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The Ptolemaic-Carthegian War (Vae victis!)

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The Ptolemaic-Carthegian War
Part of Vae victis!
CarthageWar
A group of Carthegian mercenaries
Date 97-95 BC
Location Egypt
Result Victory for Cartage
  • Alexandria and the surrounding area ceded to Carthage
  • Ptolemaic Egypt thrown into many years of chaos
Belligerents
Carthage Ptolemaic Egypt
Strength
7,000 9,000
Casualties and losses
1,000 17,000 (including civilians)


The Ptolemaic-Carthegian War was a relatively minor conflict between Carthage and Ptolemaic Egypt, mostly taking place on a 30 mile strip along the Mediterranean Sea. The war would help strengthen Carthage's place in the eastern Mediterranean, while throwing Egypt into absolute chaos. The war would ultimately allow Carthage to expand further, while throwing the Egyptians at the wayside until their eventual restructuring in 37 AD.

Background

After the Carthegians had colonized Iberia, they began looking for ways to expand into the other side of the Mediterranean, mostly to improve their trade. Soon after this decision was made, Macedonia was ruled out as a target, due to its growing power and alliance with Etrusca. However, Egypt was far weaker, and still reeling from its defeat at Macedonia's hand. With this in mind, Hanno II assembled a powerful fleet carrying 7,000 men, and set sail for Alexandria - the capital and most valuable city.

Fighting

Due to bad weather and an unexpected garrison in Alexandria, Hanno's army was forced to land about 30 miles west of the city, and fight their way to the city from there. The first clash between the forces came almost as soon as the Carthaginians landed, as the Egyptians sent out forces to harass the arriving army. Striking at close to random, the small force occupied the Carthaginians for almost two months, and only lost small amounts of troops. However, after this harrasing force was defeated, the army was abel to begin to move eastward.

Realizing that time was imperative, the Egyptians moved their forces to the 15 mile mark to meet the Carthaginians half way. After almost a week of careful approaching, the two armies clashed, each one being decimated before the Carthaginians danced back five miles. The same process was repeated twice again, and causalities mounted on each side. Finally, the Carthaginians began to try a new strategy. Instead of attacking the Egyptian army head on, the army attacked the extreme southern end, cutting past it and opening up a route to Alexandria.

After the Carthaginians gained free access to Alexandria, Egypt had to pull its troops back to the the city. Following an brief battle just outside the city, Alexandria was closed off and a siege began. The siege was easy for the Carthaginians, who were even able to make economic gains off it. After almost a year of attempted attacks on the city walls, they were broken and the less valuable parts of the city sacked, though the Carthaginians purposely avoided the port. This destroyed any resistance, and caused the Ptolemaic Empire to sue for peace. This allowed Carthage to take over the city, and the surrounding land.

Aftermath

Carthage - after rebuilding Alexandria - was able to expand its influence to the eastern Mediterranean, at the expense of the Egyptians and their empire. This lead to a boost in trade across that region, giving Carthage massive profits and giving access to better goods to the people of that region. Meanwhile, Egypt fell into internal strife, having a collapsing economy and massive social problems. Eventually the nation was reformed into the first Christian kingdom, arguably as a direct result of the war.

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