It was the longest, bloodiest, and largest conflict in ancient history, one in which over 15 percent of the Italian population lost their lives in a single military disaster on a single day. It was a conflict which pitted two of antiquity’s greatest civilizations against each other for the first time, and which would determine their ultimate destinies and the course of European history forever. Though the First Punic War, which lasted from 264 B.C. to 241 B.C., started as a minor conflict over a political dispute in Northern Sicily, it soon encompassed all of the central Mediterranean, Sicily, and Northern Africa; the Romans and Carthaginians would spend over 20 years fighting for control over the valuable sea lanes surrounding Sicily and for dominance over Sicily itself. An understudied and under-recognized war, the First Punic War is a fascinating case study of major conflict; an analysis of this conflict demonstrates how minor disputes can evolve into a major war, how former allies can quickly become enemies and vice versa, and how the situation surrounding the resolution of a conflict can lead to the beginning of a new one.
The origin, and catalyst, of the war was found in a minor conflict involving neither the Carthaginians nor the Romans. In 289 B.C., the Syracusan ruler Agathocles died and his band of mercenaries, known as the Mamertines, seized control of Messana (on the far north-east tip of Sicily). For years they secured their position and extended their power, but then came into conflict with the Syracusan general Hiero. Hiero’s victories over the Mamertines gave him the opportunity to pronounce himself King of Syracuse, while it prompted the Mamertines to seek allies. Certain factions within the Mamertines appealed to Carthage for aid and some to Rome; the chronology is rather disputed (Morstein-Marx 148) but it is clear that Carthage moved first, installing a garrison in Messana and ending Hiero’s siege. The Roman Senate was slower to respond, mired by indecision and infighting. Thus, the Consuls of 264 put the issue to a vote in the popular assembly, asking the Roman citizenry whether they would approve a decision to send an army.
Understanding the character of the Roman state is important in understanding how Rome approached foreign policy issues, and thus understanding why they approached the conflict as they did. Rome was a monarchy until its kings were overthrown and the Republic established in 509 B.C. Two annually elected “Consuls”, who came from the ranks of the Senate, ruled the Republic. The Consuls were given imperium, the right to command Roman soldiers and to dispense justice, and were often in command of armies as they engaged in war; military glory was the greatest ambition of a Roman aristocrat, and a great victory might win a Consul the right to celebrate a triumph, one of Rome’s highest honors (Harris 15). The Senate was a closed, oligarchic body of about 300 that advised the magistrates and discussed affairs of state. It had no actual legislative power and all its decrees needed to be ratified by the people, but its religious authority and its permanence ensured that it had a dominant role in domestic and foreign policy (Goldsworthy 40). Because of the glory military service and victory conferred upon the Consuls, the Roman state was often engaged in war. Indeed, throughout much of the history of the early and middle Republic the Roman army was on campaign at least once a year (Harris 15). The men of the Senate too sought, and received, the valor which military victory provided; valor and military service were seen as necessary for the advancement of a Roman politician’s career and the furthering of his repute (Harris 17). As such, the Roman state was one, which was willing and eager to wage war.
The Roman people approved the Consuls’ proposal, and the Romans mustered their force. Meanwhile, the Mamertines expelled the Carthaginian garrison at Messana from the city; primary sources say that this expulsion was instigated by the Romans (Goldsworthy 72). At this stage in the escalating conflict, there was a great deal of negotiation between the various parties (Goldsworthy 73). The Carthaginians warned the Romans not to intervene in the dispute, urging them to seek peace rather than confront the might of the Carthaginian navy. The Romans, however, stressed their need to fulfill their fides, or faith, to their new allies the Mamertines. Neither side was willing to back down, thereby exacerbating the conflict (Lazenby 47).
