The Battle of Agrigentum, 262BC

The Battle of Agrigentum

THE BATTLE OF AGRIGENTUM 

262BC

SUMMARY

The Battle or Agrigentum was the first engagement of the Punic Wars. Vying for control of Sicily, the Romans successfully laid siege to the city of Agrigentum and soundly defeated Carthaginian reinforcements.

BACKGROUND

Rome and Carthage had slowly been building their forces in Sicily while responding to local disputes. Rome was concerned that Carthage could use the city of Agrigentum as a staging point for attacks on Rome, while Carthage hoped to do exactly that.

After an initial skirmish, the Romans laid siege to the city and attempted to starve the defenders of supplies. During the siege, Carthaginian reinforcements arrived. Both the Romans and the defenders of the city were approaching starvation, and the Carthaginian relief force chose led by Hanno to attack the Romans in an attempt to end the siege.

LOCATION

Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

THE ROMANS

40,000 men

THE CARTHAGINIANS

50,000 men

BATTLE

Historians disagree on some details of the battle. However, it is generally accepted that, not wanting to be caught between the defenders and Hanno’s army, the Romans chose to attack. After heavy fighting, the Carthaginian army suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Roman legions. That night, the defenders of Agrigentum left the city and managed to escape the pursuing Roman force.

RESULT

Decisive Roman Victory

CONSEQUENCE

Romans seize control of Sicily.

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