In its first centuries, the Roman Republic was largely preoccupied with gaining dominance of the Italian Peninsula, and thus concerned itself with the development of its legendary legions. Rome had little experience with seaborne combat. But in the third century BC, Carthage, an older city-state of Phoenician origin, challenged Rome’s expansionist efforts. Located on the north-central coast of Africa, Carthage had already established colonies at many points along the North African coast, as well as in Iberia and a number of the islands in the western Mediterranean. The particular point of conflict was Sicily, where Rome’s advances were threatening established Carthaginian enclaves. In response to some initial clashes, Carthage dispatched a fleet to contest Roman efforts to cross the Strait of Messina, and so began the First Punic War.
Armaments & Innovations - Aiding the Ascendancy of the Roman Navy
By Commander Tyrone G. Martin, U. S. Navy (Retired)