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she became entangled in a war with Pyrrhus, fourth king of Epirus, who was called over by the Tarentines to aid them. Pyrrhus was at first victorious, but in the year 275 was defeated by the Roman legions in a pitched battle. He returned to Greece, remarking of Sicily, Οίαν άπολείπομεν Καρχηδονίοις καί Ρωμαίοις παλαίστραν. Rome becomes mistress of all Italy from the Rubicon to the Straits of Messina.

264. The first Punic war begins. Its primary cause was the desire of both the Romans and the Carthaginians to possess themselves of Sicily. The Romans form a fleet, and successfully compete with the marine of Carthage.[1] During the latter half of the war the military genius of Hamilcar Barca sustains the Carthaginian cause in Sicily. At the end of twenty-four years the Carthaginians sue for peace, though their aggregate loss in ships and men had been less than that sustained by the Romans since the beginning of the war. Sicily becomes a Roman province.

  1. There is at this present moment in the Great Exhibition at Hyde Park a model of a piratical galley of Labuan, part of the mast of which can be let down on an enemy, and form a bridge for boarders. It is worth while to compare this with the account in Polybius of the boarding bridges which the Roman admiral, Duillius, affixed to the masts of his galleys, and by means of which he won his great victory over the Carthaginian fleet.