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Full text of "A history of Sicily, 491-289 B.C"

M'' 




OF THE ^^ 

BY 



A HISTORY OF SICILY 

491-289 n.c. 



PUBLISHED BY W. B. CLIVE & CO., BOOKSELLERS ROW, STRAND. 

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/v 



V 



\ 'Univ. dorr. CoIL tutorial Seriee. 



A HISTOKY 

OF SICILY 



491—289 B.C. 



a5 H.AlLCROFT, B.A. Oxon., 

FIRST CLASS HONOUUMAN IN CLASSICS, 
KDITOK OF HORACE' ODES, LIVY XXI., SOFHOCLES' AXTIGONE, ETC. ; 

W. B^^IASOM, B.A. LoND., 

FIRST CLASS HONOURHAN IN CLASSICS, UNIVERSITY EXHIblTIONEK, 
EDITOR OF HERODOTUS VL, ODYSSEY XVII., TAOITUS' ANNALS I. 




London : W. B. CLIVE & CO., 

UNIV. CORK. COLLEGE PRESS WAREHOUSE, 

13 Booksellers Row, Strand, W.C. 






^ 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. PAOE 

I. THE CARTHAGINIANS ....--- 7 

II. SICILY AND THE GREEKS 22 

III. THE GELONIAN SUPKBMACY ; GKLO ----- 34 

IV. HIKRO 48 

y^HBASYBULUS AND THE LIBERATION. 53 

VI, THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION ♦>4 

VII. DIONY8IUS I. 81 

VIII. DI0NY8IUS I. {contimied) 98 

IX. DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER HI 

X. THE LIBERATION OV TIMOLEON 126 

XI. AGATHOCLE8 139 

XII. LITEBATURK 16.^ 



A HISTORY OF SICILY 



CHAPTEE I. 
The Carthaginians. 

Origin of the Phoenicians — Phoenicia — Mercantile Character of the 
People — Their Trade — Colonies — Carthage — Its Position and 
Growth — The Carthaginian Empire — Topography of Carthage — Its 
Fortifications — Change in the Policy of Carthage — Early Relations 
with Sicily — Annies — Government and Constitution — Weaknesses 
of Carthage — Mercenary Troops — Cruelty to Unsuccessful Generals 
— Religion — Influence on Greece of the Phoenicians in Religion — In 
Art — Carthaginian Literature — Remains. 

The history of the island of Sicily has been that of a 
struggle between European and Asiatic races for the 
possession of the most fertile island in the Mediterranean 
basin. In earlier days Greeks and Carthaginians, in 
later days Normans and Saracen?, were the combatants ; 
and the peace of the island has been secure only when 
it has been recognised as the dependency of some mighty 
Continental power, whether in Africa or in Europe. 

The earliest race to interfere with the primitive inhabi- 
tants of Sicily were the Phoenicians.'''" Akin to the 
Hebrews, and a member of the family of nations called 
Semitic, the Phoenicians dwelt originally about the upper 
shores of the Persian Gulf, where the islands of Bahrein 
and Arad still contain the tombs of a multitudinous 

* The name Phoenicia is derived frorn the Greek (ixnuf , either in the significa- 
tion of a ' palm -tree,' from the abundance of those trees about Tyre, etc., or in 
that of ' red,' from the complexion of the people. The Latin form is Pcenus, 
and its derived adjective Punicus, both meaning, not Phoenician, but Cartha- 
ginian. 



8 • A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

people, and were, perhaps, the sacred necropolis of the 
race. As early, however, as 2800 b.c, they left these 
lands and wandered westward until they found a home 
on the shore of the Mediterranean, in the narrow slip of 
coast which was known to the Jews as the land of the 
Philistines and Tyrians, to the Greeks as Phoenicia, to 
later peoples as Syria or Palestine. The cause of their 
emigration is said to have been the prevalence of earth- 
quakes, but the growth of the power of Chaldasa may 
have been at least one factor in the result. They brought 
away with them the memory of their older homes, and in 
their new land they founded an Aradus and a Tyrus to 
perpetuate the names of two of the islands of the Eed 
Ocean,* whence they came. 

The territory of Phoenicia is a mere belt of coast land, 
never exceeding twenty miles in width, and averaging 
only one mile. In length it measured in its greatest 
extent 180 miles, taking Gabala {Jebel) as the northern, 
and Carmel as the southern limit ; but it is more usual 
to regard as the limits Aradus on the north, Tyre on the 
south. The land, if narrow, was exceedingly fertile and 
well watered, and was, moreover, defended from attack on 
the land side by the natural double barrier of Libanus 
{Lehano7i) and Anti-Libanus. Spurs of the Lebanon 
range run down to the coast at frequent intervals, and 
divide the land with additional barriers ; and the jutting 
headlands scarcely leave room for the construction of a 
continuous road along the coast. But these barriers were 
valued only as keeping off the incursions of the nomads 
beyond, and the Phoenicians never utilized them, as they 
might have done, as the bulwarks of a national liberty. 
They were a nation of traders. They had no care for 
empire, and, indeed, they were never sufficiently numer- 
ous to have made head against the mightier nations of 
Babylon, Nineveh, Persia, and Egypt. They desired 
only so much space as should provide them with a home, 
whence they might sail to explore the farthest shores. 
From the very earliest times they must have been a com- 

* The name Mare Erythrseum, or Rubrum, was given, not to the Red Sea, but 
to the Persian Gulf. 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. \) 

mercial people, for their island-homes in the Persian 
Gulf still remain the natural emporium of the trade 
between Europe and the Indian coasts. They may have 
maintained this trade by means of caravans, for we know 
they had a constant intercourse with the Assyrian 
monarchy ; they certainly opened new routes towards 
the west, and rapidly monopolized the entire commercial 
wealth of the Mediterranean. They made no conquests 
by war, but quietly extended their factories and trading- 
stations from island to island through the ^gean to the 
coasts of Greece, along the shores of Macedonia, by 
Thasos and Samo-Thrace, even to the Black Sea. Most 
of all they were attracted by the precious metals and the 
murex, a shellfish which furnished them with the famous 
dye known as * Tyrian purple.' In quest of one or other 
of these objects they came to Cyprus and Chalcis of 
Euboea, rich in copper ores ; to Thasos, where their gold- 
diggers * overturned a whole mountain ' ; to Laurium, 
where they brought to light and gathered the best trea- 
sures of the silver-mines afterwards so valuable to 
Athens ; to Trcezen and Hermione for murex. The 
names of Megara and Samos, of Macaria, the fountain of 
Marathon, of the Cadmea, the Acropolis of Thebes, all 
bear witness to their presence ; while scarce an impor- 
tant name in Crete or Cyprus but is Phoenician. From 
the eastern and southern shores of Hellas they passed 
along the western coast, leaving their records even at 
Olympia, the stronghold of Hellenism, in Corcyra, and 
in the regions of Epirus about the ancient oracle of 
Dodona; and so, still westward, to Italy and Sicily. 
The year 1500 B.C. saw them established at many points 
upon the western shore of Italy, notably at Punicum, in 
Etruria. Thence they advanced to Sardinia and Corsica, 
to Spain, and to Africa, where, in 1140 b.c, they founded 
their first factory of Utica, on the Gulf of Tunis. 

This westward bent was due not only to innate enter- 
prise and quest of traffic, but also to the fact that the 
Hellenes of the eastern Mediterranean were now waking 
up to emulation, and gradually ousting the Phoenicians 
from the islands and mainland of Greece. The Phoeni- 



10 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

cians retired, seemingly without a struggle. They had 
gathered the best that was to be got, and could cheerfully 
leave the pickings to others. All the west lay open to 
them, and thither they turned with fresh energies. Sicily 
was fringed with their stations, and all the islands north 
and west of Sicily were ransacked by their merchants. 
Finally Spain presented to them a virgin land teeming 
with precious metals, and there, before the year 1000 b.c, 
they founded the town of Gades [Cadiz), the centre of that 
land of Tarshish whence they brought gold for the temple 
of Solomon in Jerusalem. 

So wide and continuous a commercial activity drew to 
Phoenicia the wealth of the world. Her merchants were 
' the princes of the earth.' Through their hands passed 
all that was marketable from India and Assyria, Arabia 
and Egypt, and all the nations of Europe and Africa. 
The two original colonies of Tyre and Sidon grew to a 
wealth that was proverbial, and other towns, such as 
Aradus, Berytus, Byblus, and smaller places, shared in 
the national prosperity. Even the conquests of Asshur- 
izir-pal and Sennacherib did not affect the prosperity of 
a people who submitted readily to the rule of any power 
so that they might pursue in peace their mercantile call- 
ing. They lived apart in their towns, each under its 
own petty king, with laws of its own. Tyre had indeed 
a nominal ascendancy, but there was no actual unity. 
Yet to such a power did even the single cities attain, that 
Tyre's king, Ethbael, could give his daughter as a wife to 
Ahab, King of Samaria. Ahab fell fighting with the 
Syrians against Assyria, about 850 b.c, and Phoenicia 
was annexed by Shalmanezer II. ; but three years pre- 
viously there had been some intestine troubles in Tyre, 
and a body of expelled citizens had fled to Africa, where 
they founded, 853 b.c, Kirjath-Hadeschath, 'the New 
Town,' ten miles from Utica, the older city. Kirjath- 
Hadeschath became in Greek Carchedon, and in Latin 
Carthago — the Carthage of history. 

According to the story in Virgil, Sychaeus, King of Tyre, 
was murdered by his brother-in-law Pygmalion, and his 
widow, Elissa or Dido fled secretly, with a band of 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. 11 

wealthy Tyrians whom the cruelty and rapacity of the 
usurper forced to seek safety elsewhere. All we can cer- 
tainly say is that Carthage was a direct offshoot from 
Tyre, and that it never forgot its filial duty towards the 
mother city. Thither was sent a yearly tithe to the 
temple of Tyrian Hercules, and when Tyre was taken by 
Alexander the Great, in 332 b.c, the refugees found a 
welcome within the walls of Carthage. 

The new colony was situated on the southern shore of 
the Bay of Tunis, about thirty miles distant from the 
modern town of Tunis, and a few miles southward of the 
estuary of the Bagradas (Mejerda). In the heart of the 
most fertile region of the African coast, it was admirably 
fitted to be the home of the merchant princes who 
spent in quiet country enjoyments the gains of earlier 
commercial efforts ; while its bay furnishes almost the 
only safe harbour on the whole coast from Alexandria to 
the Pillars of Hercules {Gibraltar). Eastward the pro- 
montory of Heraeum {Cape Bon) juts out towards Sicily, 
from which it is but ninety miles away, and beyond lay 
the great indentation known to the ancients as the 
Greater and Lesser Syrtes, or ' Drifts,' from the shoals 
and sand-banks which stretched along the coast. The 
coast itself was then, as now, little better than a sandy 
desert for a distance of 800 miles. After this, the fertile 
lands of Cyrenaica were reached, conterminous with the 
western boundaries of Egypt. In contrast with the 
desolation of the eastern desert was the wonderful pro- 
ductiveness of the coast westward from Cape Bon. Here 
it was no uncommon thing for crops to yield one hundred- 
and-fifty-fold, and even now the provinces of Tunis, 
Algeria, and Morocco retain something of their ancient 
luxuriance. But there is no reason to suppose that the 
founders of Carthage chose the site of the new town only 
for its fertility. It possessed inestimable advantages as 
a centre for trade, commanding as it did the whole of the 
eastern and western basins of the Mediterranean, and the 
resources of continental Africa to boot. The soil was 
left in the hands of the native Libyans, to whom the 
Carthaginians even paid a yearly tribute — the rental of 



12 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

their holding ; and it was to commerce that the new city 
was devoted. And the growth of that commerce w^as mar- 
vellous. Three hundred factories stretched round the 
western shoulder of Africa, and the traders of Carthage 
penetrated beyond the Canaries to the Cameroons, 
whence they brought back captive gorillas, ivory and 
gold, and stories of the fiery Cameroons mountain.^ 
Spain, with its mines of silver, iron, and quicksilver, was 
almost a home to them. They reached even to the 
Scilly Isles, where they purchased the tin of Cornwall, 
and to the Baltic, whence they brought home amber. 
The products so obtained they wrought into vessels and 
implements whose design was borrowed from the inven- 
tiveness of Greece, of Egypt, and of the East, but whose 
beauty of workmanship was entirely Phoenician. They 
were inimitable imitators ; insomuch that to the Greeks 
of Homer's day all that was artistic was Phoenician, for 
it came to them through the hands and from the forges 
of the Tyrians and their descendants. 

Within a hundred years of the reputed foundation of 
Carthage, Sicily and Sardinia were regarded as her pro- 
vinces, together with Malta, and the Lipari and Balearic 
Isles. With increase of wealth came increase of terri- 
tory. The tribute w^as no longer paid to the Libyans, 
but they were in their turn reduced to the position of 
serfs who tilled the soil of the immediate vicinity — the 
home province — for their masters, and occupied the 
territories beyond as tributary dependencies. The inter- 
marriage of Carthaginians with native Libyans gave rise 
to a half-breed population called Libyo-Phoenicians, who 
occupied the 300 cities of the home-province, but were 
treated with the same harshness as the pure Africans, and 
not allowed to fortify their towns. Utica was the one 
exception to this jealous rule, and there the native 
Phoenician element was doubtless too prominent to allow 
any fear of disaffection. From Arae-Philaeni, on the 
coast of fche Great Syrtis, to the Atlantic, the whole 
region was tributary to Carthage, and so heavy was the 
tribute, that as much as fifty per cent, of the year's pro- 

* Periplus of Hanno. 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. 13 

duce was exacted in a time of need, and the town of 
Leptis, itself a direct colony from Tyre, paid a talent 
per diem. 

The city of Carthage itself clustered round the citadel, 
Bosra (Canaanitish, a fort), which stood upon rising 
ground at the extremity of a sort of peninsula formed by 
two lagoons opening into the Gulf of Tunis. A massive 
outer wall crossed this peninsula from north to south, 
while the citadel and the Cothon, or naval harbour at its 
foot, were surrounded on the landward side by a second 
wall of immense strength. Forty-five feet in height on 
the outer side, and furnished at intervals of 200 feet with 
lofty towers, the wall was backed by a second and a 
third line of solid masonry ; and the space between, par- 
titioned and divided into two stories, could stable 300 
elephants with their stores of forage in the basement, and 
over these 4,000 horses. Barracks for 20,000 infantry com- 
pleted this wall, which joined the ring-wall of the Bosra 
itself. The Cothon was an artificial basin containing 
docks for 220 ships of war, having in the centre the 
admiral's island residence. It opened into the mer- 
cantile harbour, of still larger dimensions ; and this 
again into the bay. 

Such fortifications and harbourage so large imply an 
immense population. What it may have been at the 
time when the strength of Carthage was unimpaired we 
cannot say ; but at the date of the Third Punic War (146 
B.C.), when the intermittent warfare of three and a half 
centuries had doubtless thinned the ranks of the native 
Carthaginians, there still remained 700,000 souls within 
the walls. It was unusual, indeed, for the citizens to 
serve in war, although special privileges were offered to 
induce them to do so. Nevertheless, several occasions 
will occur in this history when a large citizen force was 
levied; and on one such occasion at least (b.c. 394-5) it 
suffered virtual annihilation. In the year 310 b.c. a 
force of 40,000 native foot and 3,000 horse and chariots 
marched out to meet the advance of Agathocles. 

The Carthaginians, however, were not men of war, but 
of traffic, like their parents the Phoenicians, and, as 



14 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

has been said, that nation preferred to retire without re- 
sistance when they were no longer left in peaceful pos- 
session of their trading-stations. But when, after ceding 
thus tacitly the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean 
trade to the Greeks, they found that that people were 
menacing the Phoenician preserves in the west, they were 
constrained to alter their policy. As will be seen, they 
did so too late. The first Greek settlers landed in Sicily 
in 735 B.C., but it was not until a century and a half 
later that an effort was made by the Carthaginians to 
oust them from what had now become virtually a Greek 
island. The statesman to whom was due the new policy 
was named Mago ; and it was under his guidance that 
Carthage turned her attention first to the establishment 
of her supremacy in Africa, circa 530 b.c. This done, she 
entered on aggressive wars in Sardinia and in Sicily. 
The former island was reduced by Hasdrubal, son of 
Mago ; the Hamilcar who fell at Himera 480 b.c. was a 
second son. But by this time the rapid development of 
the Hellenes in Sicily had restricted the Carthaginians to 
the western corner of' the island, where were situated 
their three great marts of Motye, Solus, and Panormus. 
Until the close of the First Punic War, 241 b.c, they re- 
tained always so much of the island, and at times ex- 
tended their influence for brief seasons over a much 
larger area. But to the Greeks they were a hated nation, 
with whom could be no compromise; and in suffering 
Hellenic influence to spread unchecked for 150 years, 
they forfeited their power in Sicily. With the Sicels, on 
the other hand, they could and did live on good terms, 
for they cared only to command the coast, while the 
Sicels had no tendency to maritime pursuits. 

More fatal to their success than any error of judgment 
was their system of warfare. The disinclination of the 
citizens to serve was met by hiring mercenaries who had 
no interest in the results of the war beyond their stipu- 
lated hire, and who might at any moment transfer their 
services to a higher bidder. Collected from the nomad 
Libyans, the Libyo-Phoenicians, from Spain, Gaul, 
Etruria, Liguria, and Italy, even from the Hellenes them- 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. 15 

selves, they formed armies of undoubted fearlessness and of 
redoubtable numbers. Armies of from 150,000 to 300,000 
men were not unusual with the Carthaginians. But they 
lacked all the moral strength of war — unity of blood and 
language, attachment to their leader ; above all, attach- 
ment to the country which they professed to serve. 
Their very numbers rendered them unmanageable to the 
run of Carthaginian commanders, who had no talent for 
war or diplomacy. Levied in the spring, they were dis- 
banded in the autumn ; and thus was lost the only means 
of creating a fictitious patriotism amongst them — per- 
manency of service. Mercenary troops were the weapon 
of the Sicilian despots also, but they were a weapon 
never laid aside — retained and cherished until they learnt 
to identify their own interests with that of their masters. 

The Balearic Isles and Spain provided the best slingers 
the world ever saw ; the Ligurians were the ideal of light 
troops ; while the more stalwart Sabellians and Etruscans 
of Italy furnished an infantry akin to that with which 
Eome conquered the world. The African tribes supplied 
a superb light cavalry that was inexhaustible. The 
Libyo-Phoenicians rode into battle in chariots of iron, 
and behind them followed the elephants, which routed 
even the Eomans in more than one battle. Such a force, 
supported as it usually was by a flotilla whose very war- 
vessels were counted by thousands, and whose transports 
were limitless, was after all of little value. It was little 
superior to the motley horde of millions that served under 
the Persian banners — superior only in so far as Western 
blood is sterner than that of the East. 

The government of Carthage was a close oligarchy, 
whose members were the descendants of the original 
colonists from Tyre, forming a class similar to the 
patricians of early Eome.* Of these, twenty-eight chosen 
members formed the council, and two others, elected for 
life, were the actual heads of the State. The title of the 
latter was Shophet (plural, Shophetim), which became in 

* There are said to have been 3 tribes, 30 curice, and 300 gentes at Carthage, 
exactly corresponding to those of Rome ; but such a theoretical class-system 
is not an imusual feature of early States. 



16 A HISTORY OB^ SICILY. 

Latin Suffes (plural, Suff&tes) ; and they were compared 
by Aristotle to the two kings of Sparta, and by Latin 
writers to the Eoman consuls. The latter parallel is 
probably the truer, for the two suffetes were doubtless a 
contrivance for limiting the excessive power of a sole 
monarch — the form of government in the mother city. 
Tyre, and therefore presumably the original form at 
Carthage also. The council declared war, made peace, 
appointed the commanders in war, and in general ad- 
ministered the affairs of the entire State, while the 
suffetes acted as their executive, occasionally even 
leading the army in person."^ The mass of the populace, 
the Demos, were without privileges, and virtually without 
voice in the government ; though in theory, if the suffetes 
and the council disagreed, the question was decided by 
an appeal to the masses. 

Such appears to have been the constitution of Carthage 
in the earliest form of which we have any knowledge. 
But in the nature of things such a constitution could not 
remain unaltered, particularly in a mercantile State. 
Mercantile pursuits engender a spirit of liberalism or 
democracy amongst their votaries in proportion as the 
latter are naturally more or less inclined to political 
activity. Such activity was never a characteristic of the 
Phoenicians, and hence the mass of them did not, like the 
' sea-going mob ' of Athens, push their claims to self- 
government. But the oligarchy contained in itself the 
causes of change. A council (gerusia) of twenty-eight 
members, chosen for life, afforded too little play for any 
political bent in the ranks of a rich, powerful, and 
numerous aristocracy ; while such as it did possess was 
limited by the virtual absolutism of the suffetes. The 
offices of gerusiast and suffete, and consequently those of 
general and admiral, fell alike into the hands of one or 
two families of special distinction, to the exclusion of their 
fellow-nobles ; and the latter used their best efforts to 
secure a more substantial voice in the government. It 
was the ascendency of Mago and his sons, above alluded 
to, which gave them the actual pretext for the erection 

* E.g., Hamilcar at Himera, 480 b.c. 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. 17 

of a second council of 104 members, termed judges, who 
controlled the original council, just as the latter controlled 
the sutfetes. Like the aristocratic council of the Areo- 
pagus at Athens, the original council of Carthage was 
gradually superseded, and their power transferred to The 
Hundred, as they were loosely called. This body exer- 
cised now an absolutism so complete that they are com- 
pared to the Ephors of Sparta, before whose authority 
the gerusia (council) and the two kings were alike in later 
times helpless. With The Hundred rested the audit of 
the actions of gerusiasts, suffetes, and generals alike ; and 
they seem to have purposely avoided office themselves, 
content to enjoy the control of others. Thus at the time 
when the struggle of Carthage with the Greeks com- 
mences, the constitution of the city was still an oligarchy 
of the closest kind, though the actual centre of power had 
shifted to a somewhat larger, if no less irresponsible, body 
than the original council. 

