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Sulla's successor was another man of non-noble birth, Gnaeus Pompeius known today as Pompey (106-48 BCE). The young Pompey's brutal tactics in treating Roman enemies—and enemy Romans alike—was just another lesson he had learned at Sulla's knee. Early in his career, his unprecedented savagery earned him the nickname adulescens carnufex ("teen butcher"), and his subsequent campaigns all over the Mediterranean area only reaffirmed the epithet. By 61 BCE he had been granted two triumphs—to get one was a rare honor, and Pompey would go on to have a third!—but in retrospect it's clear these triumphs stemmed less from the Romans' honor of the man than a collective fear for their lives any time he was in town.

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The for Olympiads 111 to 169 (= 336-101 B.C.) of Eusebius, as translated into Latin by St. Jerome. A full version of these may be found , in Latin, complete with an English translation. Another English translation of part of Jerome’s version of these tables may be found at up to the the year a.D. 36. In the margins of his edition, Mommsen lists the year numbers (counting from Adam) corresponding to each chapter.

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These Romuli ("little Romes") that inherited Rome's West recall nothing so much as the days preceding the Romans' rise to greatness, a time when myths abound and reliable data are hard to come by. This later age, the so-called "Middle Ages" which are often seen as a "bad" or "dark" down-time in history, represent a necessary and vibrant phase in the re-creation of Europe, in reality, an exciting and formative epoch responsible for many of the things we rely on today: the modern alphabet, our calendar and dating system, the educational curricula our students enjoy so much, and so much more. "Dark" only to historians, the period of the "decline and fall of Rome" and its subsequent stages of development are actually a beacon that guides us into the future and through all things unforeseen and yet to come.

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Soon an open pit of special interests with little—and eventually no—regard for the general good, Roman government could not hold the state together any longer. That duty fell to the army, Rome's tried and true defenders who were led to glory over the course of the next generations by a series of brilliant generals. Men like Marius, Sulla and Pompey were essentially charismatic warlords with enough political sense to survive a legislative season and return to the safety of foreign conquest and the sweet reward of exploiting defenseless provinces. Thus, the triumphs of the second century paved the way for Rome's own conquest in the next age, a humiliation delivered at the hands of its most brilliant native son. Julius Caesar was fundamentally an insider who attacked Rome from the outside, a home-grown, victorious "Hannibal."

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Finally, by 204 BCE the Romans were ready and able to retaliate. Under the leadership of the general Publius Cornelius Scipio, later dubbed Africanus ("the conqueror of Africa"), they invaded North Africa and at the Battle of Zama (202 BCE) defeated Hannibal who had recently been recalled to Carthage. As a turning-point in history, the significance of this battle and the war it ended is hard to overstate.

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Their capital city Carthage lay in North Africa (modern Tunis) across the Mediterranean Sea from Rome. It had originally been a colony of Phoenicia (on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean) but had broken free of its mother state and by the third century BCE Carthage had established itself as a powerful, mercantile empire controlling most trade routes in the western Mediterranean. Seen from the vantage point of hindsight, the collision of Romans and Carthaginians looks inevitable. Arguably, it was.

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Rome's fundamental problem was that what had worked so well for a relatively small, agricultural state lying at the heart of Italy simply did not function in the international arena. By then a quaint "council of elders," the Senate just could not handle the pressure brought on by such prosperity. Roman senators made easy prey for hulking bribes and fawning grafters. In the face of so much wealth, it was simply too tempting to advance one's own peculiar interests and charge the cost to Rome.