In the building as well as in the management of vessels the Carthaginians excelled the Greeks; it was at Carthage that ships were first built of more than three banks of oars, and the Carthaginian war-vessels, at this period mostly quinqueremes, were ordinarily better sailors than the Greek; the rowers, all of them public slaves, who never stirred from the galleys, were excellently trained, and the captains were expert and fearless. In this respect Carthage was decidedly superior to the Romans, who, with the few ships of their Greek allies and still fewer of their own, were unable even to show themselves in the open sea against the fleet which at that time without a rival ruled the western Mediterranean.
If, in conclusion, we sum up the results of this comparison of the resources of the two great powers, the judgment expressed by a sagacious and impartial Greek is perhaps borne out, that Carthage and Rome were, when the struggle between them began, on the whole equally matched. But we cannot omit to add that, while Carthage had put forth all the efforts of which intellect and wealth were capable to provide herself with artificial means of attack and defence, she was unable in any satisfactory way to make up for the fundamental wants of a land army of her own and of a symmachy resting on a self-supporting basis. That Rome could only be seriously attacked in Italy, and Carthage only in Libya, no one could fail to see; as little could any one fail to perceive that Carthage could not in the long run escape from such an attack. Fleets were not yet in those times of the infancy of navigation a permanent heirloom of nations, but could be fitted out wherever there were trees, iron, and water. It was clear, and had been several times tested in Africa itself, that even powerful maritime states were not able to prevent enemies weaker by sea from landing. When Agathocles had shown the way thither, a Roman general could follow the same course; and while in Italy the entrance of an invading army simply began the war, the same event in Libya put an end to it by converting it into a siege, in which, unless special accidents should intervene, even the most obstinate and heroic courage must finally succumb.
Notes For Chapter I
1. II. IV. Victories Of Salamis And Himera, And Their Effects
2. I. X. Phoenicians And Italians In Opposition To The Hellenes
3. The most precise description of this important class occurs in the Carthaginian treaty (Polyb. vii. 9), where in contrast to the Uticenses on the one hand, and to the Libyan subjects on the other, they are called --ol Karchedonion uparchoi osoi tois autois nomois chrontai--. Elsewhere they are spoken of as cities allied (--summachides poleis--, Diod. xx. 10) or tributary (Liv. xxxiv. 62; Justin, xxii. 7, 3). Their -conubium- with the Carthaginians is mentioned by Diodorus, xx. 55; the -commercium- is implied in the "like laws." That the old Phoenician colonies were included among the Liby-phoenicians, is shown by the designation of Hippo as a Liby-phoenician city (Liv. xxv. 40); on the other hand as to the settlements founded from Carthage, for instance, it is said in the Periplus of Hanno: "the Carthaginians resolved that Hanno should sail beyond the Pillars of Hercules and found cities of Liby-phoenicians." In substance the word "Liby-phoenicians" was used by the Carthaginians not as a national designation, but as a category of state-law. This view is quite consistent with the fact that grammatically the name denotes Phoenicians mingled with Libyans (Liv. xxi. 22, an addition to the text of Polybius); in reality, at least in the institution of very exposed colonies, Libyans were frequently associated with Phoenicians (Diod. xiii. 79; Cic. pro Scauro, 42). The analogy in name and legal position between the Latins of Rome and the Liby-phoenicians of Carthage is unmistakable.
4. The Libyan or Numidian alphabet, by which we mean that which was and is employed by the Berbers in writing their non-Semitic language --one of the innumerable alphabets derived from the primitive Aramaean one--certainly appears to be more closely related in several of its forms to the latter than is the Phoenician alphabet; but it by no means follows from this, that the Libyans derived their writing not from Phoenicians but from earlier immigrants, any more than the partially older forms of the Italian alphabets prohibit us from deriving these from the Greek. We must rather assume that the Libyan alphabet has been derived from the Phoenician at a period of the latter earlier than the time at which the records of the Phoenician language that have reached us were written.
5. II. VII. Decline Of The Roman Naval Power
6. II. VII. Decline Of The Roman Naval Power
7. II. VII. The Roman Fleet
8. II. IV. Etrusco-Carthaginian Maritime Supremacy
9. The steward on a country estate, although a slave, ought, according to the precept of the Carthaginian agronome Mago (ap. Varro, R. R. i. 17), to be able to read, and ought to possess some culture. In the prologue of the "Poenulus" of Plautus, it is said of the hero of the title:-
-Et is omnes linguas scit; sed dissimulat sciens Se scire; Poenus plane est; quid verbit opus't-?
10. Doubts have been expressed as to the correctness of this number, and the highest possible number of inhabitants, taking into account the available space, has been reckoned at 250,000. Apart from the uncertainty of such calculations, especially as to a commercial city with houses of six stories, we must remember that the numbering is doubtless to be understood in a political, not in an urban, sense, just like the numbers in the Roman census, and that thus all Carthaginians would be included in it, whether dwelling in the city or its neighbourhood, or resident in its subject territory or in other lands. There would, of course, be a large number of such absentees in the case of Carthage; indeed it is expressly stated that in Gades, for the same reason, the burgess-roll always showed a far higher number than that of the citizens who had their fixed residence there.