The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5)
by Theodor Mommsen
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Pressure of the War

It was now the eleventh year of the war. The danger which some years before had threatened the very existence of the state seemed to have vanished; but all the more the Romans felt the heavy burden—a burden pressing more severely year after year—of the endless war. The finances of the state suffered beyond measure. After the battle of Cannae (538) a special bank-commission (-tres viri mensarii-) had been appointed, composed of men held in the highest esteem, to form a permanent and circumspect board of superintendence for the public finances in these difficult times. It may have done what it could; but the state of things was such as to baffle all financial sagacity. At the very beginning of the war the Romans had debased the silver and copper coin, raised the legal value of the silver piece more than a third, and issued a gold coin far above the value of the metal. This very soon proved insufficient; they were obliged to take supplies from the contractors on credit, and connived at their conduct because they needed them, till the scandalous malversation at last induced the aediles to make an example of some of the worst by impeaching them before the people. Appeals were often made, and not in vain, to the patriotism of the wealthy, who were in fact the very persons that suffered comparatively the most. The soldiers of the better classes and the subaltern officers and equites in a body, either voluntarily or constrained by the -esprit de corps-, declined to receive pay. The owners of the slaves armed by the state and manumitted after the engagement at Beneventum(3) replied to the bank-commission, which offered them payment, that they would allow it to stand over to the end of the war (540). When there was no longer money in the exchequer for the celebration of the national festivals and the repairs of the public buildings, the companies which had hitherto contracted for these matters declared themselves ready to continue their services for a time without remuneration (540). A fleet was even fitted out and manned, just as in the first Punic war, by means of a voluntary loan among the rich (544). They spent the moneys belonging to minors; and at length, in the year of the conquest of Tarentum, they laid hands on the last long-spared reserve fund (164,000 pounds). The state nevertheless was unable to meet its most necessary payments; the pay of the soldiers fell dangerously into arrear, particularly in the more remote districts. But the embarrassment of the state was not the worst part of the material distress. Everywhere the fields lay fallow: even where the war did not make havoc, there was a want of hands for the hoe and the sickle. The price of the -medimnus- (a bushel and a half) had risen to 15 -denarii- (10s.), at least three times the average price in the capital; and many would have died of absolute want, if supplies had not arrived from Egypt, and if, above all, the revival of agriculture in Sicily(4) had not prevented the distress from coming to the worst. The effect which such a state of things must have had in ruining the small farmers, in eating away the savings which had been so laboriously acquired, and in converting flourishing villages into nests of beggars and brigands, is illustrated by similar wars of which fuller details have been preserved.

The Allies

Still more ominous than this material distress was the increasing aversion of the allies to the Roman war, which consumed their substance and their blood. In regard to the non-Latin communities, indeed, this was of less consequence. The war itself showed that they could do nothing, so long as the Latin nation stood by Rome; their greater or less measure of dislike was not of much moment. Now, however, Latium also began to waver. Most of the Latin communes in Etruria, Latium, the territory of the Marsians, and northern Campania —and so in those very districts of Italy which directly had suffered least from the war—announced to the Roman senate in 545 that thenceforth they would send neither contingents nor contributions, and would leave it to the Romans themselves to defray the costs of a war waged in their interest. The consternation in Rome was great; but for the moment there were no means of compelling the refractory. Fortunately all the Latin communities did not act in this way. The colonies in the land of the Gauls, in Picenum, and in southern Italy, headed by the powerful and patriotic Fregellae, declared on the contrary that they adhered the more closely and faithfully to Rome; in fact, it was very clearly evident to all of these that in the present war their existence was, if possible, still more at stake than that of the capital, and that this war was really waged not for Rome merely, but for the Latin hegemony in Italy, and in truth for the independence of the Italian nation. That partial defection itself was certainly not high treason, but merely the result of shortsightedness and exhaustion; beyond doubt these same towns would have rejected with horror an alliance with the Phoenicians. But still there was a variance between Romans and Latins, which did not fail injuriously to react on the subject population of these districts. A dangerous ferment immediately showed itself in Arretium; a conspiracy organized in the interest of Hannibal among the Etruscans was discovered, and appeared so perilous that Roman troops were ordered to march thither. The military and police suppressed this movement without difficulty; but it was a significant token of what might happen in those districts, if once the Latin strongholds ceased to inspire terror.

Hasdrubal's Approach

Amidst these difficulties and strained relations, news suddenly arrived that Hasdrubal had crossed the Pyrenees in the autumn of 546, and that the Romans must be prepared to carry on the war next year with both the sons of Hamilcar in Italy. Not in vain had Hannibal persevered at his post throughout the long anxious years; the aid, which the factious opposition at home and the shortsighted Philip had refused to him, was at length in the course of being brought to him by his brother, who, like himself, largely inherited the spirit of Hamilcar. Already 8000 Ligurians, enlisted by Phoenician gold, were ready to unite with Hasdrubal; if he gained the first battle, he might hope that like his brother he should be able to bring the Gauls and perhaps the Etruscans into arms against Rome. Italy, moreover, was no longer what it had been eleven years before; the state and the individual citizens were exhausted, the Latin league was shaken, their best general had just fallen in the field of battle, and Hannibal was not subdued. In reality Scipio might bless the star of his genius, if it averted the consequences of his unpardonable blunder from himself and from his country.

New Armaments Hasdrubal and Hannibal on the March

As in the times of the utmost danger, Rome once more called out twenty-three legions. Volunteers were summoned to arm, and those legally exempt from military service were included in the levy. Nevertheless, they were taken by surprise. Far earlier than either friends or foes expected, Hasdrubal was on the Italian side of the Alps (547); the Gauls, now accustomed to such transits, were readily bribed to open their passes, and furnished what the army required. If the Romans had any intention of occupying the outlets of the Alpine passes, they were again too late; already they heard that Hasdrubal was on the Po, that he was calling the Gauls to arms as successfully as his brother had formerly done, that Placentia was invested. With all haste the consul Marcus Livius proceeded to the northern army; and it was high time that he should appear. Etruria and Umbria were in sullen ferment; volunteers from them reinforced the Phoenician army. His colleague Gaius Nero summoned the praetor Gaius Hostilius Tubulus from Venusia to join him, and hastened with an army of 40,000 men to intercept the march of Hannibal to the north. The latter collected all his forces in the Bruttian territory, and, advancing along the great road leading from Rhegium to Apulia, encountered the consul at Grumentum. An obstinate engagement took place in which Nero claimed the victory; but Hannibal was able at all events, although with some loss, to evade the enemy by one of his usual adroit flank-marches, and to reach Apulia without hindrance. There he halted, and encamped at first at Venusia, then at Canusium: Nero, who had followed closely in his steps, encamped opposite to him at both places. That Hannibal voluntarily halted and was not prevented from advancing by the Roman army, appears to admit of no doubt; the reason for his taking up his position exactly at this point and not farther to the north, must have depended on arrangements concerted between himself and Hasdrubal, or on conjectures as to the route of the latter's march, with which we are not acquainted. While the two armies thus lay inactive, face to face, the despatch from Hasdrubal which was anxiously expected in Hannibal's camp was intercepted by the outposts of Nero. It stated that Hasdrubal intended to take the Flaminian road, in other words, to keep in the first instance along the coast and then at Fanum to turn across the Apennines towards Narnia, at which place he hoped to meet Hannibal. Nero immediately ordered the reserve in the capital to proceed to Narnia as the point selected for the junction of the two Phoenician armies, while the division stationed at Capua went to the capital, and a new reserve was formed there. Convinced that Hannibal was not acquainted with the purpose of his brother and would continue to await him in Apulia, Nero resolved on the bold experiment of hastening northward by forced marches with a small but select corps of 7000 men and, if possible, in connection with his colleague, compelling Hasdrubal to fight. He was able to do so, for the Roman army which he left behind still continued strong enough either to hold its ground against Hannibal if he should attack it, or to accompany him and to arrive simultaneously with him at the decisive scene of action, should he depart.

Battle of Sena Death of Hasdrubal

Nero found his colleague Marcus Livius at Sena Gallica awaiting the enemy. Both consuls at once marched against Hasdrubal, whom they found occupied in crossing the Metaurus. Hasdrubal wished to avoid a battle and to escape from the Romans by a flank movement, but his guides left him in the lurch; he lost his way on the ground strange to him, and was at length attacked on the march by the Roman cavalry and detained until the Roman infantry arrived and a battle became inevitable. Hasdrubal stationed the Spaniards on the right wing, with his ten elephants in front of it, and the Gauls on the left, which he kept back. Long the fortune of battle wavered on the right wing, and the consul Livius who commanded there was hard pressed, till Nero, repeating his strategical operation as a tactical manoeuvre, allowed the motionless enemy opposite to him to remain as they stood, and marching round his own army fell upon the flank of the Spaniards. This decided the day. The severely bought and very bloody victory was complete; the army, which had no retreat, was destroyed, and the camp was taken by assault. Hasdrubal, when he: saw the admirably-conducted battle lost, sought and found like his father an honourable soldier's death. As an officer and a man, he was worthy to be the brother of Hannibal.

Hannibal Retires to the Bruttian Territory

On the day after the battle Nero started, and after scarcely fourteen days' absence once more confronted Hannibal in Apulia, whom no message had reached, and who had not stirred. The consul brought the message with him; it was the head of Hannibal's brother, which the Roman ordered to be thrown into the enemy's outposts, repaying in this way his great antagonist, who scorned to war with the dead, for the honourable burial which he had given to Paullus, Gracchus, and Marcellus. Hannibal saw that his hopes had been in vain, and that all was over. He abandoned Apulia and Lucania, even Metapontum, and retired with his troops to the land of the Bruttians, whose ports formed his only means of withdrawal from Italy. By the energy of the Roman generals, and still more by a conjuncture of unexampled good fortune, a peril was averted from Rome, the greatness of which justified Hannibal's tenacious perseverance in Italy, and which fully bears comparison with the magnitude of the peril of Cannae. The joy in Rome was boundless; business was resumed as in time of peace; every one felt that the danger of the war was surmounted.

