After the initial sweep of Roman forces
across Sicily in the First Punic War was
halted by Carthage's spirited defense of her territory in western
Sicily, Rome turned its attack to the sea and to the northern coast
of Africa--the seat of Carthage itself.
was a traditional sea power, but Roman had to assemble her first battle
fleet ever for the maritime fray. The campaign at sea, begun in 260
BC, seesawed back and forth inconclusively for years, punctuated by
a promising but ultimately unsuccessful Roman attack on Carthage itself
in 256 BC and by a renewal of ground fighting in Sicily in 254-3 BC.
however, the issue was resolved at sea, with an overwhelming and conclusive
victory by the Roman fleet in 241 BC. Unable to continue support of
her forces in Sicily, Carthage agreed to surrender all her territory
on the island. The First Punic War was ended, and the 600-year period
of Roman rule in Sicily had begun.