The Punic Wars: Long-Term Changes to the New Roman Empire
The Punic Wars saw a number of important changes to the Roman Republic. These changes had both immediate and long-term effects that transform the Roman Republic into the powerful Roman Empire. The most obvious of these was the major expansion throughout the Mediterranean Sea during the Punic Wars. This growth therefore aided many social, cultural and political changes that allowed the Roman Empire to hold its immense power until the 5th century AD. Key changes include a shift in political guidance and wealth, the peasant community was altered and many began moving to the cities to look for work and food and Greek culture spread throughout the newly acquired provinces. From all this, a new social environment emerged allowing the new Roman Empire to flourish.
A direct result from the Punic Wars was that Rome gained a new navy. In the First Punic War in 264 to 261 BC, Rome battled Carthage who was, at the time, a dominant naval power. To combat this supremacy at sea, the Romans designed a new type of vessel. The new ship featured a special platform that allowed many infantrymen on board. When they approached an opposing ship, Roman soldiers could then board the enemy vessel and fight hand-to-hand, which was their own specialty (West in the World, 120). The Romans eventually defeated the Carthaginians and they received Sicily in return. Sicily became Rome’s first province allowing them to obtain grain and money. The vast expansion of the Roman Republic began with this acquisition.
At the end of the Second Punic War, Rome expanded into Spain proving itself as the most powerful nation in the Mediterranean. This placed Carthage under complete control of Rome and because of this Carthage had to obtain Rome’s permission to wage war. With this control, the increase in the use of slaves by Rome that were acquired from Carthage followed. More than 200,000 people were captured and brought to...