The Third Punic War
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
History of War - Ancient Wars
The Third Punic War was the third and final instalment of the Punic Wars between Carthage and the Romans.
The Third Punic War was the shortest of the three wars and was also the final chapter in the competitive nature between an old and powerful Empire in Carthage and a new and blossoming Empire in the Romans.
This war happened between 149 BC and 146 BC.
Prior to the Third Punic War
Both of these wars increased the respect and strength of the Romans whilst reducing the Carthage strength and control over the Mediterranean by a huge degree.
Prior to both the wars the Carthaginians controlled the Mediterranean Sea, held have of Sicily and much of Iberia (Southern Spain). The Romans on the other hand had only just taken full control of the Italian peninsula, but had aspirations to increase their lands further.
151 BC saw Numidian forces launch raids into Carthage; the Carthaginians were not happy and countered with a force of some 25,000 men. The Numidians won the battle and Carthage was left in dismay at being left indebted to Numidia.
Rome was not happy that Carthage took this action without consulting them first, thus they started the Third Punic War.
The Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the final action that the Romans needed to undertake to ensure that the Carthage Empire would not rise against them again. It was the shortest of the three wars and was also dedicated to one long battle.
In 149 BC the Romans landed in Africa and made their way inland, here the Romans besieged Phoenician city of Carthage. The siege was an unorganized affair that still left the Carthaginians means of getting supplies in to keep the people fed and watered, thus the siege rolled on from months to years. During this time period Carthage spent its whole time building masses of weapons.
After two years the Romans were no nearer to making an impact and beating the Carthaginians. This meant that Rome made a change in commander of the Roman siege army. Scipio Aemilianus was sent to Africa to command the Roman troops, something that surprised many because of his young age.
Once in Africa Scipio Aemilianus took his army to a Carthage armed force outside the city walls and annihilated them before then bringing the forces back to the siege. Here Scipio Aemilianus organized the siege and stopped the Carthaginians being able to bring in supplies.
During this renewed siege the Romans worked hard on attacking Carthage defences and quickly managed to break through the Carthage city walls.
After breaking through the walls the Romans moved in and the streets and buildings of Carthage became bloody battle grounds with fighting hand to hand causing bloodshed and death. The Romans eventually gained the upper hand and took control, over time Carthage surrendered and the Romans won the war.
To add insult to injury the Romans took all 50,000 remaining inhabitants prisoner and sold them off as slaves before obliterating the city of Carthage so it was wiped off the map and they would have no more issues with the Carthaginians.