Theodor Mommsen

History of Rome. Book III


From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States


Translated with the Sanction of the Author By William Purdie Dickson, D.D., LL.D. Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow

A New Edition Revised Throughout and Embodying Recent Additions

Preparer's Note

This work contains many literal citations of and references to foreign words, sounds, and alphabetic symbols drawn from many languages, including Gothic and Phoenician, but chiefly Latin and Greek. This English Gutenberg edition, constrained to the characters of 7-bit ASCII code, adopts the following orthographic conventions:

1) Except for Greek, all literally cited non-English words that do not refer to texts cited as academic references, words that in the source manuscript appear italicized, are rendered with a single preceding, and a single following dash; thus, -xxxx-.

2) Greek words, first transliterated into Roman alphabetic equivalents, are rendered with a preceding and a following double-dash; thus, --xxxx--. Note that in some cases the root word itself is a compound form such as xxx-xxxx, and is rendered as --xxx-xxx--

3) Simple unideographic references to vocalic sounds, single letters, or alphabeic dipthongs; and prefixes, suffixes, and syllabic references are represented by a single preceding dash; thus, -x, or -xxx.

4) (Especially for the complex discussion of alphabetic evolution in Ch. XIV: Measuring And Writing). Ideographic references, meaning pointers to the form of representation itself rather than to its content, are represented as -'id:xxxx'-. 'id:' stands for 'ideograph', and indicates that the reader should form a picture based on the following 'xxxx'; which may be a single symbol, a word, or an attempt at a picture composed of ASCII characters. E. g. -'id:GAMMA gamma'- indicates an uppercase Greek gamma-form followed by the form in lowercase. Some such exotic parsing as this is necessary to explain alphabetic development because a single symbol may have been used for a number of sounds in a number of languages, or even for a number of sounds in the same language at different times. Thus, -'id:GAMMA gamma' might very well refer to a Phoenician construct that in appearance resembles the form that eventually stabilized as an uppercase Greek 'gamma' juxtaposed to one of lowercase. Also, a construct such as -'id:E' indicates a symbol that with ASCII resembles most closely a Roman uppercase 'E', but, in fact, is actually drawn more crudely.

5) Dr. Mommsen has given his dates in terms of Roman usage, A.U.C.; that is, from the founding of Rome, conventionally taken to be 753 B. C. The preparer of this document, has appended to the end of each volume a table of conversion between the two systems.


BOOK III: From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

I. Carthage

II. The War between Rome and Carthage Concerning Sicily

III. The Extension of Italy to Its Natural Boundaries

IV. Hamilcar and Hannibal

V. The War under Hannibal to the Battle of Cannae

VI. The War under Hannibal from Cannae to Zama

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

VIII. The Eastern States and the Second Macedonian War

IX. The War with Antiochus of Asia

X. The Third Macedonian War

XI. The Government and the Governed

XII. The Management of Land and of Capital

XIII. Faith and Manners

XIV. Literature and Art


From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

Arduum res gestas scribere.


Chapter I


The Phoenicians

The Semitic stock occupied a place amidst, and yet aloof from, the nations of the ancient classical world. The true centre of the former lay in the east, that of the latter in the region of the Mediterranean; and, however wars and migrations may have altered the line of demarcation and thrown the races across each other, a deep sense of diversity has always severed, and still severs, the Indo-Germanic peoples from the Syrian, Israelite, and Arabic nations. This diversity was no less marked in the case of that Semitic people which spread more than any other in the direction of the west - the Phoenicians. Their native seat was the narrow border of coast bounded by Asia Minor, the highlands of Syria, and Egypt, and called Canaan, that is, the 'plain'. This was the only name which the nation itself made use of; even in Christian times the African farmer called himself a Canaanite. But Canaan received from the Hellenes the name of Phoenike, the 'land of purple', or 'land of the red men', and the Italians also were accustomed to call the Canaanites Punians, as we are accustomed still to speak of them as the Phoenician or Punic race.

Their Commerce

The land was well adapted for agriculture; but its excellent harbours and the abundant supply of timber and of metals favoured above all things the growth of commerce; and it was there perhaps, where the opulent eastern continent abuts on the wide-spreading Mediterranean so rich in harbours and islands, that commerce first dawned in all its greatness upon man. The Phoenicians directed all the resources of courage, acuteness, and enthusiasm to the full development of commerce and its attendant arts of navigation, manufacturing, and

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