Thus much is, in brief, all that is known of a govern- 
ment of which Aristotle says that its stability was some- 
thing to admire, inasmuch as he could find no occasion 
on which it had been seriously endangered even by one 
of its own members aiming at the despotism. Indeed, it 
seems to have been mild and equitable at least towards the 
Carthaginians themselves. One instance will occur, but 
at a later date than that at which Aristotle wrote, of an 
attempt to establish a monarchy ;* but it met with no 
support from the populace, the very class which would 
seem at first sight most likely to resent their own in- 
feriority and seek to be revenged on the ruling oligarchy. 
The worst enemies of Carthage were her despised African 
subjects, upon whom fell the burden of a heavy taxation, 
for which they received nothing in return. The Libyans 
never forgot that the Carthaginian was an invader and an 
aggressor ; and more than once their rising brought the 
mighty city to the brink of ruin. The Phoenicians of 
Africa had no genius for amalgamation and pacification, 
any more than had their fellows of Phoenicia proper, and 
it was to this incapacity they owed the perils brought 

• That of Bomilcar, 309 B.C. 

2 



18 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

upon them by Agathocles, and that final ruin from which 
Scipio earned the title of Africanus. 

Yet other causes of weakness were inherent in the 
military system already described. The mercenary troops, 
so difficult to handle and only to be kept in allegiance by 
success and the plunder which it brought, were always 
liable to turn on the masters who had bought their ser- 
vices. No patriotism stood in their way. To them 
Carthage was as legitimate a field of plunder as were the 
enemies whom they were hired to chastise. And equally 
dangerous was the blind and cruel policy of The Hundred, 
who avenged upon an unsuccessful general the results of 
ill-fortune or incompetency, yet who were never at pains 
to appoint to the command a man of military ability. 
The cases of the three great Barcines, Hamilcar, 
Hasdrubal, and Hannibal, are exceptional, and belong to 
a later age. At the date with whicn we are now dealing 
the general was appointed apparently without any thought 
for his fitness. If he was successful, so much the better 
for Carthage and for him ; but if he failed, he paid for 
his failure with his life, nailed to a cross as an example, 
and the sins of the father were even visited upon the 
children with the same inhumanity. One of themselves, 
though he suffered in this manner for flagrant treason, 
could yet warn his countrymen as they saw him hanging 
on the cross that such a policy could never bring suc- 
cess.* It deterred what few able generals the nation 
possessed from serving so unjust a mistress, and caused 
the leader to think less of his country's honour than of 
his owm security. 

Like most of the old Oriental nations, the Phoenicians 
tended towards a gloomy and morbid cruelty, and the 
vindictiveness of their treatment of a Cisco or a Bomilcar 
was but the reflection of their religious ceremonials — the 
' abomination of the Sidonians.' Their great deity was 
Baal, or Bel, the Moloch of the Bible, God of the Sun. 
His consort was Astarte, or Tanith, Goddess of the 
Moon, sometimes surnamed Mulitta. The former w^as 
the God to whom they sacrificed human victims, usually 

* Bomilcar. 



THE CARTHAGINIANS. 19 

infants, who were laid in the outstretched hands of an 
image so constructed that, when a fire was kindled 
within, their bodies fell backwards into the flames. The 
state sacrifices in honour of Baal were the chosen chil- 
dren of the noblest families, and when, on the occasion 
of Agathocles' invasion, it was discovered that the 
promptings of affection had induced some parents to keep 
back their own children and offer in their stead the pur- 
chased children of base-born and less humane parents, 
the pious fraud was condoned by a holocaust of two 
hundred infants. It was this practice, long ago extinct 
amongst the Hellenes, which roused so fiercely their de- 
testation for the Phoenicians at large ; and it was from 
this God that so many Carthaginian names derive their 
termination — bal* 

Hardly less debasing was the worship of Astarte, the 
Phoenician Venus, and not improbably the original source 
of the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus. Clo?5ely con- 
nected with the cult of Adonai (Adonis), it early found its 
way into Greece, where Corinth attained an unenviable 
notoriety for a ritual entirely un-Greek in its impurity. 
Corinth, indeed, was particularly the centre of Phoenician 
tradition in Central Greece, for here was worshipped 
Melicertes, identical even in name with the Phoenician 
Melcarth.t He was worshipped with no bloody sacrifices, 
or at least with none of human blood, and his temples 
contained no image. Tyre was especially his city, and 
there Herodotus saw its pillars of emerald and gold ; but 
Thasos, too, had a famous temple in his honour, and at 
Gades, in the far west, Hannibal registered to him vows for 
the fair issue of his war upon Rome. He was the God 
of Enterprise, Commerce, and Travel, and was known to 
the Greeks as the ' Tyrian Hercules'! — a name which 
contributed largely to the growth of the legends con- 
cerning their own Hercules. Traces of his worship, or 
at any rate of his worshippers, may be found in the 

* E.g., Hannibal (Grace of Baal), Hasdrubal (whose help is Baal), Maherbal, 
Adherbal, Mastanabal. 

t I.e., Melech Kirjath, ' King of the city.' Hence the names Hamilcar, Bomil- 
car, Himilco. 

X Hercules, or the Greek form Heracles, was i)erhap8 derived from the Phcani- 
cian title Archai, applied to Melcarth. 

2—2 



20 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

traditions of Elis and Olympia, where also was the statue 
of another deity of unmistakably Phoenician origin — 
Zeus Apomyius, he that wards off flies. At Sparta the 
festival of the Hyacinthia was more than possibly derived 
from the cult of Adonai ; at Agrigentum was a temple to 
Zeus Atabyrius, a title purely Phoenician.'^ 

Something has already been said of the arts of the 
Phoenicians. Those arts all flourished amongst the 
Carthaginians, as they had flourished in their earlier 
home. But there was one invention passed on by the 
early Phoenicians to the Greeks on which depends the 
whole place of that people in the history of civilization. 
This was the art of writing, the symbols of which, 
whether derived ultimately from Egypt or from Chaldaea, 
were brought by the merchants of Tyre to Thebes, and 
were thence called, in their earliest form, the Cadmean 
Alphabet.! With few alterations that alphabet has re- 
mained universal for the Western world. 

Of the literature of Carthage there are no remains. 
When Eome took the town the whole of the voluminous 
libraries there found were handed over to the native 
priuces of Africa, in whose hands they gradually melted 
away. One Mago had, however, composed a lengthy 
treatise on husbandry, which was so excellent, at least in 
its precepts, that it was translated into Latin by order of 
the Senate, and became a standard book on the subject 
even for the Eomans. What its style may have been 
there is nothing to show us. There remain also two 
transcriptions of the records of Carthaginian explorers. 
The first, the Periplus of Hanno, relates how that 
admiral coasted southward from the Pillars of Hercules, 
carrying with him a crowd of colonists, whom he planted 
on the Moorish coasts. Then, sailing still southward, he 
tells how he saw the Fiery Mountain, supposed to have 
been the Cameroons Volcano, and the hairy apes, whom 
he named gorillas. The narrative was inscribed and 

* Atabyris was the name of the chief mountain of Rhodes, and is Grsecised 
from the Phoenician Tabor. 

t Cadmus, the m.vtholdgical founder of Grecian Thebes, is connected in name 
with Phoenician Cadmon, ' the Ancient One.' Thebes itiself preserves the uarae 
of the older Egyptian Thebes, and its connection with Egypt seems to have been 
considerable. 



THE CABTHAGINIANS. 21 

dedicated in a Carthaginian temple, whence it was copied 
and translated by an unknown Greek. The other trans- 
lation, a rendering in Latin verse by Festus Avienus of a 
similar voyage to the Northern seas, now goes by the name 
of the Ora Maritima. It is only a fragment, but it speaks 
of the Scilly Isles, and the * Holy Island ' (Ireland), and 
the ' broad island ' of Albion. Beyond a few inscriptions 
dug up on the site of Carthage, there is no vestige to-day 
of what must once have been the language of a varied 
literature. 

In the year 146 B.C. Carthage was besieged and sacked by 
the Eomans, who had already disarmed it with what was 
truly ' Pcrjidia plus qumn Punica. ' For seventeen d ays its 
ruins burned, and then the remnant of its buildings were 
rased, and the site sown with salt. Modern excavations 
have brought to light something of the ancient plan of 
the city, some beautiful tessellated pavements, and a few 
other relics of the once mighty Queen of the West. But 
all that remains now are the broken 'basins of the Cothon 
and the Mercantile Harbour and a series of enormous 
cisterns, eighteen in number, each measuring one 
hundred feet in length by thirty in breadth, which formed 
the reservoir of the ancient city. Flames could not de- 
stroy them, so they were left — stones that cry out against 
the savagery of Eoman vengeance. And the soil that 
covers the ancient site is built up of those many-coloured 
marbles which once decorated the temples and palaces of 
Carthage. 



CHAPTEE II. 
Sicily and the Greeks. 

Dimensions of the Island — Mountain System — Plains — Rivers — 
Fertility— Native Tribes ; Elymi — Sicels and Sicani— The Greek 
Colonies — Mistaken Policy of Carthage — Topography of Syracuse — 
Its Strength — Agrigentum and Gela — Selinus and Uimera — Messana 
and other Ionic Towns — Remaining Hellenic Towns — The Cartha- 
ginian Reservation — Motve and Lilybaeum — Magna Graecia — Pre- 
ponderance of Achseans — Relationship of Colonies to their Mother- 
Cities — The Law-givers — Art and Commerce — Relations with Rome 
and Italy — Remains. 

The island of Sicily, the last remains of the belt of land 
which once joined Italy to Cape Bon, is a continuation of 
the mountain chain which descends through the length 
of Italy under the name of the Apennines. From the 
centre of the island to the north of the ancient town of 
Henna, three mountain ranges branch off, each running 
to one or other of the three capes which form the angles 
of a rude isosceles triangle. The apex of the triangle is 
Cape Drepanum in the west, and its base is the rough 
coast-line on the east between Cape Pelorus, the nearest 
point to Italy, and Cape Pachynus, the southernmost 
point of the island. The length of this base-line is 
approximately 115 miles; that of the two remaining 
sides 175 miles each. The total circumference is thus 
not more than 475 miles, and the area about 10,000 square 
miles, little more than one-sixth of the united area of 
England and Wales. 

The whole of the interior region is ruggedly mountain- 
ous, and from the central ridges lesser spurs run down 
everywhere towards the coast. The eastern ridge, known 
as the Nebrodes Montes, rises at once from the northern 
shore, along which it lies for more than half of the 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 23 

entire length of the island. It is then met by the south- 
eastern ridge, and the area contained within the two is 
filled up by a labyrinth of precipitous valleys and steep 
hills, which gradually increase in height until they reach 
their maximum in the volcanic cone of ^tna, more than 
10,000 feet above sea-level. Westward the actual ridge 
is less marked, but the whole region becomes one broken 
plateau difficult to traverse, except on foot. The central and 
southern mountains bore the name of the Hertei Montes. 

What small area of plain the island contains lies along 
the coast, from Cape Passaro to Cape Grantola. At each 
of these points the mountains advance to the sea, and 
two lesser ridges intervene to divide the plain into three 
sections. The central area is that of Agrigentum, east- 
ward of which lies the Plain of Gela and Camarina, and 
westward that of Selinus. On the east coast the country 
opens into a smaller plain to the south of Syracuse. The 
nature of the country may best be understood from the 
fact that only two railways have been constructed across 
the interior. One leaving the coast at Catania (Catana) 
runs up to the centre of the island, passes through a 
valley which marks the juncture of the mountain systems, 
and, turning to the south, reaches the coast a little east of 
Girgenti (Agrigentum). The other starts from the last- 
named town, and runs straight across to the northern 
coast at Termini. In ancient times, too, these formed 
the only internal routes ; the road which skirts the whole 
coast of the island has always been the chief means of 
communication. 

Navigable rivers there are none, owing to the shortness 
of their courses ; and of the few streams which deserve the 
name of rivers most are mere mountain torrents, flooded 
in times of rain, and dried up during the summer months. 
The most important stream is the Halycus (Platana), 
which rises in the centre of the island, and flows south- 
westward to the sea at Heraclea Minoa. Close to its 
source, but on opposite sides of the watershed, rise two 
streams, both called Himera. The smaller, falling into 
the northern sea by the town of the same name, forms, 
with the Halycus, the long valley through which runs the 



24 A HISTOKY OF SICILY. 

Girgenti railway, and thus marks a natural boundary 
between the eastern and western portion of the island. 
The larger stream flows southward, and forms the boun- 
dary between Agrigentum and Gela. On the east coast the 
Symeethus, rising from numerous sources in the Nebrodes 
Montes, curves round the western base of -3^tna and de- 
bouches between Catana and Leontini ; and the Anapus, 
only worthy of mention as the river of Syracuse, falls 
into the great harbour, forming pestilent marshes about 
its mouth. Innumerable smaller streams enter the sea at 
every part of the coast, but few of them deserve the 
name of rivers. They serve, however, to impart to the 
soil that fertility for which it has always been famous. 
The land still yields wonderful harvests, though ill- 
cultivated. In older times the plains were the granary 
of Eome. Figs, olives, grapes, pomegranates, and fruits 
of every kind, flourished in the lowlands, so that Geloi 
Campi — a plain such as that of Gela — was a proverb for 
luxuriance. The marshy ground near the streams gave 
pasturage to the finest war-horses, and to racers that 
could vie with the 'mares of Elis.' And higher up in the 
highland valleys the groves of oranges and citrons flourish 
to this day upon the rich debris of volcanic mud and ashes. 
When the first Greek settlers landed in Sicily, about the 
middle of the eighth century B.C., it was occupied by two 
races, the Sicels"^ and the Sicani. The former extended 
over the whole of the eastern half of the island as far as 
Henna ; the latter possessed the western portion, with 
the exception of some half-dozen townships at the extreme 
north-west, where Egesta and Eryx were occupied by non- 
descript people called Elymi, who claimed to be descend- 
ants of the Trojans ; while the Phoenicians possessed 
three great emporiums at Soloeis, Panormus,t and 
Motye. Who the Sicels and Sicani actually were, 
whence they came, and whether they were really one 
l^eople, were questions debated even amongst the Greeks. 
It is probable that both emigrated from Italy, and were 
akin to the Sabellian and Oscan tribe known to the 

* In Greek ^ineXm, of which Siculi is the Latin form. 

t In Latin form Soloeis becomes Solus. Panormus is the modern Palermo, 
now the most important town in Sicily. 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 25 

Eomans as Lucani, Bruttii, Apuli, Campani, or Samnites. 
They probably supplanted a still older race, akin to the 
Me^sapians and lapygians, who still maintained them- 
selves in the heel of Italy, in Calabria, and whose rem- 
nant were the so-called Elymi. At any rate, they were 
not a commercial people, any more than were their 
Italian confreres, and so they permitted the settlement 
of the Phoenician traders at many points about the 
coast besides the great north-western marts, as, for 
example, at Megara Hyblasa and Ortygia on the east, 
Macara (afterwards Heraclea Minoa) on the southern 
shore. They confined themselves to agriculture, the 
produce of which they bartered with the Phcenicians ; and 
their religion was the worship of nature-powers personi- 
fying the mighty volcanic forces which shook the island. 
Their chief God was Adranus, whose sanctuary was 
Adranum, at the western foot of ^tna ; their great 
Goddess Hybla gave her name to a number of townships, 
and to their own chieftains.* Other deities, called 
Palici, had their shrine amongst the Heraean hills ; and 
most of the strong positions in which the highlands of 
the interior abound were crowned by Sicel or Sican for- 
tresses. Such were Abacaenum, in the north-east ; 
Inessa, Centoripe, Bricinniae, and Acrae, in the east and 
south ; Agyrium, Assorus, and Henna, in the central 
region ; and Entella, Schera, and Hercte, in the west. _ 
Eeports of the wonderful fertility of the island and the ^ 
western shores of the Mediterranean reached Greece at 
a time when the older cities were rapidly rising in wealth 
and numbers, and seeking for new land in which to plant 
their surplus population. Already, before the eighth 
century B.C., the ^olians of Asia Minor had sailed into 
the far west, and the colony of Cumae, on the coast of 
Campania, was of an immemorial antiquity. One Colaeus^ 
a Samian merchant, driven by storms out of his course, 
liad been carried even to the Spanish Tartessus, where 
he realized such enormous profits from his cargo as to 
inflame the cupidity of all mercantile Greeks. In the 
year 735 b.c, the first colony was planted in Sicily by 

* Hyblaea Geleatis, Hyblsea Hersea, Megara Hyblsea, and the surname Hyblon. 



^6 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Thucles, who led a band of settlers from the Euboean 
Chalcis and from Naxos, one of the most powerful of the 
■Cyclades. He named his colony Naxos, after that 
island. In the next year, Archias of Corinth, one of the 
Bacchiadae, the leading oligarchic family of that city, 
founded Syracuse (734 e.g.), driving out the Sicels, and 
perhaps the Phoenicians, too, from Ortygia, the small 
islet which formed his first settlement. Three years 
later the Naxians, under Thucles, colonized Leontini 
and Catana. In 730 e.g., arrived Lamis, from Megara, 
■and, assisted by the Syracusans and Naxians, established 
himself at Trotilus. But the Sicels, grown jealous of the 
new-comers, drove him from that settlement, and even 
from a second position at Thapsus, a few miles north of 
Syracuse. Finally their chief, Hyblon, came to terms 
with the invaders, and allowed them to found a new 
Megara, surnamed Hyblsea, on the bay between Thapsus 
and Leontini. 

A pause followed in the tide of immigration, during 
which the Hellenes perhaps waited to see the result of 
these first experiments. The rapid growth of the new 
■colonies soon proved the feasibility of fresh attempts, and 
in 690 E.G. a body of Ehodians and Cretans founded 
Lindii, on the mouth of the little river Gela, in the most 
fertile region of all Sicily. The name was afterwards 
changed to Gela, and the town became the rival of Syra- 
cuse. The latter town was in a few years able to send 
out, on its own account, colonists who occupied Acrae, 
664 B.C., and Casmenae, 644 e.g. Its neighbour, Megara 
Hyblaea, was strong enough in another fifteen years to 
send out settlers to Selinus, on the very borders of Motye, 
630 B.C., and in 599 e.g. the Syracusans founded a third 
€olony at Camarina. In 582 B.C. the Geloans set the 
foundations of Agrigentum, whose magnificence was soon 
to eclipse even that of Syracuse. The date of the colo- 
nisation of Zancle (Messana) is uncertain, but probably 
•comes about 650 e.g., when a band of Phocaean pirates 
seized it, and sent out thence, about a hundred years 
later, the colonists who occupied Hirriera. 

Such was the map of Sicily about the middle of the 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 27 

sixth century B.C. Within two hundred years the island 
had virtually passed from the hands of the Phoenicians 
to those of the Greeks. It was not the habit of the 
Phoenicians to build cities where they came. They were 
content to have harbourage and a market only. Hence 
the ease with which the Greeks supplanted them, the 
more as Carthage did not as yet see the need of consti- 
tuting herself the champion of the Phoenician race. 
Decisive action might have prevented for ever the Hel- 
lenizing of the island ; but the opportunity was lost, and 
when at last she saw tit to dispute by force of arms the 
possession of what she had lost, Carthage found her 
rivals securely settled in walled cities, numerous, wealthy, 
and, moreover, little afraid of a nation which had so 
readily yielded to their stealthy inroads. 

It remains to speak in detail of the principal Grecian 
cities, for the history of Sicily is little more than the 
history of a very few Hellenic towns, and of none have 
we anything like a continuous history save Syracuse. 
That colony was planted originally on the islet of Ortygia 
(' Quail Island '), which forms the northern horn of the 
bay, afterwards known as the Great Harbour. The 
opposite horn is formed by the promontory of Plem- 
myrium, and the river Anapus, falling into the Great 
Harbour, makes marshes and pools about its inner shores. 
Inland lies the small plain of Syracuse, through which 
flow the streams of the Cacyparis, Abolla, and Helorus ; 
and the coast road from Ortygia to the south, crossing 
this plain, was called, from the last-named river, the 
Helorine Way. The mountains, within whose curving 
line the plain is enclosed, reach almost to the sea on the 
northern side of the Anapus, sloping gradually down 
from the height called Euryalus to the flat ground imme- 
diately adjoining Ortygia. The slope, known as Epipolae, 
breaks off on the north and south in steep scarps, and 
the level ground below was the site of the actual city of 
Syracuse when Ortygia had become too small for its 
growing population. In the times of Gelo it extended so 
much as to cover the whole seaward portion of the head- 
land lying between the harbour and the Bay of Thapsus. 



28 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

This was the region known as Achradina. Later it com- 
prised two additional suburbs, Tyche on the northern 
angle, Neapolis at the southern corner towards the 
Helorine Way. Finally, when at her greatest size and 
power under Dionysius I., Syracuse spread even to the 
Epipolae, which was enclosed, like the other regions of 
the city, in a continuous wall. Between the southern 
wall of Achradina and the islet lay an open space given 
up to tombs and called the Necropolis ; and the narrow 
isthmus which joined Ortygia to the mainland formed 
the inner side of the Little Harbour (Laccms). 

By nature the site of Syracuse was made to be that of 
the greatest city of Sicily. Protected by sea and marsh 
and mountains, it became, by the addition of walls, a 
place of immense strength ; while Ortygia was a fortress 
absolutely impregnable by assault. It commanded the 
whole situation from the seaward side, harbours and 
streets alike ; and the fortress of Euryalus, on the brow 
of Epipolae, on the other side, was scarcely less difficult 
to assail, and equally commanding in its position. Of 
the other cities we have no such accurate topographical 
knowledge. Agrigentum was situated in a strong posi- 
tion by the shore, Gela on a less formidable site. Both 
derived their power and wealth from their admirable 
harbourage — that of Agrigentum being the better road- 
stead of the two — and from their command of the low- 
lands about them. The former city is described in 
another part of this book."^ The Greeks knew it as 
Acragas, ' The Eocky,' and its site is still occupied by the 
small town of Girgenti. Gela is now Terra Nuova ; and 
both have lost all their magnificence, and even the 
healthiness which must once have been theirs has dis- 
appeared with the decrease of cultivation. Syracuse, on 
the other hand, is still renowned for its climate and 
salubrity. 

