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First Punic War

First Punic War (264-241 BCE): the first of three wars between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian Empire, in which Rome conquered Sicily.


According to the Greek historian Polybius of Megalopolis (c.200-c.118), the First Punic War (264-241) between Carthage and Rome had been "the longest and most severely contested war in history".note And indeed, it lasted almost a quarter of a century and probably, a million people lost their lives.

In the end, Rome had conquered the island of Sicily, and had become a Mediterranean superpower, but to achieve victory, the Romans had been forced to reinvent themselves: they had learned to wage war at sea and had had to conduct protracted sieges.


265   Q. Fabius Q.f. Maximus Gurges
L. Mamilius Q.f. Vitulus
Hiero defeats the Mamertines at the Longanus
Mamertines appeal to the Carthaginians and then to Rome
Alliance between Hiero and Carthage
264   Ap. Claudius C.f. Caudex
M. Fulvius Q.f. Flaccus
Outbreak of war
Claudius crosses to Sicily, and lifts the siege of Messana
263   M'. Valerius M.f. Maximus (Messalla)
M'. Otacilius C.f. Crassus
Both consuls campaign in Sicily
Hiero makes peace with Rome
262   L. Postumius L.f. Megellus
Q. Mamilius Q.f. Vitulus
Both consuls lay siege to Acragas, defended by Hannibal
261   L. Valerius M.f. Flaccus
T. Otacilius C.f. Crassus
Defeat of Hanno and fall of Acragas
Carthaginian navy raids Italy
Romans decide to build fleet
260   Cn. Cornelius L.f. Scipio Asina
C. Duillius M.f.
Scipio captured at the Aeolian Islands
Duillius wins the naval battle of Mylae
259   L. Cornelius L.f. Scipio
C. Aquillius M.f. Florus
Scipio attacks Corsica and Sardinia
Aquillius campaigns in Sicily
258   A. Atilius A.f. Caiatinus;
C. Sulpicius Q.f. Paterculus
Caiatinus campains in Sicily
Paterculus attacks Sardinia and wins battle off Sulci
257   C. Atilius M.f. Regulus
Cn. Cornelius P.f. Blasio II
Regulus wins battle off Tyndaris and raids Malta
Blasio commands in Sicily
256   L. Manlius A.f. Vulso Longus;
Q. Caedicius Q.f.
Suff. M. Atilius M.f. Regulus II
Both consuls defeat Carthaginians off Ecnomus and proceed to Africa, where Regulus remains, defeating Hasdrubal in the battle of Adys and capturing Tunis
Abortive negotiations with Carthage
255   Ser. Fulvius M.f. Paetinius Nobilior
M. Aemilius M.f. Paullus
Regulus defeated and captured near Tunis
Consuls bring fleet to rescue survivors, winning victory off Cape Hermaea and raiding Cossyra, but are caught in a storm off Camarina on return
254   Cn. Cornelius L.f. Scipio Asina II
A. Atilius A.f. Caiatinus II
Hasdrubal arrives on Sicily
Both consuls campaign in Sicily, capturing Panormus and other towns
253   Cn. Servilius Cn.f. Caepio
C. Sempronius Ti.f. Blaesus
While Caepio commands in Sicily, Blaesus raids Africa, nearly losing his fleet on the Syrtis, and losing half of it in storm off Cape Palinurus
252   C. Aurelius L.f. Cotta
P. Servilius Q.f. Geminus
Roman fleet reduced to sixty ships
Both consuls command in Sicily, capturing Thermae and Lipara
251   L. Caecilius L.f. Metellus
C. Furius C.f. Pacilus
Both consuls command in Sicily
Carthaginians reinforce army there
250   C. Atilius M.f. Regulus II
L. Manlius A.f. Vulso II
Metellus defeats Hasdrubal at Panormus
Both consuls commence siege of Lilybaeum
249   P. Claudius Ap.f. Pulcher
L. Junius C.f. Pullus
Claudius loses battle off Drepana
Junius loses fleet in storm near Camarina
248   C. Aurelius L.f. Cotta II
P. Servilius Q.f. Geminus II
Both consuls continue to besiege Lilybaeum and Drepana
Carthalo raids Italy
247   L. Caecilius L.f. Metellus II
N. Fabius C.f. Licinus
Metellus continues with siege of Lilybaeum
Buteo continues with siege of Drepana, where he captures the island of Pelias
Hamilcar Barca arrives in Sicily and raids Bruttium
246   M'. Otacilius C.f. Crassus II
M. Fabius C.f. Licinus
Siege of Lilybaeum and Drepana continued
Skirmishing around Heirkte
245   M. Fabius M.f Buteo
C. Atilius A.f. Bulbus
Siege of Lilybaeum and Drepana continued
Skirmishing around Heirkte
244   A. Manlius T.f. Torquatus Atticus
C. Sembronius Ti.f. Blaesus II
Siege of Lilybaeum and Drepana continued
Skirmishing around Heirkte
243   C. Fundanius C.f. Fundulus
C. Sulpicius C.f. Galus
Siege of Lilybaeum and Drepana continued
Hamilcar moves to Eryx
Continued skirmishing
242   C. Lutatius C.f. Catulus
A. Postumius A.f. Albinus
Catulus sent to Sicily in command of new fleet
He is wounded at Drepana
241   A. Manlius T.f. Torquatus Atticus II
Q. Lutatius C.f. Cerco
Lutatius Catulus defeats Hanno in the battle of Aegates Islands (10 March), and with his brother, Lutatius Cerco, negotiates peace with Gesco; Sicily become's the first Roman province, governed by a praetor


J.F. Lazenby, The First Punic War (1996)

This page was created in 2004; last modified on 12 May 2017.