Rome and Carthage, two great seagoing nations with huge armies and tremendous wealth both existed within each others sphere of influence.
The three major wars fought between them was inevitable. The outcomes were not. But the first war went to the Romans. This was the last battle.
In 241, at the end of the First Punic War, the Romans had the advantage despite the facts that the Carthaginians had better ships and better-trained crews. The Carthaginian army in Sicily was faring badly and needed reinforcements. So the Carthaginians sent 100 fully stocked supply ships to sea with another 100 escort vessels. The commander parked them at the Aegates Islands.
There the Carthaginians waited for a favorable confluence of wind and tide to make their sprint to Sicily. Unknown to the Carthaginians, Roman Commander Gaius Catullus had been tipped off regarding the supply train. The prevailing winds were flowing against Catullus’ own fleet, But Hanno, the Carthaginian commander had made his move at the most auspicious moment and had a great head start. Catullus had no choice now. Now he had to give chase. The Roman rowed away and caught up with the supply ships, already slowed by their weight.
The Romans made way and forced Hanno to order his ship sails down and battle stations. The
200 Triremes and Quinqueremes under Catullus made contact with the resupply fleet on March 10th. The Romans rammed Carthaginian ships and and lowered the corvus, a boarding plank that attaches itself to the enemy ship with a long nail. They boarded the Carthaginian ships and took their own advantage to the seagoing warriors. Man to man, the Romans were the best infantry warriors in the world. Hannos men were struggling to maneuver with full loads of supplies on their 250 ships. They were overwhelmed.
It was a slaughter. The Romans took many slaves, and sank 50 Carthaginian ships and captured 70 of them. Rome pursued the fight and with empty treasury coffers, Carthage sued for peace bringing an end to the first Punic War.