If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:11:05

Video transcript

as we enter into the third century BCE we see the Roman Republic that was founded in 509 BCE has now exerted control over most of the Italian peninsula but it's not the only power in the Mediterranean we have the remnants of Alexander the Great's Empire and we also have the Carthaginians and you can see here that in blue that Carthage had an extensive empire that controlled most of the western Mediterranean and so you can imagine it was only a matter of time before they come into conflict with each other and it turns out they are actually going to have three significant wars some historians view it as the most significant and large-scale Wars up to that point in history and the first of these happens in 264 BCE and it goes on for 23 years to 241 BCE this is known as the first first punic punic war you can see it on the timeline right over here going from 264 to 241 to 241 right over there and it it's a result of a conflict that starts between two city-states in Sicily Sicily is this island right over here and you have the city-state of Syracuse which is a powerful city originally established by the Greeks and it gets into a scuffle with Messina which is another city-state at the northern northeastern tip of Sicily and Rome and Carthage these two great powers get embroiled and it ends up being a conflict over the island of Sicily where Carthage already had a foothold on the west coast now what's interesting going into this war is that Carthage had a powerful you could view it as a Empire over the CEOs had a very powerful Navy while Rome had a very powerful army not really much of a Navy to speak of but as we can as we'll see as we go through the First Punic War that will change the first major battle happens at Agrigento and I'm probably mispronouncing it here on Sicily and the Romans are able to win decisively and then the Carthaginians you can imagine start to say well maybe we should engage them more in the sea and that happens in 260 at the Battle of Lipper II Islands which are right over here and when the Romans get defeated there they say hey maybe we need a little bit more of a Navy and so over the course of these several decades you you have this constant this continual fighting and there are some Carthaginian or Punic victories we've talked about in previous video the word Punic is derived from what the Romans called the Carthaginians which is derived from their roots as Phoenicians you have some Punic victories but for the most part Rome is successful and so at the end of the First Punic War a few things happen you have Carthage leaves Sicily Carthage expelled expelled from from Sicily you have you have war indemnity Rome tells Carthage hey you you've got a you've got to pay us for all of the damage you've created and so this is a this is difficult for Carthage because a war cost Carthage a lot and Carthage especially it didn't have citizen-soldiers its army was made up of it's a Navy had citizen I guess you say sailors but its army was made up mainly of mercenaries mercenaries so these are soldiers who really you know if you pay them enough they're going to fight for you they don't really have allegiances based on some type of ideology or citizenship so Carthage as they went through this many decades war they want had to pay all these mercenaries they had their own costs and now Rome is making them pay indemnity or indemnity indemnity to Rome and the other I guess you could say side effect of this first Punic War is that it a catalyst for Rome building its Navy Rome builds builds Navy and so you can imagine especially the cost of the First Punic War it becomes very difficult for Carthage it actually destabilizes Carthage a lot of the mercenaries when they're not paid as they see they should be they actually rise up and from 240 to 238 you have a mercenary war so 242 to 38 BCE BCE you have a mercenary war eventually it's able to be put down by the Carthaginians but the side effect is it weakens their hold on Sardinia and Corsica and so by the end of the mercenary war by the end of the mercenary war the map looks like this right over here so you could view this map as what the Mediterranean looked like in 238 BCE where you see now the Romans not only have control of the Italian peninsula they've gained control over Corsica Sardinia and Sicily now this is Roman power is only going to increase but the the Carthaginians this proud empire they they're not done here so in 218 the Carthaginian general Hannibal the famous Hannibal decides to attack the Romans and he does it in a in an unconventional way he attacks from the north he takes his army which includes elephants through the Swiss Alps this is an artist depiction of Hannibal's army with its elephants going through the Swiss Alps and they're able to wreak havoc over the Italian peninsula and this could this goes on for roughly 15 years and so from 218 BCE till 201 BCE you have the second Punic War Second Punic war and even though Hannibal is able to wreak havoc for over a decade on the Italian peninsula he's never able to fully take control of Rome and there's several explanations there one is the people that he conquers kept rising up against him they weren't just happy to be subjugated by the Carthaginians by the the Punic s' I guess you could say and he never was able to get as many reinforcements as necessary to fully subjugate Rome and by the end of the second Punic War the Romans decide to take the battle to Carthage and in 202 BCE at the Battle of Zuma he's it there the Romans are able to decisively beat Hannibal Hannibal is called back to defend the homeland and he is defeated here at Zuma and so in 201 BC of the end of the second Punic War and by that point at the end of the second Punic War you had you now have you now have Rome in control of significant chunks of the Iberian Peninsula that used to be under control of Carthage and Carthage has really been reduced to a client state of Rome and this is roughly what the map looks like and they can and after this in Rome isn't happy I mean this was a pretty ugly war Hannibal was here wreaking havoc on the Italian peninsula he was almost successful at taking over Rome it was an existential threat to the Roman Republic and so they Carthage essentially becomes a client state of Rome they have to pay war indemnity they really can't have a significant army anymore or a significant Navy and many people in Rome over the next several decades even though Carthage is weakened so much they start arguing hey we should we should just completely destroy this city because every time we just we destroy them or we or at least we beat them we get into this peace treaty but then they get powerful again and then they we get into a war with them and these are very ugly wars and so finally in 149 in 149 let me write this 1:49 b.c.e as carthage is starting to reassert a little bit of powers trying to rebuild its military the Romans get the Romans get scared and they say you know what let's let's just finish them off once and for all and they say alright they start to put very owners terms on the Carthaginians they say hey move your city further inland we don't want you to ever be a power the Carthaginians of course don't really can't can't say hey we're going to move our entire city and and we're going to cede to your demands and so the Romans use that as a as grounds for attack and then so by from 149 BCE to 146 BCE you have the third Punic War third Punic War which is really the one where Rome goes to destroy Carthage and they are able to destroy Carthage ending a seven hundred year a city-state empire whatever you want to call it they then become the city the city of Carthage is utterly destroyed its inhabitants are enslaved which the Romans liked to do for subjugated people and the city was was burned in a very in a very systematic way for 17 days the Romans wanted to ensure that Carthage could never rise up again to threatened Rome and so after the third Punic War the Romans are now the dominant Empire in the Mediterranean not only did they control that what they controlled going into the third Punic War but now they controlled they controlled the control karthick controlled Carthage's African colonies the same year 146 BCE they were also able the Romans were also able to take control of Greece and so as we exit out of the third Punic War you now have a Rome that is extremely powerful and this Roman Republic is starting to resemble this Empire it's not officially an empire yet is still officially a republic but it's taking control of other people so you could view it as an M fire is starting to take shape as this major civilization control that will eventually control the entire Mediterranean