Stagnation of the War in Italy

Nevertheless the Romans were in no hurry to terminate the war. The state and the citizens were exhausted by the excessive moral and material strain on their energies; men gladly abandoned themselves to carelessness and repose.

The army and fleet were reduced; the Roman and Latin farmers were brought back to their desolate homesteads the exchequer was filled by the sale of a portion of the Campanian domains. The administration of the state was regulated anew and the disorders which had prevailed were done away; the repayment of the voluntary war-loan was begun, and the Latin communities that remained in arrears were compelled to fulfil their neglected obligations with heavy interest.

The war in Italy made no progress. It forms a brilliant proof of the strategic talent of Hannibal as well as of the incapacity of the Roman generals now opposed to him, that after this he was still able for four years to keep the field in the Bruttian country, and that all the superiority of his opponents could not compel him either to shut himself up in fortresses or to embark. It is true that he was obliged to retire farther and farther, not so much in consequence of the indecisive engagements which took place with the Romans, as because his Bruttian allies were always becoming more troublesome, and at last he could only reckon on the towns which his army garrisoned. Thus he voluntarily abandoned Thurii; Locri was, on the suggestion of Publius Scipio, recaptured by an expedition from Rhegium (549). As if at last his projects were to receive a brilliant justification at the hands of the very Carthaginian authorities who had thwarted him in them, these now, in their apprehension as to the anticipated landing of the Romans, revived of their own accord those plans (548, 549), and sent reinforcements and subsidies to Hannibal in Italy, and to Mago in Spain, with orders to rekindle the war in Italy so as to achieve some further respite for the trembling possessors of the Libyan country houses and the shops of Carthage. An embassy was likewise sent to Macedonia, to induce Philip to renew the alliance and to land in Italy (549). But it was too late. Philip had made peace with Rome some months before; the impending political annihilation of Carthage was far from agreeable to him, but he took no step openly at least against Rome. A small Macedonian corps went to Africa, the expenses of which, according to the assertion of the Romans, were defrayed by Philip from his own pocket; this may have been the case, but the Romans had at any rate no proof of it, as the subsequent course of events showed. No Macedonian landing in Italy was thought of.

Mago in Italy

Mago, the youngest son of Hamilcar, set himself to his task more earnestly. With the remains of the Spanish army, which he had conducted in the first instance to Minorca, he landed in 549 at Genoa, destroyed the city, and summoned the Ligurians and Gauls to arms. Gold and the novelty of the enterprise led them now, as always, to come to him in troops; he had formed connections even throughout Etruria, where political prosecutions never ceased. But the troops which he had brought with him were too few for a serious enterprise against Italy proper; and Hannibal likewise was much too weak, and his influence in Lower Italy had fallen much too low, to permit him to advance with any prospect of success. The rulers of Carthage had not been willing to save their native country, when its salvation was possible; now, when they were willing, it was possible no longer.

The African Expedition of Scipio

Nobody probably in the Roman senate doubted either that the war on the part of Carthage against Rome was at an end, or that the war on the part of Rome against Carthage must now be begun; but unavoidable as was the expedition to Africa, they were afraid to enter on its preparation. They required for it, above all, an able and beloved leader; and they had none. Their best generals had either fallen in the field of battle, or they were, like Quintus Fabius and Quintus Fulvius, too old for such an entirely new and probably tedious war. The victors of Sena, Gaius Nero and Marcus Livius, would perhaps have been equal to the task, but they were both in the highest degree unpopular aristocrats; it was doubtful whether they would succeed in procuring the command—matters had already reached such a pass that ability, as such, determined the popular choice only in times of grave anxiety—and it was more than doubtful whether these were the men to stimulate the exhausted people to fresh exertions. At length Publius Scipio returned from Spain, and the favourite of the multitude, who had so brilliantly fulfilled, or at any rate seemed to have fulfilled, the task with which it had entrusted him, was immediately chosen consul for the next year. He entered on office (549) with the firm determination of now realizing that African expedition which he had projected in Spain. In the senate, however, not only was the party favourable to a methodical conduct of the war unwilling to entertain the project of an African expedition so long as Hannibal remained in Italy, but the majority was by no means favourably disposed towards the young general himself. His Greek refinement and his modern culture and tone of thought were but little agreeable to the austere and somewhat boorish fathers of the city; and serious doubts existed both as to his conduct of the Spanish war and as to his military discipline. How much ground there was for the objection that he showed too great indulgence towards his officers of division, was very soon demonstrated by the disgraceful proceedings of Gaius Pleminius at Locri, the blame of which certainly was indirectly chargeable to the scandalous negligence which marked Scipio's supervision. In the proceedings in the senate regarding the organization of the African expedition and the appointment of a general for it, the new consul, wherever usage or the constitution came into conflict with his private views, showed no great reluctance to set such obstacles aside, and very clearly indicated that in case of need he was disposed to rely for support against the governing board on his fame and his popularity with the people. These things could not but annoy the senate and awaken, moreover, serious apprehension as to whether, in the impending decisive war and the eventual negotiations for peace with Carthage, such a general would hold himself bound by the instructions which he received—an apprehension which his arbitrary management of the Spanish expedition was by no means fitted to allay. Both sides, however, displayed wisdom enough not to push matters too far. The senate itself could not fail to see that the African expedition was necessary, and that it was not wise indefinitely to postpone it; it could not fail to see that Scipio was an extremely able officer and so far well adapted to be the leader in such a war, and that he, if any one, could prevail on the people to protract his command as long as was necessary and to put forth their last energies. The majority came to the resolution not to refuse to Scipio the desired commission, after he had previously observed, at least in form, the respect due to the supreme governing board and had submitted himself beforehand to the decree of the senate. Scipio was to proceed this year to Sicily to superintend the building of the fleet, the preparation of siege materials, and the formation of the expeditionary army, and then in the following year to land in Africa. For this purpose the army of Sicily—still composed of those two legions that were formed from the remnant of the army of Cannae—was placed at his disposal, because a weak garrison and the fleet were quite sufficient for the protection of the island; and he was permitted moreover to raise volunteers in Italy. It was evident that the senate did not appoint the expedition, but merely allowed it: Scipio did not obtain half the resources which had formerly been placed at the command of Regulus, and he got that very corps which for years had been subjected by the senate to intentional degradation. The African army was, in the view of the majority of the senate, a forlorn hope of disrated companies and volunteers, the loss of whom in any event the state had no great occasion to regret.

Any one else than Scipio would perhaps have declared that the African expedition must either be undertaken with other means, or not at all; but Scipio's confidence accepted the terms, whatever they were, solely with the view of attaining the eagerly-coveted command. He carefully avoided, as far as possible, the imposition of direct burdens on the people, that he might not injure the popularity of the expedition. Its expenses, particularly those of building the fleet which were considerable, were partly procured by what was termed a voluntary contribution of the Etruscan cities—that is, by a war tribute imposed as a punishment on the Arretines and other communities disposed to favour the Phoenicians—partly laid upon the cities of Sicily. In forty days the fleet was ready for sea. The crews were reinforced by volunteers, of whom seven thousand from all parts of Italy responded to the call of the beloved officer. So Scipio set sail for Africa in the spring of 550 with two strong legions of veterans (about 30,000 men), 40 vessels of war, and 400 transports, and landed successfully, without meeting the slightest resistance, at the Fair Promontory in the neighbourhood of Utica.

Preparations in Africa

The Carthaginians, who had long expected that the plundering expeditions, which the Roman squadrons had frequently made during the last few years to the African coast, would be followed by a more serious invasion, had not only, in order to ward it off, endeavoured to bring about a revival of the Italo-Macedonian war, but had also made armed preparation at home to receive the Romans. Of the two rival Berber kings, Massinissa of Cirta (Constantine), the ruler of the Massylians, and Syphax of Siga (at the mouth of the Tafna westward from Oran), the ruler of the Massaesylians, they had succeeded in attaching the latter, who was far the more powerful and hitherto had been friendly to the Romans, by treaty and marriage alliance closely to Carthage, while they cast off the other, the old rival of Syphax and ally of the Carthaginians. Massinissa had after desperate resistance succumbed to the united power of the Carthaginians and of Syphax, and had been obliged to leave his territories a prey to the latter; he himself wandered with a few horsemen in the desert. Besides the contingent to be expected from Syphax, a Carthaginian army of 20,000 foot, 6000 cavalry, and 140 elephants—Hanno had been sent out to hunt elephants for the very purpose—was ready to fight for the protection of the capital, under the command of Hasdrubal son of Gisgo, a general who had gained experience in Spain; in the port there lay a strong fleet. A Macedonian corps under Sopater, and a consignment of Celtiberian mercenaries, were immediately expected.

