Punic Wars Timeline

Year (BC) Sicily / At Sea North Africa Commentary
Since 288 Messana (Messina), Sicily, has been in the hands of the Mamertini (Mamertines). Hieron (Hiero) II 'Tyrant' of Syracuse had been elected strategos of Syracuse in 275.
265 Hiero wins a great pitched battle near the Longanus River and was elected king. 265-264 Roman intervention to suppress unrest at Volsinii.
264 First Punic War (264-241) begins with the Crisis at Messana, when Hiero II attacks the Mamertines. Appius Claudius Caudex sent to Sicily to protect Messana from the Carthaginians. The Romans finally move on Messana. By the end of the year, Carthage and Syracuse had been expelled from the neighbourhood of Messana, and Hiero was shut up in Syracuse.There was no triumph for Claudius upon his return to Rome The Roman Assembly voted to accept the new alliance with Messana and send an army to Sicily, although Romans were tired of war
263 Consuls M. Valerius and M. Otacilius Crassus go to Sicily with 40,000 men. Several Carthaginian towns taken. M. Valerius attacks Syracuse with a large army. Hiero defects to the Romans. Valerius received cognomen Messalla for diplomatic success, and was voted a triumph The Carthaginian strategy: hold impregnable defensive points, control the sea, allow Rome to exhaust itself. Fortune will eventually secure victory.
262 The struggle for Agrigentum (262-261): A Carthaginian relief force was beaten off. Romans realize that the war has widened significantly and to win it they must drive Carthage out of Sicily. To do so, they must have sea power.
261 Carthaginians within the city withdrew and the Romans finally took the city. Agrigentum sacked, people sold as slaves. Their action aroused more hatred than fear. Carthage no longer willing to meet Romans in the field.The Romans now began to attack Greek cities allied with the Carthaginians. Carthage made better progress in Sicily on anti-Roman sentiment, sent in Hamilcar.
Punic naval squadrons raid the Italian coast. Rome decides to develop a navy 100 quinquiremes and 20 triremes equipped ships with new "secret weapon" the corvus, (‘raven’ or ‘crow’) a spiked boarding bridge, which converts a sea battle into a land battle.
Polybius says the Romans used a beached Carthaginian ship as a model.
260 First Naval Engagements. Carthaginian navy defeated a Roman naval squadron at Lipara Islands and Scipio 'Asina' captured..
Sea battle at Mylae the Roman admiral Gaius Duilius defeated a Carthaginian squadron of more maneuverable ships by grappling and boarding. The Roman fleet is using the corvus.143 Roman ships defeated 130 Carthaginian ones, capturing 31 and sinking 14. Relieved Segesta Great celebration at Rome. Duilius built a victory monument in the Roman forum, fragments of which are preserved today.
259 Consul L. Cornelius Scipio captures Corsica, but attack on Sardinia fails. Corsica and Sardinia - stalemate but it did not suffice to loosen their grasp on Sicily. Scipio wins a triumph. Carthage gains in Sicily -- Aquillius left there as proconsul.
Another Roman naval victory.
Carthage reduced to three strong points all in the extreme west of Sicily, but continues her war strategy. Victory at Thermae. The Carthaginians crucified their unsuccessful commander Hannibal
258 C. Sulpicius defeats a Punic fleet off Sulci; wins a triumph. In Sicily, Atilius Regulus attacks Panormus and captures Mytistratus.
257 A third Roman naval victory, off Tyndaris. Atilius celebrates a naval triumph. The Romans decide that an invasion of the Carthaginian homeland in Africa was necessary to end the war. Sardinia abandoned by Rome. C. Atilius Regulus raids Malta and sinks 18 enemy vessels.
256 Roman fleet increased to 250 warships plus 80 transports. Carthaginian fleet grows to slightly smaller number. L. Manlius Vulso and M. Atilius Regulus in action off Sicily capture 50 vessels, sink 30 more, losing 24. Battle of Ecnomus: A large Roman fleet led by both consuls sailed out in and repelled the entire Carthaginian fleet off Cape Ecnomus (off south Sicily, near modern Licata) by using the corvus again.
