As a scholarly concept it is evolving (see decisive victory an this Battle of Trafalgar and Battle of Agincourt, there are some interesting discussions regarding "decisive victory" in the infobox.

I would therefore suggest that it is appropriate to report the result in the infobox as "Roman victory". The guidance also restrict additional comments in this field (ie Treaty of Lutatius)) but I won't stand on this - though it is problematic when such information becomes overwhelming and leads to bloat). I would also suggest modifying the sentence (above) which cites Goldsworthy such that it does not invoke by inference the theoretical concept of "decisive victory" - which Goldsworthy does not appear to be actually doing. Given the fuller context of the paragraph in which the sentence appears, it may be perfectly reasonable to just drop the word "decisive" or substitute "conclusive" - though in either case, fighting continued on land. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 11:25, 17 June 2021 (UTC)


History of the Battle of the Egadi Islands

In early 241 BCE, however, the tide turned in Rome’s favor. From 249 BCE to February 241 BCE, the Roman and Carthaginian land armies had fought to a stalemate at Mount Erice, near Trapani, and had each dug in for extended siege warfare. The Carthaginian army depended on supplies brought by sea, which meant their ships had to pass close by the Egadi Islands. The Roman Republic had embarked on a crash shipbuilding program to replace their losses from previous battles with new warships. We now know that the Carthaginians had continued to use hulls captured from the Romans over the previous decade. This meant that the Carthaginian warships were no longer in peak condition. The Romans also had the great advantage of knowing exactly where the Carthaginian ships had to go if they were to succeed in resupplying their army.

On March 9, 241 BCE, a Carthaginian fleet of more than 200 warships and transports reached Marettimo, the westernmost of the Egadi Islands. The Roman Navy hid to the east of Levanzo, out of sight of the Carthaginians. At first light on March 10, 241 BCE, the Carthaginian Navy sailed from Marettimo, heavily laden with supplies that they intended to unload for their army, then search out the Roman Navy unencumbered by cargo. The Roman Navy lookouts saw the Carthaginian ships and the Romans moved rapidly into a blocking position.

The Roman ships won decisively. According to Greek historian Polybius, at least 50 Carthaginian ships sunk and nearly 10,000 Carthaginians were taken prisoner. Critically, the Carthaginians were unable to land the desperately needed supplies, and stay current on the cash payroll for their mercenaries.

The RPM-Soprintendenza del Mare/GUE investigation of the area has thus far produced findings consistent with the ancient accounts. At locations consistent with the Roman Navy intercepting and blocking a Carthaginian fleet headed for Mount Erice, we have found at least two areas where groups of warships collided, rams were damaged by head-on collisions, and warships sank, with bronze helmets sitting on the seabed as testimony to the loss of life.

The historical accounts agree that the Carthaginian ships that were not captured or sunk turned back without reaching their army and the seabed in the battle areas discovered to date is littered with scattered amphorae that appear to have been jettisoned either heading into battle or fleeing from the defeat. The historical accounts also agree that Carthage had no choice but to sue for peace and pay Rome an enormous indemnity in return for safe passage for its marooned army. The financial handcuffs Rome imposed on Carthage succeeded in bringing peace about, but as it turned out, only until 218 BCE, when the Second Punic War began. The conflict ended only in 146 BCE, with the Third Punic War at the end of which Rome razed Carthage to the ground and enslaved or killed all of its people. > Read Less


Carthage fought with Roman ships

Carthage seems to have fought the battle with a fleet that partly consisted of captured Roman ships. "Of the 19 securely known rams from this area, I believe 11 of them are securely identified as Roman rams," said team member William Murray, a professor of Greek history at the University of South Florida. Additionally, the type of design on many of the helmets found at the site is one that archaeologists call "Montefortino." The helmet design was so popular with the Romans that they decorated some of their rams with images of the helmets.

The discovery of numerous Roman rams and Montefortino-type helmets leaves archaeologists with a dilemma. "You would expect that the Carthaginians, who lost the battle, would have suffered the most casualties," said Murray, noting that you would also "expect that most of the warship rams would belong to Carthaginian-manned warships."

