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The First Punic War - OverSimplified (Part 1)

The First Punic War - OverSimplified (Part 1)
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Punic

War character pins. - Oh, wow! - Buy them, or I'll marry your mother. It's your choice. - Oh, Marcelus! You sure have a lot of dignitas! Kiss me! Okay. (imitates kissing) - Hey dad? - Hi son, just reading the newspaper. What can I do for you? - Well, you know how you always say Rome is the greatest civilization in the world? - It bloody well is! - Well, I was just wondering, what makes us so great? How did we come to be? - Wow. My son! Boy, let me take you on a journey to this side of the room. The story of Rome begins with these beautiful baby boys going to town on some she-wolf mommy milkers. - That's gross. - You're gross! Sorry, son. You're not gross. I love you. They're called Romulus and Remus and when they grew up, in 753 BC, they founded Rome But there was just one problem. They couldn't agree on which of them should be the king. - But they worked it out peacefully, right? - Oh, heavens no! Romulus caved Remus's skull in with a shovel. Here's a picture. - Our

first

king committed fratricide? - I know, look at his face! - When's the

part

where we become the greatest civilization, Dad? - Well, you see, at

first

Rome was full of men. - Oh yeah! - I'm talking like a real...
the first punic war   oversimplified part 1
sausage

part

y. You know what I mean? - Yes, sir. - So we invited some neighboring cities over for a big feast and then we literally kidnapped all of their women. Here's a picture. (laughs) Look at that one. She's like, bah! (Dad laughs) - This is messed up. - You're messed up! Ugh, sorry, sorry. I'll be a better father. I promise. So then, finally, after centuries of monarchy, those tyrannical kings started getting a little too big for their britches, so we overthrew the kings and established Rome as a republic. - Is that when all the killing stopped? - Oh, heavens no! That's when the killing surged, baby! We went wild and conquered the Latin League, the Samnites, the Etruscans! Woo, what a rush! - Dad, Rome seems pretty barbaric. - You're barbaric! Oh, I forgot to tell you about the time a prophet told Saturn his son would one day overthrow him. So Saturn literally ate his own son, seconds after he was born. - I don't wanna see a picture. - Here's a picture. - Dad! Look at that! - Hmm? - That's messed up, man. Are we really this uncivilized? - Hey, hey, if we were so uncivilized, would we use communal toilets where we all fart and poo together in one big stinky, steamy, dirty toilet room? - Yeah, dad, we would! - Clean your butt with the sponge, Timulus! - But all these guys just used it. - What's wrong with your son, bro? - I don't wanna be Roman. This is so weird. - You're weird! Sorry, you're not weird. I'm sure...
the first punic war   oversimplified part 1
you're probably fine. Huh? (Timulus screams) - The Roman Republic, the nation that, since its foundation, had been stabbing necks all the way down the Italian peninsula. But this isn't the famous Roman Empire that ruled the known world. Not yet, anyway. This is a relatively juvenile Rome, (Rome passes gas) still just a regional power. In 264 BC, the big daddy of the Western Mediterranean was Carthage. Let's rewind a bit. Carthage was founded in 814 BC when some Phoenicians in Tyre had mega surplus of goods and decided to export those goods across the Mediterranean. They became the dominant trading power in the region and to support their growing trade network, the Phoenicians established a number of colonies, one of which was Carthage. Therefore, Carthage began its life as a Phoenician trade colony and the Carthaginians were actually Phoenicians, or, if you're a Latin speaking Roman, they were

Punic

, hence the name of the video. - Oh! - Over the centuries, Carthage gradually expanded and became the region's base of power. Just like Rome, Carthage was a semi-democratic Republic with its own Senate and Judiciary. But there were also some pretty hefty differences between the two. While Rome was big into farming and stabbing people in the neck, the Carthaginians, on the other hand, just like their Phoenician forefathers, had built their power through trade and navigating the waves. They went here and there, selling ivory tusks, gold, and slaves. And as a...
the first punic war   oversimplified part 1
result, (Carthaginians cheer) they were rolling in it. Whenever they weren't busy swimming around in their copious hoards of money, in their spare time, they also possibly enjoyed sacrificing their children to Ba'al, the God of, let me just check my notes, ah, yes, plant fertility. - Oh boy, these figs aren't looking too hot. Maybe if I throw my son into a burning pit of fire, they'll grow. - Have you tried watering them, Dad? - Hmm. No, we'll try that second. - As a result of all their trading, Carthage had emerged as one of the Mediterranean superpowers. "But wait," they said. "Rome? What the heck is that?" Well, I know it's a pretty obscure little country that you've probably never heard of, but this spunky young nation was about to upset the entire region's balance of power. Initially, the two sites enjoyed relatively friendly relations and it even signed a couple treaties. But it was a relationship that was practically destined to turn sour. See, Rome had a thing where they liked to aggressively expand their boundaries, often viewing such expansion as a defensive act. Kind of like when you could kill your neighbor because you knew eventually they would've tried to kill you

