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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


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

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 II - The War between Rome and Carthage Concerning Sicily


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Page 25

At the promontory of Mylae, to the north-west of Messana, the Carthaginian fleet, that advanced from Panormus under the command of Hannibal, encountered the Roman, which here underwent its first trial on a great scale. The Carthaginians, seeing in the ill-sailing and unwieldy vessels of the Romans an easy prey, fell upon them in irregular order; but the newly invented boarding-bridges proved their thorough efficiency.

The Roman vessels hooked and stormed those of the enemy as they came up one by one; they could not be approached either in front or on the sides without the dangerous bridge descending on the enemy's deck. When the battle was over, about fifty Carthaginian vessels, almost the half of the fleet, were sunk or captured by the Romans; among the latter was the ship of the admiral Hannibal, formerly belonging to king Pyrrhus.

The gain was great; still greater the moral effect of the victory. Rome had suddenly become a naval power, and held in her hand the means of energetically terminating a war which threatened to be endlessly prolonged and to involve the commerce of Italy in ruin.

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