Invasion of Africa Carthage besieged. Before the winter one consul returns to Italy with part of the troops.
255 After one campaign the Carthaginians were ready to sue for peace. The terms offered by the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus were intolerably harsh.
Carthage fights back and they rejected the terms. A Spartan general, Xanthippus, and mercenaries defeat Regulus at the Battle of Bagradas. The Carthaginians were to show on several occasions that when forced into a corner, they would fight back with great determination.
Roman fleet of 250 defeats Carthaginian fleet of 200 off Cape Hermaeum. A Roman naval disaster - storm on the way home off Pachynus destroyed all but 80 of the Roman fleet - Regulus’ army is lost at sea. Rome rebuilds navy Last invasion of Italy by the Gauls.
254 Carthage recapture Agrigentum. Roman fleet is rebuilt to 220 ships. The Romans capture the important fortress port of Panormus (Palermo) falls -- Carthage reduced to minor holdings. of in northeastern Sicily, but when Carthage moved reinforcements onto the island, the war again came to a standstill.
253 Stalemate in Sicily Carthage at war with Numidia. Hanno the Great II expands territory in North Africa.
The Roman fleet Made a fruitless cruise of the African coast, missing the tide, beached the fleet and then were wrecked in another gale at Cape Palinurus (Lucania) and lost 150 ships.
252 For fear of the elephants brought to Sicily by the Carthaginians and the lack of ships there was little activity. Romans capture more towns in Sicily, including Lipara and Thermae.
251 Late in the year, after Gaius Furius had gone back to Rome, Lucius Metellus won a victory capturing 100 elelphants 251 or 250 BC. the Romans rebuild their fleet yet again, 50 new ships managing 120 vessels.
250 Carthaginian defeat at Panormus, followed by a siege of Lilybaeum (Marsala) City of Lilybaeum holds, however, during an 8 year siege. The Carthaginians asked for peace, but the Romans again refused. Carthaginians again destroy Selinunte. Hasdrubal is later recalled and executed. Regulus sent to Rome to negotiate an exchange of prisoners.
249 Major naval defeat of the Roman fleet at Drepanum.
Remaining Roman fleet under L. Junius Pullus shipwrecked near Camarina. Junius marches ashore on Sicily and takes a strategic crossroads at Mt. Eryx.
248 Sieges of Lilybaeum and Drepana continue. Hiero's treaty expired Rome gave him friendship for all time
247 Sieges continue. Hamilcar raids South Italian coast. Rome abandons sea ventures. Rome and its allies continued the was but were exhausted and nearly bankrupt. In in one of the most incomprehensible decisions of antiquity, Carthage decided to lay up its fleet and concentrate on seizing control of the North African interior to the southwest of Carthage.

Hannibal (the grace of Baal), the son of Hamilcar Barca, born
247-243 Hamilcar Barca arrives in Sicily, assumes control of the Carthaginian forces and renews the attack. The Italian coast is raided frequently. By 244 Hamilcar is active on Mr Eryx in guerrilla-type warfare. The Romans made no more progress than Hamilcar Barca. Mt. Eryx is finally taken by Hamilcar (under siege since 249) 244: Brundisium founded.
242 Rome builds 200 war ships. Successful ground and naval assaults are launched against Carthaginian fortresses at Lilybaeum and Drepanum in Sicily. The Gallic allies of Carthage defect to Rome.
241 A fleet of 200 warships was equipped and sent out to renew the blockade of Lilybaeum under C. Lutatius Catulus. Decisive Roman naval victory at the Aegates Islands (March 10, 241). This victory, by giving the Romans undisputed command of the sea, rendered certain the ultimate fall of the Punic strongholds in Sicily.
Carthaginian home government told Hamilcar to negotiate peace The last Carthaginian fortresses surrender. The Carthaginians crucified the naval commander Hanno. Sicily is organized as a province by the Lutatii, Gaius and Quintus. Construction of the Via Aurelia from Rome to Pisa.
Roman victory The Roman victor, the consul C. Lutatius Catulus, settled initial peace terms, after Rome increased the harshness of the terms.This officially ended the First Punic War. Roman intervention by Torquatus to suppress unrest at Falerii.