Scipio Driven Back to the Coast Surprise of the Carthaginian Camp

On the report of Scipio's landing, Massinissa immediately arrived in the camp of the general, whom not long before he had confronted as an enemy in Spain; but the landless prince brought in the first instance nothing beyond his personal ability to the aid of the Romans, and the Libyans, although heartily weary of levies and tribute, had acquired too bitter experience in similar cases to declare at once for the invaders. So Scipio began the campaign. So long as he was only opposed by the weaker Carthaginian army, he had the advantage, and was enabled after some successful cavalry skirmishes to proceed to the siege of Utica; but when Syphax arrived, according to report with 50,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry, the siege had to be raised, and a fortified naval camp had to be constructed for the winter on a promontory, which easily admitted of entrenchment, between Utica and Carthage. Here the Roman general passed the winter of 550-1. From the disagreeable situation in which the spring found him he extricated himself by a fortunate -coup de main-. The Africans, lulled into security by proposals of peace suggested by Scipio with more artifice than honour, allowed themselves to be surprised on one and the same night in their two camps; the reed huts of the Numidians burst into flames, and, when the Carthaginians hastened to their help, their own camp shared the same fate; the fugitives were slain without resistance by the Roman divisions. This nocturnal surprise was more destructive than many a battle; nevertheless the Carthaginians did not suffer their courage to sink, and they rejected even the advice of the timid, or rather of the judicious, to recall Mago and Hannibal. Just at this time the expected Celtiberian and Macedonian auxiliaries arrived; it was resolved once more to try a pitched battle on the "Great Plains," five days' march from Utica. Scipio hastened to accept it; with little difficulty his veterans and volunteers dispersed the hastily- collected host of Carthaginians and Numidians, and the Celtiberians, who could not reckon on any mercy from Scipio, were cut down after obstinate resistance. After this double defeat the Africans could no longer keep the field. An attack on the Roman naval camp attempted by the Carthaginian fleet, while not unsuccessful, was far from decisive, and was greatly outweighed by the capture of Syphax, which Scipio's singular good fortune threw in his way, and by which Massinissa became to the Romans what Syphax had been at first to the Carthaginians.

Negotiations for Peace Machinations of the Carthaginian Patriots

After such defeats the Carthaginian peace party, which had been reduced to silence for sixteen years, was able once more to raise its head and openly to rebel against the government of the Barcides and the patriots. Hasdrubal son of Gisgo was in his absence condemned by the government to death, and an attempt was made to obtain an armistice and peace from Scipio. He demanded the cession of their Spanish possessions and of the islands of the Mediterranean, the transference of the kingdom of Syphax to Massinissa, the surrender of all their vessels of war except 20, and a war contribution of 4000 talents (nearly 1,000,000 pounds)—terms which seemed so singularly favourable to Carthage, that the question obtrudes itself whether they were offered by Scipio more in his own interest or in that of Rome. The Carthaginian plenipotentiaries accepted them under reservation of their being ratified by the respective authorities, and accordingly a Carthaginian embassy was despatched to Rome. But the patriot party in Carthage were not disposed to give up the struggle so cheaply; faith in the nobleness of their cause, confidence in their great leader, even the example that had been set to them by Rome herself, stimulated them to persevere, apart from the fact that peace of necessity involved the return of the opposite party to the helm of affairs and their own consequent destruction. The patriotic party had the ascendency among the citizens; it was resolved to allow the opposition to negotiate for peace, and meanwhile to prepare for a last and decisive effort. Orders were sent to Mago and Hannibal to return with all speed to Africa. Mago, who for three years (549-551) had been labouring to bring about a coalition in Northern Italy against Rome, had just at this time in the territory of the Insubres (about Milan) been defeated by the far superior double army of the Romans. The Roman cavalry had been brought to give way, and the infantry had been thrown into confusion; victory seemed on the point of declaring for the Carthaginians, when a bold attack by a Roman troop on the enemy's elephants, and above all a serious wound received by their beloved and able commander, turned the fortune of the battle. The Phoenician army was obliged to retreat to the Ligurian coast, where it received and obeyed the order to embark; but Mago died of his wound on the voyage.

Hannibal Recalled to Africa

Hannibal would probably have anticipated the order, had not the last negotiations with Philip presented to him a renewed prospect of rendering better service to his country in Italy than in Libya; when he received it at Croton, where he latterly had his head-quarters, he lost no time in complying with it. He caused his horses to be put to death as well as the Italian soldiers who refused to follow him over the sea, and embarked in the transports that had been long in readiness in the roadstead of Croton. The Roman citizens breathed freely, when the mighty Libyan lion, whose departure no one even now ventured to compel, thus voluntarily turned his back on Italian ground. On this occasion the decoration of a grass wreath was bestowed by the senate and burgesses on the only survivor of the Roman generals who had traversed that troubled time with honour, the veteran of nearly ninety years, Quintus Fabius. To receive this wreath—which by the custom of the Romans the army that a general had saved presented to its deliverer—at the hands of the whole community was the highest distinction which had ever been bestowed upon a Roman citizen, and the last honorary decoration accorded to the old general, who died in the course of that same year (551). Hannibal, doubtless not under the protection of the armistice, but solely through his rapidity of movement and good fortune, arrived at Leptis without hindrance, and the last of the "lion's brood" of Hamilcar trode once more, after an absence of thirty-six years, his native soil. He had left it, when still almost a boy, to enter on that noble and yet so thoroughly fruitless career of heroism, in which he had set out towards the west to return homewards from the east, having described a wide circle of victory around the Carthaginian sea. Now, when what he had wished to prevent, and what he would have prevented had he been allowed, was done, he was summoned to help and if possible, to save; and he obeyed without complaint or reproach.

Recommencement of Hostilities

On his arrival the patriot party came forward openly; the disgraceful sentence against Hasdrubal was cancelled; new connections were formed with the Numidian sheiks through the dexterity of Hannibal; and not only did the assembly of the people refuse to ratify the peace practically concluded, but the armistice was broken by the plundering of a Roman transport fleet driven ashore on the African coast, and by the seizure even of a Roman vessel of war carrying Roman envoys. In just indignation Scipio started from his camp at Tunes (552) and traversed the rich valley of the Bagradas (Mejerdah), no longer allowing the townships to capitulate, but causing the inhabitants of the villages and towns to be seized en masse and sold. He had already penetrated far into the interior, and was at Naraggara (to the west of Sicca, now El Kef, on the frontier between Tunis and Algiers), when Hannibal, who had marched out from Hadrumetum, fell in with him. The Carthaginian general attempted to obtain better conditions from the Roman in a personal conference; but Scipio, who had already gone to the extreme verge of concession, could not possibly after the breach of the armistice agree to yield further, and it is not credible that Hannibal had any other object in this step than to show to the multitude that the patriots were not absolutely opposed to peace. The conference led to no result.

Battle of Zama

The two armies accordingly came to a decisive battle at Zama (presumably not far from Sicca).(5) Hannibal arranged his infantry in three lines; in the first rank the Carthaginian hired troops, in the second the African militia and the Phoenician civic force along with the Macedonian corps, in the third the veterans who had followed him from Italy. In front of the line were placed the 80 elephants; the cavalry were stationed on the wings. Scipio likewise disposed his legions in three ranks, as was the wont of the Romans, and so arranged them that the elephants could pass through and alongside of the line without breaking it. Not only was this disposition completely successful, but the elephants making their way to the side disordered also the Carthaginian cavalry on the wings, so that Scipio's cavalry —which moreover was by the arrival of Massinissa's troops rendered far superior to the enemy—had little trouble in dispersing them, and were soon engaged in full pursuit. The struggle of the infantry was more severe. The conflict lasted long between the first ranks on either side; at length in the extremely bloody hand-to-hand encounter both parties fell into confusion, and were obliged to seek a support in the second ranks. The Romans found that support; but the Carthaginian militia showed itself so unsteady and wavering, that the mercenaries believed themselves betrayed and a hand-to-hand combat arose between them and the Carthaginian civic force. But Hannibal now hastily withdrew what remained of the first two lines to the flanks, and pushed forward his choice Italian troops along the whole line. Scipio, on the other hand, gathered together in the centre as many of the first line as still were able to fight, and made the second and third ranks close up on the right and left of the first. Once more on the same spot began a still more fearful conflict; Hannibal's old soldiers never wavered in spite of the superior numbers of the enemy, till the cavalry of the Romans and of Massinissa, returning from the pursuit of the beaten cavalry of the enemy, surrounded them on all sides. This not only terminated the struggle, but annihilated the Phoenician army; the same soldiers, who fourteen years before had given way at Cannae, had retaliated on their conquerors at Zama. With a handful of men Hannibal arrived, a fugitive, at Hadrumetum.


After this day folly alone could counsel a continuance of the war on the part of Carthage. On the other hand it was in the power of the Roman general immediately to begin the siege of the capital, which was neither protected nor provisioned, and, unless unforeseen accidents should intervene, now to subject Carthage to the fate which Hannibal had wished to bring upon Rome. Scipio did not do so; he granted peace (553), but no longer upon the former terms. Besides the concessions which had already in the last negotiations been demanded in favour of Rome and of Massinissa, an annual contribution of 200 talents (48,000 pounds) was imposed for fifty years on the Carthaginians; and they had to bind themselves that they would not wage war against Rome or its allies or indeed beyond the bounds of Africa at all, and that in Africa they would not wage war beyond their own territory without having sought the permission of Rome—the practical effect of which was that Carthage became tributary and lost her political independence. It even appears that the Carthaginians were bound in certain cases to furnish ships of war to the Roman fleet.

