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Book XI

This webpage reproduces a Book of
Roman History

Cassius Dio

published in Vol. II
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 191414

The text is in the public domain.

This text has not yet been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Cassius Dio
Roman History

Thayer's Note: Before e-mailing me with questions, comments, or corrections involving the numbering of Books, chapters, and sections in this text, please read the orientation page.

Fragments of Book XII

 p3  Zonaras 8:

15 They voted that the consuls, Gaius Atilius, brother of Regulus, and Lucius Manlius, should make an expedition into Africa. These, on coming to Sicily, attacked Lilybaeum and undertook to fill up a portion of the moat to help in bringing up the engines. The Carthaginians tried to dig beneath the mound and undermine it; but when they found this to be a losing game, because of the numbers of the opposing workmen, they built another wall, crescent-shaped, inside. The Romans ran tunnels under this circular wall, in order that when it settled into the mine they might rush inside. The Carthaginians then built counter-tunnels and came upon many workers who were unaware of what the other side was doing; these they killed, and they also destroyed many by hurling blazing fire-wood into the excavations. Some of the allies now, burdened by the protraction of the siege and displeased because their wages were not paid them in full, made propositions to the Romans to betray the place. Hamilcar discovered their plan, but did not disclose it, for fear of driving them into open hostility; instead, he supplied their officials with money, and also promised some to the multitude. In this way he won their favour to such an extent that they did not even deny their treachery, but drove away the last envoys when they returned.  p5 The latter then deserted to the consuls, and received from them land in Sicily and other gifts.

The Carthaginians at home, hearing of this, sent Adherbal with a very large number of ships carrying grain and money to Lilybaeum. And he, after waiting for a storm, sailed in. Thereupon many others likewise attempted a landing, and some succeeded, while others were destroyed.

As long as both consuls were present the conflicts were evenly matched. Pestilence and famine, however, came to harass them, and these caused one of them to return home with the soldiers of his division. Hamilcar then took courage and made sorties, in which he would set fire to the engines and slay the men defending them; and his cavalry, setting out from Drepanum, prevented the Romans from getting provisions and overran the territory of their allies. Adherbal also ravaged the shores now of Sicily, now of Italy, so that the Romans did not know what to do. In the meantime, however, Lucius Junius was preparing a fleet, and Claudius Pulcher hastened to Lilybaeum, where he manned triremes and with them captured Hanno, the Carthaginian, as he was leaving the harbour on a five-banked ship. The prize craft served the Romans as a model in ship-building.

The fleet was so frequently endangered that the  p7 Romans were disheartened by the constant destruction of their ships; for in these they lost a good many men and vast sums of money. Yet they would not give up; nay, they even slew a man who uttered a word in the senate about reconciliation with the Carthaginians, and they voted that a dictator should be named. Collatinus [Calatinus] was therefore named dictator, and Metellus became master of the horse; but they accomplished nothing worthy of remembrance. While Collatinus was being chosen dictator, Junius had won over Eryx, and Carthalo had occupied Aegithallus and taken Junius alive. 16 The next year Gaius Aurelius and Publius Servilius took office and spent their time in harrying Lilybaeum and Drepanum, in keeping the Carthaginians off the land, and in devastating the territory of their allies. Carthalo undertook many different kinds of enterprises against them, but, as he accomplished nothing, he set out for Italy, with the object of drawing the consuls back there after him, or of injuring the country meanwhile and capturing cities. Yet he made no headway even there, and on learning that the praetor urbanus was approaching, sailed back to Sicily. His mercenaries now rebelled  p9 on account of their pay, whereupon he put a large number ashore on desert islands and left them there, and sent many off to Carthage. When the rest learned of this, they became indignant, and were ready to mutiny. Hamilcar, Carthalo's successor, cut down many of them one night and had many others thrown into the sea. In the meantime the Romans had concluded a perpetual friendship with Hiero, and they furthermore remitted all the tribute which they were accustomed to receive from him annually.

