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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 55

Remarks on the Roman Conduct of the War

Let us pause for a moment over the conflict, which extended the dominion of Rome beyond the circling sea that encloses the peninsula. It was one of the longest and most severe which the Romans ever waged; many of the soldiers who fought in the decisive battle were unborn when the contest began. Nevertheless, despite the incomparably noble incidents which it now and again presented, we can scarcely name any war which the Romans managed so wretchedly and with such vacillation, both in a military and in a political point of view. It could hardly be otherwise.

The contest occurred amidst a transition in their political system--the transition from an Italian policy, which no longer sufficed, to the policy befitting a great state, which had not yet been found. The Roman senate and the Roman military system were excellently organized for a purely Italian policy. The wars which such a policy provoked were purely continental wars, and always rested on the capital situated in the middle of the peninsula as the ultimate basis of operations, and proximately on the chain of Roman fortresses.

The problems to be solved were mainly tactical, not strategical; marches and operations occupied but a subordinate, battles held the first, place; fortress warfare was in its infancy; the sea and naval war hardly crossed men's thoughts even incidentally.

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