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we have seen (Book ii., chap. 24), was colonized and held by

430 The First Punic War. [Chap. XXIX.

her, and she aimed at the sovereignty of the whole island.
Sicilian af- Hence the various wars with Syracuse. The Car-
f;urs - thaginians and Greeks were the rivals for the

sovereignty of this fruitful island, the centre of the oil and
wine trade, the store-house for all sorts of cereals. Had
Carthage possessed the whole of Sicily, her fleets would have
controlled the Mediterranean.

The embroilment of Carthage with the Grecian States on
this island was the occasion of the first rupture with Rome.
Messina, the seat of the pirate republic of the Mamertines,
was in close alliance with Rhegium, a city which had grown
into importance during the war with Pyrrhus. Rhegium,
situated on the Italian side of the strait, solicited


the protection 01 Rome, and a body 01 Campaman
troops was sent to its assistance. These troops expelled or
massacred the citizens for whose protection they had been
sent, and established a tumultuary government. On the
fall of Tarentum, the Romans sought to punish this outrage,
and also to embrace the opportunity to possess a town which
would facilitate a passage to Sicily, for Sicily as truly be-
longed to Raly as the Peloponnesus to Greece, being sepa-
rated only by a narrow strait. A Roman army was accord-
ingly sent to take possession of Rhegium, but the defenders
made a desperate resistance. R was finally taken by storm,
and the original citizens obtained repossession, as dependents
and allies of Rome. The fall of Rhegium robbed the pirate
city of Messina of the only ally on which it could count,
and subjected it to the vengeance of both the Carthaginians
and the Syracusans. The latter were then under the sway
of Hiero, who, for fifty years, had reigned without des-
potism, and had quietly developed both the resources and
the freedom of the city. He collected an army of citizens,
devoted to him, who expelled the Mamertines from many of
their towns, and gained a decisive victory over them, not far
from Messina.

The Mamertines, in danger of subjection by the Syracus-
ans, then looked for foreign aid. One party looked to Car-

Chap. XXIX.] Hiero. 431

thage, and another to Rome. The Carthaginian party pre-
vailed on the Mamertines to receive a Punic gam- Th(j Mam _
son. The Romans, seeking a pretext for a war with ertines -
Carthage, sent an army ostensibly to protect Messina against
Hiero. But the strait which afforded a passage to Sicily
was barred by a Carthaginian fleet. The Romans, unaccus-
tomed to the sea, were defeated. Not discouraged, however,
they finally succeeded in landing at Messina, and although
Carthage and Rome were at peace, seized Hanno, the Car-
thaginian general, who had the weakness to command the
eA r acuation of the citadel as a ransom for his person.

On this violation of international law, Hiero, who feared
the Romans more than the Carthaginians, made an

. Iliero.

alliance with Carthage, and the combined forces
of Syracuse and Carthage marched to the liberation of Mes-
sina. The Romans, under Appius, the consul, then made
overtures of peace to the Carthaginians, and bent their
energies against Hiero. But Hiero, suspecting the Cartha-
ginians of treachery, for their whole course with the Syra-
cusans for centuries had been treacherous, retired to Syra-
cuse. Upon which the Romans attacked the Carthaginians
singly, and routed them, and spread devastation over the
whole island.

This was the commencement of the first Punic war, in
which the Romans were plainly the aggressors. Two con-
sular armies now threatened Syracuse, when Hiero sought
peace, which was accepted on condition of provisioning the
Roman armies, and paying one hundred talents to liberate

The first Punic war began b. c. 264, and lasted twenty-
four years. Before we present the leading events of that
memorable struggle, let us glance at the power of Carthage —
the formidable rival of Rome.

As has been narrated, Carthage was founded upon a
peninsula, or rocky promontory, sixty-five years Wealth and
before the foundation of Rome. The inhabitants of of Carthage.
Carthage, descendants of Phoenicians, were therefore of Semi-