The Carthaginian and Roman refusal to back down can be attributed to a fundamental miscalculation by both sides of the escalating nature of the conflict, and demonstrates how states engaged in conflict often get there unintentionally. In the past the Carthaginians had endured the onslaught of foreign enemies, such as Pyrrhus of Epirus in the 270s B.C., and had eventually repulsed them. The contrast between the strength of the Carthaginian fleet, which had maintained Carthage’s vast maritime trade empire, and the almost nonexistent Roman fleet further encouraged the Carthaginian belief that the Romans would have extreme difficulty in maintaining a presence in Sicily. Indeed, the Carthaginians had little reason to think the Romans would land in the first place, or believe that any initial reverses would be anything other than temporary (Goldsworthy 75). The Romans too did not believe that their intervention would necessarily lead to full-scale war. The potential for a confrontation with the Carthaginians clearly existed, and a clash with Hiero’s Syracuse was certain, but the Romans may have felt that their military power was strong enough to deter or quickly defeat any opposition in Sicily (Goldsworthy 69). The perceptions of these states about their own power and the power of their enemies prevented them from recognizing the possibility for prolonged war, and led them into directly into it. Thus, feeling confident, the Consul Appius Claudius managed to bring most of his force across the strait between Italy and Sicily as the Carthaginians were being expelled from Messana. In response to this escalation, the Carthaginians and Hiero formed their own alliance; the ease to which Hiero was willing to cooperate with his former enemy demonstrates the degree to which all parties were now acting out of self-interest (Goldsworthy 73). The sides were now set, and the conflict were about to begin.
Polybius points out, “No sane man goes to war with his neighbors simply for the sake of defeating his opponent… All actions are undertaken for the sake of the consequent pleasure, good, or advantage” (Harris 1). The origin of the conflict was the Roman and Carthaginian decision to become involved in the Mamertine/Syracusan dispute, but these decisions were influenced and determined by a number of factors. Roman and Carthaginian interests, outlooks, and perceptions would send them into a collision course, and provoke an escalation of a minor dispute into a major conflict.
A major contributor to the Roman citizenry’s decision to become involved in the conflict was the promise of plunder. Economic gain was to the Romans an integral part of successful warfare and the expansion of power; in many ways, it is how the Romans measured and justified the success of their conquests (Harris 56). Slaves, booty, and wealth were especially attractive spoils of war to Romans with sizable landholdings, but even the poorest Romans who served in the army could expect to return home with some prize. To the Senators and Consuls leading Rome during the build-up to the conflict, Sicily would have looked like an especially attractive source of wealth. The island’s fertility was probably already known, the Carthaginian Empire’s reputation as being enormously wealthy made it a desirable target, and the possibility for territorial gain also excited Roman interests. (Harris 63). Viewed through the lens of economic gain, the Roman citizenry’s decision to approve the decision to go to send an army in 264 B.C. is unsurprising.
In many ways, geopolitical concerns were a leading contributor to the Roman decision to become involved in a conflict with the Carthaginians. As Roman influence expanded south throughout Italy, the two states seemed to have been on a collision course. Carthage was a far more formidable enemy than Rome had encountered for generations, and the recent invasions of Pyrrhus, an overseas enemy, made the Romans recognize the possibility of war with a foreign power (Harris 187). As the Romans came to see Italy “belonging” to them, they grew weary of the power which was stationed so close; there may well have been a fear among the Roman leadership that the Carthaginians would supply military or economic assistance to Rome’s newly acquired southern subjects if Rome quarreled with them in order to weaken the Romans and secure their own foothold in southern Italy (Lazenby 38). The Carthaginian involvement in the Mamertine dispute thus likely looked like a further encroachment of Carthaginian power into Rome’s periphery. Though often framed by primary sources as a ‘defensive war’, the Romans likely had offensive ambitions for the conflict; many modern historians see the Romans expecting and preparing for a Punic war after Pyrrhus’s defeat in 270 (Hoyos 19). A war with Carthage had the potential to not only halt the spread of Carthaginian power, but to also push it back.
Like Rome, Carthage came to be involved in the Mamertine/Syracusan dispute because of national concerns and perceptions, and would thus find itself in a war against Rome. Carthage’s willingness to send a garrison to Messana can be traced to the political realities of Sicily at the time: Carthage was a Sicilian power, and was concerned about its hegemony over the island. A Punic alliance with the Mamertines would mean no more Mamertine raids into Punic Sicily or against other Sicilian states friendly with the Carthaginians (Hoyos 44). It also meant the extension of Carthaginian influence into the northeast side of the island, whereas it had been concentrated in the south and west before. Carthage’s actions were thus a continuation of their long-term attempt to dominate Sicily (Goldsworthy 75).
