Although Massilia amidst continual and severe struggles maintained her independence, the seaports of Campania and of the Volscian land, and after the battle of Alalia Corsica also,(1) were in the possession of the Etruscans. In Sardinia the sons of the Carthaginian general Mago laid the foundation of the greatness both of their house and of their city by the complete conquest of the island (about 260); and in Sicily, while the Hellenic colonies were occupied with their internal feuds, the Phoenicians retained possession of the western half without material opposition. The vessels of the Etruscans were no less dominant in the Adriatic; and their pirates were dreaded even in the more eastern waters.
Subjugation Of Latium By Etruria
By land also their power seemed to be on the increase. To acquire possession of Latium was of the most decisive importance to Etruria, which was separated by the Latins alone from the Volscian towns that were dependent on it and from its possessions in Campania. Hitherto the firm bulwark of the Roman power had sufficiently protected Latium, and had successfully maintained against Etruria the frontier line of the Tiber. But now, when the whole Tuscan league, taking advantage of the confusion and the weakness of the Roman state after the expulsion of the Tarquins, renewed its attack more energetically than before under the king Lars Porsena of Clusium, it no longer encountered the wonted resistance. Rome surrendered, and in the peace (assigned to 247) not only ceded all her possessions on the right bank of the Tiber to the adjacent Tuscan communities and thus abandoned her exclusive command of the river, but also delivered to the conqueror all her weapons of war and promised to make use of iron thenceforth only for the ploughshare. It seemed as if the union of Italy under Tuscan supremacy was not far distant.
Etruscans Driven Back From Latium-- Fall Of The Etrusco-Carthaginian Maritime Supremacy-- Victories Of Salamis And Himera, And Their Effects
But the subjugation, with which the coalition of the Etruscan and Carthaginian nations had threatened both Greeks and Italians, was fortunately averted by the combination of peoples drawn towards each other by family affinity as well as by common peril. The Etruscan army, which after the fall of Rome had penetrated into Latium, had its victorious career checked in the first instance before the walls of Aricia by the well-timed intervention of the Cumaeans who had hastened to the succour of the Aricines (248). We know not how the war ended, nor, in particular, whether Rome even at that time tore up the ruinous and disgraceful peace. This much only is certain, that on this occasion also the Tuscans were unable to maintain their ground permanently on the left bank of the Tiber.
Soon the Hellenic nation was forced to engage in a still more comprehensive and still more decisive conflict with the barbarians both of the west and of the east. It was about the time of the Persian wars. The relation in which the Tyrians stood to the great king led Carthage also to follow in the wake of Persian policy --there exists a credible tradition even as to an alliance between the Carthaginians and Xerxes--and, along with the Carthaginians, the Etruscans. It was one of the grandest of political combinations which simultaneously directed the Asiatic hosts against Greece, and the Phoenician hosts against Sicily, to extirpate at a blow liberty and civilization from the face of the earth. The victory remained with the Hellenes. The battle of Salamis (274) saved and avenged Hellas proper; and on the same day--so runs the story--the rulers of Syracuse and Agrigentum, Gelon and Theron, vanquished the immense army of the Carthaginian general Hamilcar, son of Mago, at Himera so completely, that the war was thereby terminated, and the Phoenicians, who by no means cherished at that time the project of subduing the whole of Sicily on their own account, returned to their previous defensive policy. Some of the large silver pieces are still preserved which were coined for this campaign from the ornaments of Damareta, the wife of Gelon, and other noble Syracusan dames: and the latest times gratefully remembered the gentle and brave king of Syracuse and the glorious victory whose praises Simonides sang.
The immediate effect of the humiliation of Carthage was the fall of the maritime supremacy of her Etruscan allies. Anaxilas, ruler of Rhegium and Zancle, had already closed the Sicilian straits against their privateers by means of a standing fleet (about 272); soon afterwards (280) the Cumaeans and Hiero of Syracuse achieved a decisive victory near Cumae over the Tyrrhene fleet, to which the Carthaginians vainly attempted to render aid. This is the victory which Pindar celebrates in his first Pythian ode; and there is still extant an Etruscan helmet, which Hiero sent to Olympia, with the inscription: "Hiaron son of Deinomenes and the Syrakosians to Zeus, Tyrrhane spoil from Kyma."(2)
Maritime Supremacy Of The Tarentines And Syracusans-- Dionysius Of Syracuse
While these extraordinary successes against the Carthaginians and Etruscans placed Syracuse at the head of the Greek cities in Sicily, the Doric Tarentum rose to undisputed pre-eminence among the Italian Hellenes, after the Achaean Sybaris had fallen about the time of the expulsion of the kings from Rome (243). The terrible defeat of the Tarentines by the Iapygians (280), the most severe disaster which a Greek army had hitherto sustained, served only, like the Persian invasion of Hellas, to unshackle the whole might of the national spirit in the development of an energetic democracy. Thenceforth the Carthaginians and the Etruscans were no longer paramount in the Italian waters; the Tarentines predominated in the Adriatic and Ionic, the Massiliots and Syracusans in the Tyrrhene, seas. The latter in particular restricted more and more the range of Etruscan piracy. After the victory at Cumae, Hiero had occupied the island of Aenaria (Ischia), and by that means interrupted the communication between the Campanian and the northern Etruscans.