|The Second Mediterranean War
|Part of Vae victis!|
A Carthaginian ship off the Iberian coast
|Troops and Ships
||Troops and Ships
|Casualties and losses|
|Troops and Ships
||Troops and Ships
The The Second Mediterranean War, also known as The Iberian War, or less often, The War of the Waves, was a war fought between Carthage and Etrusca over Carthaginian colonies in Iberia. Lasting between 236 and 241, the war devastated much of Northern Iberia, and caused serious economic problems for both sides. Ultimately, Iberia would stay in the possession of Carthage, though at serious cost to both sides.
The origins of this conflict can be traced back surprisingly far, all the way to the Christianization of Carthage. While mainland Carthage, as well as Shardan and Sikelia, where converted without troubles, the story was entirely different in Iberia. There, the locals entirely rejected Chrsitianity, and in many cases had no qualms about being violent about it. Almost any Carthegian attempt at conversion was met with polite refusal at best, and open revolt at worst. By 192, Havor II had not only failed to convert Iberia, but also alienated many of its citizens to Cartheginian rule.
As Carthegian influence fell apart in their own colony, Dentaram king of Etruscan, saw his opportunity to undermine his nation's long time rival. He began to Spenser trade missions to Iberia, were Etruscan goods were sold at spectacular markdowns. Within years, the cheap Etruscan goods and the heavy handed Cearthegians began to force the Iberains to gravitate more towards the former, dramatically weaking Carthage's grip on their own colony. Retaliation on Etruscan only came in 201, when Carthage's new king, Darius forced the Etruscans out, sinking several of their ships in the process. However, while Darius managed to reclaim control of the colony, Etruscan influence still existed, and trade never completely stopped.
Because of this, when weak king, Haser II, eventually rose to power in Carthage, the Etruscans had the ability and the motivation to press their claim to Iberia. This time, instead of weaving around the Carthagians, Etrusca started landing troops in Iberia. Haser II, still trying to stabilize his rule after the lose of Alexandria, could do nothing to stop this at first. By the time he was able to turn his attention to Iberia, the Etruscans were already entrenched in the north, and this time it wouldn't be easy to displace them.
By early 236, soldiers from both Carthage and Etruscan were in Iberia, the Etruscans mostly concentrated in the north, while the Carthaginian army was amassing in the south. Within several months, both sides had assembled their forces, and the Carthaginians began to march north, destroying the token Etruscan forces outside the north. The first major battle of the war occurred towards the end of the summer of 236, where a relatively large Etruscan army was moved south to delay Carthage's advance. This maneuver was successful, and Etrusca would be able to buy themselves more time to secure themselves in the north. In addition, it helped Etrusca gain the loyalty of a substantial portion of Iberians by painting the Carthaginians as vicious colonists who would destroy their colony just to keep it.
With this heir land assault delayed, and any contact on land almost certain to lead to a stalemate, Haser II turned to his dominating navy. After gathering a sizable contingent of ships in November of 236, the naval force began to move north to engage the Etruscans. Their first major encounter, just five miles off the coast shocked both sides, because it wasn't a route for Carthage. Astonishingly, the Etruscans, while losing more ships, didn't even have to retreat and instead held their ground. The next battle would be a more solid victory for Carthage, but even so, the unexpected power of the Etruscan navy threw them off guard. More battles would ensue, but neither side would be able to gain the upper hand on the sea. This was more of a blow to Carthage, as they had come to expect some level of control over the seas, while for the Etruscans, the stalemate was regarded as a triumphant victory.
By the spring of 237, both land and sea seemed to be approaching stalemate. However, the Carthaginian army had not yet arrived in northern Iberia, and thus Haser II was able to reinforce them before they collided with the Etruscans. Further from their homeland and fighting to secure a safe route by sea to Iberia, the Etruscans were not afforded the same luxury. Because of this, when the armies collided for the second time, the Carthaginians were finally able to gain the upper hand. Throughout the summer, the Etruscans were continually forced north, and were largely forced to take refugee in various forts. It took the Etruscans until early winter to mount a sizable counter attack, and while they manged to halt Carthage's momentum, thy barely regained any territory. Southern Iberia was now secured for Carthage, though throughout the winter and spring, north Iberia began to evolve into an Etruscan fortress.
Coming into 238, both fronts of the war were stalemated. Carthage couldn't make any further gains on land, and the Etruscans couldn't very well abandon their fortresses. Meanwhile, at sea, battles between the two forces continued. Carthage wasn't able to make any breakthroughs, but was able to narrowly stop any Etruscan reinforcements. Despite this Stalemate, the summer was full of fighting, with the highest casualties of the war on both sides. Carthage was able to seize some forts, but at great cost - not only did they take massive casualties but they gave the remaining Etruscan strongholds. Meanwhile, Parts of Iberia began to slip from Carthage's control. The Etrucans, on the other hand, were largely locked in their strongholds, terrified to come out. by the end of the year, both sides were demoralized, and calls to end the war started in both nations.
In light of the stalemate and the war effort falling apart, Haser II decided to try to pull the Keltoi into the war. Even as combat started to heat up again in 239, negotiations with the Keltoic Emperor Estrak were beginning. Finally, in the summer of 239, Keltoic troops arrived and swept across Northern Iberia. Taking the Etruscans by surprise, the Keltoi and Carthaginians made major gains during 239, destroying much of the Etruscan's holdings. In effect, the territory held by Etrusca was cut in half at least, and probably more. A major naval victory towards the end of the year continued the success, straining the Etruscans to the breaking point. By early 240, the Etruscans were falling apart. it took only a yea after that to force the Etruscans out completely, thus ending their influence in Iberia for good.
With Etruscan influence out of Iberia, Carthage would quickly be able to restore their dominance in the region, if not their religion. However, the scars of the war would run deep across the territory, and lead to the separation of Iberia from Carthage when Aphrika was formed. In the meantime however, Iberia would remain relatively prosperous and start expanding further inland than it had previously. relations between the Keltoi and Carthage would also pick up. Previously, said relations were largely based on their mutual distaste for Etrusca and their profitable trade. The war would seal their previously shaky relationship, though in the future, the Keltoic adoption of Wodanismos would largely undo this.
Meanwhile, in Etrusca, the situation was a lot worse. The war had dominated their politics and economy for over five years, and now that it was over, their economy tanked. This would be bad enough on its own, but small scale revolts in Umbria, and to a lesser extent, Safineim, shook the nation to the core. Meanwhile, they were largely cut out of the rest of the Mediterranean. Carthage and the Keltoi were aligned against them. The Christian states were content to follow Carthage's lead, and the Senone were pretty much wrapped up in their trade. In essence, this left Etrusca alone and ailing, a situation that would help lead to the rise of Wodanismos.