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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. [2] 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. [3] And they themselves canvassed Libya, 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. [4] 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 Sicily, because they had fallen out with the Carthaginians,4 would fight on the side of the Sicilian Greeks. [5] 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, [6] and when they dispatched in advance forty triremes to Sicily, the 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. [7] 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.

1 406 B.C.

2 Gnaeus Cornelius (Livy 4.54). The Pompeys were a plebeian house and the consulship was not yet open to plebeians.

3 A recently discovered inscription from Athens, a decree of the Council mentioning Hannibal and Himilcon, has been published by B. D. Meritt, "Athens and Carthage," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Supplementary Volume I (1940), pp. 247-253. Although the inscription is most fragmentary, it would appear that heralds from Carthage had come to Athens in connection with this invasion, and it is certain that the Athenians had sent a mission to confer with Hannibal and Himilcon in Sicily.

4 Cp. chap. 62.5.

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  • Cross-references to this page (6):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), AGRIGENTUM
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CARTHA´GO
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), ERYX
    • Smith's Bio, Ha'nnibal
    • Smith's Bio, Hanno
    • Smith's Bio, Himilco
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    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 4, 54
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