Siege of Aspis, 256 B.C.
The Siege of Aspis was the first fighting on land during the Roman invasion of North Africa (First Punic War). After defeating the Carthaginian navy sent to stop them reaching Africa at the battle of Cape Ecnomus, the Romans landed close to Aspis, to the south of Carthage. After building a trench and palisade to defend their ships, the Romans moved to besiege Aspis. The garrison offered a short resistance, but Carthage was not yet prepared to fight on land, and the city fell. After capturing Aspis, the Romans dispatched most of their fleet and all but 15,000 infantry and 500 cavalry back to Rome. The rest of the army, under the command of Marcus Regulus, remained in North Africa. From Aspis they moved inland, plundering as they went, until they were 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.