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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


II. From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER VII - Struggle between Pyrrhus and Rome, and Union of Italy


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Page 31

Pyrrhus Marches against Rome

Pyrrhus, who during these negotiations had advanced into Campania, immediately on the news of their being broken off marched against Rome, to co-operate with the Etruscans, to shake the allies of Rome, and to threaten the city itself. But the Romans as little allowed themselves to be terrified as cajoled. At the summons of the herald "to enrol in the room of the fallen," the young men immediately after the battle of Heraclea had pressed forward in crowds to enlist; with the two newly-formed legions and the corps withdrawn from Lucania, Laevinus, stronger than before, followed the march of the king.

He protected Capua against him, and frustrated his endeavours to enter into communications with Neapolis. So firm was the attitude of the Romans that, excepting the Greeks of Lower Italy, no allied state of any note dared to break off from the Roman alliance. Then Pyrrhus turned against Rome itself. Through a rich country, whose flourishing condition he beheld with astonishment, he marched against Fregellae which he surprised, forced the passage of the Liris, and reached Anagnia, which is not more than forty miles from Rome.

No army crossed his path; but everywhere the towns of Latium closed their gates against him, and with measured step Laevinus followed him from Campania, while the consul Tiberius Coruncanius, who had just concluded a seasonable peace with the Etruscans, brought up a second Roman army from the north, and in Rome itself the reserve was preparing for battle under the dictator Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus.

In these circumstances Pyrrhus could accomplish nothing; no course was left to him but to retire. For a time he still remained inactive in Campania in presence of the united armies of the two consuls; but no opportunity occurred of striking an effective blow. When winter came on, the king evacuated the enemy's territory, and distributed his troops among the friendly towns, taking up his own winter quarters in Tarentum. Thereupon the Romans also desisted from their operations. The army occupied standing quarters near Firmum in Picenum, where by command of the senate the legions defeated on the Siris spent the winter by way of punishment under tents.

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