Hiero II

First Punic War – March 10, 241 BC

The Romans and Carthaginians were engaged in what was called the First Punic War, beginning in 264 BC. Carthage was the superior force at the beginning of the conflict and the term “Punic” is Latin for the Carthaginians as it began as a Phoenician colony in North Africa. The conflict between the two powers was for control of the western Mediterranean Sea and began when they clashed in Messana, in Sicily, the closest city to the Italian peninsula. In 288 BC, Messana had been captured by the Mamertines, a group of mercenaries originially hired by Agathocles of Syracuse. While that was going on, rebel Campanian Romans took Rhegium. In 271-270 BC, Roman Republicans retook Rhegium and punished the rebels who still lived there. Meanwhile, the Mamertines were marauding across the countryside, unt...

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