The history of the Carthaginian Empire is important when considering why the Carthaginians were so quick to respond to the Mamertine request for help. Because this dispute became the catalyst for the First Punic War, understanding Carthage’s historical interests in Sicily and Messana helps explain the sources of the conflict. Founded as a Phoenician trading city before the beginning of last millennium B.C., Carthage aggressively expanded its holdings in Africa and overseas up until its first clash with Rome. It had come to dominate much of the coast of Africa throughout the 5th century B.C., setting up trade posts and dominating the key trade routes of the western Mediterranean. Carthage had been involved in Sicilian affairs for centuries before the war, but in the decades leading up to the conflict she found herself embroiled in conflict on the island; as a result of victories over Pyrrhus a decade before the war, Carthage was the master of all of southern and western Sicily (Goldsworthy 28-32). The enormous fertility of the island contributed significantly to Carthage’s wealth, and because of Carthage’s mercantile nature the Carthaginian leadership highly valued their Sicilian possessions and hegemony. With this in consideration, it is easy to see why the Carthaginians were so invested in the dispute and reluctant to back down when Rome became involved.
Upon the expulsion of the Carthaginian garrison, the dispute could have fizzled out. Hiero had lifted his siege in response to the Carthaginian garrisoning of the city but had still been crowned king in Syracuse; the Mamertines had successfully repulsed the siege and were in a position to regain their strength. Yet the situation had also evolved: Roman forces, prompted by the Mamertine request, were now on their way to Sicily. Neither Hiero nor Carthage was willing to accept this new political reality. Carthage was likely equally concerned about encroaching Roman influence as the Romans were of Carthage, and a Roman presence in Sicily would have presented a serious threat. This was likely of concern to Hiero too, for he had his own designs on Sicily. Furthermore, the Mamertine threat was still present, and it was in the interest of both parties to suppress them. Considering the situation, the alliance between Hiero and Carthage, and their continued interest in the struggle, was a matter of expedience and necessity for both parties (Lazenby 44-47). This alliance of convenience demonstrates that states will take whatever actions and form whatever relationships they need to in order to maximize their power in times of conflict and necessity.
If the Syracusan-Punic alliance demonstrated how former enemies could quickly become allies during wartime if the political situation necessitates it, then the Roman-Punic conflict demonstrates how former allies can quickly come into conflict. Rome and Carthage had had a long relationship, and on the whole it was a friendly one. The historian Polybius lists three treaties signed between Carthage and Rome in the course of their relationship before the First Punic War. The first, signed in 507 B.C., restricted Roman trade with Africa and protected Rome’s interests in Latium. The second, dated to 348 B.C., expanded the area in which Rome was prohibited to trade but also further safeguarded Rome’s Italian interests. The third, and perhaps most important, is dated to 278 B.C., only 14 years before the start of the war. Signed when Rome was embroiled in its conflict with Pyrrhus, Carthage agreed to provide Rome with transports for any movement of troops by sea and was to come to Rome’s aid with naval forces if a necessity arose (Lazenby 30-32). This treaty was essentially a military agreement, and the significance of the nature of this treaty signed only a decade before the war cannot be understated. It demonstrates that states with competing aims, which Rome and Carthage undoubtedly had, are still able to cooperate with each other diplomatically and militarily. Yet it also demonstrates that, when the opportunity arises for a state to advance its aims at the expense of another, that state will be willing to wage war even if they had agreements and alliances. Ultimately, this shows that states will wage war, or cooperate, when the cost-benefit analysis shows it is rational to do so regardless of who they are waging war against or cooperating with.
The early stage of the war progressed quickly. Over a period of a few months, the Roman army attacked and defeated both the Carthaginians and Hiero in the field; Hiero withdrew his army back to Syracuse while the Romans raided and devastated his territory. In 263 the Romans sent both Consuls, each at the head of an army, to Sicily. The show of force persuaded many Sicilian cities to defect from Carthaginian and Syracusan control while others were captured by surprise assaults. The actions of these cities reflect a defensive behavior common during these ancient wars; they sought to ally themselves with the strongest power in order to prevent the devastation of their fields and homes (Goldsworthy 74). The Romans, meanwhile, pursued a strategy of land destruction in order to coerce the Sicilian cities to defect and to demoralize the Syracusans and Carthaginians. This strategy, coupled with overwhelming force, seemed to have worked; Hiero sent envoys to the Romans offering peace and friendship. He offered to provide the Romans with military assistance and ensure the safeguarding and maintenance of their supply lines. The Romans, suffering from supply issues, were thus more than willing to accept the offer despite the generous terms they gave Hiero (Lazenby 54). Two behaviors can be seen on the Romans’ part. First, it shows that they were willing to settle a conflict when the situation necessitated it, even if they could have extracted further gains with further campaigning. The Romans likely could have captured Syracuse and defeated Hiero, but they needed his assistance in supplying their armies in order to continue the war against Carthage. Second, by securing a peace with Hiero, Rome was shifting its objectives away from Syracuse and towards Carthage. The securing of supply lines guaranteed the Romans the opportunity to campaign and wage war for prolonged periods of time, thereby further exacerbating the conflict, and the removal of Hiero from the conflict meant that only Carthage and Rome were left fighting. The peace with Hiero thus completely changed the scope of the war.
