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Third Punic War

From Academic Kids

The Third Punic War was fought between Carthage and the Roman Republic from 149 BC to 146 BC. This was the last in a series of three wars.

In the years between the Second and Third Punic Wars, Rome was engaged in the conquest of the Hellenistic empires to the east and ruthlessly suppressing the Iberian people in the west, although they had been essential to the Roman success in the Second Punic War. Carthage, stripped of allies and territory (Sicily, Spain), was suffering under a yearly indemnity of 200 silver talents to be paid every year for 50 years, an enormous sum.

The Romans still harbored a bitter hatred for Carthage, which had nearly destroyed them in the Second Punic War. Sentiments ran so strong that the powerful statesman Cato stated during a discussion of Carthage's fate, ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam. (Besides which, I think that Carthage must be destroyed).

Meanwhile, Carthage had regained much of its prosperity through trade, further alarming Rome that a revived Carthage could again threaten them with war. The peace treaty at the end of the Second Punic War required that all border disputes involving Carthage be arbitrated by the Roman Senate and required Carthage to get explicit Roman approval before arming its citizens, or hiring a mercenary force. As a result in the fifty intervening years between the Second and Third wars Carthage had to take all border disputes with Rome's ally Numidia to the Senate, where they were decided almost exclusivley in Numidian favour. In 151, however, when the Carthaginian debt to Rome was fully repaid (meaning that, in Hellenic eyes, the treaty was now expired, though not so to according to the Romans, who instead viewed the treaty as a permanent declaration of Carthaginian subordinance to Rome akin to the Roman treaties with her Italian allies) Numidia launched another border raid on Carthaginian soil, and in response Carthage launched a military expedition to repel the Numidian invaders, the result of which was Carthage suffering a humiliating military defeat and being charged with another fifty year debt to Numidia. Immediately thereafter, however, Rome showed displeasure with Carthage's decision to wage war against her neighbor without Roman consent, and told her that in order to avoid a war she had to "satisfy the Roman People." The Roman Senate then began gathering an army, and after Utica defected to Rome in 149 B.C. Rome declared war against Carthage. The Carthaginians made a series of attempts to negotiate with Rome, and recieved a promise that if three hundred children of well-born Carthaginians were sent as hostages to Rome the Carthaginians would keep the rights to their land and self-governence. Even after this was done, however, the Romans landed an army at Utica where the Consuls first demanded that Carthage hand over all weapons and armour, and then after those had been handed over that the Carthaginians move at least ten miles inland, while Carthage itself was burned. When the Carthaginians learned of this they abandoned negotiations and the city was immediately besieged, beginning the Third Punic War.

The Carthaginians endured the siege from 149 BC to 146 BC, when Scipio Aemilianus took the city by storm. Many Carthaginians died from starvation during the latter part of the siege, while many others died in the final six days of fighting. When the war ended, the remaining 50,000 Carthaginians (perhaps a tenth of the original pre-war population) were sold into slavery.

The city was systematically burned for somewhere between 10 and 17 days. Then the city walls, its buildings and its harbor were utterly destroyed and the surrounding territory was supposedly sown with salt to ensure that nothing would grow there again. The sowing may have been merely a symbolic curse against Rome's defeated enemy, or the account may be entirely invented; it does not appear in the records of the war, and historians today dispute whether it actually happened.de:Dritter Punischer Krieg it:Terza guerra punica pl:Trzecia wojna punicka zh:第三次布匿战争

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