The Republic of Rome was founded around 509 B.C., and the city-state of Carthage had been in existence since the 9th century B.C. These two great ancient powers were overseas neighbors who had access to the Mediterranean Sea. They also had various city states and territories that they controlled. Rome was primarily a land-based empire that conducted most of its economic trade over established land routes. Carthage was founded by the Phoenicians who were great sailors, and they had created trade routes with various cities that stretched across the Mediterranean Sea. The Economic trade was vital to the success of both empires. Rome and Carthage needed the trade routes to import metals, spices, gold, timber and food, and they also needed them to export their products to the rest of the ancient world for a fee. Trade routes were also needed to collect tributes sent by conquered kingdoms and lands.
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Since both empires were located in proximity to each other, they had to sign treaties to maintain peace and to define the territories where they would conduct their operations. There were four treaties between Rome and Carthage that were put into effect between the years 509 B.C. and 279 B.C., which is where this is noted on the Bible Timeline with World History.
The first treaty was created in the same year that Rome became a Republic. The Romans had been at war with many of the neighboring tribes that was located in the region of southern Italy. Since they didn’t have a standing naval force, they had relied on Greek and Etruscan sailors to provide them with supplies. This proved to be problematic for the Romans, and they sought the help of Carthage to remedy the situation. Greece had a strong presence throughout the Mediterranean world, and they set up colonies all throughout the region. The Greeks were also great sailors and their presence presented problems to the Carthaginians who competed with them over the trade routes. Rome and Carthage realized that a treaty would help both powers to help secure their trade routes and to work together with eliminating potential enemies or rivals to their economic security. This treaty began in 509 B.C. and ended in 348 B.C.
In 348 B.C., the Romans were involved in heavy fighting with other neighboring tribes and the Carthaginians were now controlling the eastern section of the Mediterranean Sea. Rome and Carthage decided to aid each other through another treaty that was very similar to the first one they signed in 509 B.C. The third treaty went into effect in 343 B.C., and it gave more power to Carthage while it limited the Roman presence in certain areas such as Sicily. The last treaty was signed in 270 B.C.
These series of treaties ultimately allowed Rome and Carthage to expand their empires and power throughout the Mediterranean area. They also allowed Rome to become a stronger and more powerful force. Rome still didn’t have a top notch naval force when compared to the Greeks or Carthaginians, but they did develop a first rate fleet that could compete with these two major maritime forces. By the time that the treaties were over Carthage and Rome had both grown large enough to where one day they would contend with each other for dominance over the Mediterranean world. Rome and Carthage eventually went to war and Rome won the conflict. Once they dominated Carthage they took over their trade routes and economic activity that allowed the Romans to become more wealthy and powerful.