The statement that Xanthippus was put to death by the Carthaginians after the victory, is a fiction; he departed voluntarily, perhaps to enter the Egyptian service.

7. Nothing further is known with certainty as to the end of Regulus; even his mission to Rome--which is sometimes placed in 503, sometimes in 513--is very ill attested. The later Romans, who sought in the fortunes and misfortunes of their forefathers mere materials for school themes, made Regulus the prototype of heroic misfortune as they made Fabricius the prototype of heroic poverty, and put into circulation in his name a number of anecdotes invented by way of due accompaniment--incongruous embellishments, contrasting ill with serious and sober history.

8. The statement (Zon. viii. 17) that the Carthaginians had to promise that they would not send any vessels of war into the territories of the Roman symmachy--and therefore not to Syracuse, perhaps even not to Massilia--sounds credible enough; but the text of the treaty says nothing of it (Polyb. iii. 27).

Chapter III

The Extension Of Italy To Its Natural Boundaries

Natural Boundaries Of Italy

The Italian confederacy as it emerged from the crises of the fifth century--or, in other words, the State of Italy--united the various civic and cantonal communities from the Apennines to the Ionian Sea under the hegemony of Rome. But before the close of the fifth century these limits were already overpassed in both directions, and Italian communities belonging to the confederacy had sprung up beyond the Apennines and beyond the sea. In the north the republic, in revenge for ancient and recent wrongs, had already in 471 annihilated the Celtic Senones; in the south, through the great war from 490 to 513, it had dislodged the Phoenicians from the island of Sicily. In the north there belonged to the combination headed by Rome the Latin town of Ariminum (besides the burgess-settlement of Sena), in the south the community of the Mamertines in Messana, and as both were nationally of Italian origin, so both shared in the common rights and obligations of the Italian confederacy. It was probably the pressure of events at the moment rather than any comprehensive political calculation, that gave rise to these extensions of the confederacy; but it was natural that now at least, after the great successes achieved against Carthage, new and wider views of policy should dawn upon the Roman government--views which even otherwise were obviously enough suggested by the physical features of the peninsula. Alike in a political and in a military point of view Rome was justified in shifting its northern boundary from the low and easily crossed Apennines to the mighty mountain-wall that separates northern from southern Europe, the Alps, and in combining with the sovereignty of Italy the sovereignty of the seas and islands on the west and east of the peninsula; and now, when by the expulsion of the Phoenicians from Sicily the most difficult portion of the task had been already achieved, various circumstances united to facilitate its completion by the Roman government.

Sicily A Dependency Of Italy

In the western sea which was of far more account for Italy than the Adriatic, the most important position, the large and fertile island of Sicily copiously furnished with harbours, had been by the peace with Carthage transferred for the most part into the possession of the Romans. King Hiero of Syracuse indeed, who during the last twenty-two years of the war had adhered with unshaken steadfastness to the Roman alliance, might have had a fair claim to an extension of territory; but, if Roman policy had begun the war with the resolution of tolerating only secondary states in the island, the views of the Romans at its close decidedly tended towards the seizure of Sicily for themselves. Hiero might be content that his territory--namely, in addition to the immediate district of Syracuse, the domains of Elorus, Neetum, Acrae, Leontini, Megara, and Tauromenium--and his independence in relation to foreign powers, were (for want of any pretext to curtail them) left to him in their former compass; he might well be content that the war between the two great powers had not ended in the complete overthrow of the one or of the other, and that there consequently still remained at least a possibility of subsistence for the intermediate power in Sicily. In the remaining and by far the larger portion of Sicily, at Panormus, Lilybaeum, Agrigentum, Messana, the Romans effected a permanent settlement.

Sardinia Roman The Libyan Insurrection Corsica

They only regretted that the possession of that beautiful island was not enough to convert the western waters into a Roman inland sea, so long as Sardinia still remained Carthaginian. Soon, however, after the conclusion of the peace there appeared an unexpected prospect of wresting from the Carthaginians this second island of the Mediterranean. In Africa, immediately after peace had been concluded with Rome, the mercenaries and the subjects of the Phoenicians joined in a common revolt. The blame of the dangerous insurrection was mainly chargeable on the Carthaginian government. In the last years of the war Hamilcar had not been able to pay his Sicilian mercenaries as formerly from his own resources, and he had vainly requested that money might be sent to him from home; he might, he was told, send his forces to Africa to be paid off. He obeyed; but as he knew the men, he prudently embarked them in small subdivisions, that the authorities might pay them off by troops or might at least separate them, and thereupon he laid down his command. But all his precautions were thwarted not so much by the emptiness of the exchequer, as by the collegiate method of transacting business and the folly of the bureaucracy. They waited till the whole army was once more united in Libya, and then endeavoured to curtail the pay promised to the men. Of course a mutiny broke out among the troops, and the hesitating and cowardly demeanour of the authorities showed the mutineers what they might dare.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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