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500-264 B.C.

cries of the democrats. Rome still prescribed pristine frugal simplicity in her mode of life; Carthage was the victim of opulence and luxury.

Politically, the constitution of both was aristocratic. The judges of Carthage and the senate of Rome governed on the same system of police-control. In both cities the individual magistrate was subject to the control of the governing board, but the cruel severity and absurd restrictions visible in the Carthaginian system contrast very unfavorably with the milder and more reasonable powers of the Roman council. Moreover, the Roman senate was open to and filled by men of eminent ability, representatives of the nation in the truest and best sense, while the Carthaginian senate exercised a jealous control on the executive, and represented only a few leading families, and was inspired by a sense of mistrust of all above and below it. Hence the steady unwavering policy of Rome, and the confidence and good understanding generally existing between the senate and its magistrates; while at Carthage a wavering half-hearted policy was pursued, and the best officers were generally at feud with the governing body at home, and were thus forced to join the reform or opposition party. Again, as to their treatment of subject states, Rome threw open her citizenship to one district after another, and made it even legally attainable by the Latin communities; Carthage never allowed such a hope to be entertained, still less to be realized. Rome granted a share in the fruits of victory, and sought to create a party in each state favorable to her own interests; Carthage reserved to herself all the spoils of victory, and took away from all cities the freedom of trade. Rome allowed a shadow of independence even to the lowest grade of her subject states, and imposed a fixed tribute on none; Carthage enforced a heavy tribute on even the old Phoenician cities, with the exception of Utica, and treated subject tribes as state slaves. Thus every African community, with the above exception, would have profited by the fall of Carthage, whereas every state in Italy would have lost rather than gained by a rebellion against Rome. The strength of the Roman alliance was shown in the war against Pyrrhus; the landing of Agathocles and Regulus in Africa, and the mercenary war, proved the hollow and rotten nature of the Carthaginian confederacy. In Sicily alone Carthage pursued a wiser and milder policy, owing to her inability to take Syracuse, and thus there was always a party there favorable to her interests.

500-264 B.C.

The state revenues of Carthage were far superior to those of Rome, but the sources of that revenue—tribute and customs—were exhausted far sooner than those of Rome, and the Carthaginian mode of conducting war was far costlier than the Roman.

Though very different, the military resources of the two rivals were not unequally balanced. Carthage, at the time of her conquest, still numbered 700,000 citizens, and at the close of the fifth century she could put into the field an army of 40,000 hoplites. Rome's advantage lay not so much in the superiority of numbers, as in the superior physique and character of the Roman husbandman. Neither the Carthaginians nor the Liby-Phoenicians were naturally soldiers; the flower of the Carthaginian armies consisted of the Libyans, who made good infantry, and were unsurpassed as light cavalry. Aided by the forces of the dependent tribes of Libya and Spain, and by the famous slingers of the Baleares, as well as by mercenary foreigners, the Carthaginians could raise their armies to almost any strength; but a long and dangerous interval must elapse before such hosts could be collected, and, when assembled, they lacked that unity of interests and those ties of fatherland which made the Roman army so formidable. Moreover, the relations between the Carthaginian officers and the mercenary and Libyan troops were marked by a callous indifference on the one hand and a dangerous and mutinous dissatisfaction on the other. Officers broke their word to the troops, and even betrayed them,—wrongs which were bitterly avenged by Libyan insurrections. Great efforts were always made by the Carthaginian government to remedy the defects of their military system. Not only were the army chests and magazines kept fully stored, but special attention was paid to all machines of war, and to the use of elephants. As the Carthaginians did not dare to fortify their dependent cities, owing to their fear of their subject states, they spared no pains in making Carthage impregnable. Rome, on the other hand, allowed most of the subject towns to retain their walls, and secured her power by a chain of frontier fortresses throughout Italy. The great strength of Carthage lay in her war-marine, composed of ships and sailors unrivaled in the world. Ships with more than three banks of oars were first built at Carthage, and her quinqueremes were better sailors than the Greek ships of war. In this point Rome was no match, and could not at this period venture into the open sea against her rivals.

500-264 B.C.