The next year the Romans refrained officially from naval warfare, because of their misfortunes and expenses, but some private individuals asked for ships on condition of restoring the vessels but appropriating any booty gained; and among other injuries that they inflicted upon the enemy, they sailed to Hippo, an African city, and there burned up all the boats and many of the buildings. The natives put chains across the mouth of the harbour, and the invaders found themselves in an awkward situation, but escaped by cleverness and good fortune. They made a quick dash at the chains, and just as the beaks of the ships were about to catch in them, the members of the crews moved back to the stern, and so the prows were lightened and cleared the chains; and again, when all rushed into the prows, the sterns of the vessels were lifted high into the air. Thus they effected their escape, and later near Panormus they conquered the Carthaginians on the sea.

As for the consuls, Metellus Caecilius was in the vicinity of Lilybaeum, and Numerius Fabius was investing Drepanum, where he formed a plan to capture the little isle of Pelias. As this had been seized earlier by the Carthaginians, he sent soldiers  p11 by night, who killed the garrison and took possession of the island. Learning this, Hamilcar at dawn attacked the troops who had crossed to it. Fabius, unable to defend them, led an assault upon Drepanum in order either to capture the city while deserted or to draw Hamilcar away from the island. One of these objects was accomplished, for Hamilcar in fear retired within the fortifications. So Fabius occupied Pelias, and by filling in the strait, which was a shallow one, between it and the mainland he made a stretch of solid ground, and thus conducted more easily his operations against the wall, which was rather weak at this point. The Carthaginians caused the Romans much annoyance also by sailing over to Sicily and making trips across into Italy. They exchanged each other's captives man for man; and those left over — since the numbers were not equal — the Carthaginians got back for money.

In the period that followed various persons became consuls, but effected nothing worthy of record.  p13 The Romans owed the majority of their reverses to the fact that they kept sending out from year to year different and ever different leaders, and took away their office from them when they were just learning the art of general­ship. It looked as if they were choosing them for practice and not for service.

The Gauls, who were acting in alliance with the Carthaginians, and hated them because they were ill-treated by them, abandoned to the Romans for money a position with whose defence they had been entrusted. These Gauls and other allies of the Carthaginians who had revolted from their service the Romans secured as mercenaries; up to this time they had never supported a foreign contingent. Elated at this accession, and furthermore by the ravaging of Africa on the part of the private citizens who were managing the ships, they were no longer willing to neglect the sea, but again got together a fleet.

17 Lutatius Catulus was chosen consul, and with him was sent out Quintus Valerius Flaccus, who was praetor urbanus. On coming to Sicily they assailed Drepanum both by land and sea, and demolished a section of the wall. Indeed, they would have captured the town but for the fact that the consul was wounded and the soldiers were occupied in caring for him. In the meantime they learned that a body of the enemy had come from home with an immense fleet commanded by Hanno, and they turned their attention to these new arrivals. When the forces had been marshalled in hostile array, a star resembling a torch appeared above the Romans and after rising high to the left of the Carthaginians plunged into their ranks. The naval combat was a  p15 vigorous one on the part of both nations, for several reasons; but in particular, the Carthaginians were anxious to drive the Romans into utter despair of naval success, and the Romans were eager to retrieve their former disasters. Nevertheless, the Romans gained the victory, for the Carthaginian vessels were impeded by the fact that they also carried freight, grain, and money.

Hanno escaped and hastened at once to Carthage. But the Carthaginians, seized with wrath and fear, crucified him and sent envoys to Catulus regarding peace. Now he was disposed to end the war, since his office was soon to expire; for he could not hope to destroy Carthage in a short time, and he did not care to leave to his successors the glory of his own labours. Hence, after they had given him money, grain, and hostages, they were granted an armistice, so that they might send envoys to Rome to sue for peace. The conditions were, that they should retire from the whole of Sicily, yielding it to the Romans, as well as abandon all the surrounding islands, that they should carry on no war with Hiero, and should pay an indemnity, a part at the time of making the treaty and a part later, and should return the Roman deserters and captives free of cost, while ransoming their own.