Selinus and Himera, the one on the southern, the other 
on the northern shore, stood as the bulwarks of Grecian 
Sicily against the Carthaginians and Elymi. The latter 
is the modern village of Bonformello, the former a heap 

* See p. 88. 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 29 

of unhealthy ruins still retaining the name of Selinunte. 
It stood on a narrow strip of land between the streams 
of the Hypsas on the east and the Selinus on the west, 
the upper waters of which rise near those of the famous 
Crimesus. Selinus, despite its late foundation, surpassed 
in magnificence most, if not all, of the Sicilian cities of 
its time, if one may judge from the ruins still remaining, 
and flourished long after its metropolis had utterly dis- 
appeared. The prosperity was doubtless due to the trade 
with the neighbouring Carthaginians, which fell naturally 
into the hands of the nearest city. To such a degree 
was this the case, that Selinus was regarded as half Car- 
thaginian, and was chosen as a home by exiles banished 
from Carthage herself. 

Messana, commanding the straits of the same name, 
survives as Messina, still an important town. Its original 
name was Zancle — ' The Sickle ' — from the curved form of 
the bay on which it stood. Opposite to it lay Ehegium 
— * The Eift ' — whose name commemorated the volcanic 
convulsion which had riven Sicily from the mainland of 
Italy. The two cities were deadly foes, though both 
Ionic in their origin, owing to their jealousy of the trade 
which each wished to monopolize. This town, with 
Leontini {Lcntini), Catana {Catania), and Naxos (after- 
wards Tauromenium, now Taormina), and Himera, 
formed the only Ionic cities of importance in Sicily, all 
others being essentially Doric ; there were no ^olian or 
Achaean colonies in the island. Thermae [Termini) and 
Cephaloedium (Cefalu) were smaller offshoots of Himera, 
respectively a little to the westward and eastward of that 
town ; Acrae and Casmenae were military outposts of 
Syracuse against the Sicels of the interior and the Greeks 
of the south-west coast respectively. T?heir modern 
names are Acremonte and Spaccoforno. Casmenae and 
Camarina (Camarana) alike commanded the coast-road, 
which accounts for the early importance of the latter 
town and for the endless struggles between its more 
powerful neighbours for its possession. There were few 
Greek settlers in the interior, but Morgantia (now Monte- 
Judica), thirty miles west of Catana, and Henna {Castro 



30 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Giova7ini) were gradually occupied by Hellenes until 
they lost their native Sicel character ; and the same 
applies in the time of Dionysius' dynasty to many other 
Sicel towns. Tyndaris (Tyndare), a few miles west of 
Messana, was founded by the elder Dionysius 396 b.c, 
and became a town of some importance. 

It will be noticed that all the chief Hellenic colonies 
were situate on the eastern or southern shores of the 
island. The absence of plains near the coast debarred 
the early settlers from frequenting the northern shore, 
and when in later days they made attempts to settle 
there, they were usually prevented by the hostility of the 
native tribes. But in the north-west and west the three 
great Phoenician marts maintained a long prosperity, 
only interrupted in the case of Motye. That town, 
situate at the point of Sicily nearest to Africa, was built 
on an island exactly similar to Ortygia, and was made a 
position of immense strength by artificial means. After 
its capture by Dionysius L, 397 b.c, it gradually sank in 
importance, and its place was taken by Lilybseum, a 
mile or so further south, whose harbour was at once the 
safest in Sicily and the most difficult of access, owing to 
the shoals and sandbanks at its mouth. It was famous 
in later times for its resistance to the Eomans, but 
nothing is now left of it, and its site is marked by the 
small town of Marsala. Panormus and Drepanum, a 
lesser mart, still remain as Palermo, now the mart of 
Sicily par excellence, and Trapani. Solus, least of the 
three Phoenician settlements, a few miles west of Thermae 
and Himera, early sank into decay. 

The same stream of colonization which planted the 
Greeks in Sicily also fringed the shores of Southern 
Italy with Grecian towns, whose power and influence 
soon so far ousted the original inhabitants, and so far sur- 
passed in importance Hellas proper, as to win for that 
region the name of Magna Graecia. Its limits were 
Tarentum on the east, and Posidonia (Paestum) on the 
west, though this does not include the few Greek cities 
of Campania — Cumae, Neapolis, and Dicaearchia. Here, 
too, the Achaean element was largely preponderant ; but 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 31 

the Dorians and the j^oHans, unrepresented in Sicily, 
had also considerable influence about the Gulf of 
Tarentum. The principal colonies of the Dorians were 
Tarentum, founded 707 b.c, by the so-called Epeunactae 
and Partheniae, said to be bastard Spartans expelled from 
Laconia at the close of the second Messenian war, and 
Heraclea. The lonians colonized Siris and Elea. Locri 
Epizephyrii was a colony of ^olian outlaws, founded 
about 683 b.c, and famous afterwards as the ally of the 
Dionysian dynasty in Italy. The Achaeans, however, 
occupied both the most numerous and the most advanta- 
geous sites. Sybaris (720 b.c.) and Crotona (710 b.c.),. 
with their colonies Caulonia and Scylacium, Metapon- 
tum, Hipponium, Laus, Posidonium, and Thurii, were all 
colonies from Achaea. Sybaris, proverbial for its luxurious 
effeminacy, was rased by Crotona two hundred years 
after the foundation of the latter city. Posidonium still 
testifies by its ruins to the wealth and magnificence of 
its populace. The remnant of the Sybarites, assisted by 
colonists from all Greece, founded Thurii, near the 
ancient site of Sybaris, 443 b.c. Many Athenians joined 
in the enterprise, amongst them the historian Herodotus 
and the orator Lysias ; and the town soon became the 
most important of the Lucanian Peninsula. 

Though so far removed from their original homes, the 
colonists of Grecian towns never forgot their relationship 
to their metropolis, which they regarded as a child re- 
gards its parent. The leader of the colony was a citizen 
of mark and means, purposely chosen for the duty, and 
his memory was usually kept alive by heroic honours. 
The prytaneum (town-hall) of the colony contained the 
sacred hearth supplied by unfailing fires from that of the 
mother-city ; the gods, customs, laws, and government 
of the mother-city were alike transplanted to the new 
settlement. This explains the tendency to oligarchic 
constitutions inherent in the mass of the Sicilian towns, 
descended as they were from Dorian parents. Troubles 
of course arose, as they always did amongst the restless 
Greeks ; but frequently the attempt was made to arrange 
difficulties by an appeal to one citizen, who thus became 



32 



A HISTORY OF SICILY. 



nomothet, or lawgiver, to his countrymen. At Catana we 
hear of Charondas, 500 b.c. ; at Locri, of Zaleucus about 
660 B.C. ; at Syracuse itself, of Diodes in 510 e.g., and 
eighty years later of Cephalus and Dionysius. 

As with government and religion, so with art. The 
Sicilians maintained the traditions of their forefathers in 
their architecture, sculpture, and literature. The ruins 
of Selinus are those of three enormous temples, whose 
sculptured metopes bear the closest relation to the early 
work of the school which flourished in ^gina before the 
days of Athenian pre-eminence ; the emulation of Syra- 
cuse, Gela, Agrigentum, and even of Camarina, brought 
from Olympia, and other national festivals, many a 
trophy ; and the literature of the island can boast the 
perfection of comedy prior to the Athenians, the perfec- 
tion of rhetoric before that became a recognised branch 
of study in Athens. For all this, Sicilian Hellenism was 
peculiar in many ways. Its constant intercourse with 
Africa and Italy brought into use many words which are 
unknown to Eastern Greece ;* and, on the other hand, the 
Graecisms which occur in Latin are mostly due to the 
influence of Sicily, f The coinage of Syracuse and Eome 
was adapted to one common standard alien to Greece 
proper. The wide sea which lay between Greece and 
Sicily — wide to the navigators of those days, who deemed 
a straight course from Corcyra to Syracuse a venture- 
some thing — necessitated some differentiation between 
the two countries. And this was extended by the 
commerce of Sicily, which lay mainly in the western 
waters. They traded to Ostia, the port of Eome, for 
unwrought copper, to Etruria for wrought metals, to 
Africa and the Carthaginian ports to exchange their corn, 
wine and oil for the linen and purple and wrought 
fabrics of the Phoenicians. 

Of all this manifold activity and wonderful prosperity, 
a prosperity whose vitality defied the oppressions of des- 
potism and the sword of Carthage, little remains. At 
Selinus there still stands, or stood, one column of the 

* E.g., the names of the Roman divisions of the aa, triens, tetrans, etc. 
f E.g., J3sculapiu8, Latona, machina ; nummus, litra, hemina. 



SICILY AND THE GREEKS. 33 

temple of Posidon and the Tyndaridae ; at Agrigentum 
are the ruins of aqueducts and of the great temple of 
Zeus Atabyrius, which Phalaris commenced, and which 
was not finished until after the days of Thero. At 
Syracuse may still be seen some columns of the Olym- 
pieum by the Anapus, the theatre, aqueducts and con- 
duits, and the quarries in which perished the remnant of 
Nicias' armament. But most of the remains are either 
purely or in part Eoman, and the Sicily of the Greeks 
is recorded only in the pages of historians and poets.* 

. * Peculiar archseological value attachea to the coinage of the Sicilian cities, 
which are the best guides to their religion and customs, often to their history. 
The Sicilian coins are not onlj' exceptionally numerous, but they are executed 
with a degree of art whicli makes them a class apart. The despots employed 
the best artists to produce the die, whoso names were often added in tiny 
characters. The coinage of Magna Gra^cia ai)proachcs that of Sicily in its beauty, 
but that of Greece proper is far inferior in every way. 



CHAPTER III. 
The Gelonian Supremacy— Gelo. 

Preponderance of Dorians in Sicily — Meaning of the Term 'Tyrannis ' — 
Its Development from Oligarchy — The Age of Tyrants — Causes of 
the Permanence of Despotism in Sicily — Phalaris — Dorieus attempts 
to colonise Eryx — Heraclea Minoa — The Despots of Gela ; Cleomenes 
— Hippocrates — Gelo — His Origin — He seizes the Despotism, and 
captures Syracuse — His Enlargement of the City — Great Power — 
History of Messana — The Samans — Invasion of Xerxes — The 
Greeks appeal to Gelo — He refuses — His Reason — Battle of 
Himera — Its Value — His Further Conquests, and Death— State of 
Syracuse. 

Throughout the history of Grecian Sicily the Dorian 
element is always in the ascendant. Syracuse and Gela, 
both direct Dorian colonies, and Agrigentum, an offshoot 
of Gela, divided between them the hegemony of the 
island ; and the less powerful sections of the Hellenic 
peoples, lonians and Achseans, and the native Sicel 
states, and even the lesser Dorian cities, so far from ever 
rivalling the pretensions of the great Dorian cities, have 
actually no history of their own. They appear only as 
prizes to be fought over by the Dorians of Sicily, or by 
the Greeks of Hellas at large. Egesta and Leontini, 
Messana and Camarina, in turn appear as casus belli, 
and their continual seizure by one or other of the great 
States, or by the Carthaginians, prevented their ever at- 
taining to an importance of their own. 

The inherent antagonism of Dorian, Ionian, and 
Achaean Greeks, while it still remained a powerful 
political factor, was nevertheless subordinated in Sicily 
to the self-interest of the individual in a manner unknown 



THE GETiONIAN SUPREMACY — GELO. 35 

in historical Greece. Not only were Syracuse, Gela, and 
Agrigentum bitterly jealous each of the other, but it was 
a peculiarity of Sicilian Hellenism that, throughout its 
history, state jealousies should centre in the person of 
one individual. Thus the history of Sicily is the record 
of the endeavours of individuals to secure personal ag- 
grandisement — the history of despots or tyrants. 

By the term tyrayit was meant, in Greece, one who put 
himself above the laws, refusing to be bound by them, 
while enforcing them at pleasure upon others. Tyrannis 
corresponds to the modern English phrase * unlimited 
monarchy,' and just as an unlimited monarchy may be 
good and equitable, or the reverse, so the Greek tyranny 
was not necessarily oppressive and unjust. The associa- 
tions which are connected in our minds with the word 
* tyrant ' are not essential features of the tyrannos, although, 
unfortunately, the great majority of Grecian despots con- 
firm only too well the evil reputation of autocracy. 
Nevertheless, one of the most famous of the despots of 
Sicily, Gelo of Syracuse, left behind him so fair a name 
that when the island was * liberated,' and the records of 
the tyrannies destroyed by Timoleon, popular feeling 
compelled him to spare the spot where the bones of Gelo 
were buried, and where his spirit was worshipped as that 
of a hero.* 

That tyranny should at some time or other arise in 
every Greek community was a recognised step in their 
development. Originally governed by kings, they passed 
gradually under the power of a council of nobles, who 
encroached upon the royal authority until they entirely 
replaced it. These constituted the oligarchic govern- 
ments, the second stage in political evolution. At first 
governing mildly and well, they came usually in course 
of time to abuse their power, and to exercise it for selfish, 
ends alone. The mass of the people submitted perforce 
to the few in whose hands lay all the instruments of 
authority, physical and moral, until their very distress 
gained for them a champion. Sometimes he was one of 

* A demigod — sometbicg more than merely human, but less than an actual 
God. 

3—2 



36 A HISTORY 0F_ SICILY. 

themselves ; more often one of the oligarchs, grown 
dissatisfied with his fellows. In either case, by profuse 
promises, by inflammatory speeches, by professed sym- 
pathy — the recognised weapons of the demagogue, or 
popular leader — he secured the support of the multitude, 
and overthrew their oppressors, only to take up in his 
single person the despotic position lately occupied by an 
ohgarchy which numbered perhaps several thousands. 
Having attained his aims by aid of the masses, he now 
turned against them and constituted himself tyrannos. 
His government was the third stage. It might endure 
but for his own lifetime. It might be handed down from 
father to son even for a hundred years. But sooner or 
later it fell before a new rising of the people, who took 
the government into their own hands and constituted a 
republic or democracy. 

Through these stages passed, with the exception of 
Sparta, all the leading States of Greece. At Corinth, 
Sicyon, Argos, and Athens, in the Greek colonies on the 
coast of Asia, everywhere where Greeks came, the 
regular cycle was evolved. The period between 750-500 
B.C. saw the tyramvis rise and fall in almost every com- 
munity of Hellas proper, with a simultaneity which has 
secured for it the name of the Age of the Tyrants. And 
once overthrown, the tyranny rarely reappeared in 
Greece. But in Sicily the case was different. Arising 
about the same period as elsewhere, the Sicilian despots 
were able to reassert themselves despite all opposition 
until the last days of Grecian Sicily. When the island 
passed under the Eomans, 241 B.C. Syracuse was still, as 
of old, under the dominion of a tyrant. 

The causes of the continuance of the despotism in 
Sicily were various. The original settlers in each colony 
formed a close oligarchy of aristocrats, who viewed 
with dislike all encroachments upon their privileges, and 
thus, by their intolerance, left an unfailing handle to the 
attacks of self-seeking demagogues. Their power was 
strengthened by the fact that, as the wealthy class, they 
maintained the * invincible cavalry,' for which Sicily was 
ever famous, and which gave them an immense advantage 



THE GELONIAN SUPREMACY — GELO. 37 

in point of force. Moreover, the indelible jealousies of 
State towards State, apart from the ever-present dread of 
Carthaginian attack, kept all in a condition of constant 
warfare, the condition most favourable for any one man's 
concentrating in his own person the power and respect of 
his fellow-citizens. It will be seen hereafter how often 
and how easily the peril of his State was the despot's 
opportunity. Something must be set down, too, to the 
diminutive proportions of even the most important States, 
which exposed them to such sudden and disastrous on- 
slaughts as are unknown in the enormous States of to- 
day, and which could only be guarded against by a 
vigilance alien to the taste of a people engrossed as the 
Sicilians were in mercantile and agricultural pursuits. 
Lastly, the isolation of Sicily, its distance from the pro- 
gressive mother country, the small influx of Hellenes 
from the older States now freed from despotism, and, not 
least, the continual contact with the Orientalism of the 
Carthaginians and Africa, induced a conservatism which 
strove to tolerate the original order of things — those 
oligarchies which were the hotbeds of despotism. 

Most of these causes will be found to have been specially 
active at first in the western parts of the island, about 
Gela, Agrigentum, and Selinus, the farthest outpost of 
Hellenism in Sicily, and at Agrigentum accordingly we 
find the first recorded instance of despotism. Phalaris, 
one of the original settlers of Agrigentum, and an exile 
from Astypalaea in Ehodes, contrived to overpower his 
fellow-settlers and make himself despot of the town as 
early as 570 B.C., within fifteen years of its foundation. 
When entrusted with the building of a magnificent temple 
— and such magnificence was characteristic of the Sicilian 
towns — he collected a large number of artisans, whom he 
suddenly armed, and so mastered the place. It is possible 
that the citizens found it expedient to recognise as their 
leader one who was capable of holding in check the 
neighbouring Sicel tribes. We know that he warred 
against them with considerable success, and two hill- 
fortresses guarding the passage of the Himera, on the 
western side of Agrigentum, retained in their names the 



38 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

memory of the despot whose reputation for cruelty was 
imperishable."^ He engaged one Perillus to construct a 
brazen bull, in which victims could be enclosed and 
roasted to death, and the most wholesome deed with 
which he is accredited is the burning of its inventor as 
the first experiment with this piece of ingenuity. f He 
maintained his position for sixteen years, being slain at 
the end of that period (circa B.C. 556) in a general rising 
under a noble named Telemachus. There is another, but 
improbable, story that he laid down his power voluntarily, 
with the remark that the people were like so many 
pigeons fleeing from a single hawk, whom, if they would 
but face, they were more than strong enough to destroy. 
In later times there was an attempt to re-establish his 
character, and in the so-called * Letters of Phalaris'J he 
appears as a humane ruler, and the patron of literature 
and art. 

Whether or no Phalaris was the first of the Sicilian 
despots, his example did not lack imitation. The close 
of the sixth century B.C. saw despots established at 
Zancle (Messana), Himera, Selinus, Gela, and Leontini, 
and we are justified in assuming that many, if not all, of 
the remaining cities suffered from the prevailing tendency 
to tyranny. 

About 51.0 B.C. — the year of the expulsion of the Tar- 
quins from Eome — Sybaris was rased by the Crotoniates, 
and there occurred the last attempt at colonization in 
Sicily by the mother country. It happened that Anax- 
andrides, one of the two kings of Sparta, having no chil- 
dren by his first wife, was ordered by the Ephors to 
marry a second, in the hope of preventing the extinction 
of the direct royal line. This second marriage resulted 
in the birth of a son, Cleomenes, who was thus heir to 
the kingship. Unhappily, however, the first wife shortly 
afterwards gave birth to three sons, Dorieus, Leonidas, 
and Cleombrotus. Dorieus, chagrined to find himself, 

* See p. 148. 

t He probably borrowed the idea from the human sacrifices offered to Moloch, 
who was represented by the Syrians as a bull. 

J More famous than the letters Is the dispute as to their authenticity, in which 
Dr. Bentley satisfactorily proved them a forgery— the work, probably, of some 
sophist. The story of his voluntary resignation probably arose at the same date. 



THE QELONIAN SUPREMACY GELO. 39 

though son of the legitimate queen, nevertheless subordi- 
nate to the earlier-born Cleomenes, determined to lead 
out a colony, and win a kingdom for himself. An attempt 
to settle at Cinyps in Libya was frustrated by the 
hostility of the natives and the Carthaginians, whose 
borders were threatened thereby ; and after a three years' 
strife Dorieus was compelled to return to Sparta. Putting 
down his ill success to his not having consulted the 
oracles, he now sent to Delphi, and was ordered to 
colonize Heraclea. There was a legend that Eryx had 
been conquered by Heracles, and hither came Dorieus 
with a small force of Spartans. But the Carthaginians, 
relishing the advancement of Greek influence in western 
Sicily as little as in Libya, supported the native Sicels so 
successfully that the expedition was completely thwarted, 
and Dorieus himself slain. The survivors, under Eury- 
leon, crossed to the southern coast, and there seized 
Minoa, the Selinuntine colony. Selinus was at the time 
under the despotism of Pithagoras. Euryleon united 
with the Selinuntines to expel the tyrant, and seized the 
despotism himself, only to perish in a speedy revolution. 
His followers, however, seem to have remained at Minoa, 
which was henceforth known as Heraclea Minoa. 

It is about this time that the despots of Gela began to 
assert themselves in Sicily. Political division in that 
town had led to the expulsion of a body of the citizens 
who occupied Mactorium, an island town. Their return 
was effected by one Tehnes, himself a Geloan, apparently 
on the ground of religion ; and in return for his services, 
in putting an end to domestic faction, he was invested 
with the hereditary priesthood of the Chthonian deities, 
whose commands he had obeyed. In the year 505 b.c. 
we find Cleander established as despot, so that the in- 
fluence of Telines must very soon have failed. After a 
reign of seven years, Cleander was assassinated by acitizen, 
Sabyllus, but the power merely passed into the hands of 
his brother Hippocrates, 498 B.C. The new despot was 
an indefatigable soldier. He turned the mercenaries 
which his brother had levied against Greeks and Sicels 
alike ; he reduced Naxos, and even Messana ; then turned 



40 ..A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

eastward, and captured Leontini, and carried on a con- 
tinuous war with the * barbarians,' probably the western 
Sicels and the Carthaginians. Finally, he attacked even 
the Syracusans, and defeated them in a battle on the 
Helorus. The latter appealed to Corinth and Corcyra 
for arbitration, and a treaty was arranged, by which 
their colony Camarina, which had already proved trouble- 
some,* was surrendered to Gela, and the approach to 
Syracuse herself thus thrown open. Hippocrates fell 
about B.C. 491, before the walls of Hybla, where he was 
engaged in battle with the Sicels, leaving two sons, 
Euclides and Cleander. 

His death was followed by an immediate rising of the 
Geloans, who declined to acknowledge the authority of 
his sons. The latter found, however, a pretended cham- 
pion in their father's lieutenant Gelo, who brought up 
his troops, routed the disaffected citizens, and finally, 
setting aside the sons of Hippocrates, usurped the 
tyranny for himself. 

