The Republican Roman army largely covers the period from the end of the Samnite Wars (290 BC) through to the end of the Social War (88 BC), with the main conflict of this time being referred to as the Punic Wars. Fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place at that time. The expanding Roman Republic, initially via Sicily (which at that time was a cultural melting pot) led to a conflict of interest with Carthage. Rome being the dominant power of the Western Mediterranean was a rapidly growing in power throughout Italy, but it lacked the naval power of Carthage. By the end of the third Punic War, after more than a hundred years of fighting, Rome had conquered the empire of Carthage, completely destroyed the city, and become the most powerful state of the Western Mediterranean.