The Third Punic War, or Tertium Bellum Punicum, (149–146 BC) was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage and the Roman Republic. The Punic Wars were named because of the Roman name for Carthaginians (Punici).
This war was a much smaller engagement than the 2 previous Punic Wars and focused on Tunisia, mainly on the Siege of Carthage. The siege ultimately resulted in the complete destruction of the city.
Upon the fall of Carthage, their was the annexation of all remaining Carthaginian territory by Rome followed by the death or enslavement of the entire Carthaginian population. The Third Punic War ended Carthage’s independent existence.
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In Hispania, a young Roman commander, Publius Cornelius Scipio (later to be given the agnomenAfricanus because of his feats during this war), eventually defeated the larger but divided Carthaginian forces under Hasdrubal and 2 other Carthaginian generals. Abandoning Hispania, Hasdrubal moved to bring his mercenary army into Italy to reinforce Hannibal, but never made it and was defeated by Roman forces near the Alps.
Carthage lost Hispania forever, and Rome firmly established her power there over large areas. Rome imposed a war indemnity of 10,000 talents (300 tonnes/660,000 pounds), limited the Carthaginian navy to 10 ships (to ward off pirates), and forbade Carthage from raising an army without Roman permission.
The Numidians took the opportunity to capture and plunder Carthaginian territory. Half a century later, when Carthage raised an army to defend itself from these incursions, Rome destroyed her in the Third Punic War (149–146 BC).
By her victory, Rome had taken a key step towards what ultimately became her domination of the Mediterranean world. But that wouldn’t be it for Rome.
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In AD 285, the EmperorDiocletian (r. 284–305) partitioned the Roman Empire‘s administration into eastern and western halves. Between AD 324 and 330, Constantine I (r. 306–337) transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, later known as Constantinople (City of Constantine) and Nova Roma (New Rome).
Thus, although it continued the Roman state and maintained Roman state traditions, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from Ancient Rome insofar as it was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterized by Orthodox Christianity rather than Roman polytheism.
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The Exercitus Romanus (Roman Army) under Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus intentionally deprived Hannibal of open battle in Italy for the rest of the war, while making it difficult for Hannibal to forage for supplies. Nevertheless, Rome was also incapable of bringing the conflict in the Italian theatre to a decisive close.
Not only did the Legiones Romanae (Roman Legions) contend with Hannibal in Italy and with Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal in Hispania, but Rome had embroiled itself in yet another foreign war, the first of its Macedonian wars against Carthage’s ally Philip V, at the same time.
We hope you enjoyed today’s encounter and look forward to having you join us again soon. Make sure to stop by again since we will be concluding the Second Punic War.
According to Polybius, after The First Punic War there had been several trade agreements between Rome and Carthage, even a mutual alliance against king Pyrrhus of Epirus. When Rome and Carthage made peace in 241 BC, Rome secured the release of all 8,000 prisoners of war without ransom and, furthermore, received a considerable amount of silver as a war indemnity.
However, Carthage refused to deliver to Rome the Roman deserters serving among their troops. A first issue for dispute was that the initial treaty, agreed upon by Hamilcar Barca and the Roman commander in Sicily, had a clause stipulating that the Roman Popular Assembly had to accept the treaty in order for it to be valid.
The Assembly not only rejected the treaty, but it also increased the indemnity Carthage had to pay. War was coming!
The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian Hannibal‘s crossing of the Alps. His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Exercitus Romanus (Roman Army) in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.
Thanks for stopping by today, we hope you enjoyed the adventure. Be sure to come back soon for the Second Punic War marches on.
If you know anything about Ancient Rome then you know there was lots of fighting. Whether it was fighting in a civil war or fighting to expand/defend the Kingdom, Republic, or Empire, Rome rarely rested on its laurels.
Carthage spent the years following the war improving its finances and expanding its colonial empire in Hispania under the militaristic Barcid family. Rome’s attention was mostly concentrated on the Illyrian Wars.
The Batavi rose against the Romans in the Batavian rebellion of AD 69, but were eventually defeated. The Batavi later merged with other tribes into the confederation of the Salian Franks, whose identity emerged at the first half of the 3rd Century.
Salian Franks appear in Roman texts as both allies and enemies. The Salian Franks were forced by the confederation of the Saxons from the east to move over the Rhine into Roman territory in the 4th Century.
The Frisii were initially won over by Drusus, suggesting a Roman suzerainty was imposed by Augustus on the coastal areas north of the Rhine river. Over the course of time the Frisii would fight the Romans in concert with other Germanic tribes, and finally be relocated in Flanders and disappeared from recorded history as of 296 AD.
