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Regulus, Marcus Atilius (d. c. 250 B.C.).

Roman consul. Principal wars: consolidation of Italy (272-265); First Punic War (264-241). Principal battles: Brundisium (Brindisi) (267); Ecnomus (near Licata), Adys (near Carthage) (256); Tunis (255).

The son of Marcus Atilius, his birth and early career are unknown; elected consul (267), he campaigned against the Sallentini with his co-consul Julius Libo, and captured Brundisium; consul again in 256, he and Manlius Vulso were placed in command of the Roman fleet and defeated the Carthaginians at Ecnomus (256); refitted the fleet and led a Roman army to Africa, landing near Carthage, capturing Tunis, and winning a notable victory at Adys near Carthage (256); he began peace talks with Carthage, hoping to end the war before his tenure of command ended; his command was extended, but his terms were so harsh that negotiations broke down; surprised and attacked by a Carthaginian army under the Spartan mercenary general Xanthippus at Tunis, he was defeated and captured (255); according to tradition, he was sent to Rome on parole to negotiate an exchange of prisoners, but after urging the Senate to refuse, he returned to Carthage where he died from illtreatment (c. 250); this account may be accurate, but lacks substance and is quite likely a later invention to make Regulus a model of heroic endurance. <BL>

Broughton, T. R. S., and M. L. Patterson, Magistrates of the Roman
     Republic. London, 1951-1960.
Polybius, History.
Encyclopaedia Britannica. 24 vols. Chicago, 1966.


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Author:Walker, Cheryl L.
Publication:The Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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