432 The First Funic War. [Chap, xxix

tic origin. The African farmer was a Canaanite, and all the
Canaanites lacked the instinct of political life. The Phoeni-
cians thought of commerce and wealth, and not political
aggrandizement. With half their power, the Hellenic cities
achieved their independence. Carthage was a colony of
Phoenicians, and had their ideas. It lived to traffic and get
rich. It was washed on all sides, except the west, by the
sea, and above the city, on the western heights, was the
citadel Byrsa, called so from the word fiupoa, a hide, accord-
ing to the legend that Dido, when she came to Africa,
bought of the inhabitants as much land as could be encom-
passed by a bull's hide, which she cut into thongs, and
inclosed the territory on which she built the citadel. The
city grew to be twenty-three miles in circuit, and contained
seven hundred thousand people. It had two harbors, an
outer and inner, the latter being surrounded by a lofty wall.
A triple wall was erected across the peninsula, to protect it
from the west, three miles long, and between the walls were
stables for three hundred elephants, four thousand horses,
and barracks for two thousand infantry, with magazines and
stores. In the centre of the inner harbor was an island, called
Cothon, the shores of which were lined with quays and
docks for two hundred and twenty ships. The citadel, Byrsa,
was two miles in circuit, and when it finally surrendered to
the Romans, fifty thousand people marched out of it. On
its summit was the famous temple of JEsculapius. At the
northwestern angle of the city were twenty immense reser-
voirs, each four hundred feet by twenty-eight, filled with
water, brought by an aqueduct at a distance of fifty-two
miles. The suburb Megara, beyond the city walls, but
within those that defended the peninsula, was the site of
Power of magnificent gardens and villas, which were adorned
Carthage. w i t k every km( j f G rec i an art? f or t ] ie Cartha-
ginians were rich before Rome had conquered even Latium.
This great city controlled the other Phoenician cities, part of
Sicily, Numidia, Mauritania, Lybia — in short, the northern
part of Africa, and colonics in Spain and the islands of the

Chap. XXIX.] The Power of Carthage. 433

western part of the Mediterranean. The city alone could
furnish in an exigency forty thousand heavy infantry, one
thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand war chariots. The
garrison of the city amounted to twenty thousand foot and
four thousand horse, and the total force which the city could
command was more than one hundred thousand men. The
navy was the largest in the world, for, in the sea-fight with
Regulus, it numbered three hundred and fifty ships, carrying
one hundred and fifty thousand men.

Such was this great power against which the Romans
were resolved to contend. It would seem that Carthage
was willing that Rome should have the sovereignty of Italy,
provided it had itself the possession of Sicily. But this was
what the Romans were determined to prevent. The object
of contention, then, between these two rivals, the one all-
powerful by land and the other by sea, was the possession of

During the first three years of the war, the Romans made
themselves masters of all the island, except the Creat i nofa
maritime fortresses at its western extremity, E° manfl eet.
Eryx and Panormus. Meanwhile the Carthaginians ravaged
the coasts of Italy, and destroyed its commerce. The Romans
then saw that Sicily could not be held without a navy as
powerful as that of their rivals, and it was resolved to build
at once one hundred and twenty ships. A Carthaginian
quinquereme, wrecked on the Bruttian shore, furnished the
model, the forests of Silo the timber, and the maritime cities
of Italy and Greece, the sailors. In sixty days a fleet of
one hundred and twenty ships was built and ready for sea.
The superior seamanship of the Carthaginians was neutral-
ized by converting the decks into a battle-field for soldiers.
Each ship was provided with a long boarding-bridge, hinged
up against the mast, to be let down on the prow, and fixed
to the hostile deck by a long spike, which projected from its
end. The bridge was wide enough for two soldiers to pass
abreast, and its sides were protected by bulwarks.

The first encounter of the Romans with the Carthaginians


434 The First Punic War. [Chap. xxix.

resulted in the capture of the Avhole force, a squadron of
seventeen ships. The second encounter ended in the capture
Naval battle of more ships than the Roman admiral, Cn. Scipio,
of Myhe. j mcl lost< The next battle, tnat f Mylse, in which
the whole Roman fleet was engaged, again turned in favor
of the Romans, whose bad seamanship provoked the con-
tempt of their foes, and led to self-confidence. The battle
was gained by grappling the enemy's ships one by one. The
Carthaginians lost fourteen ships, and only saved the rest
by inglorious flight.

