|Winged Victory. One of the rams discovered from the final battle of the First Punic War. RPM Nautical Foundation.|
First Punic War Battle Rams Uncovered Off the Coast of Sicily. By Noah Wiener. Bible History Daily, April 25, 2013.
In the third and second centuries B.C.E., Rome and Carthage struggled for control of the western Mediterranean in series of conflicts that lasted over 100 years. The First Punic War ended in 241 after Rome defeated the Carthaginian navy near the Aegadian (Egadi) Islands off the coast of Sicily. Maritime archaeological surveys conducted by the RPM Nautical Foundation located the site—the oldest archaeologically-located naval battle landscape—and uncovered ten bronze rams from the ancient warships.
Oxford University recently held a one-day colloquium analyzing the rare finds, which would have been mounted on the prow of the warships. Bearing legible Latin and Punic inscriptions, the bronze rams—weighing over 250 pounds each—are extraordinarily rare in the archaeological record. An Oxford University press release notes that there are “thought to be only four other ships’ rams in total from all of antiquity. These rams are the first to be found in an archaeological context.” In addition to the rams, archaeologists uncovered bronze helmets as well as Roman and Carthaginian pottery and other small finds. The discoveries are part of a large underwater survey project that has mapped over 100 square miles of the sea floor.
Rare bronze rams excavated from site of the final battle of the First Punic War. Oxford University Press Release, April 5, 2013.
RPM Nautical Foundation.