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Polybius, Histories, book 3, Causes of the Second Punic War (search)
f the Second Punic War Some historians of the Hannibalian war, when they wish The origin of the 2d Punic war; to point out to us the causes of this contest between Rome and Carthage, allege first the siege of Saguntum by the Carthaginians, and, secondly, their breach of treaty by crossing the river called by the natives the Iber. well say that the crossing of Alexander the Great into Asia was the cause of the Persian war, and the descent of Antiochus upon Demetrias the cause of his war with Rome. B. C. 192, In neither would it be a probable or ture statement. In the first case, this action of Alexander's could not be called the cause of a war, for which boather Philip in his lifetime had made elaborate preparations: and in the second case, we know that the Aetolian league had done the same, with a view to a war with Rome, before Antiochus came upon the scene. Such definitions are only worthy of men who cannot distinguish between a first overt act and a cause or pretext; and who do
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Fabius Pictor on the Cause of the Punic War (search)
Fabius Pictor on the Cause of the Punic War So too of the war of Antiochus with Rome. The cause and of the war with Antiochus. was evidently the exasperation of the Aetolians, who, thinking that they had been slighted in a number of instances at the end of the war with Philip, not only called in the aid of Antiochus, but resolved to go to every extremity in satisfying the anger which the events of that time had aroused in them. This was the cause. As for the pretext, it was the liberation of Greece, which they went from city to city with Antiochus proclaiming, without regard to reason or truth; while the first act in the war was the descent of Antiochus upon Demetrias. My object in enlarging upon this distinction is not to attack the historians in question, but to rectify the ideas of the studious. A physician can do no good to the sick who does not know the causes of their ailments; nor can a statesman do any good who is unable to conceive the manner, cause, and source of the events
Polybius, Histories, book 3, The Credibility of Fabius Pictor (search)
earliest youth a zealous supporter and imitator; and when he succeeded to the command in Iberia he continued it: and accordingly, even in the case of this war with Rome, was acting on his own authority and contrary to the wish of the Carthaginians; for none of the men of note in Carthage approved of his attack upon Saguntum." This is the statement of Fabius, who goes on to say, that "after the capture of that city an embassy arrived in Carthage from Rome demanding that Hannibal should be given up on pain of a declaration of war." Now what answer could Fabius have given if we had put the following question to him? "What better chance or opportunity could thnians have had of combining justice and interest? According to your own account they disliked the proceeding of Hannibal: why did they not submit to the demands of Rome by surrendering the author of the injury; and thus get rid of the common enemy of the state without the odium of doing it themselves, and secure the safety of thei
Polybius, Histories, book 3, First Cause of the Second Punic War (search)
t Fabius was a contemporary and a member of the Senate, and assume without more ado that everything he says may be trusted. My view, however, is that we ought not to hold the authority of this writer lightly: yet at the same time that we should not regard it as all-sufficient; but in reading his writings should test them by a reference to the facts themselves. This is a digression from my immediate subject, which isThe Hannibalian or Second Punic war. First cause. the war between Carthage and Rome. The cause of this war we must reckon to be the exasperation of Hamilcar, surnamed Barcas, the father of Hannibal. The result of the war in Sicily had not broken the spirit of that commander. He regarded himself as unconquered; for the troops at Eryx which he commanded were still sound and undismayed: and though he yielded so far as to make a treaty, it was a concession to the exigencies of the times brought on by the defeat of the Carthaginians at sea. But he never relaxed in his determined
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Second Cause of the War (search)
able to do anything, evacuated Sardinia, and consented to pay a sum of twelve hundred talents, in addition to the former indemnity paid them, on condition of avoiding the war at that time. This is the second and the most important cause of the subsequent war. For Hamilcar, having this public grievance in addition to his private feelings of anger, as soon as he had secured his country's safety by reducing the rebellious mercenaries, set at once about securing the Carthaginian power in Iberia with the intention of using it as a base of operations against Rome. Third cause. So that I record as a third cause of the war the Carthaginian success in Iberia: for it was the confidence inspired by their forces there which encouraged them to embark upon it. It would be easy to adduce other facts to show that Hamilcar, though he had been dead ten years at its commencement, largely contributed to bring about the second Punic war, but what I am about to say will be sufficient to establish the fact.