For six years no decided victories were won by either

Great victory S ^ e 5 ^ ut m tne y ear B - C - 256 > n ^ ne y ears fl'Om the

ofKeguius. commencement of hostilities, M. Atilius Regulus,
a noble of the same class and habits as Cincinnatus and
Fabricius, with a fleet of three hundred and thirty ships,
manned by one hundred thousand sailors, encountered the
Carthaginian fleet of three hundred and fifty ships on the
southern coast of Sicily, and gained a memorable victory.
It was gained on the same principle as Epaminondas and
Alexander won their battles, by concentrating all the forces
upon a single point, and breaking the line. The Romans
advanced in the shape of a wedge, with the two consuls'
ships at the apex. The Carthaginian admirals allowed the
centre to give way before the advancing squadron. The
right wing made a circuit out in the open sea, and took the
Roman reserve in the rear, while the left wing attacked the
vessels that were towing the horse transports, and forced
them to the shore. But the Carthaginian centre, being thus
left weak, was no match for the best ships of the Romans,
and the consuls, victorious in the centre, turned to the relief
of the two rear divisions. The Carthaginians lost sixty-four
ships, which were taken, besides twenty-four which were
sunk, and retreated with the remainder to the Gulf of Car-
thage, to defend the shores against the anticipated attack.

The Romans, however, made for another point, and landed
other Tic- in the harbor of Aspis, intrenched a camp to pro-

toriesof , . , . , ,, m

iteguius. tect their ships, and ravaged the country. Iwenty

Chap, xxix.] Hamilcar. 435

thousand captives were sent to Rome and sold as slaves,
besides an immense booty — a number equal to a fifth part of
the free population of the city. A footing in Africa was
thus made, and so secure were the Romans, that a large part
of the army was recalled, leaving Regulus with only forty
ships, fifteen thousand infantry, and five hundred cavalry.
Yet with this small army he defeated the Carthaginians, and
became master of the country to within ten miles of Carthage.
The Carthaginians, shut up in the city, sued for peace ; but
it was granted only on condition of the cession of Sicily and
Sardinia, the surrender of the fleet, and the reduction of Car-
thage to the condition of a dependent city. Such a proposal
was rejected, and despair gave courage to the defeated Car-

They made one grand effort while Regulus lay inactive in
winter quarters. The return of Hamilcar from

. Hamilcar.

Sicily with veteran troops, which furnished a nu-
cleus for a new army, inspired the Carthaginians with hope,
and assisted by a Lacedaemonian general, Xanthippus, with a
band of Greek mercenaries, the Carthaginians marched un-
expectedly upon Regulus, and so signally defeated him at
Tunis, that only two thousand Romans escaped. Regulus,
with five hundred of the legionary force, was taken captive
and carried to Carthage.

The Carthaginians now assumed the offensive, and Sicily
became the battle-field. Hasdrubal, son of Hanno,
landed on the island with one hundred and forty
elephants, while the Roman fleet of three hundred ships
suffered a great disaster off the Lucanian promontory. A
storm arose, which wrecked one hundred and fifty ships — a
disaster equal to the one which it suffered two years before,
when two-thirds of the large fleet which was sent to relieve
the two thousand troops at Clupea was destroyed by a
similar storm. In spite of these calamities, the Romans took
Panormus and Thermae, and gained a victory under the
walls of the former city which cost the Carthaginians twenty
thousand men and the capture of one hundred and twenty

436 The First Punic War. [Chap. xxix.

elephants. This success, gained by Metellus, was the greatest
yet obtained in Sicily, and the victorious general adorned his
triumph Avith thirteen captured generals and one hundred
and four elephants.

The two maritime fortresses which still held out at the
west of the island, Drepanum and Lilybseum, were now in-
vested, and the Carthaginians, shut up in these fortresses, sent
an embassy to Rome to ask an exchange of prisoners, and sue
imprison- for peace. Regulus, now five years a prisoner, was
Eeguins. allowed to accompany the embassy, on his promise
to return if the mission was unsuccessful. As his condition
was now that of a Carthaginian slave, he was reluctant to
enter the city, and still more the Senate, of which he was no
longer a member. But when this reluctance was overcome,
he denounced both the peace and the exchange of prisoners.
The Romans wished to retain this noble patriot, but he was
true to his oath, and returned voluntarily to Carthage, after
Death of having defeated the object of the embassadors,
Regulus. knowing that a cruel death awaited him. The
Carthaginians, indignant and filled with revenge, it is said,
exposed the hero to a burning sun, with his eyelids cut off,
and rolled him in a barrel lined with iron spikes.

The embassy having thus failed, the attack on the for-
tresses, which alone linked Africa with Sicily, was renewed.
The siege of Lilybasum lasted till the end of the war, which,
from the mutual exhaustion of the parties, now languished
for six years. The Romans had lost four great fleets, three
of which had arms on board, and the census of the city, in
the seventeenth year, showed a decrease of forty thousand
citizens. During this interval of stagnation, when petty
Hamiicar warfare alone existed, Hamilcar Barca was ap-
Barca. pointed general of Carthage, and in the same year

his son Hannibal was born, b. c. 247.