In 262 B.C., the Roman armies besieged the city of Agrigentum, the main Carthaginian supply base in Sicily. Following a major battle, one of only a few fought during the course of the war, the city fell to Roman forces. According to the primary sources, the fall of Agrigentum convinced the Roman Senate to extend their war aims to include the total expulsion of the Carthaginians from Sicily (Goldsworthy 81). It meant that the Roman hold on eastern Sicily was finally secure, and that the Romans could begin to think about expanding the scale and scope of the conflict. (Lazenby 60). Thus, the fall of Agrigentum represents a turning point in the conflict; whereas before the conflict was fought over limited objectives, it was now a struggle over the control of Sicily. This demonstrates how certain events, such as a major military victory or defeat, can change a state’s objectives in a war and how conflicts can easily be intensified and expanded by a state’s perception of its success. Also of enormous importance during the years 262 and 261 B.C. was the Roman decision to build a fleet. Polybius argues that this decision coincided with the fall of Agrigentum, though other scholars have pointed out that the Romans appeared to have been preparing for the construction of a fleet during the years before (Lazenby 64). Either way, the construction of a Roman fleet further represents the Roman decision to escalate the scale of the conflict. Whereas before the conflict had been confined to Sicily and fought only on land, the Romans now wanted to contest the Carthaginian control of the sea. What had begun as a minor dispute with limited objectives had transformed into a struggle over the control of Sicily, and was now transforming into a conflict over the control of the Mediterranean. Thus, in 3 years, the Roman and Carthaginian conflict had evolved into a major clash between civilizations.
Over the next few years, the Carthaginians and Romans clashed at sea and on land. Minor Carthaginian advances were made in 260 and 259 B.C. but were repulsed and a number of Roman offensives were staged in the years that followed. The situation in Sicily had become a bit of a stalemate; though the Romans were often on the offensive, the time it took for the Romans to besiege and capture the Sicilian cities allowed the Carthaginians to repulse and reverse many of the Roman gains (Lazenby 81). However, during this time the Romans had had considerable success at sea. Thus, the Romans, hoping to force a definite conclusion to the conflict, decided to strike directly at the Carthaginian homeland.
The invasion of Africa in 256 B.C. represents another clear stage in the conflict; the Romans sought to further expand the scope of the war. It was a way of putting further pressure on Carthage (Goldsworthy 91). It also reveals the Roman confidence in their capabilities; Roman troops had only left Italy for the first time 8 years prior, and now were preparing for an invasion of Africa. The voyage from Sicily to Carthage was about 400 miles, and the Romans would need to transport an entire army that distance while defending against the still formidable Carthaginian navy. The Roman perceptions about their capabilities convinced them that they could undertake this operation, and thus contributed to their expanding of the conflict (Lazenby 81).
The Consul Marcus Atilius Regulus led the campaign and was initially enormously successful, ravaging the Carthaginian countryside and destroying the Carthaginian army at the battle of Adys. Regulus then sent envoys to Carthage to negotiate terms of peace. This attempt at peace was significant, but also demonstrates the nature of the Consular office. Regulus’s term was almost at an end, and he wanted to finish the war and take the credit before a successor arrived to gain an easy victory. Indeed, this followed a precedent set by past holders of the office; in many ways, personal ambition and the quest for glory were significant factors contributing to when the Roman leadership decided to seek peace (Goldsworthy 87). The terms of the treaty, however, were enormously harsh: the Carthaginians would need to give up Sicily and Sardinia, release all Roman prisoners freely whilst ransoming their own, pay the Romans an indemnity and annual tribute, only make war and peace on the approval of Rome, and only retain one warship for their own use while providing 50 to serve under the Romans. The Carthaginians, though at a disadvantage, were not at the end of their resources and refused to accept the terms. Faced with a Roman refusal to grant concession, the talks failed.