Gelo was descended from Telines, and therefore be- 
longed to one of the principal families in the State ; for 
the practice of a State priesthood in a Grecian community 
implies at once large resources and wide influence. He 
had enhanced this position by the brilliancy of his 
services in the campaigns of Hippocrates, and was 
probably high in favour with the mercenaries, the main 
l^ody of every despot's army. He was thus well qualified 
to claim the position left vacant by Hippocrates, and he 
justified his usurpation by the vigour of his actions. What 
these were in detail we do not know, but they left him 
free to turn to the best advantage the troubles which 
shortly broke out at Syracuse. The aristocrats of that 
State — the Gamorit, or land-owners — had made so bad 
a use of their power as to provoke a coalition between 
their own serfs — Cillicyrii — and the free populace, and 

* Founded 599 ; it had disowned the authority of Syracuse as early as 550 b.c. 
and had been reduced by force of arms. 

t The Gamori were the descendants of the old settlers, the landed aristocracy. 
The original inhabitants, whom they had disappropriated, became serfs bound to 
the soil, and known as Cillicyrii (or Cillyrii). Between these two extremes lay 
the mass of the people, independent, but landless, and mainly tenant-farmers or 
petty traders. 



THE GELONIAN SUPBEMACY GELO. 41 

were compelled to take refuge at Casmenae. They 
invited the help of Gelo, who lost no time in coming to 
their support with so powerful a force that the newly- 
erected democracy surrendered themselves and their city 
unconditionally, 485 B.C. 

But Gelo had no mind to take up arms merely to 
gratify the nobles of another State. He had recognised 
the incomparable advantages of Syracuse, whose soil and 
climate made it the peer of any situation in Sicily ; while 
its position secured it from the aggressions of Carthage 
as far as might be, and brought it into close relations 
with the cities of Magna Graecia and with Central Hellas ; 
and the islet of Ortygia, commanding alike the two 
harbours and the adjacent lowlands, marked it out as in- 
tended by Nature for the seat of a despot, who was bound 
by his very position to see an enemy in every man. In- 
stead of restoring the city to its oligarchy, Gelo occupied 
it himself ; and not content with the simple transfer of 
his residence thither from Gela, he proceeded to diminish 
the importance of the latter town by drawing off more 
than half its populace to Syracuse. Camarina he caused 
to be deserted, removing all its inhabitants in the same 
manner to Syracuse ; and he 6ven drew others from the 
neighbouring towns of Megara Hyblaea and Euboea, in 
both of which places the oligarchies resisted his usurpa- 
tions, and were forced into migration. Strange to say, 
though it was the oligarchs who resisted him-, he pre- 
ferred to spare their lives on condition of their residing 
in Syracuse ; while the mass of the populace, the demos, 
who had in no way opposed him, he expelled with an un- 
deserved harshness, and even sold into slavery abroad. 
It was a maxim with him that * a demos was a thankless 
thing to live with ;' and, doubtless, it appeared more pro- 
fitable to dismiss a population which had no other pos- 
session than its innate love of autonomy, and promised to 
contribute neither by its wealth nor its enterprise to the 
aggrandisement of the new capital of Sicily. For Syra- 
cuse now ac once assumed this position — a position which 
it ever afterwards maintained. From the borders of 
Messana to those of Agrigentum, the whole of the Greek 



42 



A HISTORY OF SICILY. 



towns, with their fertile conterminous coastlands, were 
now under the yoke of Gelo. In the interior many of 
the Sicels paid him tribute, while beyond his own domin- 
ions he possessed a powerful ally in Thero of Agrigentum. 
Anaxilaus, despot of Messana and Ehegium, and Terillus, 
of Himera and Selinus, alone were neither in alliance with 
him nor in subjection ; while the latter town appears to 
have been a dependency of the Carthaginians. 

The history of Messana about this period deserves a 
brief notice, as being one of the few minor Sicilian towns 
of which we have any detailed account. Under its original 
name of Zancle it had passed under the despotism of a 
citizen named Scythes, who was still in power when 
Hippocrates attacked it and reduced it to a dependency. 
Between Messana and Ehegium there had always been, 
as is natural with neighbours, a violent feud, arising 
probably from the attempt of each town to monopolize 
the command of the Strait of Messina. Shortly after the 
assault of Hippocrates news reached Sicily of the sup- 
pression of the revolt of the Ionian cities by Persia, 
493 B.C., and the consequent exile of many of their 
former citizens. Amongst these were a number of 
Samians and Milesians, who, while casting about for a 
new home, received an invitation from their fellow- 
countrymen in Sicily to form there a new town at Cale 
Acte — Fair Head — a position on the north coast some 
miles west of Messana. With the exception of Himera, 
the north coast could boast as yet no Grecian settle- 
ments, and the Zanclaeans undertook to establish the 
new-comers in the proposed position. Accordingly, the 
Samians and their fellow-fugitives crossed to Italy 
en route for Zancle, putting in at Locri on their way 
westward. Here they were visited by Anaxilaus, of 
Ehegium, who saw in them the means of crushing his 
rival on the opposite shore of the Strait. Scythes, he 
told them, was at the moment absent in the interior 
with the bulk of the armed force of the Zanclaeans, and 
he advised them to seize the defenceless city for them- 
selves. With inexcusable ingratitude they snatched at 
the idea, and occupied Zancle. Scythes, finding himself 



THE GELONIAN SUPEEMACY — GELO. 43 

thus ejected, appealed to his over-lord Hippocrates, who 
replied by putting him under arrest for having permitted 
the loss of one of the Geloan vassal States, and forthwith 
marched northward to recover it himself. But the 
Samians persuaded him to an act of treachery as un- 
warrantable as their own, and he contented himself with 
seizing the persons and property of all the Zanclaeans 
without the walls, leaving all within the walls in the 
hands of their captors. The whole of the ejected in- 
habitants thus became the prisoners of Hippocrates, 
who sold them into slavery. The Samians retained their 
ill-gotten gains but a little while, for they were in turn 
expelled by Anaxilaus, who thus constituted himself 
despot of that town as well as of Ehegium, and changed 
its name to Messana. 

Now undisputed master of the greater part of Sicily, 
Gelo stepped forward as the champion of Hellenism 
against Barbarians, and undertook the expulsion of the 
Carthaginians and Elymi from their possessions in the 
west of the island.* How far he succeeded we do not 
know ; but his partial success seems to be proved by the 
subsequent efforts of Carthage to retaliate, and by the 
appeal now made to him for assistance by the Hellenes 
of Central Greece. 

In the year 480 B.C. Xerxes, the successor of Darius 
on the throne of Persia, crossed the Hellespont and 
marched overland through Thrace and Macedonia, to 
effect that conquest of Hellas which his father had ten 
years before failed to achieve, with an army estimated at 
more than 1,000,000 men, superbly appointed, and sup- 
ported by a prodigious fleet. His approach threatened 
the extinction of Grecian nationality, and very many of 
the Hellenic States, notably Thebes, had already made 
their submission to him. But a small band of patriots 
gathered round Sparta and Athens and made what efforts 
they could to resist the impending storm while it was 
still distant ; and, amongst other measures, they de- 
spatched to Syracuse a joint embassy of Spartans, Athe- 

* Herod, vii. 158. He declared himself the avenger of Dorieus' death, and 
seems to have asked the aid of the Greeks of Central Hellaa, which was refused. 



44 



A HISTORY OF SICILY. 



nians, and Corinthians, to solicit the assistance of one 
who was then reputed the most powerful and wealthy 
of the Greeks. His available forces were numbered at 
24,000 infantry and 4,000 horse, and a fleet of 200 ships 
of war ; while he could provision the whole Greek army, 
it was said, for an indefinite period. 

In the late autumn of 481 B.C. the embassy arrived at 
Syracuse. Gelo listened to their address with attention, 
and replied that he would put his whole force into re- 
quisition for the defence of Hellas, on the one condition 
that he should be recognised as the sole general of the 
Greeks. Such a proposal met with a hot refusal from 
the Spartans, who at that date, and for many years pre- 
viously, laid claim to the hegemony of Hellas. Gelo 
then declared that he would be satisfied to be sole com- 
mander of half the Grecian forces, whether the land or 
sea armament. But while the Spartans again declined 
to surrender the command of the army, the Athenians 
now also refused to put themselves under the rule of 
Gelo as admiral. Whereupon the despot replied that 
they seemed to have commanders enough whatever their 
forces might be, and bade them return and tell their 
countrymen that 'their year had lost its spring,' imply- 
ing that without his aid the efforts of Greece were likely 
to bear small fruit. 

The above story comes to us from Herodotus, who 
probably drew somewhat on his imagination. The facts 
of the case seem to be that Gelo could not spare any 
help for his countrymen against their Eastern enemies, 
for he was at the moment threatened with an attack 
scarcely less formidable from a Western foe. Taking 
advantage of the troubles of Central Greece, and pro- 
bably incited by Xerxes, whose fleet was mainly levied 
from the Phoenician dockyards, the Carthaginians were 
preparing a huge armament, which should sweep the 
Hellenes from Sicily, and avenge the recent aggressions 
of Gelo. 

Their immediate opportunity arose from the expulsion 
of Terillus from Himera by Thero, despot of Agrigentum, 
at the invitation of the inhabitants of that town. Terillus 



THE GELONIAN SUPEEMACY GELO. 45 

put himself under the protection of Carthage, and his 
case was so energetically supported by his son-in-law, 
Anaxilaus, that in 480 B.C. Hamilcar, one of the suffetes, 
appeared on the west coast with an armament stated at 
300,000, with a proportionate number of horses and 
chariots, and a fleet of 3,000 ships of war, besides trans- 
port vessels. Without delay he laid siege to Himera, 
whose inhabitants prepared for defence by blocking up 
the gates of their town, and awaiting the arrival of aid 
under Thero and Gelo. The latter is said to have brought 
with him 50,000 foot and 5,000 horse ; and the Grecian 
army could hardly have numbered less than 60,000 in all. 
The battle which followed lasted throughout the whole of 
the day. Before its commencement Gelo intercepted a 
message announcing the approach of a body of horse 
from Selinus in support of Hamilcar. He at once de- 
spatched a squadron of his own cavalry, who imper- 
sonated the Selinuntine reinforcements, and so gained 
ingress to the Carthaginians' camp. Thereupon, throw- 
ing off their disguise, they put the whole host into 
such disorder that the simultaneous onslaught of the 
main body of the Grecian army was enabled, after a 
desperate resistance, to make good their advantage. The 
slaughter of the Carthaginians was immense — Gelo's 
victory complete. The broken remnants of the enemy 
— native Carthaginians and Libyans, Iberians from Spain 
and Ligyes from the region of the Maritime Alps, Sar- 
dinians, Corsicans, and other mercenaries from all parts 
of the Western Mediterranean basin — escaped as best 
they could; their general was never seen alive again. 
His actual fate remained an insoluble mystery. Accord- 
ing to one account, he was slain in camp by the cavalry 
of Gelo ; the Carthaginians declared that he threw him- 
self into the flames in which he had throughout the 
day been sacrificing for the success of his arms. The 
triumph of Hellenism in Sicily was coincident with the 
still greater triumph of the Greeks at Salamis, when 
the united fleets of Central Hellas utterly destroyed the 
Persian fleet and saved Greece. Legend said that the 
battles of Himera and Salamis were fought on one and 



46 A HISTOKY OF SICILY. 

the same day. Certain it is that the swarms of bar- 
barians that threatened the Grecian race at the same 
moment in the east and in the west were both driven 
back at much the same date by forces immeasurably 
inferior in everything but courage. The result of the 
Xerxeian invasion did not, however, reach Gelo before 
he had prudently despatched a confidential envoy named 
Cadmus, the son of the above-mentioned Scythes of 
Zancle, to Greece, there to watch the course of events, 
and should the arms of Persia prevail, as seemed inevit- 
able, to do homage to the invader on Gelo's behalf. The 
event saved alike the name of Greece and the honour of 
Gelo ; and the offerings which the Central Hellenes dedi- 
cated at Delphi in memory of their victory stood side 
by side with others far more magnificent, recording the 
triumph of their Sicilian brethren.* 

The victory of Himera left Gelo in a position never 
attained by any other Grecian despot. He was looked 
up to as a hero and the saviour of his people. All Sicily 
acknowledged his supremacy excepting the small western 
corner where the Carthaginians still maintained their 
footing. Whether he made any attempt to push his 
successes further in that quarter we do not know, but we 
are told that a peace was shortly after concluded with 
Carthage, at the cost, to the latter State, of 2,000 talents 
as an indemnity. But there is reason to believe that 
patriotism has caused the historians of these events to 
exaggerate the truth, for within a very few years the 
Carthaginians once more assumed the aggressive — a 
course which they were usually slow to follow after any 
disastrous reverse. Himera, however, was saved and 
handed over to Thra&ydaeus, son of Thero, and it may be 
regarded as certain that Anaxilaus was forced to acknow- 
ledge the supremacy of Gelo, and that when the latter 
died within a year of his success, he left to his successor 
an undisputed sovereignty over all the Grecian States of 
the island. He died of a dropsy, 479 B.C., the most 
renowned of the Greeks of his day and the idol of 

* The ruins of a large temple, erected in memory of the victory, at Himera, 
were brought to light only recently. 



THE GELONIAN SUPREMACY — GELO. 47 

the Syracusans, who raised to his memory a group of 
nine monumental columns, and abrogated in his favour 
the law which forbade expensive public funeral cere- 
monies, despite his deathbed wish that it should be 
adhered to in his case as in that of any meaner citizen. 
He was worshipped as a hero — as a being, that is, more 
than mortal if less than divine — and his name never 
faded from the grateful memory of his people. By his 
wife, Damarete, he left one son, still young ; and his 
brothers, Hiero, Polyzelus, and Thrasybulus, all survived 
him. 

In the short reign of Gelo as despot of Syracuse, that 
city attained the position, which it ever afterwards held, 
as mistress of Sicily. His efforts to aggrandize it had 
led to its rapid growth ; and not only did he people it 
with enforced colonists, but many new settlers came 
thither from Greece — in part attracted by his fame, in 
part to escape the threatened dominion of Persia. Pre- 
vious to 485 B.C. the whole town had been comprised 
within the small area of Ortygia ; but at his decease it 
had spread to the large part of the adjacent mainland 
called Achradina. How large was the increase of the 
population may be inferred from the fact that he gave 
the citizenship to 10,000 of the mercenary troops which 
formed his standing army. Yet, despite the walls and 
arms by which he guarded his power, his rule was mild 
and paternal, rather that of a constitutional monarch 
than a despot ; and the proof of this is the voluntary 
immigration of free Greeks to Syracuse, the absence of 
all those dark deeds which branded the memory of a 
Dionysius or an Agathocles, and that dying request by 
which he bade the people obey their laws in his burial. 
Simonides, the elegiac poet, who composed the dedica- 
tory couplets upon his offerings at Delphi, spoke of him 
as one who * conquered the nations of the Barbarians, 
and gave freedom to the Greeks with a mighty hand.' 



CHAPTEE IV. 
Hiero. 

Character of Hiero — He expels his Brother — Quarrels with There — 
Betrays Hiinera — Anaxilaus — Foundation of vEtna — War with 
Etruscans — Battle of Cumse — Death of Thero — Thrasydaeus 
makes war on Hiero — His expulsion — Micythus of Khegiurn — Death 
of Hiero — His Olympic Victories, and Patronage of Literature. 

By the will of Gelo his power was divided between two 
of his brothers, of whom one, Polyzelus, obtained com- 
mand of the army, while the other, Hiero, was appointed 
to the government of Syracuse. The latter was already 
known as something more than a despot's brother. As 
early as 488 b.c. he had gained an Olympian victory in the 
single horse race, and had continued to enter for the 
palm at Olympia, Delphi, and elsewhere, year after year. 
He was a man of violent and selfish ambition, and little 
likely to share his empire quietly with anyone. More- 
over, he was brother-in-law alike of Anaxilaus and of 
Thero, and in every way a more prominent figure than 
was. Polyzelus. The latter was supported by Damarete, 
widow of Gelo and now wife of Polyzelus ; and the 
quarrel between the brothers reached such a height that 
in 478 B.C. Damarete and her husband were forced to 
leave Syracuse, and appeal to the protection of Thero. 
That despot granted them an asylum at Agrigentum, but 
made no active efforts to restore them to Syracuse. 
Hiero at once demanded that they should be expelled 
from Thero's dominions, and marched upon Agrigentum, 
with the whole force of Syracuse, to enforce his demand. 
He had already reached the river Gela, the eastern boun- 
dary of the territories of Thero, when the poet Simouides 



HIEEO. 49 

contrived to bring about a reconciliation, and Hiero 
abandoned his purpose. 

His quarrel with Thero had, however, induced the 
Himeraeans to appeal to him for protection from the 
lawless despotism of Thrasydaeus, son of Thero. Headed 
by two cousins, rivals of Thero, the disaffected party in 
Himera prepared to revolt so soon as Hiero should appear 
before their gates. But Hiero, besides disappointing 
them by his reconciliation with Thero, committed an act 
of positive treachery. He betrayed the names and plans 
of the malcontents, and so enabled Thrasydaeus to anti- 
cipate their action, which he did with such severity that 
he found it necessary to recruit the numbers of the 
remaining populace by enforced immigration. 

Meanwhile Hiero proceeded to quarrel with his other 
brother-in-law, Anaxilaus, who was meditating an 
advance upon the Locrians. The latter put themselves 
under the protection of Syracuse, and the threat of war 
was sufticient to restrain Anaxilaus, who had not yet 
forgotten the ill-success of his efforts to shake the power 
of Gelo. He consented to abandon his design, and so 
maintained his position in peace until his death, 476 B.C. 

Thus balked a second time of an excuse for extending 
his power by force of arms, Hiero had recourse to scarcely 
less violent means. It was the summit of the ambition 
of a Greek of his day to become the oecist* or founder of 
a new town. Such a position was equivalent to a title 
to such heroic honours as Gelo had attained by his 
repulse of the Carthaginians. But the foundation of a 
colony in the orthodox way was too tedious and specula- 
tive a method for Hiero. He expelled from Naxos and 
Catana their Greek inhabitants, left the former town 
desolate, and handed over its lands to be shared, together 
with those of Catana, by settlers of his own providing, 
who occupied the old town of Catana under the new 
name of ^tna, 476 b.c. These settlers, 5,000 from 
Greece, 5,000 mercenaries from Hiero's own guard, served 
as a bulwark to his power, seeing that their own position 
depended on the maintenance of their cecist's rule. Two 

* o'lKiari]-;, One who establishes an anmnia,OY colony. 



50 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

years later the despot carried off the prize, with a four- 
horse chariot, at the Pythian games, and was proclaimed 
before all Greece as Hiero the ^tnaean. 

About the same time the Greeks of CumsB, the oldest 
Hellenic colony of Italy, being harassed by the attacks 
of Etruscan privateers, appealed to Hiero for protection. 
Etruria, though at this time falling away from her former 
mighty power in Central Italy before the growing strength 
of Eome and the pressure of the Gauls, was still mistress 
of that portion of the Mediterranean waters to which she 
left her name — the Tyrrhene, Tuscan or Lower Sea, 
between the shores of Italy, Sicily, Spain, and Gaul. 
Her pirates, starting from the seaport of Pyrgi near 
Caere, ravaged the Campanian and Latian coasts, main- 
taining thieves' honour with the Phoenician buccaneers 
of Sardinia and Africa. The news that Hiero meditated 
asserting himself as the custodian of the seas, affecting as 
it did Phoenician and Etruscan interests alike, led to the 
appearance of a formidable combined fleet of those two 
nations off the Italian coasts. The fleet of Hiero en- 
gaged them off Cumae, and gained a complete victory, and 
the spoils which the victor sent as offerings to the shrines 
of the Grecian Gods reached their destination about the 
same time as occurred his victory at Delphi. Amongst 
those spoils was the bronze helmet of an Etruscan warrior 
which was dedicated at Olympia, and was there found 
not many years ago, with the inscription recording its 
donor and the event — 474 B.C. 

In the next year died Thero, after governing Agri- 
gentum for fifteen years with a rule so mild that bis 
memory was honoured as that of a hero. Like Gelo, he 
set an example of the better side of tyranny ; like Gelo, he 
laboured to beautify and enrich his capital, of which the 
chief ruins are those of temples raised by him ; and like 
Gelo, he won a Hellenic fame as an Olympian victor and 
the partner of Gelo's triumph at Himera. But his death 
v^as speedily followed by trouble. His son Thrasydaeus, 
who succeeded to the despotism, was already notorious 
for his excesses at Himera. He, practised at Agrigentum 
the same cruelties, and in a mistaken moment provoked 



HIEEO. 61 

Hiero to war. The latter forestalled attack by at once 
invading the territories of Agrigentum, where he met 
Thrasydaeus' army, and routed it with a loss of four 
thousand men. So utterly was that despot's power broken 
that, unable to regain his authority, he fled to Megara on 
the Isthmus of Corinth, where he learnt how his late be- 
haviour was regarded by the free Hellenes. The 
Megarians at once put him upon his trial as a tyrant, 
and executed him 472 b.c. The Agrigentines, thus rid of 
their master, made terms as best they could with Hiero, 
to whom we must suppose they owed at least a nominal 
obedience, together with the other Grecian cities of 
Sicily. 