Scipio has been accused of granting too favourable conditions to the enemy, lest he might be obliged to hand over the glory of terminating the most severe war which Rome had waged, along with his command, to a successor. The charge might have had some foundation, had the first proposals been carried out; it seems to have no warrant in reference to the second. His position in Rome was not such as to make the favourite of the people, after the victory of Zama, seriously apprehensive of recall—already before the victory an attempt to supersede him had been referred by the senate to the burgesses, and by them decidedly rejected. Nor do the conditions themselves warrant such a charge. The Carthaginian city never, after its hands were thus tied and a powerful neighbour was placed by its side, made even an attempt to withdraw from Roman supremacy, still less to enter into rivalry with Rome; besides, every one who cared to know knew that the war just terminated had been undertaken much more by Hannibal than by Carthage, and that it was absolutely impossible to revive the gigantic plan of the patriot party. It might seem little in the eyes of the vengeful Italians, that only the five hundred surrendered ships of war perished in the flames, and not the hated city itself; spite and pedantry might contend for the view that an opponent is only really vanquished when he is annihilated, and might censure the man who had disdained to punish more thoroughly the crime of having made Romans tremble. Scipio thought otherwise; and we have no reason and therefore no right to assume that the Roman was in this instance influenced by vulgar motives rather than by the noble and magnanimous impulses which formed part of his character. It was not the consideration of his own possible recall or of the mutability of fortune, nor was it any apprehension of the outbreak of a Macedonian war at certainly no distant date, that prevented the self-reliant and confident hero, with whom everything had hitherto succeeded beyond belief, from accomplishing the destruction of the unhappy city, which fifty years afterwards his adopted grandson was commissioned to execute, and which might indeed have been equally well accomplished now. It is much more probable that the two great generals, on whom the decision of the political question now devolved, offered and accepted peace on such terms in order to set just and reasonable limits on the one hand to the furious vengeance of the victors, on the other to the obstinacy and imprudence of the vanquished. The noble-mindedness and statesmanlike gifts of the great antagonists are no less apparent in the magnanimous submission of Hannibal to what was inevitable, than in the wise abstinence of Scipio from an extravagant and insulting use of victory. Is it to be supposed that one so generous, unprejudiced, and intelligent should not have asked himself of what benefit it could be to his country, now that the political power of the Carthaginian city was annihilated, utterly to destroy that ancient seat of commerce and of agriculture, and wickedly to overthrow one of the main pillars of the then existing civilization? The time had not yet come when the first men of Rome lent themselves to destroy the civilization of their neighbours, and frivolously fancied that they could wash away from themselves the eternal infamy of the nation by shedding an idle tear.

Results of the War

Thus ended the second Punic or, as the Romans more correctly called it, the Hannibalic war, after it had devastated the lands and islands from the Hellespont to the Pillars of Hercules for seventeen years. Before this war the policy of the Romans had no higher aim than to acquire command of the mainland of the Italian peninsula within its natural boundaries, and of the Italian islands and seas; it is clearly proved by their treatment of Africa on the conclusion of peace that they also terminated the war with the impression, not that they had laid the foundation of sovereignty over the states of the Mediterranean or of the so-called universal empire, but that they had rendered a dangerous rival innocuous and had given to Italy agreeable neighbours. It is true doubtless that other results of the war, the conquest of Spain in particular, little accorded with such an idea; but their very successes led them beyond their proper design, and it may in fact be affirmed that the Romans came into possession of Spain accidentally. The Romans achieved the sovereignty of Italy, because they strove for it; the hegemony—and the sovereignty which grew out of it—over the territories of the Mediterranean was to a certain extent thrown into the hands of the Romans by the force of circumstances without intention on their part to acquire it.

Out of Italy

The immediate results of the war out of Italy were, the conversion of Spain into two Roman provinces—which, however, were in perpetual insurrection; the union of the hitherto dependent kingdom of Syracuse with the Roman province of Sicily; the establishment of a Roman instead of a Carthaginian protectorate over the most important Numidian chiefs; and lastly the conversion of Carthage from a powerful commercial state into a defenceless mercantile town. In other words, it established the uncontested hegemony of Rome over the western region of the Mediterranean. Moreover, in its further development, it led to that necessary contact and interaction between the state systems of the east and the west, which the first Punic war had only foreshadowed; and thereby gave rise to the proximate decisive interference of Rome in the conflicts of the Alexandrine monarchies.

In Italy

As to its results in Italy, first of all the Celts were now certainly, if they had not been already beforehand, destined to destruction; and the execution of the doom was only a question of time. Within the Roman confederacy the effect of the war was to bring into more distinct prominence the ruling Latin nation, whose internal union had been tried and attested by the peril which, notwithstanding isolated instances of wavering, it had surmounted on the whole in faithful fellowship; and to depress still further the non-Latin or non-Latinized Italians, particularly the Etruscans and the Sabellians of Lower Italy. The heaviest punishment or rather vengeance was inflicted partly on the most powerful, partly on those who were at once the earliest and latest, allies of Hannibal—the community of Capua, and the land of the Bruttians. The Capuan constitution was abolished, and Capua was reduced from the second city into the first village of Italy; it was even proposed to raze the city and level it with the ground. The whole soil, with the exception of a few possessions of foreigners or of Campanians well disposed towards Rome, was declared by the senate to be public domain, and was thereafter parcelled out to small occupiers on temporary lease. The Picentes on the Silarus were similarly treated; their capital was razed, and the inhabitants were dispersed among the surrounding villages. The doom of the Bruttians was still more severe; they were converted en masse into a sort of bondsmen to the Romans, and were for ever excluded from the right of bearing arms. The other allies of Hannibal also dearly expiated their offence. The Greek cities suffered severely, with the exception of the few which had steadfastly adhered to Rome, such as the Campanian Greeks and the Rhegines. Punishment not much lighter awaited the Arpanians and a number of other Apulian, Lucanian, and Samnite communities, most of which lost portions of their territory. On a part of the lands thus acquired new colonies were settled. Thus in the year 560 a succession of burgess-colonies was sent to the best ports of Lower Italy, among which Sipontum (near Manfredonia) and Croton may be named, as also Salernum placed in the former territory of the southern Picentes and destined to hold them in check, and above all Puteoli, which soon became the seat of the genteel -villeggiatura- and of the traffic in Asiatic and Egyptian luxuries. Thurii became a Latin fortress under the new name of Copia (560), and the rich Bruttian town of Vibo under the name of Valentia (562). The veterans of the victorious army of Africa were settled singly on various patches of land in Samnium and Apulia; the remainder was retained as public land, and the pasture stations of the grandees of Rome replaced the gardens and arable fields of the farmers. As a matter of course, moreover, in all the communities of the peninsula the persons of note who were not well affected to Rome were got rid of, so far as this could be accomplished by political processes and confiscations of property. Everywhere in Italy the non-Latin allies felt that their name was meaningless, and that they were thenceforth subjects of Rome; the vanquishing of Hannibal was felt as a second subjugation of Italy, and all the exasperation and all the arrogance of the victor vented themselves especially on the Italian allies who were not Latin. Even the colourless Roman comedy of this period, well subjected as it was to police control, bears traces of this. When the subjugated towns of Capua and Atella were abandoned without restraint to the unbridled wit of the Roman farce, so that the latter town became its very stronghold, and when other writers of comedy jested over the fact that the Campanian serfs had already learned to survive amidst the deadly atmosphere in which even the hardiest race of slaves, the Syrians, pined away; such unfeeling mockeries re-echoed the scorn of the victors, but not less the cry of distress from the down-trodden nations. The position in which matters stood is shown by the anxious carefulness, which during the ensuing Macedonian war the senate evinced in the watching of Italy, and by the reinforcements which were despatched from Rome to the most important colonies, to Venusia in 554, Narnia in 555, Cosa in 557, and Cales shortly before 570.

What blanks were produced by war and famine in the ranks of the Italian population, is shown by the example of the burgesses of Rome, whose numbers during the war had fallen almost a fourth. The statement, accordingly, which puts the whole number of Italians who fell in the war under Hannibal at 300,000, seems not at all exaggerated. Of course this loss fell chiefly on the flower of the burgesses, who in fact furnished the -elite- as well as the mass of the combatants. How fearfully the senate in particular was thinned, is shown by the filling up of its complement after the battle of Cannae, when it had been reduced to 123 persons, and was with difficulty restored to its normal state by an extraordinary nomination of 177 senators. That, moreover, the seventeen years' war, which had been carried on simultaneously in all districts of Italy and towards all the four points of the compass abroad, must have shaken to the very heart the national economy, is, as a general position, clear; but our tradition does not suffice to illustrate it in detail. The state no doubt gained by the confiscations, and the Campanian territory in particular thenceforth remained an inexhaustible source of revenue to the state; but by this extension of the domain system the national prosperity of course lost just about as much as at other times it had gained by the breaking up of the state lands. Numbers of flourishing townships—four hundred, it was reckoned—were destroyed and ruined; the capital laboriously accumulated was consumed; the population were demoralized by camp life; the good old traditional habits of the burgesses and farmers were undermined from the capital down to the smallest village. Slaves and desperadoes associated themselves in robber-bands, of the dangers of which an idea may be formed from the fact that in a single year (569) 7000 men had to be condemned for highway robbery in Apulia alone; the extension of the pastures, with their half-savage slave-herdsmen, favoured this mischievous barbarizing of the land. Italian agriculture saw its very existence endangered by the proof, first afforded in this war, that the Roman people could be supported by grain from Sicily and from Egypt instead of that which they reaped themselves.

