Hannibal of Carthage

                                                            The First Punic War

           The advance ship of Hamilcar's fleet returning to Carthage after the end of the First Punic War.

          The changing point in ancient times which would occur in 264 B.C. was brought about  years earlier, in 284 B. C. , by a group of Italian mercenaries, called the Mamertines,  who had been employed under the services of Agothocles of Syracuse. After Agothocles made peace with Carthage he paid the Italian mercenaries who had served in his army, and instead of returning to Italy, they traveled to the Sicilian city of Messana, closest to the heal of Italy, and killed every male inside the city. They then took  the Messana women as their wives in the process.  Over the next 20 years the Mamertines continued to occupy the city and they ravaged the countryside, and their stealing and killing went unchecked.  That was until , Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse, took action against the Mamertines and went forth with an army and crushed them at the Battle of the Longanus on the Mylae plains. The Mamertines retreated to their city and realizing that they could not hold out against Syracuse should Hiero press onto their walls, sent delegates to both Carthage and Rome, asking for assistance against Syracuse to save themselves. Carthage first responded and agreed to send to Messana a contingent of Carthage troops to garrison the city against Syracuse.  A small Carthage force, led by a general named Hanno, occupied the cities Citadel. Carthage also employed a fleet to blackade the cities harbor. The Mamertines, uneasy about having their city garrisoned, made further pleas to Rome to come to their assistance against Hiero. The request was debated at great lengths in the Roman senate as such an action on Carthage- dominated Sicily would almost certainly cause Carthage to react with force. They also were fearful of having Carthage occupying a city so close to Italy, which weighed heavily on their decision  by agreeing to assist the Mamertines against Syracuse, even though this would bring about almost certain war with Carthage empire.

          As the two cities were preparing for what inevitably  would follow, Rome, at first , had little hope of success. The Carthaginians possessed the largest and most disciplined navy that the world had ever known. Carthage could also count on over $43 million annually from her subject states. Also, the area to be contested, Sicily, was territory well known to Carthage. Rome, on the other hand, had no navy, had never fought outside of Italy, and could not count upon anywhere near the money that Carthage received from her trade empire to  fund a war. Rome, however, did have certain advantages. They had a firm grip over Italy, no uprisings as Carthage had, her armies were not made up of mercenaries, instead they comprised of their own citizens who were promised land for farming after their service had ended,  and most importantly, Rome possessed a desire to never accept defeat, even when the odds were stacked against them and surrender seemed to be the logical choice.

          The Roman consul Appius Claudius Caudex, with blessings of the populace of Rome, crossed over to Messana with an army of around 30,000 in 264 B.C. and entered the city at the bequest of the Mamertines. Hanno and his force still occupied the citadel and the Mamertines were able to get Hanno to leave the safety which it offered to meet with the Romans and discuss the current situation. The Romans, stronger if force, reacted by expelling Hanno and his small force.   What soon followed would be the first time that Rome had ever fought outside of Italy. Outside of the cities walls, operating in the Sicilian countryside, were two large armies, one from Syracuse and another from Carthage, both acting in agreement of the other. Hanno would join the Carthage army and relay what had happened. Thus the Carthaginians,being alerted to the Romans occupying the city, responded by marching to the city and laying siege to her walls. Hiero of Syracuse also marched his army to the walls, however, he failed to engage in the siege. Appius then sent envoys to both armies asking for dialog, however, both armies refused to meet with them. Appius then was able to march most of his army out of the siege and first met the combined, unlikely-allied Carthage and Syracuse force in a pitched battle. The Romans were totally triumphant and Hiero fled with the remnants of his force back to Syracuse. Appius followed and laid siege to her walls. The siege did not last long until Hiero, with his scouts informing him that no Carthage army was near to assist, asked for peace with the Romans. Rome agreed to allow Syracuse to sue for peace. The demands that Hiero agreed to were to become a "subject" state of Rome, agree to pay a small indemnity, agree to assist Rome against Carthage, and furthermore, would allow Rome to use the city as their primary base of operations against the Carthaginians. With Carthage controlling the seas with her vastly superior navy, this last demand was of the utmost importance. After the surrender of Syracuse several other Carthaginian cities in eastern Sicily also left Carthage and joined the Romans. Carthage responded by reinforcing her strongholds in Sicily and began recruiting a mercenary army in Africa to send to Sicily to operate in the countryside, hoping to entice the Romans into another pitched battle. At the same time, Carthage also was faced with a Numidian rebellion to the west and a Libyan rebellion to the east which  she was forced to consume manpower to address. Nonetheless, the Carthage army raised for Sicily was able to embark on their destination and landed at Lilybaeum, unmolested.


