Regulus (Marcus Atilius Regulus) rĕg´yo͝oləs [key], d. c.250 BC, Roman general in the First Punic War. While consul (267 BC) he conquered the Sallentini and captured Brundisium (now Brindisi). He became consul a second time (256), defeated the Carthaginians at sea, and waged war against them in Africa, at first with success. Soon afterward the Carthaginians won a complete victory and captured (255) Regulus. He was sent on parole to solicit peace from the Romans, but instead he advised the senate against accepting the Punic terms or exchanging prisoners. Resisting persuasions to break his parole, he returned to Carthage, where he was supposedly tortured to death. The story made Regulus famous as a Roman patriot-martyr.
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