The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5)
by Theodor Mommsen
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Organization of the Provinces -Commercium- Property Autonomy

This difference in the supreme administrative power was the essential distinction between the transmarine and continental possessions. The principles on which Rome had organized the dependent lands in Italy, were in great part transferred also to the extra-Italian possessions. As a matter of course, these communities without exception lost independence in their external relations. As to internal intercourse, no provincial could thenceforth acquire valid property in the province out of the bounds of his own community, or perhaps even conclude a valid marriage. On the other hand the Roman government allowed, at least to the Sicilian towns which they had not to fear, a certain federative organization, and probably even general Siceliot diets with a harmless right of petition and complaint.(6) In monetary arrangements it was not indeed practicable at once to declare the Roman currency to be the only valid tender in the islands; but it seems from the first to have obtained legal circulation, and in like manner, at least as a rule, the right of coining in precious metals seems to have been withdrawn from the cities in Roman Sicily.(7) On the other hand not only was the landed property in all Sicily left untouched—the principle, that the land out of Italy fell by right of war to the Romans as private property, was still unknown to this century—but all the Sicilian and Sardinian communities retained self- administration and some sort of autonomy, which indeed was not assured to them in a way legally binding, but was provisionally allowed. If the democratic constitutions of the communities were everywhere set aside, and in every city the power was transferred to the hands of a council representing the civic aristocracy; and if moreover the Sicilian communities, at least, were required to institute a general valuation corresponding to the Roman census every fifth year; both these measures were only the necessary sequel of subordination to the Roman senate, which in reality could not govern with Greek —ecclesiae—, or without a view of the financial and military resources of each dependent community; in the various districts of Italy also the same course was in both respects pursued.

Tenths and Customs Communities Exempted

But, side by side with this essential equality of rights, there was established a distinction, very important in its effects, between the Italian communities on the one hand and the transmarine communities on the other. While the treaties concluded with the Italian towns imposed on them a fixed contingent for the army or the fleet of the Romans, such a contingent was not imposed on the transmarine communities, with which no binding paction was entered into at all, but they lost the right of arms,(8) with the single exception that they might be employed on the summons of the Roman praetor for the defence of their own homes. The Roman government regularly sent Italian troops, of the strength which it had fixed, to the islands; in return for this, a tenth of the field-produce of Sicily, and a toll of 5 per cent on the value of all articles of commerce exported from or imported into the Sicilian harbours, were paid to Rome. To the islanders these taxes were nothing new. The imposts levied by the Persian great-king and the Carthaginian republic were substantially of the same character with that tenth; and in Greece also such a taxation had for long been, after Oriental precedent, associated with the -tyrannis- and often also with a hegemony. The Sicilians had in this way long paid their tenth either to Syracuse or to Carthage, and had been wont to levy customs-dues no longer on their own account. "We received," says Cicero, "the Sicilian communities into our clientship and protection in such a way that they continued under the same law under which they had lived before, and obeyed the Roman community under relations similar to those in which they had obeyed their own rulers." It is fair that this should not be forgotten; but to continue an injustice is to commit injustice. Viewed in relation not to the subjects, who merely changed masters, but to their new rulers, the abandonment of the equally wise and magnanimous principle of Roman statesmanship—viz., that Rome should accept from her subjects simply military aid, and never pecuniary compensation in lieu of it—was of a fatal importance, in comparison with which all alleviations in the rates and the mode of levying them, as well as all exceptions in detail, were as nothing. Such exceptions were, no doubt, made in various cases. Messana was directly admitted to the confederacy of the -togati-, and, like the Greek cities in Italy, furnished its contingent to the Roman fleet. A number of other cities, while not admitted to the Italian military confederacy, yet received in addition to other favours immunity from tribute and tenths, so that their position in a financial point of view was even more favourable than that of the Italian communities. These were Segesta and Halicyae, which were the first towns of Carthaginian Sicily that joined the Roman alliance; Centuripa, an inland town in the east of the island, which was destined to keep a watch over the Syracusan territory in its neighbourhood;(9) Halaesa on the northern coast, which was the first of the free Greek towns to join the Romans, and above all Panormus, hitherto the capital of Carthaginian, and now destined to become that of Roman, Sicily. The Romans thus applied to Sicily the ancient principle of their policy, that of subdividing the dependent communities into carefully graduated classes with different privileges; but, on the average, the Sardinian and Sicilian communities were not in the position of allies but in the manifest relation of tributary subjection.

Italy and the Provinces

It is true that this thorough distinction between the communities that furnished contingents and those that paid tribute, or at least did not furnish contingents, was not in law necessarily coincident with the distinction between Italy and the provinces. Transmarine communities might belong to the Italian confederacy; the Mamertines for example were substantially on a level with the Italian Sabellians, and there existed no legal obstacle to the establishment even of new communities with Latin rights in Sicily and Sardinia any more than in the country beyond the Apennines. Communities on the mainland might be deprived of the right of bearing arms and become tributary; this arrangement was already the case with certain Celtic districts on the Po, and was introduced to a considerable extent in after times. But, in reality, the communities that furnished contingents just as decidedly preponderated on the mainland as the tributary communities in the islands; and while Italian settlements were not contemplated on the part of the Romans either in Sicily with its Hellenic civilization or in Sardinia, the Roman government had beyond doubt already determined not only to subdue the barbarian land between the Apennines and the Alps, but also, as their conquests advanced, to establish in it new communities of Italic origin and Italic rights. Thus their transmarine possessions were not merely placed on the footing of land held by subjects, but were destined to remain on that footing in all time to come; whereas the official field recently marked off by law for the consuls, or, which is the same thing, the continental territory of the Romans, was to become a new and more extended Italy, which should reach from the Alps to the Ionian sea. In the first instance, indeed, this essentially geographical conception of Italy was not altogether coincident with the political conception of the Italian confederacy; it was partly wider, partly narrower. But even now the Romans regarded the whole space up to the boundary of the Alps as -Italia-, that is, as the present or future domain of the -togati- and, just as was and still is the case in North America, the boundary was provisionally marked off in a geographical sense, that the field might be gradually occupied in a political sense also with the advance of colonization.(10)

Events on the Adriatic Coasts

In the Adriatic sea, at the entrance of which the important and long- contemplated colony of Brundisium had at length been founded before the close of the war with Carthage (510), the supremacy of Rome was from the very first decided. In the western sea Rome had been obliged to rid herself of rivals; in the eastern, the quarrels of the Hellenes themselves prevented any of the states in the Grecian peninsula from acquiring or retaining power. The most considerable of them, that of Macedonia, had through the influence of Egypt been dislodged from the upper Adriatic by the Aetolians and from the Peloponnesus by the Achaeans, and was scarcely even in a position to defend its northern frontier against the barbarians. How concerned the Romans were to keep down Macedonia and its natural ally, the king of Syria, and how closely they associated themselves with the Egyptian policy directed to that object, is shown by the remarkable offer which after the end of the war with Carthage they made to king Ptolemy III. Euergetes, to support him in the war which he waged with Seleucus II. Callinicus of Syria (who reigned 507-529) on account of the murder of Berenice, and in which Macedonia had probably taken part with the latter. Generally, the relations of Rome with the Hellenistic states became closer; the senate already negotiated even with Syria, and interceded with the Seleucus just mentioned on behalf of the Ilians with whom the Romans claimed affinity.

For a direct interference of the Romans in the affairs of the eastern powers there was no immediate need. The Achaean league, the prosperity of which was arrested by the narrow-minded coterie- policy of Aratus, the Aetolian republic of military adventurers, and the decayed Macedonian empire kept each other in check; and the Romans of that time avoided rather than sought transmarine acquisitions. When the Acarnanians, appealing to the ground that they alone of all the Greeks had taken no part in the destruction of Ilion, besought the descendants of Aeneas to help them against the Aetolians, the senate did indeed attempt a diplomatic mediation; but when the Aetolians returned an answer drawn up in their own saucy fashion, the antiquarian interest of the Roman senators by no means provoked them into undertaking a war by which they would have freed the Macedonians from their hereditary foe (about 515).

Illyrian Piracy Expedition against Scodra

Even the evil of piracy, which was naturally in such a state of matters the only trade that flourished on the Adriatic coast, and from which the commerce of Italy suffered greatly, was submitted to by the Romans with an undue measure of patience, —a patience intimately connected with their radical aversion to maritime war and their wretched marine. But at length it became too flagrant. Favoured by Macedonia, which no longer found occasion to continue its old function of protecting Hellenic commerce from the corsairs of the Adriatic for the benefit of its foes, the rulers of Scodra had induced the Illyrian tribes—nearly corresponding to the Dalmatians, Montenegrins, and northern Albanians of the present day—to unite for joint piratical expeditions on a great scale.

