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The Battle of Ecnomus

Next year Gaius Atilius, the Consul, happened to be at
Coss. C. Atilius Regulus, Cn. Cornelius, Blasio II. B. C. 257. Fighting off Tyndaris.
anchor off Tyndaris, when he observed the Carthaginian fleet sailing by in a straggling manner. He passed the word to the crews of his own ships to follow the advanced squadron, and started himself before the rest with ten ships of equal sailing powers. When the Carthaginians became aware that while some of the enemy were still embarking, others were already putting out to sea, and that the advanced squadron were considerably ahead of the rest, they stood round and went to meet them. They succeeded in surrounding and destroying all of them except the Consul's ship, and that they all but captured with its crew. This last, however, by the perfection of its rowers and its consequent speed, effected a desperate escape. Meanwhile the remaining ships of the Romans were sailing up and gradually drawing close together. Having got into line, they charged the enemy, took ten ships with their crews, and sunk eight. The rest of the Carthaginian ships retired to the Liparean Islands.

The result of this battle was that both sides concluded that

Winter of B.C. 257-256.
they were now fairly matched, and accordingly made more systematic efforts to secure a naval force, and to dispute the supremacy at sea. While these things were going on, the land forces effected nothing worth recording; but wasted all their time in such petty operations as chance threw in their way.
B.C. 256. Coss. L. Manlius, Vulso Longus, M. Atilius Regulus II (Suff.).
Therefore, after making the preparations I have mentioned for the approaching summer, the Romans, with three hundred and thirty decked ships of war, touched at Messene; thence put to sea, keeping Sicily on their right; and after doubling the headland Pachynus passed on to Ecnomus, because the land force was also in that district. The Carthaginians on their part put to sea again with three hundred and fifty decked ships, touched at Lilybaeum, and thence dropped anchor at Heracleia Minoa.

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