When the events of this year came to an end, in Athens Callias succeeded to the office
of archon and in Rome
the consuls elected were Lucius
Furius and Gnaeus Pompeius.2
At this time the Carthaginians, being elated over their
successes in Sicily
and eager to become lords of the
whole island, voted to prepare great armaments; and electing as general Hannibal, who had razed
to the ground both the city of the Selinuntians and that of the Himeraeans, they committed to
him full authority over the conduct of the war.
When he begged
to be excused because of his age, they appointed besides him another general, Himilcon, the son
of Hanno and of the same family.3
These two, after full consultation, dispatched certain citizens who were held in high esteem
among the Carthaginians with large sums of money, some to Iberia
and others to the Baliarides Islands, with orders to recruit as many
mercenaries as possible.
And they themselves canvassed
, enrolling as soldiers Libyans and Phoenicians
and the stoutest from among their own citizens. Moreover they summoned soldiers also from the
nations and kings who were their allies, Maurusians and Nomads and certain peoples who dwell in
the regions toward Cyrene
Also from Italy
they hired Campanians and
brought them over to Libya
; for they knew that their
aid would be of great assistance to them and that the Campanians who had been left behind in
, because they had fallen out with the
would fight on the
side of the Sicilian Greeks.
And when the armaments were
finally assembled at Carthage
, the sum total of
the troops collected together with the cavalry was a little over one hundred and twenty
thousand, according to Timaeus, but three hundred thousand, according to Ephorus.
The Carthaginians, in preparation for their crossing over to Sicily
, made ready and equipped all their triremes and also
assembled more than a thousand cargo ships,
and when they
dispatched in advance forty triremes to Sicily
Syracusans speedily appeared with about the same number of warships in the region of Eryx
. In the long sea-battle which ensued fifteen of the
Phoenician ships were destroyed and the rest, when night fell, fled for safety to the open sea.
And when word of the defeat was brought to the Carthaginians,
Hannibal the general set out to sea with fifty ships, since he was eager both to prevent the
Syracusans from exploiting their advantage and to make the landing safe for his own armaments.