Nevertheless the Roman, whom the gods had allowed to survive the close of that gigantic struggle, might look with pride to the past and with confidence to the future. Many errors had been committed, but much suffering had also been endured; the people, whose whole youth capable of arms had for ten years hardly laid aside shield or sword, might excuse many faults. The living of different nations side by side in peace and amity upon the whole—although maintaining an attitude of mutual antagonism—which appears to be the aim of modern phases of national life, was a thing foreign to antiquity. In ancient times it was necessary to be either anvil or hammer; and in the final struggle between the victors victory remained with the Romans. Whether they would have the judgment to use it rightly—to attach the Latin nation by still closer bonds to Rome, gradually to Latinize Italy, to rule their dependents in the provinces as subjects and not to abuse them as slaves, to reform the constitution, to reinvigorate and to enlarge the tottering middle class—many a one might ask. If they should know how to use it, Italy might hope to see happy times, in which prosperity based on personal exertion under favourable circumstances, and the most decisive political supremacy over the then civilized world, would impart a just self-reliance to every member of the great whole, furnish a worthy aim for every ambition, and open a career for every talent. It would, no doubt, be otherwise, should they fail to use aright their victory. But for the moment doubtful voices and gloomy apprehensions were silent, when from all quarters the warriors and victors returned to their homes; thanksgivings and amusements, and rewards to the soldiers and burgesses were the order of the day; the released prisoners of war were sent home from Gaul, Africa, and Greece; and at length the youthful conqueror moved in splendid procession through the decorated streets of the capital, to deposit his laurels in the house of the god by whose direct inspiration, as the pious whispered one to another, he had been guided in counsel and in action.

Notes for Chapter VI

1. III. III. The Celts Conquered by Rome

2. III. VI. The Sending of Reinforcements Temporarily Frustrated

3. III. VI. Conflicts in the South of Italy

4. III. VI. Sicily Tranquillized

5. Of the two places bearing this name, the more westerly, situated about 60 miles west of Hadrumetum, was probably the scene of the battle (comp. Hermes, xx. 144, 318). The time was the spring or summer of the year 552; the fixing of the day as the 19th October, on account of the alleged solar eclipse, is of no account.


The West from the Peace of Hannibal to the Close of the Third Period

Subjugation of the Valley of the Po

The war waged by Hannibal had interrupted Rome in the extension of her dominion to the Alps or to the boundary of Italy, as was even now the Roman phrase, and in the organization and colonizing of the Celtic territories. It was self-evident that the task would now be resumed at the point where it had been broken off, and the Celts were well aware of this. In the very year of the conclusion of peace with Carthage (553) hostilities had recommenced in the territory of the Boii, who were the most immediately exposed to danger; and a first success obtained by them over the hastily-assembled Roman levy, coupled with the persuasions of a Carthaginian officer, Hamilcar, who had been left behind from the expedition of Mago in northern Italy, produced in the following year (554) a general insurrection spreading beyond the two tribes immediately threatened, the Boii and Insubres. The Ligurians were driven to arms by the nearer approach of the danger, and even the youth of the Cenomani on this occasion listened less to the voice of their cautious chiefs than to the urgent appeal of their kinsmen who were in peril. Of "the two barriers against the raids of the Gauls," Placentia and Cremona, the former was sacked—not more than 2000 of the inhabitants of Placentia saved their lives—and the second was invested. In haste the legions advanced to save what they could. A great battle took place before Cremona. The dexterous management and the professional skill of the Phoenician leader failed to make up for the deficiencies of his troops; the Gauls were unable to withstand the onset of the legions, and among the numerous dead who covered the field of battle was the Carthaginian officer. The Celts, nevertheless, continued the struggle; the same Roman army which had conquered at Cremona was next year (555), chiefly through the fault of its careless leader, almost destroyed by the Insubres; and it was not till 556 that Placentia could be partially re-established. But the league of the cantons associated for the desperate struggle suffered from intestine discord; the Boii and Insubres quarrelled, and the Cenomani not only withdrew from the national league, but purchased their pardon from the Romans by a disgraceful betrayal of their countrymen; during a battle in which the Insubres engaged the Romans on the Mincius, the Cenomani attacked in rear, and helped to destroy, their allies and comrades in arms (557). Thus humbled and left in the lurch, the Insubres, after the fall of Comum, likewise consented to conclude a separate peace (558). The conditions, which the Romans prescribed to the Cenomani and Insubres, were certainly harder than they had been in the habit of granting to the members of the Italian confederacy; in particular, they were careful to confirm by law the barrier of separation between Italians and Celts, and to enact that never should a member of these two Celtic tribes be capable of acquiring the citizenship of Rome. But these Transpadane Celtic districts were allowed to retain their existence and their national constitution—so that they formed not town-domains, but tribal cantons—and no tribute, as it would seem, was imposed on them. They were intended to serve as a bulwark for the Roman settlements south of the Po, and to ward off from Italy the incursions of the migratory northern tribes and the aggressions of the predatory inhabitants of the Alps, who were wont to make regular razzias in these districts. The process of Latinizing, moreover, made rapid progress in these regions; the Celtic nationality was evidently far from able to oppose such resistance as the more civilized nations of Sabellians and Etruscans. The celebrated Latin comic poet Statius Caecilius, who died in 586, was a manumitted Insubrian; and Polybius, who visited these districts towards the close of the sixth century, affirms, not perhaps without some exaggeration, that in that quarter only a few villages among the Alps remained Celtic. The Veneti, on the other hand, appear to have retained their nationality longer.

Measures Adopted to Check the Immigrations of the Transalpine Gauls

The chief efforts of the Romans in these regions were naturally directed to check the immigration of the Transalpine Celts, and to make the natural wall, which separates the peninsula from the interior of the continent, also its political boundary. That the terror of the Roman name had already penetrated to the adjacent Celtic cantons beyond the Alps, is shown not only by the totally passive attitude which they maintained during the annihilation or subjugation of their Cisalpine countrymen, but still more by the official disapproval and disavowal which the Transalpine cantons—we shall have to think primarily of the Helvetii (between the lake of Geneva and the Main) and the Carni or Taurisci (in Carinthia and Styria)—expressed to the envoys from Rome, who complained of the attempts made by isolated Celtic bands to settle peacefully on the Roman side of the Alps. Not less significant was the humble spirit in which these same bands of emigrants first came to the Roman senate entreating an assignment of land, and then without remonstrance obeyed the rigorous order to return over the Alps (568-575), and allowed the town, which they had already founded not far from the later Aquileia, to be again destroyed. With wise severity the senate permitted no sort of exception to the principle that the gates of the Alps should be henceforth closed for the Celtic nation, and visited with heavy penalties those Roman subjects in Italy, who had instigated any such schemes of immigration. An attempt of this kind which was made on a route hitherto little known to the Romans, in the innermost recess of the Adriatic, and still more, as if would seem, the project of Philip of Macedonia for invading Italy from the east as Hannibal had done from the west, gave occasion to the founding of a fortress in the extreme north-eastern corner of Italy—Aquileia, the most northerly of the Italian colonies (571-573)—which was intended not only to close that route for ever against foreigners, but also to secure the command of the gulf which was specially convenient for navigation, and to check the piracy which was still not wholly extirpated in those waters. The establishment of Aquileia led to a war with the Istrians (576, 577), which was speedily terminated by the storming of some strongholds and the fall of the king, Aepulo, and which was remarkable for nothing except for the panic, which the news of the surprise of the Roman camp by a handful of barbarians called forth in the fleet and throughout Italy.

Colonizing of the Region on the South of the Po

A different course was adopted with the region on the south of the Po, which the Roman senate had determined to incorporate with Italy. The Boii, who were immediately affected by this step, defended themselves with the resolution of despair. They even crossed the Po and made an attempt to rouse the Insubres once more to arms (560); they blockaded a consul in his camp, and he was on the point of succumbing; Placentia maintained itself with difficulty against the constant assaults of the exasperated natives. At length the last battle was fought at Mutina; it was long and bloody, but the Romans conquered (561); and thenceforth the struggle was no longer a war, but a slave-hunt. The Roman camp soon was the only asylum in the Boian territory; thither the better part of the still surviving population began to take refuge; and the victors were able, without much exaggeration, to report to Rome that nothing remained of the nation of the Boii but old men and children. The nation was thus obliged to resign itself to the fate appointed for it. The Romans demanded the cession of half the territory (563); the demand could not be refused, and even within the diminished district which was left to the Boii, they soon disappeared, and amalgamated with their conquerors.(1)

After the Romans had thus cleared the ground for themselves, the fortresses of Placentia and Cremona, whose colonists had been in great part swept away or dispersed by the troubles of the last few years, were reorganized, and new settlers were sent thither. The new foundations were, in or near the former territory of the Senones, Potentia (near Recanati not far from Ancona: in 570) and Pisaurum (Pesaro: in 570), and, in the newly acquired district of the Boii, the fortresses of Bononia (565), Mutina (571), and Parma (571); the colony of Mutina had been already instituted before the war under Hannibal, but that war had interrupted the completion of the settlement. The construction of fortresses was associated, as was always the case, with the formation of military roads. The Flaminian way was prolonged from its northern termination at Ariminum, under the name of the Aemilian way, to Placentia (567). Moreover, the road from Rome to Arretium or the Cassian way, which perhaps had already been long a municipal road, was taken in charge and constructed anew by the Roman community probably in 583; while in 567 the track from Arretium over the Apennines to Bononia as far as the new Aemilian road had been put in order, and furnished a shorter communication between Rome and the fortresses on the Po. By these comprehensive measures the Apennines were practically superseded as the boundary between the Celtic and Italian territories, and were replaced by the Po. South of the Po there henceforth prevailed mainly the urban constitution of the Italians, beyond it mainly the cantonal constitution of the Celts; and, if the district between the Apennines and the Po was still reckoned Celtic land, it was but an empty name.


