John C. Yardley and Dexter Hoyos (eds), Oxford World's Classics: Livy: Hannibal's War: Books Twenty-One to Thirty

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51

The consul sent Hiero and the royal fleet back from Lilybaeum and, leaving the praetor to protect the Sicilian coastline, himself crossed to the island of Melita, which was occupied by the Carthaginians. On his arrival, Hamilcar son of Gisgo, who commanded the garrison there, surrendered himself, along with slightly fewer than 2,000 men, and the town and the island were turned over to the Romans. A few days later Sempronius returned to Lilybaeum, and there the prisoners, apart from men of noble birth, were all auctioned off by the consul and praetor.

Now that the consul felt that Sicily was well enough protected in that quarter, he crossed to the Island of Vulcan, as there had been a report of a Carthaginian fleet at anchor there. However, no enemy was found in the vicinity of the islands. It so happened that the Carthaginians had already crossed to conduct raids on the coastline of Italy, and after laying waste the agricultural land of Vibo they were even threatening the town of Vibo. News of the enemy raid on the farmland of Vibo reached the consul as he was heading back to Sicily. Sempronius was also brought a letter from the Senate, informing him of Hannibal's crossing into Italy, and instructing him to bring his colleague help at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sempronius now had many simultaneous concerns on his mind. He straight away boarded his army on some ships, and sent it up the Adriatic to Ariminum.* He assigned to his legate Sextus Pomponius the task of patrolling the territory of Vibo and the coastal areas of Italy with twenty-five warships, and he brought the fleet of the praetor Marcus Aemilius up to a full complement of fifty ships. Sempronius himself settled affairs in Sicily, and then came to Ariminum with ten ships, skirting the Italian coast. He marched off from there with his army, and joined up with his colleague at the River Trebia.

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Editor’s Note
51 sent it up the Adriatic to Ariminum: Polybius has Sempronius dismiss the army under oath to reassemble in forty days' time at Ariminum (3.61), but then he reports it and him coming to Rome en route and heartening the city (3.68). Perhaps part of the army did so, or this may be a dramatic invention by Polybius. As the time was late autumn (roughly November 218: see Appendix 2), L.'s sea journey does seem unlikely.
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