The Punic Wars   see term 'Punic'
Roman expansion in Sicily led to a conflict with Carthage in north Africa. The Phoenician trading center of Carthage was then the greatest city in the world. A monumental strugggle (the 3 Punic Wars) over control of the western Mediterran-ean between Rome and Carthage began in 264 BC and lasted until 146 BC, when Rome triumphed and its rival was destroyed.

The 1st Punic War (264-241 BC)
The defenders of the Sicilian town of Messana (Messina) appealed to Rome and Carthage for help against Hiro of Syracuse. Following the landing of a Roman army, Syracuse and Carthage formed an alliance; but after the defeat of their armies at Messana, Hiero allied himself with Rome.

Naval battle of Mylae in 260 BC.
Victory of the Romans with newly constructed ships (modelled after a 5-oared Punic vessel they had found stranded). With the invention of the boarding bridge, land-war tactics were used in naval warfare.

Another naval victory of the Romans enabled them to land in Africa and advance to the city of Carthage. Using cavalry and elephants the Carthagians counterattacked.

After years of warfare with Hamilcar a new Roman fleet was victorious in 241 BC which led to a peace treaty and to the establishment of the
1st Roman province in Sicily.

To the 2nd Punic War