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Hannibal's Oath (search)
they might be informed of the king's intentions. B. C. 195These ambassadors found that Antiochus was inclined to the Aetolian alliance, and was eager for war with Rome; they accordingly paid great court to Hannibal with a view of bringing him into suspicion with the king. And in this they entirely succeeded. As time went on the k to be allowed to go, he took me by the right hand and led me up to the altar, and bade me lay my hand upon the victim and swear that I would never be friends with Rome. So long, then, Antiochus, as your policy is one of hostility to Rome, you may feel quite secure of having in me a most thoroughgoing supporter. But if ever you ma as your policy is one of hostility to Rome, you may feel quite secure of having in me a most thoroughgoing supporter. But if ever you make terms or friendship with her, then you need not wait for any slander to make you distrust me and be on your guard against me; for there is nothing in my power that I would not do against her."
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Statesmen Must Pay Attention to Motives (search)
regard this as an unquestionable proof of the animosity of Hamilcar and of the aim of his general policy; which, indeed, is also proved by facts. For he inspired his son-in-law Hasdrubal and his son Hannibal with a bitterness of resentment against Rome which nothing could surpass. Hasdrubal, indeed, was prevented by death from showing the full extent of his purpose; but time gave Hannibal abundant opportunity to manifest the hatred of Rome which he had inherited from his father. The most importaRome which he had inherited from his father. The most important thing, then, for statesmen to observe is the motives of those who lay aside old enmities or form new friendships; and to ascertain when their consent to treaties is a mere concession to the necessities of the hour, and when it is the indication of a real consciousness of defeat. In the former case they must be on their guard against such people lying in wait for an opportunity; while in the latter they may unhesitatingly impose whatever injunctions are necessary, in full reliance on the genui
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Hannibal Succeeds to Command in Spain (search)
Hannibal Succeeds to Command in Spain The Carthaginians were highly incensed by their loss of Sicily, but their resentment was heightened still more, as I have said, by the transaction as to Sardinia, and by the addition recently made to their tribute. Accordingly, when the greater part of Iberia had fallen into their power, they were on the alert to seize any opportunity that presented itself of retaliating upon Rome. At the death of Hasdrubal, to whom they had committed the command in Iberia after the death of Hamilcar, they waited at first to ascertain the feelings of the army; but when news came from thence that the troops had elected Hannibal as commander in-chief, a popular assembly was at once held, and the choice of the army confirmed by a unanimous vote. Death of Hamilcar, B. C. 229. As soon as he had taken over the command, Hannibal set out to subdue the tribe of the Olcades; and, having arrived before their most formidable city Althaea, he pitched his camp under its walls;
Polybius, Histories, book 3, Hannibal Defies the Romans (search)
e Romans But the people of Saguntum kept sending ambassadors Saguntum appeals to Rome. Winter of B. C. 220-219. to Rome, partly because they foresaw what was coming, Rome, partly because they foresaw what was coming, and trembled for their own existence, and partly that the Romans might be kept fully aware of the growing power of the Carthaginians in Iberia. For a long time the Roand capital town of the Carthaginians in Iberia. He found there the embassy from Rome, granted them an interview, and listened to the message with which they were charong injunction to him to leave Saguntum alone, as being under the protection of Rome; and not to cross the Iber, in accordance with the agreement come to in the timeuth, inflamed by martial ardour, recent success, and his long-standing hatred of Rome. He charged the Romans with having a short time before, when on some political der all considerations of equity. How much better it would have been to demand of Rome the restoration of Sardinia, and the remission of the tribute, which she had tak
Polybius, Histories, book 3, War in Illyria (search)
ke Illyria safe. For it happened that, just at this time, Demetrius of Pharos was sacking and subduing to his authority the cities of Illyria which were subject to Rome, and had sailed beyond Lissus, in violation of the treaty, with fifty galleys, and had ravaged many of the Cyclades. For he had quite forgotten the former kindnesses done him by Rome, and had conceived a contempt for its power, when he saw it threatened first by the Gauls and then by Carthage; and he now rested all his hopes on the royal family of Macedonia, because he had fought on the side of Antigonus, and shared with him the dangers of the war against Cleomenes. These transactions attratheir calculations. For Hannibal anticipated their measures by the capture of Saguntum: the result of which was that the war took place not in Iberia, but close to Rome itself, and in various parts throughout all Italy. B. C. 219. Coss. M. Livius Salinator L. Aemilius Paullus. However, with these ideas fixed in their minds, the Ro
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