Rome was established as a political power during the Punic Wars. These three wars were fought between Carthage and Rome, the dominant power on the Italian peninsula (Punic).
Carthage in North Africa was an important military power before the Punic Wars. Carthage was at peace with Rome and fought mainly Greece. Rome and Carthage had several treaties of peace between them.
Rome got involved in the first Punic War, which lasted from 264 to 261 BCE. Sicily was then Carthage’s territory. Rome sent an armed force to Carthage in order to settle their dispute. Carthage then viewed this as an act a war. The war was fought over control of the island Sicily. Rome won a naval victory and took control of Sicily. Rome attacked Carthage three years later and took two other Carthaginian provinces, Sardinia & Corsica. The first Punic War was over. Hamilcar Barca in Carthage was so angered by this that he taught Hannibal his hatred of the Romans.
The two sides had to wait for several decades before they were ready to fight again. Carthage took over Spain and regained all the land they lost under Hamilcar. Hamilcar made Hannibal his successor when he died. Hannibal began the second Punic war (218-201 BCE), two years after declaring war on Roman territory in Saguntum. Hannibal brought with him a large army, elephants, and horses to fight the Romans. Hannibal was able to win many battles despite the Romans being outnumbered. Rome, on the other hand, remained steadfast and continued to attack Spain and North Africa with General Scipio. This allowed them to claim these territories, and absorb them into their Roman Republic. Hannibal lost a lot of territory in the process (Punic 2014). Hannibal committed suicide rather than being taken by Romans and tortured. The Carthaginians were no more after the end of the second Punic War.
It was the Romans who started the small skirmish in front of the Carthaginians. This was the end for them. The third Punic War was fought between 149 and 146 BCE, but it wasn’t a war. Carthage, Rome and their allies were resting after signing a peace treaty. However, Cato, an influential politician in Rome claimed that Rome was determined to eliminate Carthage. The Romans began looking for any means to use against the Carthaginians and started a new conflict. They came across a small battle between Carthage in North Africa and an ally of Rome. Rome used the skirmish to say Carthage had violated a peace treaty. They then declared war on Carthage. Carthage had been completely destroyed. Even the soil was salted to prevent any growth (SpeilVogel, 2015). The Punic Wars had ended.
The three Punic Wars between the Carthaginians (who started them) and the Romans (who won them) ushered into a new age of politics, where the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire. Rome became a major player in the Middle East.