The Punic Wars were a series of conflicts fought between Carthage and Rome between 264 BCE and 146 BCE. The Romans won all three of these wars, allowing the Romans to dominate the Mediterranean region which had never had a navy before the First Punic War, they emerged in 241 BCE as masters of the sea.
The First Punic War began in 264 BC, when the city of Messana asked for Carthage’s help in their conflicts with Hiero II of Syracuse.
Scipio, who had defeated Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal in modern-day Spain, invaded the unprotected Carthaginian hinterland. The result was the end of the Second Punic War by the decisive Battle of Zama in October 202 BC.
The Republic’s focus now was only to the Hellenistic kingdoms of Greece and revolts in Hispania. After having paid the war indemnity, Carthage felt that its commitments and submission to Rome had ceased.
The Third Punic War began when Rome declared war against Carthage in 149 BC. All these wars resulted in Rome’s first overseas conquests (Sicily, Hispania and Africa) and the rise of Rome as a significant imperial power.
The First Punic War broke out on the island of Sicily. It was regarded as “the longest and most severely contested war in history” by the Ancient Greek historian Polybius. Other sources include coins, inscriptions, archaeological evidence and evidence from reconstructions such as the trireme Olympias.
The first two wars were long—23 years and 17 years, separated by an interval of 23 years. The third war lasted nearly three years. All three wars were won by Rome, which subsequently emerged as the greatest military power in the Mediterranean Sea.