first

. Meanwhile, Carthage was extremely protective of its wealthy trade network. So if you put a very strategically important island between them, well, two plus two equals war. Tensions rose and the two sides began viewing each other with...
increasing disdain. The hardworking Romans looked across the water at the money-hungry Carthaginians and said, "Look at those dishonest crooks. Bet they've never done an honest day's work in their lives!" And the Carthaginians looked back and said, "Look at those simple-minded brutes. Bet they've never sacrificed a baby in their lives!" "Yeah!" While war between the two superpowers seemed inevitable, the event that finally triggered it was a little unexpected. The whole thing began with a few simple mad lads on a wild night out. These mad lads are called the Mamertines. They were Italian mercenaries employed by the tyrant of Syracuse, here. But when he died, his successor said, "Sorry, fellas, we don't need any big burly men with sharp sticks anymore. You can all go home." - Aw. - The Mamertines, as it turned out, didn't want to go home. So instead, they went to the nearby town of Messana and said, "Hey man, we are but poor little buff boys without a home. May we come in?" - Aw, poor fellas. Sure thing! Ah, ah, just so long as you promise not to massacre all of us. - (laugh) We promise! - The Mamertines then massacred all of them. Well, not all of them, just the men. And they stole their homes and families. - Ha, this is my house now! This is my Best Dad Ever mug now! And you guys are my new family! Son, wanna go play catch with your old papa? - You're not my real dad! - Ugh, teenagers, am I right,...
dear? - You're not my real husband. - Ugh, I'm so trapped in this marriage. - Then get out! - No. - Messana was now controlled by the Mamertines and they began raiding up and down the Syracuse coastline. When the new ruler of Syracuse saw this, he wasn't happy. The Syracusans began fighting back and in response, the Mamertines said, "Oh, crap, they're fighting back? What do we do?" - Quick, we'll convince the Carthaginians to come and save us. Oh no! We're in trouble! And we need a big, strong empire to come and rub our bellies. - Why are you saying it like that? - If I was a big, strong empire, I think I'd like to be seduced. (Carthaginians murmur) See, it's working! - The Carthaginians had long dreamed of controlling all of Sicily. They had been fighting Syracuse and their Greek influence on the island for centuries and now here was a great opportunity to get one over on them. So Carthage promptly answered the Mamertines's cry for help and sent a force to garrison Messana. As it turned out, however, some within the ranks of the Mamertines weren't too happy with the occupying Carthaginians and they sent out a second cry for help to Rome. When it reached the Roman Senate, they were a little more hesitant. Going to help the Mamertines ran the risk of triggering an all-out war with Carthage and they had only just finished conquering the Italian peninsula, so they were kind of tired. Plus the Mamertines were all the way across...
the water. They had never made a leap like that before. So you would assume that to avoid any conflict with Carthage, the exhausted Romans would probably sit this one out, But you would assume wrong. Rome just couldn't resist a good chance for war. Why? Well, there's something you gotta understand about Rome. See, as a Republic, they were hell-bent on preventing any one man from ever gaining too much power. And so rather than having one leader, Rome had two, called Consuls, who shared power. These Consuls could also only serve for one year at a time before new Consuls were elected. These measures, to limit the powers of the Consuls, were noble, but had an interesting side effect. The Consuls knew they had just one year to try and gain as much glory and prestige as possible, something that was very important in Roman society. And the best way of gaining glory and prestige? Military victory, of course. The Roman political system basically ended up encouraging these Consuls to go out and be as aggressive as your Italian grandmother when you don't eat all the spaghett. And so the glory-seeking Consuls convinced the people to vote in favor of going to Messana. And in they went. Upon the arrival of the Romans, the Carthaginians in the city, amongst the confusion, were forced to leave. Now in contrast to Roman aggression, the Carthaginian military had a slightly different philosophy. - All right, kids, listen up. If you wanna grow up to be Carthaginian military leaders,...
there's a few things you have to understand. If you fail to succeed on the battlefield, that's a crucifixion. Showing cowardice, that's a crucifixion. - Hello, sir. - Huh? What are you doing here? Aren't you meant to be in Messana? - Yeah, but the Romans showed up. - So you just left? - Sure did. - Oh, you better believe that's a crucifixion. (class cheers) - The Roman Consuls were awarded for victory and therefore tended to be aggressive go-getters. By contrast, the Carthaginian generals were brutally punished for failure and so they tended to be more cautious and restrained. This dynamic is helpful for understanding some of the crazy things that happened during the

