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THE destruction of Rome by the Gauls, B. C. 390, had well nigh proved fatal to the Republic. Slowly through the preceding century she had established her supremacy over the neighbouring tribes, and painfully the plebeians had won, step by step, privilege after privilege from the jealous oligarchy. The long-protracted siege of Veii, B. C. 405—396, forced the State to keep an army in the field during the winter months, and to provide it with pay from the public treasury. The plebeians received a considerable share of the conquered territory of Veii. But the devastation of the city by the Gauls gave the patricians an opportunity of resuming their hateful supremacy, and it was not till the Licinian Rogations became law, B. C. 367, that Rome began that career of conquest which brought her, a century after, in collision with the great maritime state of Carthage. During that century she subdued the Etruscans in the north and the Samnites in the south, crushed the resistance of her Latin allies, and successfully repelled the invasion of Pyrrhus, who came over as the champion of the cities of Magna Græcia. The successive invasions of the Gauls, mere desultory expeditions in search of plunder, had tended to establish her ascendancy by teaching the Italian tribes to look on her as their bulwark against the common enemy. But while the Romans were thus acquiring dominion over the extensive sea-board of Italy, they had hitherto paid little attention to their navy, and the Carthaginians, jealous of their growing power, had excluded them by a special treaty, concluded B. C. 306, not only from the Eastern waters of the Mediterranean, but from Sardinia and the Atlantic. This defect was fully remedied before the end of the First Punic War, B. C. 264-241. The Romans seem to have entered on the contest without sufficiently weighing the impossibility of holding an island against the most powerful maritime State in the world; and it was not till their successes by land had been completely neutralized by their want of power at sea, that they set themselves in earnest to meet their adversaries on their own element. In spite of terrible losses they persevered, and the victory of the Ægates Insula, which decided the struggle and made Sicily a Roman province, was the reward of their determined exertions. The interval between the First and Second Punic Wars was only a breathing time, in which each nation girded itself for the final struggle. Hamilcar Barca, a man of commanding genius

and worthy in every way to be the father of Hannibal, had nearly retrieved the Carthaginian cause in Sicily, had defied the Romans for six years, and might, perhaps, have turned the tide of conquest but for the great victory of Catulus. He withdrew from Sicily baffled for the time, but with full confidence in his own genius, and thirsting for revenge. He felt himself more than a match for the Roman generals, and, by his own personal ascendancy, he had inspired the mercenaries of Carthage with that esprit de corps which alone could enable them to meet the citizen soldiers of Rome. But the revolt of these mercenaries immediately after the conclusion of the War, and the desperate struggle which ensued, convinced him that Rome could never be humbled by the agency of such unstable and unscrupulous auxiliaries. The African War was no sooner ended than Hamilcar, apparently without the sanction of the government, a close oligarchy headed by Hanno, his inveterate enemy, started for Spain, determined to make this his base of operations for the invasion of Italy, and by conciliating the native tribes, wherever it was possible to abstain from force, to weld into one homogeneous body the wild inhabitants of the Peninsula by the forces of civilization, and, when the time was ripe, to hurl them at his foe. This project, ably conceived and resolutely carried out, was, after his death, successfully prosecuted by his son-in-law Hasdrubal, who seems to have been rather a statesman than a warrior, and to have won the hearts of the Spaniards by his popular qualities and courteous address; while Hannibal, though hardly more than a boy, was even now entrusted with the command in distant expeditions.

The Romans, on the other hand, took advantage of the African War to wrest Sardinia from the Carthaginians, but they were unable to resist their progress in Spain in consequence of an invasion of the Gauls. Already Rome had pushed forward the colonies of Sena and Ariminum into their territory, and her conquests in the south might reasonably lead them to dread further aggression. But they missed their opportunity. An invasion from the north in the midst of the First Punic War would have been a serious embarrassment to the Romans; it was not till three years after its close that the Gauls of Lombardy, aided by their Transalpine brethren, made their attack. They were defeated with great slaughter as they returned from the plains of Etruria laden with booty, and the Romans, anxious to push their advantage, and aware of the impending danger on the side of Spain, resolved to reduce the Boii and Insubres, and to disarm, if possible, tribes which would inevitably join the Carthaginians, should they succeed in crossing the Alps. But they were forced to leave Hasdrubal leisure to mature his plans, and to content themselves with a treaty, by which he was bound not to advance his arms north of the Iberus (Ebro.) The Gallic War lasted four years, B. C. 225-222, and in the last year the consul Marcellus, the future conqueror of Syracuse, won the spolia opima by slaying the chief Viridomarus in single combat. To keep the Gauls in check the two important colonies of Placentia and Cremona were founded of which the former ren

