The Battle of Agrigentum was the first pitched battle of the First Punic War and the first large-scale military confrontation between Carthage and the Roman Republic. The battle was fought after a long siege which started in 262 BC and resulted both in a Roman victory and the beginning of Roman control of Sicily.
Agrigentum is a city on the island of Sicily, two and a half miles from the southern coast. It is on a plateau, surrounded by steep slopes on all sides except the west. The city was protected by the Hypsas River to the west and the Akragas River to the east. The natural barriers meant the only way to attack the city was from the west, making the city easily defensible. The city commanded a main route along the southern coast and also routes leading northwards and eastwards to other cities. The major status of Agrigentum meant that it was a target for invading forces, and in 262 BC the Romans attacked the city to prevent the Carthaginians from holding it and using it as a staging ground for an attack on Rome.
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