Such were the terms agreed upon; for Hamilcar succeeded merely in having the disgrace of passing under the yoke omitted. After settling these conditions he led his soldiers out of the fortifications and sailed for home before the oaths were administered. The people of Rome soon learned of the victory and were greatly elated, feeling that they had triumphed completely. And when the envoys arrived,  p17 they could no longer restrain themselves, and hoped to possess all of Africa. Therefore they would not abide by the terms of the consul; instead, they exacted from their foes a much larger sum of money than had been promised, and also forbade them to sail past Italy or their allied territory abroad in ships of war, or to employ any mercenaries from such districts.

The first war between the Carthaginians and the Romans ended in this way, then, in the twenty-fourth year; and Catulus celebrated a triumph over its conclusion. Quintus Lutatius became consul and departed for Sicily, where with his brother Catulus he established order throughout the island; he also deprived the inhabitants of their arms. Thus Sicily, with the exception of Hiero's domain, was enslaved by the Romans; and thenceforth they were on friendly terms with the Carthaginians.

Both were soon again involved in other wars of their own. At Carthage the remnant of the mercenary force and the slave population in the city and many of their neighbours, taking advantage of the misfortunes of the state, joined in an attack upon it. The Romans did not heed the request of the rebels for aid, but sent envoys in return; and when they found themselves unable to reconcile the combatants, they released free of cost all the Carthaginian captives they were holding, sent grain to the city, and permitted it to gather mercenaries from among their own allies. By this action they were rather seeking to gain a reputation for fairness than displaying a real interest in their own advantage, and this later caused them trouble. For after conquering his adversaries, Hamilcar Barca, while he did not dare to  p19 make a campaign against the Romans, much as he hated them, nevertheless departed for Spain, contrary to the wishes of the magistrates at home.

18 This, however, took place later. At the time under discussion the Romans made war upon the Faliscans and Manlius Torquatus ravaged their country. In a battle with them his heavy infantry was worsted, but his cavalry conquered. In a second engagement with them he was victorious and took possession of their arms, their cavalry, their goods, their slaves, and half their country. Later on the original city, which was set upon a steep mountain, was torn down and another one was built, easy of access. After this the Romans again waged war upon the Boii and upon the Gauls who were neighbours of the latter, and upon some of the Ligurians. So the Ligurians were conquered in battle and harried by Sempronius Gracchus; in a conflict with the Gauls, however, Publius Valerius was at first defeated, but later, learning that troops had come from Rome to his assistance, he renewed the struggle with the enemy, determined either to conquer by his own exertions or to die — for he preferred death to living in disgrace — and by some good fortune or other he gained the victory.

Such were the events, then, that befell the Romans at this time. They also secured Sardinia from the Carthaginians, without a battle, as well as a fresh supply of money, by charging them with injuring  p21 Roman shipping. For the Carthaginians had not yet recovered strength, and feared their threats. The next year Lucius Lentulus and Quintus Flaccus made a campaign against the Gauls; and as long as they remained together, they were invincible, but when they began to pillage districts separately, with the purpose of securing greater booty, the army of Flaccus became imperilled, being surrounded by night. For the time the barbarians were beaten back, but after gaining accessions of allies they proceeded anew with a huge force against the Romans. When confronted by Publius Lentulus and Licinius Varus, they hoped to terrify them by their numbers and prevail without a battle. So they sent and demanded back the land surrounding Ariminum and commanded the Romans to vacate the city, since it belonged to them. The consuls, because of their small numbers, did not dare to risk a battle, nor would they undertake to abandon any territory; accordingly they arranged an armistice, to enable the Gauls to send envoys to Rome. These came before the senate with the same demands, but obtained no satisfaction, and returned to camp. There they found their cause was lost. For some of their allies repented, and regarding the Romans with fear, turned upon the Boii, and many were killed on both sides. Thereupon the remainder went home and the Boii obtained peace at the price of a large portion of their land.

