Page 0805

805

ROME-THE PUNIC WARS,

them, and went over to Antigonus of Macedonia. Believing that the struggle

between Rome and Carthage must soon be renewed, he sought to secure his own

interests by entering into friendship with a new master. To signalize his

defection, he organized a fleet, put to sea, and began in the character of

a pirate to prey upon the commerce of Rome and her allies; but he had

mistaken the men with whom he had to deal. The consul Lucius Aemilius

Paullus was sent against him, and Demetrius was glad to escape with his

life. Fleeing into Macedonia, he endeavored to persuade the young King

Philip to declare war against the Romans; but that discreet monarch was

wary of such an antagonist, and Demetrius found opportunity to repent in

exile.

The time was now at hand when the smoldering enmity between Carthage and

Rome was destined again to break forth in the flames of war. The

Carthaginians had in the mean time succeeded in reducing their mercenaries

to obedience, and in restoring order in the dependencies. The civil

condition of the state, however, was by no means happy. There had been a

division of parties, which had destroyed the political unity and disturbed

the peace of the commonwealth. The old Carthaginian aristocracy, claiming,

as such bodies always do, the exclusive privileges which they had

inherited, refusing to recognize the principles of progress and the natural

growth of the state, had arrayed themselves, under the leadership of Hanno,

against the party of the people led by the great soldier, Hamilcar Barcas.

The baleful influence of this division was manifested in the factious

opposition of the Senate to the war measures of the generals in the field.

The latter were frequently thwarted in their movements and plans by the

refusal of the aristocratic party to support them with men and means. This

opposition of the civil authorities of Carthage to the proceedings of the

party of war had been felt disastrously during the progress of the first

struggle of Carthage with Rome, and was now destined to distract the state

in a still more alarming degree.

It was under the influence of these disturbing political conditions that

the veteran Hamilcar, after the suppression of the mutineers' rebellion,

gladly retired from Carthage, and undertook the conquest of Spain. This

country now offered the finest possible field for military adventure. The

possession of Hispania indeed had become almost essential to the Western

nations. The gold mines of the East-notably those of Asia Minor-as well as

the silver mines of Greece and of other countries, were well-nigh

exhausted. In both of these great resources of wealth, the Spanish

peninsula was especially rich. Her stores of gold and silver surpassed

those of all of the rest of Europe combined. The country, moreover, was

beautiful and varied in climate and product, and the people were among the

most brave and hardy of the West.

For nine years (B. C. 236-228) Hamilcar waged successful war in the

southern part of the peninsula. In that portion of the country between the

Ebro and the strait the authority of Carthage was thoroughly established.

But in the midst of these successes Hamilcar was killed in battle, and the

command was devolved upon his son-in-law, Hasdrubal. The latter was also an

able and prudent general, who maintained and promoted the cause of his

country, both at home and in Spain.

The Romans now became alarmed at the progress of the Carthaginian arms to

the north, and in order to prevent the further extension of the power of

her rival declared themselves to be the protectors of the Greek cities in

the Spanish peninsula, as well as those of the Mediterranean islands. An

alliance was made with the towns of Saguntum and Emporiae, and Carthage was

notified that any aggression on the countries north of the river Ebro would

be resented as an act. of hostility done to the allies of the Roman people.

Hasdrubal was obliged to assent to this declaration of policy.

Hamilcar Barcas left to his country and the world a son greater than

himself. This was Hannibal, to whom any historians other than his enemies

would have conceded the title of Great. From his youth he had been schooled

in the discipline of the camp. At the age of nine he was taken by his

father-then about to depart for Spain-to an altar in Carthage, and there

made to swear eternal enmity to the Romans. He afterwards accompanied his

father