Even Messana and Rhegium must now have become 
acknowledged dependencies of Syracuse, for, about 470b. c, 
Hiero dictatad his wishes to the Rhegines and was at 
once obeyed. The late despot Anaxilaus had left the 
governmxent in the hands of a trusted freeman, Micythus, 
in wardship for his own young children, Micythus 
governed so equitably that the Rhegines were well content 
to accept his dominion. But Hiero found here an oppor- 
tunity for extending his influence, and presently ordered 
him to surrender the government to the rightful heirs, 
now grown up. Micythus did so at once, rendered exact 
account of his guardianship, and then retired to Tegea in 
Arcadia, where he lived as a private citizen. Hiero him- 
self died 467 b.c. from a disease which had long invalided 
him. His fame rests as much on the odes of Pindar, and 
on the Olympian and other victories which they celebrate, 
as on his warlike exploits. Twice was he crowned victor 
in the single horse-race, and in the year before his death 
he attained the desired place of conqueror in the race of 
four-horsed chariots. When we remember the treatment 
of the expelled Thrasydasus by the Megarians, the 
anomaly of the position of other despots, such as Gelo, 
Thero, and Hiero, and in later days Dionysius I., becomes 
striking indeed. They were stigmatised as tyrants and 
ipso facto beyond the pale of law, and yet were allowed, 
could they deserve the honour, to be crowned with the 
olive of Olympia, the laurel of Delphi, or the parsley of 

4—2 



52 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

the Isthmian games. In the case of Gelo and Thero there 
was a gentleness of rule and a great deliverance from the 
common foe to cloak their despotism ; but Hiero had|no 
such extenuating circumstances to plead, while his con- 
duct was marked by avarice, violence, and espionage. 
Nevertheless, he maintained, and even extended, the power 
bequeathed to him by his brother ; and only after his 
death could men see how much he had failed to con- 
solidate it. One merit he had which seems ill-consistent 
with the general tone of his character — he was a muni- 
ficent patron of literature. Simonides and Bacchylides, 
Epicharmus and ^schylus, either resided or visited at 
his court ; and Pindar, the most famous lyric poet of 
that or any century of Grecian life, found it in every way 
worth his while to glorify the victories of Gelo, Hiero, 
and Thero at the national festivals of Hellas ; and in 
473 B.C. he personally visited the Syracusan court. 
Such hospitality cost little to Hiero, while it secured him 
the * monument more enduring than bronze ' — odes and 
hymns superscribed with his name. 



CHAPTER V. 
Thrasybulus and the Liberation. 

Tyranny of Thrasybulus — General Revolt of the Greeks of Sicily — 
Blockade of Ortygia — Thrasybulus retires to Locri — Disestablish- 
ment of the Gelonians— They seize Ortygia— Final Accommodation 
— Restoration of Camarina — The Thousand at Agrigentum — 
Petaliam at Syracuse — Rise of Ducetius — His Surrender and Retire- 
ment to Corinth — His Return — Syracuse at War with Agrigentum 
— Period of Peace — Progress — Pelopoimesian War — Indifference of 
the Sicilian Greeks — X he Doria n Siceliots attack the Ionic Cities, 
which appeal to Athens— Laches "ah d-~6 hftrco ft t lft9 — Sepboelea, Demos- 
thenes, and Eurymedon— Sphacteria — The Fleet reaches Sicily to o 
l^iSm — Pacification of Gela — The Syracusans expel tne ijeontme 
Democracy — Embassy of Phaeax — The Leontine Oligarchs Appeal 
to Athens, as do the Egestaeans at War with Selinus — Athenian 
Embassy to Egesta. 

Two rivals now claimed the tyrannis, one the son of Gelo, 
the other Thrasybulus, his uncle, the fourth and last of 
the sons of Deinomenes. The latter contrived to gain all 
real power, and commenced a despotism of the very 
worst kind, banishing and putting to death numbers of 
the citizens in order to confiscate their property. He 
disgusted even the Gelonians, but contrived to retain the 
favour of the mercenaries ; so that, when a general revolt 
broke out in the year 467-66 b.c, he was able to rely 
upon the settlers from ^tna, Hiero's mercenary colonists, 
and to get together a force of some 15,000 in all, with 
whom he could garrison and maintain Ortygia. The 
insurgent citizens occupied the rest of the town — Achra- 
dina as it was afterwards called* — within its own walls, 
and from these two positions, as if from camps, the two 

* Syracuse was not yet extended to Tyche, Neapolis, etc. 



54 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

parties carried on their struggle. But to expel the despot 
from his stronghold by themselves was beyond the Syra- 
cusans ; and they enlisted on their side the whole force 
of Sicily by declaring the Gelonian dynasty at an end, 
and inviting the Greeks to share in its final overthrow. 
From Agrigentum, Gela, and Himera, from Selinus, now 
once more independent, even from the Sicel tribes of the 
interior, came speedy reinforcements. The island rose as 
one man against the one individual who claimed the 
sceptre of Gelo ; and, shut up within his island-castle, he 
was forced to surrender. He was allowed to retire to 
Locri, a town always closely connected with the despots 
of Syracuse, and now repaying to Thrasybulus the debt 
incurred by Hiero's defence of it against Anaxilaus. 
There he lived as a private citizen until his death. 

So fell the Gelonian dynasty (end of 467 B.C.), and 
with it for a time, before the rising tide of democracy, was 
swept away all similitude of tyrannis in the island. The 
strong hand of Hiero had prevented the rise of any despot 
of importance after the death of Thero, so that there was 
left no weighty obstacle to the popular movement, which 
seems to have been first seen in the expulsion of Thrasy- 
daeus, 473 b.c. For sixty years from this date Sicily 
remained free from despotism, and in that period is con- 
tained all that is glorious in her national history as a 
Grecian island. 

The retirement of Thrasybulus did not, however, put 
an immediate stop to the difficulties of the Syracusans, 
who had now to deal with the whole remaining number 
of the Gelonian partisans, including the Hieronian settlers 
and the mercenaries of the late despot. All or most of 
these had been enriched by the grant of lands and goods 
wrung from expelled exiles ; and now those exiles streamed 
back from all quarters, clamouring for the restitution of 
their citizen-rights and their property. Their momentary 
confidence and hatred for the defeated party led the new 
Government to pass a decree ordering the restoration of 
all illegally-acquired property, and prohibiting from office 
any one of Gelonian leanings. The natural result was a 
civil war, in which the new democracy of united Sicily 



THBASYBULUS AND THE LIBERATION. 55 

was arrayed against the iEtnaeans, the mercenaries, and 
doubtless large bodies of Gelonians recently expelled from 
the other Sicilian cities. The latter party again occupied 
Ortygia, and it was only by the institution of a regular 
blockade that they were at length driven out. The 
struggle in turn affected most of the cities of the island, 
and finally centred at iEtna, where the dispossessed 
Catanseans, supported by the Sicels under their chief 
Ducetius, succeeded at last in recovering their ancient 
home from the remnant of the Gelonians. They restored 
the name of Catana, overthrew the tomb and monuments 
of Hiero, while the fugitive Hieronians established them- 
selves at Inessa, a Sicel town of the interior, which they 
renamed ^tna. Finally, the united Sicilians agreed to 
permit the occupation of lands at Messana and Camarina 
by the Gelonians, and this latter town, after having lain 
desolate for more than twenty years since Gelo had dis- 
mantled it, once more became a Hellenic city, 461 B.C., 
and it is surprising to find one of its new inhabitants 
proclaimed victor in the chariot-race at the Olympic 
games of 452 B.C.* This was Psaumis, to whose efforts 
the re-establishment of the town was largely due. For 
some little time longer the troubles went on, but they 
were no longer caused by the attacks of any hostile 
faction, but by the disturbances natural before the newly- 
created democracies could settle down into solidarity. At 
Agrigentum the first form of government was a limited 
democracy, controlled by a council of one thousand. 
But the tendency of the council to ohgarchy, or even to 
despotism, led to a rising under the philosopher-poet 
Empedocles, and the subversal of the one thousand to 
give place to a complete democracy. At Syracuse, too, 
the pacification of the Gelonians was followed by so 
many efforts on the part of rich men to re-establish the 
tyra7inis that a safeguard was introduced on the plan of the 
Athenian ostracism. By its means any citizen whose 
power threatened to endanger the State was open to a 
sort of impeachment. Every voter wrote upon an olive- 
leaf, the name of the citizen whom he deemed dangerous, 

* The most expensive ufwv, and a sure sign of prosperity and wealth. 



56 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

and the individual thus accounted the most formidable 
was constrained to go into exile, though only for five 
years. This Petalism* proved, however, so liable to 
abuse, sweeping away all well-to-do men who took part 
in politics, and thus intimidating others from following 
their example, that it was very shortly afterwards abo- 
lished, and the State slowly settled into rest and peace. 

Meantime, the Sicel chief Ducetius, set free from the 
dominion of the Gelonian dynasty, began to aim at a 
wider sovereignty for himself. He formed a federation 
of the petty communities of the interior, and with the 
support thus given him, he took the fortress of Morgan - 
tine and founded Palice as the centre of his league. The 
town took its name from the Palici, Sicel Nature- Gods, 
there worshipped ; and its reputed sanctity, no less than 
its central position, made it an admirable place for the 
capital of a native league. f Ducetius now set himself 
to avenge the diminished power of the Sicels on the 
Greeks. He stormed and recovered Inessa, which the 
Hieronians from ^tna had occupied, and in the year 
452 B.C. was bold and strong enough to march down into 
the territories of Agrigentum, the second city of Sicily. 
There he laid siege to a small fortress called Motyum, 
and was fortunate enough to defeat a combined army of 
Agrigentines and Syracusans coming to its relief. But his 
success was shortlived. Unable to take Motyum, he 
was attacked by a second joint army, and so completely 
defeated that he left his own kingdom, rode into Syracuse, 
and there placed himself as a suppliant at an altar. Pro- 
bably the ill-success of his siege operations had spread 
dissatisfaction amongst his mountain troops, to whom all 
long service would be irksome, particularly if not bril- 
liantly successful. The Syracusans, despite the reluc- 
tance of Agrigentum, spared the suppliant's life, and sent 
him to Corinth, where they undertook to provide for his 
maintenance, while he gave his word of honour to attempt 
no return (451 b.c). 

Despite the threatening attitude of the Sicel federa- 

* TieTuAtiTMO';, for -itTuAoi', leaf, from the leaf of olive used as a tablet. Of. 
offTpd/uKTMo^j from ooTpuKoi , oystcr-sliell. 
t Compare with the history of Megalopolis and Arcadia. 



THRASYBULUS AND THE LIBERATION. 57 

tion, Syracuse had been able to send out fleets during 
the years 453—452 b.c. to suppress the piracy of the 
Etruscans. The death of Hiero had removed the hand 
which chastised them at Cumae, and their buccaneering 
had doubtless thereupon broken out with fresh violence. 
But the fleet which had sailed under Hiero's orders was 
still as effective as ever under the democratic administra- 
tion. Ilva (Elba), a famous iron-producing island, was 
ravaged 453 b.c, and in 452 b.c. Corsica was plundered, 
Ilva annexed, and the coasts of Etruria itself insulted 
by the Syracusan admiral Apelles. 

In 448 B.C. (?) Ducetius broke his word, and presented 
himself once more in Sicily, where he succeeded in found- 
ing a town at Cale Acte, the site formerly selected by the 
Samian refugees.* His old subjects rejoined him in 
numbers, and the Agrigentines, disgusted to see him again 
a dangerous foe, and to find their opposition to the leni- 
ency of Syracuse thus amply justified, declared war upon 
that city. The war ended in the Agrigentines being forced 
to sue for peace ; but it gave Ducetius the opportunity of 
securing his new position. But his death, which followed 
soon after,! again broke up the Sicel league, and the 
Syracusans proceeded at leisure to reduce many of the 
towns of the interior (446 B.C.). 

The twenty years succeeding the death of Ducetius 
seem to have been years of general peace. During this 
period the Sicilian cities grew to that opulence and 
magnificence for which they were afterwards famous. 
Their commerce increased enormously, particularly the 
export trade in wine and oil from the Southern coast to 
Africa, to which trade Agrigentum owed her proverbial 
riches. The overthrow of the despots and the develop- 
ment of free government, if it reduced the ranks of court 
poets, gave birth to the famous rhetoricians Gorgias 
of Leontini, Corax and Tisias at Syracuse, and the 
Agrigentine Polus, while Empedocles in Sicily won a 
name little inferior to that of the Eleatics in Italy — Par- 
menides and Zeno, the philosophers of Elea (Velia), near 

* See p. 42. 

t The date is uncertain ; probably earlier than 440 b.c. 



53 .A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

Psestam. The exponents of the fine arts in Sicily and 
Magna Graecia rivalled the descendants of Myron and 
Polygnotus in Central Greece, and the temples of Agri- 
gentum were worthy that even the great Zeuxis should 
adorn them with his marvellous * Lacinian Juno,' whose 
beauty was the combined beauty of the five fairest 
maidens in Agrigentum — and the beauties of Agrigentum 
are famous still. The coinages of Sicily had no rival 
for number and grace and workmanship. 

In 431 B.C. broke out the Peloponnesian War. The 
small beginning of that twenty-se yenvears' struggle was 
a quarrel between Corinth, the mother- city of Syracuse, 
and Corcyra, another of her colonies. Corcyra appealed 
to Athens, and the latter power pledged herself to a de- 
fensive alliance with the Corcyrseans, whose island posi- 
tion and formidable navy made them inevitably the rivals 
or the allies of Athens in the great war which everyone 
felt to be already 'in the air.' Not the least reason for 
the alliance was the knowledge that, should war break 
out, the Dorian cities of Sicily would at once be called 
upon for supplies, in which event Corcyra would be an 
invaluable station forTntpT-p.ftpt ing tlqp, wp.sf, prr| flf^Af.a Q.n(1 
convo y. ^ The war broke out at once, precipitated by the 
very alliance which was intended to guard against it ; and 
the expected requisition was issued by Sparta, as head 
of the anti- Athenian league, that the Sicilian .Dorians 
should contribute their share to an enormous fleet of 
60 trir emes > 

But secure and prosperous in their isolation, untouched 
by the aggressions of either Athenian or Lacedaemonian, 
and well aware that to meddle in another's quarrel brings 
little gain, the Sicilian Greeks were not eager to engage 
in so distant a war. Most of the Dorian cities of the 
south coast were already in a manner allied with Sparta, 
and some of the Chalcidian towns, such as Naxos, Catana, 
Leontini, and Ehegium in Italy, may have been in like 
ma.nner allies now, and they certainly were shortly 
after, of Athens. But the alliance, when it existed, 
counted for little, and the Sicilians as a whole were 
content to watch the struggle for the hegemony of 



THEASYBULUS AND THE LIBERATION. 59 

Greece without committing themselves to anything more 
decided than a Dorian or Ionian sympathy with the 
beUigerents. 

But the certainty — so it was beUeved — of Athens' 
speedy fall incited the Dorians of Sicily to aggressions 
upon the few small Ionic and Chalcidic towns. Those 
towns, Naxos, Catana, and Leontini, lying between the 
important State of Messana and Syracuse herself, were 
ill prepared to resist. They found allies indeed in 
the Dorian Camarina, now grown afraid of the neigh- 
bouring power of Syracuse and Ehegium, which was, as 
always, at feud with the Locrians, the Italiot allies of 
Syracuse, and therefore sided with the anti-Syracusan 
minority. But these were as nothing to set against the 
forces of Syracuse, Gela, Agrigentum, Selinus and Messana. 
Accordingly, in 427 B.C., the rhetor Gorgias headed an 
embassy to Athens to entreat armed support. His trained 
eloquence found ample support in the dictates of pru- 
dence, which forbade Athens to permit the destruction of 
the only local check upon Dorism in Sicily. The success 
of their operations against the Ionic cities would 
naturally be followed by the active interference of the 
Dorians in Greece. Accordingly, a fleet of twenty 
triremes was despatched 427 B.C., un der Laches and 
Charoeades, to defend the Athenian allies in Sicily and to 
examine into the advisability of offensive action. 

The arrival of this squadron found Naxos and her 
fellow-towns blockaded by land and sea. It took up its 
quarters at Ehegium, now an ally of Athens, and acted so 
vigorously about the straits that Messana gave hostages 
for its peacefulness, and the blockade was thus raised on 
the north side, 426 B.C. Laches, now left sole com- 
mander by the death of Charoeades, seems to have 
exceeded his orders, for he now attacked Inessus, the 
Sicel town in the interior, which was held by a Syracusan 
garrison. The attack was repulsed with loss, and Laches 
returned to Ehegium, having concluded an alliance with 
the non-Hellenic town of Egesta, 425 b.c. At Ehegium 
he found his successor Pythodorus already arrived, and 
the precursor of a second and larger fleet of forty 



60 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

vessels under Eurymedon and Sophocles, which was in- 
tended to arrive in the spring of that year. The news 
of its approach spurred the Sicilian Dorians to greater 
activity, and a combined squadron of Locrians and Syra- 
cusans succeeded in recovering Messana by the help of 
some partisans within the walls. Then, massing their 
fleet at that point to more than thirty sail, they made an 
effort to crush the Athenian fleet in the harbour of 
Ehegium before the reinforcement could come up. The 
battle which followed ended in a complete victory for the 
sixteen Athenian and eight Rhegine vessels ; and it was 
only the presence of a large land force upon the coast 
that prevented the victors from dragging away the Syra- 
cusan vessels which ran for shelter to Cape Pelorus. Some 
days later, the Naxians, aided by some Sicels, with whom 
Laches had already established friendly relations, in- 
flicted a bloody defeat on the Messenian land force. But, 
despite this double success to the Ionic arms, nothing of 
rear importance was effected; and the non-appearance 
of the new fleet under Eurymedon and Sophocles let slip 
the moment for effective action. Those commanders 
were ordered to call at Corcyra on the voyage out, and 
there to do what they could to assist the popular party 
against a body of oligarchs, the refugees from a violent 
revolution of theyear 427 B.C., who were now entrenched on 
Mount Istone and supported by sixty Peloponnesian war- 
ships. Demosthenes, a general who had already served 
with marked success on the west coast, also sailed with 
the fleet, with full permission to use it, up to its reaching 
Corcyra, in any way he might please against the Pelopon- 
nesian coast. Acting on these instructions, he took 
advantage of head winds to raise a rude fortification at 

PyluS, an nm'nhfl.hif-.ed-4^Aa^1n.r|rl <^f T-.h^ . yrPfi t nn Q et nf 

Messenia and one of the horns of the Bay of Pylus, whose 
entrance is blocked, as though by a natural mole, by the 
long narrow island of Sphacteria. Here he was left 
with five ships to support him, and here he was besieged 
by the whole force of Sparta both by land and sea. 
The latter occupied the island with the pick of their 
native infantry ; while their fleet, under Brasidas, hastily 



THRASYBULUS AND THE LIBERATION. 61 

recalled from Corcyra, made repeated but unavailing 
attempts to force the Athenian position. But Eurymedon 
and Sophocles had already hurried back to the spot, and 
the Lacedemonian fleet was driven ashore and with difficulty 
secured from capture ; the infantry on the island, more 
than 420 in number, and 120 of them Spartiatas, were 
blockaded, and the survivors ultimately forced to sur- 
render to a fresh Athenian force under Cleon. It was 
not until the twelfth week from the original date of sail- 
ing that Eurymedon's squadron was free to pursue its 
voyage to Sicily. But whatever hopes the Dorians had 
entertained of speedily crushing the Ionic power were 
now dashed. Athens, with 292 valuable prisoners in 
her hands, and fresh from the glory of having compelled 
the invincible Spartans to surrender, was stronger than 
ever. The Sicilian Dorians shared in the general de- 
pression of their Peloponnesian kinsmen, and became 
anxious for peace. Camarina led the way by coming to 
terms on his own account with Gela ; and shortly after- 
wards a congress of the Greeks of Sicily was convened 
at the latter place to discuss the question of a general 
peace, 424 B.C. The leading speaker was Hermocrates, 
at the time the chief figure in Syracusan politics, and a 
man of pronounced anti-popular opinions. His advice, 
however, on this occasion, was patriotic and sound. He 
bade the Sicilian Greeks remember that they were 
kinsmen, and preserve their own polity without inter- 
ference from Athens or elsewhere. He pointed out that 
Athens was too ambitious to be disinterested in sup- 
porting her feeble allies in Sicily, and that she would 
not rest content with merely vindicating their liberties. 
The congress fell in with his views, and a general peace 
was sworn, 424 B.C. 

By the pacification of Gela the Athenian commanders 
were deprived of all excuse for their further stay in 
Sicily, for not only her allies — the Ionic cities — but. 
Athens herself, was included in the peace. Accordingly, 
Eurymedon and his colleagues, with their whole force of 
more than fifty ships of war, returned to Athens. The 
only result of their presence in Sicily was the temporary 



-62 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

union of all the Hellenes of the west, from a common 
•distrust of Athenian interference. 

On their return to Athens about the beginning of the 
summer of 424 b.c, they found themselves impeached 
for collusion with the Sicilians. For the previous twelve- 
months the fortune of war had been all on the side of 
Athens. The landing of Demosthenes at Pylus had been 
the first of a series of events which had brought humilia- 
tion upon Sparta and triumph to her rivals. The occu- 
pation of Cythera threatened the naval stations and 
entire sea-board of Laconia — * Better for her had 
Cythera been sunk in the sea ' — while the seizure of 
Minoa and the port of Megara threatened to give the 
Athenians command of the Isthmus of Corinth and shut 
up the Peloponnesians within their own borders. Every- 
where the Athenian fleet commanded the seas. Finally, 
and most important of all, 120 Spartan aristocrats and a 
still greater number of inferior Spartans had been brought 
home at once as prisoners and hostages from Sphacteria 
by Cleon. The populace were in no mood to listen to 
any tale of failures, even of lack of success. Pythodorus 
and Sophocles were banished, Eurymedon escaped with 
a fine ; and a fresh opportunity for interference in 
Sicilian affairs was eagerly awaited. 

No sooner had the Athenian fleet retired than the 
democracy of Leontini found themselves exposed to the 
hostility of their own oligarchic faction, supported as 
before by Syracuse. To strengthen their position, they 
■enrolled a large number of new citizens, and contemplated 
a new division of their lands in order to provide allotments 
for the new-comers. Such a measure, of course, threat- 
ened the estates of the wealthy oligarchs, and the latter, 
by a sudden coup d'4tat, expelled the democracy by 
force. They then removed their residences to Syracuse, 
and from thence farmed their estates at Leontini. 
Leontini itself was deserted, and the fugitive democracy 
applied once more for Athenian assistance. 

