The relations, however, which prevailed between Hannibal and the Carthaginian council, were here repeated on a small scale. The general appointed by the council pursued with jealous envy the officer sent by Hannibal, and insisted upon giving battle to the proconsul without Muttines and the Numidians. The wish of Hanno was carried out, and he was completely beaten. Muttines was not induced to deviate from his course; he maintained himself in the interior of the country, occupied several small towns, and was enabled by the not inconsiderable reinforcements which joined him from Carthage gradually to extend his operations. His successes were so brilliant, that at length the commander-in- chief, who could not otherwise prevent the cavalry officer from eclipsing him, deprived him summarily of the command of the light cavalry, and entrusted it to his own son. The Numidian, who had now for two years preserved the island for his Phoenician masters, had the measure of his patience exhausted by this treatment. He and his horsemen who refused to follow the younger Hanno entered into negotiations with the Roman general Marcus Valerius Laevinus and delivered to him Agrigentum. Hanno escaped in a boat, and went to Carthage to report to his superiors the disgraceful high treason of Hannibal's officer; the Phoenician garrison in the town was put to death by the Romans, and the citizens were sold into slavery (544). To secure the island from such surprises as the landing of 540, the city received a new body of inhabitants selected from Sicilians well disposed towards Rome; the old glorious Akragas was no more. After the whole of Sicily was thus subdued, the Romans exerted themselves to restore some sort of tranquillity and order to the distracted island. The pack of banditti that haunted the interior were driven together en masse and conveyed to Italy, that from their head-quarters at Rhegium they might burn and destroy in the territories of Hannibal's allies. The government did its utmost to promote the restoration of agriculture which had been totally neglected in the island. The Carthaginian council more than once talked of sending a fleet to Sicily and renewing the war there; but the project went no further.

Philip Of Macedonia And His Delay

Macedonia might have exercised an influence over the course of events more decisive than that of Syracuse. From the Eastern powers neither furtherance nor hindrance was for the moment to be expected. Antiochus the Great, the natural ally of Philip, had, after the decisive victory of the Egyptians at Raphia in 537, to deem himself fortunate in obtaining peace from the indolent Philopator on the basis of the -status quo ante-. The rivalry of the Lagidae and the constant apprehension of a renewed outbreak of the war on the one hand, and insurrections of pretenders in the interior and enterprises of all sorts in Asia Minor, Bactria, and the eastern satrapies on the other, prevented him from joining that great anti-Roman alliance which Hannibal had in view. The Egyptian court was decidedly on the side of Rome, with which it renewed alliance in 544; but it was not to be expected of Ptolemy Philopator, that he would support otherwise than by corn-ships. Accordingly there was nothing to prevent Greece and Macedonia from throwing a decisive weight into the great Italian struggle except their own discord; they might save the Hellenic name, if they had the self-control to stand by each other for but a few years against the common foe. Such sentiments doubtless were current in Greece. The prophetic saying of Agelaus of Naupactus, that he was afraid that the prize-fights in which the Hellenes now indulged at home might soon be over; his earnest warning to direct their eyes to the west, and not to allow a stronger power to impose on all the parties now contending a peace of equal servitude--such sayings had essentially contributed to bring about the peace between Philip and the Aetolians (537), and it was a significant proof of the tendency of that peace that the Aetolian league immediately nominated Agelaus as its -strategus-.

National patriotism was bestirring itself in Greece as in Carthage: for a moment it seemed possible to kindle a Hellenic national war against Rome. But the general in such a crusade could only be Philip of Macedonia; and he lacked the enthusiasm and the faith in the nation, without which such a war could not be waged. He knew not how to solve the arduous problem of transforming himself from the oppressor into the champion of Greece. His very delay in the conclusion of the alliance with Hannibal damped the first and best zeal of the Greek patriots; and when he did enter into the conflict with Rome, his mode of conducting war was still less fitted to awaken sympathy and confidence. His first attempt, which was made in the very year of the battle of Cannae (538), to obtain possession of the city of Apollonia, failed in a way almost ridiculous, for Philip turned back in all haste on receiving the totally groundless report that a Roman fleet was steering for the Adriatic. This took place before there was a formal breach with Rome; when the breach at length ensued, friend and foe expected a Macedonian landing in Lower Italy. Since 539 a Roman fleet and army had been stationed at Brundisium to meet it; Philip, who was without vessels of war, was constructing a flotilla of light Illyrian barks to convey his army across. But when the endeavour had to be made in earnest, his courage failed to encounter the dreaded quinqueremes at sea; he broke the promise which he had given to his ally Hannibal to attempt a landing, and with the view of still doing something he resolved to make an attack on his own share of the spoil, the Roman possessions in Epirus (540). Nothing would have come of this even at the best; but the Romans, who well knew that offensive was preferable to defensive protection, were by no means content to remain--as Philip may have hoped--spectators of the attack from the opposite shore.

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

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