When the Gallic wars had now been ended, Lentulus conducted a campaign against the Ligurians; he repulsed those who attacked him and gained possession of several fortresses. Varus set out for Corsica, but inasmuch as he lacked the necessary ships to  p23 carry him over, he sent a certain Claudius Clineas ahead with a force. The latter terrified the Corsicans, held a conference with them, and made peace as though he had full authority to do so. Varus, however, ignored this agreement and fought the Corsicans until he had subjugated them. The Romans, to divert from themselves the blame for breaking the compact, sent Claudius to them, offering to surrender him; and when he was not received, they drove him into exile. They were on the point of making an expedition against the Carthaginians, alleging that these were committing outrages upon their merchants; but instead of doing so, they exacted more money and renewed the truce. Yet  p25 the treaty was not destined even thus to be of long standing. The case of the Carthaginians was accordingly postponed; but the Romans made an expedition against the Sardinians, who would not yield obedience, and conquered them. Later the  p27 Carthaginians secretly persuaded the Sardinians to rise against the Romans. In addition to this the Corsicans also revolted and the Ligurians did not remain quiet.

The following year the Romans divided their forces into three parts in order that the rebels, finding war waged upon all of them at once, might not render assistance to one another; so they sent Postumius Albinus into Liguria, Spurius Carvilius against the Corsicans, and Publius Cornelius, the praetor urbanus, to Sardinia. And the consuls accomplished their missions with some speed, though not without trouble. The Sardinians, who were animated by no little spirit, were vanquished in a fierce battle by Carvilius; for Cornelius and many of his soldiers had perished of disease. When the Romans left their country, the Sardinians and the Ligurians revolted again. Quintus Fabius Maximus was accordingly sent against the Ligurians and Pomponius Manius to Sardinia. The Romans declared the Carthaginians, as the instigators of these wars, to be enemies, and they sent to them demanding money and bidding them remove their ships from all these islands, since these ports belonged to them. And to make their mind perfectly clear, they sent a spear and a herald's staff, bidding them choose one, whichever they pleased. The Carthaginians, quite undismayed, returned a sufficiently curt answer, in which they stated that they chose neither of the articles sent them, but were ready to accept either that the Romans might leave with them. Henceforth the two nations hated each other but hesitated to begin war.

When the Sardinians once more rose against the  p29 Romans, both the consuls, Marcus Malleolus and Marcus Aemilius, took the field. And they secured many spoils, which were taken away from them, however, by the Corsicans when they touched at their island. Hence the Romans now turned their attention to both these peoples. Marcus Pomponius proceeded to harry Sardinia, but could not find many of the inhabitants, who as he learned, had slipped into caves of the forest, difficult to locate; therefore he sent for keen-scented dogs from Italy, and with their aid discovered the trail of both men and cattle and cut off many such parties. Gaius Papirius drove the Corsicans from the plains, but in attempting to force his way to the mountains he lost numerous men through ambush and would have suffered the loss of still more owing to the scarcity of water, had not water at length been found; then the Corsicans were induced to come to terms.

 p31  19About this time also Hamilcar, the Carthaginian general, was defeated by the Spaniards and lost his life. For, as he was arrayed in battle against them, they led out in front of the Carthaginian army waggons full of pine wood and pitch and when they drew near they set fire to these vehicles, then hurried on the animals drawing them by goading them to madness. Forthwith their opponents were thrown into confusion, became disorganized, and turned to flight, and the Spaniards, pursuing, killed Hamilcar and a great many besides. Thus, after a remarkably success­ful career, Hamilcar met his end; and at his death his son-in‑law Hasdrubal succeeded him. The latter acquired many new districts of Spain and founded there a city, called Carthage after his native place.

