The Second Punic War (218–201 BCE) had decisively tilted the balance of power in the Mediterranean from Carthage to Rome. Carthage was forced to pay an annual indemnity for 50 years, and to cede Hispania, Sicily and Sardinia to Rome. In 151 CE, the Carthaginians retaliated against an attack by their Numidian neighbours; Rome (no longer receiving its annual indemnity) determined they had acted without its permission, and declared war. The subsequent Roman invasion had a rocky start: the Carthaginians managed to burn most of the Roman fleet and inflict a series of defeats on its land forces. But eventually, Rome gained the upper hand and, under the command of the consul Scipio Aemilianus, its forces laid siege to Carthage itself. When it eventually fell, the Romans systematically destroyed the city, slaughtering or enslaving its population, and turning its African dominions into a Roman province.
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