The Carthaginians now saw that their enemies contemplated a lengthened occupation of the country. They
therefore proceeded first of all to elect two of their own
citizens, Hasdrubal son of Hanno, and Bostarus, to the office
of general; and next sent to Heracleia a pressing summons to
Hamilcar. He obeyed immediately, and arrived at Carthage
with five hundred cavalry and five thousand infantry. He was
forthwith appointed general in conjunction with the other two,
and entered into consultation with Hasdrubal and his colleague
as to the measures necessary to be taken in the present crisis.
They decided to defend the country and not to allow it to be
devastated without resistance.
A few days afterwards Marcus sallied forth on one of his
B. C. 256-255. The operations of Regulus in Libya.
marauding expeditions. Such towns as were
unwalled he carried by assault and plundered,
and such as were walled he besieged. Among
others he came to the considerable town of Adys, and having
placed his troops round it was beginning with all speed to raise
siege works. The Carthaginians were both eager to relieve
the town and determined to dispute the possession of the open
county. They therefore led out their army; but their operations were not skilfully conducted. They indeed seized and
encamped upon a piece of rising ground which commanded
the enemy; but it was unsuitable to themselves. Their best
hopes rested on their cavalry and their elephants, and yet they
abandoned the level plain and cooped themselves up in a position at once steep and difficult of access. The enemy, as might
have been expected, were not slow to take advantage of this
mistake. The Roman commanders were skilful enough to
understand that the best and most formidable part of the forces
opposed to them was rendered useless by the nature of the
ground. They did not therefore wait for them to come down
to the plain and offer battle, but choosing the time which
suited themselves, began at daybreak a forward movement on
both sides of the hill.
Defeat of the Carthaginians near Adys.
In the battle which
followed the Carthaginians could not use their
cavalry or elephants at all; but their mercenary
troops made a really gallant and spirited sally. They even
forced the first division of the Romans to give way and fly:
but they advanced too far, and were surrounded and routed by
the division which was advancing from the other direction.
This was immediately followed by the whole force being
dislodged from their encampment. The elephants and cavalry
as soon as they gained level ground made good their retreat
without loss; but the infantry were pursued by the Romans.
The latter however soon desisted from the pursuit. They
presently returned, dismantled the enemy's entrenchment, and
destroyed the stockade; and from thenceforth overran the
whole country-side and sacked the towns without opposition
Among others they seized the town called Tunes.
had many natural advantages for expeditions
such as those in which they were engaged, and
was so situated as to form a convenient base of operations
against the capital and its immediate neighbourhood. They
accordingly fixed their headquarters in it.