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Did Carthage Fight With Captured Roman Warships?

Monday, February 11, 2019

TAMPA, FLORIDA—According to a Live Science report, members of the RPM Nautical Foundation recently conducted an underwater survey in the Mediterranean Sea at the site of a naval battle that took place some 2,200 years ago. Historical records indicate the Roman navy destroyed much of the Carthaginian fleet, which had been carrying supplies to its armies in Sicily, on March 10, 241 B.C. The researchers recovered helmets, pottery, and six bronze rams. Research team member William Murray of the University of South Florida thinks the Carthaginians may have been fighting with Roman ships captured during a previous battle, since most of the rams recovered from the sea floor over the course of the survey project have been Roman. “You would expect that the Carthaginians, who lost the battle, would have suffered the most casualties,” he explained. The helmets may have belonged to mercenaries from Gaul and Iberia hired to man the Carthaginian fleet, he added. The team members also recovered amphoras scattered around the shipwrecks. “It’s as if they were jettisoned out into the sea, and they separated one from another and then sank to the seafloor,” Murray said. Throwing the containers overboard may have been an attempt by the Carthaginians to make the ships lighter and faster, he said. To read more about Rome's mastery of the Mediterranean, go to “Rome's Imperial Port.”

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