When Rome was trying to unify the Italian peninsula, the domestic wars to conquer cities developed into an international one. Carthage and Greece-Macedonia collided with each other in Italian cities and the Mediterranean Sea. It wasn’t because of Rome’s faults. The world does not move as one wishes. When a person arrives at a small spring to drink water, another might be looking for a spring to get water for farmland.
The major battlefield at the time was Sicily, which was divided among Greek immigrants, native people, and the Carthage colonies. Rome was also involved. In ground warfare, the Roman military defeated Carthaginian infantry. However, Carthage’s main force was the navy. Famous historian Theodor Mommsen said that it is easy to defeat the Carthaginian force on a battlefield but difficult to get a final win against them.
In fact, the Roman military found themselves in a crisis once the sea was blocked even after a series of wins in ground warfare. At the crossroads of the nation’s fate, the Roman Empire did something that everyone couldn’t believe. It boldly built large ships. Even after it succeeded in making ships, the country lacked navigation capabilities and skills, which decide wins and losses in naval battles. This was when Rome made a transition to hand-to-hand fights, which was its strength. Close combats are absurd in the sea. The Roman army invented a new weapon called the ‘corvus.’ It is a bridge installed on the bow, with a hook that looked like a bird’s beak. Once a Roman ship got closer to an enemy ship, the corvus came down to lay the bridge, which the Roman infantry used to board the enemy ship to engage in a hand-to-hand fight.
It was the Battle of Mylae that Rome won with the corvus. It was a win earned by Rome’s creativity and a spirit of challenge. The corvus had a critical flaw that made the maneuver of ships more difficult. However, Carthage underestimated its enemy and attacked without any Carthage or exploration, which led to its loss. Just because someone was stronger yesterday, there is no guarantee that he or she is stronger today. A war cannot be won just because one has stronger weapons, financials, and numerical fighting power. In the history of wars, only those who have courage, commitment, and sacrifice survive.