First Punic War Battles > Battle of Tyndaris

Battle of Tyndaris

Punic Wars - Punic Wars Decoration

Background

The Battle of Tyndaris was a major naval battle in 257 BC as part of the First Punic War. The battle occurred off the coast of the city of Tyndaris between the Aeolian Islands which had been a Greek colony founded in 396 BC on the island of Sicily.

The city itself was located on the strategic high ground that overlooked the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Gulf of Patti. During this time the tyrant of nearby Syracuse named Hiero II granted permission for the city to ally with the Carthaginians against the Roman Republic.

Battle

The Roman fleet commanded by Gaius Atilius Regulus one day happened to notice the Carthaginians not sailing in a tactical naval formation and took advantage of the opportunity to score a blow against their mortal enemy. He gave commands for ten of his ships to sail to meet the Carthaginians. However, the Carthaginians soon noticed the Roman advance ships had become separated from the main body of their fleet which was still in port being boarded. With this they turned to meet the Roman flotilla head on and managed to sink nine of the Roman vessels.

Following this the rest of the Roman ships arrived and formed a naval line and engaged the Carthaginians. In the ensuing conflict The Carthaginians lost eight ships and had ten others captured by the Romans. The surviving Carthaginian ships managed to retreat to the nearby Aeolian Islands.

Aftermath

Following the Battle of Tyndaris the Roman and Carthaginian forces would meet again during the Battle of Cape Ecnomus. The city of Tyndaris itself would eventually fall to the Romans.

Coordinates: 38°8′44″N 15°2′23″E

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Bibliography

Primary Sources

Polybius, 1:25.1

Polybius, 1:25.3

Polybius, 1:25.4

Secondary Sources

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