Some believe the disappearance was due to deteriorating climate conditions, while others believe the Frisii were probably forced to resettle within Roman territory as Laeti around the same time. In any event, coastal lands remained largely unpopulated for the next couple of centuries.
For around 450 years, from around 55 BC to around 410 AD, the southern part of the Netherlands was integrated into the Roman Empire. During this time the Romans in the Netherlands had an enormous influence on the lives and culture of the people who lived in the Netherlands at the time and (indirectly) on the generations that followed.
During the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar established the principle that this river, which runs through the Netherlands, defined a natural boundary between Gaul and Germania Magna. But the Rhine was not a strong border, and Caesar made it clear that there was a part of Belgic Gaul where many of the local tribes were Germani Cisrhenani.
When Caesar arrived, various tribes were in the area of the Netherlands, residing in the inhabitable higher parts, especially in the east and south. These tribes did not leave behind written records, so all the information known about them during this pre-Roman period is based on what the Romans and Greeks wrote about them.
Caesar himself, in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, wrote in detail only about the southern area which he conquered. Tribes who he described as living in what is now the Netherlands were the Menapii (a Belgic tribe who stretched from the Flemish coast, through the south of the river deltas, and as far as the modern German border), the Eburones (the largest of the Germani Cisrhenani group, whose territory stretched covered a large area between the rivers Maas and Rhine), and the smaller Ambivariti (perhaps part of the Eburones or Menapii, who Caesar mentions in passing as living west of the Maas).
In the delta itself, Caesar makes a passing comment about the Insula Batavorum (Island of the Batavi) in the Rhine, without discussing who lived there. Later, in imperial times, a tribe called the Batavi became very important in this region.
Other tribes who eventually inhabited the Gaulish islands in the delta during Roman times are mentioned by Pliny the Elder include: the Cananefates, whom Tacitus says were similar to the Batavians in their ancestry, living in what is today the province of South Holland; the Frisii, who inhabited a major part of the modern Netherlands; the Chauci, whose main territory was the North Sea coast of Germany, bordering the Frisii on their east; the Frisiabones, who Pliny also counted as a people living in Gallia Belgica, perhaps stretching into Gelderland and South Holland; the Marsacii, who Tacitus refers to as neighbors of the Batavi, who probably inhabited what is today the province of Zeeland; and the Sturii, who are not known from any other sources, but are thought to have lived near modern Zeeland or South Holland.
As mentioned above, the northern Netherlands, above the Old Rhine, was dominated by the Frisii, with perhaps a small penetration of Chauci. While this area was not officially part of the empire for any long periods, military conscription and other impositions were made for long periods upon the Frisii.
In the south of the Netherlands the Texuandri inhabited most of North Brabant. The modern province of Limburg, with the Maas running through it, appears to have been inhabited by (from north to south) the Baetasii, the Catualini, the Sunuci and the Tungri.
About 38 BC, a pro-Roman faction of the Chatti (a Germanic tribe located east of the Rhine) was settled by Agrippa in an area south of the Rhine, now thought to be the Betuwe area. They took on the name of the people already living there, the Batavians.
Batavian culture was influenced by the Roman one, resulting among other things in Roman-style temples such as the one in Elst, dedicated to local gods. Also, the trade flourished with the salt used in the Roman Empire being from the North Sea with remains found across the whole of the Empire.
However, this did not prevent the Batavian Rebellion of AD 69, a very successful revolt under the leadership of Batavian Gaius Julius Civilis. Forty castella were burnt down because the Romans violated the rights of the Batavian leaders by taking young Batavians as their slaves.
Their commander, Petilius Cerialis, eventually defeated the Batavians and started negotiations with Civilis on his home ground, somewhere between the Waal and the Maas near what the Batavians probably called Batavodurum. During their stay in Germania Inferior, the Romans established several towns and military forts in the Netherlands along the Limes Germanicus with.
Franks appear in Roman texts as both allies and enemies. Around 310, the Franks had the region of the Scheldt river (present day west Flanders and southwest Netherlands) under control, and were raiding the Channel, disrupting transportation to Roman Britannia. Roman forces pacified the region, but did not expel the Franks, who continued to be feared as pirates along the shores at least until the time of Julian the Apostate (AD 358), when Salian Franks were granted to settle as foederati in Toxandria, according to Ammianus Marcellinus.