With whole squadrons of their swift-sailing biremes, the veil-known "Liburnian" cutters, the Illyrians waged war by sea and along the coasts against all and sundry. The Greek settlements in these regions, the island-towns of Issa (Lissa) and Pharos (Lesina), the important ports of Epidamnus (Durazzo) and Apollonia (to the north of Avlona on the Aous) of course suffered especially, and were repeatedly beleaguered by the barbarians. Farther to the south, moreover, the corsairs established themselves in Phoenice, the most flourishing town of Epirus; partly voluntarily, partly by constraint, the Epirots and Acarnanians entered into an unnatural symmachy with the foreign freebooters; the coast was insecure even as far as Elis and Messene. In vain the Aetolians and Achaeans collected what ships they had, with a view to check the evil: in a battle on the open sea they were beaten by the pirates and their Greek allies; the corsair fleet was able at length to take possession even of the rich and important island of Corcyra (Corfu). The complaints of Italian mariners, the appeals for aid of their old allies the Apolloniates, and the urgent entreaties of the besieged Issaeans at length compelled the Roman senate to send at least ambassadors to Scodra. The brothers Gaius and Lucius Coruncanius went thither to demand that king Agron should put an end to the disorder. The king answered that according to the national law of the Illyrians piracy was a lawful trade, and that the government had no right to put a stop to privateering; whereupon Lucius Coruncanius replied, that in that case Rome would make it her business to introduce a better law among the Illyrians. For this certainly not very diplomatic reply one of the envoys was—by the king's orders, as the Romans asserted—murdered on the way home, and the surrender of the murderers was refused. The senate had now no choice left to it. In the spring of 525 a fleet of 200 ships of the line, with a landing- army on board, appeared off Apollonia; the corsair-vessels were scattered before the former, while the latter demolished the piratic strongholds; the queen Teuta, who after the death of her husband Agron conducted the government during the minority of her son Pinnes, besieged in her last retreat, was obliged to accept the conditions dictated by Rome. The rulers of Scodra were again confined both on the north and south to the narrow limits of their original domain, and had to quit their hold not only on all the Greek towns, but also on the Ardiaei in Dalmatia, the Parthini around Epidamnus, and the Atintanes in northern Epirus; no Illyrian vessel of war at all, and not more than two unarmed vessels in company, were to be allowed in future to sail to the south of Lissus (Alessio, between Scutari and Durazzo). The maritime supremacy of Rome in the Adriatic was asserted, in the most praiseworthy and durable way, by the rapid and energetic suppression of the evil of piracy.

Acquisition of Territory in Illyria Impression in Greece and Macedonia

But the Romans went further, and established themselves on the east coast. The Illyrians of Scodra were rendered tributary to Rome; Demetrius of Pharos, who had passed over from the service of Teuta to that of the Romans, was installed, as a dependent dynast and ally of Rome, over the islands and coasts of Dalmatia; the Greek cities Corcyra, Epidamnus, Apollonia, and the communities of the Atintanes and Parthini were attached to Rome under mild forms of symmachy. These acquisitions on the east coast of the Adriatic were not sufficiently extensive to require the appointment of a special auxiliary consul; governors of subordinate rank appear to have been sent to Corcyra and perhaps also to other places, and the superintendence of these possessions seems to have been entrusted to the chief magistrates who administered Italy.(11) Thus the most important maritime stations in the Adriatic became subject, like Sicily and Sardinia, to the authority of Rome. What other result was to be expected? Rome was in want of a good naval station in the upper Adriatic—a want which was not supplied by her possessions on the Italian shore; her new allies, especially the Greek commercial towns, saw in the Romans their deliverers, and doubtless did what they could permanently to secure so powerful a protection; in Greece itself no one was in a position to oppose the movement; on the contrary, the praise of the liberators was on every one's lips. It may be a question whether there was greater rejoicing or shame in Hellas, when, in place of the ten ships of the line of the Achaean league, the most warlike power in Greece, two hundred sail belonging to the barbarians now entered her harbours and accomplished at a blow the task, which properly belonged to the Greeks, but in which they had failed so miserably. But if the Greeks were ashamed that the salvation of their oppressed countrymen had to come from abroad, they accepted the deliverance at least with a good grace; they did not fail to receive the Romans solemnly into the fellowship of the Hellenic nation by admitting them to the Isthmian games and the Eleusinian mysteries.

Macedonia was silent; it was not in a condition to protest in arms, and disdained to do so in words. No resistance was encountered. Nevertheless Rome, by seizing the keys to her neighbour's house, had converted that neighbour into an adversary who, should he recover his power, or should a favourable opportunity occur, might be expected to know how to break the silence. Had the energetic and prudent king Antigonus Doson lived longer, he would have doubtless taken up the gauntlet which the Romans had flung down, for, when some years afterwards the dynast Demetrius of Pharos withdrew from the hegemony of Rome, prosecuted piracy contrary to the treaty in concert with the Istrians, and subdued the Atintanes whom the Romans had declared independent, Antigonus formed an alliance with him, and the troops of Demetrius fought along with the army of Antigonus at the battle of Sellasia (532). But Antigonus died (in the winter 533-4); and his successor Philip, still a boy, allowed the Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus to attack the ally of Macedonia, to destroy his capital, and to drive him from his kingdom into exile (535).

Northern Italy

The mainland of Italy proper, south of the Apennines, enjoyed profound peace after the fall of Tarentum: the six days' war with Falerii (513) was little more than an interlude. But towards the north, between the territory of the confederacy and the natural boundary of Italy—the chain of the Alps—there still extended a wide region which was not subject to the Romans. What was regarded as the boundary of Italy on the Adriatic coast was the river Aesis immediately above Ancona. Beyond this boundary the adjacent properly Gallic territory as far as, and including, Ravenna belonged in a similar way as did Italy proper to the Roman alliance; the Senones, who had formerly settled there, were extirpated in the war of 471-2,(12) and the several townships were connected with Rome, either as burgess-colonies, like Sena Gallica,(13) or as allied towns, whether with Latin rights, like Ariminum,(14) or with Italian rights, like Ravenna. On the wide region beyond Ravenna as far as the Alps non-Italian peoples were settled. South of the Po the strong Celtic tribe of the Boii still held its ground (from Parma to Bologna); alongside of them, the Lingones on the east and the Anares on the west (in the region of Parma)—two smaller Celtic cantons presumably clients of the Boii— peopled the plain. At the western end of the plain the Ligurians began, who, mingled with isolated Celtic tribes, and settled on the Apennines from above Arezzo and Pisa westward, occupied the region of the sources of the Po. The eastern portion of the plain north of the Po, nearly from Verona to the coast, was possessed by the Veneti, a race different from the Celts and probably of Illyrian extraction. Between these and the western mountains were settled the Cenomani (about Brescia and Cremona) who rarely acted with the Celtic nation and were probably largely intermingled with Veneti, and the Insubres (around Milan). The latter was the most considerable of the Celtic cantons in Italy, and was in constant communication not merely with the minor communities partly of Celtic, partly of non-Celtic extraction, that were scattered in the Alpine valleys, but also with the Celtic cantons beyond the Alps. The gates of the Alps, the mighty stream navigable for 230 miles, and the largest and most fertile plain of the then civilized Europe, still continued in the hands of the hereditary foes of the Italian name, who, humbled indeed and weakened, but still scarce even nominally dependent and still troublesome neighbours, persevered in their barbarism, and, thinly scattered over the spacious plains, continued to pasture their herds and to plunder. It was to be anticipated that the Romans would hasten to possess themselves of these regions; the more so as the Celts gradually began to forget their defeats in the campaigns of 471 and 472 and to bestir themselves again, and, what was still more dangerous, the Transalpine Celts began anew to show themselves on the south of the Alps.

