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Marcellus, however, made himself master of the fort of Euryalus, and had closely invested Achradina, when the Carthaginian army under Himilco and Hippocrates advanced to the relief of the city. Their efforts were, however, in vain; all their attacks on the camp of Marcellus were repulsed, and they were unable to effect a junction with Epicydes and the Syracusan garrison. The unhealthiness of the country soon gave rise to a pestilence which carried off both the Carthaginian generals and led to the entire break-up of the army. Shortly afterward the treachery of a leader of Spanish mercenaries in the Syracusan service opened to Marcellus the gates of Achradina, and in the general attack that ensued he made himself master of the island of Ortygia also. The city was given up to plunder, and Archimedes was slain by a Roman soldier, being so intent upon a mathematical problem at the time that he did not answer a question that was asked him. He was deeply regretted by Marcellus, who gave orders for his burial, and befriended his surviving relatives.

The history of Rome is that of a city which originally had only a few miles of territory, and gradually extended its dominions at first over Italy and then over the civilized world. The city lay in the central part of the peninsula, on the left bank of the Tiber, and about fifteen miles from its mouth. Its situation was upon the borders of three of the most powerful races in Italy, the Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans. Though originally a Latin town, it received at an early period a considerable Sabine population, which left a permanent impression upon the sacred rites and religious institutions of the people. The Etruscans exercised less influence upon Rome, though it appears nearly certain that a part of its population was of Etruscan origin, and that the two Tarquins represent the establishment of an Etruscan dynasty at Rome. The population of the city may therefore be regarded as one of mixed origin, consisting of the three elements of Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans, but the last in much smaller proportion than the other two. That the Latin element predominated over the Sabine is also evident from the fact that the language of the Romans was a Latin and not a Sabellian dialect.

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