          At the start of the war, Rome did not have a naval fleet, and also had no idea of how to construct one. It is said that they captured a Carthage war ship which had been blown upon the Italian coast during a strong storm. The ship was taken to Rome and Roman engineers constructed many based upon the Carthage design. They also placed numerous benches upon the beach and had men practice rowing. While Rome was constructing this fleet, her army in Sicily, after the defeat of Syracuse, pressed west and laid siege to the powerful Carthage city along the northern coast of the island called Agrigentum 262 B.C.(Acragas to the Greeks) . The city, garrisoned by a strong contingent of Carthage forces, called upon aid from Carthage and she responded.  The Carthage army which had landed at Lilybaeum, commanded by a general named Hanno, struck towards Agrigentum and was first able to destroy the Roman army supply base. The Romans, without supplies, and suffering from sickness, drew up their battle lines and offered Hanno battle. Hanno, joined by the Carthage garrison from Agrigentum led by the general Hannibal Gisco,, complied and was soundly defeated. Hanno retreated to Lilybaeum and several days later the Roman army took Agrigentum by storm, slaughtering most of the populace and enslaving the few survivors (261 B.C.). Soon after the fall of Agrigentum, Carthage and Rome would engage in their first navel battle off the Lipari Islands, north of Sicily. The Carthage fleet, led by Hannibal Gisco, the same general who had along with Hanno suffered defeat at Agrigentum, was able to defeat the Roman fleet and for the time being, able to ward off the Roman occupation attempt of these group of islands.  Rome responded by constructing another fleet and realizing that they were inferior to Carthage in this theatre of war, devised a devise to place upon each of their new ships which they called a corvus. Since the fashion that navel battles were fought in those days, with ships ramming their enemy causing them to sink was the standard, Rome complied to alter how these battles were fought. The new devise was to be used as the Carthage ships neared ready to batter the Roman ships. The corvus would then be activated to prevent this from happening. The corvus was a type of bridge that was around 4 feet wide and 36 feet long. It was connected to the ship at the bottom and stood straight in the air. On the bottom of the end of the bridge were curved spikes which when the bridge was dropped upon the enemy ship as it was nearing to smash their ships, the spikes would embed in the deck, allowing their superior troops to cross over and engage the poorly-trained Carthage rowers. Carthage had never seen this devise as they sailed into battle to meet the Romans at the Battle of Mylae (260 B.C.). The fleets were said to both number slightly over 100 strong. The Roman invention took the Carthage ships by surprise and around 50 of the Carthage ships were captured this way, forcing the Carthaginian ships to attempt to attack from the side or the rear, instead of the usual fashion of striking head-on. Finding little success, and losing more ships as the battle went on, Hannibal disengaged  and sailed to Sardinia. The Roman fleet, failed to follow, instead sailing to Sicily to assist several cities who were under siege from Carthage. These cities originally were under Carthage influence, however, after Syracuse had joined the Romans, they had joined the Roman cause. The Romans would then raise another fleet and engage Hannibal again, this time off the coast of Sardinia and defeat the Carthaginians again. This defeat prompted Hannibal to return to Carthage with his remaining fleet and upon arrival, he was crucified by his own men for his defeats.

              The corvus that was invented by the Romans which changed the way naval warfare was fought.  The corvus also affected the balance of the Roman ships and cause many to sink easier in storms 

