The Three Punic Wars

The Punic Wars Between Rome and Carthage, 264-146 BC
Basic Chronology
Dr. John David Lewis
August 31, 2007

Basic Chronology of the Punic Wars

Background to the First Punic War
480 Battle of Himera, off Sicily.
Xerxes invasion of Greece
330 Alexander I of Epirus invades Italy
280-75 Pyrrhic Wars
280 Mamertines (Sicilian mercenaries) take Messana
275 Rome takes control of Tarentum
270 Rome restores Rhegium (from Campanian mercenaries)
264 Appius Claudius to Messana to support Mamertines against Hiero II of Syracuse
263 Hiero allies with Rome

262-241 First Punic War
262 f. Engagements begin on and around Sicily. Roman siege of Agrigentum
243 Roman Senate asks aristocracy to break deadlock (promised indemnity from Carthage)
241 Roman naval victory off Drepana; Carthage negotiates peace. Rome Annexes Sicily
Rome establishes office of Peregrine Praetor to govern Sicily
241-38 Truceless War of Carthaginian mercenaries. Rome takes Sardinia and Corsica
Background to Second Punic War: Carthaginians under Hamilcar begin to fortify Spain
237 Hamilcar moves into Spain
229 Hasdrubal succeeds in Spain; New Carthage (Kart Hadasht) founded at Mastia
226 Ebro River Treaty; Rome to remain north of Ebro River
221 Hasdrubal murdered; Hannibal acclaimed commander
220 Rome grants fides to Saguntum
219 Hannibal besieges Saguntum

218-201 2nd Punic War
218 Rome issues ultimatum to Carthage. Hannibal marches on Italy
Romans routed at Ticinus and Trebia Rivers
Roman base established at Emporio, Spain.
Rome garrisons Tarentum and Thurii on Italy; hostages taken
217 Romans routed at Battle of Lake Trasimene; Quintus Fabius named dictator
216 Romans slaughtered at Cannae. Capua defects from Rome
215-05 1st Macedonian War. Philip V allies with Hannibal
215 Heironymus succeeds at Syracuse. Murdered in 214; Hippocrates succeeds
Spain: Scipiones beat Hasdrubal at Ibera; Revolt of Numidians vs. Carthage
214 Rome repels invasion by Philip V of Macedonia
213 Rome besieges Syracuse; falls in 211
212 Tarentum, Herakleia, Metapontum, Thurii defect to Hannibal. Roman siege of Capua
211 Hannibal fails to relieve Capua; feint march on Rome
Two Scipiones killed in Spain; Rome holds Ebro River line
210 P. Cornelius Scipio given procunsular imperium of Spain. Winters in Tarracco
209 Rome recovers Tarentum. Spain: Scipio takes New Carthage
207 Battle of Metaurus River, Hasdrubal dies failing to reinforce brother Hannibal.
Spain: Battle of Baecula; Hasdrubal loses half his cavalry
206 Scipio victorious at Battle of Ilipa
205 Scipio debates Fabius in Rome; as consul Scipio moves to Sicily
End of Macedonian war; Rome withdraws from Greece
204 Scipio lands in Africa. Carthage allies with Syphax of Numidia; Scipio with Masinissa
Battle of Tower of Agathocles: Carthage ambushed
203 Siege of Utica renewed, Battle of the Great Plains. Hannibal recalled.
Syphax captured; Masinissa given the reunited Numidian kingdom
202 Battle of Zama destroys Hannibal

The Peace of Scipio
200-197 2nd Macedonian War. Romans defeat Greeks at Cynoscephalae
196 Hannibal leaves Carthage for Tyre, and court of Antiochus III
183 Deaths of Scipio Africanus and Hannibal
172-68 3rd Macedonian War; Macedonia made a Province

Background to Third Punic War
172 Carthaginians complain about African intrusions
154-51 Spain: 2nd Celtiberian War (The “Fiery War”)
152 Rome sides with Numidians; Carthage re-arms. Cato vs. Scipio Nasica on the war
150 Numidians massacre Hasdrubal’s army at Oroscopa
Carthage crucifies Hasdrubal, envoys to Rome

The Third Punic War
149 Rome declares war against Carthage
150-48 4th Macedonian War. Annexation of Macedonia
149-46 3rd Punic War
149 Carthage surrounded by Africans, Romans, and private army of Hasdrubal
148-46 Achean War: Rome vs. Corinth (under Critolaos)
146 Destruction of Carthage and Corinth

Punic Wars Titled

Lilybaeum, Sicily (2003) Photo by John Lewis

Lilybaeum, Sicily (2003) Photo by John Lewis