But the Romans landed, not on the western side of the peninsula which helps to form the gulf, but on the eastern side, where the bay of Clupea presented a spacious harbour affording protection in almost all winds, and the town, situated close by the sea on a shield-shaped eminence rising out of the plain, supplied an excellent defence for the harbour.

XXIII. About the same time Caius Curio, having sailed from Sicily to Africa, and from the first despising the forces of Publius Attius Varus, transported only two of the four legions which he had received from Caesar, and five hundred horse, and having spent two days and three nights on the voyage, arrived at a place called Aquilaria, which is about twenty-two miles distant from Clupea, and in the summer season has a convenient harbour, and is enclosed by two projecting promontories.

Instead of prosecuting the siege of Carthage or subduing the army of Hasdrubal, Piso employed himself in attacking the small maritime towns of the Phoenicians, and that mostly without success. Clupea, for example, repulsed him, and he was obliged to retire in disgrace from Hippo Diarrhytus, after having lost the whole summer in front of it and having had his besieging apparatus twice burnt.

Whether it was that he did not anticipate the storm which was gathering over his head, or that a sense of military honour prohibited him from doing what his position demanded instead of renouncing a siege which he was not in a condition even to attempt, and shutting himself up in the stronghold of Clupea, he remained with a handful of men before the walls of the hostile capital, neglecting even to secure his line of retreat to the naval camp, and neglecting to provide himself with what above all he wanted, and what might have been so easily obtained through negotiation with the revolted Numidian tribes a good light cavalry.

The Carthaginians were completely vanquished. The Romans landed at Clupea, to the east of Carthage, and ravaged the adjacent district. There Regulus remained with half the army, fifteen thousand men. The Carthaginians sued for peace; but when he required them to surrender all their ships of war except one, and to come into a dependent relation to Rome, they spurned the proposal.

This victory, however, proved of little benefit to the Romans in their grand enterprise of establishing a firm and permanent footing, in Africa; for, in consequence of their inability to obtain a regular supply of provisions for their army, they were obliged soon afterwards to evacuate Clupea and Utica, the principal places they held there, and to re-embark their troops for Italy.

Instead of prosecuting the siege of Carthage or subduing the army of Hasdrubal, Piso employed himself in attacking the small maritime towns of the Phoenicians, and that mostly without success. Clupea, for example, repulsed him, and he was obliged to retire in disgrace from Hippo Diarrhytus, after having lost the whole summer in front of it and having had his besieging apparatus twice burnt.

But so completely had the Romans now lost their judgment, that after a successful conflict before Clupea they embarked all their troops and sailed home, voluntarily evacuating that important and easily defended position which secured to them facilities for landing in Africa, and abandoning their numerous African allies without protection to the vengeance of the Carthaginians.

Besides the destruction of these vessels, a numerous army was lost, with all the riches of Africa, which had been amassed and deposited in Clupea, by Regulus, and which was in the act of being conveyed to Rome. The Carthaginians, animated by the news of this event, resolved to attempt the subjugation of Sicily, Africa being now liberated from the enemy.

But the Romans landed, not on the western side of the peninsula which helps to form the gulf, but on the eastern side, where the bay of Clupea presented a spacious harbour affording protection in almost all winds, and the town, situated close by the sea on a shield-shaped eminence rising out of the plain, supplied an excellent defence for the harbour.