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The Siege of Aspis

This was the state of affairs on the centre. But meanwhile Hanno with the right wing, which had held aloof when the first encounter took place, crossing the open sea, charged the ships of the Triarii and caused them great difficulty and embarrassment: while those of the Carthaginians who had been posted near the land manœuvred into line, and getting their ships straight, charged the men who were towing the horse-transports. These latter let go the towingropes, grappled with the enemy, and kept up a desperate struggle.

So that the engagement was in three separate divisions,

Three separate battles.
or rather there were three sea-fights going on at wide intervals from each other. Now in these three engagements the opposing parties were in each case fairly matched, thanks to the original disposition of the ships, and therefore the victory was in each case closely contested. However the result in the several cases was very much what was to be expected where forces were so equal.
First with Hamilcar's squadron.
The first to engage were the first to separate: for Hamilcar's division at last were overpowered and fled. But while Lucius was engaged in securing his prizes, Marcus observing the struggle in which the Triarii and horse-transports were involved, went with all speed to their assistance, taking with him all the ships of the second squadron which were undamaged.
Second squadron under Regulus.
As soon as he had reached and engaged Hanno's division, the Triarii quickly picked up courage, though they were then getting much the worst of it, and returned with renewed spirits to the fight. It was now the turn for the Carthaginians to be in difficulties. They were charged in front and on the rear, and found to their surprise that they were being surrounded by the relieving squadron. They at once gave way and retreated in the direction of the open sea.

While this was going on, Lucius, who was sailing back to

Third squadron relieved by Regulus and Manlius.
rejoin his colleague, observed that the third squadron had got wedged in by the Carthaginians close in shore. Accordingly he and Marcus, who had by this time secured the safety of the transports and Triarii, started together to relieve their imperilled comrades, who were now sustaining something very like a blockade. And the fact is that they would long before this have been utterly destroyed had not the Carthaginians been afraid of the "crows," and confined themselves to surrounding and penning them in close to land, without attempting to charge for fear of being caught by the grappling-irons. The Consuls came up rapidly, and surrounding the Carthaginians captured fifty of their ships with their crews, while some few of them managed to slip away and escape by keeping close to the shore.

Such was the result of the separate engagements. But the

General result.
general upshot of the whole battle was in favour of the Romans. Twenty-four of their vessels were destroyed; over thirty of the Carthaginians. Not a single Roman ship was captured with its crew; sixty-four of the Carthaginians were so taken.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), REMULCUM
    • Smith's Bio, HAMILCAR
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