In the north-western mountain-land of Italy, whose valleys and hills were occupied chiefly by the much-subdivided Ligurian stock, the Romans pursued a similar course. Those dwelling immediately to the north of the Arno were extirpated. This fate befell chiefly the Apuani, who dwelt on the Apennines between the Arno and the Magra, and incessantly plundered on the one side the territory of Pisae, on the other that of Bononia and Mutina. Those who did not fall victims in that quarter to the sword of the Romans were transported into Lower Italy to the region of Beneventum (574); and by energetic measures the Ligurian nation, from which the Romans were obliged in 578 to recover the colony of Mutina which it had conquered, was completely crushed in the mountains which separate the valley of the Po from that of the Arno. The fortress of Luna (not far from Spezzia), established in 577 in the former territory of the Apuani, protected the frontier against the Ligurians just as Aquileia did against the Transalpines, and gave the Romans at the same time an excellent port which henceforth became the usual station for the passage to Massilia and to Spain. The construction of the coast or Aurelian road from Rome to Luna, and of the cross road carried from Luca by way of Florence to Arretium between the Aurelian and Cassian ways, probably belongs to the same period.

With the more western Ligurian tribes, who held the Genoese Apennines and the Maritime Alps, there were incessant conflicts. They were troublesome neighbours, accustomed to pillage by land and by sea: the Pisans and Massiliots suffered no little injury from their incursions and their piracies. But no permanent results were gained amidst these constant hostilities, or perhaps even aimed at; except apparently that, with a view to have a communication by land with Transalpine Gaul and Spain in addition to the regular route by sea, the Romans endeavoured to clear the great coast road from Luna by way of Massilia to Emporiae, at least as far as the Alps—beyond the Alps it devolved on the Massiliots to keep the coast navigation open for Roman vessels and the road along the shore open for travellers by land. The interior with its impassable valleys and its rocky fastnesses, and with its poor but dexterous and crafty inhabitants, served the Romans mainly as a school of war for the training and hardening of soldiers and officers.

Corsica Sardinia

Wars as they are called, of a similar character with those against the Ligurians, were waged with the Corsicans and to a still greater extent with the inhabitants of the interior of Sardinia, who retaliated for the predatory expeditions directed against them by sudden attacks on the districts along the coast. The expedition of Tiberius Gracchus against the Sardinians in 577 was specially held in remembrance, not so much because it gave "peace" to the province, as because he asserted that he had slain or captured as many as 80,000 of the islanders, and dragged slaves thence in such multitudes to Rome that "cheap as a Sardinian" became a proverb.


In Africa the policy of Rome was substantially summed up in the one idea, as short-sighted as it was narrow-minded, that she ought to prevent the revival of the power of Carthage, and ought accordingly to keep the unhappy city constantly oppressed and apprehensive of a declaration of war suspended over it by Rome like the sword of Damocles. The stipulation in the treaty of peace, that the Carthaginians should retain their territory undiminished, but that their neighbour Massinissa should have all those possessions guaranteed to him which he or his predecessor had possessed within the Carthaginian bounds, looks almost as if it had been inserted not to obviate, but to provoke disputes. The same remark applies to the obligation imposed by the Roman treaty of peace on the Carthaginians not to make war upon the allies of Rome; so that, according to the letter of the treaty, they were not even entitled to expel their Numidian neighbours from their own undisputed territory. With such stipulations and amidst the uncertainty of African frontier questions in general, the situation of Carthage in presence of a neighbour equally powerful and unscrupulous and of a liege lord who was at once umpire and party in the cause, could not but be a painful one; but the reality was worse than the worst expectations. As early as 561 Carthage found herself suddenly assailed under frivolous pretexts, and saw the richest portion of her territory, the province of Emporiae on the Lesser Syrtis, partly plundered by the Numidians, partly even seized and retained by them. Encroachments of this kind were multiplied; the level country passed into the hands of the Numidians, and the Carthaginians with difficulty maintained themselves in the larger places. Within the last two years alone, the Carthaginians declared in 582, seventy villages had been again wrested from them in opposition to the treaty. Embassy after embassy was despatched to Rome; the Carthaginians adjured the Roman senate either to allow them to defend themselves by arms, or to appoint a court of arbitration with power to enforce their award, or to regulate the frontier anew that they might at least learn once for all how much they were to lose; otherwise it were better to make them Roman subjects at once than thus gradually to deliver them over to the Libyans. But the Roman government, which already in 554 had held forth a direct prospect of extension of territory to their client, of course at the expense of Carthage, seemed to have little objection that he should himself take the booty destined for him; they moderated perhaps at times the too great impetuosity of the Libyans, who now retaliated fully on their old tormentors for their former sufferings; but it was in reality for the very sake of inflicting this torture that the Romans had assigned Massinissa as a neighbour to Carthage. All the requests and complaints had no result, except either that Roman commissions made their appearance in Africa and after a thorough investigation came to no decision, or that in the negotiations at Rome the envoys of Massinissa pretended a want of instructions and the matter was adjourned. Phoenician patience alone was able to submit meekly to such a position, and even to exhibit towards the despotic victors every attention and courtesy, solicited or unsolicited with unwearied perseverance. The Carthaginians especially courted Roman favour by sending supplies of grain.

Hannibal Reform of the Carthaginian Constitution Hannibal's Flight

This pliability on the part of the vanquished, however was not mere patience and resignation. There was still in Carthage a patriotic party, and at its head stood the man who, wherever fate placed him, was still dreaded by the Romans. It had not abandoned the idea of resuming the struggle by taking advantage of those complications that might be easily foreseen between Rome and the eastern powers; and, as the failure of the magnificent scheme of Hamilcar and his sons had been due mainly to the Carthaginian oligarchy, the chief object was internally to reinvigorate the country for this new struggle. The salutary influence of adversity, and the clear, noble, and commanding mind of Hannibal, effected political and financial reforms. The oligarchy, which had filled up the measure of its guilty follies by raising a criminal process against the great general, charging him with having intentionally abstained from the capture of Rome and with embezzlement of the Italian spoil—that rotten oligarchy was, on the proposition of Hannibal, overthrown, and a democratic government was introduced such as was suited to the circumstances of the citizens (before 559). The finances were so rapidly reorganized by the collection of arrears and of embezzled moneys and by the introduction of better control, that the contribution due to Rome could be paid without burdening the citizens in any way with extraordinary taxes. The Roman government, just then on the point of beginning its critical war with the great-king of Asia, observed the progress of these events, as may easily be conceived, with apprehension; it was no imaginary danger that the Carthaginian fleet might land in Italy and a second war under Hannibal might spring up there, while the Roman legions fighting in Asia Minor. We can scarcely, therefore, censure the Romans for sending an embassy to Carthage (in 559) which was presumably charged to demand the surrender of Hannibal. The spiteful Carthaginian oligarchs, who sent letter after letter to Rome to denounce to the national foe the hero who had overthrown them as having entered into secret communications with the powers unfriendly to Rome, were contemptible, but their information was probably correct; and, true as it was that that embassy involved a humiliating confession of the dread with which the simple shofete of Carthage inspired so powerful a people, and natural and honourable as it was that the proud conqueror of Zama should take exception in the senate to so humiliating a step, still that confession was nothing but the simple truth, and Hannibal was of a genius so extraordinary, that none but sentimental politicians in Rome could tolerate him longer at the head of the Carthaginian state. The marked recognition thus accorded to him by the Roman government scarcely took himself by surprise. As it was Hannibal and not Carthage that had carried on the last war, so it was he who had to bear the fate of the vanquished. The Carthaginians could do nothing but submit and be thankful that Hannibal, sparing them the greater disgrace by his speedy and prudent flight to the east, left to his ancestral city merely the lesser disgrace of having banished its greatest citizen for ever from his native land, confiscated his property, and razed his house. The profound saying that those are the favourites of the gods, on whom they lavish infinite joys and infinite sorrows, thus verified itself in full measure in the case of Hannibal.

Continued Irritation in Rome towards Carthage

A graver responsibility than that arising out of their proceedings against Hannibal attaches to the Roman government for their persistence in suspecting and tormenting the city after his removal. Parties indeed fermented there as before; but, after the withdrawal of the extraordinary man who had wellnigh changed the destinies of the world, the patriot party was not of much more importance in Carthage than in Aetolia or Achaia. The most rational of the various ideas which then agitated the unhappy city was beyond doubt that of attaching themselves to Massinissa and of converting him from the oppressor into the protector of the Phoenicians. But neither the national section of the patriots nor the section with Libyan tendencies attained the helm; on the contrary the government remained in the hands of the oligarchs friendly to Rome, who, so far as they did not altogether renounce thought of the future, clung to the single idea of saving the material welfare and the communal freedom of Carthage under Roman protection. With this state of matters the Romans might well have been content. But neither the multitude, nor even the ruling lords of the average stamp, could rid themselves of the profound alarm produced by the Hannibalic war; and the Roman merchants with envious eyes beheld the city even now, when its political power was gone, possessed of extensive commercial dependencies and of a firmly established wealth which nothing could shake. Already in 567 the Carthaginian government offered to pay up at once the whole instalments stipulated in the peace of 553—an offer which the Romans, who attached far more importance to the having Carthage tributary than to the sums of money themselves, naturally declined, and only deduced from it the conviction that, in spite of all the trouble they had taken, the city was not ruined and was not capable of ruin. Fresh reports were ever circulating through Rome as to the intrigues of the faithless Phoenicians. At one time it was alleged that Aristo of Tyre had been seen in Carthage as an emissary of Hannibal, to prepare the citizens for the landing of an Asiatic war-fleet (561); at another, that the council had, in a secret nocturnal sitting in the temple of the God of Healing, given audience to the envoys of Perseus (581); at another there was talk of the powerful fleet which was being equipped in Carthage for the Macedonian war (583). It is probable that these and similar reports were founded on nothing more than, at most, individual indiscretions; but still they were the signal for new diplomatic ill usage on the part of Rome, and for new aggressions on the part of Massinissa, and the idea gained ground the more, the less sense and reason there was in it, that the Carthaginian question would not be settled without a third Punic war.


