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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 VI - The War under Hannibal from Cannae to Zama


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 87

Hannibal Recalled to Africa

Hannibal would probably have anticipated the order, had not the last negotiations with Philip presented to him a renewed prospect of rendering better service to his country in Italy than in Libya; when he received it at Croton, where he latterly had his head-quarters, he lost no time in complying with it. He caused his horses to be put to death as well as the Italian soldiers who refused to follow him over the sea, and embarked in the transports that had been long in readiness in the roadstead of Croton.

The Roman citizens breathed freely, when the mighty Libyan lion, whose departure no one even now ventured to compel, thus voluntarily turned his back on Italian ground. On this occasion the decoration of a grass wreath was bestowed by the senate and burgesses on the only survivor of the Roman generals who had traversed that troubled time with honour, the veteran of nearly ninety years, Quintus Fabius. To receive this wreath--which by the custom of the Romans the army that a general had saved presented to its deliverer--at the hands of the whole community was the highest distinction which had ever been bestowed upon a Roman citizen, and the last honorary decoration accorded to the old general, who died in the course of that same year (551).

Hannibal, doubtless not under the protection of the armistice, but solely through his rapidity of movement and good fortune, arrived at Leptis without hindrance, and the last of the "lion's brood" of Hamilcar trode once more, after an absence of thirty-six years, his native soil. He had left it, when still almost a boy, to enter on that noble and yet so thoroughly fruitless career of heroism, in which he had set out towards the west to return homewards from the east, having described a wide circle of victory around the Carthaginian sea. Now, when what he had wished to prevent, and what he would have prevented had he been allowed, was done, he was summoned to help and if possible, to save; and he obeyed without complaint or reproach.

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