Carthage likely used ships that they had captured from the Romans in a previous naval battle, said Murray, who added that historical records say that in one battle, which occurred several years before the Aegates Islands battle, Carthage captured 93 Roman ships. [What Was the Most Pointless Battle in History?]

Why there are so many Montefortino helmets is a bit of a mystery. One explanation is that the Carthaginians hired mercenaries from Gaul and Iberia and used them to crew many of their ships in the fleet, Murray said. Soldiers in those areas sometimes used Montefortino helmets.


2. The Battle of Actium

Credit: Antonio Vassilacchi/Getty Images

In 31 B.C., opposing armadas under Octavian and Marc Antony clashed near the Greek peninsula at Actium. At stake was control of the Roman Republic, which had hung in the balance since the assassination of Julius Caesar some 13 years earlier. Antony and his lover Cleopatra commanded several hundred ships, many of them well-armored war galleys equipped with wooden towers for archers, massive rams and heavy grappling irons. Octavian’s vessels were mostly smaller Liburnian craft capable of greater speed and maneuverability and manned by more experienced crews.

According to the ancient historian Plutarch, the ensuing engagement quickly took on the character of a land battle, with the two sides firing flaming arrows and heaving pots of red-hot pitch and heavy stones at one another’s decks. Antony’s war galleys proved slow and clumsy in the heat of combat, and Octavian’s more nimble Liburnians found success by swarming around the enemy vessels and attacking in numbers. As the battle turned in Octavian’s favor, Cleopatra lost her nerve and ordered her 60 vessels to abandon the fight. A love-struck Marc Antony followed with a few ships of his own, leaving the majority of his forces to be overwhelmed by Octavian’s fleet. The defeat at Actium was the beginning of the end for Antony and Cleopatra, both of whom later committed suicide when Octavian’s forces moved on Egypt. With his main rival defeated, Octavian tightened his grip on Rome, took the honorific name 𠇊ugustus” and ruled for more than 40 years as its first emperor.


Wrecked: How Hannibal Smashed Rome at the Battle of Cannae

Key point: Carthage would win a stunning victory and would continued to reduce Rome's legions. But Rome would refused to surrender and would amazingly win the war--14 years later.

Long ranks of Carthaginian infantry stood on a dusty plain a few miles east of the ruined town of Cannae on August 2, 216 bc. Cavalry massed at each end of the Carthaginian line stood poised to harass the enemy’s flanks. Opposite the Carthaginians, a Roman army was arrayed in similar fashion.

The day was warm, dry, and windy. A seasonal wind known as the libeccio, which blew from the south, sent fine particles of dust into the faces of the advancing Romans. The armies had deployed from their camps north of the River Aufidius to the south side of the twisting waterway.

As combat grew near, many of the Carthaginian troops gripped Roman weapons that they had picked up from a clash at Lake Trasimene the previous year. More than a few wore similarly looted Roman armor. They carried Roman javelins, spears, and gladii. None of them had seen their native lands for many years. Indeed, the only way they might ever see those homes again was to achieve yet another victory. Although outnumbered and deep in enemy territory, their confidence remained high.

The Carthaginian troops had complete faith in their stalwart leader, Hannibal Barca. Hannibal had proved that he was brilliant, bold, and daring. Upon the fields surrounding Cannae that day Hannibal’s name would become deeply etched in the annals of history. What Hannibal would achieve at Cannae would forever mark him as one of the greatest battlefield commanders of all time.

Rome and Carthage had previously gone to war against each other in the First Punic War that began in 264 bc. Over the course of the 23-year conflict, the Romans gradually wrested control of Sicily from the Carthaginians. The Carthaginians, who retreated to the western part of the island, could no longer sustain themselves when the Romans destroyed their fleet in the Aegates Islands in 241 bc. Rome ejected the Carthaginians from Sicily and forced them to pay a heavy indemnity at the peace table.

The Romans emerged from the First Punic War as the dominant naval power in the Mediterranean Sea. Afterward, the Carthaginians began to rebuild their military forces in anticipation of a new war. To finance their armies and fleet, the Carthaginians embarked on a concerted effort to expand economically.

