Homeschool Project - Roman Empire

Map 2

279 BC

279BC : Phyrrus and Carthage

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Under constant attacks from the Lucanians and Bruttians, the Greek cities in Italy sought aid from Rome in 283 BC. However, Tarentum, an old ally of Rome, took exception at the incursion into Tarentum territory. They sent out a requst for help, and it arrived in the form of Pyrrhus of Epirus. Pyrrhus used Tarentum as a base for a campaign of conquest, hoping to achieve such a victory as Alexander the Great had in the east. Pyrrhus achieved a number of victories against the Roman armies, although each was gained at high cost to his own forces. This is where the term "Pyrrhic victory" was derived from. With the losses he was incurring, however, his plans for dominance were doomed.

Carthage, the other major mediterranean power, formed another treaty with Rome in 279 BC and sent troops to aid in the defeat of Pyrrhus. That same year, sensing his dire situation, Pyrrhus retreated from the Italian mainland and instead captured Sicily. Both armies were quickly closing in on him.

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Original Web Upload November 2002
Last Update: November 20, 2002