dered most essential service to Rome, not only by the resistance it offered to Hannibal, but still more by delaying the southward march of his brother Hasdrubal in the twelfth year of the War. The year after the conclusion of the Gallic War Hasdrubal was assassinated, and Hannibal succeeded to the command. His preparations were nearly ripe, and the pretext for immediate hostilities was soon found. Saguntum was a Greek colony situated south of the Ebro, with which the Romans had concluded a separate alliance. The capture of this city by Hannibal, in spite of the remonstrances of their allies, B. C. 219, led to the final rupture and the famous scene in the Carthaginian senate, when the Roman envoy, holding peace and war in the folds of his toga, offered a choice of either, and when they threw back on him the responsibility of that choice, shook out the folds with the reply, "Then we give you war.” There was no hesitation on their side in accepting the challenge: and though the oligarchic or peace party was strong and succeeded in crippling to some extent the resources of the young general, yet such was the enthusiasm with which his countrymen generally regarded him, that all his dispositions for opening the campaign were ratified by the government, and the troops he demanded were unhesitatingly furnished. The Romans on their side seem to have entered on the War in a spirit of over-weening confidence, soon destined to be rudely shaken; they were unprepared for the rapidity of Hannibal's movements, and allowed their enemy to penetrate into Italy almost unopposed. But this confidence, however excessive, was not misplaced, and the issue shewed that the genius of a great commander is of no avail when opposed to the obstinate valour of a united nation.


Ex. Line.

1. 10. Propius periculum. Propior and proximus with their adverbs take a dat., an acc., or an abl. with 'a' or 'ab.'

12. Ultro, "without provocation."

Inferrent. This subjunctive is in accordance with the ordinary rule, the sentence being sub-oblique, but 'crederent' is by a common confusion brought under the same rule; the sense would have been complete if the text had been 'quod superbe avareque imperitatum victis esset.'

16. Africo bello. The revolt of the Carthaginian mercenaries at the end of the First Punic War, B. C. 241. The government attempted to disband them without settling the arrears of pay, and a rebellion ensued, in which even Utica joined. Nothing but the genius of Hamilcar saved Carthage. She did not regain her supremacy in Africa till B. C. 237. In the following year Hamilcar crossed over to Spain.

19. Sicilia Sardiniaque amissæ. Sicily was lost by the treaty which closed the First Punic War and Sardinia delivered to the Romans B. C. 238 by its garrison, which sided with the mutineers in the African War. Carthage, unable at the moment to offer resistance, complained in the following year of this spoliation, but was met by a counter declaration of war in consequence of injuries alleged to have been inflicted on Roman traders, and was forced not only to cede the island, but to indemnify the Romans for the expenses incurred in preparations for war and the wrongs of merchants by a payment of 1200 talents.

20. Nam et, 'for he felt that.'

24. Sub, just after,' but it more frequently means 'just before,' so Hor. Carm. I. viii. 14, 'Sub lacrimosa Troja tempora.'

Per quinque annos. The war really lasted only three years, but Livy throws in the time occupied by Hamilcar in preparing for his voyage to Spain. 25. Novem annis, from 236 to 228, B. C.

30. Pueritia. He was eighteen years old at the time of his father's death, and took part in the battle in which he fell.

32. Factionis Barcinæ. The war-party at Carthage, the adherents of Hamilcar Barca, (lightning,) whose influence had increased so greatly, in consequence of the great general's success in Sicily and Africa, that it could exact

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