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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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The consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus, to whom fell the honour of conducting this fleet to the Sicilian seas, met there with almost no opposition: the two or three Carthaginian vessels, with which Hamilcar had made his corsair expeditions, disappeared before the superior force, and almost without resistance the Romans occupied the harbours of Lilybaeum and Drepana, the siege of which was now undertaken with energy by water and by land. Carthage was completely taken by surprise; even the two fortresses, weakly provisioned, were in great danger.

A fleet was equipped at home; but with all the haste which they displayed, the year came to an end without any appearance of Carthaginian sails in the Sicilian waters; and when at length, in the spring of 513, the hurriedly-prepared vessels appeared in the offing of Drepana, they deserved the name of a fleet of transports rather than that of a war fleet ready for action.

The Phoenicians had hoped to land undisturbed, to disembark their stores, and to be able to take on board the troops requisite for a naval battle; but the Roman vessels intercepted them, and forced them, when about to sail from the island of Hiera (now Maritima) for Drepana, to accept battle near the little island of Aegusa (Favignana) (10 March, 513).

The issue was not for a moment doubtful; the Roman fleet, well built and manned, and admirably handled by the able praetor Publius Valerius Falto (for a wound received before Drepana still confined the consul Catulus to his bed), defeated at the first blow the heavily laden and poorly and inadequately manned vessels of the enemy; fifty were sunk, and with seventy prizes the victors sailed into the port of Lilybaeum. The last great effort of the Roman patriots had borne fruit; it brought victory, and with victory peace.

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