Celtic Wars

In fact the Boii had already renewed the war in 516, and their chiefs Atis and Galatas had—without, it is true, the authority of the general diet—summoned the Transalpine Gauls to make common cause with them. The latter had numerously answered the call, and in 518 a Celtic army, such as Italy had not seen for long, encamped before Ariminum. The Romans, for the moment much too weak to attempt a battle, concluded an armistice, and to gain time allowed envoys from the Celts to proceed to Rome, who ventured in the senate to demand the cession of Ariminum—it seemed as if the times of Brennus had returned. But an unexpected incident put an end to the war before it had well begun. The Boii, dissatisfied with their unbidden allies and afraid probably for their own territory, fell into variance with the Transalpine Gauls. An open battle took place between the two Celtic hosts; and, after the chiefs of the Boii had been put to death by their own men, the Transalpine Gauls returned home. The Boii were thus delivered into the hands of the Romans, and the latter were at liberty to expel them like the Senones, and to advance at least to the Po; but they preferred to grant the Boii peace in return for the cession of some districts of their land (518). This was probably done, because they were just at that time expecting the renewed outbreak of war with Carthage; but, after that war had been averted by the cession of Sardinia, true policy required the Roman government to take possession as speedily and entirely as possible of the country up to the Alps. The constant apprehensions on the part of the Celts as to such a Roman invasion were therefore sufficiently justified; but the Romans were in no haste. So the Celts on their part began the war, either because the Roman assignations of land on the east coast (522), although not a measure immediately directed against them, made them apprehensive of danger; or because they perceived that a war with Rome for the possession of Lombardy was inevitable; or, as is perhaps most probable, because their Celtic impatience was once more weary of inaction and preferred to arm for a new warlike expedition. With the exception of the Cenomani, who acted with the Veneti and declared for the Romans, all the Italian Celts concurred in the war, and they were joined by the Celts of the upper valley of the Rhone, or rather by a number of adventurers belonging to them, under the leaders Concolitanus and Aneroestus.(15) With 50,000 warriors on foot, and 20,000 on horseback or in chariots, the leaders of the Celts advanced to the Apennines (529). The Romans had not anticipated an attack on this side, and had not expected that the Celts, disregarding the Roman fortresses on the east coast and the protection of their own kinsmen, would venture to advance directly against the capital. Not very long before a similar Celtic swarm had in an exactly similar way overrun Greece. The danger was serious, and appeared still more serious than it really was. The belief that Rome's destruction was this time inevitable, and that the Roman soil was fated to become the property of the Gauls, was so generally diffused among the multitude in Rome itself that the government reckoned it not beneath its dignity to allay the absurd superstitious belief of the mob by an act still more absurd, and to bury alive a Gaulish man and a Gaulish woman in the Roman Forum with a view to fulfil the oracle of destiny. At the same time they made more serious preparations. Of the two consular armies, each of which numbered about 25,000 infantry and 1100 cavalry, one was stationed in Sardinia under Gaius Atilius Regulus, the other at Ariminum under Lucius Aemilius Papus. Both received orders to repair as speedily as possible to Etruria, which was most immediately threatened. The Celts had already been under the necessity of leaving a garrison at home to face the Cenomani and Veneti, who were allied with Rome; now the levy of the Umbrians was directed to advance from their native mountains down into the plain of the Boii, and to inflict all the injury which they could think of on the enemy upon his own soil. The militia of the Etruscans and Sabines was to occupy the Apennines and if possible to obstruct the passage, till the regular troops could arrive. A reserve was formed in Rome of 50,000 men. Throughout all Italy, which on this occasion recognized its true champion in Rome, the men capable of service were enrolled, and stores and materials of war were collected.

Battle of Telamon

All this, however, required time. For once the Romans had allowed themselves to be surprised, and it was too late at least to save Etruria. The Celts found the Apennines hardly defended, and plundered unopposed the rich plains of the Tuscan territory, which for long had seen no enemy. They were already at Clusium, three days' march from Rome, when the army of Ariminum, under the consul Papus, appeared on their flank, while the Etruscan militia, which after crossing the Apennines had assembled in rear of the Gauls, followed the line of the enemy's march. Suddenly one evening, after the two armies had already encamped and the bivouac fires were kindled, the Celtic infantry again broke up and retreated on the road towards Faesulae (Fiesole): the cavalry occupied the advanced posts during the night, and followed the main force next morning. When the Tuscan militia, who had pitched their camp close upon the enemy, became aware of his departure, they imagined that the host had begun to disperse, and marched hastily in pursuit. The Gauls had reckoned on this very result: their infantry, which had rested and was drawn up in order, awaited on a well-chosen battlefield the Roman militia, which came up from its forced march fatigued and disordered. Six thousand men fell after a furious combat, and the rest of the militia, which had been compelled to seek refuge on a hill, would have perished, had not the consular army appeared just in time. This induced the Gauls to return homeward. Their dexterously-contrived plan for preventing the union of the two Roman armies and annihilating the weaker in detail, had only been partially successful; now it seemed to them advisable first of all to place in security their considerable booty. For the sake of an easier line of march they proceeded from the district of Chiusi, where they were, to the level coast, and were marching along the shore, when they found an unexpected obstacle in the way. It was the Sardinian legions, which had landed at Pisae; and, when they arrived too late to obstruct the passage of the Apennines, had immediately put themselves in motion and were advancing along the coast in a direction opposite to the march of the Gauls. Near Telamon (at the mouth of the Ombrone) they met with the enemy. While the Roman infantry advanced with close front along the great road, the cavalry, led by the consul Gaius Atilius Regulus in person, made a side movement so as to take the Gauls in flank, and to acquaint the other Roman army under Papus as soon as possible with their arrival. A hot cavalry engagement took place, in which along with many brave Romans Regulus fell; but he had not sacrificed his life in vain: his object was gained. Papus became aware of the conflict, and guessed how matters stood; he hastily arrayed his legions, and on both sides the Celtic host was now pressed by Roman legions. Courageously it made its dispositions for the double conflict, the Transalpine Gauls and Insubres against the troops of Papus, the Alpine Taurisci and the Boii against the Sardinian infantry; the cavalry combat pursued its course apart on the flank. The forces were in numbers not unequally matched, and the desperate position of the Gauls impelled them to the most obstinate resistance. But the Transalpine Gauls, accustomed only to close fighting, gave way before the missiles of the Roman skirmishers; in the hand-to-hand combat the better temper of the Roman weapons placed the Gauls at a disadvantage; and at last an attack in flank by the victorious Roman cavalry decided the day. The Celtic horsemen made their escape; the infantry, wedged in between the sea and the three Roman armies, had no means of flight. 10,000 Celts, with their king Concolitanus, were taken prisoners; 40,000 others lay dead on the field of battle; Aneroestus and his attendants had, after the Celtic fashion, put themselves to death.

The Celts Attacked in Their Own Land

The victory was complete, and the Romans were firmly resolved to prevent the recurrence of such surprises by the complete subjugation of the Celts on the south of the Alps. In the following year (530) the Boii submitted without resistance along with the Lingones; and in the year after that (531) the Anares; so that the plain as far as the Po was in the hands of the Romans. The conquest of the northern bank of the river cost a more serious struggle. Gaius Flaminius crossed the river in the newly-acquired territory of the Anares (somewhere near Piacenza) in 531; but during the crossing, and still more while making good his footing on the other bank, he suffered so heavy losses and found himself with the river in his rear in so dangerous a position, that he made a capitulation with the enemy to secure a free retreat, which the Insubres foolishly conceded. Scarce, however, had he escaped when he appeared in the territory of the Cenomani, and, united with them, advanced for the second time from the north into the canton of the Insubres. The Gauls perceived what was now the object of the Romans, when it was too late: they took from the temple of their goddess the golden standards called the "immovable," and with their whole levy, 50,000 strong, they offered battle to the Romans. The situation of the latter was critical: they were stationed with their back to a river (perhaps the Oglio), separated from home by the enemy's territory, and left to depend for aid in battle as well as for their line of retreat on the uncertain friendship of the Cenomani. There was, however, no choice. The Gauls fighting in the Roman ranks were placed on the left bank of the stream; on the right, opposite to the Insubres, the legions were drawn up, and the bridges were broken down that they might not be assailed, at least in the rear, by their dubious allies.

The Celts Conquered by Rome

In this way undoubtedly the river cut off their retreat, and their way homeward lay through the hostile army. But the superiority of the Roman arms and of Roman discipline achieved the victory, and the army cut its way through: once more the Roman tactics had redeemed the blunders of the general. The victory was due to the soldiers and officers, not to the generals, who gained a triumph only through popular favour in opposition to the just decree of the senate. Gladly would the Insubres have made peace; but Rome required unconditional subjection, and things had not yet come to that pass. They tried to maintain their ground with the help of their northern kinsmen; and, with 30,000 mercenaries whom they had raised amongst these and their own levy, they received the two consular armies advancing once more in the following year (532) from the territory of the Cenomani to invade their land. Various obstinate combats took place; in a diversion, attempted by the Insubres against the Roman fortress of Clastidium (Casteggio, below Pavia), on the right bank of the Po, the Gallic king Virdumarus fell by the hand of the consul Marcus Marcellus. But, after a battle already half won by the Celts but ultimately decided in favour of the Romans, the consul Gnaeus Scipio took by assault Mediolanum, the capital of the Insubres, and the capture of that town and of Comum terminated their resistance. Thus the Celts of Italy were completely vanquished, and as, just before, the Romans had shown to the Hellenes in the war with the pirates the difference between a Roman and a Greek sovereignty of the seas, so they had now brilliantly demonstrated that Rome knew how to defend the gates of Italy against freebooters on land otherwise than Macedonia had guarded the gates of Greece, and that in spite of all internal quarrels Italy presented as united a front to the national foe, as Greece exhibited distraction and discord.