Punic

Wars. So the Romans have crossed over to Messana and now there was some red on the island. Hit that panic button. (crowd screams) This turn of events was unacceptable to both Carthage and Syracuse. So the traditional enemies teamed up to kick the Romans off their island. They surrounded the city and said, "Hey, you jerks, this isn't your island! Come out of there at once!" - Okay, we're coming! - See, Phil. You just gotta speak with authority. That's what being an alpha male's all about. - Hey man. - Oh, you brought your weapons and armor? No, I didn't mean. Oh, crap. - Out the Roman legions came to engage the Carthaginians in battle and they sent them packing. With the battle of Messana, whether intended or not, by going to help the Mamertines, the two...
sides had just slipped into an all-out war. With the initial Roman victory, towns across Sicily, including Syracuse began switching allegiance. Because being a winner is more fun. But the Carthaginians weren't about to just give up that easily. In 262 BC, they began building up their forces at Agrigentum. So the Romans, being aggressive go-getters, aggressively go got them. The Romans immediately laid siege, hoping to starve out the Carthaginian garrison. However, because this was the

first

time Rome had been fighting outside the Italian peninsula, across the water, they struggled to supply their forces. And before long, the Romans were as starving as the Carthaginians they were besieging. They had to forage for food, leaving them open to ambush. And when Carthaginian reinforcement arrived, creating a double siege, things got really bad. Everybody starved each other for months until nobody could take it anymore and they all finally came out for battle, which Rome won. - Here's the report from the recent siege at Agrigentum, sir. - We killed 30,000 while only suffering 7,000 losses? That's amazing! We're the best! - Yes, sir. Whoops, those are the wrong way around. - What? We lost 30,000? We're the worst! But we won, right? - Yes, sir. - But we also got our asses kicked? - Yes, sir. - So are we the best or the worst? - Yes, sir. (Senate murmurs) - The Romans wanted Agrigentum because they were aggressive go-getters and they now began eyeing up the...
possibility of conquering the entire island. But they also suffered very heavy losses and it was clear they couldn't sustain a campaign if they couldn't supply their troops. Here's the issue. Sicily was an island. Islands are surrounded by water. A strong navy would be vital for supplying troops and winning the war. Here was Carthage's navy and here was Rome's. (water splashes) I think you can see the problem. Historians debate just how much naval experience Rome had at this point. Presumably, they must have had something to defend their shoreline. But whatever it was, it would've paled in comparison to the Carthaginian juggernaut. And so Rome had to figure out exactly what to do about all this water. - Come on, men! We're not gonna let some pansy, candy-ass water get in the way of our glorious victory against Carthage! Charge! (Roman General sputters) Tell my kids I love them! - We're gonna need a bigger boat. - What's a boat? - I don't know. - If the Romans wanted to win this war and obtain Sicily, there was only one thing for them to do. - I guess we're just gonna have to go ahead and build ourselves a war fleet, aren't we? - From scratch? - From scratch. - But we don't even know how, never mind how to fight with one. - Don't worry, Hank. We're up to the challenge. Come on, guys. We're Romans and Romans aren't afraid of anything! (screams) - And so the Romans worked long and hard, trying to figure out how...
on earth you actually built the latest style of warship. In the end, they had a bit of luck on their side. A Carthaginian quinquireme ended up accidentally grounding on Italian soil. The Romans found it and copied the design. While the new fleet was being built, the Romans trained rowers on land and, would you believe it, the Romans put together a full fighting fleet of 120 warships in just two months, a staggering feat. Now, I know what you're thinking. "But OverSimplified, if the Romans can build a war fleet from scratch in two months, then why does it take you half a year to make a video?" Well, my valued subscriber, I think you should shut up. - What the heck? How on earth did the Romans learn how to build a war fleet? This shouldn't be happening! - From what I hear, they copied the design from us, sir. - Well, how on earth did they get the blueprint, Carl? - I don't know, sir. But I'll tell you what. If you're worried about people stealing your data? - No. - And you wanna protect yourself from outside threats-- - Don't you dare! - Then you, my friend-- - If you mention NordVPN, I'll scream! - Should use NordVPN! (Carthaginian General screams) - Do you like corporations knowing everything about you and then selling your data to advertisers who convince you to buy things you don't need in an endless cycle over and over until you die? Me neither! And that's why I use NordVPN. (laughs) NordVPN allows you to connect to super fast...
secure servers all around the world, encrypting your IP address to protect your online data from undesirable eyes. That means you can look at all the Squatty Potties you want and no one will know! With NordVPN, you can search for better online deals in other territories and unlock content not available in your country, hey! NordVPN now comes with a threat protection function and much more. And if you don't like it, it comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee. Go to Nordvpn.com/

