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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 45

Perplexity of the Romans

The Roman senate was in perplexity. The war had now reached its sixteenth year; and they seemed to be farther from their object in the sixteenth than in the first. In this war four large fleets had perished, three of them with Roman armies on board; a fourth select land army had been destroyed by the enemy in Libya; to say nothing of the numerous losses which had been occasioned by the minor naval engagements, and by the battles, and still more by the outpost warfare and the diseases, of Sicily.

What a multitude of human lives the war swept away may be seen from the fact, that the burgess-roll merely from 502 to 507 decreased by about 40,000, a sixth part of the entire number; and this does not include the losses of the allies, who bore the whole brunt of the war by sea, and, in addition, at least an equal proportion with the Romans of the warfare by land. Of the financial loss it is not possible to form any conception; but both the direct damage sustained in ships and -materiel-, and the indirect injury through the paralyzing of trade, must have been enormous.

An evil still greater than this was the exhaustion of all the methods by which they had sought to terminate the war. They had tried a landing in Africa with their forces fresh and in the full career of victory, and had totally failed. They had undertaken to storm Sicily town by town; the lesser places had fallen, but the two mighty naval strongholds of Lilybaeum and Drepana stood more invincible than ever.

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