Romanization of the Entire of Italy

The boundary of the Alps was reached, in so far as the whole flat country on the Po was either rendered subject to the Romans, or, like the territories of the Cenomani and Veneti, was occupied by dependent allies. It needed time, however, to reap the consequences of this victory and to Romanize the land. In this the Romans did not adopt a uniform mode of procedure. In the mountainous northwest of Italy and in the more remote districts between the Alps and the Po they tolerated, on the whole, the former inhabitants; the numerous wars, as they are called, which were waged with the Ligurians in particular (first in 516) appear to have been slave-hunts rather than wars, and, often as the cantons and valleys submitted to the Romans, Roman sovereignty in that quarter was hardly more than a name. The expedition to Istria also (533) appears not to have aimed at much more than the destruction of the last lurking-places of the Adriatic pirates, and the establishment of a communication by land along the coast between the Italian conquests of Rome and her acquisitions on the other shore. On the other hand the Celts in the districts south of the Po were doomed irretrievably to destruction; for, owing to the looseness of the ties connecting the Celtic nation, none of the northern Celtic cantons took part with their Italian kinsmen except for money, and the Romans looked on the latter not only as their national foes, but as the usurpers of their natural heritage. The extensive assignations of land in 522 had already filled the whole territory between Ancona and Ariminum with Roman colonists, who settled here without communal organization in market-villages and hamlets. Further measures of the same character were taken, and it was not difficult to dislodge and extirpate a half-barbarous population like the Celtic, only partially following agriculture, and destitute of walled towns. The great northern highway, which had been, probably some eighty years earlier, carried by way of Otricoli to Narni, and had shortly before been prolonged to the newly-founded fortress of Spoletium (514), was now (534) carried, under the name of the "Flaminian" road, by way of the newly-established market-village Forum Flaminii (near Foligno), through the pass of Furlo to the coast, and thence along the latter from Fanum (Fano) to Ariminum; it was the first artificial road which crossed the Apennines and connected the two Italian seas. Great zeal was manifested in covering the newly- acquired fertile territory with Roman townships. Already, to cover the passage of the Po, the strong fortress of Placentia (Piacenza) had been founded on the right bank; not far from it Cremona had been laid out on the left bank, and the building of the walls of Mutina (Modena), in the territory taken away from the Boii, had far advanced —already preparations were being made for further assignations of land and for continuing the highway, when sudden event interrupted the Romans in reaping the fruit of their successes.

Notes for Chapter III

1. III. II. Evacuation of Africa

2. That the cession of the islands lying between Sicily and Italy, which the peace of 513 prescribed to the Carthaginians, did not include the cession of Sardinia is a settled point (III. II. Remarks On the Roman Conduct of the War); but the statement, that the Romans made that a pretext for their occupation of the island three years after the peace, is ill attested. Had they done so, they would merely have added a diplomatic folly to the political effrontery.

3. III. II. The War on the Coasts of Sicily and Sardinia

4. III. VIII. Changes in Procedure

5. II. I. Restrictions on the Delegation of Powers

6. That this was the case may be gathered partly from the appearance of the "Siculi" against Marcellus (Liv. xxvi. 26, seq.), partly from the "conjoint petitions of all the Sicilian communities" (Cicero, Verr. ii. 42, 102; 45, 114; 50, 146; iii. 88, 204), partly from well- known analogies (Marquardt, Handb. iii. i, 267). Because there was no -commercium- between the different towns, it by no means follows that there was no -concilium-.

7. The right of coining gold and silver was not monopolized by Rome in the provinces so strictly as in Italy, evidently because gold and silver money not struck after the Roman standard was of less importance. But in their case too the mints were doubtless, as a rule, restricted to the coinage of copper, or at most silver, small money; even the most favourably treated communities of Roman Sicily, such as the Mamertines, the Centuripans, the Halaesines, the Segestans, and also in the main the Pacormitaus coined only copper.

8. This is implied in Hiero's expression (Liv. xxii. 37): that he knew that the Romans made use of none but Roman or Latin infantry and cavalry, and employed "foreigners" at most only among the light-armed troops.

9. This is shown at once by a glance at the map, and also by the remarkable exceptional provision which allowed the Centuripans to buy to any part of Sicily. They needed, as Roman spies, the utmost freedom of movement We may add that Centuripa appears to have been among the first cities that went over to Rome (Diodorus, l. xxiii. p. 501).

10. This distinction between Italy as the Roman mainland or consular sphere on the one hand, and the transmarine territory or praetorial sphere on the other, already appears variously applied in the sixth century. The ritual rule, that certain priests should not leave Rome (Val. Max. i. i, 2), was explained to mean, that they were not allowed to cross the sea (Liv. Ep. 19, xxxvii. 51; Tac. Ann. iii. 58, 71; Cic. Phil. xi. 8, 18; comp. Liv. xxviii. 38, 44, Ep. 59). To this head still more definitely belongs the interpretation which was proposed in 544 to be put upon the old rule, that the consul might nominate the dictator only on "Roman ground": viz. that "Roman ground" comprehended all Italy (Liv. xxvii. 5). The erection of the Celtic land between the Alps and Apennines into a special province, different from that of the consuls and subject to a separate Standing chief magistrate, was the work of Sulla. Of course no one will Urge as an objection to this view, that already in the sixth century Gallia or Ariminum is very often designated as the "official district" (-provincia-), usually of one of the consuls. -Provincia-, as is well known, was in the older language not—what alone it denoted subsequently—a definite space assigned as a district to a standing chief magistrate, but the department of duty fixed for the individual consul, in the first instance by agreement with his colleague, under concurrence of the senate; and in this sense frequently individual regions in northern Italy, or even North Italy generally, were assigned to individual consuls as -provincia-.

11. A standing Roman commandant of Corcyra is apparently mentioned in Polyb. xxii. 15, 6 (erroneously translated by Liv. xxxviii. ii, comp. xlii. 37), and a similar one in the case of Issa in Liv. xliii. 9. We have, moreover, the analogy of the -praefectus pro legato insularum Baliarum- (Orelli, 732), and of the governor of Pandataria (Inscr. Reg. Neapol. 3528). It appears, accordingly, to have been a rule in the Roman administration to appoint non-senatorial -praefecti- for the more remote islands. But these "deputies" presuppose in the nature of the case a superior magistrate who nominates and superintends them; and this superior magistracy can only have been at this period that of the consuls. Subsequently, after the erection of Macedonia and Gallia Cisalpina into provinces, the superior administration was committed to one of these two governors; the very territory now in question, the nucleus of the subsequent Roman province of Illyricum, belonged, as is well known, in part to Caesar's district of administration.

12. III. VII. The Senones Annihilated

13. III. VII. Breach between Rome and Tarentum

14. III. VII. Construction of New Fortresses and Roads

15. These, whom Polybius designates as the "Celts in the Alps and on the Rhone, who on account of their character as military adventurers are called Gaesatae (free lances)," are in the Capitoline Fasti named -Germani-. It is possible that the contemporary annalists may have here mentioned Celts alone, and that it was the historical speculation of the age of Caesar and Augustus that first induced the redactors of these Fasti to treat them as "Germans." If, on the other hand, the mention of the Germans in the Fasti was based on contemporary records —in which case this is the earliest mention of the name—we shall here have to think not of the Germanic races who were afterwards so called, but of a Celtic horde.


Hamilcar and Hannibal

Situation of Carthage after the Peace

The treaty with Rome in 513 gave to the Carthaginians peace, but they paid for it dearly. That the tribute of the largest portion of Sicily now flowed into the enemy's exchequer instead of the Carthaginian treasury, was the least part of their loss. They felt a far keener regret when they not merely had to abandon the hope of monopolizing all the sea-routes between the eastern and the western Mediterranean —just as that hope seemed on the eve of fulfilment—but also saw their whole system of commercial policy broken up, the south-western basin of the Mediterranean, which they had hitherto exclusively commanded, converted since the loss of Sicily into an open thoroughfare for all nations, and the commerce of Italy rendered completely independent of the Phoenician. Nevertheless the quiet men of Sidon might perhaps have prevailed on themselves to acquiesce in this result. They had met with similar blows already; they had been obliged to share with the Massiliots, the Etruscans, and the Sicilian Greeks what they had previously possessed alone; even now the possessions which they retained, Africa, Spain, and the gates of the Atlantic Ocean, were sufficient to confer power and prosperity. But in truth, where was their security that these at least would continue in their hands? The demands made by Regulus, and his very near approach to the obtaining of what he asked, could only be forgotten by those who were willing to forget; and if Rome should now renew from Lilybaeum the enterprise which she had undertaken with so great success from Italy, Carthage would undoubtedly fall, unless the perversity of the enemy or some special piece of good fortune should intervene to save it No doubt they had peace for the present; but the ratification of that peace had hung on a thread, and they knew what public opinion in Rome thought of the terms on which it was concluded. It might be that Rome was not yet meditating the conquest of Africa and was as yet content with Italy; but if the existence of the Carthaginian state depended on that contentment, the prospect was but a sorry one; and where was the security that the Romans might not find it even convenient for their Italian policy to extirpate rather than reduce to subjection their African neighbour?

