| The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen|
| Etext Book II Chapter 7|
Rome And The Greek Naval Powers
Rome very naturally sought to find support against Carthage from the Hellenic maritime states. Her old and close relations of amity with Massilia continued uninterrupted. The votive offering sent by Rome to Delphi, after the conquest of Veii, was preserved there in the treasury of the Massiliots. After the capture of Rome by the Celts there was a collection in Massilia for the sufferers by the fire, in which the city chest took the lead; in return the Roman senate granted commercial advantages to the Massiliot merchants, and, at the celebration of the games in the Forum assigned a position of honour (-Graecostasis-) to the Massiliots by the side of the platform for the senators. To the same category belong the treaties of commerce and amity concluded by the Romans about 448 with Rhodes and not long after with Apollonia, a considerable mercantile town on the Epirot coast, and especially the closer relation, so fraught with danger for Carthage, which immediately after the end of the Pyrrhic war sprang up between Rome and Syracuse.(23)
While the Roman power by sea was thus very far from keeping pace with the immense development of their power by land, and the war marine belonging to the Romans in particular was by no means such as from the geographical and commercial position of the city it ought to have been, yet it began gradually to emerge out of the complete nullity to which it had been reduced about the year 400; and, considering the great resources of Italy, the Phoenicians might well follow its efforts with anxious eyes.
The crisis in reference to the supremacy of the Italian waters was approaching; by land the contest was decided. For the first time Italy was united into one state under the sovereignty of the Roman community. What political prerogatives the Roman community on this occasion withdrew from all the other Italian communities and took into its own sole keeping, or in other words, what conception in state-law is to be associated with this sovereignty of Rome, we are nowhere expressly informed, and -- a significant circumstance, indicating prudent calculation -- there does not even exist any generally current expression for that conception.(24) The only privileges that demonstrably belonged to it were the rights of making war, of concluding treaties, and of coining money. No Italian community could declare war against any foreign state, or even negotiate with it, or coin money for circulation. On the other hand every declaration of war made by the Roman people and every state-treaty resolved upon by it were binding in law on all the other Italian communities, and the silver money of Rome was legally current throughout all Italy. It is probable that the formulated prerogatives of the leading community extended no further. But to these there were necessarily attached rights of sovereignty that practically went far beyond them.