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Naval Success of the Romans In Spain

But being informed in good time by his look-out
Roman success at sea.
men that the enemy were bearing down upon him, Hasdrubal drew up his troops on the beach, and ordered his crews to go on board; and, when the Romans hove in sight, gave the signal for the attack, determined to fight the enemy at sea. But, after engaging, the Carthaginians made but a short struggle for victory, and very soon gave way. For the support of the troops on the beach did less service in encouraging them to attack, than harm in offering them a safe place of retreat. Accordingly, after losing two ships with their crews, and the oars and marines of four others, they gave way and made for the land; and when the Romans pressed on with spirit in pursuit, they ran their ships ashore, and leaping from the vessels fled for refuge to the troops. The Romans came boldly close to land, towed off such of the vessels as could be got afloat, and sailed away in great exultation at having beaten the enemy at the first blow, secured the mastery of the sea, and taken twenty-five of the enemy's ships.

In Iberia therefore, after this victory, the Roman prospects had begun to brighten. But when news of this reverse arrived at Carthage, the Carthaginians at once despatched a fleet of seventy ships, judging it to be essential to their whole design that they should command the sea. These ships touched first at Sardinia and then at Pisae in Italy, the commanders believing that they should find Hannibal there. But the Romans at once put to sea to attack them from Rome itself, with a fleet of a hundred and twenty quinqueremes; and hearing of this expedition against them, the Carthaginians sailed back to Sardinia, and thence returned to Carthage. Gnaeus Servilius, who was in command of this Roman fleet, followed the Carthaginians for a certain distance, believing that he should fall in with them; but, finding that he was far behind, he gave up the attempt. He first put in at Lilybaeum, and afterwards sailed to the Libyan island of Cercina; and after receiving a sum of money from the inhabitants on condition of not laying waste the country, he departed. On his return voyage he took the island of Cossyrus, and having put a garrison into its small capital, returned to Lilybaeum. There he placed the fleet, and shortly afterwards went off himself to join the land army.

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Sardinia (Italy) (2)
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