Punic Wars > Third Punic War
Third Punic War
Third Punic War
- Part of the Punic Wars
- Date: 149 BC - 146 BC
- Location: Hills outside Adis
- Victor: Roman Republic
- Results: The destruction of Carth, annexation of all Carthaginian territories, and collapse of Punic civilization. Rome gains control over the entire Mediterranean Sea.
- 80,000 Infantry
- 150,000 - 250,000 Killed
- 50,000 Enslaved
The Third Punic War, also known in Latin as Tertium Bellum Punicum was the final of the Punic Wars that lasted between 149 BC an 146 BC fought between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginians. Unlike the previous two wars which occurred all around the Mediterranean, the Third Punic War was mostly focused on North Africa, in the area of modern day Tunisia. Lasting only three years or so, this was also the shortest of the Punic Wars and saw the complete destruction of the Carthaginian and Punic civilization as a whole, as well as the incorporation and assimilation of North Africa and the rest of the Punic territories as Roman.
Following their victory during the Second Punic War, the city of Rome set about on series of campaigns of conquest during the Hellenistic Period that would cause them to dominate nearly all of the Mediterranean basin, save for the Carthaginian territories. During this time the Romans engaged in the Illyrian Wars with their neighbors to the north, as well as with the Greeks during the Macedonian Wars and the Roman-Seleucid War.
As well, following their assistance to the Romans during the Second Punic War, the peoples of Hispania were suppressed and Carthage was isolated from the rest of its former allies in Sicily and Sardinia. However, just as before there were many fears in Rome that Carthage would reemerge from the massive war reparations stronger than ever just as what happened before with Hannibal Barca. The fears of another Battle of Cannae resounded deep within the Roman psyche still.
For example, a Roman politician named Cato the Elder would end most of his speeches with the Latin phrase "ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" which meant "Furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage must be destroyed". Even Cicero attributes this phrase to him in his dialogue De Senectute. However, Cicero was usually beaten in the public debates by another senator named Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum who wanted to go an alternative route regarding the Carthaginians.The peace treaty at the end of the Second Punic War required that all border disputes involving Carthage be arbitrated by the Roman Senate and required Carthage to get explicit Roman approval before going to war. As a result, in the 50 intervening years between the Second and Third Punic War, Carthage had to take all border disputes with Rome's ally Numidia to the Roman Senate, where they were decided almost exclusively in Numidian favour. In 151 BC, the Carthaginian debt to Rome was fully repaid, meaning that, in Punic eyes, the treaty was now expired, though not so according to the Romans, who instead viewed the treaty as a permanent declaration of Carthaginian subordination to Rome akin to the Roman treaties with its Italian allies. Moreover, the retirement of the indemnity removed one of the main incentives the Romans had to keep the peace with Carthage – there were no further payments that might be interrupted. The Romans had other reasons to conquer Carthage and her remaining territories. By the middle of the 2nd century BC, the population of the city of Rome was about 400,000 and rising. Feeding the growing populace was becoming a major challenge. The farmlands surrounding Carthage represented the most productive, most accessible and perhaps the most easily obtainable agricultural lands not yet under Roman control. In 151 BC Numidia launched another border raid on Carthaginian soil, besieging the Punic town of Oroscopa, and Carthage launched a large military expedition (25,000 soldiers) to repel the Numidian invaders. As a result, Carthage suffered a military defeat and was charged with another fifty year debt to Numidia. Immediately thereafter, however, Rome showed displeasure with Carthage’s decision to wage war against its neighbour without Roman consent, and told Carthage that in order to avoid a war it had to “satisfy the Roman People.”
Aftermathmainly on the Siege of Carthage, which resulted in the complete destruction of the city, the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome, and the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population. The Third Punic War ended Carthage's independent existence. Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the later part of the siege, while many others died in the final six days of fighting. When the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians, a small part of the original pre-war population, were sold into slavery by the victors. Carthage was systematically burned for 17 days; the city's walls and buildings were utterly destroyed. The remaining Carthaginian territories were annexed by Rome and reconstituted to become the Roman province of Africa. The notion that Roman forces then sowed the city with salt to ensure that nothing would grow there again is almost certainly a 19th-century invention. Contemporary accounts show that the land surrounding Carthage was declared ager publicus and that it was shared between local farmers, and Roman and Italian ones. North Africa soon became a vital source of grain for the Romans. Roman Carthage was the main hub transporting these supplies to the capital. Numerous significant Punic cities, such as those in Mauretania, were taken over and rebuilt by the Romans. Examples of these rebuilt cities are Volubilis, Chellah and Mogador. Volubilis, for example, was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests. It was built on the site of the previous Punic settlement, but that settlement overlies an earlier neolithic habitation. Utica, the Punic city which changed loyalties at the beginning of the siege, became the capital of the Roman province of Africa. A century later, the site of Carthage was rebuilt as a Roman city by Julius Caesar, and would later become one of the main cities of Roman Africa by the time of the Empire. http://www.livius.org/sources/content/appian/appian-the-punic-wars/
+ Third Punic War Links
- Carthago Delenda Est
- Siege of Carthage
- Battle of Lake Tunis
- Battle of Nepheris
- Battle of Nepheris (147 BC)
- Carthaginian Peace
+ Punic Wars Links
MessanaAgrigentum SiegeAgrigentum BattleLipari IslandsMylaeSulciTyndarisCape EcnomusAspisAdisTunisPanormus1st DrepanaLilybaeum2nd DrepanaBattle of Mount ErcteBattle of Mount Eryx (1)Battle of Mount Eryx (2)Aegates IslandsTreaty of Lutatius
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At Senatui quae sint gerenda praescribo et quo modo, Carthagini male iam diu cogitanti bellum multo ante denuntio, de qua vereri non ante desinam, quam illam excissam esse cognovero. Cicero, Marcus Tullius: De senectute. English translation and comments by William Armistead Falconer. Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, 1923, page 26. ISBN 0-674-99170-2
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