The site is one of the largest and best-preserved archaeological sites in modern-day Romania. It is almost 5 miles away from the modern city of Zalău, in Jac village, Creaca Commune, Sălaj County.
On the Limes Daci (Dacian Frontier Boundary) in the north-west of Romania, in the center of Porolissum, an underground building was discovered in 1984. From the excavations thereafter we have come to discover a once healthy Roman castrum (fort).
Set on the Pomet Hill and the adjacent Citera Hill, the earliest phase of occupation consisted of the administrative headquarters, military barracks, and storage facilities constructed in timber. A massive defensive system surrounding the city was fabricated in a series of concentric rings consisting of earthen mounds, ditches, and wooden palisades.
The name Porolissum appears to be Dacian in origin, and was thought to be an already established village. However, archaeologists have not been able to uncover any evidence of a Dacian settlement preceding the Roman fort.
In the following decades, possibly under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the castrum was enlarged and rebuilt in stone. A Canaba, a civilian settlement developed around the military center, was also added at this point.
In AD 124 when Hadrian created the new province Dacia Porolissensis, named for the now sizable city, Porolissum became the administrative center of the province. Under Emperor Septimius Severus, the city was granted municipium status, allowing its leaders and merchants to act independently.
Although the Romans withdrew from Dacia around AD 271 under Aurelian, Porolissum may have been gradually abandoned in the course of the 260’s. Evidence from the excavations and research is still being conducted to prove this.
Even though the city was founded as a military center in the middle of a war, the garrison of Porolissum seems to have lived in peaceful coexistence with their Dacian neighbors. Several Dacian villages that were apparently founded after the city of Porolissum have been uncovered by archaeologists on the surrounding hills.
There are also some inscriptions mentioning city officials with Romano-Dacian names. This would indicate a close cooperation on a political level.
The sanctuary of Porolissum was built in the 2nd Century AD. Probably it was a place of worship of other deities, it seems that the primary deity would have been Nemesis (goddess of justice, fortune and destiny).
Said to influence the fate of those who frequently faced death and danger, Nemesis was especially worshiped by Legionarii (Legionaries) and gladiators. The goddess was also closely linked to world of amphitheaters, and due to this places of worship dedicated to Nemesis are near amphitheaters or even embedded in the building.
The amphitheater of Porolissum was built as a wood structure during the reign of Hadrian. Later, in 157 AD, it had been rebuilt in stone.
The aim of the teaching excavation has been the careful clearing of the building and clarification of its function. All work has been integrated into an international university community of interest of teachers and students, composed of archaeologists, architects, archaeobotographers, restorers and surveyors.
ERASMUS supports the work within an intensive program, whereby it is possible to bring together students of different disciplines and to provide them with an in-depth, interdisciplinary education for archaeological field work.
Limited archaeological work at Porolissum began in the 19th Century, but it was not until 1977 when Romanian archaeologists began larger-scale, systematic excavations. The excavations by a number of teams have uncovered remnants of both the military installations and the civilian city, including public baths, a customs house, a Templum (Temple) to Liber Pater, an amphitheatre, Insulae consisting of 4 buildings, and a number of houses.
The Porta Praetoria (Main Gate) of the stone fortress has been rebuilt. A joint American-Romanian team, the Porolissum Forum Project, excavated an area of the civilian settlement from 2004-2011 but the team confirmed that while this area served a public function, it was not necessarily a forum.
In the 1980s, Nicolae Gudea carried out extensive investigations in the Roman fort, which had previously been known by excavations at the fortifications and the headquarters building. Gudea clarified the building structures, and came across an underground building west of the staff building.
The finds from the then discovered cellar were very unusual for a simple building: statuette fragments, inscription fragments and wall plastering were indicative of a construction with a special function. It seemed possible that it was a meeting room for followers of the Mithras cult.
In 2008, a new project was set up to examine in detail the building and to clarify the architecture, age and function. Before the excavation, the area was surveyed and used geophysics.
After the protective building was erected and a surveying network was installed, 4 sections were created, in which participants participated in international teams. Here, all the excavation steps, such as large-scale and fine earthworks, surveying, the graphic, photographic and written documentation of the findings and the expert collection of finds were learned.
Architecture students and study students measured the building’s own buildings, and the restoration of the restoration ensured fragile materials. All participants were encouraged to work in the other working groups in order to gain practical insights into the post-biodiversity.
The excavations have shown that the floor of the building has been preserved approximately 13 feet below the present surface. It consists of carefully laid-out brick slabs.
The walls of the walls, which are up to 5.6 feet upright, are curved in the upper part and probably have supports for a wooden roof structure. Since there are no traces of a roofing tile, despite the good judgment, the question of roofing is still open.