War Party and Peace Party in Carthage

In short, Carthage could only regard the peace of 513 in the light of a truce, and could not but employ it in preparations for the inevitable renewal of the war; not for the purpose of avenging the defeat which she had suffered, nor even with the primary view of recovering what she had lost, but in order to secure for herself an existence that should not be dependent on the good-will of the enemy. But when a war of annihilation is surely, though in point of time indefinitely, impending over a weaker state, the wiser, more resolute, and more devoted men—who would immediately prepare for the unavoidable struggle, accept it at a favourable moment, and thus cover their defensive policy by a strategy of offence—always find themselves hampered by the indolent and cowardly mass of the money- worshippers, of the aged and feeble, and of the thoughtless who are minded merely to gain time, to live and die in peace, and to postpone at any price the final struggle. So there was in Carthage a party for peace and a party for war, both, as was natural, associating themselves with the political distinction which already existed between the conservatives and the reformers. The former found its support in the governing boards, the council of the Ancients and that of the Hundred, led by Hanno the Great, as he was called; the latter found its support in the leaders of the multitude, particularly the much-respected Hasdrubal, and in the officers of the Sicilian army, whose great successes under the leadership of Hamilcar, although they had been otherwise fruitless, had at least shown to the patriots a method which seemed to promise deliverance from the great danger that beset them. Vehement feud had probably long subsisted between these parties, when the Libyan war intervened to suspend the strife. We have already related how that war arose. After the governing party had instigated the mutiny by their incapable administration which frustrated all the precautionary measures of the Sicilian officers, had converted that mutiny into a revolution by the operation of their inhuman system of government, and had at length brought the country to the verge of ruin by their military incapacity—and particularly that of their leader Hanno, who ruined the army—Hamilcar Barcas, the hero of Ercte, was in the perilous emergency solicited by the government itself to save it from the effects of its blunders and crimes. He accepted the command, and had the magnanimity not to resign it even when they appointed Hanno as his colleague. Indeed, when the indignant army sent the latter home, Hamilcar had the self-control a second time to concede to him, at the urgent request of the government, a share in the command; and, in spite of his enemies and in spite of such a colleague, he was able by his influence with the insurgents, by his dexterous treatment of the Numidian sheiks, and by his unrivalled genius for organization and generalship, in a singularly short time to put down the revolt entirely and to recall rebellious Africa to its allegiance (end of 517).

During this war the patriot party had kept silence; now it spoke out the louder. On the one hand this catastrophe had brought to light the utterly corrupt and pernicious character of the ruling oligarchy, their incapacity, their coterie-policy, their leanings towards the Romans. On the other hand the seizure of Sardinia, and the threatening attitude which Rome on that occasion assumed, showed plainly even to the humblest that a declaration of war by Rome was constantly hanging like the sword of Damocles over Carthage, and that, if Carthage in her present circumstances went to war with Rome, the consequence must necessarily be the downfall of the Phoenician dominion in Libya. Probably there were in Carthage not a few who, despairing of the future of their country, counselled emigration to the islands of the Atlantic; who could blame them? But minds of the nobler order disdain to save themselves apart from their nation, and great natures enjoy the privilege of deriving enthusiasm from circumstances in which the multitude of good men despair. They accepted the new conditions just as Rome dictated them; no course was left but to submit and, adding fresh bitterness to their former hatred, carefully to cherish and husband resentment—that last resource of an injured nation. They then took steps towards a political reform.(1) They had become sufficiently convinced of the incorrigibleness of the party in power: the fact that the governing lords had even in the last war neither forgotten their spite nor learned greater wisdom, was shown by the effrontery bordering on simplicity with which they now instituted proceedings against Hamilcar as the originator of the mercenary war, because he had without full powers from the government made promises of money to his Sicilian soldiers. Had the club of officers and popular leaders desired to overthrow this rotten and wretched government, it would hardly have encountered much difficulty in Carthage itself; but it would have met with more formidable obstacles in Rome, with which the chiefs of the government in Carthage already maintained relations that bordered on treason. To all the other difficulties of the position there fell to be added the circumstance, that the means of saving their country had to be created without allowing either the Romans, or their own government with its Roman leanings, to become rightly aware of what was doing.

Hamilcar Commander-in-Chief

So they left the constitution untouched, and the chiefs of the government in full enjoyment of their exclusive privileges and of the public property. It was merely proposed and carried, that of the two commanders-in-chief, who at the end of the Libyan war were at the head of the Carthaginian troops, Hanno and Hamilcar, the former should be recalled, and the latter should be nominated commander-in-chief for all Africa during an indefinite period. It was arranged that he should hold a position independent of the governing corporations —his antagonists called it an unconstitutional monarchical power, Cato calls it a dictatorship—and that he could only be recalled and placed upon his trial by the popular assembly.(2) Even the choice of a successor was to be vested not in the authorities of the capital, but in the army, that is, in the Carthaginians serving in the array as gerusiasts or officers, who were named in treaties also along with the general; of course the right of confirmation was reserved to the popular assembly at home. Whether this may or may not have been a usurpation, it clearly indicates that the war party regarded and treated the army as its special domain.

The commission which Hamilcar thus received sounded but little liable to exception. Wars with the Numidian tribes on the borders never ceased; only a short time previously the "city of a hundred gates," Theveste (Tebessa), in the interior had been occupied by the Carthaginians. The task of continuing this border warfare, which was allotted to the new commander-in-chief of Africa, was not in itself of such importance as to prevent the Carthaginian government, which was allowed to do as it liked in its own immediate sphere, from tacitly conniving at the decrees passed in reference to the matter by the popular assembly; and the Romans did not perhaps recognize its significance at all.

Hamilcar's War Projects The Army The Citizens

Thus there stood at the head of the army the one man, who had given proof in the Sicilian and in the Libyan wars that fate had destined him, if any one, to be the saviour of his country. Never perhaps was the noble struggle of man with fate waged more nobly than by him. The army was expected to save the state; but what sort of army? The Carthaginian civic militia had fought not badly under Hamilcar's leadership in the Libyan war; but he knew well, that it is one thing to lead out the merchants and artisans of a city, which is in the extremity of peril, for once to battle, and another to form them into soldiers. The patriotic party in Carthage furnished him with excellent officers, but it was of course almost exclusively the cultivated class that was represented in it. He had no citizen- militia, at most a few squadrons of Libyphoenician cavalry. The task was to form an army out of Libyan forced recruits and mercenaries; a task possible in the hands of a general like Hamilcar, but possible even for him only on condition that he should be able to pay his men punctually and amply. But he had learned, by experience in Sicily, that the state revenues of Carthage were expended in Carthage itself on matters much more needful than the payment of the armies that fought against the enemy. The warfare which he waged, accordingly, had to support itself, and he had to carry out on a great scale what he had already attempted on a smaller scale at Monte Pellegrino. But further, Hamilcar was not only a military chief, he was also a party leader. In opposition to the implacable governing party, which eagerly but patiently waited for an opportunity of overthrowing him, he had to seek support among the citizens; and although their leaders might be ever so pure and noble, the multitude was deeply corrupt and accustomed by the unhappy system of corruption to give nothing without being paid for it. In particular emergencies, indeed, necessity or enthusiasm might for the moment prevail, as everywhere happens even with the most venal corporations; but, if Hamilcar wished to secure the permanent support of the Carthaginian community for his plan, which at the best could only be carried out after a series of years, he had to supply his friends at home with regular consignments of money as the means of keeping the mob in good humour. Thus compelled to beg or to buy from the lukewarm and venal multitude the permission to save it; compelled to bargain with the arrogance of men whom he hated and whom he had constantly conquered, at the price of humiliation and of silence, for the respite indispensable for his ends; compelled to conceal from those despised traitors to their country, who called themselves the lords of his native city, his plans and his contempt—the noble hero stood with few like-minded friends between enemies without and enemies within, building upon the irresolution of the one and of the other, at once deceiving both and defying both, if only he might gain means, money, and men for the contest with a land which, even were the army ready to strike the blow, it seemed difficult to reach and scarce possible to vanquish. He was still a young man, little beyond thirty, but he had apparently, when he was preparing for his expedition, a foreboding that he would not be permitted to attain the end of his labours, or to see otherwise than afar off the promised land. When he left Carthage he enjoined his son Hannibal, nine years of age, to swear at the altar of the supreme God eternal hatred to the Roman name, and reared him and his younger sons Hasdrubal and Mago—the "lion's brood," as he called them—in the camp as the inheritors of his projects, of his genius, and of his hatred.

