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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 48

He thus provided his people with copious supplies without asking money from the Carthaginians, and, keeping up the communication with Drepana by sea, he threatened to surprise the important town of Panormus in his immediate vicinity. Not only were the Romans unable to expel him from his stronghold, but after the struggle had lasted awhile at Ercte, Hamilcar formed for himself another similar position at Eryx. This mountain, which bore half-way up the town of the same name and on its summit the temple of Aphrodite, had been hitherto in the hands of the Romans, who made it a basis for annoying Drepana.

Hamilcar deprived them of the town and besieged the temple, while the Romans in turn blockaded him from the plain. The Celtic deserters from the Carthaginian army who were stationed by the Romans at the forlorn post of the temple--a reckless pack of marauders, who in the course of this siege plundered the temple and perpetrated every sort of outrage --defended the summit of the rock with desperate courage; but Hamilcar did not allow himself to be again dislodged from the town, and kept his communications constantly open by sea with the fleet and the garrison of Drepana.

The war in Sicily seemed to be assuming a turn more and more unfavourable for the Romans. The Roman state was losing in that warfare its money and its soldiers, and the Roman generals their repute; it was already clear that no Roman general was a match for Hamilcar, and the time might be calculated when even the Carthaginian mercenary would be able boldly to measure himself against the legionary. The privateers of Hamilcar appeared with ever- increasing audacity on the Italian coast: already a praetor had been obliged to take the field against a band of Carthaginian rovers which had landed there. A few years more, and Hamilcar might with his fleet have accomplished from Sicily what his son subsequently undertook by the land route from Spain.

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