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Roman Republic Expansion,
396-146 BC
Conquering Central / North Italy
(396-282 BC)
• Romans expanded east and
north, conquering Etruscan
• Genius of Romans
– Rather than enslaving
conquered populations,
Romans turned them into
– Their allies gave money &
soldiers to help Rome fight
and conquer more!
• Romans also established
colonies to claim land
Fighting the Greeks (280-275 BC)
• By 310, Rome controlled all of
Italy except the “heel”, which
was dominated by Greek city
state colonies
– By 290 BC, most of the Greek
city states asked for “protection”
from Rome
– This provoked war with Greece
• Consolidation of Southern
– Five year war with Pyrrhus, a
Greek king
– Greeks used Macedonian
phalanx (much longer spears),
which the Romans had never
– Romans lost battles but won the
war (“Pyrric Victories”)
Punic Wars (264-146 BC)
• By 265 BC, Rome controlled Italy and
central Mediterranean
• Brought them into conflict with
– Carthage was a former Phoenician
colony in North Africa
– They dominated the Western Med &
• The Punic Wars defined the Romans,
just as the Persian Wars defined the
– Territories held by Rome, Carthage
– Persian Wars led to Athenian Golden Age
– Punic Wars led to Roman dominance
Cause of First Punic War (264-241
• Sicily was divided
between Carthage and
Greeks (Syracuse)
• Carthage invaded
Greek side of island
• Greeks asked Romans
for help
• Inevitable conflict?
First Punic War
• Romans won land battles,
but had no navy
• Developed navy to fight on
sea, based on
shipwrecked Carthaginian
• Tactics: turn naval battles
into land battles through
Outcome of First Punic War
• Romans lost 50,000
citizens (1/6) to sunken
fleets, military defeats
(mostly drownings)
• BUT Carthage suffered
strategic defeat
– Forced off Sicily
– Forced to pay reparations
(penalties) to Rome
– Forced to free all Roman
prisoners captured in
Cause of Second Punic War (218201
Continued power
struggle for supremacy
in Mediterranean
• Rome expanded
through north of Italy
and cleared Adriatic Sea
of pirates
•Carthage expanded
its holdings in Spain
• Alarmed, a Greek
in Spain allied with
Rome for protection
Second Punic War
• Hannibal, a great Carthaginian
general, defeats Romans in
Spain, then crossed Alps with
Army and invaded Rome
• For ten years, he defeated
every Roman army he fought –
but he couldn’t capture Rome
• Rome barely survived this
period; but finally, Hannibal
retreated to Carthage, and was
defeated defending the city
Top: Hannibal and his troops
crossing Alps
Bottom: War elephants, in combat
Outcome of Second Punic War
• Carthage forced to give up
all of Spain, all islands in
• Numidia (African kingdom)
became ally of Rome
• Rome invaded and
conquered Macedonia, near
Greece, in retaliation for
allying with Carthage
• Carthage forced to pay
tribute to Rome for 50 years
• Carthage agreed never to
wage war without consent
of Rome
Hannibal takes poison after capture
Cause of Third Punic War (149-146 BC)
• Carthage recovered from war;
trade and commerce resumed,
and Carthage got rich again
• Roman Senator Cato ended
every speech by saying
“Carthage must be destroyed”
• Finally, Rome ordered
Carthage to give up all its
• Rome then ordered them to
move out of Carthage as it was
• Rome provoked war to destroy
City of Carthage
Third Punic War
• 146 BC – Carthage
besieged by Roman army
• Citizens fought against the
Romans building by
building, block by block
• Romans conquer city
– Destroyed city brick by brick
– Enslaved entire population
– Sowed salt in ground so
nothing would grow
– Made North Africa a province
of Empire
Legacy of the Punic Wars
• Rome was supreme power in Mediterranean
• Maintained overseas possessions in Spain,
North Africa, Corsica, Sicily, Balearic Islands