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The army of Sicily

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Chapter Summary

The army of Sicily in 241, as Polybius records, included Celts or Gauls, Ligurians (from north-eastern Italy), Baleares, renowned as deadly slingers, from the islands off the coast of Spain, and 'mixed Greeks', an obscure term. There were also some Italians, including deserters from the Roman side. All these were professional soldiers under contract. The largest number of troops were the Libyans. This was the regular makeup of a Punic army of the era. In the Greek world of the eastern Mediterranean, mercenaries from the west were much fewer, though even an occasional Roman is found, Greeks and Greek-speakers were common, and in eastern armies the Gauls were mostly from Galatia where Celtic war-bands settled in the 270s. The Gauls or Celts in the army of Sicily came probably from Gaul and northern Italy, long settled by Gallic migrants.

Keywords: Baleares; Celts; Gauls; Italians; Libyans; Ligurians; Polybius; Punic army; Sicily; Spain



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