The Romans, disgusted with the apathy of the govern-
ment, fitted out a fleet of privateers of two hundred ships,
manned by sixty thousand sailors, and this fleet gained a
victory over the Carthaginians, unprepared for such a force,

Chap. XXIX.] Acquisition of Sicily. 437

so that fifty ships were sunk, and seventy more were carried
by the victors into port. This victory gave Sicily Conquest ot -
to the Romans, and ended the war. The Roman Sici 'y-
prisoners were surrendered by Hamilcar, who had full powers
for peace, and Carthage engaged to pay three thousand two
hundred talents for the expenses of the war.

The Romans were gainers by this war. They acquired
the richest island in the world, fertile in all the Acquisit j on
fruits of the earth, with splendid harbors, cities, ofSicil y-
and a great accumulation of wealth. The long war of
twenty-four years, nearly a whole generation, was not con-
ducted on such a scale as essentially to impoverish the con-
tending parties. There were no debts contracted for future
generations to pay. It was the most absorbing object of
public interest, indeed ; but many other events and subjects
must also have occupied the Roman mind. It was a foreign
war, the first that Rome had waged. It was a war of am-
bition, the commencement of those unscrupulous and aggress-
ive measures that finally residted in the political annihila-
tion of all the other great powers of the world.

But this war, compared with those foreign wars which
Rome subsequently conducted, was carried on without
science and skill. It was carried on in the transition period
of Roman warfare, when tactics were more highly prized
than strategy. It was by a militia, and agricultural generals,
and tactics, and personal bravery, that the various Italian
nations were subdued, when war had not ripened into a
science, such as was conducted even by the Greeks. There
was no skill or experience in the conduct of sieges. The
navy was managed by Greek mercenaries.

The great improvement in the science of war which this
first contest with a foreign power led to, was the Creation of a

„ -. . -

creation ot a navy, and the necessity oi employing power.
veteran troops, led by experienced generals. A deliberative
assembly, like the Senate, it was found could not conduct a
foreign war. It was left to generals, who were to learn
marches and countermarches, sieges, and a strategical sys-

438 The First Punic War. [Chap. XXIX.

tem. The withdrawal of half the army of Regulus by the
Senate proved nearly fatal. Carthage could not be subdued
by that rustic warfare which had sufficed for the conquest
of Etruria or Samnium. The new system of war demanded
generals who had military training and a military eye, and
not citizen admirals. The final success was owing to the
errors of the Carthaginians rather than military science.



The peace between the Carthaginians and Romans was a
mere truce. Though it lasted twenty-one years, new sources
of quarrel were accumulating, and forces were being pre-
pared for a more decisive encounter.

Before we trace the progress of this still more memorable
war, let us glance at the events which transpired in the
interval between it and the first contest.

That interval is memorable for the military career of
Hamilcar, and his great ascendency at Carthage, condition of
That city paid dearly for the peace it had secured, Xer the
for the tribute of Sicily flowed into the treasury of war '
the Romans. Its commercial policy was broken up, and the
commerce of Italy flowed in new channels. This change
was bitterly felt by the Phoenician city, and a pai*ty was soon
organized for the further prosecution of hostilities. There
was also a strong peace party, made up of the indolent and
cowardly money-worshipers of that mercantile State. The
war party was headed by Hamilcar, the peace party by
Hanno, which at first had the ascendency. It drove the
army into mutiny by haggling about pay. The Libyan
mercenaries joined the revolt, and Carthage found herself
alone in the midst of anarchies. In this emergency the
government solicited Hamilcar to save it from the effect of
its blunders and selfishness.

This government, as at Rome, was oligarchic, but the
nobles were merely mercantile grandees, without ability —
jealous, exclusive, and selfish. The great body of the people
whom they ruled were poor and dependent. In intrusting

440 The Second Punic War. [Chap. xxx.

power to Hamilcar, the government of wealthy citizens only
gave him military control. The army which he

Hamilcar. ° _ . J . . ... . .

commanded was not a citizen militia, it was made
up of mercenaries. Hamilcar was obliged to construct a
force from these, to whom the State looked for its salvation.
He was a young man, a little over thirty, and foreboding
that he would not live to complete his plans, enjoined his
son Hannibal, nine years of age, when he was about to leave
Carthage, to swear at the altar of the Eternal God hatred of
the Roman name.