Here, then, was the desired opportunity for fresh 
interference, but it came too late. At the battle of 
Delium (end of 424 b.c.) the Athenians had been severely 



THEASYBULUS AND THE LIBEBATION. 63 

repulsed in an aggression against Thebes, while simulta- 
neously Brasidas, after rescuing Megara, was rapidly 
winning over to the Spartan cause the Athenian depend- 
encies in Chalcidice. With her hands full at home, 
Athens only ventured to despatch to Sicily two triremes 
under Phaeax, with orders to organize an anti-Syracusan 
party in the island, with a view to more extensive future 
action in that quarter (422 B.C.). Before anything 
material could be effected, the peace of Nicias (421 b.c.) 
once more diverted her attentions. The Syracusans, 
having got rid of Leontini, now proceeded to get rid of 
its few representatives, the oligarchs, who had trans- 
ferred themselves to Syracuse. Compelled to leave that 
city, they made an effort to re-establish Leontini in con- 
junction with a few of the exiled democracy. The 
attempt failed ; the Leontine territory passed into the 
hands of Syracuse, and its entire population went into 
exile, some of them at Athens. 

At length, 416 b.c, arrived an embassy from Egesta, 
claiming the assistance of Athens on the ground of the 
alliance effected by Laches, 427 b.c. Egesta, an inland 
town in the western corner of Sicily, was occupied by a 
people of unknown, but non-Hellenic, origin. South- 
ward its territory proceeded side by side with that of 
Selinus, and a quarrel in regard to a strip of border-land 
led to an appeal to arms. Selinus*was one of the most 
wealthy of the Grecian colonies, and, as the last anti- 
Carthaginian outpost on the western coast, in a high 
state of military efficiency. Moreover, it was supported 
by Syracuse. The only hope of the Egestseans lay in 
foreign aid, and after appealing in vain to Agrigentum 
and Carthage, they sent an urgent embassy to Athens. 
The opportunity of chastising Syracuse for this second 
attack on an ally seemed at once opportune and just. 
Supported by the' Lpontine exiles, and by the oratory of 
Alcibiades, they so far succeeded as to secure the despatch 
of special envoys to Egesta to investigate the advisability 
of an armed interference on the part of Athens. 



CHAPTEE VI. 
The Sicilian Expedition. 

Life and Character of Alcibiades — Return of the Envoys from Egesta 
— Efforts of Nicias to defeat their Appeal — The Mutilation of the 
Hermse — Suspicion falls on Alcibiades — Cold Reception of the 
Athenians in Sicily — Discovery of the Fraud at Egesta — Divided 
Opinions of the Generals — Flight of Alcibiades — Nicias enters the 
Great Harbour by Stratagem — Battle of the Helorine Way — Events 
of 414 B.C. — Effect of Gylippus' Arrival and of Alcibiades' Presence 
at Sparta — Naval Battles — Attitude of the Sicilian Towns — Arrival 
of Demosthenes — Failure of his Attacks — The Retreat and Sur- 
render of the Entire Army— Fate of the Generals and Prisoners — 
Character of Nicias — Results of the Expedition — Its Cost. 

Alcibiades, to whose influence was due the cordial re- 
ception of the Egestaean envoys, with its subsequent 
disastrous results, represented the self-seeking ambition 
of the young Athenian aristocracy. Descended alike from 
the famous Alemacoftdse and the house of Ajax, and a 
ward of Pericles, he inherited all the oligarch's contempt 
for equality and democracy. To him politics were the 
road to personal aggrandisement, and in them he hoped 
to find the means to gratify that excessive love of display 
which characterized his whole life. Albeit a pupil of 
Socrates, he developed every sophistic and unwholesome 
quality which his teacher condemned, and in him the 
enemies of Socrates saw the only result of that ' little 
learning' which 'is a dangerous thing.' "They held the 
teacher responsible for the pupil's failings, and when 
they forced the former to drink the hemlock, they believed 
themselves revenged upon the latter for the ruin in which 
he had involved his country. 

At the present time (416 B.C.) Alcibiades was about 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 65 

thirty-six years of age. For the past five years he had 
been an active figure in Athenian pohtics, first on the 
philo-Spartan side, later, when he found himself little in 
favour at Sparta, on the side of the extremists of the 
opposite party. It was mainly through his influence that 
the Peace of Nicias (421 b.c.) was rendered null; and by 
covertly continuing hostilities he gave to Sparta at 
Mantinea (418 b.c.) the opportunity of recovering the 
position which she had lost when that peace was made, 
while at the same time he prevented Athens from re- 
cruiting, as she might otherwise have done, the resources 
exhausted by the previous years of war. The battle of 
Mantinea frustrated his attempts to extend Athenian in- 
fluence in the Peloponnesus, and for the time being so 
far diminished his popularity at home that he narrowly 
escaped ostracism. Excessive display at the Olympic 
festivals had served in a measure to lessen the ill-feeling 
against him, but it had gone far to leave him bankrupt. 
In the appeal of the Egestseans he saw the means of ac- 
quiring fame, influence, and wealth, and — not least, per- 
haps — of frustrating the policy of his bitterest foe, Nicias, 
whose well-behaved Toryism and decided Spartan sym- 
pathies brought him continually into collision with the 
Eadicalism of Alcibiades. 

In the spring of 415 B.C. the envoys returned from. 
Egesta, and reported that the wealth of that town was 
amply sufficient to defray the cost of the anticipated war. 
The Leontine exiles seconded their representations with 
renewed appeals on the score of religion and blood, and 
Alcibiades fired the ambition of the multitude by repre- 
senting Sicily as an easy conquest, and the stepping-stone 
to the complete overthrow of Sparta, when once its trea- 
sures and its navies were enrolled under the flag of 
Athens. There were whispers that even Italy and 
Carthage were not impossible acquisitions."^ With such 
arguments, material and sentimental, on the one side, the 
assembly refused to listen to the warnings of Nicias on 

* The proposed expedition was warmly supported by the mercantile classes, as 
likely to open up to them a new and wealthy scene of trade. The rich Athenians 
supported it for the same reason, hoping thus to be secured from the taxatiou 
which had oppressed them througliout the Peloponnesian War. 

5 



66 ,, A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

the other. Immediate war was resolved on, and even 
when the question was put a second time on another day 
by Nicias, in defiance of constitutional procedure, the 
former decision was upheld, and Nicias himself was 
nominated general conjointly with Alcibiades and Lama- 
chus. Nicias made a final effort to defeat the project by 
demanding an enormous force, whose very magnitude 
might, he hoped, frighten the populace out of their san- 
guine enthusiasm. Again the manoeuvre failed, and 
Athens made the double mistake of attempting foreign \ 
conquest while she had war at her very gates, and of 
placing her forces under the divided rule of two bitter 
enemies. 

A few days before the date fixed for the sailing of the 
armament it was discovered that nearly all the Hermae"* 
throughout the city had been disfigured during the night. 
The impiety of the sacrilege — a sacrilege to be atoned 
for, according to Grecian belief, by nothing short of the 
chastisement of the entire State — and still more its sys- 
tematic completeness and secrecy, filled Athens with 
panic. An outrage so uniform could only have been 
committed by many hands ; and the Athenians, full of 
fanciful terrors, pictured to themselves a widespread 
conspiracy amongst the numerous oligarchical clubs of 
the city to subvert the government and admit some ex- 
ternal enemy. Suspicion ran riot, and Alcibiades was 
believed to be implicated in the affair. It was, indeed, 
quite on a par with many of his avowed misdeeds, and 
his character was such as to lend itself to the suspicion 
of treasonable designs. This suspicion his political 
enemies turned to account by forthwith indicting him 
for impiety. He expressed himself eager to clear himself 
at once, but on the plea that an immediate trial would 
delay the expedition, his accusers contrived to send him 
to Sicily with the charge still hanging over his head, 
hoping to poison public opinion against him irremediably 
in his absence. 

* The Hermae were rude-stone pillars, fashioned at the top into the form of a 
human head, and representing the god Hermes. They stood at the doors of 
temples and houses, and in most public situations throughout the city. 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 67 

The evil omen clouded the departure of the armament, 
which mustered at Corcyra in the middle of the summer,"*" 
and thence crossed to Italy, where it took up its station 
at Ehegium, to await the return of three light vessels 
which had been sent forward to Egesta to announce the 
approach of the united force of Athens and her allies. 
Their reception had not been encouraging. Of all the 
Italian towns Ehegium alone treated them with even 
distant friendliness ; and even Ehegium, albeit an Ionic 
colony, refused to commit itself to any active support 
until the decision of the other States was learnt. The 
Dorian colony of Tarentum and the town of Locri both 
refused even anchorage and permission to take in water. 
Nor was the news from Sicily more encouraging. The 
report that a gigantic armament was in course of prepar- 
ation against them long met with no credence at Syra- 
cuse, where the democratic leader Athenagoras ridiculed 
the warnings of the aristocratic leader Hermocrates, whose 
information was surer, and who laboured to organize a 
league against the invaders. It was not until the Athen- 
ians actually appeared off the Italian coasts that he 
obtained any credence, and was enabled, at the last 
moment, to concert measures for defence. Envoys were 
sent to the Sicel tribes of the interior, to the Dorian 
States of Greece, and even to Carthage, soliciting help. 
Of the Sicels many declined to ally themselves with 
Syracuse. The Greek States mostly accepted the alliance 
at once, for the magnitude of the armament and the re- 
nown of the Athenians for a time cowed all the Greeks 
of Sicily into union and accord. Even the Chalcidic 
States, to whose aid the Athenians ostensibly came, mis- 
trusted their champion, and remained passive, declining, 
indeed, the alliance of Syracuse, but taking no positive 
steps in the interests of Athens. The Dorian town of 
Camarina also remained neutral, out of jealousy of the 
power of Syracuse. In all Sicily only the one semi- 
Hellenic town of Egesta was in active co-operation with 
the armament ; and with the return of the three despatch- 

* For a description of the armament and its departure from Piraeus, see 
Thuc. vi. 31, 32. 

5—2 



68 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

boats came a revelation which showed the worthlessness 
of that alhance. They reported that the supposed wealth 
of Egesta was a fiction. The Athenian envoys sent in 
the previous year to inquire into its extent had been 
duped by the display of plate and treasure which sur- 
rounded them in every house wherein they were enter- 
tained. But the valuables which they saw were the 
same in every case, secretly transferred from house to 
house as occasion required ; and the fraud was now dis- 
covered when it was too late. Instead of the cordial 
welcome and ample supplies, or the terrified submission 
which they had expected, the three generals found every 
door closed against them. 

And now appeared the evils of the divided generalship. 
Each of the three commanders proposed a different 
course of action. Nicias, seeing in the indifference or 
distrust of the Sicilians the justification of his opposition 
to the expedition, now proposed to get what supplies they 
could from the Egestseans, to compel the Selinuntines to 
make peace with Egesta ; and, after thus parading the 
power of Athens and her solicitude for her allies, to re- 
turn home. Alcibiades argued that it would be foolish 
and disgraceful to return with so little done. He advo- 
cated negotiations with the Sicels to withdraw them 
from the Syracusan alliance, and the seizure of Messana, 
the key of the straits. Then, with allies and supplies 
assured, they could easily proceed against Selinus and 
Syracuse. Lamachus alone saw the need of striking a 
decisive blow at once. He urged an immediate advance 
upon Syracuse, while that town was still unprepared, and 
the whole of Sicily standing in wholesome dread of the 
famous fleet now lying off the coast. This, he said, was 
the surest way of securing allies, and breaking down the 
Syracusan league. Undoubtedly he was right ; but 
neither Alcibiades nor Nicias supported him, and he was 
compelled to acquiesce in the plans of Alcibiades, a com- 
promise between his own judgment and that of Nicias. 

The fleet, accordingly, moved southwards to Naxos, 
which welcomed the Athenians as liberators. Catana, 
the second remaining Ionic town, they took by surprise, 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 69 

and there established a naval camp. The arrival at this 
juncture of the Salaminia,"^ to summon home Alcibiades 
to stand his trial, interrupted the tide of events. Alci- 
biades professed his willingness to return, and was 
allowed to use a vessel of his own. At Thurii he took 
advantage of this privilege to break his parole and make 
his escape to Sparta. Nicias and Lamachus were thus 
left in command ; and the former, conducting a portion 
of his fleet along the northern shores of Sicily, captured 
Hyccara, a small coast town then at war with Egesta. 
The sale of the prisoners realized a considerable sum ; 
but a subsequent attack on Hyblaea Geleatis miscarried, 
and Nicias returned to the camp. 

Meanwhile, October had come, and the Syracusans be- 
gan to despise a fleet which, albeit so admirably equipped, 
had yet effected so little in a stay of more than two 
months. Passing from fear to confidence, they meditated 
an attack upon Catana. Nicias, informed of the design 
by his partisans in Syracuse, sent thither a Catanaean, 
inviting the Syracusans to surprise Catana on a stated 
day, and alleging that there was a strong philo-Syra- 
cusan party in the town willing to betray it. The oppor- 
tunity was eagerly seized, and the surprise entrusted to 
a body of Syracusan foot and horse ; but when the latter 
arrived before the town, they found the Athenians already 
gone, and the entire force was at once put about, and 
hurried back in hot haste to Syracuse. They found that 
Nicias had taken advantage of their absence to convey the 
entire Athenian force to Syracuse, and to post it securely 
on the spot called Dascon, a low-lying space between the 
mouth of the river Anapus and the suburb of Neapolis, 
at the back of the Great Harbour. The fleet lay beached 
behind entrenchments to the number of 145 ships of war, 
of which 100 were the famous triremes of Athens, and 
the remainder manned by the scarcely less formidable 
seamen of her allies. The land force mustered 1,500 
native Athenian hoplites, 3,600 heavy allied troops, 700 
x\thenian marines, 500 Argive troops, and 250 Mantineans 

* The State despatch-boat used esi)ecially for the conveyance of Theories to the 
sacred festivals at Delos. 



70 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

and mercenaries, 480 archers, eighty of them Cretans, 
the most expert in Hellas, 700 Ehodian slingers, 120 
Megarian exiles equipped as skirmishers. The grand 
total, exclusive of the sailors, was 7,850 troops of all arms. 
Cavalry alone were wanting to counterbalance the * in- 
vincible ' Syracusan horse, now reinforced by a body of 
the redoubtable cavalry of Gela. 

The Syracusan army, returning from Catana, encamped 
on the western side of the Helorine Way, which crossed 
the Anapus at a distance of about three-quarters of a 
mile from its mouth. The bridge had been already cut 
by Nicias to prevent the advance, upon his flank, of any 
force from the southern bank. On the following day the 
Athenian force drew out to battle in two divisions, the 
first in a line of eight deep, the second posted in hollow 
square behind as a reserve. On their left was the Anapus 
with its steep banks ; on their right the outlying houses 
of Dascon, and the Inner Pool {(Mvyoi) of the Great Har- 
bour. The Athenian hoplites occupied the centre of the 
line, supported on the right by the Argives and Man- 
tineans, and on the left by the auxiliary troops, slingers, 
and archers. To hold the latter in check, the Syracusans 
posted their cavalry and light troops on the bank of the 
river. Their main body was drawn up sixteen deep, with 
the Helorine Way in their rear. Their generals were 
Hermocrates and fourteen others. Expected though it 
was, the battle yet took the Syracusans by surprise, 
many of them having left their ranks and being even 
within the city walls when Nicias sounded the charge. 
Nevertheless they formed as well as they could, and 
fought with bravery ; and when driven, at length, back 
to the Helorine Way, they maintained their position 
there, the Athenians not daring to pursue their advantage 
further, lest by so doing they should expose themselves 
to a flank attack from the Syracusan horse. The battle 
was absolutely without result, for on the same day the 
Syracusans were able to throw across the river a force 
which garrisoned the high ground about the temple of 
Zeus Olympius ; and on the following day Nicias em- 
barked his whole force, and sailed away to Naxos and 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 71 

Catana for the winter, feeling himself unable to main- 
tain a position so near the city without an adequate force 
of cavalry. 

For cavalry accordingly, and a fresh supply of money, 
he despatched a request to Athens, and busied himself 
during the winter months in collecting siege-material and 
in extending his influence among the Sicel tribes. His 
overtures met with but slight success at Camarina, an 
important position, as it commanded the roads from 
Syracuse to the allied towns of the southern coasts, Gela 
and Sehnus. His arguments were counteracted by those 
of Hermocrates, who was present as the envoy of the 
Syracusans ; and the Camarinasans, after listening to 
both sides, decided to preserve their neutrality.* An 
embassy which he despatched to Carthage may possibly 
have prevented the interposition of that power, for it was 
not unlikely that she should have preferred assisting her 
rival, Syracuse, to aiding the Athenians in the destruc- 
tion of the city which at present offered the best bulwark 
against the rumoured aims of Athens in Africa. From 
Etruria there had already reached Nicias spontaneous 
offers of assistance, and he sent thither envoys to ask for 
a force of cavalry, preferring the same request to the 
Sicels, of whom many joined him under their prince 
Archonides. 

The Syracusans, on their side, made preparations to 
resist the impending siege. They garrisoned Megara 
Hyblaea, which commanded the approach to the city 
from the north, and constructed a new wall from the 
shore of the Bay of Thapsus to the Great Harbour, at 
some distance in advance of the previous wall of Achra- 
dina. These new fortifications protected both Achradina 
and Ortygia. Finally, at the suggestion of Hermocrates, 
they reduced the number of their generals from fifteen to 
three, namely, Hermocrates, Heraclides, and Sicanus, 
and despatched to Corinth and Sparta fresh requests for 
help, at the same time seeking to distract the operations 
of the Athenians by inducing the Spartans to renew their 
aggressions upon Attica. 

* A small detachment of twenty horse had assisted the Syracusans in the 
recent battle. 



72 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

About March, 414 b.c, Nicias massed his full strength, 
now augmented by the arrival of 600 horse, at Catana; and 
suddenly putting out to sea, landed unopposed at Thap- 
sus, and stormed the heights of Epipolae, which were only 
occupied by a small garrison of 600 Syracusan hoplites. 
This elevation, rising gradually from the city walls in a 
westerly direction, formed a lofty plateau, guarded on the 
north and south by steep scarps, and commanding the 
whole city, together with its harbours. It summit was 
crowned by the fort of Euryalus, at the point where 
Nicias ascended. Moving downwards, he immediately 
fortified a position on the slope within a mile of the walls 
of Syracuse. From this point, known as ' The Circle,' 
he commenced to carry blockade walls which should 
reach to the Great Harbour on the south, and to the 
Bay of Thapsus on the northern side. The Syracusans 
attempted in vain to prevent the completion of the works. 
Their cavalry were worsted by the newly-levied horse- 
men of Nicias, and their endeavours to interrupt the line 
of the southern blockade wall by throwing out two coun- 
ter walls from the city, westward towards the Anapus, 
were successively defeated. The first wall was stormed 
and taken by the Athenians with ease. The storming of 
the second wall brought on a general engagement which 
cost the life of Lamachus, though not until he had 
secured the victory for his side. The Syracusans, how- 
ever, compelled Nicias to burn all his siege engines and 
material, and only drew off on seeing the Athenian fleet a 
second time sail into the Great Harbour. 

The Syracusans began to despair. They vented their 
displeasure upon their generals, whom they dismissed 
from office, appointing three others in their place. The 
change brought no relief. Supplies failed, and surrender 
began to be openly discussed. Nicias, confident of speedy 
success, relaxed his efforts, and even when the news 
reached him that a Peloponnesian squadron was on its 
way to the relief of the city, he took no measures to pre- 
vent its approach. The Syracusan envoys, on arriving 
at Sparta, had found their warmest advocate in Alci- 
biades. Not only did he alarm his hearers with exag- 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 73- 

gerated reports of Athenian ambition, and urge them to 
send assistance to their kinsmen in Sicily, but he bade 
the Lacedaemonians carry the war into Attica and estabhsh 
a fortified post at Decelea before the very gates of Athens. 
It was resolved to send help to Syracuse, and Gylippus- 
was ordered to take the command and sail withouidjelay ; 
but only four triremes were provided for him, and these 
were so slow in appearing that it was June before he 
could arrive at Leucas. There he awaited the Corinthian 
contingent of twelve vessels under G ^ngylu s. Tired of 
delay, he eventually pushed across to Italy without the 
Corinthian flotilla, and as he had no hope of running the 
Athenian blockade with his few vessels, he passed along 
the north coast of Sicily as far as Himera. Here he 
learnt that the wall of blockade was not, as he had sup- 
posed, completed, but that there still remained a narrow 
passage on the northern side of ' The Circle ' between the 
wall and the outer sea. Eapidly collecting a handful of 
troops from Gela, Selinus, and some of the Sicel tribes, 
he marched overland, crossed Epipolae before the eyes of 
the Athenian garrison, and entered Syracuse about the 
beginning of August. Gongylus had through the negli- 
gence of the Athenian fleet sailed into the docks of 
Ortygia but a few days before, just in time to prevent 
the surrender of the city. . 

The presence of a veritable Spartiate amongst them 
gave new courage to the Syracusans. Without a 
moment's hesitation Gylippus assumed the offensive. 
Leading out the Syracusan army as if for battle before 
the walls, he sent off a body of men who passed along 
the northern cliff of Epipolae and captured the Athenian 
outposts on that side. Having thus cleared the way, he 
commenced the construction of a new counter- wall which 
should run from the north-west corner of Achradina 
through the still open gap in the blockade wall, and so 
right along the back of Epipolae to Euryalus. 

Nicias began too late to see the folly of his remissness. ^ 
He felt that he had met his match on land, and'prucBGdBd 
to do what he could for the effective employment of his 
fleet. He seized the promontory of Plemgayrium, which 



74 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

formed the southern arm of the land surrounding the 
Great Harbour, and there he built a fortified camp. At 
the same time he allowed the construction of the counter- 
wall to proceed unmolested until it had all but intersected 
his own lines of blockade. To prevent this he at length 
gave battle on the eastern slope of Epipolae. The first 
encounter resulted in the retreat of the Syracusans, 
but did not leave Nicias able to carry their works ; and 
when the struggle was renewed on the ensuing day, his 
entire force was defeated and the counter-wall pushed 
far up the slope towards Euryalus. The blockade was 
raised on the landward side, and within a few -hours 
Erasinides sailed into port with twelve triremes from 
Corinth, Ambracia, and Leucas. 

