To What Extent Was Rome Responsible for the Punic War?

1174 Words5 Pages
To what extent was Rome responsible for the Punic War? In the early years of their history, relations between Carthage and Rome had been quite friendly. In an agreement signed in 348BC the Romans insisted Carthage not establish any colonies in Latium, or attack any towns that acknowledged Roman leadership. In return, they agreed not to challenge the Carthaginians trade monopoly in the Mediterranean. The balance between the two began to shake after Rome’s success over Tarentum as well as Carthage’s attempts to extend its influence over Sicily. The clash between Carthage and Rome began after a series of events at Messana, a Sicilian city that controlled the strait between Sicily and the mainland. At the time, Messana had been controlled by a group called mammetines, and had been in conflict with Syracuse, a city further south, led by the tyrant Hiero II. The mammetines asked Carthage for help, and when this was given, Hiero ended his attack. One group in Messana decided to rid the city of the Carthaginians, as they now saw Carthage as a greater threat than Syracuse. This group made an approach to Rome and this was a turning point of Rome and Carthage’s allegiance. At first, Rome was very doubtful as to whether to send a force to Sicily or not. They did not desire Carthage to stay in the Country and increase their influence, however sending men there would most likely provoke a war. The Romans were very cautious, however, influence from the upper and middle classes heavily swayed Rome’s decision. These classes saw an intervention in Sicily as a means of enhancing their military ambitions. After much debate their advice was taken, and a Roman force was dispatched to Messana. At the arrival of Roman troops, the Carthaginian commander withdrew his troops, however, they soon sent a larger force back to Messana. The fighting continued south of Agrigentum, where
Open Document