The epic struggle between Carthage and Rome, two of the superpowers of the ancient world, is most famous for land battles in Italy, on the Iberian peninsula and in North Africa. But warfare at sea, which played a vital role in the First and Second Punic Wars, rarely receives the attention it deserves. And it is the monumental clashes of the Carthaginian and Roman fleets in the Mediterranean that are the focus of Christa Steinby's absorbing study. She exploits new evidence, including the latest archaeological discoveries, and she looks afresh at the ancient sources and quotes extensively from them. In particular she shows how the Romans' seafaring tradition and their skill, determination and resourcefulness eventually gave them a decisive advantage. In doing so, she overturns the myths and misunderstandings that have tend to distort our understanding of Roman naval warfare.
Christa Steinby is a leading expert on the Roman navy, the Punic Wars and warfare at sea in the classical world. She has taught ancient and Roman history at the University of Turku and University College Cork. She has published many academic papers on aspects of naval warfare in the Roman world as well as a book on the Roman republican navy.