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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 IV - Hamilcar and Hannibal


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Page 35

Position of Rome - Their Uncertain Plans for War

The Roman state was in a plight, such as may occur even in firmly- established and sagacious aristocracies. The Romans knew doubtless what they wished to accomplish, and they took various steps; but nothing was done rightly or at the right time. They might long ago have been masters of the gates of the Alps and have settled matters with the Celts; the latter were still formidable, and the former were open.

They might either have had friendship, with Carthage, had they honourably kept the peace of 513, or, had they not been disposed for peace, they might long ago have conquered Cartilage: the peace was practically broken by the seizure of Sardinia, and they allowed the power of Carthage to recover itself undisturbed for twenty years. There was no great difficulty in maintaining peace with Macedonia; but they had forfeited her friendship for a trifling gain.

There must have been a lack of some leading statesman to take a connected and commanding view of the position of affairs; on all hands either too little was done, or too much. Now the war began at a time and at a place which they had allowed the enemy to determine; and, with all their well-founded conviction of military superiority, they were perplexed as to the object to be aimed at and the course to be followed in their first operations.

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