First Punic War > Battles > Battle of Mylae

Battle of Mylae

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

Battle of Mylae


Military Forces

  • 90 Ships
  • 130 Ships


  • 11 Ships
  • 50 Ships


First Punic War: The conflict between Rome and Carthage was primarily fought over control of Sicily, with both powers seeking to expand their influence in the region. Both Rome and Carthage had formidable navies, but the Carthaginians were generally considered superior in naval tactics and experience. Recognizing the importance of naval power, Rome had been rapidly expanding its fleet, often imitating captured Carthaginian ships and developing innovative tactics. The Roman consul Gaius Duilius sought to challenge Carthaginian naval dominance and secure control of the seas around Sicily. The Battle of Mylae took place in 260 BC off the coast of Mylae (modern-day Milazzo) in northeastern Sicily.

Consul Gaius Duilius commanded the Roman fleet, which consisted of around 120 warships, including newly developed quinqueremes equipped with the corvus, a boarding bridge. The Carthaginian fleet, commanded by Admiral Hannibal Gisco, comprised a similar number of ships, primarily triremes and quinqueremes. The Romans employed their newly developed corvus, a boarding bridge with a spiked end that could be dropped onto enemy ships, allowing Roman marines to board and capture Carthaginian vessels. This tactic neutralized the Carthaginians' superior seamanship and gave the Romans a decisive advantage in close combat.

Despite initial Carthaginian success in maneuvering their fleet, the deployment of the corvus proved decisive. The Romans successfully boarded and captured numerous Carthaginian ships, inflicting heavy losses on the Carthaginian fleet. The battle ended in a resounding victory for Rome, marking a significant turning point in the naval balance of power in the Mediterranean.


The Roman victory at Mylae shattered Carthaginian naval supremacy in the western Mediterranean and established Rome as a formidable naval power. Rome gained control of the seas around Sicily, facilitating its land campaigns on the island and securing vital supply routes. Consul Gaius Duilius was celebrated as a hero in Rome for his victory at Mylae. He was awarded a triumph and the naval crown, a prestigious honor for Roman commanders.

The Battle of Mylae demonstrated the effectiveness of the corvus as a game-changing naval weapon, prompting further development of Roman naval tactics and technology. The victory at Mylae paved the way for Rome's dominance of the Mediterranean and its eventual conquest of Sicily, marking a significant step in the rise of the Roman Republic as a maritime power.


In T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land, Part I, "The Burial of the Dead" ends with the following passage:

There I saw one I knew, and called him, crying:

Stetson! You who were with me in the ships at Mylae.

That corpse you planted last year in your garden:

Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

Oh, keep the dog far hence, that's friend to men,

Or with his nails, he'll dig it up again.

You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!

First Punic War

+ First Punic War Links


Sabalico Logo
Sabalytics Logo
World Map Logo
rStatistics Logo
Time Zone Logo
Galaxy View Logo
Periodic Table Logo
My Location Logo
Weather Track Logo
Sprite Sheet Logo
Barcode Generator Logo
Test Speed Logo
Website Tools Logo
Image Tools Logo
Color Tools Logo
Text Tools Logo
Finance Tools Logo
File Tools Logo
Data Tools Logo
History of Humanity - History Archive Logo
History of Humanity - History Mysteries Logo
History of Humanity - Ancient Mesopotamia Logo
History of Humanity - Egypt History Logo
History of Humanity - Persian Empire Logo
History of Humanity - Greek History Logo
History of Humanity - Alexander the Great Logo
History of Humanity - Roman History Logo
History of Humanity - Punic Wars Logo
History of Humanity - Golden Age of Piracy Logo
History of Humanity - Revolutionary War Logo