The harshness of the terms, and the ultimate failure of the talks, reflect the attitudes of these states towards waging and terminating war. Roman wars ended only when the enemy ceased to be a threat by admitting total defeat and accepting their future as a subordinate ally; the only alternative for the Romans was to suffer such a defeat themselves. The Carthaginians had a far less deterministic attitude towards war, and expected a war to be ended with a negotiated treaty that reflected the actual balance of power (Goldsworthy 92). Thus, the Romans expected a peace with Carthage to be a total submission to Roman power, whereas the Carthaginians saw the situation they were in as far from being totally beaten. Because of these conflicting attitudes about peace, no peace was to be found. This demonstrates how differing approaches, and perceptions, about what the nature and limitations of a peace treaty should be can influence the resolution or prolongation of a conflict. In the case with the First Punic War, the result is that the conflict would drag on for another decade.
After rejecting Regulus’s offer, the Carthaginians managed to rally their troops, defeat Regulus in a stunning battle, and force the Romans from Africa. The Roman invasion had ultimately been unsuccessful, but it was not a total failure; Carthage’s African subjects, recognizing the disadvantage Carthage was in, began to instigate rebellions and revolts, forcing Carthage to focus energy away from Rome and towards its agitated subjects. Furthermore, the Carthaginian navy had been seriously defeated at Ecnomus during the Roman invasion, and would need another five years to rebuild before beginning further operations (Lazenby 84). In the years, which followed, the situation in Sicily was more or less reminiscent of the stalemate that occurred before the invasion of Africa. The Carthaginian army was seriously defeated at the battle of Panormus in 250 B.C., the last major set-piece battle of the war, and from that point on the Carthaginian strategy on land was, for all intents and purposes, entirely defensive. The Romans began the siege of Lilybaeum, the last Carthaginian stronghold on the far west coast of Sicily. Yet the Roman navy also suffered an enormous defeat in the battle of Drepna in 249 B.C., loosing almost its entire fleet. Despite these events, the Romans and Carthaginians continued to wage war.
Surprisingly, Carthage didn’t press the advantage of having destroyed the Roman fleet in 249 B.C.; doing so may have helped it regain the losses it had suffered in Sicily. This can be explained by the escalation of the conflict to include Africa, and the resulting revolt of the Carthaginian subjects. Carthage’s attention, and the focus of its military strength, had been diverted (Lazenby 143). This diversion of attention in part resulted from the election of the Carthaginian general Hanno “the Great” as leader of Carthage. Hanno was the commander-in-chief of Carthage’s African army, and was, according to Polybius, most accustomed to making war in Africa. It is possible that he felt that the war in Sicily against Rome was no longer worth waging, and that Carthaginian attention should be refocused towards its African campaigns (Lazenby 144). This demonstrates how changes in a state’s political leadership can have dramatic impacts on the foreign policies it is pursuing. In the case of a conflict, a new leader may take different steps than his or her predecessors and thus alter the course of the war, as the case with Hanno shows.
In Sicily, the Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca was given command, but his calls for an aggressive strategy were rejected, and he was forced to make do with the limited soldiers he had and wage a guerilla war. In the meantime, Rome rebuilt its fleet, largely off of donations provided by private citizens, and commissioned private citizens to launch their own naval raids against the Carthaginian coast. This shows the total involvement of the Roman state in matters of war, and the fact that Rome’s private citizens were willing, and even eager, to provide assistance helped prolong the struggle (Lazenby 150). Using its newly rebuilt navy, the Romans met and engaged the Carthaginian fleet at the Aegates Islands in 241 B.C. and overwhelmed them. Carthage lost most of its fleet in the battle and was unable to find the manpower to support a new one. Following this defeat, the Carthaginians recognized that they were unable to regain control of the sea, and thus unable to support their troops in Sicily. The Carthaginian leadership gave Hamilcar the order to seek peace with Rome. The terms of peace the Romans offered were similar to what Regulus had demanded in Africa a decade earlier. Carthage was to surrender Sicily to the Romans, free all Roman prisoners whilst ransoming back their own, pay an indemnity and a tribute. Furthermore, neither side was allowed to make war on the others allies or recruit soldiers and raise money in the territory of the other (Goldsworthy 128).
