The First Punic War; Plan of the First Two Books
It is time to have done with these explanations, and
Subjects of the two first books of the Histories. 1. War in Sicily or first Punic war, B. C. 264-241. 2. The Mercenary or "inexpiable" war, B. C. 240-237. 3. Carthaginian movements in Spain, B. C. 241-218. 4. Illyrian war, B.C. 229-228. 5. Gallic war, B. C. 225-221. 6. Cleomenic war, B. C. 227-221.
to come to my subject, after a brief and summary statement of the events of which my introductory books are to treat. Of these the first
in order of time are those which befell the
Romans and Carthaginians in their war for the
possession of Sicily
. Next comes the Libyan or
Mercenary war; immediately following on which
are the Carthaginian achievements in Spain
first under Hamilcar, and then under Hasdrubal. In the course of these events, again,
occurred the first expedition of the Romans
and the Greek side of Europe
besides that, their struggles within Italy
the Celts. In Greece
at the same time the
war called after Cleomenes was in full action.
With this war I design to conclude my prefatory sketch and my second book.
To enter into minute details of these events is unnecessary,
and would be of no advantage to my readers. It is not part
of my plan to write a history of them: my sole object is to
recapitulate them in a summary manner by way of introduction to the narrative I have in hand. I will, therefore,
touch lightly upon the leading events of this period in a comprehensive sketch, and will endeavour to make the end of it
dovetail with the commencement of my main history. In this
way the narrative will acquire a continuity; and I shall be shown
to have had good reason for touching on points already treated by
others: while by such an arrangement the studiously inclined
will find the approach to the story which has to be told made
intelligible and easy for them.
The first Punic war deserves more detailed treatment, as furnishing a better basis for comparing Rome and Carthage than subsequent wars.
I shall, however,
endeavour to describe with somewhat more
care the first war which arose between the
Romans and Carthaginians for the possession
. For it would not be easy to mention any war that lasted longer than this one;
nor one in which the preparations made were
on a larger scale, or the efforts made more
sustained, or the actual engagements more numerous, or the
reverses sustained on either side more signal. Moreover,
the two states themselves were at the precise period of their
history when their institutions were as yet in their original integrity, their fortunes still at a moderate level, and their forces
on an equal footing. So that those who wish to gain a fair
view of the national characteristics and resources of the two
had better base their comparison upon this war rather than
upon those which came after.