Episode 23 – Clash of the Titans

Battle of CapeEcnomus
Diagram of the Battle of Ecnomus separated into three phases. The Carthaginians (labelled in green) feigned retreat before the Romans (labelled in blue with the transports as dots) but turned to attack the First and Second Legions once they had separated from the Third and Fourth Legions (both labelled as III on the diagram). Instead of completing the encirclement as Hamilcar had planned, the Carthaginian wings engaged the Third and Fourth Legions, leaving the Carthaginian center heavily outnumbered against the Roman vanguard. Once the Carthaginian center was forced to withdraw, the Romans easily mopped up the remaining Carthaginian forces, emerging as the victors of the largest naval battle of Antiquity. Original diagram by Muriel Gottrop.
Another diagram of the Battle of Ecnomus. Original diagram by Piotr Tysarczyk.
Artistic representation of a quinquereme and corvus. Original work by Wikipedia User Lutatius.
First Punic War
At the Battle of Ecnomus, the Roman corvus once again proved to be a battle-winning weapon by pinning the nimbler Carthaginian ships and allowing the detachments of Roman marines to surge across in brutal boarding actions.

Bolstered by their early successes with their new battle fleet, the Romans determined to gamble everything for a decisive “killing blow” in order to bring Carthage to her knees. Equipping a massive armada, the Romans sailed to invade North Africa itself in an attempt to defeat Carthage on her home soil. However, a newly revamped Carthaginian fleet lay in wait to intercept the Romans near Ecnomus in southern Sicily. The resulting clash would go down as perhaps the largest naval battle of all time.

Download: Episode 23 – Clash of the Titans

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