Rome fought and won a series of important wars known as the Punic (PYOO-nik) Wars between 264 and 146 B.C. against the Phoenician North African city of Carthage on the Mediterranean Sea. This enabled the Roman republic to gain control of the Mediterranean Sea and exclusive control over trade of wine, olive oil, food and many other goods. There were three Punic Wars in all, named “Punic” after the Roman term for Phoenician. While two empires went into the conflict, only one emerged.