Hamilcar Barca, one of Carthage’s leading generals, masterminded the Carthaginian occupation of Iberia. It took decades and a generation of the Barca family, but by 218 bcCarthage was ready to exact revenge against Rome. The job fell not to Hamilcar, but to his son, Hannibal. When Hannibal was only 10 years old, Hamilcar made him swear an oath of eternal enmity toward Rome.

Hannibal was an astute commander who knew how to inspire men. He once swam a river to encourage his men to follow and slept on the ground as they did. Ready for a rematch with Rome, Hannibal attacked the Iberian city of Saguntum after its leaders chose to ally with Rome. The incident touched off the Second Punic War.

Seizing the initiative, Hannibal led his army north. The Carthaginians crossed the Alps and invaded the Roman heartland with 46,000 troops and 37 elephants. Hannibal recruited Gauls and others enemies of Rome as he marched.

The Romans responded with their legions, each accompanied by another legion raised by a Roman ally in the region. Hannibal’s generalship brought the Romans low at Trebia in 218 bcand at Lake Trasimene in 217 bc. Rome suffered heavy casualties and damage to its reputation from these defeats.

The Romans needed to turn the tide. For that reason, they appointed Quintus Fabius Maximus as dictator. Fabius realized his best option was to create time to rebuild the Roman armies, so he avoided pitched battles and sought smaller skirmishes designed to weaken the Carthaginians gradually while building his own strength. While the strategy was reasonable given the situation, it did not sit well with Roman leaders. Rome had a tradition of aggressive military action and their mind-set precluded anything other than the offensive.

The Romans subsequently elected two consuls, Lucius Amelius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro. Meanwhile, the Roman Senate authorized the expansion of the Roman army by four legions along with four allied legions. These would join with two existing armies led by the previous year’s consuls, Marcus Atilius Regulus and Gnaeus Servilius Geminus. Regulus would be replaced before the battle by Marcus Minucius Rufus. These existing armies shadowed Hannibal’s force while it wintered in Geronium in southern Italy.

The Roman plan was simple. Paullus and Varro would each command the army on alternating days, a Roman custom of the time. They would rendezvous with the two armies in the field and take command of the entire force. Their objective was to bring Hannibal to battle and defeat him, thereby ending the Carthaginian threat. The alternating command may have been Roman tradition, but Paullus and Varro disliked each other and were frequently at odds. Thus, the Roman army had a significant leadership problem.

The two armies were organized and equipped according to their own customs and heritage. The Roman legions were raised by the legio, a levy of citizens ranging from 17 to 49 years of age, who owned property. Rome had a long martial tradition and propertied families were accustomed to military service, training their sons for it. In addition, each Roman ally was expected to raise its own legion to join the Romans on a one-for-one basis. It is believed these units were organized similarly to the Roman legions. During the Second Punic War the legions were raised for a period of one year with new troops rotated through them, so these units began to become permanently established organizations.

Each legion was 4,500 strong with 4,200 infantry and 300 cavalry. By this time the legions were organized into the triplex acies, a system of three lines. The first line was the hastati, 1,200 younger men armed with the pilum, a Roman javelin, and the gladius, a short sword. They also carried a large shield called a scutum and wore a helmet and chest armor. The second line consisted of the principes, another 1,200 men considered in their prime. They carried similar arms and armor to the hastati though some may have worn mail coats called lorica hamata. The third line held the triarii, 600 experienced older men who also carried spears. Each legion also had 1,200 velites, light infantry who would screen the legion and act as skirmishers. These men probably did not wear armor but carried a light shield, a few javelins, and a gladius. These lines would stagger to cover gaps, which also allowed the cavalry or velites to move through the formation more easily.

The wealthiest Romans made up the cavalry. Known as the equites, they guarded the flanks and pursued fleeing enemy soldiers. The 300 horsemen of a legion were divided into 10 turmaes of 30 men each, all well armed and armored. Generals often positioned themselves with the cavalry. In all a well-trained legion was a formidable unit led by trained leaders, the entire force steeped in the militaristic Roman tradition. One flaw of the legions present at Cannae was a lack of training. They were hastily raised and sent into battle before they could be seasoned. The troops also were raised from a wider group due to the desperate need for men after the previous defeats. The property requirements were eliminated, which meant many of the recruits lacked the martial training the wealthier men received.