To sum up, the resources of the two great powers were at the outset very equally matched; but the danger of Carthage lay in the want of a land army of her own, and of a confederacy of states resting on a secure and self-supporting basis. It was plain that neither Rome nor Carthage could be seriously attacked except in. the home of her power; but, in the one case, almost insuperable obstacles met the invader; while, in the other, half his task was accomplished as soon as he had set foot on African soil.

Chapter XII


AS was but natural, the first conflict between Rome and L\ Carthage had its origin in the island which lay between JL JL Italy and Africa. After Pyrrhus had been driven from Sicily and Italy in 275 B.C., the Carthaginians were left masters of more than half the island, and were in possession of the important town of Agrigentum. Syracuse retained nothing but Tauromenium and the southeast of the island. We have above alluded to the roving and mercenary character of the Campanian youth, who, feeling no strong attachment to their native land, had ever been willing to join the forces of Greek adventurers. On the death of Agathocles a band of these mercenaries had, by an act of odious treachery, seized Messana, and in a short time these Mamertines, or men of Mars, as they styled themselves, became the third power in Sicily. Their increasing strength was not unwelcome to the Carthaginians, who gladly saw a new and hostile power established close to Syracuse. Hiero, the new ruler and able general of Syracuse, made great efforts to restore the city to its former eminence, and to unite the Sicilian Greeks. Being at peace for the time with the Carthaginians, he turned his arms against Messana, at the very time that Rome was taking vigorous measures against the Campanian kinsmen of the Mamertines, who had established themselves in Rhegium.

Hiero succeeded in shutting up the Mamertines in their city, and was on the point of successfully terminating a siege which had lasted some years, when the Mamertines in their dire strait turned for help to Rome, and offered to deliver their city into her hands. It was a moment of the deepest significance in the history of the world when the envoys of the Mamertines appeared in the Roman senate. If the Romans acceded to their request, they would not only do violence to their own feelings of right and wrong, by receiving into alliance a band of adventurers stained with the worst crimes, whose very kinsmen in Rhegium they had just

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punished for the same offense, but they would throw aside their views of establishing a mere sovereignty in Italy for the wider and more dangerous policy of interference with the outside world—a policy which could not fail to bring them into complicated relations with powers strictly outside their own land. A war with Carthage, serious as it might prove, was not the only result that might follow such a step; no one could calculate the consequences of so bold a leap in the dark. After long deliberation the senate referred the matter to the citizens; and they, fired by a consciousness of what they had already achieved, and by a belief in their future destiny, authorized the senate in 265 B.C. to receive the Mamertines into the Italian confederacy, and to send them aid at once.

When the Roman force dispatched to carry out this policy reached Rhegium it was learned that Carthage had been called in to mediate between Syracuse and Messana, and that the town was now in possession of a Carthaginian garrison. It was the fear of just such a result that had first induced the Romans to interfere in the affair of the Mamertines. Without delay, therefore, the expedition crossed the strait and took forcible possession of Messana.

Carthage declared war 264 B.C., and a strong fleet under Hanno, the son of Hannibal, blockaded Messana. At the same time a Carthaginian land army laid siege to the town on the north side, and Hiero undertook the attack on the south side of the city. But the Roman consul, Appius Claudius Caudex, crossed over from Rhegium, and, uniting his forces with those of Claudius, surprised the enemy, and succeeded in raising the siege. In the following year Marcus Valerius Maximus defeated the allied armies of Carthage and Syracuse. Upon this Hiero went over to the Roman side, and continued to be the most important and the firmest ally the Romans had in the island. The desertion of Hiero and the success of Roman arms forced the Carthaginians to take refuge in their fortresses; and the succeeding year, 262 B.C., practically saw the close, for the time being, of the war in Sicily.

The whole island passed into the hands of the Romans, with the exception of the maritime fortresses, held by the firm grip of Hamilcar, and the coast towns, which were awed into obedience by the all-powerful Carthaginian fleet. The real difficulties of the war were at last beginning to be realized by the Romans, and the necessity of a fleet was clearly recognized. Not only was it impossible for them completely to subdue Sicily while Carthage ruled

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