Department or Program
Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor
Guy M. Rogers
The Punic Wars (264 BCE- 146 BCE) continued for over a century and brought ruin on a tremendous scale. The wars changed the socio-economic structure in Rome by eliminating the middle or farmer/soldier class of Roman society, affected the distribution of wealth by funneling money to the highest socio-economic classes, and altered religious and political institutions through extended contact with the East and the acquisition of new land. It is the goal of this thesis to explore how the introduction of new peoples and cultures, a new economic structure, and a new primary mode of religious thought, following the three Punic Wars, affected the life of the individual Roman citizen.
These changes altered the subsequent trajectory, growth, and overall character of the empire. Whether or not these changes to the Roman order were positive or negative is for the reader to decide. However, it is certain that the Punic Wars altered the Roman Empire forever. The descriptions of Rome (and Sicily) before and after the wars show the destructive and transformative quality of extreme and long-lasting warfare. It is important for a modern reader to understand these changes and influences because the new Rome that emerged at the turn of the century served as a foundational block of Western civilization.