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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


IV. The Revolution

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 I - The Subject Countries Down to the Times of the Gracchi


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Page 35

Carthage and Numidia

Let us first glance at Africa. The order of things established by the Romans in Libya rested in substance on a balance of power between the Nomad kingdom of Massinissa and the city of Carthage. While the former was enlarged, confirmed, and civilized under the vigorous and sagacious government of Massinissa,(6) Carthage in consequence simply of a state of peace became once more, at least in wealth and population, what it had been at the height of its political power.

6. Cf. III. VII. Massinissa

The Romans saw with ill-concealed and envious fear the apparently indestructible prosperity of their old rival; while hitherto they had refused to grant to it any real protection against the constantly continued encroachments of Massinissa, they now began openly to interfere in favour of the neighbouring prince. The dispute which had been pending for more than thirty years between the city and the king as to the possession of the province of Emporia on the Lesser Syrtis, one of the most fertile in the Carthaginian territory, was at length (about 594) decided by Roman commissioners to the effect that the Carthaginians should evacuate those towns of Eniporia which still remained in their possession, and should pay 500 talents (120,000 pounds) to the king as compensation for the illegal enjoyment of the territory.

The consequence was, that Massinissa immediately seized another Carthaginian district on the western frontier of their territory, the town of Tusca and the great plains near the Bagradas; no course was left to the Carthaginians but to commence another hopeless process at Rome. After long and, beyond doubt, intentional delay a second commission appeared in Africa (597); but, when the Carthaginians were unwilling to commit themselves unconditionally to a decision to be pronounced by it as arbiter without an exact preliminary investigation into the question of legal right, and insisted on a thorough discussion of the latter question, the commissioners without further ceremony returned to Rome.

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