Ancient warfare, Carthage, Carthaginians, Military history, naval history, Naval warfare, Punic, Punic War, ram, Roman, Roman Empire, Roman Navy, Roman warfare, Rome
Republication from the Archaeology Magazine
Roman legionaries board on a Carthaginian warship during the First Punic War. Artwork by Peter Connolly.
by Andrew Curry
Evidence of Romes decisive victory over Carthage is discovered in the waters off Sicily
In his work The Histories, the second-century B.C. Greek historian Polybius chronicles the rise of the Romans as they battled for control of the Mediterranean. The central struggle pits the Romans against their archenemies the Carthaginians, a trading superpower based in North Africa. For 23 years, beginning in 264 B.C., the two rivals fought what became known as the First Punic War.
Ancient warfare, bireme, Carthaginians, Dionysius, Etruscans, Greeks, Ionia, Ionians, naval history, Naval warfare, Phocaea, Phoenicians, Sicily, Trireme
Map above: The location of Phocaea οn the Aegean coast of Asia Minor between the Aeolian Kyme and the Ionic Smyrna.
Below: The Hellenistic theater of Phocaea.
By Periklis Deligiannis
In 494/493 BC a small but formidable Anatolian Greek naval force appeared in the sea around Sicily, causing serious problems to the Carthaginians and the Etruscans. A few months earlier, the Ionic Revolt of the Greeks of Asia Minor against the Persian rule was reaching its end. This revolt was called Ionic because the Ionians were the most numerous among the Greek revolutionary forces but they were supported as well by many Aeolians and some non-Greek Lydians and Carians. The outcome of the war was decided in the naval battle of Lade Islet.
Dionysius of Phocaea was the commander-in-chief of the Greek fleet, being the ablest Ionian admiral. Phocaea was a Greek city-state on the linguistic-dialectic border between the Ionian and the Aeolian Greeks of Asia Minor, on the Aegean coast between the Aeolian Kyme and the Ionic Smyrna. The city was Ionic (with an Aeolian minority) and small comparing to the mentioned neighbouring large cities, but it was a great naval power with many colonies around the Mediterranean, especially in the western part of it. Marseille (anc. Massalia), Monaco (anc. Monoecos Herakles’ Limen), Sain Tropez (anc. Athenopolis), Avignon (Auenion), Arles (Theline), Nice (Nikaia), Alicante (Akra Leuke), probably Barcelona (Greek Kallipolis, later conquered by the Barcid Carthaginians and renamed to Barcinon) and finally Velia (Elea or Hyele, home of the Eleatic philosophers) are some renowned modern French, Spanish and Italian cities founded by Phocaean colonists.
Ancient warfare, Athens, Carthage, Carthaginians, Gylippos, Laconia, Military history, Ptolemy, Romans, Rome, Sparta, Spartan, Spartan army, Syracuse
A Macedonian type phalanx, in an excellent work by Johny Shumate. The Carthaginian phalanx of the same type had much of the same appearance, because the Carthaginians had adopted a great part of the Greek military equipment (copyright: Johny Shumate)
By Periklis Deligiannis
Since the Archaic Εra (7th-6th cent. BC), Sparta used to employ mercenaries, specifically Cretan archers (Dorian relatives of the Spartans). Since the time of the Peloponnesian war, and mostly during the Hegemony of Sparta over Greece (after 404 BC), this city-state became a significant employer of Greek mercenaries, due to its limited number of hoplites. However, mostly the Spartans (Lacedaemonians) themselves were sending units of their army, under the leadership of experienced Spartan ‘warlords’, to serve as mercenaries other states, because of the financial problems of their city which became more and more pressing. Despite the loss of its power after 368 BC, Sparta became a great supplier of mercenaries, not only of its own Spartans but of other Greeks also. Gythium (the main Spartan/Laconian seaport) and other seaports of the Tainaron Peninsula (Laconia) became during the 4th-3rd centuries BC, the largest mercenary recruitment centers in Greece. The Lacedaemonian/Spartan mercenary troops consisted mainly of “neodamodeis” (freed helots), other Greeks (mostly Peloponnesians), and secondly by ‘perioikoi’ (free Laconian and Messenian subjects of Sparta). The only real Spartans in these expeditions were the leader of the expedition and a number of unit commanders or military advisors. The expeditions of the mercenaries were performed under license of the official Spartan state. The mercenary forces used to depart in ships, from the Tainaron Peninsula.