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Old November 12th, 2012, 07:04 PM   #1
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Naval timeline Punic War II


Derived from some discussion in a not so terribly related thread, IMHO we should begin the analysis of this fascinating issue from the beginning, i.e. from the first year of war:
- the 3rd year of the 140 th Olympiad/
- DXXXII AUC /
- 218/217 BC:
Quote:
Sempronio consule et ante aduentum eius terra marique res gestae.
Viginti quinqueremes cum mille armatis ad depopulandam oram Italiae a Carthaginiensibus missae; nouem Liparas, octo ad insulam Volcani tenuerunt, tres in fretum auertit aestus.
Ad eas conspectas a Messana duodecim naues ab Hierone rege Syracusanorum missae, qui tum forte Messanae erat consulem Romanum opperiens, nullo repugnante captas naues Messanam in portum deduxerunt. Cognitum ex captiuis praeter uiginti naues, cuius ipsi classis essent, in Italiam missas, quinque et triginta alias quinqueremes Siciliam petere ad sollicitandos ueteres socios; Lilybaei occupandi praecipuam curam esse; credere eadem tempestate qua ipsi disiecti forent eam quoque classem ad Aegates insulas deiectam.
Haec, sicut audita erant, rex M. Aemilio praetori, cuius Sicilia prouincia erat, perscribit monetque [et] Lilybaeum firmo teneret praesidio.
Extemplo et circa a praetore ad ciuitates missi legati tribunique suos ad curam custodiae intendere, et ante omnia Lilybaeum tueri apparatu belli, edicto proposito ut socii nauales decem dierum cocta cibaria ad naues deferrent et ubi signum datum esset ne quis moram conscendendi faceret, perque omnem oram qui ex speculis prospicerent aduentantem hostium classem missis.
Itaque quamquam de industria morati cursum nauium erant Carthaginienses ut ante lucem accederent Lilybaeum, praesensum tamen est quia et luna pernox erat et sublatis armamentis ueniebant.
Extemplo datum signum ex speculis et in oppido ad arma conclamatum est et in naues conscensum; pars militum in muris portarumque in stationibus, pars in nauibus erant.
Et Carthaginienses, quia rem fore haud cum imparatis cernebant, usque ad lucem portu se abstinuerunt, demendis armamentis eo tempore aptandaque ad pugnam classe absumpto.
Vbi inluxit, recepere classem in altum ut spatium pugnae esset exitumque liberum e portu naues hostium haberent.
Nec Romani detractauere pugnam et memoria circa ea ipsa loca gestarum rerum freti et militum multitudine ac uirtute.

Vbi in altum euecti sunt, Romanus conserere pugnam et ex propinquo uires conferre uelle; contra eludere Poenus et arte non ui rem gerere nauiumque quam uirorum aut armorum malle certamen facere.
Nam ut sociis naualibus adfatim instructam classem, ita inopem milite habebant et, sicubi conserta nauis esset, haudquaquam par numerus armatorum ex ea pugnabat.
Quod ubi animaduersum est, et Romanis multitudo sua auxit animum et paucitas illis minuit.
Extemplo septem naues Punicae circumuentae: fugam ceterae ceperunt. Mille et septingenti fuere in nauibus captis milites nautaeque, in his tres nobiles Carthaginiensium.
Classis Romana incolumis, una tantum perforata naui sed ea quoque ipsa reduce, in portum rediit. Secundum hanc pugnam, nondum gnaris eius qui Messanae erant Ti. Sempronius consul Messanam uenit.
Ei fretum intranti rex Hiero classem ornatam obuiam duxit, transgressusque ex regia in praetoriam nauem, gratulatus sospitem cum exercitu et nauibus aduenisse precatusque prosperum ac felicem in Siciliam transitum, statum deinde insulae et Carthaginiensium conata exposuit pollicitusque est, quo animo priore bello populum Romanum iuuenis adiuuisset, eo senem adiuturum; frumentum uestimentaque sese legionibus consulis sociisque naualibus gratis praebiturum; grande periculum Lilybaeo maritimisque ciuitatibus esse et quibusdam uolentibus nouas res fore.
Ob haec consuli nihil cunctandum uisum quin Lilybaeum classe peteret.
Et rex regiaque classis una profecti.
Nauigantes inde pugnatum ad Lilybaeum fusasque et captas hostium naues accepere.