With the southernmost section, the south end of the basement building could be reached, so that its total expansion of 18 x 72 feet (inside) is now fixed. In the interior, massive rubble layers were again found from the collapse of the stone walls of the building and its neighboring building.
It was confirmed that the floor was made of interlocked brick slabs. On the south side of the building a clay pipe was discovered, which had been laid across the southern wall.
As in the previous year, parallel to the excavation, a survey was made, in which ceramics were washed, sighted, registered, drawn and photographed, and small finds were restored and documented. In addition, soil samples from the interior of the building were used for palaeobotanical investigations, the samples were slurried and paleobotanic residues were sorted out.
In 2011, the final state of the investigations in the underground building located west of the Principia (Fort Headquarters) was recorded in a 3D laser scanner. The start of construction of the 24.6 x 82 feet plant is made possible by a building sacrifice, consisting of a play stone, an iron object (perhaps a trowel), a half bovine mandible and 3 coins that have a terminus post quem in the reign of Antoninus Pius.
The cistern with a well-connected well to the south was rebuilt several times, and may not have been used continuously as water storage. This is indicated by various, not water-resistant, plasterings of the room.
In the filling, which fell into the building immediately after its task, there were plenty of ceramic vessels, above all drinking utensils, as well as numerous round-cut ceramic pieces, which were to be interpreted as playing stones in the context of glass and leg sketches as well as 2 dice. The found material, which is characteristic of Tabernae, probably comes from a space above the water storage.
From 2006 until 2011, another project, “Necropolis Porolissensis”, was running focused on the cemetery of the municipium Porolissum, on the spot known as “Ursoies”. From 2008 to 2011 a Romanian-German-Hungarian team was excavating an underground-building in the center of the castle, probably a water cistern.
In 2015, archaeologists from Zalău County Museum unearthed a stone sarcophagus containing skeletal remains of a young person. The sarcophagus is unusual because it was not found in the cemetery, rather it was discovered by chance during restoration of another part of the ruins.
The limestone lid has carvings that were common in Roman times. A hole in the lid suggests that the grave was robbed in antiquity.
A contemporary use of “Polissum” is the primary setting of Gunpowder Empire, a science fiction novel by Harry Turtledove, set in Dacia Province. It is unclear whether the name change is a mistake or a deliberate obfuscation.
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Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!
Gudea, N. Dacia: A Roman province between the Carpathians and the Black Sea. Mainz, 2006).
Gudea, N.; Tamba, D. “Sanctuaries and Military in Porolissum”. Proceedings of the XIXth International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies held in Pécs, Hungary, September 2003.
Whenever we have the opportunity to watch a video about something from Ancient Rome, we jump at the opportunity. If it has the ability to showcase anything regarding Ancient Greece versus the Romans in a military capacity, well that’s just icing on the cake.
Ancient Rome was originally an Italic settlement dating from the 8th Century BC that grew into the city of Rome, and which subsequently gave its name to the Empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilization the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 1.9 million square miles at its height in AD 117.
Ancient Roman civilization has contributed to modern government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language and society. Rome professionalized and expanded its military and created a system of government called Res Publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France.
Rome achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and viae (roads). The construction of large monuments, palaces, and public facilities was perfected under Roman rule as well.
The Battle of Vesuvius was the initial conflict of the Third Servile War, known as The Gladiator War and The War of Spartacus by Plutarch. This encounter pitted escaped slaves against a military force specifically dispatched by Rome to deal with the rebellion.
When the Roman forces, led by the PraetorGaius Claudius Glaber, besieged the group of escaped slaves on Mount Vesuvius. Spartacus’s men adopted unusual tactics, rappelled down the steeper cliff face opposite the Roman forces, flanking and defeating them.
In the Res Publica Romana (Roman Republic) of the 1st Century, gladiatorial games were one of the more popular forms of entertainment. In order to supply gladiators for the contests, several ludi (training schools) were established throughout Italy. In these schools, prisoners of war and condemned criminals (all considered slaves by the Romans) were taught the skills required to fight to the death in gladiatorial games.
In 73 BC, a group of some 200 gladiators in the Capuan school owned by Lentulus Batiatus plotted an escape. When their plot was betrayed, a force of about 70 men seized kitchen implements, fought their way free from the school, and seized several wagons of gladiatorial weapons and armor.
