Siege of Aspis

The siege of Aspis or Clupea was fought in 255 BC between Carthage and the Roman Republic. It was the first fighting on African land during the First Punic War.

Siege of Aspis
Part of the First Punic War
DateEarly 255 BC
Result Roman victory
Roman Republic Carthage
Commanders and leaders
Marcus Atilius Regulus Unknown


After defeating the Carthaginian navy sent to stop them from reaching Africa at the battle of Cape Ecnomus,[1] the Romans landed close to Aspis, to the south of Carthage.[2]


The Romans moved to besiege Aspis by building a trench and palisade to defend their ships. Carthage was not yet prepared to fight on land and the city fell after the garrison made a short resistance.[3] By taking Clupea, the Romans controlled the area of land opposite to Carthage and secured their rear in order to scour the enemy before them.[4] The Romans forced Aspis to surrender, and having left in their place a proper garrison, they sent some messengers to Rome to inform them of their success and to receive instructions on the next measures to be pursued. They then decamped with all their forces, and marched through the country to plunder it.[5]


After defeating the Carthaginians, the Romans dispatched most of their fleet back to Rome except for a number of 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry. The rest of the army, under the command of Marcus Atilius Regulus, remained in North Africa. Advancing inland and plundering the territory along the way, they stopped at the city of Adys. The resulting siege of Adys gave the Carthaginians time to gather an army, only to have that army defeated at the Battle of Adys.[3]


  1. Polybius. The Histories, I.28.
  2. Polybius. The Histories, I.29.
  3. Siege of Aspis, 256 B.C. Rickard, J (10 May 2007), Siege of Aspis, 256 BC. Retrieved on December 13, 2008.
  4. "Roman invasion of Africa". The History of Rome. London: Carey, Lea & Blanchard. 1837. pp. 109. Retrieved December 14, 2008. siege of aspis. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. James Hampton, ed. (1823). "The General History of Polybius - Chapter III". The General History of Polybius. I (5th ed.). London: W. Baxter. p. 35. Retrieved December 14, 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)