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BATTLE OF THE METAURUS.

northern Africa. But her advantageous position, the excellence of her constitution (of which, though ill informed as to its details, we know that it commanded the admiration of Aristotle), and the commercial and political energy of her citizens gave her the ascendancy over Hippo, Utica, Leptis and her other sister Phœnician cities in those regions; and she finally reduced them to a condition of dependency, similar to that which the subject allies of Athens occupied relatively to that once imperial city. When Tyre and Sidon, and the other cities of Phœnicia itself sank from independent republics into mere vassal states of the great Asiatic monarchies, and obeyed by turns a Babylonian, a Persian, and a Macedonian master, their power and their traffic rapidly declined; and Carthage succeeded to the important maritime and commercial character which they had previously maintained. The Carthaginians did not seek to compete with the Greeks on the north-eastern shores of the Mediterranean, or in the three inland seas which are connected with it; but they maintained an active intercourse with the Phœnicians, and through them with lower and central Asia; and they, and they alone, after the decline and fall of Tyre, navigated the waters of the Atlantic. They had the monopoly of all the commerce of the world that was carried on beyond the Straits of