oversimplified

to get an exclusive deal with a huge discount. That's Nordvpn.com/

oversimplified

. And as always, you'll be supporting my channel. So thank you. Now, where were we? Oh yeah, the siege at Agrigentum, supply issues, and building a war fleet. So now the Romans have a navy and it's time to put it to the test. But how does one wage ancient naval warfare? Easy! (bell dings) All of the ships had giant bronze rams on the front, so all you had to do was out-maneuver the enemy and give them the jimmies. Easy as pie. And so the aggressive Romans set out for some good old fashioned jimmy-giving. The Consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio set out for the town of Lipara, believing the garrison there wanted to join the Romans. As he entered the harbor, however, he found himself trapped by a Carthaginian fleet and, in the following skirmish, he was completely outmatched. The Romans may have had a brand new fleet, but when it came to engaging in actual combat, their inexperience showed. There was...
just something better about the Carthaginian ships. The Carthaginian rowers had nicer abs. The entire Carthaginian Empire had been built on expert seamanship. So when it came to water, the Carthaginians were better and the Romans were wetter. In their initial skirmish, the Romans were beaten so badly that the Consul, Scipio, was given a nickname, Asina. And if you're wondering what that means, just drop the -ina. (donkey hee-haws) So what were the Romans to do? How could they possibly stand up to this Carthaginian superpower? Well, there's something you gotta understand about the Romans. Back when they found that Carthaginian ship and copied its design, that wasn't a one-off thing. Copying their enemies was as Roman as punishing murderers by sewing them into a leather pouch with a monkey, snake, and rooster and then throwing them into a river, which is a thing they did. Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, copying their enemies. Many of the most famous Roman inventions were actually borrowed. Aqueducts, chariot racing, their gods. Even in warfare, the Romans would get pierced by a Sabine javelin and they'd be like, "Wow!" They'd get hacked to bits by an Iberian sword and they'd be like, "Wow!" And they'd copy the designs for themselves. However, they wouldn't just copy it. They would advance it, finding ways to adapt it as perfectly as possible. And in the case of naval warfare, the Romans realized if they wanted to beat...
the Carthaginians at their own game, they would have to adapt. The Romans excelled at combat on land, not on water. "But what if," they said, "We could somehow turn a sea battle into a land battle?" Sounds crazy, right? Well, they made a couple of tweaks to their warship and-- - Look, here they come again! They must love getting their asses kicked! - Uh, sir, almost that tall thing sticking out of their ships? - (laughs) They really are idiots! Look at that thing! That'll make them blow over! I mean, look at... (laughs) Bob, get your camera out! (laughs) Take a picture of it. I mean, how stupid can you be? Let's just add a big wooden tower to our ship that'll weigh us down and blow us over in the wind! I mean, what does that thing even do? (ship crunches) (men yell) - The Romans had built a big swinging spiked gangway called the Corvus. So when the Carthaginian ships approached to ram them, the Romans would just slam them. The Carthaginians tried going around. No problem. The Corvus could swivel. Try going behind, the Romans would huddle to the coastline. It was foolproof. (Romans cheer) Those big sexy Carthaginian rowing muscles could flex all they want, but they were no match for the Roman mind. So ladies, you see? What really matters is what's on the inside. Please go out with me. And with that, the Romans, who had only just recently began dabbling in the art of naval combat, thanks to their ingenious Corvus, had just managed to outclass...
