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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 36

Amongst the wounded was the king himself, whose arm had been pierced with a javelin, while he was fighting, as was his wont, in the thickest of the fray. Pyrrhus had achieved a victory, but his were unfruitful laurels; the victory was creditable to the king as a general and as a soldier, but it did not promote his political designs. What Pyrrhus needed was a brilliant success which should break up the Roman army and give an opportunity and impulse to the wavering allies to change sides; but the Roman army and the Roman confederacy still remained unbroken, and the Greek army, which was nothing without its leader, was fettered for a considerable time in consequence of his wound.

He was obliged to renounce the campaign and to go into winter quarters; which the king took up in Tarentum, the Romans on this occasion in Apulia. It was becoming daily more evident that in a military point of view the resources of the king were inferior to those of the Romans, just as, politically, the loose and refractory coalition could not stand a comparison with the firmly-established Roman symmachy.

The sudden and vehement style of the Greek warfare and the genius of the general might perhaps achieve another such victory as those of Heraclea and Ausculum, but every new victory was wearing out his resources for further enterprise, and it was clear that the Romans already felt themselves the stronger, and awaited with a courageous patience final victory. Such a war as this was not the delicate game of art that was practised and understood by the Greek princes.

All strategical combinations were shattered against the full and mighty energy of the national levy. Pyrrhus felt how matters stood: weary of his victories and despising his allies, he only persevered because military honour required him not to leave Italy till he should have secured his clients from barbarian assault. With his impatient temperament it might be presumed that he would embrace the first pretext to get rid of the burdensome duty; and an opportunity of withdrawing from Italy was soon presented to him by the affairs of Sicily.

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