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Why Rome is No Longer a Naval Power

And no doubt the question does naturally arise here as to why they find it impossible in our days to man so many ships, or take the sea with such large fleets, though masters of the world, and possessing a superiority over others many times as great as before. The explanation of this difficulty will be clearly understood when we come to the description of their civil constitution. I look upon this description as a most important part of my work, and one demanding close attention on the part of my readers. For the subject is calculated to afford pleasure in the contemplation, and is up to this time so to speak absolutely unknown, thanks to historians, some of whom have been ignorant, while others have given so confused an account of it as to be practically useless. For the present it suffices to say that, as far as the late war was concerned, the two nations were closely matched in the character of the designs they entertained, as well as in the lofty courage they showed in prosecuting them: and this is especially true of the eager ambition displayed on either side to secure the supremacy. But in the individual gallantry of their men the Romans had decidedly the advantage; while we must credit the Carthaginians with the best general of the day both for genius and daring. I mean Hamilcar Barcas, own father of Rome's future enemy Hannibal.

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