So completely was the position of the belligerents 
reversed, that Nicias was now, as he himself confessed, 
rather the besieged than the besieger. The necessity of 
guarding the blockade wall, useless though it was, pre- 
vented his employing his full land force ; while the Syra- 
cusans, flushed with success, began to molest even his 
fleet, and were rapidly getting together a flofcilla almost 
as numerous as his own. Ill-success brought with it dis- 
affection, and the desertion of slaves and mercenaries 
rapidly increased. The unhealthy position of Plemmy- 
rium generated sickness in the camp, and Nicias himself, 
now sole commander, had for some time been prostrated 
by illness. The garrison at the Olympieum continually 
harassed his foraging parties, while Gylippus was 
actively busied in raising fresh troops from the native 
and Hellenic towns. Finally there was no small proba- 
bility that the Italian cities, upon whom depended the 
supplies of the Athenians, would declare for Syracuse. 
Ashamed to retreat, Nicias sent home an urgent despatch 
detaihng his difficulties, and praying for additional rein- 
forcements of men, ships, and money, and for his own 
recall. The only result was the continuation of Nicias in 
command with Menander and Euthydemus as his col- 
leagues, and the immediate mission of Eurymedon with 
ten ships to carry to him a supply of money, with the 
assurance of fresh and large succours in the early spring. 



1^ 

THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 75 

Meanwhile other envoys from Syracuse had visited 
Corinth and Sparta, again urging the need of striking a 
decisive blow at the power of Athens. Slow to believe as 
they proverbially were, the Spartans were at length con- 
vinced that their opportunity was come, and at the very 
moment when Demosthenes sailed from the Piraeus with 
the promised reinforcements, the Peloponnesian army was 
entrenched at Decelea, and the vengeance of Alcibiades 
began to make itself felt. None the less was Demos- 
thenes suffered to sail away carrying with him sixty 
Athenian triremes and 1,200 citizen hoplites, besides 
other vessels and troops of the allies. Simultaneously a 
fleet of thirty ships of war was despatched to ravage the 
coasts of Peloponnesus. There seemed no limit to the 
resources of Athens. 

While Demosthenes was pressing forward to Sicily, the 
Syracusans had resolved to attack their enemies even 
on the water. Suddenly sailing out of their docks with 
eighty vessels, they were met by sixty^Athenian triremes 
hurriedly and imperfectly manned. A stubborn fight at 
length left the latter victorious, but on returning to their 
moorings they found their camp at Plemmyrium in the 
hands of the enemy, who had surprised and captured the 
position under cover of the diversion created by the sea- 
fight. The hoplites escaped on board the transports, but 
almost the whole of the stores and the military chest 
became the prize of the Syracusans, who now occupied 
the harbour-mouth on both sides. The Athenians were 
thus cooped up at Dascon, cut off alike by sea and land. 
Immediately after this event the whole of the Sicilian 
cities, with the exception of Naxos, Catana, and Agri- 
gentum, declared for Syracuse, and despatched a strong 
force to the scene of action. Nicias had, however, still 
sufficient influence to induce the Sicels to attack and 
disperse this force when on its way to Syracuse. 

Towards the end of June the Syracusan fleet, after 
weeks of desultory skirmishing, provoked another general 
engagement. Having, as usual, made a feint of attack, 
they retired to their position at Ortygia, and the Athe- 
nians, believing the action ended for the day, disembarked 



76 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

and prepared to take food. Suddenly their enemies sailed 
out a second time in full line, and bore down direct upon 
Dascon. They were unable to break the mole which 
protected the Athenian naval station ; but in the battle 
which ensued they gained a decisive victory. They were 
disappointed of its fruits ; for within twenty-four hours 
Demosthenes entered the Great Harbour with seventy- 
three vessels and 5,000 heavy infantry, besides a large 
number of mercenaries and light troops. 

The new general, now acting as a colleague of Nicias, 
saw that something decisive must be done at once. He 
immediately assumed the offensive, and endeavoured to 
recover Epipolae, the possession of which must determine 
the success or failure of the siege. Finding the attempt 
to storm it futile, he determined to surprise it by night ; 
but, like many another night attack, this also miscarried, 
and the new troops suffered heavily. His whole force 
had moved after dark up the valley of the Anapus, and, 
turning to the right, they ascended the ridge at Euryalus, 
and carried the western extremity of the Syracusan de- 
fences. Flushed with success, the van rushed forward 
without awaiting the arrival of the remainder of the 
column, and as they hurried in disorder down the' slope 
they were met by a small phalanx of Boeotians in the 
Syracusan service. In a few moments their victory was 
turned into a rout, and the entire Athenian force driven 
in utter confusion to their camp. 

Demosthenes was now convinced of the futility and 
danger of any further stay, and would at once have re- 
turned home. But Nicias was still ashamed to do so, 
and it was only on the entry of yet another force of 
Sicilian auxiliaries into Syracuse that he was induced to 
consent. Secret orders were given that all should be in 
readiness for departure when, on the night of August 27, 
occurred an eclipse of the moon. Nicias had always been 
excessively superstitious. He saw in this phenomenon 
an evil omen, and declined to stir untiijhrice nine days 
had elapsed. Before that date the Syracusatiy had lea-nrt 
his intended departure and determined to prevent it. 
Their fleet, now seventy-six strong, engaged the eighty- 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 77 

six vessels of the Athenians in a third battle. Already 
disheartened and demoralized by ill-success, inactivity, 
and sickness, the Athenians were further hampered by 
the lack of room for their evolutions. Their whole line 
was defeated ; their right wing, under Eurymedon, was 
destroyed in its entirety and the crews captured ; while 
the remainder of the fleet was only saved by the success of 
the land force in a pitched battle, in which their Etruscan 
allies did signal service. The Syracusans followed up 
their victory by blocking up the entrance to the harbour, 
so as to render impossible any attempt to escape by sea. 

In breaking this mole lay the only hope of escape for 
the Athenians ; and a few days later Nicias, though only 
with infinite difficulty, induced his men to embark for a 
fourth and final effort. As before, seventy-six Syracusan 
vessels joined issue with Nicias' fleet, which was aug- 
mented by every means possible to a total of 110. For 
hours the fight lasted, and was ended by the absolute 
triumph of Syracuse, and fifty triremes were either de- 
stroyed or fell into the victors' hands.* 

No persuasion could bring the defeated men again to 
risk a sea-fight. Nothing remained but to force a way, 
in the face of the ubiquitous Syracusan cavalry, to some 
friendly town ; and on the morning of the second day, 
about September 15, the camp was broken up. Forty 
thousand men of all arms marched out and pushed up 
the valley of the Anapus in the direction of the friendly 
Sicel tribes, with the intention of wheeling to the right 
from the interior, and so reaching Naxos or Catana. 

But the Syracusans, who had already succeeded in 
delaying the departure of the Athenians, by a stratagem 
until their own troops were recruited and sobered after 
the recent victory, now harassed the foe unceasingly. 
Food and water ran short, and on the second day the 
retreating army found itself checked by a Syracusan 
force posted above the road at Ag rae. _ For two days they 
endeavoured to force the pass, while wounds, starvation, 
and despair thinned their ranks by thousands; and in 

* The description of this fight in Thuc. vii. 70, 71, is one of the most powerful 
pieces of descriptive writing in the Greek authors. 



78 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

the ensuing night, leaving their camp-fires burning as 
usual, they silently wheeled about and directed their 
march to the coast, hurrying along the Helorine Way 
towards Camarina and the southern parts of the island. 
The first division, under Nicias, contrived to effect the 
passage of a stream in the face of a Syracusan picket, 
and proceeded unmolested ; but the second, with Demos- 
thenes, fell into disorder, made but slow progress, and, 
after a day of continuous fighting, were entrapped on the 
banks of the stream and forced to surrender. Two days 
later Nicias himself capitulated on the banks of the 
Asinarus. Of the 40,000 who left Dascon six days before, 
less than 10,000 remained alive. Both generals were 
taken prisoners. 

Nicias had surrendered to Gylippus on the assurance 
of the latter's protection. As the prime mover in the 
peace called by his name, and active in ameliorating the 
lot of the Spartans captured at Sphacteria, he had de- 
served and won the gratitude of the Lacedaemonians. 
Demosthenes, on the other hand, was, as the author of 
their humiliation at Pylos, no less their most hated foe. 
Aware of this, he had endeavoured, but in vain, to kill 
himself when his troops capitulated. Both he and Nicias 
were condemned to death to satisfy the animosity of 
Syracusans, Corinthians, or Spartans, as the case might 
be; and the utmost that Gylippus could do, despite his 
claims for indulgence, in his efforts on their behalf, was 
to provide them with the means of committing suicide. 
The mass of the prisoners were reserved for further 
horrors. Shut up in the stone-quarries of Epipolse, half 
starved, ill-clothed, with no shelter from sun or frost, 
and sickening from the stench of their comrades' unburied 
corpses, they died in crowds within their prison, a spec- 
tacle for the wives and children of the conquerors. But 
very few escaped to return to their homes. 

From the case of Nicias the Athenians learnt how 
disastrous may be the best efforts of those who * have 
greatness thrust upon them.' Pre-eminent in his native 
city for his * almost superstitious piety,' for his cautious 
policy, and for a sort of traditional respectability and 



THE SICILIAN EXPEDITION. 79 

munificence, he was utterly unfit for command in a 
position where everything depended upon bold and un- 
hesit ating a ctioiL Caution and procrastination were 
qtratities rootedin his very nature. He was known to 
be set against the expedition ; he was the private and 
public opponent of one of his colleagues ; he was a con- 
firmed invalid. Yet he was forced into undertaking what 
he felt to be a reckless, improvident, and unprovoked 
aggression. Good-fortune relieved him of the colleague 
whom of all men he most hated, and left him with 
Lamachus for his coadjutor ; and had Lamachus lived, 
the expedition might yet have succeeded. But Lamachus 
fell at the very moment when foresight and discipline 
and boldness were most essential ; and, left to himself, 
Nicias suffered his army to ' grow old along with its sick 
general.' When Demosthenes, a more able and vigorous 
commander than even Lamachus, arrived, the mischief 
was done. I A fatal superstition and a false pride pre- 
vented the withdrawal of the armament while it was yet 
possible, and completed the ruin which remissness had 
begun: And yet the patient long-suffering of the sick 
man merited something more than contempt, and it is a 
kindly criticism that, ' had he not been commander, he 
would have been of all men most worthy to command.' 

So ended the first and last attempt of the Athenians 
to subjugate Sicily. Henceforward the history of Sicily 
remains, as before, isolated from that of the rest of the 
Hellenic world, and becomes more than ever the history 
of Syracuse. That this city should now by common 
consent take the first place in the island was the due 
reward of victory — a victory indisputably her own in so 
far as expenditure of blood and money was concerned. 
But in reality the victory was-that-^of Sparta, wliose 
representative, Gylippus, liad saved a falling cause, and 
by his mere presence had enabled" the still opulent city to 
use its resources with effect. And the consequences of 
the victory were far-reaching. It ultimately brought 
upon Syracuse the full tide of Carthaginian jealousy ; it 
crushed the last hopes of the non-Dorians in Sicily ; it 
paved the way for Dionysius' conquests in Magna 



30 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Grsecia ; it at once added a new and active foe to those 
already swarming upon Athens ; and by destroying her 
prestige, even more than her- power-r it brf^iughtr-N-BiiiBSls 
uponthat city. From first to last Athens must have lost 
SO^ODO men. Three generals fell, while a fourth became 
the avenging spirit of Athens. The enormous cost of the 
war may be estimated from the fact that the pay of the 
Athenian triremes alone could not have been less than 
1,500 talents (£375,000), apart from that of the transports, 
the troops, and the initial cost of the two armaments. 
But Syracuse had withstood, had destroyed all, albeit 
she had no confederacy of allies whose accumulated 
tributes could be turned to the rescue of the city. 



CHAPTEE VII. 
Dionysius I 

Enthusiasm at Syracuse — Active Operations against Athens — Hermo- 
crates in the ^gean — His Banishment — Diodes — Egesta appeals 
to the Carthaginians — Hannibal— Sack of Selinus and Himera — 
Attempts of Hermocrates to re-enter Syracuse — First Appearance 
of Dionysius — Siege of Agrigentum — Its Desertion and Sack — Dis- 
grace of Daphnaeus — Dionysius elected a General — His Intrigues — 
He becomes Sole General — He obtains a Bodyguard, and becomes 
Tyrant —Fails to relieve Gela— Suppresses a Rising in Syracuse, 
and makes Peace with Carthage — Fortifies Ortygia and disarms the 
Populace — Popularity of his Resolve to make War on Carthage. 

The triumph of Syracuse at the close of 413 B.C. left her 
full of hatred for the power which had brought upon her 
so much suffering. Few things are more surprising in 
ancient history than the elasticity with which a Greek 
State recovered from blows apparently crushing. Syra- 
cuse — and indeed Athens also — proved no exception to 
the rule. In spite of the waste, both of citizens and of 
treasure, entailed by two years of war, despite the desire 
for peace which that war must not unnaturally have 
aroused, the Syracusans, having once tasted revenge, 
determined to follow up their success to the end. To 
have destroyed the flower of the Athenians' forces, to- 
gether with two of their most esteemed generals, was not 
sufficient — the very vestiges of their empire were to be 
swept away. Party spirit was forgotten in the enthu- 
siasm of the moment, or rather all parties were merged 
in the wave of liberal democracy which, commencing 
before the year 415 e.g., had been the chief instrument 
in the defence of the city, and now gained additional 

6 



82 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

impetus from its proven stability. At the head of the 
aggressive movement v^as Hermocrates — his reputation 
augmented by the zeal with v^hich he had supported 
Gylippus ; while the latter doubtless lost no opportunity 
of urging the city which owed its safety to himself and to 
Sparta, in turn to assist Sparta in her crusade against 
Athens, the * enslaver of Greece.' Scarcely waiting to 
re-organize their relations with their Sicilian allies and 
the few still hostile towns like Catana, the Syracusans 
despatched, in the spring of 412 b.c, a squadron of 
twenty triremes, under Hermocrates, to join the great 
fleet which the Peloponnesians had in that year sent out 
under the supreme navarch, Astyochus. Selinus sent 
two other vessels, and Thurii, which had lately passed 
over to the anti- Athenian side, furnished a squadron of 
ten under Dorieus. After her enormous losses in Sicily, 
none of her friends or enemies imagined that Athens 
could hold out for another year. 

The proceedings of Hermocrates and the Sicilian con- 
tingents in the ^gean belong more properly to the 
history of Central Greece than to that of Sicily. For 
four years the combined Peloponnesian fleets carried on 
a desultory maritime war about the Hellespont and the 
coast of Asia Minor, but the proverbial tardiness of Sparta, 
coupled with the double-dealing of Alcibiades and Tissa- 
phernes, neutralized their greatest efforts. The former 
had incurred the personal enmity of the Spartan king 
Agis, and the distrust of the Peloponnesians at large, and 
was now, in 411 b.c, a refugee with Tissaphernes, the 
Persian satrap or governor of the southern parts of Asia 
Minor, intriguing for his recall to Athens. Tissaphernes, 
while pretending to favour the Spartans, was in reality 
playing off the two belligerent powers each against the 
other for his own advantage, and paralysing the efficacy 
of the Lacedaemonian fleet by bribes. Hermocrates and 
Dorieus, themselves incorruptible, accused their con- 
federates of venality. Astyochus was superseded by 
Mindarus ; but the new navarch, though active, was un- 
successful. He was defeated in three successive engage- 
ments, at Cynossema (411 b.c), Abydos (410 b.c), and 



DIONYSIUS I. 83^^ 

at Cyzicus (409 B.C.). The last defeat cost him his life 
and annihilated his whole fleet. The Sicilian contingents 
shared in the disaster, not a vessel escaping, while their 
crews were left destitute on the eastern coast of the 
Hellespont. At the close of 409 b.c. the Syracusans at 
home, already disappointed of their confident expectations 
of vengeance, heard with dismay the gist of the famous 
despatch in which the surviving Spartan commander de- 
scribed his position : * We are ruined. Mindarus is dead 
— the men are starving. We know not what to do.' In 
a fit of most unreasonable exasperation they decreed on 
the spot the banishment of Hermocrates and his fellow- 
officers, despatching others to take under their command 
the survivors of the defeated squadron. 

Two causes combined to bring the Syracusans into this 
spiteful temper — the revival of party animosities and the 
renewal of hostilities with Carthage. 

The unanimity of parties which had prevailed after 
the overthrow of the Athenian armament does not seem 
to have lasted long. Its early action was marked by the 
appointment of a Board of Ten, headed by Diodes, a 
Syracusan of wide influence throughout Sicily, to revise 
the laws and constitution of the State. The appointment 
of Noinothetcd, or law-givers, is a sufficiently common 
occurrence in earlier Grecian history, but after the year 
500 B.C. becomes anomalous, and the commission of 
Diodes is a proof of the lamentable condition to which 
years of revolution and reaction had reduced the State. 
Diodes seems to have justified his selection by the rigour 
of his legislation, particularly as regarded the adminis- 
tration of justice, although we have no particulars of his 
reforms.* Until the conquest of Sicily by the Romans 
the laws of Diodes remained the basis of all later Syra- 
cusan codes ; and were even adopted by other States, such 
as Selinus. But there seems to have been no sufficient 
security against unconstitutional reaction, for within five 
years of their promulgation they were overthrown by the 

* With the exception of the substitution of the lot for voting in the appoint- 
in 3nt of magistrates — a peculiarly democratic innovation. Still it seems that 
the lots must have been worked tu the interest of the oligarchs. 

6—2 



84 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

tyrant Dionysius, who posed as a demagogue. This fact 
points to a sudden revival of the old quarrel between the 
aristocracy and the masses, and the banishment of 
Hermocrates, himself an oligarch, could have been car- 
ried only by the popular party as a spiteful assertion of 
its powers for the moment. One additional proof of in- 
ternal dissension may perhaps be found in the fact that 
Syracuse was unable during a war of three years to 
reduce the towns of Naxos and Catana — a fact scarcely 
conceivable unless her energies were crippled by faction 
at home. 

The exasperation arising from the ill-success of their 
arms alike in the iEgean and Sicily was now accentuated 
by the danger of attack from Carthage. Since the year 
480 B.C., when Hamilcar and his entire army were de- 
stroyed at the battle of Himera, the Carthaginians had 
remained passive spectators of Sicilian affairs, contenting 
themselves with their three trading stations on the west 
coast. The original cause — dread of Gelo of Syracuse 
— had given place to fear of Hiero, his successor, and that 
in turn to apprehension of the superb navy of Athens. 
They had welcomed with delight the overthrow of the 
bulk of that navy at Syracuse — an overthrow which 
seemed to have left even the conquerors in the extremity 
of weakness. Everything promised success when, in 
410 B.C., Egesta invited the protection of Carthage against 
Selinus. 

This town, the westernmost and most Carthaginian of 
all the Hellenic cities of Sicily, had profited by the 
troubles of Syracuse to secure a wide influence in the 
island, leagued with Agrigentum and Gela. The vaunted 
and futile effort of Athens to champion Egesta had on 
the other hand made that town the object of universal 
antipathy, so that, when about the year 411 B.C. a 
dispute arose concerning some borderland, Selinus was 
able not only to settle the quarrel in her own way, but 
further to attack the recognised territories of Egesta. 
The Egestaeans, without Sicihan or Greek alhes, were 
compelled to throw themselves on the mercy of Carthage 
at th€ moment when any interference by that State 



DIONYSIUS I. 85 

seemed likely to be most successful. It happened, too, 
that the chief suffete at the time was Hannibal, 
grandson of the general who fell at Himera, who had 
been compelled to spend many years of his life at 
Selinus as an exile in expiation for his grandfather's ill- 
success. He had recently returned to Carthage, where, 
with unbounded influence in the State, he retained a 
hatred of all that was Grecian and a Hannibalic thirst 
to revenge the defeat of his ancestor. He had no diffi- 
culty in persuading Carthage to take up his cause ; and 
by the close of 410 b.c. it was well known that he would 
invade Western Sicily with a Carthaginian force, typical 
in numbers and ferocity. Hannibal was, moreover, a 
diplomatist as well as a soldier. He despatched envoys 
to Selinus to remonstrate with that State for her ag- 
gressions against Egesta, and to suggest that the quarrel 
should be submitted to the arbitration of Syracuse. The 
Selinuntines, in the flush of success, declined ; while the 
Syracusans, thus rejected as arbitrators, at once declared 
themselves neutral, exactly as Hannibal had wished and 
expected. 

In the summer of 409 b.c. the Carthaginian army 
landed at Motye, and advanced at once upon Selinus. 
That city was taken completely by surprise. The peace 
party, headed by Empedion, had been silenced, and 
every overture refused ; but no defensive measures seem 
to have been taken to support so offensive an attitude, 
beyond appealing to Agrigentum and Gela for reinforce- 
ments. Those reinforcements never arrived, for after 
ten days of continuous assault, Selinus was in the hands 
of the Carthaginians, it walls were razed, its temples 
desecrated, and all its inhabitants, save some 3,000 who 
escaped to Agrigentum, were either slain or made 
prisoners. 

The fall of Selinus roused the Sicilians to action. 
Syracuse threw off her neutrahty ; and 5,000 men, with 
contingents from various other towns, commanded by 
Diodes, were at once thrown into Himera, whither the 
Carthaginian array moved direct from Selinus. Again 
the storming engines of Hannibal were brought up, and 



86 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

a ceaseless attack was maintained. For a few days the 
besieged held out, and then in a sudden sally drove back 
the advanced posts of the enemy with heavy loss. But 
the appearance of the reserves under Hannibal completely 
changed the face of events. He drove the Greeks once 
more into the town with the loss of 3,000 men, while at 
the same time came the news that his fleet was putting 
out from Motye to sail round to Syracuse, now nearly 
stripped of its military forces. Diodes at once hurried 
his whole force homewards, and ordered the Syracusan 
squadron which occupied the harbour of Himera to re- 
treat likewise, carrying with them as many of the useless 
population as possible. On the next day Himera was 
carried and razed. Of the prisoners, Hannibal selected 
3,000, and sacrificed them on the scene of his grand- 
father's defeat to the spirit of that general. He then 
founded a new town. Thermae, in place of Himera, dis- 
banded his whole force, and sailed home to Carthage. 

