During the early republic, the Roman state grew rapidly in both size and power. After the Gauls burned Rome in 390 B.C., the Romans rebounded under the leadership of the military hero Camillus. By 264 B.C. Rome had gained control of the entire Italian peninsula. Rome then fought a series of wars known as the Punic Wars with Carthage, a powerful city-state in northern Africa. The first two Punic Wars ended with Rome in full control of Sicily, the western Mediterranean and much of Spain. In the Third Punic War (149–146 B.C.), the Romans captured and destroyed the city of Carthage and sold its surviving inhabitants into slavery, making a section of northern Africa a Roman province. At the same time, Rome also spread its influence east, defeating King Philip V of Macedonia in the Macedonian Wars and turning his kingdom into another Roman province.
Rome’s military conquests led directly to its cultural growth as a society, as the Romans benefited greatly from contact with such advanced cultures as the Greeks. The first Roman literature appeared around 240 B.C., with translations of Greek classics into Latin. Romans eventually adopted much of Greek art, philosophy, and religion.
Source: Ancient Rome Military Expansion
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