The longest war in ancient history was now over; Carthage and Rome were again at peace. Yet despite the enormous cost of life, property, and wealth and the exhaustion of constant campaigning, the Carthaginians and Romans would find themselves embroiled in another struggle, the Second Punic War, only 23 years later. The cause of the Second Punic War can be found in the termination of the First, demonstrating how the sources of conflict can be derived from the events of a past struggle. The manner in which these events transpired demonstrates how individuals can a play vital role in exacerbating conflict. Hamilcar Barca, who was given command of Sicily in the last stages of the war, was very angry that he had not been given the resources to wage a more aggressive war against Rome. He thought that he would have been able to force a victory and that the Carthaginian leadership had allowed the Carthaginian defeat. He further felt that the Roman invasion of Sicily had been an unjust breach of Rome and Carthage’s past treaties, and that in the period following the First Punic War the Romans had demonstrated themselves to be highly untrustworthy. (Lazenby 171). Barca would later be chosen to command the Carthaginian campaigns in Spain during the 230s B.C., where he forged for himself and his dynasty a semi-independent quasi-kingdom. He used his wealth acquired in Spain to buy loyalty from his army and win political support from home, and soon came to be a powerful voice in the Carthaginian government (Goldsworthy 136). His animosity towards Rome remained, however, and he taught his young son to “never show goodwill to the Romans” (Lazenby 176). His son would be profoundly influenced and shaped by his father’s perceptions of Rome; indeed, because of them, he would later become Rome’s greatest enemy, setting off the Second Punic War and bringing war to Roman Italy. This boy was Hannibal.
The ultimate success of the Romans over the Carthaginians in the First Punic War can be attributed to a number of conflict behaviors, actions, and other factors. The simple quantity of troops involved should be taken into account. The Romans outmanned the Carthaginians throughout the war, and ultimately this proved to be a main reason the conflict drew to a close; the Carthaginians simply could not find the manpower to continue waging war (Lazenby 165). The ultimate determination of the conflict, however, can be attributed to fundamental differences in Carthaginian and Roman strategy and how they approached war. The Carthaginians operated in reaction to Roman actions throughout the war, and made no serious attempt to force a Roman defeat. They had been able to repeal major invasions by outside powers in the past, and thus sought only to preserve their hegemony on Sicily by ‘holding out’ (Lazenby 167). Because of this approach to war, the Carthaginians were again and again put on the defensive, and hardly initiated any major offensives of their own. Perhaps this is because war to Carthage ended with a negotiated settlement, not in an ultimate defeat, and they thus did not seek a total war. The Roman approach to war, however, fundamentally different than the Carthaginian approach, and helped both the conflict and ultimately force a Roman victory. They tried a number of times to force a Carthaginian defeat; the Roman invasion of Africa is an example of this strategy. For Rome, a victory ended only when the other side was subjugated; there were no negotiated settlements. It is thus easy to see why the conflict lasted as long as it did, as the Romans were unwilling to stop hostilities until Carthage had been totally defeated. As such, they waged war with a serious ferocity and determination; despite serious losses and setbacks, the Romans would not abandon their offensive. Even when outnumbered or in a disadvantageous position, they constantly continued to attack in order to apply continuous pressure on the enemy (Goldsworthy 130). Because Rome was constantly taking actions to defeat the Carthaginians, and the Carthaginians were constantly trying to respond and defend against these actions, the momentum lay with the Romans. With this in consideration, it is hard to see how Carthage could have ever emerged victorious.
The Roman civilization has profoundly impacted the modern world; western civilization and culture owes its heritage to the Romans. Had the Romans failed in creating their European empire, the world today would be a completely different place. The First Punic War is thus perhaps one of the defining conflicts in history: the Roman victory over Carthage set in motion its domination of the Mediterranean, and thus the eventual creation of its empire. If Carthage and Rome had gone their separate ways, history might have been forever altered. Understanding the First Punic War is thus vitally important to understanding the overall course history, and understanding the origins, sources, behaviors, and actions of the First Punic War is vital to understanding the way it was fought, why it was fought, and how it concluded.
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Harris, William. War and Imperialism in Republic Rome 327-70 BC. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Print.
Hoyos, Dexter. Unplanned Wars: Origins of the First and Second Punic Wars. Berlin: W Hildebrand, 1997. Print.
Lazenby, J.F. The First Punic War. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. Print.
Morstein-Marx, Robert and Nathan Rosenstein, A Companion to the Roman Republic. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing LTD. 2006. Print.