A Lilybaeo consul, Hierone cum classe regia dimisso relictoque praetore ad tuendam Siciliae oram, ipse in insulam Melitam, quae a Carthaginiensibus tenebatur, traiecit.
Aduenienti Hamilcar Gisgonis filius, praefectus praesidii, cum paulo minus duobus milibus militum oppidumque cum insula traditur.
Inde post paucos dies reditum Lilybaeum captiuique et a consule et a praetore, praeter insignes nobilitate uiros, sub corona uenierunt.
Postquam ab ea parte satis tutam Siciliam censebat consul, ad insulas Volcani, quia fama erat stare ibi Punicam classem, traiecit; nec quisquam hostium circa eas insulas inuentus; iam forte transmiserant ad uastandam Italiae oram depopulatoque Vibonensi agro urbem etiam terrebant.
Repetenti Siciliam consuli escensio hostium in agrum Vibonensem facta nuntiatur, litteraeque ab senatu de transitu in Italiam Hannibalis et ut primo quoque tempore collegae ferret auxilium missae traduntur.
Multis simul anxius curis exercitum extemplo in naues impositum Ariminum mari supero misit, Sex. Pomponio legato cum uiginti quinque longis nauibus Vibonensem agrum maritimamque oram Italiae tuendam attribuit, M. Aemilio praetori quinquaginta nauium classem expleuit.
Ipse compositis Siciliae rebus decem nauibus oram Italiae legens Ariminum peruenit.
Quote:
... military and naval actions were taking place around Sicily and the islands fringing Italy, both under the conduct of Sempronius and also before his arrival.
Twenty quinqueremes with a thousand soldiers on board had been despatched by the Carthaginians to Italy, nine of them to Liparae, eight to the island of Vulcanus, and three had been carried by the currents into the Straits of Messana.
These were sighted from Messana, and Hiero, the King of Syracuse, who happened to be there at the time waiting for the consul, despatched twelve ships against them, and they were taken without any opposition and brought into the harbour of Messana.
It was ascertained from the prisoners, that besides the fleet of twenty ships to which they belonged which had sailed for Italy thirty-five quinqueremes were also on the way to Sicily with the object of stirring up the old allies of Carthage.
Their main anxiety was to secure Lilybaeum, and the prisoners were of opinion that the storm which had separated them from the rest had also driven that fleet up to the Aegates.
The king communicated this information just as he had received it to M. Aemilius, the praetor, whose province Sicily was, and advised him to throw a strong garrison into Lilybaeum.
The praetor at once sent envoys and military tribunes to the neighbouring states to urge them to take measures for self-defence.
Lilybaeum especially was engrossed in preparations for war; orders were issued for the seamen to carry ten days' rations on board that there might be no delay in setting sail when the signal was given; and men were despatched along the coast to look out for the approach of the hostile fleet.
So it came to pass that although the Carthaginians had purposely lessened the speed of their vessels, so that they might approach Lilybaeum before daylight, they were descried in the offing owing to there being a moon all night, and also because they were coming with their sails set. Instantly the signal was given by the look-out men; in the town there was the cry, "To arms," and the ships were manned.
Some of the soldiers were on the walls and guarding the gates, others were on board the ships.
As the Carthaginians saw that they would have to deal with people who were anything but unprepared, they stood out from the harbour till daylight, and spent the time in lowering their masts and preparing for action.
When it grew light they put out to sea that they might have sufficient room for fighting, and that the enemy's ships might be free to issue from the harbour.
The Romans did not decline battle, encouraged as they were by the recollection of their former conflicts in this very place, and full of confidence in the numbers and courage of their men.

When they had sailed out to sea the Romans were eager to come to close quarters and make a hand-to-hand fight of it; the Carthaginians, on the other hand, sought to avoid this and to succeed by maneuvering and not by direct attack; they preferred to make it a battle of ships rather than of soldiers.
For their fleet was amply provided with seamen, but only scantily manned by soldiers, and whenever a ship was laid alongside one of the enemy's they were very unequally matched in fighting men.
When this became generally known, the spirits of the Romans rose as they realised how many of their military were on board, whilst the Carthaginians lost heart when they remembered how few they had.
Seven of their ships were captured in a very short time, the rest took to flight.
In the seven ships there were 1700 soldiers and sailors, amongst them three members of the Carthaginian nobility.
The Roman fleet returned undamaged into port, with the exception of one which had been rammed, but even that was brought in.
Immediately after this battle Tiberius Sempronius, the consul, arrived at Messana before those in the town had heard of it.
King Hiero went to meet him at the entrance of the Straits with his fleet fully equipped and manned, and went on board the consul's vessel to congratulate him on having safely arrived with his fleet and his army, and to wish him a prosperous and successful passage to Sicily.
He then described the condition of the island and the movements of the Carthaginians, and promised to assist the Romans now in his old age with the same readiness which he had shown as a young man in the former war; he should supply the seamen and soldiers with corn and clothing gratis. He also told the consul that Lilybaeum and the cities on the coast were in great danger, some were anxious to effect a revolution.
The consul saw that there must be no delay in his sailing for Lilybaeum; he started at once and the king accompanied him with his fleet.

