First Punic Wars > Treaty of Lutatius

Treaty of Lutatius

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The Treaty of Lutatius was responsible for officially ending the First Punic War between the Carthaginians and the Roman Republic following the Roman victory during the Battle of the Aegates Islands.

The treaty was negotiated in 241 BC between the Roman consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus and a subordinate of Hamilcar Barca. Based on the account of Polybius, the original terms set that Carthage must forfeit all their holdings on the island of Sicily and not wage war on the city of Syracuse. The Carthaginians were also forced to pay massive war reparations of 2,200 talents or 66 tons of silver to paid in 20 annual installments to Rome.

However, this treaty was originally rejected by the Romans and eventually the brother of Gaius Lutatius Catulus named Quintus Lutatius Cerco managed to get a harsher agreement through. This new treaty stated Carthage had to forfeit not only their holdings in Sicily but on Ustica, the Aeolian Islands and the Aegates Islands off the western coast of Sicily. Carthage was also forced to evacuate all their forces from the islands of Pantelleria, Linosa, Lampedusa, Lampione and Malta. They also had to return all prisoners of war without ransom and pay massive war reparations.

The monetary penalty imposed on Carthage was steep. The Carthaginians were also forced to pay 1,000 talents or 30 tons (66,000) pounds of silver immediately to Rome as well as an additional 2,200 66 tons (145,000) pounds of silver over ten years by making yearly installments. This would serve to immediately destabilize Carthage who would move to try and disband their mercenary army to balance the ledger, which would culminate in the Mercenary War.

Another obligation of the treaty that would contribute directly to the Second Punic War was that Carthage must refrain from attacking Syracuse and Rome or their allies or engaging in any conflicts without Roman oversight. Neither side could also recruit soldiers from the territory of the other which greatly reduced the ability for the Carthaginians to field their mercenary army. However, this clause was dropped during the Mercenary War


The massive war reparations and consequences heaped on Carthage at the end of the First Punic War were much like the massive debt imposed on Germany after WWI. This had the effect of further radicalizing the Carthaginian population who would soon revolt against these harsh terms which culminated in the Second Punic War which featured the famous invasion of Europe by Hannibal Barca.

First Punic War

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Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Lazenby, J. F. First Punic War: A Military History. Stanford University Press, 1996.

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