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the next few years, and though their island, as well as that of Corsica, was formed into a province, 54 the people continued to chafe and to resist until a much later period. The countries on the Grecian side of the Adriatic were also visited by a Roman army, sent out against Illyria,55 and tempted farther southwards by easy victories ; although Illyria itself was not decisively reduced until ten years afterwards.56 The honors bestowed at a distance upon the invaders by Athens and Corinth 57 smoothed the later way of the Romans to the East; but for the present, the scenes of trial and victory and spoils lay in different directions. The great war of these intervening times arose when the tribes beyond the Po, joined by their kindred or their mercenaries from the other side of the Alps, combined 58 in one vast Gaulish host against the forces of the Commonwealth, and for several years continued their hostilities, to the great alarm of the Romans and their allies. Yet the battles with the Gauls, like those with the Illyrians or the Italians, were but sports, compared to those which soon followed against Hannibal.
Such sketches as have gone before are almost too meagre to introduce the great 59 contest in which the
54 Digest. Lib. I. Tit. II. 2, sect. tion into the Eleusinian mysteries. 32.
Zonaras, VIII, 19. The Corin55 Polyb., II. 8, 11. Flor., II. 5. thians admitted the Romans to the Appian., De Reb. Illyr., VII. Isthmian games. Polyb., II. 12. 56 Polyb., III, 16, 19.
58 Polyb., II. 21 et seq. Flor., 57 The Athenians gave their II. 4. franchise to the Romans, and al- 59 - Bellum maxiine omnium melowed them the privilege of initia- morabile." Liv., XXI. 1.
Romans were compelled to retreat from their conquests, and even to defend their homes. But the magnitude and the extent of the warlike enterprises on which they seem to have been driven may have prepared us to read of strange reverses; while the sensitiveness we have witnessed in supporting the laws they were allowed to institute and to obey may make it but a natural result that they should be upheld through the woes and the excitements of the seventeen years 61 for which the second Punic war continued. The means of deciding upon the strength which the liberty of Rome communicated to her people must be sought in some scenes from which a Christian heart would fain shrink back in sorrow.
Of the factions amongst the few in Carthage who had any place in either faction or citizenship, one was for the existing luxury and oligarchy, while the other maintained the necessity of more liberal government and more general energy. The disputes between them, which had not been quieted by the misfortunes of the war with Rome, nor even overcome by the greater dangers that ensued with the long-protracted rebellion of the mercenary troops and the African subjects of the city, broke out, it would appear, into fresh violence, when Hamilcar Barca, at the head of the comparatively liberal party, after having saved his country from utter shame in Sicily, and utter destruction in her own territories, made and carried his proposal of an expedition to
61 A. C. 218-201.
60 " Pro Italia Liv., XXI. 42.
Spain, where, as he undoubtedly declared, lay the only opportunities of repairing the recent losses and calamities. He had another, but a secret, aim; and when he stood, as leader of the armament against Spain, before one of the great shrines in his city, a few years after the peace with Rome, the thought of revenge upon the only enemies who had triumphed over Carthage was at the beginning and the end of the plans on whose execution he was then departing. His prayers and libations for success were offered ; but, instead of withdrawing, he took his son, a boy but nine years old, and leading him up to the altar, where none but the god could hear, he bade him swear there should be no peace betwixt him and the Romans. The boy was Hannibal; and the war upon which we are entering was the keeping of his vow. Its fulfilment had been already begun. On Hamilcar's death in Spain, his son-in-law, Hasdrubal, succeeded to his post and enterprise; and when Hasdrubal perished, three years before hostilities began with Rome, Hannibal, though still but young 63 to assume such an inheritance as that of his brother-inlaw and father, obtained the command by the voices of the soldiers, who had witnessed his daring and his skill in Hamilcar's battles when he was a boy, and in the expeditions which were put under his own direction as he grew in years.
62 Polyb., III. 11. Corn. Nepos, years. Nepos says (Hann., 3) less Hann., 2.
than 25. But Hannibal was born 63 Zonaras (VIII. 21) seems to A. C. 247, and it was now 221. have the right in giving him 26
On the other hand, the Romans, who had taken the most treacherous advantage of the perils into which Carthage was brought by her mercenaries, were greatly concerned to hear of the advances made by the Carthaginian generals in Spain. At one time, they entered into a treaty with Hasdrubal, who consented that the river Ebro should be the limit of the Carthaginian dominions, 64 and that the independence of Saguntum in the South should be respected as that of a city allied to Rome. But it was not so easy to deal with Hannibal, who, immediately after his appointment by the soldiers was confirmed at Carthage,66 began upon campaigns against several of the Spanish tribes, and in the next year but one laid siege to Saguntum itself, as if he desired nothing more than war 67 with the nation to whom he had sworn implacable enmity in his boyhood, and against whom his whole life had been spent in discipline. The fall of Saguntum provoked the open declaration of hostilities on the part of Rome,69 and was soon followed by the astonishing march of the Carthaginian army across the Pyrenees and the Alps to the northern plains of Italy.
Six-and-twenty thousand troops 69 under a Carthaginian commander might well appear to the Romans to be no match for the Consuls and the legions of their own great Commonwealth ; and there were few spirits so heavy as not to be stirred by the hope of instant and entire victory over the foe, who, after conquering Spain against their will, now dared to brave them on their own soil. The first encounter, however, with the invader, near the river Ticino,o made the Romans aware that he was formidable ; and the next engagement, on the banks of the Trebbia,” resulting in the complete defeat of two Consuls, with both their armies, threatened nearer dangers than had been believed within the range of possibility. Hannibal, flushed with his rapid victories, and joined by large numbers of Gauls, allies as well as enemies of Rome,72 sped on towards the prize he now not only hoped, but confidently looked, to gain. Caius Flaminins, the Tribune and the Censor, now Consul, dared to block up the way by Thrasymene; but was slain himself, while his legions were scattered like “ a forest felled by mountain winds.”73 Keen blew the blast towards Rome; and when the Senate had sat shivering from sunrise to sunset, they determined to screen themselves and the people by appointing a Dictator, to whom the charge they gave — that he should “fortify the walls and towers of the city, — post garrisons wherever might be proper, - cut down bridges across the streams,- and save Rome, at least, 70 Polyb., III. 65. Liv., XXI. 73 See Byron's magnificent stan
64 - Utriusque imperii” is the bellumque Romanum mandatum esexpression of Livy, as if the Ro- set." Liv., XXI. 5. mans had been in possession of the 68 Liv., XXI. 18. Polyb., III. country to the north. XXI. 2. 33.
65 Liv., loc. cit. Polyb., II. 13. 69 12,000 African and 8,000 66 Polyb., III. 13.
Spanish foot-soldiers, besides 6,000 67 “ Ex quo die dux est declara- horse. Polyb., III. 56. tus, velut Italia ei provincia decreta,