Once free, the escaped gladiators chose leaders from their number, selecting 2 Gallic slaves, Crixus and Oenomaus, along with Spartacus, who was said either to be a Thracianauxiliary from the Roman Legions later condemned to slavery or a captive taken by the Legions. There is some question as to Spartacus’s nationality, however, as a Thraex was a type of gladiator in Rome, so the title Thracian may simply refer to the style of gladiatorial combat in which he was trained.
As the revolt and raids were occurring in Campania (the vacation region of the rich and influential in Rome), the revolt quickly came to the attention of Roman authorities. They initially viewed the revolt as more a major crime wave than an armed rebellion.
However, later that year, Rome dispatched military force to put down the rebellion. Praetor Glaber hastily gathered a Roman force of 3,000 men, not as Legions but as a militia for the Romans did not consider this a war yet.
While the slaves lacked military training, Spartacus’ forces displayed ingenuity in their use of available local materials, and in their use of clever, unorthodox tactics when facing the disciplined Roman armies. In response to Glaber’s siege, Spartacus’ men made ropes and ladders from vines and trees growing on the slopes of Vesuvius and used them to rappel down the cliffs on the side of the mountain opposite Glaber’s forces.
They moved around the base of Vesuvius, outflanked the army, and annihilated Glaber’s men. Glaber then marched straight to Vesuvius and set up a camp on the slope, blocking Spartacus in.
With the only known route down the mountain blocked, Glaber was content to relax and wait out a siege and use starvation as a weapon. Spartacus had other ideas.
The men gathered vines and collected all the rope they had. With this, they quietly rappelled down the previously inaccessible cliffs and gathered on the opposite side of the mountain to Glaber’s camp and perhaps lower as well.
Glaber was so confident in the hopelessness of Spartacus’ position that he seems to have neglected much in the way of scouting or setting up watches as the slaves immediately stormed the Roman camp and began slaughtering everyone. What was supposed to be a simple victory for the small Roman force turned into a massacre as few men escaped alive.
Glaber’s fate is unknown at this point. He may have been killed in this battle or he is simply left out of the remainder of the tale, a show of how inconsequential the Romans viewed this thrown together force.
These escaped slaves were able to defeat the small force of troops sent after them from Capua, and equip themselves with captured military equipment as well as their gladiatorial weapons. Sources are somewhat contradictory on the order of events immediately following the escape, but they generally agree that this band of escaped gladiators plundered the region surrounding Capua, recruited many other slaves into their ranks, and eventually retired to a more defensible position on Mount Vesuvius.
Another expedition, this time under the PraetorPublius Varinius, was then dispatched against Spartacus. For some reason, Varinius seems to have split his forces under the command of his subordinates Furius and Lucius Cossinius.
Plutarch mentions that Furius commanded some 2,000 men. Neither the strength of the remaining forces, nor whether the expedition was composed of militia or Legions, appears to be known though.
These new Roman forces were also defeated by the army of escaped slaves. Cossinius was killed, Varinius was nearly captured, and the equipment of the armies was seized by the slaves.
The victories of the rebel slaves did not come without a cost. At some time during these events Oenomaus was lost, presumably in battle, and is not mentioned further in the histories.
With these successes, more and more slaves flocked to the Spartacan forces, as did many herdsmen and shepherds of the region. When all was said and done, these combined ranks swelled to some 70,000.
The rebel slaves spent the winter of 73–72 BC training, arming, and equipping their new recruits. The rebels also expanded their raiding territory to include the towns of Nola, Nuceria, Thurii, and of Metapontum.
Eventually, a large, professional Exercitus Romanus (Roman Army) was raised to defeat Spartacus who was seen as the ultimate annoyance to the Romans, and a downright nightmare to those in southern Italy. The slave army tried desperately to secure passage to Sicily but their plans backfired and they were eventually forced to face the Roman Army under Marcus Licinius Crassus.
Spartacus’ rebellion was essentially doomed from the start, he had no hope of sustained success against professional soldiers and he was deep in Roman territory. Yet we still remember his name today, largely due to his string of shocking successes beginning on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius.
Though the life and death of Spartacus remains covered in mystery, legend, and speculation, the historical truths & legacy of the Spartacus War is a testament to the history of slavery and the desire for people everywhere to attain liberty and justice, whatever the cost may be. This is why Spartacus remains a symbol of freedom and revenge, as well as an icon of warfare & military history in the ancient ages.
Crassus attained his total revenge in the end. Justice for the Cohortes (Cohorts) and Roman citizens killed by the gladiators and slaves was achieved. Spartacus avoided punishment, death by crucifixion through his death in battle.