Hamilcar Proceed to Spain Spanish Kingdom of the Barcides

The new commander-in-chief of Libya departed from Carthage immediately after the termination of the mercenary war (perhaps in the spring of 518). He apparently meditated an expedition against the free Libyans in the west. His army, which was especially strong in elephants, marched along the coast; by its side sailed the fleet, led by his faithful associate Hasdrubal. Suddenly tidings came that he had crossed the sea at the Pillars of Hercules and had landed in Spain, where he was waging war with the natives—with people who had done him no harm, and without orders from his government, as the Carthaginian authorities complained. They could not complain at any rate that he neglected the affairs of Africa; when the Numidians once more rebelled, his lieutenant Hasdrubal so effectually routed them that for a long period there was tranquillity on the frontier, and several tribes hitherto independent submitted to pay tribute. What he personally did in Spain, we are no longer able to trace in detail. His achievements compelled Cato the elder, who, a generation after Hamilcar's death, beheld in Spain the still fresh traces of his working, to exclaim, notwithstanding all his hatred of the Carthaginians, that no king was worthy to be named by the side of Hamilcar Barcas. The results still show to us, at least in a general way, what was accomplished by Hamilcar as a soldier and a statesman in the last nine years of his life (518-526)—till in the flower of his age, fighting bravely in the field of battle, he met his death like Scharn-horst just as his plans were beginning to reach maturity—and what during the next eight years (527-534) the heir of his office and of his plans, his son-in-law Hasdrubal, did to prosecute, in the spirit of the master, the work which Hamilcar had begun. Instead of the small entrepot for trade, which, along with the protectorate over Gades, was all that Carthage had hitherto possessed on the Spanish coast, and which she had treated as a dependency of Libya, a Carthaginian kingdom was founded in Spain by the generalship of Hamilcar, and confirmed by the adroit statesmanship of Hasdrubal. The fairest regions of Spain, the southern and eastern coasts, became Phoenician provinces. Towns were founded; above all, "Spanish Carthage" (Cartagena) was established by Hasdrubal on the only good harbour along the south coast, containing the splendid "royal castle" of its founder. Agriculture flourished, and, still more, mining in consequence of the fortunate discovery of the silver-mines of Cartagena, which a century afterwards had a yearly produce of more than 360,000 pounds (36,000,000 sesterces). Most of the communities as far as the Ebro became dependent on Carthage and paid tribute to it. Hasdrubal skilfully by every means, even by intermarriages, attached the chiefs to the interests of Carthage. Thus Carthage acquired in Spain a rich market for its commerce and manufactures; and not only did the revenues of the province sustain the army, but there remained a balance to be remitted to Carthage and reserved for future use. The province formed and at the same time trained the army; regular levies took place in the territory subject to Carthage; the prisoners of war were introduced into the Carthaginian corps. Contingents and mercenaries, as many as were desired, were supplied by the dependent communities. During his long life of warfare the soldier found in the camp a second home, and found a substitute for patriotism in fidelity to his standard and enthusiastic attachment to his great leaders. Constant conflicts with the brave Iberians and Celts created a serviceable infantry, to co-operate with the excellent Numidian cavalry.

The Carthaginian Government and the Barcides

So far as Carthage was concerned, the Barcides were allowed to go on. Since the citizens were not asked for regular contributions, but on the contrary some benefit accrued to them and commerce recovered in Spain what it had lost in Sicily and Sardinia, the Spanish war and the Spanish army with its brilliant victories and important successes soon became so popular that it was even possible in particular emergencies, such as after Hamilcar's fall, to effect the despatch of considerable reinforcements of African troops to Spain; and the governing party, whether well or ill affected, had to maintain silence, or at any rate to content themselves with complaining to each other or to their friends in Rome regarding the demagogic officers and the mob.

The Roman Government and the Barcides

On the part of Rome too nothing took place calculated seriously to alter the course of Spanish affairs. The first and chief cause of the inactivity of the Romans was undoubtedly their very want of acquaintance with the circumstances of the remote peninsula—which was certainly also Hamilcar's main reason for selecting Spain and not, as might otherwise have been possible, Africa itself for the execution of his plan. The explanations with which the Carthaginian generals met the Roman commissioners sent to Spain to procure information on the spot, and their assurances that all this was done only to provide the means of promptly paying the war-contributions to Rome, could not possibly find belief in the senate. But they probably discerned only the immediate object of Hamilcar's plans, viz. to procure compensation in Spain for the tribute and the traffic of the islands which Carthage had lost; and they deemed an aggressive war on the part of the Carthaginians, and in particular an invasion of Italy from Spain—as is evident both from express statements to that effect and from the whole state of the case—as absolutely impossible. Many, of course, among the peace party in Carthage saw further; but, whatever they might think, they could hardly be much inclined to enlighten their Roman friends as to the impending storm, which the Carthaginian authorities had long been unable to prevent, for that step would accelerate, instead of averting, the crisis; and even if they did so, such denunciations proceeding from partisans would justly be received with great caution at Rome. By degrees, certainly, the inconceivably rapid and mighty extension of the Carthaginian power in Spain could not but excite the observation and awaken the apprehensions of the Romans. In fact, in the course of the later years before the outbreak of war, they did attempt to set bounds to it. About the year 528, mindful of their new-born Hellenism, they concluded an alliance with the two Greek or semi-Greek towns on the east coast of Spain, Zacynthus or Saguntum (Murviedro, not far from Valencia), and Emporiae (Ampurias); and when they acquainted the Carthaginian general Hasdrubal that they had done so, they at the same time warned him not to push his conquests over the Ebro, with which he promised compliance. This was not done by any means to prevent an invasion of Italy by the land-route—no treaty could fetter the general who undertook such an enterprise—but partly to set a limit to the material power of the Spanish Carthaginians which began to be dangerous, partly to secure the free communities between the Ebro and the Pyrenees whom Rome thus took under her protection, a basis of operations in case of its being necessary to land and make war in Spain. In reference to the impending war with Carthage, which the senate did not fail to see was inevitable, they hardly apprehended any greater inconvenience from the events that had occurred in Spain than that they might be compelled to send some legions thither, and that the enemy would be somewhat better provided with money and soldiers than, without Spain, he would have been; they were at any rate firmly resolved, as the plan of the campaign of 536 shows and as indeed could not but be the case, to begin and terminate the next war in Africa, —a course which would at the same time decide the fate of Spain. Further grounds for delay were suggested during the first years by the instalments from Carthage, which a declaration of war would have cut off, and then by the death of Hamilcar, which probably induced friends and foes to think that his projects must have died with him. Lastly, during the latter years when the senate certainly began, to apprehend that it was not prudent long to delay the renewal of the war, there was the very intelligible wish to dispose of the Gauls in the valley of the Po in the first instance, for these, threatened with extirpation, might be expected to avail themselves of any serious war undertaken by Rome to allure the Transalpine tribes once more to Italy, and to renew those Celtic migrations which were still fraught with very great peril. That it was not regard either for the Carthaginian peace party or for existing treaties which withheld the Romans from action, is self-evident; moreover, if they desired war, the Spanish feuds furnished at any moment a ready pretext. The conduct of Rome in this view is by no means unintelligible; but as little can it be denied that the Roman senate in dealing with this matter displayed shortsightedness and slackness—faults which were still more inexcusably manifested in their mode of dealing at the same epoch with Gallic affairs. The policy of the Romans was always more remarkable for tenacity, cunning, and consistency, than for grandeur of conception or power of rapid organization—qualities in which the enemies of Rome from Pyrrhus down to Mithradates often surpassed her.


Thus the smiles of fortune inaugurated the brilliantly conceived project of Hamilcar. The means of war were acquired—a numerous army accustomed to combat and to conquer, and a constantly replenished exchequer; but, in order that the right moment might be discovered for the struggle and that the right direction might be given to it, there was wanted a leader. The man, whose head and heart had in a desperate emergency and amidst a despairing people paved the way for their deliverance, was no more, when it became possible to carry out his design. Whether his successor Hasdrubal forbore to make the attack because the proper moment seemed to him to have not yet come, or whether, more a statesman than a general, he believed himself unequal to the conduct of the enterprise, we are unable to determine. When, at the beginning of 534, he fell by the hand of an assassin, the Carthaginian officers of the Spanish army summoned to fill his place Hannibal, the eldest son of Hamilcar. He was still a young man—born in 505, and now, therefore, in his twenty-ninth year; but his had already been a life of manifold experience. His first recollections pictured to him his father fighting in a distant land and conquering on Ercte; he had keenly shared that unconquered father's feelings on the peace of Catulus, on the bitter return home, and throughout the horrors of the Libyan war. While yet a boy, he had followed his father to the camp; and he soon distinguished himself. His light and firmly-knit frame made him an excellent runner and fencer, and a fearless rider at full speed; the privation of sleep did not affect him, and he knew like a soldier how to enjoy or to dispense with food. Although his youth had been spent in the camp, he possessed such culture as belonged to the Phoenicians of rank in his day; in Greek, apparently after he had become a general, he made such progress under the guidance of his confidant Sosilus of Sparta as to be able to compose state papers in that language. As he grew up, he entered the army of his father, to perform his first feats of arms under the paternal eye and to see him fall in battle by his side. Thereafter he had commanded the cavalry under his sister's husband, Hasdrubal, and distinguished himself by brilliant personal bravery as well as by his talents as a leader. The voice of his comrades now summoned him—the tried, although youthful general—to the chief command, and he could now execute the designs for which his father and his brother-in-law had lived and died. He took up the inheritance, and he was worthy of it. His contemporaries tried to cast stains of various sorts on his character; the Romans charged him with cruelty, the Carthaginians with covetousness; and it is true that he hated as only Oriental natures know how to hate, and that a general who never fell short of money and stores can hardly have been other than covetous. But though anger and envy and meanness have written his history, they have not been able to mar the pure and noble image which it presents. Laying aside wretched inventions which furnish their own refutation, and some things which his lieutenants, particularly Hannibal Monomachus and Mago the Samnite, were guilty of doing in his name, nothing occurs in the accounts regarding him which may not be justified under the circumstances, and according to the international law, of the times; and all agree in this, that he combined in rare perfection discretion and enthusiasm, caution and energy. He was peculiarly marked by that inventive craftiness, which forms one of the leading traits of the Phoenician character; he was fond of taking singular and unexpected routes; ambushes and stratagems of all sorts were familiar to him; and he studied the character of his antagonists with unprecedented care. By an unrivalled system of espionage—he had regular spies even in Rome—he kept himself informed of the projects of the enemy; he himself was frequently seen wearing disguises and false hair, in order to procure information on some point or other. Every page of the history of this period attests his genius in strategy; and his gifts as a statesman were, after the peace with Rome, no less conspicuously displayed in his reform of the Carthaginian constitution, and in the unparalleled influence which as a foreign exile he exercised in the cabinets of the eastern powers. The power which he wielded over men is shown by his incomparable control over an army of various nations and many tongues—an army which never in the worst times mutinied against him. He was a great man; wherever he went, he riveted the eyes of all.