While the power of the Phoenicians was thus sinking in the land of their choice, just as it had long ago succumbed in their original home, a new state grew up by their side. The northern coast of Africa has been inhabited from time immemorial, and is inhabited still, by the people, who themselves assume the name of Shilah or Tamazigt, whom the Greeks and Romans call Nomades or Numidians, i. e. the "pastoral" people, and the Arabs call Berbers, although they also at times designate them as "shepherds" (Shawie), and to whom we are wont to give the name of Berbers or Kabyles. This people is, so far as its language has been hitherto investigated, related to no other known nation. In the Carthaginian period these tribes, with the exception of those dwelling immediately around Carthage or immediately on the coast, had on the whole maintained their independence, and had also substantially retained their pastoral and equestrian life, such as the inhabitants of the Atlas lead at the present day; although they were not strangers to the Phoenician alphabet and Phoenician civilization generally,(2) and instances occurred in which the Berber sheiks had their sons educated in Carthage and intermarried with the families of the Phoenician nobility. It was not the policy of the Romans to have direct possessions of their own in Africa; they preferred to rear a state there, which should not be of sufficient importance to be able to dispense with Roman protection, and yet should be sufficiently strong to keep down the power of Carthage now that it was restricted to Africa, and to render all freedom of movement impossible for the tortured city. They found what they sought among the native princes. About the time of the Hannibalic war the natives of North Africa were subject to three principal kings, each of whom, according to the custom there, had a multitude of princes bound to follow his banner; Bocchar king of the Mauri, who ruled from the Atlantic Ocean to the river Molochath (now Mluia, on the boundary between Morocco and the French territory); Syphax king of the Massaesyli, who ruled from the last-named point to the "Perforated Promontory," as it was called (Seba Rus, between Jijeli and Bona), in what are now the provinces of Oran and Algiers; and Massinissa king of the Massyli, who ruled from the Tretum Promontorium to the boundary of Carthage, in what is now the province of Constantine. The most powerful of these, Syphax king of Siga, had been vanquished in the last war between Rome and Carthage and carried away captive to Rome, where he died in captivity. His wide dominions were mainly given to Massinissa; although Vermina the son of Syphax by humble petition recovered a small portion of his father's territory from the Romans (554), he was unable to deprive the earlier ally of the Romans of his position as the privileged oppressor of Carthage.


Massinissa became the founder of the Numidian kingdom; and seldom has choice or accident hit upon a man so thoroughly fitted for his post. In body sound and supple up to extreme old age; temperate and sober like an Arab; capable of enduring any fatigue, of standing on the same spot from morning to evening, and of sitting four-and-twenty hours on horseback; tried alike as a soldier and a general amidst the romantic vicissitudes of his youth as well as on the battle-fields of Spain, and not less master of the more difficult art of maintaining discipline in his numerous household and order in his dominions; with equal unscrupulousness ready to throw himself at the feet of his powerful protector, or to tread under foot his weaker neighbour; and, in addition to all this, as accurately acquainted with the circumstances of Carthage, where he was educated and had been on familiar terms in the noblest houses, as he was filled with an African bitterness of hatred towards his own and his people's oppressors, —this remarkable man became the soul of the revival of his nation, which had seemed on the point of perishing, and of whose virtues and faults he appeared as it were a living embodiment. Fortune favoured him, as in everything, so especially in the fact, that it allowed him time for his work. He died in the ninetieth year of his age (516-605), and in the sixtieth year of his reign, retaining to the last the full possession of his bodily and mental powers, leaving behind him a son one year old and the reputation of having been the strongest man and the best and most fortunate king of his age.

Extension and Civilization of Numidia

We have already narrated how purposely and clearly the Romans in their management of African affairs evinced their taking part with Massinissa, and how zealously and constantly the latter availed himself of the tacit permission to enlarge his territory at the expense of Carthage. The whole interior to the border of the desert fell to the native sovereign as it were of its own accord, and even the upper valley of the Bagradas (Mejerdah) with the rich town of Vaga became subject to the king; on the coast also to the east of Carthage he occupied the old Sidonian city of Great Leptis and other districts, so that his kingdom stretched from the Mauretanian to the Cyrenaean frontier, enclosed the Carthaginian territory on every side by land, and everywhere pressed, in the closest vicinity, on the Phoenicians. It admits of no doubt, that he looked on Carthage as his future capital; the Libyan party there was significant. But it was not only by the diminution of her territory that Carthage suffered injury. The roving shepherds were converted by their great king into another people. After the example of the king, who brought the fields under cultivation far and wide and bequeathed to each of his sons considerable landed estates, his subjects also began to settle and to practise agriculture. As he converted his shepherds into settled citizens, he converted also his hordes of plunderers into soldiers who were deemed by Rome worthy to fight side by side with her legions; and he bequeathed to his successors a richly-filled treasury, a well- disciplined army, and even a fleet. His residence Cirta (Constantine) became the stirring capital of a powerful state, and a chief seat of Phoenician civilization, which was zealously fostered at the court of the Berber king—fostered perhaps studiously with a view to the future Carthagino-Numidian kingdom. The hitherto degraded Libyan nationality thus rose in its own estimation, and the native manners and language made their way even into the old Phoenician towns, such as Great Leptis. The Berber began, under the aegis of Rome, to feel himself the equal or even the superior of the Phoenician; Carthaginian envoys at Rome had to submit to be told that they were aliens in Africa, and that the land belonged to the Libyans. The Phoenico-national civilization of North Africa, which still retained life and vigour even in the levelling times of the Empire, was far more the work of Massinissa than of the Carthaginians.

The State of Culture in Spain

In Spain the Greek and Phoenician towns along the coast, such as Emporiae, Saguntum, New Carthage, Malaca, and Gades, submitted to the Roman rule the more readily, that, left to their own resources, they would hardly have been able to protect themselves from the natives; as for similar reasons Massilia, although far more important and more capable of self-defence than those towns, did not omit to secure a powerful support in case of need by closely attaching itself to the Romans, to whom it was in return very serviceable as an intermediate station between Italy and Spain. The natives, on the other hand, gave to the Romans endless trouble. It is true that there were not wanting the rudiments of a national Iberian civilization, although of its special character it is scarcely possible for us to acquire any clear idea. We find among the Iberians a widely diffused national writing, which divides itself into two chief kinds, that of the valley of the Ebro, and the Andalusian, and each of these was presumably subdivided into various branches: this writing seems to have originated at a very early period, and to be traceable rather to the old Greek than to the Phoenician alphabet. There is even a tradition that the Turdetani (round Seville) possessed lays from very ancient times, a metrical book of laws of 6000 verses, and even historical records; at any rate this tribe is described as the most civilized of all the Spanish tribes, and at the same time the least warlike; indeed, it regularly carried on its wars by means of foreign mercenaries. To the same region probably we must refer the descriptions given by Polybius of the flourishing condition of agriculture and the rearing of cattle in Spain—so that, in the absence of opportunity of export, grain and flesh were to be had at nominal prices—and of the splendid royal palaces with golden and silver jars full of "barley wine." At least a portion of the Spaniards, moreover, zealously embraced the elements of culture which the Romans brought along with them, so that the process of Latinizing made more rapid progress in Spain than anywhere else in the transmarine provinces. For example, warm baths after the Italian fashion came into use even at this period among the natives. Roman money, too, was to all appearance not only current in Spain far earlier than elsewhere out of Italy, but was imitated in Spanish coins; a circumstance in some measure explained by the rich silver- mines of the country. The so-called "silver of Osca" (now Huesca in Arragon), i. e. Spanish -denarii- with Iberian inscriptions, is mentioned in 559; and the commencement of their coinage cannot be placed much later, because the impression is imitated from that of the oldest Roman -denarii-.

But, while in the southern and eastern provinces the culture of the natives may have so far prepared the way for Roman civilization and Roman rule that these encountered no serious difficulties, the west and north on the other hand, and the whole of the interior, were occupied by numerous tribes more or less barbarous, who knew little of any kind of civilization—in Intercatia, for instance, the use of gold and silver was still unknown about 600—and who were on no better terms with each other than with the Romans. A characteristic trait in these free Spaniards was the chivalrous spirit of the men and, at least to an equal extent, of the women. When a mother sent forth her son to battle, she roused his spirit by the recital of the feats of his ancestors; and the fairest maiden unasked offered her hand in marriage to the bravest man. Single combat was common, both with a view to determine the prize of valour, and for the settlement of lawsuits; even disputes among the relatives of princes as to the succession were settled in this way. It not unfrequently happened that a well-known warrior confronted the ranks of the enemy and challenged an antagonist by name; the defeated champion then surrendered his mantle and sword to his opponent, and even entered into relations of friendship and hospitality with him. Twenty years after the close of the second Punic war, the little Celtiberian community of Complega (in the neighbourhood of the sources of the Tagus) sent a message to the Roman general, that unless he sent to them for every man that had fallen a horse, a mantle, and a sword, it would fare ill with him. Proud of their military honour, so that they frequently could not bear to survive the disgrace of being disarmed, the Spaniards were nevertheless disposed to follow any one who should enlist their services, and to stake their lives in any foreign quarrel. The summons was characteristic, which a Roman general well acquainted with the customs of the country sent to a Celtiberian band righting in the pay of the Turdetani against the Romans—either to return home, or to enter the Roman service with double pay, or to fix time and place for battle. If no recruiting officer made his appearance, they met of their own accord in free bands, with the view of pillaging the more peaceful districts and even of capturing and occupying towns, quite after the manner of the Campanians. The wildness and insecurity of the inland districts are attested by the fact that banishment into the interior westward of Cartagena was regarded by the Romans as a severe punishment, and that in periods of any excitement the Roman commandants of Further Spain took with them escorts of as many as 6000 men. They are still more clearly shown by the singular relations subsisting between the Greeks and their Spanish neighbours in the Graeco-Spanish double city of Emporiae, at the eastern extremity of the Pyrenees. The Greek settlers, who dwelt on the point of the peninsula separated on the landward side from the Spanish part of the town by a wall, took care that this wall should be guarded every night by a third of their civic force, and that a higher official should constantly superintend the watch at the only gate; no Spaniard was allowed to set foot in the Greek city, and the Greeks conveyed their merchandise to the natives only in numerous and well-escorted companies.

