UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
and towns which had adhered to the Roman cause were left with little
disturbance, but those which had given offense were captured and punished.
Tributes were assessed and the political condition fixed on a basis
analogous to that already existing in Spain and Sicily. Roman customs and
institutions were rapidly introduced. The Latin language took the place of
the harsh tongue of Syria and the guttural dialects of the native tribes.
The commerce of Carthage was transferred to Utica, and thenceforth
conducted by Roman merchantmen. The plains of Northern Africa were found to
be of as great fertility as those of Campania and Sicily. An agricultural
interest-well in keeping with the primitive tastes of the Romans- sprang up
along the whole coast; and to this source, more even than to her
Mediterranean dependencies, the capital city began to look for the ultimate
means of support. The spite of Rome, meanwhile, like that of a savage who
mutilates the body of his dead enemy, was pleased to plow up and sow with
salt the site of Carthage, and to pronounce a curse on him who should
attempt to rebuild the city. The queen of the Seven Hills was victorious
from sea to sea. She made herself glorious out of the spoils of the
nations, and feasted without compunction on dainties prepared by the weary
hands of slaves.
CHAPTER LXI- THE IMPERIAL REPUBLIC.
The final subjugation of Greece and the destruction of Carthage-both of
which events occurred in B. C. 146-may be cited as marking the limit of
formidable opposition to the domination of Rome over the states of the
Mediterranean. Henceforth she was mistress, and did as she would. Not that
there were no more wars. Not that Rome was not obliged to defend with the
sword what she had acquired by violence. Not that a spirit was wanting
among the subject nations to rise in revolt against the colossal despotism
under which they were pressed in servitude. But the power of further
successful resistance was gone. To go to war with the Imperial City became
an act of rashness which only the most reckless and foolhardy dared to
indulge, even in dreams. It will be of interest to glance for a moment at
the number and character of those countries now held in subordination by
the great Republic.
The provincial system of the Romans began, as already said, with the
establishment of pro-consular governments in Sicily and Sardinia. The
kingdom of Numidia, in the western part of Northern Africa, though not
absolutely reduced to a province, was ruled by Masinissa in the interest of
Rome. Gallia Cisalpina was overrun at the close of the Second Punic War,
and the limits of the Republic were thus extended on the north to the
barrier of the Alps. The reduction of Macedonia in the times of Philip V.
and Perseus has been but recently narrated. When the paternal dominions of
these kings were stripped of independence, and soon afterwards organized as
a pro-consular government, Greece was added as a kind of subject of a
subject. The authority of Rome was thus extended from the river Strymon to
Cape Matapan. Meanwhile, to the east of the Province of Africa, the ancient
kingdom of the Pharaohs, now ruled by the successors of Ptolemy Soter, had
sought the protection of Rome on more than one occasion, thus paving the
way for an easy assumption of right on the part of the Senate. In the East
the Roman arms had been felt and the voice of Roman dictation heard as far
as Ephesus, and the whole of Asia Minor but awaited the cataclysm by which
all things were to be broken up and handed over to the Republic.
Thus were established by the middle of the second century B. C.-from which
date Rome may be said to have become Imperial-the great provinces of
Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica,