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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 46

Departure of Pyrrhus to Italy

To this first and most essential error Pyrrhus added a second; he proceeded with his fleet, not to Lilybaeum, but to Tarentum. It was evident, looking to the very ferment in the minds of the Sicilians, that he ought first of all to have dislodged the Carthaginians wholly from the island, and thereby to have cut off the discontented from their last support, before he turned his attention to Italy; in that quarter there was nothing to be lost, for Tarentum was safe enough for him, and the other allies were of little moment now that they had been abandoned.

It is conceivable that his soldierly spirit impelled him to wipe off the stain of his not very honourable departure in the year 476 by a brilliant return, and that his heart bled when he heard the complaints of the Lucanians and Samnites. But problems, such as Pyrrhus had proposed to himself, can only be solved by men of iron nature, who are able to control their feelings of compassion and even their sense of honour; and Pyrrhus was not one of these.

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