Wars between the Romans and Spaniards

These natives, full of restlessness and fond of war—full of the spirit of the Cid and of Don Quixote—were now to be tamed and, if possible, civilized by the Romans. In a military point of view the task was not difficult. It is true that the Spaniards showed themselves, not only when behind the walls of their cities or under the leadership of Hannibal, but even when left to themselves and in the open field of battle, no contemptible opponents; with their short two-edged sword which the Romans subsequently adopted from them, and their formidable assaulting columns, they not unfrequently made even the Roman legions waver. Had they been able to submit to military discipline and to political combination, they might perhaps have shaken off the foreign yoke imposed on them. But their valour was rather that of the guerilla than of the soldier, and they were utterly void of political judgment. Thus in Spain there was no serious war, but as little was there any real peace; the Spaniards, as Caesar afterwards very justly pointed out to them, never showed themselves quiet in peace or strenuous in war. Easy as it was for a Roman general to scatter a host of insurgents, it was difficult for the Roman statesman to devise any suitable means of really pacifying and civilizing Spain. In fact, he could only deal with it by palliative measures; because the only really adequate expedient, a comprehensive Latin colonization, was not accordant with the general aim of Roman policy at this period.

The Romans Maintain a Standing Army in Spain Cato Gracchus

The territory which the Romans acquired in Spain in the course of the second Punic war was from the beginning divided into two masses—the province formerly Carthaginian, which embraced in the first instance the present districts of Andalusia, Granada, Murcia, and Valencia, and the province of the Ebro, or the modern Arragon and Catalonia, the fixed quarters of the Roman army during the last war. Out of these territories were formed the two Roman provinces of Further and Hither Spain. The Romans sought gradually to reduce to subjection the interior corresponding nearly to the two Castiles, which they comprehended under the general name of Celtiberia, while they were content with checking the incursions of the inhabitants of the western provinces, more especially those of the Lusitanians in the modern Portugal and the Spanish Estremadura, into the Roman territory; with the tribes on the north coast, the Callaecians, Asturians, and Cantabrians, they did not as yet come into contact at all. The territories thus won, however, could not be maintained and secured without a standing garrison, for the governor of Hither Spain had no small trouble every year with the chastisement of the Celtiberians, and the governor of the more remote province found similar employment in repelling the Lusitanians. It was needful accordingly to maintain in Spain a Roman army of four strong legions, or about 40,000 men, year after year; besides which the general levy had often to be called out in the districts occupied by Rome, to reinforce the legions. This was of great importance for two reasons: it was in Spain first, at least first on any larger scale, that the military occupation of the land became continuous; and it was there consequently that the service acquired a permanent character. The old Roman custom of sending troops only where the exigencies of war at the moment required them, and of not keeping the men called to serve, except in very serious and important wars, under arms for more than a year, was found incompatible with the retention of the turbulent and remote Spanish provinces beyond the sea; it was absolutely impossible to withdraw the troops from these, and very dangerous even to relieve them extensively. The Roman burgesses began to perceive that dominion over a foreign people is an annoyance not only to the slave, but to the master, and murmured loudly regarding the odious war-service of Spain. While the new generals with good reason refused to allow the relief of the existing corps as a whole, the men mutinied and threatened that, if they were not allowed their discharge, they would take it of their own accord.

The wars themselves, which the Romans waged in Spain, were but of a subordinate importance. They began with the very departure of Scipio,(3) and continued as long as the war under Hannibal lasted. After the peace with Carthage (in 553) there was a cessation of arms in the peninsula; but only for a short time. In 557 a general insurrection broke out in both provinces; the commander of the Further province was hard pressed; the commander of Hither Spain was completely defeated, and was himself slain. It was necessary to take up the war in earnest, and although in the meantime the able praetor Quintus Minucius had mastered the first danger, the senate resolved in 559 to send the consul Marcus Cato in person to Spain. On landing at Emporiae he actually found the whole of Hither Spain overrun by the insurgents; with difficulty that seaport and one or two strongholds in the interior were still held for Rome. A pitched battle took place between the insurgents and the consular army, in which, after an obstinate conflict man against man, the Roman military skill at length decided the day with its last reserve. The whole of Hither Spain thereupon sent in its submission: so little, however, was this submission meant in earnest, that on a rumour of the consul having returned to Rome the insurrection immediately recommenced. But the rumour was false; and after Cato had rapidly reduced the communities which had revolted for the second time and sold them -en masse- into slavery, he decreed a general disarming of the Spaniards in the Hither province, and issued orders to all the towns of the natives from the Pyrenees to the Guadalquivir to pull down their walls on one and the same day. No one knew how far the command extended, and there was no time to come to any understanding; most of the communities complied; and of the few that were refractory not many ventured, when the Roman army soon appeared before their walls, to await its assault.

These energetic measures were certainly not without permanent effect. Nevertheless the Romans had almost every year to reduce to subjection some mountain valley or mountain stronghold in the "peaceful province," and the constant incursions of the Lusitanians into the Further province led occasionally to severe defeats of the Romans. In 563, for instance, a Roman army was obliged after heavy loss to abandon its camp, and to return by forced inarches into the more tranquil districts. It was not till after a victory gained by the praetor Lucius Aemilius Paullus in 565,(4) and a second still more considerable gained by the brave praetor Gaius Calpurnius beyond the Tagus over the Lusitanians in 569, that quiet for some time prevailed. In Hither Spain the hitherto almost nominal rule of the Romans over the Celtiberian tribes was placed on a firmer basis by Quintus Fulvius Flaccus, who after a great victory over them in 573 compelled at least the adjacent cantons to submission; and especially by his successor Tiberius Gracchus (575, 576), who achieved results of a permanent character not only by his arms, by which he reduced three hundred Spanish townships, but still more by his adroitness in adapting himself to the views and habits of the simple and haughty nation. He induced Celtiberians of note to take service in the Roman army, and so created a class of dependents; he assigned land to the roving tribes, and collected them in towns—the Spanish town Graccurris preserved the Roman's name—and so imposed a serious check on their freebooter habits; he regulated the relations of the several tribes to the Romans by just and wise treaties, and so stopped, as far as possible, the springs of future rebellion. His name was held in grateful remembrance by the Spaniards, and comparative peace henceforth reigned in the land, although the Celtiberians still from time to time winced under the yoke.

Administration of Spain

The system of administration in the two Spanish provinces was similar to that of the Sicilo-Sardinian province, but not identical. The superintendence was in both instances vested in two auxiliary consuls, who were first nominated in 557, in which year also the regulation of the boundaries and the definitive organization of the new provinces took place. The judicious enactment of the Baebian law (573), that the Spanish praetors should always be nominated for two years, was not seriously carried out in consequence of the increasing competition for the highest magistracies, and still more in consequence of the jealous supervision exercised over the powers of the magistrates by the senate; and in Spain also, except where deviations occurred in extraordinary circumstances, the Romans adhered to the system of annually changing the governors—a system especially injudicious in the case of provinces so remote and with which it was so difficult to gain an acquaintance. The dependent communities were throughout tributary; but, instead of the Sicilian and Sardinian tenths and customs, in Spain fixed payments in money or other contributions were imposed by the Romans, just as formerly by the Carthaginians, on the several towns and tribes: the collection of these by military means was prohibited by a decree of the senate in 583, in consequence of the complaints of the Spanish communities. Grain was not furnished in their case except for compensation, and even then the governor might not levy more than a twentieth; besides, conformably to the just- mentioned ordinance of the supreme authority, he was bound to adjust the compensation in an equitable manner. On the other hand, the obligation of the Spanish subjects to furnish contingents to the Roman armies had an importance very different from that which belonged to it at least in peaceful Sicily, and it was strictly regulated in the several treaties. The right, too, of coining silver money of the Roman standard appears to have been very frequently conceded to the Spanish towns, and the monopoly of coining seems to have been by no means asserted here by the Roman government with the same strictness as in Sicily. Rome had too much need of her subjects everywhere in Spain, not to proceed with all possible tenderness in the introduction and handling of the provincial constitution there. Among the communities specially favoured by Rome were the great cities along the coast of Greek, Phoenician, or Roman foundation, such as Saguntum, Gades, and Tarraco, which, as the natural pillars of the Roman rule in the peninsula, were admitted to alliance with Rome. On the whole, Spain was in a military as well as financial point of view a burden rather than a gain to the Roman commonwealth; and the question naturally occurs, Why did the Roman government, whose policy at that time evidently did not contemplate the acquisition of countries beyond the sea, not rid itself of these troublesome possessions? The not inconsiderable commercial connections of Spain, her important iron- mines, and her still more important silver-mines famous from ancient times even in the far east(5)—which Rome, like Carthage, took into her own hands, and the management of which was specially regulated by Marcus Cato (559)—must beyond doubt have co-operated to induce its retention; but the chief reason of the Romans for retaining the peninsula in their own immediate possession was, that there were no states in that quarter of similar character to the Massiliot republic in the land of the Celts and the Numidian kingdom in Libya, and that thus they could not abandon Spain without putting it into the power of any adventurer to revive the Spanish empire of the Barcides.

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