Rupture between Rome and Carthage

Hannibal resolved immediately after his nomination (in the spring of 534) to commence the war. The land of the Celts was still in a ferment, and a war seemed imminent between Rome and Macedonia: he had good reason now to throw off the mask without delay and to carry the war whithersoever he pleased, before the Romans began it at their own convenience with a descent on Africa. His army was soon ready to take the field, and his exchequer was filled by some razzias on a great scale; but the Carthaginian government showed itself far from desirous of despatching the declaration of war to Rome. The place of Hasdrubal, the patriotic national leader, was even more difficult to fill in Carthage than that of Hasdrubal the general in Spain; the peace party had now the ascendency at home, and persecuted the leaders of the war party with political indictments. The rulers who had already cut down and mutilated the plans of Hamilcar were by no means inclined to allow the unknown young man, who now commanded in Spain, to vent his youthful patriotism at the expense of the state; and Hannibal hesitated personally to declare war in open opposition to the legitimate authorities. He tried to provoke the Saguntines to break the peace; but they contented themselves with making a complaint to Rome. Then, when a commission from Rome appeared, he tried to drive it to a declaration of war by treating it rudely; but the commissioners saw how matters stood: they kept silence in Spain, with a view to lodge complaints at Carthage and to report at home that Hannibal was ready to strike and that war was imminent. Thus the time passed away; accounts had already come of the death of Antigonus Doson, who had suddenly died nearly at the same time with Hasdrubal; in Cisalpine Gaul the establishment of fortresses was carried on by the Romans with redoubled rapidity and energy; preparations were made in Rome for putting a speedy end in the course of the next spring to the insurrection in Illyria. Every day was precious; Hannibal formed his resolution. He sent summary intimation to Carthage that the Saguntines were making aggressions on the Torboletes, subjects of Carthage, and he must therefore attack them; and without waiting for a reply he began in the spring of 535 the siege of a town which was in alliance with Rome, or, in other words, war against Rome. We may form some idea of the views and counsels that would prevail in Carthage from the impression produced in certain circles by York's capitulation. All "respectable men," it was said, disapproved an attack made "without orders"; there was talk of disavowal, of surrendering the daring officer. But whether it was that dread of the army and of the multitude nearer home outweighed in the Carthaginian council the fear of Rome; or that they perceived the impossibility of retracing such a step once taken; or that the mere -vis inertiae- prevented any definite action, they resolved at length to resolve on nothing and, if not to wage war, to let it nevertheless be waged. Saguntum defended itself, as only Spanish towns know how to conduct defence: had the Romans showed but a tithe of the energy of their clients, and not trifled away their time during the eight months' siege of Saguntum in the paltry warfare with Illyrian brigands, they might, masters as they were of the sea and of places suitable for landing, have spared themselves the disgrace of failing to grant the protection which they had promised, and might perhaps have given a different turn to the war. But they delayed, and the town was at length taken by storm. When Hannibal sent the spoil for distribution to Carthage, patriotism and zeal for war were roused in the hearts of many who had hitherto felt nothing of the kind, and the distribution cut off all prospect of coming to terms with Rome. Accordingly, when after the destruction of Saguntum a Roman embassy appeared at Carthage and demanded the surrender of the general and of the gerusiasts present in the camp, and when the Roman spokesman, interrupting an attempt at justification, broke off the discussion and, gathering up his robe, declared that he held in it peace and war and that the gerusia might choose between them, the gerusiasts mustered courage to reply that they left it to the choice of the Roman; and when he offered war, they accepted it (in the spring of 536).

Preparations for Attacking Italy

Hannibal, who had lost a whole year through the obstinate resistance of the Saguntines, had as usual retired for the winter of 535-6 to Cartagena, to make all his preparations on the one hand for the attack of Italy, on the other for the defence of Spain and Africa; for, as he, like his father and his brother-in-law, held the supreme command in both countries, it devolved upon him to take measures also for the protection of his native land. The whole mass of his forces amounted to about 120,000 infantry and 16,000 cavalry; he had also 58 elephants, 32 quinqueremes manned, and 18 not manned, besides the elephants and vessels remaining at the capital. Excepting a few Ligurians among the light troops, there were no mercenaries in this Carthaginian army; the troops, with the exception of some Phoenician squadrons, consisted mainly of the Carthaginian subjects called out for service—Libyans and Spaniards. To insure the fidelity of the latter the general, who knew the men with whom he had to deal, gave them as a proof of his confidence a general leave of absence for the whole winter; while, not sharing the narrow-minded exclusiveness of Phoenician patriotism, he promised to the Libyans on his oath the citizenship of Carthage, should they return to Africa victorious. This mass of troops however was only destined in part for the expedition to Italy. Some 20,000 men were sent to Africa, the smaller portion of them proceeding to the capital and the Phoenician territory proper, the majority to the western point of Africa. For the protection of Spain 12,000 infantry, 2500 cavalry, and nearly the half of the elephants were left behind, in addition to the fleet stationed there; the chief command and the government of Spain were entrusted to Hannibal's younger brother Hasdrubal. The immediate territory of Carthage was comparatively weakly garrisoned, because the capital afforded in case of need sufficient resources; in like manner a moderate number of infantry sufficed for the present in Spain, where new levies could be procured with ease, whereas a comparatively large proportion of the arms specially African—horses and elephants—was retained there. The chief care was bestowed in securing the communications between Spain and Africa: with that view the fleet remained in Spain, and western Africa was guarded by a very strong body of troops. The fidelity of the troops was secured not only by hostages collected from the Spanish communities and detained in the stronghold of Saguntum, but by the removal of the soldiers from the districts where they were raised to other quarters: the east African militia were moved chiefly to Spain, the Spanish to Western Africa, the West African to Carthage. Adequate provision was thus made for defence. As to offensive measures, a squadron of 20 quinqueremes with 1000 soldiers on board was to sail from Carthage for the west coast of Italy and to pillage it, and a second of 25 sail was, if possible, to re-establish itself at Lilybaeum; Hannibal believed that he might count upon the government making this moderate amount of exertion. With the main army he determined in person to invade Italy; as was beyond doubt part of the original plan of Hamilcar. A decisive attack on Rome was only possible in Italy, as a similar attack on Carthage was only possible in Libya; as certainly as Rome meant to begin her next campaign with the latter, so certainly ought Carthage not to confine herself at the outset either to any secondary object of operations, such as Sicily, or to mere defence—defeat would in any case involve equal destruction, but victory would not yield equal fruit.

Method of Attack

But how could Italy be attacked? He might succeed in reaching the peninsula by sea or by land; but if the project was to be no mere desperate adventure, but a military expedition with a strategic aim, a nearer basis for its operations was requisite than Spain or Africa. Hannibal could not rely for support on a fleet and a fortified harbour, for Rome was now mistress of the sea. As little did the territory of the Italian confederacy present any tenable basis. If in very different times, and in spite of Hellenic sympathies, it had withstood the shock of Pyrrhus, it was not to be expected that it would now fall to pieces on the appearance of the Phoenician general; an invading army would without doubt be crushed between the network of Roman fortresses and the firmly-consolidated confederacy. The land of the Ligurians and Celts alone could be to Hannibal, what Poland was to Napoleon in his very similar Russian campaigns. These tribes still smarting under their scarcely ended struggle for independence, alien in race from the Italians, and feeling their very existence endangered by the chain of Roman fortresses and highways whose first coils were even now being fastened around them, could not but recognize their deliverers in the Phoenician army (which numbered in its ranks numerous Spanish Celts), and would serve as a first support for it to fall back upon—a source whence it might draw supplies and recruits. Already formal treaties were concluded with the Boii and the Insubres, by which they bound themselves to send guides to meet the Carthaginian army, to procure for it a good reception from the cognate tribes and supplies along its route, and to rise against the Romans as soon as it should set foot on Italian ground. In fine, the relations of Rome with the east led the Carthaginians to this same quarter. Macedonia, which by the victory of Sellasia had re-established its sovereignty in the Peloponnesus, was in strained relations with Rome; Demetrius of Pharos, who had exchanged the Roman alliance for that of Macedonia and had been dispossessed by the Romans, lived as an exile at the Macedonian court, and the latter had refused the demand which the Romans made for his surrender. If it was possible to combine the armies from the Guadalquivir and the Karasu anywhere against the common foe, it could only be done on the Po. Thus everything directed Hannibal to Northern Italy; and that the eyes of his father had already been turned to that quarter, is shown by the reconnoitring party of Carthaginians, whom the Romans to their great surprise encountered in Liguria in 524.

