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The Battle of Aegusa

When the Carthaginians saw that the Romans were
The battle of Aegusa.
intercepting their passage across, they lowered their masts, and after some words of mutual exhortation had been uttered in the several ships, closed with their opponents. But the respective state of equipment of the two sides was exactly the converse of what it had been in the battle of Drepana; and the result of the battle was, therefore, naturally reversed also. The Romans had reformed their mode of shipbuilding, and had eased their vessels of all freight, except the provisions necessary for the battle: while their rowers having been thoroughly trained and got well together, performed their office in an altogether superior manner, and were backed up by marines who, being picked men from the legions, were all but invincible. The case with the Carthaginians was exactly the reverse. Their ships were heavily laden and therefore unmanageable in the engagement; while their rowers were entirely untrained, and merely put on board for the emergency; and such marines as they had were raw recruits, who had never had any previous experience of any difficult or dangerous service.
Victory of the Romans.
The fact is that the Carthaginian government never expected that the Romans would again attempt to dispute the supremacy at sea: they had, therefore, in contempt for them, neglected their navy. The result was that, as soon as they closed, their manifold disadvantages quickly decided the battle against them. They had fifty ships sunk, and seventy taken with their crews. The rest set their sails, and running before the wind, which luckily for them suddenly veered round at the nick of time to help them, got away again to Holy Isle. The Roman Consul sailed back to Lilybaeum to join the army, and there occupied himself in making arrangements for the ships and men which he had captured; which was a business of considerable magnitude, for the prisoners made in the battle amounted to little short of ten thousand.

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load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), NAVIS
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