There’s some parts of Roman history that are fairly well known, people know of Julius Caesar, they know of Nero and Rome burning, they know about gladiators. And if you say Hannibal, you’ll probably get at least a glimmer of reaction. Hannibal is a turning point for Rome and the city of Carthage.
Who is involved in the Punic Wars?
At about 200 BC Carthage and Rome were the two big cities and had quite a decent rivalry growing. Rome had conquered the Italian ppeninsulaand were trying to decide if they were going to be an Italian empire, or if they were going to expand.
At the same time Carthage (originally a colony of Phoenicia), but now a power in its own right was expanding into Spain.
As you can see in the picture up above, Carthage, the green group, had a lot more land, but it was recently conquered land and they were more traders, not soldiers. Rome had a solid grip on their peninsula, and had a well drilled army.
The start of the Punic Wars and Hannibal’s part in it
Both sides traded fights for a bit, but the big problem came when Rome set forth and sailed on Carthage. Carthage cried bloody murder and called their best general, Hannibal to come home and defend them.
Now Hannibal had a choice, go home and sail his army over the seas to defend his home, OR attack the Romans on their own land. Hit them where it hurts and cause the Senate to withdraw the Roman army.
Hannibal chose to march his army across Spain, and over the Alps to Italy and attack Rome. In one of the most famous marches across Europe he got his army with all of those elephants over the Alps very quickly and surprised all of Rome with his war elephants.
Scipio Africanus, Roman general for the Punic Wars
Enter Scipio Africanus. Scipio ranks in the lore of Roman history as one of its greatest generals. He fought Hannibal to a standstill and destroyed his march on Rome, even though Rome had no idea how to deal with the elephants.
To truly get an idea how the battle went we watched the Decisive Battles episode on the Battle of Cannae between Hannibal and Scipio.
In the end Hannibal escaped, and Scipio was recalled to Rome. Carthage and Rome both started rebuilding their forces. This was just a temporary truce because neither of them could let the other survive.
The Third Punic War ended with the complete destruction of Carthage. Rome did not trust them to keep their peace treaty, so they went in burned the city to the ground, salted the earth, and destroyed any chance of the city building back up, and made its holdings into a Roman province. This secured more trading rights, a fairly good port, and ended the threat of war for a while. Now Rome could turn its eyes East to look at Greece.
Finishing up the Punic Wars with a notebooking page
After we’d gone over all of that the kids completed a notebooking page about the Punic Wars. Bad spelling and everything.