First Punic War > Battles > Battle of the Aegates Islands

Battle of the Aegates Islands

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

Battle of the Aegates Islands


Military Forces

  • 200 Ships
  • 250 Ships


  • 30 Ships Sunk
  • 70 Ships Captured
  • 50 Ships Sunk


The Battle of the Aegates Islands, fought in 241 BC, marked a pivotal moment in the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage. The First Punic War had been ongoing for over two decades, primarily focused on control of Sicily and dominance in the western Mediterranean. Both Rome and Carthage had invested heavily in their navies, recognizing the strategic importance of maritime dominance in the conflict. After suffering setbacks in naval battles earlier in the war, Rome had rebuilt its fleet and sought to challenge Carthaginian naval supremacy.

Consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus devised a plan to intercept and defeat the Carthaginian fleet, which was sailing to resupply and reinforce their forces in Sicily. Catulus positioned his fleet near the Aegates Islands, strategically located to intercept the Carthaginian convoy heading towards Sicily.

Roman Fleet: Catulus commanded a well-prepared Roman fleet, consisting of lighter and more maneuverable ships compared to the heavily laden Carthaginian vessels.

Carthaginian Convoy: Led by Admiral Hanno, the Carthaginian convoy consisted of large, slow-moving transport ships laden with supplies and troops.

The Roman fleet engaged the Carthaginian convoy in the waters near the Aegates Islands. Utilizing their superior maneuverability, the Roman ships outmaneuvered the Carthaginian vessels and launched devastating attacks. The battle resulted in a decisive victory for Rome. The Roman fleet overwhelmed the Carthaginians, sinking or capturing many of their ships. The Carthaginian convoy was unable to reach its destination, depriving the Carthaginian forces in Sicily of much-needed reinforcements and supplies.


The defeat at the Battle of the Aegates Islands compelled Carthage to seek peace with Rome. Negotiations led to the signing of the Treaty of Lutatius, which ended the First Punic War and resulted in Carthaginian concessions, including the cession of Sicily to Rome. The victory established Roman naval supremacy in the western Mediterranean, marking a significant turning point in the balance of power between Rome and Carthage.

Sicily came under Roman control following the treaty, setting the stage for Roman expansion in the Mediterranean. The Battle of the Aegates Islands demonstrated the importance of strategic positioning, maneuverability, and naval tactics in ancient warfare. The victory paved the way for Roman expansion beyond Sicily, ultimately leading to Rome's emergence as a dominant Mediterranean power. The Battle of the Aegates Islands is remembered as one of the decisive naval engagements of antiquity, with lasting implications for the history of Rome and Carthage.

Treaty of Lutatius

See Treaty of Lutatius

First Punic War

+ First Punic War Links


Primary Sources

Polybius. World History I:60-61. Translation at

"Rare bronze rams excavated from site of the final battle of the First Punic War"[1], University of Oxford website

Goldsworthy, Adrian (2007). The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146 BC. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-36642-0.

Sebastiano Tusa, Sebastiano & Royal, Jeffrey (2012) "The landscape of the naval battle at the Egadi Islands (241 B.C.)"[2], Journal of Roman Archaeology vol. 25, pp. 7–48.

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