Episode 22 – Rome takes to the Sea

Artistic representation of a quinquereme and corvus. Original work by Wikipedia User Lutatius.
Map of Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily including Lipara (modern day Lipari) where Scipio Asina was captured and Mylae (labelled by its modern name of Milazzo) where the Carthaginian fleet came up against the Roman corvus for the first time. Orignal map by NormanEinstein.
Diagram of a Roman corvus. Original photo by Wikipedia User Chewie.
First Punic War
At the Battle of Mylae, the Romans scored a notable victory against the famed Carthaginian fleet using the corvus – a long boarding bridge intended to turn a naval battle into a land battle on floating platforms.

With the fall of Acragas, the Romans realized that they now had an opportunity to wrest control of the whole of Sicily away from Carthage. In order to do so, however, they would have to challenge Carthage on her own element – the sea. Using a captured Carthaginian quinquereme as their template, the Romans initiated a startling shipbuilding initiative complete with training their crews to row on land while waiting for the ships to be constructed. Once upon the water, the Romans brought their own ingenuity to bear on the coming confrontation in the form of the corvus, a boarding bridge which turned a naval battle about maneuver into a land battle on floating platforms. With their new device, the Romans scored a decisive victory off the coast of Sicily near the city of Mylae, defeating the vaunted Carthaginian fleet in a head-to-head contest. Despite this, the war still threatened gridlock. A new plan was needed, a plan to strike Carthage on her home soil…

Download: Episode 22 – Rome takes to the Sea

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