At Lilybaeum Hiero and his fleet bade him farewell, and the consul, after leaving the praetor to see to the defence of the coast of Sicily, crossed over to Malta which was held by the Carthaginians.
Hamilcar, the son of Gisgo, who was in command of the garrison, surrendered the island and his men, a little under 2000 in number. A few days later he returned to Lilybaeum, and the prisoners, with the exception of the three nobles, were sold by auction. After satisfying himself as to the security of that part of Sicily, the consul sailed to the Insulae Vulcani, as he heard that the Carthaginian fleet was anchored there.
No enemy, however, was found in the neighbourhood, for they had left for Italy to ravage the coastal districts, and after laying waste the territory of Vibo they were threatening the city.
Whilst he was returning to Sicily the news of these depredations reached the consul, and at the same time a despatch was handed to him from the senate informing him of Hannibal's presence in Italy and ordering him to come to his colleague's assistance as soon as possible.
With all these causes for anxiety weighing upon him, the consul at once embarked his army and despatched it up the Adriatic to Ariminum.
He furnished Sex. Pomponius, his legate, with twenty-five ships of war, and entrusted to him the protection of the Italian coast and the territory of Vibo, and made up the fleet of M. Aemilius, the praetor, to fifty vessels.
After making these arrangements for Sicily, he started for Italy with ten ships, and cruising along the coast reached Ariminum.
(Titus Livius,Ab Vrbe Condita, XXI. XLIX-LI)

As a side note, please note that for a Roman date I'm using the corrected absolute chronology (in this case, the Varronian chronology plus four years).

Additionally I'm using an overlapping proleptic Julian date (previous year/ next year) due to the late beginning of the official Roman year (At March by the time).

As usual, any contribution & opinion, especially but not exclusively relevant hard evidence, will be highly welcomed.

Please just explain your educated opinion as much as possible.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by sylla1; November 12th, 2012 at 07:13 PM.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 02:18 AM   #2

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What is disagreement which should be discussed here?
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Old November 13th, 2012, 07:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arras View Post
What is disagreement which should be discussed here?
What or which agreement or disagreement should be discussed here is entirely up to you and any other Historumite.

Rest assured any contribution will be highly welcomed, as usual
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:07 AM   #4

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I think you should explain to people who were not involved in the discussion that spawned this thread, just exactly what it is that you are after.

Maybe I am dim, but I don't know what the point is here.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #5

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Perhaps link to that original discussion would help.
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Old November 13th, 2012, 04:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
I think you should explain to people who were not involved in the discussion that spawned this thread, just exactly what it is that you are after.

Maybe I am dim, but I don't know what the point is here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arras View Post
Perhaps link to that original discussion would help.
Don't think so, but here is it anyway: http://www.historum.com/general-hist...ml#post1256117

Sorry for not having explained any better what am I after here; my bad

Some Historumites have previously pointed out the scarcity of the information on the naval warfare of Punic War II, to such extent that it is often considered that it was virtually absent.

From my limited knowledge on this matter my personal impression couldn't be any more the opposite; in fact, there were relevant naval operations virtually each & any of the 18 years of this colossal conflict.

The first post here shows precisely the records from a relevant Classical source (T. Livius' Ab Urbe Condita Liber XXI) on some notable naval activities of both sides for the very first year of this war, in fact mostly before Hannibal had even arrived to Italy.

In this case fundamentally performed by the plebeian Consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus and his subordinate the praetor for Sicily Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

Given the interest shown by other Historumites on this issue, any contribution from this year (218 BC) onward would be highly welcomed.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 08:52 AM   #7

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A list of Carthaginian and Roman fleets operating during the Second Punic War (taken from War at Sea in the Second Punic War, Steinby, pp.112-3 - with some additions from me, I'm fairly sure she's missed out a few more mentions of fleets, when I get some time I'll go through them a bit more thoroughly)

Carthaginian

218

Italian coast: 20 quinqueremes
Sicily: 35 quinqueremes
Spain: 50 quinqueremes

217

Spain: 40 ships
Sardinia and the coast of Italy: 70 ships

216

fleet from Carthage to Spain,
unknown number of ships

215

Sardinia: 60 warships transport to Locri (unknown number of transports)
to Spain: 60 warships
Sicily: two fleets, (unknown number of ships)


213

to Heraclea Minoa: unknown number of ships
to Syracuse: 55 warships

212

from Syracse to Carthage 35 ships
from Carthage to Syracuse 100 ships


211

a fleet from Syracuse to Carthage, unknown number of ships
from Carthage to Syracuse 130 warships

210

to Sardinia: 40 ships

209

fleet to Corcyra, number of ships unknown


208
Rumour about 200 warships

off the African coast 83 ships
207

off the African coast: 70 warships

squadron operating in the Gulf of Corinth (unknown number of ships)


