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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 46

What were they to do? In fact, there was to some extent reason for despondency. The fathers of the city became faint-hearted; they allowed matters simply to take their course, knowing well that a war protracted without object or end was more pernicious for Italy than the straining of the last man and the last penny, but without that courage and confidence in the nation and in fortune, which could demand new sacrifices in addition to those that had already been lavished in vain.

They dismissed the fleet; at the most they encouraged privateering, and with that view placed the war- vessels of the state at the disposal of captains who were ready to undertake a piratical warfare on their own account. The war by land was continued nominally, because they could not do otherwise; but they were content with observing the Sicilian fortresses and barely maintaining what they possessed,--measures which, in the absence of a fleet, required a very numerous army and extremely costly preparations.

Now, if ever, the time had come when Carthage was in a position to humble her mighty antagonist. She, too, of course must have felt some exhaustion of resources; but, in the circumstances, the Phoenician finances could not possibly be so disorganized as to prevent the Carthaginians from continuing the war--which cost them little beyond money--offensively and with energy. The Carthaginian government, however, was not energetic, but on the contrary weak and indolent, unless impelled to action by an easy and sure gain or by extreme necessity. Glad to be rid of the Roman fleet, they foolishly allowed their own also to fall into decay, and began after the example of the enemy to confine their operations by land and sea to the petty warfare in and around Sicily.

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