Third Punic War

Third Punic War, also called Third Carthaginian War, (149–146 BCE), third of three wars between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian (Punic) Empire and the shortest of the three that resulted in the final destruction of Carthage, and Roman dominion over the western Mediterranean.

Records on History gives us the accurate date when the third Punic War started which was in 149 B.C.

This was after the people of Carthage severed its treaty with Rome by declaring war against the neighboring state of Numidia, Roman troops then went to North Africa.

Carthage had very little power left owing to the first and second Punic wars that were fought.

Nonetheless, its commercial enterprises expanded rapidly in the 2nd century BCE, exciting the envy of Rome’s growing community.

It is pertinent to note that great respect and power was accorded to the people of Rome by virtue of the Punic wars but the people of Carthage had very limited authority over the Mediterranean.

Facts about Third Punic War

  • Troops of Numidia raided Carthage in 151 BC; the people of Carthage were displeased at this move.
  • They fought back with a total force of about 25,000 men. Carthage, however, lost the fight and were hurt to realize they would have to serve the Numidians.
  • This act the people of Carthage took greatly annoyed the Romans. They had failed to seek their consent from the start.
  • As a result, third Punic War started. Marcus Porcius Cato, an Elder Roman consul demanded at the Roman Senate that “Carthage must be destroyed” (The consuls were the chairmen of the Senate, which served as a board of advisers. They also commanded the Roman army
  • The Roman consuls in Sicily first required three hundred children of the city’s leading families to be handed over to them as hostages.
  • They then sailed over to Utica in full strength, where the Carthaginians at their demand delivered all their military stores – no fewer than 200,000 sets of armor, 2000 pieces of artillery, and other weapons.
  • Then came the last demand: the citizens must leave their city and settle 80 stadia, about 16 kilometers, inland, that caused rage among the people.
  • Despite the fact that Carthage’s political power has become insignificant, its commerce and material revival in the second century was rapid to the extent that it sparked a form of jealousy of the Roman population and group of statesmen that they started encouraging Carthage’s destruction.
  • Two years passed and the people of Rome were not anywhere close to dealing with the Carthaginians their sworn enemy and finishing them all.
  • Africa received a general in person of Scipio Aemilianus to lead the Roman soldiers. It came as a major surprise due to the fact that he was of a young age.
  • The Romans moved in after they were able to penetrate the walls. As a result, both the streets and buildings of Carthage became bloody battlegrounds with fighting hand to hand causing bloodshed and death.
  • Carthage eventually surrendered as time won out and the Romans won the war.
  • This was very embarrassing to people of Carthage as the Romans took all 50,000 remaining inhabitants as the prisoner and sold them off as slaves before wiping out the city of Carthage.
  • As a result, the city of Carthage no longer was represented on the map.
  • Some of the weapons used in the third Punic War by the Carthaginians are – spear, large shield, heavy armor, and sword. There were also incidents of archers and slingers.
  • The Third Punic War was the third and final installment of the Punic Wars between Carthage and the Romans, which was also the final chapter in the competitive nature between a strong and powerful Empire in Carthage and a young and triumphant Empire in the Romans.


  • Question: Who are consuls?
    Answer: They are representative of a country in another country to protect the commercial interests of the country and citizens.
  • Question: How many were the remaining inhabitants that were taken as prisoners
    Answer: 50,000
  • Question: Who was sent to Africa to command the Roman troops?
    Answer: Scipio Aemilianus
  • Question: How far do the Roman consuls demand the Carthaginians go away from their settlements?
    Answer: 16 kilometer inland
  • Question: What excited the jealousy from Romans about Carthage to the extent of calling for its full destruction
    Answer: Rapid revival of its commerce and material resources