the Mediterranean seafaring superpower. The Carthaginians were stunned. And the general in charge of the defeated Carthaginian fleet? Well, you better believe that's a crucifixion. (kids cheer) With their newfound control of the seas, the Romans could now more easily blockade coastal cities and supply their legions on land. Surely the Romans were now free to unleash their aggression all over the island. - Haha! Hey Carthaginians! What are you gonna do now that we're free to rampage across the island? - We're gonna go inside these walls and close this gate. - Oh, come on guys. Stop messing around. Come out so we can kill you! - No. - Oh, come on! - No. - Oh no! - To counter the new Romans supremacy, the Carthaginians decided to engage in a defensive war of attrition, forcing the Romans to engage in siege after lengthy siege. The war in Sicily became a long, hard, back and forth slug. One by one, cities slowly fell as the Romans gained ground. Occasionally, the Carthaginians countered and even pushed them back, only for the Romans to rebound again. And whenever a city did finally fall, the Romans could delight in slaughtering the entire population and selling any survivors into slavery, which was pretty standard procedure at the time. In general, the campaign on land was progressing much slower than the Romans had hoped. And quite frankly, they were getting sick of it. So in 256 BC, they decided that something had to change. - Hey everyone, my name's Marcus...
Atilius Regulus and I'll be one of your Consuls for this year. Look as I'm sure you all know, Sicily's being a bit of a drag. Sure, I could go and spend my entire year as Consul besieging one single city, but they'll never make a naked statue of me for that. So here's the new plan. I'm gonna skip Sicily entirely, take my army, and go right for the heart of Carthage itself. I'll slaughter the men, enslave all the women and children, and when I return, you'll all build 1,000 naked statues of me. (crowd cheers) - Marcus, that woman and children stuff. That seems pretty evil and barbaric. - No, Jim, it's perfectly normal in the ancient world. Sometimes we even chop their pets in half. (crowd cheers) - Okay guys, looks like the Romans are coming straight for us this time. And what will they do when they get here? They'll kill us all. (crowd gasps) They'll massacre each and every last one of us. They may even chop our pets in half. - That's barbaric! - No, Rob, it's actually pretty normal for the time. We'd do the same to them. - Who will protect us? - Funny you should ask, Mary. That's kind of why I called this meeting. Who will protect us? Protect our families, our homes, our children? You guys? Ha, don't make me laugh. Why, you're just a bunch of stupid and weak farmers. Simple-minded buffoons, cowards, fools. Rob here thinks enslaving women and children is barbaric. You're a snowflake, Rob. Yes, you are....
The fact is if the Romans manage to land on African soil, we're all gonna die a terrifying, hideous, unspeakably painful death. - Is that the end of that speech? - Yes. (crowd screams) - The Carthaginians had to stop the Romans from ever landing in Africa because they believed that would be the end. So as the Romans were building an invasion fleet the size of which the world had never seen before, the Carthaginians were preparing an even bigger one to stop them. And in 256 BC, as the Roman invasion fleet made its way south, the stage was set for a humongous battle that saw 680 warships, around 300,000 men, fighting to decide the course of the war. To this day, the Battle of Cape Ecnomus remains possibly the largest naval battle in human history, all the way back in ancient times. So the next time your granddad tells you about the time he sank a Japanese aircraft carrier, kick him in the nuts. The Romans had a lot riding on this battle. They weren't just sending their warships, but transports as well, full of supplies and horses for their invasion of Africa. They therefore formed a protective wedge-like formation to punch through the long, thin Carthaginian line. The Carthaginian generals, however, desperate to prevent the Romans from reaching Africa, had a plan of their own. As the Roman fleet approached, the Carthaginian center feigned a retreat luring the Romans in so their outstretched flanks could envelop them and get around the Roman Corvus, a clever plan. But...
with such a huge battle and so many ships crowded together, the Carthaginians struggled to maneuver as hoped and in the chaos, three separate battles emerged across the huge battle space. With the number of ships limiting their ability to maneuver, the Carthaginians became sitting ducks and all the Romans had to do was start swinging. The Roman center came out on top and were then able to turn around and rescue their pinned-down flanks. The battle of Cape Ecnomus was a Roman victory. (epic music)