Roman Wars and Battles

The Roman Wars and battles were many, and the Roman people felt that they had to fight in order to protect their empire.

Sometimes wars happened, though, because the Ancient Romans wanted to expand their land and their territory.

Civil wars were also known to occur in Rome, and these happened because they wanted to become more powerful.

Punic Wars

There were many wars called the Punic Wars that took place between Rome and Carthage.  These battles happened between 264 BC and 146 BC.  These battles occurred in a large city called Carthage.  This city was found in North Africa.

The Punic Wars mostly happened because both the Romans and the Carthage wanted to have a more robust and bigger empire.

There were three parts to the Punic Wars and these three wars lasted more than 100 years.

First Punic War

The First Punic War happened between 264 BC and 241 BC.  This was mostly fought in Sicily.  This war had more navy battles because it was fought along the sea.

The problem with the sea battles was that Carthage had a stronger navy and so the Roman navy had to build up.  Over time, they were able to get over 100 different ships.

Second Punic War

The Second Punic War happened between 218 BC and 201 BC.  This war was where the Carthage battled the Roman legions.

The Carthage was stronger, and they had a strong general named Hannibal.


Hannibal was a famous Carthage general because he would bring large elephants with him when he fought in the battle.  He was credited for winning many of the wars against the Romans, but he was not able to ever conquer Rome.

After 16 years of fighting, Hannibal tried to beat Rome, but he had to retreat.  He was soon defeated at the Battle of Zama, where the Roman General, Scipio Africanus, beat Hannibal.

Third Punic War

The last of the three Punic Wars happened between 149 BC and 146 BC.  These wars lasted three years, and this was when the Romans entered the city of Carthage and burnt it down, ending the Punic Wars.

The Battle of Cynoscephalae

The Battle of Cynoscephalae happened in 197 BC, and this battle was led by the Roman Legion, Titus Flaminius.  He helped to defeat Philip V. of the Macedonian Army.

It was during this battle that Alexander the Great, the great Greek leader, was defeated, and now Rome had the most power in the world.

Third Servile War

The Third Servile War happened between 73 BC and 71 BC.  This war happened between 78 gladiators and the Roman legions.

The gladiators were led by Spartacus, and he had put 120,000 people into slavery, and they invaded Rome.  They were able to fight off many of the Roman soldiers, but after they sent out eight Roman legions, they were destroyed, and Spartacus and his army lost the battle.

The Great Roman Civil War

The Great Roman Civil War was also called Caesar’s Civil War, and it happened between 49 BC and 45 BC.  This war happened between Julius Caesar and the legions of Pompey the Great.

The war took four years for Julius Caesar to defeat Pompey.  It was then that the Roman Republic ended, and Julius Caesar became a dictator of Rome.

Battle of Actium

The Battle of Actium happened in 31 BC, and it was led by Marcus Agrippa.  Marcus Agrippa fought against general Marc Antony and the Cleopatra VII, the Egyptian Pharaoh, who decided to combine forces.

Octavian became the strongest power in Rome and would end up being the first Emperor of Rome.  He eventually changed his name to Augustus when he became the new emperor.

Facts About Ancient Roman Wars and Battles

  • When the Great Roman Civil War happened, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River so that he could fight against Rome. This became a famous saying, “Crossing the Rubicon,” meaning that when you go somewhere, you will never be able to return.
  • Most of the time, the empires would fight because they wanted to be the most powerful in the world.
  • Rome was defeated in many of their wars, including the battle against the Gaul’s who defeated the Romans in 387 BC.
  • Julius Caesar is known for starting many wars, and he was at war for over nine years of his life.
  • When someone survived a war, and the enemy had won, they were usually killed or sold as slaves.
  • If the Roman army won an area, they would pour salt over the ground so nothing could grow.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What were some of the famous Roman wars?  Some of the famous Roman wars were the Punic Wars, the Great Roman Civil War, the Battle of Actium, and more.
  2. Who fought for over nine years of his life in wars in Rome? Julius Caesar fought for more than nine decades of his life in wars.
  3. Why were most of the wars fought in Rome? Most of the Romans wars were fought so that they could gain the most power and have the biggest empire.
  4. What happened to Carthage at the end? At the end of Carthage, Rome burnt the city to the ground.
  5. Who was the famous Egyptian Pharaoh how combined forces with Marc Antony during the Battle of Actium? The famous Egyptian Pharaoh was Cleopatra VII.