                                               Battle of Ecnomus, Perhaps the Largest Naval Battle in History 

                                        Hamilcar's Defeat of the Roman's on Sicily 

           As said before, the Roman army on Sicily, after sacking Agrigentum, moved to relieve two cities that the Carthaginians were besieging on the northeast portion of the island. Here they were met by a Carthage army that was led by a general named Hamilcar, not Hannibal's father, and they were decisively defeated.   The Carthaginians then remained on the offensive and re-took the city of Enna from the Romans, before moving east towards Syracuse, in a show of force, to possibly persuade the city to rescind their alliance with Rome as they had become aware that there was a strong contingent within the city who was not happy with their alliance.   The next year, 258 B.C., the Romans were able to capture from Carthage several cities in the central portion of the island after which they marched to the Punic stronghold of Panormus and attempted to take the city by storm, but were repelled twice, with great losses. Over the next several years the war consisted of small engagements upon Siciliy and several naval battles. Rome and Carthage also lost several naval fleets to storms. With the war indecisive upon Sicily, Rome turned her energies to creating a huge naval fleet that comprised of 350 war ships, which between the rowers and the naval soldiers each held 250 men. (87,000). This fleet would be for the protection of another huge transport fleet which was carrying an army of  80,000 men. The destination of this armada was the North African coast, for the invasion of Carthage. By taking the war to their enemies, Rome was confident that the war would end after one or two victories, ending in Carthage suing for peace. Carthaginian spies relayed to the Punic city what the Romans were planning and Carthage gathered her powerful fleet and met the Romans south of Sicily at the Battle of Ecnomus with a fleet comparable in size to the Romans, in an attempt to thwart the invasion of her homeland. The battle, because of the amount of ships and the fact that it is said that nearly 300,000 men took place in the battle,  is considered by many historians to be the largest naval battle of all times. The two Roman consuls of the year,Marcus Atilius Regalus and Lucius Manilius Vulso Longus, were given command of the fleet. The Carthaginians countered with Hanno the Great and Hamilcar, the later victor of Drepanum (not to be confused with Hamilcar Barca).

          By this time, Roman naval warfare  had improved. The fleet advanced along the Sicilian coast in battle formation, with the military ships deployed in three squadrons. Squadrons I and II, commanded by the consuls, led the way arrayed in a wedge. The bulk of the transport ships were right behind them and the third squadron protected the rear. The Carthaginians expected them and the two fleets met in the southern coast of Sicily off Mount Ecnomus. Carthage's fleet was disposed in the traditional long line, with the center commanded by Hamilcar. The right flank commanded by the Hanno defeated in Agrigentum was slightly advanced.

                             Facing the Carthaginians, the two Roman leading squadrons advanced on the Carthaginian center. Admiral Hamilcar then faked a retreat to allow the creation of a gap between the Roman vanguard and the transport ships that were his main target. Following this maneuver, both Carthaginian flanks advanced on the ships left behind, attacking from the side to avoid the effect of the corvus boarding mechanism. The transports were forced against the Sicilian coast and the reinforcements forced to enter the battle to face Hanno's attack.

          The Carthaginian center was defeated after a long fight and escaped the battle scene. Then the two leading Roman squadrons turned to relieve the situation in the rear. Consul Vulso's first squadron pursued the Carthaginian left which was pushing the transports to disaster and Regulus' ships, with the third squadron, launched an attack against Hanno. Without the support of the rest of their fleet, the Carthaginians were heavily defeated. In consequence of this battle, about half of Carthage's fleet was captured or sunk. Rome, as well, had lost many ships and men. Many more ships were damaged and the entire fleet sailed to Sicily where damaged ships could be repaired.  Once this was done the fleet sailed unopposed to North Africa and landed upon the Carthage homeland.  Regalus marched to the Carthage city of Clupea which was around 40 miles east of Carthage and laid siege to her walls. The Carthaginian garrison was ill prepared and soon the city surrendered. Regalus left a sizable force to defend the city and marched west, spreading terror and disaster as he went. Carthage responded by mustering an army to meet the Roman invaders.  The army, commanded by Bostar, Hasdrubal, and Hamilcar, the same Hamilcar who was defeated at Ecnomus, was outnumbered by a three to one ratio by the Roman force. The battle took place near the town of Adys.(256 B.C.)

          Adys had remained loyal to Carthage and was being threatened by the Romans, who were said to be in the early stages of preparing for a siege when the newly, outnumbered Carthage army came upon the scene. The army consisted of mercenaries, African light infantry, militia, cavalry, and elephants. The combined Carthaginian force set about organizing the defenses of Adys, of which was 40 miles southeast of Carthage, which they found now under imminent threat of a Roman siege. Despite possessing superior cavalry and elephants, the Carthaginians took up position on a hill overlooking the plain of Adis. The lack of training and decentralized command structure reflected poorly for the effectiveness of the army. The Carthaginians determined to resist and not allow further destruction by the Romans.

