What was the Siege of Aspis (255 BC)?

Introduction

The Siege of Aspis or Clupea was fought in 255 BC between Carthage and the Roman Republic.

It was the first fighting on African land during the First Punic War.

Background

After defeating the Carthaginian navy sent to stop them from reaching Africa at the battle of Cape Ecnomus, the Romans landed close to Aspis, to the south of Carthage.

The Battle

The Romans moved to besiege Aspis by building a trench and palisade to defend their ships. Carthage was not yet prepared to fight on land and the city fell after the garrison made a short resistance.

By taking Clupea, the Romans controlled the area of land opposite to Carthage and secured their rear in order to scour the enemy before them.

The Romans forced Aspis to surrender, and having left in their place a proper garrison, they sent some messengers to Rome to inform them of their success and to receive instructions on the next measures to be pursued.

They then decamped with all their forces, and marched through the country to plunder it.

Aftermath and Legacy

After defeating the Carthaginians, the Romans dispatched most of their fleet back to Rome except for a number of 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry. The rest of the army, under the command of Marcus Atilius Regulus, remained in North Africa.

Advancing inland and plundering the territory along the way, they stopped at the city of Adys. The resulting siege of Adys gave the Carthaginians time to gather an army, only to have that army defeated at the Battle of Adys.

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