The city soon became one of the major trading centers of the Mediterranean, its ships sailing to many ports. They were recognized as having one of the greatest, if not the greatest navy of their time.
However, not a hundred years after Carthage was founded, another city, across the sea, in Italy, was also built, named Rome. These upstart people were ferociously tenacious when it came to fighting. So much so that even when they lost, king Pyrrhus said “Another such victory shall ruin us,” thus a Pyrrhic victory.
In the five hundreds B.C the two cities signed a peace treaty, recognizing that Carthage was expanding even larger. They fought three wars in Sicily, and also with king Pyrrhus, they won. But Rome was also growing larger, in fact, they were beginning to wish for more room and more power.
In 288 B.C a Roman general died. His mercenary soldiers, rather than going home, seized a city in Sicily. A former general of Pyrrhus took action against the “sons of Mars.” Half of these men asked for help from Rome, the other half from Carthage. Carthage sent a fleet and a garrison.
The Romans thus lost control of the seas near Sicily, and sent in an army to regain control. They won in their initial fights with Carthage, but were repelled in the end. They did not have a navy to rival Carthage, and it began to seem that nobody did.
The First Punic War was over. But shortly afterward, in Carthage, the Barcin family came to power. During the unrest, Rome seized Corsica. The war was far, far from over, but now the Barcas were in control of Carthage. That would change things.
Andrew C. Abbott