Discuss the Roman Punic Wars, in terms of their circumstances and overall effect on Rome's economic and social development Also discuss the ensuing "Gracchan turbulence" from the same perspective. The circumstance for the Roman Punic Wars towards Rome was a simple human reaction. If an outsider such as Italy, Carthage, or Greece make threats towards Rome, Rome will simply fight. The Punic Wars lasted in 3 stages, all resulting to the obsessive pride and higher standings of Rome.
Rome's initial desire of expansion was only for farming land. Romans believed like anyone else that victory brought them honor as well as a strong, political career. Rome strongly had their victory of Italy due to their military discipline. Cowards were not welcome in the Roman Army.
If a Roman fled from his standings, or left his comrades to die, they would receive severe punishment from the generals worse than the enemy could give them. The confidence of Roman soldiers grew because they knew their comrades would assure their well being if anything is to happen. The opponents were usually barbaric and disorganized. Most often, the opponents would flee leaving their comrades to die. The discipline of the Roman army was formed throughout the Punic wars. Poet Virgil Maxim best referred Romans by the quote "Yield you not to ill fortune, but go against it with more daring." Rome's Military form helped their enemies become allies and eventually citizens dedicated to Rome.
The initial spark of Military power helped create the Empire of Rome. Rome was now an Empire with 5 great powers. The Seleucid monarchy, the Ptolemiac monarchy, the kingdom of Macedonia, Carthage, and the Roman-dominated Italian Confederation. Without ever planning it, Rome acquired an overseas Empire. The first Punic War began due to Rome's fear of Messina. Carthage's strong commercial center with a monopoly in trading of Western Mediterranean and a ong the west coasts of Africa and Europe.
Rome feared that Carthage would attack or interfere with their trade. Rome suffered sever losses such as losing an army in North Africa as well as the destruction of hundreds of naval ships in battles. Rome however was still dedicated to victory and nothing less. Eventually Rome utilized their allies throughout Italy and defeated Carthage.
Carthage lost Sicily, Sardinia, and the Islands of Corisco. Slowly Rome was developing into an empire, yet still in fear of being overpowered by their allies. Carthage expanded into Spain, who was at the time rich in metal. Carthage obtained manpower and had their army led by the great "military genius" Hannibal. Hannibal used elephants in his battles which the Romans were not familiar with. Rome was losing power through Hannibal's Army, rapidly taking back Italy.
In the battle of Cannae, the great Hannibal destroyed a Roman army of 60, 000 soldiers. This was the largest single force ever placed by Rome. Another concern for Rome was their reign of loyalty being lost in mostly Southern Italy. Southern Italy was beginning to praise Hannibal and become loyal to him. Rome was losing its form of discipline.
Hannibal was feared by the people of Rome, "a modern-day bogeyman to the Roman children." It was said that if a Roman child misbehaved, their parents would scare them by saying Hannibal will come for you. Shortly, Rome invaded North Africa while threatening Carthage. Hannibal had no choice but to withdraw his troops from Italy in order to defend for Carthage. In the great battle of Zama, The great Hannibal was defeated by Scipio Africanus ending the second Punic War.
The 3 rd and last of the Punic Wars, Carthage was completely destroyed, finalizing Rome to be the strongest Empire throughout the Mediterranean Area. In social aspects, Rome's discipline created trust within the army, and loyal citizens ready to fight for Rome. A farmer of Rome is said to be able to walk miles with more than 60 pounds of armor. Romans led their peaceful lives while ready to sacrifice for the glory of Rome.
Economically, throughout the Punic Wars, Rome became the monopoly in trade which Carthage once dominated. No power could come near Rome's economic and social standings. Rome was the disciplined of the Barbarian World. In significance to the social and economic standings of Rome, the "Gracchan Turbulence" was the dispute regarding land for the Roman citizens. Tiberius Gracchus had made himself spokesman for land reform.
Gracchus strongly believed that every citizen of Rome was entitled to land. The rich and upper class of Rome was hording most of the Roman lands which can be equally divided to the Roman people. Tiberius implemented an old law of Rome not allowing a Roman to have any more than 312 acres of state-owned land. Rome's elite families felt Tiberius as a threat to their property and political authority. Rome's upper class also feared that Tiberius would weaken the Roman Senate.
Due to this massive threat, Tiberius was killed by "senatorial extremists." Gaius Gracchus soon followed the goals of his older brother Tiberius. The senatorial extremists also killed Gaius. Murdering the voices against the senate became a way of Roman politics. Any objections or arguments were stabbed or clubbed to death by politicians. The people of Rome were no longer being disciplined as in times of the Punic Wars. The oligarchy was declining, and the people Rome were kept quite by free admittance to Coliseum games, along with food handouts.
In modern terms, Rome was simply giving treats to their people just to shut them up. The Gracchan Turbulence led to the declining of the Roman Republic.