Ancient Warfare Answers (284): Comparing the Byzantine conquest of Vandal North Africa with the Punic Wars

Mark wants to hear Murray's thoughts on comparing the Roman wars against the Vandals vs the Punic Wars. Mark writes, 'both the Roman-Vandal and Roman-Carthage wars occurred roughly in the same geographic area and included naval and land-based fighting. However, within 26 years the Vandals had conquered North Africa, the major islands of the Western Med and sacked Rome. 

In the 3rd/2nd centuries BCE the 1st/2nd Punic wars lasted over 60 years, and even then, neither side could capture each other's capitals. Granted, the Roman Empire was exhausted and fighting multiple enemies for much of the 5th century CE- but the Roman Republic also fought on multiple fronts during the 2nd Punic War.

Then, in the 6th century CE, Belisarius was able to conquer and annex the Vandal Kingdom in less than a year. Why did these later wars seem to happen at a much faster pace? Did smaller armies and a more depopulated Mediterranean in late antiquity shorten wars? Were logistics better with better ships or Roman roads? Did later armies and navies use different tactics or technologies so that wars were much shorter?'

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