The Carthaginian army followed different practices based on Carthage’s multicultural nature and experiences. Carthage did not have Rome’s population base and historically paid more attention to its navy. Their society was largely an oligarchy and the army reflected that quality. The Carthaginians drew troops from the various provinces and allied states to round out their army. The army contained a small core of citizen-soldiers surrounded by larger numbers of the allied troops and mercenaries recruited through Carthage’s extensive trading networks. The polyglot Carthaginian army was composed of Carthaginians, Numidians, Libyo-Phoenicians, Iberians, and Gauls. The Carthaginian cavalry at Cannae consisted of Numidians, Iberians, and Gauls. The senior officers were Carthaginians and were drawn from the city’s leading families.

Rather than try to train and organize these disparate factions along a common line, each contingent was allowed to fight according to its native traditions. This allowed the various groups to maintain their cohesion in battle, remaining at the side of their tribal comrades. They also used whatever equipment was familiar to them however, as the campaign stretched out over the years much of the original equipment had to be replaced.

In combat, the Carthaginian infantry often would form into side-by-side columns to help maintain cohesion. This formation mitigated the differences in fighting techniques of the various contingents. These columns contained the Gauls and Iberians in alternating blocks with the Libyo-Phoenicians anchoring them on both ends. In front of this line of columns were the light infantry, which was composed of Balearic slingers and Celts. Four thousand Gallic horsemen were present in the Carthaginian army at the time of the battle. Like the Romans, they took their place on either end of the infantry formation, prepared to screen or charge as needed.


Found: Shipwrecks, Helmets, and Clues From an Ancient Roman Naval Battle

A 3D-model of a helmet found at the site, created by William Murray. Courtesy RPM Nautical Foundation

Just because a battle took place over 2,000 years ago doesn’t mean we can’t uncover what happened. A team of archaeologists exploring a Mediterranean site near Sicily is using their findings to piece together a narrative of the Battle of the Aegates Islands, a naval conflict between ancient Rome and Carthage.

Volgens Live Science, the team has been surveying the site for years, recovering six bronze ship rams, along with some helmets and pottery, in 2018 alone. As the findings have accumulated, they have both raised new questions and suggested new answers as to how the events of March 10, 241 BC played out.

It was already known, for example, that the Romans won the battle decisively, forcing the Carthaginians to evacuate Sicily, and collecting a Carthaginian payment of 2,200 talents to compensate for the Romans’ lost ships. The resounding Roman victory would suggest that most of the site’s shipwrecks would have belonged to Carthage—but so far, that has not been the case. In fact, 11 of the 19 rams identified at the site appear to have been Roman, according to William Murray, an historian of ancient Greece at the University of South Florida and a member of the research team. In addition, many of the helmets recovered at the site are in the “Montefortino” style associated with the Romans.

A Roman ram found at the site. William Murray/Courtesy RPM Nautical Foundation

One way to explain this seeming contradiction is to propose, as Murray has, that the Carthaginian navy was using many Roman ships in this battle, as it had taken some 93 of them from a prior battle. The Montefortino helmets, meanwhile, may have belonged to mercenaries from Gaul and Iberia, who fought for Carthage and were known to sometimes wear Montefortinos.

Equally curious is the scattering of amphorae—liquid-holding pots—around the ships’ wreckage. These kinds of pots, Murray explained to Live Science, would have been packed together in clusters on each ship, so something seems amiss in finding them just lying about, apart from one another. They may well have been thrown overboard by Carthaginian sailors who, knowing that they were losing the battle, wanted to make their ships lighter and faster, and give themselves a better chance of escaping the Romans.

The amphorae also, however, present another question that lacks such a likely answer. These pots were not tarred with the material that would have prevented liquids from evaporating inside them, leading the researchers to wonder what their use would have been. The amphorae are undergoing chemical tests in an attempt to trace their contents, and the researchers are gearing up to return to the Mediterranean and piece together more of the battle this year.