Pie left Carthage for Spain, taking with him his sons, to be
reared in the camp. He marched along the coast, accompanied

by the fleet, which was commanded by Hasdrubal.

He crossed the sea at the Pillars of Hercules, with
the view of organizing a Spanish kingdom to assist the Car-
thaginians in their future warfare. But he died prematurely,
b. c. 229, leaving his son-in-law, Hasdrubal, to carry out his
designs, and the southern and eastern provinces of Spain
became Carthaginian provinces. Carthagena arose as the
capital of this new Spanish kingdom, in the territory of the
Contestana. Here agriculture flourished, and still more,
mining, from the silver mines, which produced, a century
afterward, thirty-six millions of sesterces — nearly two million
dollars — yearly. Carthage thus acquired in Spain a market
for its commerce and manufactures, and the New Carthage
ruled as far as the Ebro. But the greatest advantage of
this new acquisition to Carthage was the new class of merce-
nary soldiers which were incorporated with the army. At
first, the Romans were not alarmed by the rise of this new
Spanish power, and saw only a compensation for the tribute
and traffic which Carthage had lost in Sicily. And while
the Carthaginians were creating armies in Spain, the
Romans were engaged in conquering Cisalpine Gaul, and
consolidating the Italian conquests.

Hasdrubal was assassinated after eight years of successful

administration, and Hannibal was hailed as his

Hannibal. ' , -, . .

successor by the army, and the choice was con-

Chap. XXX.] Hannibal. 441

firmed by the Carthaginians, b. c. 221. He was now twenty-
nine, trained to all the fatigue and clangers of the camp,
and with a native genius for war, which made him, according
to the estimation of modern critics, the greatest general of
antiquity. He combined courage with discretion, and
prudence with energy. He had an inventive craftiness, which
led him to take unexpected routes. He profoundly studied
the character of antagonists, and kept himself informed of
the projects of his enemies. He had his spies at Rome, and
was frequently seen in disguises in order to get important

This crafty and able general resolved, on his nomination,
to make war at once upon the Romans, whom he regarded
as the deadly foe of his country. His first great exploit was
the reduction of Saguntum, an Iberian city on the Fail of
coast, in alliance with the Romans. It defended ba = untnm -
itself with desperate energy for eight months, and its siege
is memorable. The inhabitants were treated with savage
cruelty, and the spoil was sent to Carthage.

This act of Hannibal was the occasion, though not the
cause, of the second Punic war. The Romans, indignant,
demanded of Carthage the surrender of the general who had
broken the peace. On the fall of Saguntum, Han- Hannibal

. retires to

nibal retired to Carthagena for winter quarters, Cartbagena.
and to make preparations for the invasion of Italy. He col-
lected an army of one hundred and twenty thousand infantry,
sixteen thousand cavalry, and fifty-eight elephants, assisted
by a naval force. But the whole of this great army was not
designed for the Italian expedition. A part of it was sent
for the protection of Carthage, and a part was reserved for
the protection of Spain, the government of which he intrusted
to his brother Hasdrubal.

The nations of the earth, two thousand years ago, would
scarcely appreciate the magnitude of the events which were
to follow from the invasion of Italy, and the war which fol-
lowed — perhaps " the most memorable of all the wars ever
waged," certainly one of the most memorable in human

442 The Second Punic War. [Chap. XXX.

annals. The question at issue was, whether the world was
ire prepares to be governed by a commercial oligarchy, with

for vigorous „, & . . „ , ^, ° , ,

war. all the superstitions of the xLast, or by the laws

of a free and patriotic State. It was a war waged between
the genius of a mighty general and the resources of the
Roman people, for Hannibal did not look for aid so much to
his own State, as to those hardy Spaniards who followed his

In the spring, b. c. 218, Hannibal set out from New Car-
Crosses the thage with an army of ninety thousand infantry
Ebro. an( j twelve thousand cavalry. He encountered at

the Ebro the first serious resistance, but this was from the
natives, and not the Romans. It took four months to sur-
mount their resistance, during which he lost one-fourth of
his army. As it was his great object to gain time before the
Romans could occupy the passes of the Alps, he made this
sacrifice of his men. When he reached the Pyrenees, he

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