          Unknown to the Carthaginians, the Romans quickly deployed their force around the hill under cover of darkness, and attacked from two sides at dawn. The Carthaginians held their ground in a stalemate for a while, and even pushed back a Roman legion. This gap in the battle lines allowed for the unchallenged elephants and Carthaginian cavalry to escape. But eventually the Carthaginians were crushed and fled the site. The Romans pursued for some time, and then looted the enemy camp. Encountering no resistance, the Roman army continued on a march to Carthage, stopping at Tunis. After news of the Carthage defeat began to circulate, the Numidians rose against the Carthaginians and thousands of African refugees fled to the massive walls of Carthage to escape the advancing Roman legions. Regalus laid waste to the Carthaginian countryside. Smaller cities and towns were completely destroyed. Carthage sent an envoy to meet with Regalus with authorization from the Carthage senate to sue for peace if terms were acceptable. Regalus demanded that Carthage surrender Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. Carthage was also to destroy what was left of their navy and pay a large indemnity to Rome. To all these Carthage agreed. However, Regalus demanded one final condition, that Carthage must agree to a treaty where Carthage would be considered a "subject state" of Rome. To this last request the Carthaginians  stiffened and once again became defiant and set about raising another army to meet Regalus one more time. This time, Carthage replaced Hamilcar with a Spartan mercenary named Xanthippus to lead their army. Xanthippus spent an entire year training and arming the new Carthage army and met Regalus at the Battle of Tunis (255B.C.).     Faced by the resurgent Carthaginian army, Regulus was keen to gain another victory rather than risk the chance that someone else would get the glory of eventual victory. Xanthippus is credited with the Carthaginian formation, with a hastily raised phalanx of civilians in the center, mercenary infantry on their right and a line of elephants in front of the infantry, with the elite Carthaginian cavalry split between the two flanks. The Romans were formed in their normal formation, with the legionary infantry in the centre and the outnumbered cavalry on the flanks.

                                                              Carthage victory over Regalus at the Battle of Tunis 

          The Carthaginians started the battle with an attack by the elephants. This tied up the main force of Roman infantry. The Roman cavalry, outnumbered eight to one, was quickly defeated. Only on their left did the Romans have any success, when 2,000 troops, possibly allied troops, defeated the mercenaries facing them, and chased them back past their camp. Meanwhile, in the center the elephant attack had been withstood, but only a few isolated units of Roman infantry managed to get past them to attempt to attack the Carthaginian phalanx, and those were quickly defeated. Finally, the Carthaginian cavalry charged the already shaken Romans from both sides, destroying what cohesion was left. Only the 2,000 troops successful earlier in the battle escaped to be rescued by the Roman fleet. Regulus himself was taken prisoner. Some later Roman writers claim that his eyelids were cut off and he was trampled to death by an enraged elephant  However Polybius does not mention it and Diodorus, (a writer hostile to the Carthaginians) implies he died from natural causes. The defeat, and serious disasters in storms at sea, ended any chance that Rome would defeat Carthage in Africa, and ensured that the rest of the war was fought in Sicily and at sea.

          After the defeat of Regalus, Carthage regained supremacy of the sea for a short time and Rome constructed another enormous fleet of over 350 war ships and sent the fleet to search and destroy the Carthage fleet. Disaster would follow as  every Roman ship sank in a horrible storm, taking with them some 90,000 men. Carthage responded on the offensive in Sicily by re-taking Agrigentum from the Romans. They then destroyed the city by burning it to the ground because they had suffered such losses during the battle that they were confident they would not be able to hold the city. Survivors were relocated to Lilybaeum.  

          The Romans were able to rally, however, and quickly resumed the offensive. Along with constructing a new fleet of 140 ships, Rome returned to the strategy of taking the Carthaginian cities in Sicily one by one. Attacks began with naval assaults on Lilybaeum, the center of Carthaginian power on Sicily, and a raid on Africa. Both efforts ended in failure. The Romans retreated from Lilybaeum, and the African force was caught in another storm and destroyed. However, the Romans made great progress in the north. The city of Thermae was captured in 252 BC, enabling another advance on the port city of Panormus. The Romans attacked this city after taking Kephalodon in 251 BC. After fierce fighting, the Carthaginians were defeated and the city fell. With Panormus captured, much of western inland Sicily fell with it. The cities of Ieta, Solous, Petra, and Tyndaris agreed to peace with the Romans that same year.

          The next year the Romans shifted their attention to Lilybaeum, the Carthage stronghold on Sicily. They sent a huge naval expedition of 125 war ships toward Lilybaeum. En route, the Romans seized and burned the Carthaginian hold-out cities of Selinous and Heraclea Minoa. This expedition to Lilybaeum was not successful, but attacking the Carthaginian headquarters demonstrated Roman resolve to take all of Sicily. The Roman fleet met and was defeated by the Carthaginians at the Battle of Drepana (249 B.C.), forcing the Romans to continue their attacks from land. Roman land forces at Lilybaeum were relieved, and Eryx, near Drepana, was seized, thus menacing that important city as well.