In view of the fact that the Boii and rest of the Gauls were offering for sale various articles and an especially large number of captives, the Romans became afraid that they might some day use the money against them, and accordingly forbade anybody to give to a Gaul either silver or gold. Soon afterward the Carthaginians, learning that the consuls, Marcus Aemilius and Marcus Junius, had started for Liguria, made preparations to march upon Rome. But when the consuls became aware of this and proceeded suddenly against them, they became frightened and went to meet them as if they were friends. The consuls likewise feigned that they had not set out against these people, but were going through their country into the Ligurian territory.

And the Romans crossed the Ionian Gulf and laid hands upon the Greek mainland. They found an  p33 excuse for the voyage in the following circumstances. Issa is an island situated in the Ionian Gulf. Its inhabitants, known as Issaeans, had of their own free will surrendered themselves to the Romans because they were angry with their ruler Agron, who was king of the Ardiaeans and of Illyrian stock. To him the consuls sent envoys. But he had died, leaving  p35 as his successor a son who was still a mere child; and his wife, the boy's stepmother, was governing the realm of the Ardiaeans. She was not at all reasonable in her dealings with the ambassadors, and when they expressed themselves freely, she cast some of them into prison and killed others. As soon, however, as the Romans had voted for war against her, she became panic-strickened, promised to restore the ambassadors who were left alive, and declared that  p37 those dead had been slain by robbers. But when the Romans demanded the surrender of the murderers, she declared she would not give up anybody, and dispatched an army against Issa. Then she again grew fearful and sent a certain Demetrius to the consuls, assuring them of her readiness to heed them in everything. And a truce was made with this emissary, upon his agreeing to give them Corcyra. Yet woman-like, such was her vain and fickle disposition that when the consuls had crossed over to the island, she became emboldened again, and sent out an army to Epidamnus and Apollonia. After the Romans had rescued these cities, seized  p39 ships of hers which were sailing home from the Peloponnesus laden with treasure, and devastated the coast regions, and after Demetrius as a result of her caprice had transferred his allegiance to the Romans and also persuaded some others to desert, she became utterly terrified and abdicated her power. This Demetrius received in trust for the boy. The Romans were thanked by the Corinthians for their action, and took part in the Isthmian games, in which Plautus won the stadium race. Moreover they formed a friendship with the Athenians and were admitted by them to citizen­ship and to the Mysteries.

The name Illyricum was anciently applied to different regions, but later it was transferred to the  p41 interior of the mainland and to the region above Macedonia and the part of Thrace lying this side of Hamus and next to Rhodope. It lies between these mountains and the Alps, also between the river Aenus and the Ister, extending as far as the Euxine Sea; indeed, at some points it extends even beyond the Ister.

Inasmuch as an oracle had once come to the Romans that Greeks and Gauls should occupy the city, two Gauls and likewise two Greeks, male and female, were buried alive in the Forum, in order that in this way destiny might seem to have fulfilled itself, and these foreigners, thus buried there, might be regarded as possessing a part of the city.

After this the Sardinians, indignant because a Roman praetor was continually set over them, began an uprising; but they were again enslaved.

20 The Insubres, a Gallic tribe, after securing allies from among their kinsmen beyond the Alps, turned their arms against the Romans, and the latter were accordingly making preparations themselves. The barbarians plundered some towns, but at last a great storm occurred in the night, and they suspected that Heaven was against them. Consequently they lost heart, and falling into a panic, attempted to find safety in flight. Regulus pursued them and brought on an engagement with the rearguard in which he was defeated and lost his life.  p45 Aemilius occupied a hill and remained quiet. The Gauls in turn occupied another hill, and for several days both sides were inactive; then the Romans, through anger at what had taken place, and the barbarians, from arrogance born of their victory, charged down from the heights and came to blows. For a long time the battle was evenly fought, but finally the Romans surrounded the others with their cavalry, cut them down, seized their camp, and recovered the spoils. After this Aemilius wrought havoc among the possessions of the Boii and celebrated a triumph, in which he conveyed the foremost captives clad in armour up to the Capitol, making jests at their expense for having sworn not to remove their breastplates until they had ascended to the Capitol. The Romans now not only gained the entire territory of the Boii, but also crossed the Po for the first time against the Insubres, whose country they proceeded to ravage.