206

in Spain: 1 quinquereme, 8 triremes
in Span: a fleet, number unknown


205

from Spain to Italy: 30 warships (10 kept in Italy, 20 sent back to Carthage
from Carthage to Italy: 25 warships to Italy


203

in Utica: a fleet attacking the Roman fleet in harbour, number of ships unknown

a fleet off the African coast, 55 ships (unknown type)


Roman

218

to Sicily: 160 quinqueremes
to Spain: 60 quinqueremes
unknown how many actually arrived

217

Spain: 35 ships
Italy: 120 quinqueremes (same fleet sailed to Corsica and Sardinia)


216

25 ships added to the fleet of 50 in Lilybaeum


215

Roman Fleet from Sicily to Sardinia: (unknown number of ships)
25 ships to guard Italian coast around Rome
50 ships to guard coast between Brundisium and Tarentum


214

100 new ships built, 30 sent to Sicily where 100 ships already blockaded Syracuse


213

to Panormus: 30 quinqueremes


211

from Lilybaeum to Utica, 80 quinqueremes


210

from Lilybaeum to Utica: 50 warships


209

at New Carthage: (number of ships unknown)


208

To Sardinia: 50 warships from Spain
In Sicily: 100 warships
on Italian coast near Rome: 50 warships
from Sicily to Africa: 100 warships (the Sicilian fleet)


207

fleet from Sicily to Africa (unknown number of ships)


206

in Spain: 1 quinquereme, 7 triremes


205

in Sardinia: unknown number of warships
from Italy to Sicily: 30 warships


204

from Lilybaeum to Africa: 40 warships
supplies from Sardinia, Spain and Sicily, type of ships unknown
40 warships to defend the coast of Sicily, 40 in Sardinia
a fleet off the Italian coast


203
supplies from Sardinia to Africa: 20 warships

supplies from Sicily to Africa: 30 warships
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Old November 14th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by schnecharl View Post
I don't know what the point is here.Click the image to open in full size.
Welcome to Historum, Schnecharl; an active first day indeed.

The point here is about elaborating a timeline on the main known naval activities of both side during the Second Punic War.

Any contribution will be highly welcomed.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 08:16 PM   #9
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For comparison purposes, let us remember that at the end of the long Punic War I (a largely naval cinflict) the Romans sent some 200 warships under the Proconsul C. Lutatius Catullus for the definitive naval battle at the Aegates Islands, circa 10 March DIX AUC / 241 BC.
Quote:
In this way a fleet of two hundred quinqueremes was rapidly got ready, all built on the model of the Rhodian's ship.
They then appointed Gaius Lutatius to the command and dispatched him at the beginning of summer.
(Histories, I. LIX. VIII)

And that on the greatest naval Roman operation between both Punic Wars, namely the expedition against the Illyrian Ardaei of DXXI AUC / 229 BC the same number was also recorded by Polybios
Quote:
At about the same time one of the Consuls, Gnaeus Fulvius, sailed out from Rome with the two hundred ships, while the other, Aulus Postumius, left with the land forces.
(Histories, II. XI. I)

Last edited by sylla1; November 14th, 2012 at 08:23 PM.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #10
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Back to the first year of the war (Spring) there was no victim among the main contenders; both sides ostensibly had offensive plans.

On the Roman side, it was the greatest military operation planned so far by them, a double attack that was commissioned to the consuls in turn, the patrician Lucius Cornelius Scipio (father of the future Aficanus Major) and the aforementioned plebeian Tiberius Sempronius Longus, even before the war was declared:
Quote:
The seat of the campaigns had already been decided; the consuls were now ordered to draw lots.
Spain fell to Cornelius, Africa to Sempronius.
It was resolved that ... as large a fleet as possible was to be fitted out;... a fleet of 220 ships of war and 20 light galleys was launched...
The forces were divided between the consuls in the following way: To Sempronius ... 160 warships and 12 light galleys. With this combined land and sea force he was sent to Sicily, with instructions to cross over to Africa... Cornelius was weakest in his ships; he had only 60 warships, for it was never supposed that the enemy would come by sea or use his navy for offensive purposes.
(T. Livius, Ab Urbe Condita, XXI. XVII)

(Yup, emphasis is mine)

It is naturally inferred that Scipio had 8 light galleys.

These numbers reported by Livius were fundamentally confirmed by Appianus of Alexandria:
Quote:
When the Romans saw that war must be waged against the Carthaginians in Spain and Africa... they sent [consul] Tiberius Sempronius Longus with 160 ships and two legions into Africa... They also ordered [consul] Publius Cornelius Scipio to Spain with sixty ships,
(Hispanica, XIII. II)

Last edited by sylla1; November 14th, 2012 at 09:51 PM.
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