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The Romans Take Mount Eryx

This occurrence caused the Carthaginian interests to
The Romans abandon the sea.
look up again and their hopes to revive. But the Romans, though they had met with partial misfortunes before, had never suffered a naval disaster so complete and final. They, in fact, abandoned the sea, and confined themselves to holding the country; while the Carthaginians remained masters of the sea, without wholly despairing of the land.

Great and general was the dismay both at Rome and in

Lucius Junius perseveres in the siege. B. C. 248.
the camp at Lilybaeum. Yet they did not abandon their determination of starving out that town. The Roman government did not allow their disasters to prevent their sending provisions into the camp overland; and the besiegers kept up the investment as strictly as they possibly could. Lucius Junius joined the camp after the shipwreck, and, being in a state of great distress at what had happened, was all eagerness to strike some new and effective blow, and thus repair the disaster which had befallen him.
Accordingly he took the first slight opening that offered to surprise and seize Eryx; and became master both of the temple of Aphrodite and of the city. This is a mountain close to the sea-coast on that side of Sicily which looks towards Italy, between Drepana and Panormus, but nearer to Drepana of the two. It is by far the greatest mountain in Sicily next to Aetna; and on its summit, which is flat, stands the temple of Erycinian Aphrodite, confessedly the most splendid of all the temples in Sicily for its wealth and general magnificence. The town stands immediately below the summit, and is approached by a very long and steep ascent. Lucius seized both town and temple; and established a garrison both upon the summit and at the foot of the road to it from Drepana. He kept a strict guard at both points, but more especially at the foot of the ascent, believing that by so doing he should secure possession of the whole mountain as well as the town.

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