          As said, the naval Battle of Drepana took place in 249 B.C. The string of Roman naval victories, such as Mylae and Ecnomus, gave them the confidence to make a direct attack on the Carthaginian stronghold of Lilybaeum governed at the time by Himilco. The city was blockaded by a fleet commanded by the year's consul's, Publius Claudius Pulcher and Lucius Junius Paullus. However, despite the acquired Roman naval experience, the Carthaginians were still superior in open sea manoeuvring. A small squadron led by a commander named Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, managed to break the siege in broad daylight and deliver supplies to the garrison of Lilybaeum. In the night, Hannibal left the city carrying the useless cavalry horses and sailed to the harbor of Drepana, before the Romans knew what was happening.

          The success of the enterprise was so stunning that the Carthaginians repeated it several times. For the Romans, this was more than a humiliation: it was annulling the whole effect of the siege, since the garrison was being fed and kept in contact with Carthage. Something had to be done.

          Shortly after, a brave sailor, identified as Hannibal the Rhodian, openly defied the Roman fleet by sailing around the fleet in order to spy on the town and relay the news of the goings on inside of Lilybaeum to the Carthaginian Senate and the Carthaginian commander at the battle,Ad Herbal.

          Pulcher, the senior consul then decided to launch a surprise attack on the harbour of Drepana, where the defiant ships were garrisoned. The fleet sailed north from Lilybaeum in a moonless night. Carthaginian scouts did not spot the Roman ships but low visibility conditions compromised the battle formation. When they reached Drepana at sunrise, the fleet was scattered in a long, disorganised line with Pulcher's ship in the rear. Punic scouts saw the clumsy approach and the advantage of surprise was lost.

          Meanwhile in the flagship, Pulcher performed the inspection of the omens for the battle, according to Roman religious tradition. The method ascribed for the situation was investigating the feeding behaviour of the sacred chickens, on board for that purpose. If the chickens accepted the offered grain, then the Gods  would be favorable to the battle. However, in that particular morning of 249 BC, the chickens refused to eat – a terrible omen. Confronted with the unexpected and having to deal with the superstitious and now terrified crews, Pulcher quickly figured an alternative interpretation. He threw the sacred chickens overboard, directly into the Mediterranean, saying, Let them drink, since they don't wish to eat. In the harbor, the Carthaginians did not wait to see what the Romans intended. Admiral Ad Herbal had similar, though less controversial, quick thinking and ordered the evacuation of Drepana before the blockade was unavoidable. Carthage's ships thus sailed out of Drepana, passing south of the city and around two small islands in the coast to open ocean. Seeing the plan of a surprise attack fail, Pulcher ordered his fleet to regroup into battle formation. However, by then, everything was against him. The coast of Sicily was at his back and the Punic fleet ready for battle at his front.

          Herbal saw a chance for victory and ordered the attack. He ordered his right flank to attack the rear-most Roman ships. The result was an utter Roman defeat, with almost all ships commanded by Pulcher sunk.

          Publius Claudius Pulcher managed to escape and returned to Rome in shame, where he faced charges of treason. Unlike the Carthaginians, Romans did not execute generals for incompetence, what brought Pulcher to the court was an accusation of sacrilege due to the chicken incident. He was convicted and sentenced to exile, with his political career finished.

         The Drepana defeat so demoralized the Romans that they waited seven years before building another fleet. Two years later, (247 BC), Carthage sent general Hamilcar Barca (Hannibal's father) to Sicily. His landing at Heirkte (near Panormus) drew the Romans away to defend that port city and resupply point and gave Drepana some breathing room. Subsequent guerilla warfare kept the Roman legions pinned down and preserved Carthage's toehold in Sicily, although Roman forces which bypassed Hamilcar forced him to relocate to Eryx, to better defend Drepana. Nevertheless, Carthaginian success in Sicily was secondary to the progress of the war at sea; the stalemate Hamilcar produced in Sicily became irrelevant following the Roman naval victory at the Battle of the Aegates Islands in 241 BC. Before the Roman victory, a strong contingent in Rome, tired and weary of war,  called for peace and even the senate was having dialog within the chambers as to how to sue for peace with Carthage as the cities treasury was empty. However, the wealthy of Rome gave their own wealth and their allies contributed as well, under their own will, to construct this one last fleet.

