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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 36

Evacuation of Africa

When the terrible news reached Rome, the first care of the Romans was naturally directed to the saving of the force shut up in Clupea. A Roman fleet of 350 sail immediately started, and after a noble victory at the Hermaean promontory, in which the Carthaginians lost 114 ships, it reached Clupea just in time to deliver from their hard-pressed position the remains of the defeated army which were there entrenched.

Had it been despatched before the catastrophe occurred, it might have converted the defeat into a victory that would probably have put an end to the Punic wars. But so completely had the Romans now lost their judgment, that after a successful conflict before Clupea they embarked all their troops and sailed home, voluntarily evacuating that important and easily defended position which secured to them facilities for landing in Africa, and abandoning their numerous African allies without protection to the vengeance of the Carthaginians.

The Carthaginians did not neglect the opportunity of filling their empty treasury, and of making their subjects clearly understand the consequences of unfaithfulness. An extraordinary contribution of 1000 talents of silver (244,000 pounds) and 20,000 oxen was levied, and the sheiks in all the communities that had revolted were crucified; it is said that there were three thousand of them, and that this revolting atrocity on the part of the Carthaginian authorities really laid the foundation of the revolution which broke forth in Africa some years later.

Lastly, as if to fill up the measure of misfortune to the Romans even as their measure of success had been filled before, on the homeward voyage of the fleet three- fourths of the Roman vessels perished with their crews in a violent storm; only eighty reached their port (July 499). The captains had foretold the impending mischief, but the extemporised Roman admirals had nevertheless given orders to sail.

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