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ROME-THE PUNIC WARS.

Carthaginian dominions in Europe. Thither repaired Hannibal, as soon as he

had brought the siege of Saguntum to a successful conclusion, and there

began to prepare for the now imminent struggle with Rome. It was his

purpose to adopt no half-way measures, but to make his enemy at once feel

the blow by carrying the war into Italy.

All things considered, the general advantages were in favor of the Romans.

Throughout Italy there was peace. Liberal concessions to the commons in the

way of agrarian laws and many extensions of popular rights had removed the

causes of discontent, and the system of mutual checks established in the

government prevented a recurrence of the ancient disorders. The Roman army

was composed largely of citizens in whom the old instincts of patriotism

still prevailed over mercenary motives; and of those who had been recruited

from the allied states, the most were loyal subjects of the Republic. The

Roman treasury was well filled, and the revenues were managed with economy

and prudence. In Carthage the condition of affairs was less auspicious. The

popular or war party was now in the ascendant, but the conservatives, under

the lead of Hanno, were still a powerful faction in the state. The

Carthaginian army was composed mostly of mercenaries, whose patriotism

extended no further than pay and booty. The treasury had been bankrupt by

the first war with Rome and the waste and ruin attendant upon the

mutineers' rebellion. Of late, however, the resources of the government had

been greatly improved by the yield of the Spanish mines, so that in

resources wherewith to conduct a long war the two powers were not unequally

matched.

The impetuous Hannibal was not disposed to leave every thing to the naked

contest of armies. He zealously sought to strengthen himself by friendly

alliances. Negotiations were opened with young Philip of Macedon, and with

the Cisalpine Gauls, and both were urged to make common cause against her

who had either been or would be a common enemy. The Roman colonies recently

established among the Gauls furnished good ground for discontent, and

Hannibal was not without hopes that all the nations of the North could be

won over to his cause, and their country made a base of operations against

Italy. Nor was it beyond his expectations that the Latin towns and several

of the Italian states, reviving the antagonisms of the past, might be

induced to revolt against the power which had so long controlled them.

By the beginning of the year B. C. 218, the Carthaginian was ready to begin

his Italian campaign. His army consisted of ninety thousand foot, twelve

thousand horse, and thirty-seven elephants. The leader chose to make his

way into Europe by way of the Spanish peninsula. He accordingly crossed the

river Ebro, and entered upon his invasion. In the country below the

Pyrenees he met with serious opposition, and nearly a fourth of his forces

were wasted in battle before he reached the mountain passes. Before leaving

Spain he left his brother, Hasdrubal, with ten thousand men, to hold the

conquered territory, and with the remainder pressed on to the Rhone. Here

the Gauls had. mustered an army to prevent his passage; but he performed a

flank movement, crossed the river at another point, and easily routed the

barbarians.

In the mean time there was at Rome no spirit commensurate with the

occasion. The peril was not regarded as imminent. The consuls were

apparently ignorant of Hannibal's plans, and the preparations made were

altogether inadequate, as well as misdirected. One of the consular armies,

commanded by Tiberius Sempronius Longus, was sent into Sicily, with the

ulterior object of crossing into Africa. The other force, led by Publius

Cornelius Scipio, was dispatched to Spain under the belief that Hannibal

was still in that country. On arriving at his. destination Scipio learned

that his antagonist was already beyond the Pyrenees. Following in his track

the con- sul reached the Rhone, and there learned that Hannibal was on his

way to Rome! Scipio then sent the larger part of his army back to Spain

under his brother Cneius, and with the remainder embarked for Rome. On

reaching home he proceeded into Northern Italy, where, at the head of the

troops to be gathered en route, and in Cisalpine Gaul, he proposed to meet

the enemy,