The reason for Hannibal's preference of the land route to that by sea is less obvious; for that neither the maritime supremacy of the Romans nor their league with Massilia could have prevented a landing at Genoa, is evident, and was shown by the sequel. Our authorities fail to furnish us with several of the elements, on which a satisfactory answer to this question would depend, and which cannot be supplied by conjecture. Hannibal had to choose between two evils. Instead of exposing himself to the unknown and less calculable contingencies of a sea voyage and of naval war, it must have seemed to him the better course to accept the assurances, which beyond doubt were seriously meant, of the Boii and Insubres, and the more so that, even if the army should land at Genoa, it would still have mountains to cross; he could hardly know exactly, how much smaller are the difficulties presented by the Apennines at Genoa than by the main chain of the Alps. At any rate the route which he took was the primitive Celtic route, by which many much larger hordes had crossed the Alps: the ally and deliverer of the Celtic nation might without temerity venture to traverse it.

Departure of Hannibal

So Hannibal collected the troops, destined for the grand army, in Cartagena at the beginning of the favourable season; there were 90,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry, of whom about two-thirds were Africans and a third Spaniards. The 37 elephants which they took with them were probably destined rather to make an impression on the Gauls than for serious warfare. Hannibal's infantry no longer needed, like that led by Xanthippus, to shelter itself behind a screen of elephants, and the general had too much sagacity to employ otherwise than sparingly and with caution that two-edged weapon, which had as often occasioned the defeat of its own as of the enemy's army. With this force the general set out in the spring of 536 from Cartagena towards the Ebro. He so far informed his soldiers as to the measures which he had taken, particularly as to the connections he had entered into with the Celts and the resources and object of the expedition, that even the common soldier, whose military instincts lengthened war had developed, felt the clear perception and the steady hand of his leader, and followed him with implicit confidence to the unknown and distant land; and the fervid address, in which he laid before them the position of their country and the demands of the Romans, the slavery certainly reserved for their dear native land, and the disgrace of the imputation that they could surrender their beloved general and his staff, kindled a soldierly and patriotic ardour in the hearts of all.

Position of Rome Their Uncertain Plans for War

The Roman state was in a plight, such as may occur even in firmly- established and sagacious aristocracies. The Romans knew doubtless what they wished to accomplish, and they took various steps; but nothing was done rightly or at the right time. They might long ago have been masters of the gates of the Alps and have settled matters with the Celts; the latter were still formidable, and the former were open. They might either have had friendship, with Carthage, had they honourably kept the peace of 513, or, had they not been disposed for peace, they might long ago have conquered Cartilage: the peace was practically broken by the seizure of Sardinia, and they allowed the power of Carthage to recover itself undisturbed for twenty years. There was no great difficulty in maintaining peace with Macedonia; but they had forfeited her friendship for a trifling gain. There must have been a lack of some leading statesman to take a connected and commanding view of the position of affairs; on all hands either too little was done, or too much. Now the war began at a time and at a place which they had allowed the enemy to determine; and, with all their well-founded conviction of military superiority, they were perplexed as to the object to be aimed at and the course to be followed in their first operations. They had at their disposal more than half a million of serviceable soldiers; the Roman cavalry alone was less good, and relatively less numerous, than the Carthaginian, the former constituting about a tenth, the latter an eighth, of the whole number of troops taking the field. None of the states affected by the war had any fleet corresponding to the Roman fleet of 220 quinqueremes, which had just returned from the Adriatic to the western sea. The natural and proper application of this crushing superiority of force was self-evident. It had been long settled that the war ought to be opened with a landing in Africa. The subsequent turn taken by events had compelled the Romans to embrace in their scheme of the war a simultaneous landing in Spain, chiefly to prevent the Spanish army from appearing before the walls of Carthage. In accordance with this plan they ought above all, when the war had been practically opened by Hannibal's attack on Saguntum in the beginning of 535, to have thrown a Roman army into Spain before the town fell; but they neglected the dictates of interest no less than of honour. For eight months Saguntum held out in vain: when the town passed into other hands, Rome had not even equipped her armament for landing in Spain. The country, however, between the Ebro and the Pyrenees was still free, and its tribes were not only the natural allies of the Romans, but had also, like the Saguntines, received from Roman emissaries promises of speedy assistance. Catalonia may be reached by sea from Italy in not much longer time than from Cartagena by and: had the Romans started, like the Phoenicians, in April, after the formal declaration of war that had taken place in the interval, Hannibal might have encountered the Roman legions on the line of the Ebro.

Hannibal on the Ebro

At length, certainly, the greater part of the army and of the fleet was got ready for the expedition to Africa, and the second consul Publius Cornelius Scipio was ordered to the Ebro; but he took time, and when an insurrection broke out on the Po, he allowed the army that was ready for embarkation to be employed there, and formed new legions for the Spanish expedition. So although Hannibal encountered on the Ebro very vehement resistance, it proceeded only from the natives; and, as under existing circumstances time was still more precious to him than the blood of his men, he surmounted the opposition after some months with the loss of a fourth part of his army, and reached the line of the Pyrenees. That the Spanish allies of Rome would be sacrificed a second time by that delay might have been as certainly foreseen, as the delay itself might have been easily avoided; but probably even the expedition to Italy itself, which in the spring of 536 must not have been anticipated in Rome, would have been averted by the timely appearance of the Romans in Spain. Hannibal had by no means the intention of sacrificing his Spanish "kingdom," and throwing himself like a desperado on Italy. The time which he had spent in the siege of Saguntum and in the reduction of Catalonia, and the considerable corps which he left behind for the occupation of the newly-won territory between the Ebro and the Pyrenees, sufficiently show that, had a Roman army disputed the possession of Spain with him, he would not have been content to withdraw from it; and—which was the main point—had the Romans been able to delay his departure from Spain for but a few weeks, winter would have closed the passes of the Alps before Hannibal reached them, and the African expedition would have departed without hindrance for its destination.

Hannibal in Gaul Scipio at Massilia Passage of the Rhone

Arrived at the Pyrenees, Hannibal sent home a portion of his troops; a measure which he had resolved on from the first with the view of showing to the soldiers how confident their general was of success, and of checking the feeling that his enterprise was one of those from which there is no return home. With an army of 50,000 infantry and 9000 cavalry, entirely veteran soldiers, he crossed the Pyrenees without difficulty, and then took the coast route by Narbonne and Nimes through the Celtic territory, which was opened to the army partly by the connections previously formed, partly by Carthaginian gold, partly by arms. It was not till it arrived in the end of July at the Rhone opposite Avignon, that a serious resistance appeared to await it. The consul Scipio, who on his voyage to Spain had landed at Massilia (about the end of June), had there been informed that he had come too late and that Hannibal had crossed not only the Ebro but the Pyrenees. On receiving these accounts, which appear to have first opened the eyes of the Romans to the course and the object of Hannibal, the consul had temporarily given up his expedition to Spain, and had resolved in connection with the Celtic tribes of that region, who were under the influence of the Massiliots and thereby under that of Rome, to receive the Phoenicians on the Rhone, and to obstruct their passage of the river and their march into Italy. Fortunately for Hannibal, opposite to the point at which he meant to cross, there lay at the moment only the general levy of the Celts, while the consul himself with his army of 22,000 infantry and 2000 horse was still in Massilia, four days' march farther down the stream. The messengers of the Gallic levy hastened to inform him. It was the object of Hannibal to convey his army with its numerous cavalry and elephants across the rapid stream under the eyes of the enemy, and before the arrival of Scipio; and he possessed not a single boat. Immediately by his directions all the boats belonging to the numerous navigators of the Rhone in the neighbourhood were bought up at any price, and the deficiency of boats was supplied by rafts made from felled trees; and in fact the whole numerous army could be conveyed over in one day. While this was being done, a strong division under Hanno, son of Bomilcar, proceeded by forced marches up the stream till they reached a suitable point for crossing, which they found undefended, situated two short days' march above Avignon. Here they crossed the river on hastily constructed rafts, with the view of then moving down on the left bank and taking the Gauls, who were barring the passage of the main army, in the rear. On the morning of the fifth day after they had reached the Rhone, and of the third after Hanno's departure, the smoke-signals of the division that had been detached rose up on the opposite bank and gave to Hannibal the anxiously awaited summons for the crossing. Just as the Gauls, seeing that the enemy's fleet of boats began to move, were hastening to occupy the bank, their camp behind them suddenly burst into flames. Surprised and divided, they were unable either to withstand the attack or to resist the passage, and they dispersed in hasty flight.

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