Meanwhile portents had occurred which threw the people of Rome into great fear. A river in Picenum ran the colour of blood, in Etruria a good part of the  p47 heavens seemed to be on fire, at Ariminum a light like the day blazed out at night, in many portions of Italy three moons became visible in the night time, and in the Forum a vulture perched for several days. On account of these portents and also because some declared that the consuls had been illegally chosen, they summoned them home. The consuls received the letter, but did not open it immediately, since they were just on the point of beginning the war; instead, they joined battle first and came out victorious. After the battle the letter was read, and Furius was for obeying promptly; but Flaminius was elated over the victory and kept pointing out that it showed their election to have been proper, and he insisted that in their jealousy of him the nobles were even misrepresenting the will of the gods. Consequently he refused to depart until he had settled the whole business in hand, and he said he would teach the people at home, too, not to be deceived by relying on birds or any thing of the sort. So he was anxious to remain where he was, and strove to detain his colleague, but Furius would not heed him. However, since the men who were going to be left behind with Flaminius feared that if left by themselves they might suffer some disaster at the hands of their opponents and begged him to remain for a few days longer, he yielded to their entreaties, but  p49 did not take any active part. Flaminius travelled about laying waste the country, reduced a few forts, and bestowed all the spoils upon the soldiers as a means of winning their favour. At length the leaders returned home and were charged by the senate with disobedience; for Furius also incurred disgrace because of the anger felt against Flaminius. But the populace, in its zeal for Flaminius, opposed the senate and voted them a triumph. After celebrating this the consuls laid down their office.

Other consuls, Claudius Marcellus and Gnaeus Scipio, chosen in their stead, made an expedition against the Insubres; for the Romans had not granted this people's request for peace. At first the consuls carried on the war together, and were in most case victorious; but soon, learning that the allied territory was being plundered, they separated their forces. Marcellus made a quick march against those plundering the land of the allies, but found them no longer there; he then pursued them as they fled, and when they made a stand, overcame them. Scipio remained where he was and proceeded to besiege Acerrae; upon taking it he made it a base for the war, since it was favourably placed and well walled. And setting out from that point, they subdued Mediolanum and another town. After these had been captured the rest of the Insubres also made terms with them, giving them money and a portion of the land.

Later Publius Cornelius and Marcus Minucius made an expedition in the direction of the Ister and subdued many of the nations there, some by war some by capitulation. Lucius Veturius and Gaius Lutatius went as far as the Alps, and without any  p51 fighting won over many people. But the ruler of the Ardiaeans, Demetrius, as has been stated above, was not only proving oppressive to the natives, but was also ravaging the territory of the neighbouring tribes; and it appeared that it was by abusing the friendship of the Romans that he was able to wrong them. As soon as the consuls, Aemilius Paulus and Marcus Livius, heard of this, they summoned him before them. When he paid no heed, but actually proceeded to assail their allies, they made a campaign against him in Issa. And having learned in advance that he was lying secretly at anchor somewhere in the vicinity of the landing-places, they sent a part of their ships to the other side of the island to bring on an engagement. When the Illyrians, accordingly, turned against these, thinking them to be alone, the main force sailed in at leisure, and after pitching camp in a suitable place,  p53 repulsed the natives, who, in their anger at the deception, had promptly attacked them. Demetrius made his escape to Pharos, another island, but they sailed to that, overcame resistance, and captured the city by betrayal, though only after Demetrius had fled. This time he reached Macedonia with large sums of money, and went to Philip, the king of the country. He was not surrendered by him, but on returning to Illyria was arrested by the Romans and put to death.

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