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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 47

Petty War in Sicily - Hamilcar Barcas

Thus there ensued six years of uneventful warfare (506-511), the most inglorious in the history of this century for Rome, and inglorious also for the Carthaginian people. One man, however, among the latter thought and acted differently from his nation. Hamilcar, named Barak or Barcas (i. e. lightning), a young officer of much promise, took over the supreme command in Sicily in the year 507.

His army, like every Carthaginian one, was defective in a trustworthy and experienced infantry; and the government, although it was perhaps in a position to create such an infantry and at any rate was bound to make the attempt, contented itself with passively looking on at its defeats or at most with nailing the defeated generals to the cross. Hamilcar resolved to take the matter into his own hands. He knew well that his mercenaries were as indifferent to Carthage as to Rome, and that he had to expect from his government not Phoenician or Libyan conscripts, but at the best a permission to save his country with his troops in his own way, provided it cost nothing.

But he knew himself also, and he knew men. His mercenaries cared nothing for Carthage; but a true general is able to substitute his own person for his country in the affections of his soldiers; and such an one was this young commander. After he had accustomed his men to face the legionaries in the warfare of outposts before Drepana and Lilybaeum, he established himself with his force on Mount Ercte (Monte Pellegrino near Palermo), which commands like a fortress the neighbouring country; and making them settle there with their wives and children, levied contributions from the plains, while Phoenician privateers plundered the Italian coast as far as Cumae.

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