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Regulus in Africa

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.
This place 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.

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