Second Punic War Battles > Battle of Carteia

Battle of Carteia

Punic Wars - Punic Wars DecorationBattle of CarteiaPart of the Second Punic WarDate206 BCLocationCarteiaResultRoman victoryBelligerentsSpqrstone.jpg Roman RepublicCarthage standard.svg CarthageCommanders and leadersSpqrstone.jpg Gaius LaeliusCarthage standard.svg AdherbalStrength1 quinquereme7 triremes1 quinquereme8 triremes


The Battle of Carteia was a naval battle of the Second Punic War, fought between the navy of the Roman Republic and the fleet of Carthage in 206 BC near the ancient city of Carteia in southern Spain. The Roman navy was commanded by Gaius Laelius and the Carthaginian navy by Adherbal. The battle resulted in a Roman victory.After the Carthaginian defeat at the Battle of Ilipa, the Turdetani, previously in revolt, flocked to the Roman banner. Hasdrubal Gisco and Mago were immediately thereafter confined with their troops to Gadir which was strategically placed in a way that did not facilitate a Roman assault. Following the Revolt of Sucro and the Revolt of Indíbil and Mandonio, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus sent away Gaius Lucius Marcius Séptimus with the weakened portion of his army to augment his marching speed. Gaius Lucius marched along the Guadalquivir to the river mouth where he encountered the Carthaginian general Hanno who was attempting to recruit mercenaries for Mago Barca. The Battle of Guadalquivir ensued resulting in another Carthaginian defeat.Gaius Laelius was at this time, in command of a small fleet of one Quinquereme and seven Triremes. He sailed to the port of Carteia where the local Punic population conspired to provide access to their city to the Romans. Mago Barca discovered their conspiracy and the responsible parties were detained, locked up and deported to Carthage by a fleet commanded by Adherbal, the governor of Gades. This fleet was composed of one quinquereme and eight triremes.


When the Carthaginian navy was spotted leaving Carteia, Gaius Laelius' fleet gave battle in a formation where his own quinquereme was at the head of his fleet. He successfully surprised Adherbal who was obliged to fight as the current made an escape impossible.The clashing of the fleets was a chaotic affair as the triremes jockeyed about with difficulty. There were numerous smaller battles between the ships and acts of bravery on both sides. After some time, Laelius' quinquereme was able to sink two of the Carthaginian triremes and to incapacitate a third.Adherbal, conceding defeat, aimed his bow towards the African coast and fled the action. Lelio made his way back to Carteia where he was informed that the conspiracy at Gades had been discovered and that the responsible parties had been sent off to Carthage.


Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus gave Gaius Laelius and Gaius Lucius Marcius Séptimus orders to retire. Mago Barca embarked the last of his forces consisting of a few thousand troops and departed for Cartago Nova. There he anchored his fleet and disembarked his troops to lay siege to the city which was under Roman control. The Carthaginian army was repulsed at the Battle of Cartagena.[1]Mago Barca returned to Gadir where he found that the local population had shut the gates on him as they had been in negotiations with the Romans. Shortly thereafter, Mago abandoned the city and sailed to the Balearic Islands, spending the winter at Port Mahon. The following year, he sailed north to Italy where he hoped to instigate revolt amongst the Ligures people.[2]

Coordinates: 36.1603°N 5.4151°W

Second Punic War

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Primary Sources

Titus Livius, Ab urbe condita, 28.36.7-9

Secondary Sources

Revista Cartagena Historica, La conquista Bárcida.

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