                                               File:Drepana.png
 


                                      Carthage's Last Stand in the First Punic War, the Battle of the Aegates Islands 

 

          This new Roman fleet was completed in 242 B.C. and entrusted to the consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus, assisted by the . The reversals of fortune and difficulties suffered in past naval defeats provided invaluable acquired experience. The Roman ships were now more resistant to adverse weather conditions, with the corvus having been abandoned due to a hindrance with the mobility of the ships in turbulent waters. . Catulus also endeavored to drill the crews in maneuvers and exercises before leaving secure waters. The result was a fleet at the peak of condition and fighting ability.

          In Carthage, meanwhile, the news of enemy activity was not left unanswered. A new Carthaginian fleet was also built, numbering about 250 warships (although probably undermanned), and launched in the Mediterranean under the command of Hanno (the general defeated at Agrigentum and Cape Ecnomus). These ships were also loaded heavily with supplies that were meant for Hamilcar and his army in Sicily. This left the ships with limited mobility.   

          Catulus' first move was to besiege the Sicilian port city Lilybaeum (at the western tip of Sicily, now called Marsala) once more, by blockading its harbor and the connection to Carthage. A large Roman land army then besieged the city on land . The intent was seemingly to cut off the cities supply and communication lines for they were in dire need to feed the mercenary army as well as the population of the city. The city was commanded by a Carthaginian general named Gesco(Gisco), (Hamilcar's second-in-command), who due to the fact that Lilybaeum would never fall to the Romans would lead to him being popular after the war in Carthage as he was seen as a  war hero. Hamilcar, operating in the mountains , was unable to lift the siege. For the rest of the year Catulus waited for the Carthaginian response. The senate granted him a pro consulship for 241 BC.

          The Carthaginian fleet arrived to relieve the blockade later that same  year (241B.C.). Hanno called a halt near the Aegates Islands to wait for a favorable breeze that would speed him to Lilybaeum. However, the Carthaginian fleet was spotted by Roman scouts and Catulus abandoned the blockade to meet his enemy.

          On the morning of March 10, the wind favored the Carthaginians and Hanno immediately set sail. Catulus measured the risk of attacking with the wind in his bow versus the risk of letting Hanno reach Sicily to relieve Hamilcar Barca and Lilybaeum. Despite unfavorable conditions, the proconsul decided to intercept the Carthaginians and ordered his fleet to prepare for battle. He had the Roman ships stripped of their masts, sails and other unnecessary equipment in order to make them more seaworthy in the rough conditions. Catulus himself was unable to join the actual battle because of injuries suffered in an earlier engagement, so in the actual battle the ships were commanded by his second in command, Falto.

          In the ensuing battle the Romans enjoyed a far greater mobility, since their vessels were carrying only the bare necessities, while the Carthaginians were burdened with men, equipment and provisions for Hamilcar, as mentioned before. . The Carthaginian crews were also hurriedly levied and inexperienced. The Romans quickly gained the upper hand, using their ships' greater maneuverability to ram the enemy vessels from the sides, sending them to the depths of the Mediterranean Sea.. About half of the Carthaginian fleet was either destroyed or captured. The rest were saved only by an abrupt change in the direction of the wind, allowing them to flee from the Romans, who had left their masts and sails on shore.

          Upon achieving the decisive victory over the Carthaginian fleet, Catulus renewed the siege and tightened his hold on Lilybaeum, thus further isolating Hamilcar  Barca and his army in Sicily, scattered among the few strongholds that Carthage still retained. Several small land engagements were fought with Hamilcar defeating the Romans in each. Without the resources to build another fleet or to reinforce its land troops in Sicily, Carthage was forced to sue for peace. The Carthage senate, however, did not want to bestow that "honor" upon themselves, and directed Hamilcar to negotiate the best terms he could for the city. Hamilcar then bestowed this action upon his second-in-command, Gesco, the commander from Lilybaeum. It is said that Hamilcar, having never lost an engagement to the Romans, did not want to surrender to someone who had never bested himself. Terms of the treaty were as follows, Carthage was to cede Sicily and numerous other small islands in the vicinity, most notably the Aegaen's and the Lipasa island chains, return all prisoners of war, to never take up arms against Syracuse, and to pay a large war indemnity to Rome each year for the next 20 years.  The war had raged for 23 years. Both cities were exhausted, Sicily was ravaged, and yet, Carthage and Rome, despite a tense peace, hateful of the other, would soon prepare for war, once again. 

                                                             Punic Casualty of War from the Battle of Aegates Islands

                                                             The Carthage "High Tide' during the first Punic War 

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