At about the same time (end of 409 B.C.) Hermocrates 
landed at Messana. After the disastrous battle of 
Cyzicus, he had busied himself in providing for his desti- 
tute crews ; and his personal influence with Pharnabazus, 
satrap of the northern parts of Asia Minor, had enabled 
him to obtain a large grant of money and permission to 
build vessels from the forests of Mount Ida. When the 
new commanders arrived from Syracuse with the despatch 
announcing the condemnation of Hermocrates, the latter 
was able to hand over to them a well-equipped squadron, 
who, however, murmured loudly against the injustice 
shown to their late admiral. Hermocrates silenced their 
murmurs, adjuring them to use nothing but peaceable 
means to secure his restoration ; and betook himself again 
to Pharnabazus, who furnished him with fresh funds 
and ships with which he at once sailed for Sicily, re- 
solved to effect his return by force. He found, however, 
that his own party was still in the minority, for the 
oligarchs, and particularly Diodes, were at the moment 
in bad odour, as having caused by their remissness the 
destruction of Selinus. An attempt to surprise S'yracuse 
was frustrated, and Hermocrates drew off to the ruined 



DIONYSIUS I. 87 

site of Selinus, where he established himself as the leader 
of refugees from that town and from Himera, and harried 
the Carthaginian reservation with impunity, there being 
now no army to oppose him. Thus proclaiming himself 
the avenger of the destroyed Greek towns, he gathered 
fresh adherents, while the influence of the rival party of 
Diodes sank proportionately. Accordingly, in 408 e.g., 
Hermocrates again moved upon Syracuse. On this occa- 
sion he trusted to a stratagem to secure his entry into the 
town, for he carried with him the bones of those Syra- 
cusans who had fallen before Himera, and professed to 
be desirous only of placing them in the sepulchres of 
their fathers. Any appeal to Greek sympathy on the 
score of reverence to the dead was politic and powerful ; 
and the determination of Hermocrates to make himself 
despot must have been notorious indeed to counteract 
such an appeal. Party feeling ran high between the two 
factions, and ended, not in the recall of Hermocrates, but 
in the banishment of Diodes also. The bones of the 
victims of Himera were buried with ceremony, but Her- 
mocrates was forced to content himself with earning an 
additional reputation for piety, and to retire once more 
to Selinus. A few months later, summoned by his par- 
tisans within Syracuse, he surprised Achradina, but was 
immediately slain by the forces of the opposite faction 
(407 B.C.).* Most of his followers were slain, the re- 
mainder banished, and many who escaped were declared 
by their friends to have fallen in the battle that they 
might thus avoid the sentence of exile. 

Amongst this number was Dionysius, at once one of 
the keenest partisans of the democratic faction, and the 
most assiduous in exalting the prowess of the slain Hermo- 
crates against Carthage at the expense of Diodes and the 
oligarchic party. t Of low birth, he had practised as a 
public scribe, and may possibly have been already of 

* The dates of these various attempts of Hermocrates to effect his return are 
quite conjectural. Grote gives those which are here adopted. The difficulty of 
the subject is increased by there being at the time two persons named Hermo- 
crates in Syracuse, the second of whom was the father of Dionysius, ' 

t It would seem that the Hermocratean oligarchs, disappointed of their object, 
now coalesced with the democrats, hoping by these means to overthrow a rival 
clique of anti-Hermocratean oligarchs. 



88 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

some reputation as an author, for in later life he wrote a 
number of odes and tragedies. Having been wounded 
in the final attempt of Hermocrates to enter Syracuse, 
he remained in the city in concealment, and shortly 
afterwards appeared publicly as the leader of the demo- 
cratic party, though we are not told how he continued 
to avoid the punishment which fell upon most of the 
defeated Hermocrateans. Probably the expectation of 
the presence of the Carthaginians in Sicily in 406 B.C. 
diverted from party politics the attention of the oligar- 
chic faction, who remained satisfied with their recent 
success. 

It seems that Hannibal, having avenged the defeat of 
Himera and successfully supported Egesta, was desirous 
of no further aggressions. But the daring of Hermo- 
crates in raiding the lands of Motye and Panormus, 
coupled with the confidence inspired by the easy capture 
of Selinus and Himera, roused the Carthaginians to fresh 
efforts, and in 406 B.C. a force of 150,000 men landed at 
Motye under the command of Hannibal and Himilco. 
The former had at first declined service on the plea of 
age, but was finally persuaded 'to sail on the appointment 
of Himilco as his colleague. The intentions of Carthage 
had been no secret in Sicily. The various towns had 
been actively engaged in preparing for resistance, more 
particularly Agrigentum, which now stood as the western 
fortress of Hellenism, and was consequently the primary 
object of attack. The town was built on a cluster of 
hills rising as high as 1,100 feet from sea-level, at the 
southern margin of the most fertile plain of fertile Sicily. 
On one side alone was there an approach to the walls 
which encircled the town — a town which could not have 
numbered less than a quarter of a million of inhabitants. 
The slight records of its political history prove that it 
must have escaped in great measure from the troubles 
which continually exercised its rival Syracuse ; while the 
purposed humiliation of the neighbouring town of Gela 
by Gelo had left Agrigentum without a peer on the 
southern shore of Sicily. Her wealth, her temples, her 



DIONYSIUS I. 89 

fortifications,* the luxuriance of her crops of grapes and 
oUves, were famed throughout Sicily ; while her name 
was proclaimed repeatedly before all Greece as the home 
of victors at the Olympic games. Three hundred of her 
citizens could furnish racing cars drawn by teams of 
white horses to welcome home one of their number, the 
victor at the games of 408 B.C. The walls of Selinus 
had been old and weak ; but those of Agrigentum seemed 
impregnable when the Carthaginian army drew its lines 
about the city immediately after landing. Dexippus, a 
Spartan, had been summoned from Gela to conduct the 
defence, and the siege had already lasted for some time 
when the Sicilian contingents from Syracuse, Gela, 
Camarina, and other places, arrived under the command 
of Daphnaeus, the successor of Diodes as head of the 
oligarchic party at Syracuse. Eouting a body of horse 
which endeavoured to bar his progress, Daphnaeus 
entered the city in safety. But unfortunately for himself 
he had withheld his men from following up their victory, 
wisely foreseeing that their disorder would put them at a 
disadvantage when Hannibal's reserves attacked them. 
For the same reason Dexippus had held his garrison in 
check ; and now both generals were loudly accused of 
collusion with the enemy. They escaped for the moment, 
but four of their Agrigentine colleagues were at once 
indicted and stoned to death unheard, the sole command 
being vested in Daphnaeus. 

The Greek forces were now large enough to set at 
defiance any attempt to storm the town, and the Cartha- 
ginian generals settled down to reduce it by blockade. 
For many months little progress was made, while a 
violent sickness, breaking out in their crowded lines, 
carried off numbers of them, including Hannibal himself, 
and filled the rest with superstitious terrors. They had 
destroyed the magnificent tombs which filled the plain 
on the south side of the town, using the materials in their 
siege works. This impiety was now recoiling on them, 

* Arduus inde Acragas oaten tat maxumalonge Mcenia, magnanimum quondam 
generator equorum. — ^neid. iii. 703. The Greek name Acragas expresses 
the position of the town on clififs. , 



90 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

they thought, and as an expiation the customary human 
sacrifices were offered. The siege dragged on into the eighth 
month, and was at one time almost abandoned through 
the mutiny of the mercenary troops, who clamoured for 
pay ; while the whole army suffered from the difficulty 
of getting provisions. A squadron of Carthaginian 
vessels contrived to surprise a large convoy of supplies 
off Agrigentum, and so relieved Himilco's army, while 
scarcity began to be felt in the town. The mercenaries 
of Dexippus mutinied and marched away. The fidelity 
of the remaining troops was doubtful ; and at length the 
order was given to evacuate the town by night. The 
majority of the garrison and inhabitants thus escaped ; 
but some who preferred to share the fate of their homes 
were cut down or burnt in the ruins of the town when it 
was occupied by Himilco in the morning. 

The return of Daphnaeus and his colleagues to 
Syracuse was the signal for an outburst of popular fury. 
It gave to the democratic party a new and powerful 
handle against the discredited oligarchs. When the 
generals appeared before the, assembly to explain their 
conduct, they were met with nothing but insult and 
clamour, until finally Dionysius, now the recognised 
champion of the combined democrats and Hermocrateans, 
openly accused them of treachery and bade the populace 
stone them there and then, as the Agrigentines had done 
with their own treacherous citizens. Eebuked by the 
presiding officers, Dionysius only became more reckless 
and violent, and in the end the generals were dismissed 
in disgrace, and a new board, including Dionysius, was 
elected in their place. 

Who were the colleagues of this arch-demagogue we 
do not know, except that amongst them were Philistus, 
the historian, and Hipparinus, a ruined aristocrat who 
threw in his fortunes with those of the rising demagogue. 
It may be regarded as certain that all the members of 
the board were chosen from the ranks of the popular 
party which was at the moment synonymous with the 
party of Hermocrates and Dionysius. But this unanimity 
of political views did not improve matters. Dionysius 



DIONYSIUS I. 91 

began to obstruct his colleagues in every possible way, 
and by incessant accusations of treachery to poison 
against them the minds of the Syracusans. The fate of 
Agrigentum, and the ever-present menace of the advance 
of Himilco upon Syracuse, had thrown the city into a 
condition of panic and alarm in which the populace was 
ready to suspect everyone, while Hipparinus and his 
fellow-generals doubtless played into the hands of 
Dionysius. The latter now declared that, within the 
city, there were none to be trusted, and that the only 
true patriots were the exiled partisans of that Hermo- 
crates who had so well proved his loyalty by avenging 
the ruin of Selinus. On their recall, he said, depended 
the safety of the State. He carried his point ; and from 
all parts of Sicily there flocked back to Syracuse men 
who owed their late exile to the oligarchy, their restora- 
tion to Dionysius— men eager to do his bidding to any 
extent, so that it gave them revenge upon their enemies. 
Meanwhile the Carthaginian general had remained 
encamped at Agrigentum collecting the plunder of that 
city, and had held his army together during the winter 
instead of dismissing it in the usual way. His next 
object of attack was Gela ; and the Geloans, aware of 
their danger, urged the Syracusans to assist them in 
defending their city. The Lacedaemonian Dexippus had 
already brought into the town a detachment of his mer- 
cenaries, and the Syracusan generals now marched out to 
his support. At Gela had appeared the same panic and 
mistrust as at Syracuse, and the oligarchic party were 
regarded by the populace with detestation and mistrust. 
Again Dionysius stood forth as the champion of demo- 
cracy. He provoked the Geloans to rise, massacre the 
oligarchs, and confiscate their belongings. The proceeds 
of the outrage he applied to paying his troops so lavishly 
as to secure their loyalty. Instead, however, of marching 
against Himilco, he suddenly withdrew and returned to 
Syracuse, taking with him also the troops of Dexippus, 
and so leaving Gela absolutely defenceless at the very 
moment when the approach of Himilco was most immi- 
nent. Arrived in Syracuse, he styled himself the 



92 



A HISTORY OF SICILY. 



* liberator ' of the Geloan democracy, and stood higher 
than ever in popularity. In the burst of enthusiasm 
which greeted him, he secured the deposition of his 
colleagues in a body, and his own appointment as sole 
general, with unlimited powers. 

The plea for such a course was solely the need of 
decisive action against the Carthaginians ; and had 
Dionysius been the patriot he professed himself, he would 
•at once have moved westward to prevent the investment 
of Gela. But patriotism did not trouble the new dictator. 
He had obtained his advancement by the free and spon- 
taneous act of the democracy ; he determined to secure 
it before the inevitable reaction could occur. Tyranny 
had but one protection, its bodyguard ; and to obtain 
this also by popular vote Dionysius had resort to another 
piece of double-deahng. He ordered the whole force of 
the city to march out to Leontini, which had remained, 
since the Sicihan expedition, a dependency of Syracuse, 
occupied on sufferance by a number of exiles and refugees. 
There was no excuse for an armed demonstration in that 
quarter, least of all by a general whose appointment was 
intended to check the ever-increasing danger of Cartha- 
ginian attack. In consequence, such of the citizens as 
suspected the attitude of Dionysius failed to appear in 
arms in obedience to his summons, and he marched out 
accompanied only by his own adherents. Encamping at 
Leontini for the night, he suddenly caused an alarm to be 
raised, and declaring that an attempt had been made upon 
his life, he induced his army to allot to him a bodyguard of 
600 men."^ He at once proceeded to select twice that 
number of the most needy and reckless desperadoes obtain- 
able, whom, with a standing army of mercenaries collected 
from all quarters, he secured to his service by the gift of 
magnificent armour and by the promise of high pay. He 
then marched without molestation through Syracuse to 
Ortygia, the citadel, where he permanently established 
himself, after procuring, by popular vote, the execu- 
tion of Daphnseus and other leading ohgarchs, and the 

* The regular word for a soldier of the bodyguard in Greek is 3opu^6pos, a 
spearman, from the lance carried by the bodyguard of the Great King. 



DIONYSIUS I. 93 

dismissal of Dexippus. At the same time (beginning of 
405 B.C.) he married the daughter of Hermocrates. It 
now remained to secure himself from the attack of 
Himilco, who was already besieging Gela. Marching 
overland, Dionysius appeared before the Carthaginian 
lines with 30,000 men, while a fleet of fifty sail supported 
him by sea. The siege now assumed the same character 
as had been the case at Agrigentum, and for three weeks 
went on a desultory warfare without decisive results to 
either side. At the end of that period Dionysius made 
arrangements for a general attack. His fleet, assaulting 
the Carthaginian lines on the seaward side, where they 
were least securely defended, actually carried the works ; 
and had the land forces come up, as arranged, to attack 
the position at other points, victory would probably have 
been with the Greeks. But there is every reason to 
believe that such a result was purposely avoided by 
Dionysius. To set the Sicilian Greeks free from Carthage 
would be to leave them at liberty to act with Syracuse 
against himself, while he had no scruples about using the 
aid of Carthage to confirm his own power. The land 
attack was made too late, while the particular regiment 
which formed the despot's strength was never brought 
into action at all, so retaining its courage and numbers 
unimpaired. Himilco drove off the attack of the fleet, 
and the Geloans now learnt that their pretended defender 
had resolved to evacuate the town, albeit he had sufl^ered 
little loss, and the position remained as tenable as ever. 
Like Himera and i^grigentum, Gela was abandoned in 
the darkness ; and Dionysius afforded a further proof of 
treachery by compelling the inhabitants of Camarina to 
join in his flight and abandon their city, thus surrendering 
that position also, the last outpost of Syracuse towards 
the south. 

An act of such palpable cowardice or treason, which- 
ever it was, aroused to revolt the Syracusan soldiery, 
already regretting the part which they had played in the 
aggrandisement of Dionysius. The cavalry, the finest 
troops in Sicily, mutinied in a body ; and finding the 
usurper's person too securely guarded to admit of their 



t94 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

reaching him, galloped off to Syracuse, announced the 
treason and flight of Dionysius, occupied his stronghold 
of Ortygia, and plundered the property of the despot and 
his adherents. They declared the city once more free, 
and gave themselves up to their feelings of delight 
and satisfaction. But Dionysius had already divined 
their purpose. He pushed on towards the city at full 
speed, and on arriving at the gates about midnight he 
found them virtually unguarded. To force an entry and 
fight his way to Ortygia was a small task in the confusion 
and disorder of his enemies. Those of the horsemen who 
could effect their escape retreated with rheir partisans to 
-3Btna. The refugees from Gela and Camarina established 
themselves at Leontini. 

Syracuse apparently lay at the mercy of Himilco when- 
ever he chose to attack it, but at this juncture he made 
peace with Dionysius. It appears that a pestilence, 
similar to that which had attacked his army before Agri- 
gentum, had recurred and carried off upwards of half of 
his troops — a fact which sets the retreat of Dionysius 
from Gela in a still worse light as an act of collusion. It 
would, moreover, serve Himilco, on his return to Car- 
thage, as an excuse for having stayed his hand when all 
Sicily seemed at his mercy; and doubtless it would 
appear an easier thing to leave Dionysius pledged as a 
vassal of Carthage to the maintenance of peace in the 
island, than to attempt the permanent occupation of 
Sicily. Accordingly, peace was signed on the following 
conditions. The Carthaginians retained all their earlier 
dependencies and possessions in the west of the island, 
together with Selinus, Himera, and Agrigentum. Gela 
and Camarina were restored to their inhabitants as tribu- 
taries of Carthage, on condition that those towns should 
remain unfortified. Leontini, Messana, and the Sicel 
communities were to remain autonomous. On the other 
hand, the Carthaginian government recognised, and 
undertook to support, the despotism of Dionysius over 
Syracuse. 

Himilco thus secured a sort of over-lordship in Syra- 
cuse, while in Gela and Camarina he possessed frontier 



DIONYSIUS I. 95 

positions little less hostile to the despot than to Carthage. 
The independence of Leontini and of the Sicel tribes 
completed the chain of control to the west and north, 
depending as they did upon Carthaginian influence for 
their own autonomy. The fortress of Agrigentum, the 
key of the southern coast, passed, with its extensive 
trade, into the hands of Carthage, whose reservation was 
thus extended beyond the Halycus to the line connecting 
that town with Himera. 

Thus left to himself, the despot proceeded to render 
Ortygia an impregnable position. He surrounded with 
enormously strong walls not only the whole of the small 
peninsula, but also the Lesser Harbour (Laccius), in such 
a way as to admit of but one vessel sailing in or out at 
a time, while a fleet of sixty sail could lie secure within 
its basin. Hither he collected his bodyguard and mer- 
cenaries in specially constructed barracks. At a later 
date he fortified also the city proper, enclosing the larger 
and eastward portion, Achradina, within one continuous 
wall, to which the walls of Tyche on the north-west, and of 
Neapolis on the south-west, formed appendages or loops, 
each complete in itself. Between Ortygia and Achra- 
dina lay a narrow strip of low ground, averaging half a 
mile in width, which remained vacant, and was used as a 
necropolis. The descent of Epipolae was also fortified, 
though not all at once. For the present, Dionysius con- 
tented himself with carrying a wall along the northern 
and more accessible scarp from Tyche to Euryalus, thus 
barring the approach of any enemy from the side of Leon- 
tini and the Bay of Thapsus. The marshes of the 
Anapus and the more difficult character of the southern 
slope seemed, for the present, an adequate defence on 
that side. 

The enormous cost of these works was met by heavy 
exactions from the citizens, whose murmurs broke out 
into open mutiny in 403 b.c. At that time the whole 
citizen army was encamped before Erbessus, a Sicel 
town, which had sided with Carthage in the recent war. 
They killed their deputy-commander, Dorieus, and, 
marching upon Syracuse, occupied Epipolae, where they 



96 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

were joined by auxiliaries from Ehegium and Messana, 
and by the exiled horsemen from ^tna. They even sent 
envoys to Corinth to ask for assistance ; but that State, 
their metropoUs, was in no position to spare an armed 
force, and could do no more than send one Nicoteles to 
support the insurgents by his advice. The latter were 
now strong enough to occupy the necropolis and lay siege 
to Ortygia, while a Ehegine and Messenian fleet 
blockaded it by sea, and cut off all supplies. Starved 
out, Dionysius was on the point of surrender, when the 
over-confidence of his foes saved him. Feeling their 
success assured, the besiegers relaxed their vigilance, and 
the despot was able to negotiate with a body of Cam- 
panian mercenaries, whose sudden arrival raised the 
siege. Dionysius used his victory with moderation. He 
allowed the remnant of the insurgents to withdraw to 
^tna, and took no sanguinary measures against the 
citizens at large. He seized, however, an early oppor- 
tunity, during the ensuing harvest-time, to search the 
houses of the townsmen then absent in the fields, and to 
appropriate all their arms.- He built also additional 
vessels and fortifications ; but his power was above all 
strengthened by the active countenance of Sparta. That 
State, fresh from her victory over Athens, was now busied 
in overthrowing democracy everywhere, and substituting 
for it oligarchies and hariJiosts, whose government was 
little else than despotism under another name. With 
this access of moral support in addition to his extensive 
material resources, Dionysius successively attacked and 
reduced Catana, Naxos, and Leontini ; and when the 
Italiot Greeks of Locri and Ehegium, aided by Messana, 
menaced him with attack, he avoided a conflict, and was 
able by skilful diplomacy to put himself on good terms with 
all three States. He even asked- a wife from Ehegium, 
and though the request was refused with contumely, he 
was more successful in a similar application to the 
Locrians. He married Doris, daughter of a distinguished 
citizen of that place, taking at the same time a second 
.Syracusan w^ife,* Aristomache, daughter of Hipparinus. 

* His first wife, daughter of Hermocrates, had been put to death by the insur- 
gent horsemen, 405 B.C. 



DIONYSIUS I. 97 

From his marriage with Doris dates the beginning of the 
long alHance between Locri and the Dionysian dynasty — 
an aUiance fatal to the welfare and liberties of much of 
Magna Graecia. 

t His mild policy towards Ehegium and its allies was 
due to a desire to conciliate all parties, and so be free to 
carry out his designs against Carthage. The idea of 
driving the Carthaginians out of Sicily was as popular 
now as ever ; and when the despot declared himself about 
to champion the cause of Hellenism against the Bar- 
barians, desisting at the same time from the violence 
and cruelties which had marked his j&rst tenure of power, 
he found ready support throughout the majority of tlie 
Greek towns in the island. For three years he busied 
himself with ceaseless preparations for war. His arsenals 
were stocked with many thousand stand of arms of the 
finest workmanship. New siege engines, notably cata- 
pults, were invented, and vast trains of artillery got 
together. His fleet was augmented to 300 sail, and 
amongst them were vessels larger than any as yet seen 
in Grecian warfare, ships of four and even of five banks 
of oars.* 

■ I.e., Quadriremes and Quinqueremes. The trireme, or ordinary vessel of 
three banks, carried on each side three tiers of thirty oars each, and about twenty 
marines or fighting seamen, a total of 200 men. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

DionysiuS I. — {Continued.) 

The War with Carthage — Excellence of the Opportunity — Siege of 
Motye — Himilco relieves Egesta — Sacks Messana — Naval Victory of 
Mago — Siege of Syracuse — Relations of Dionysius with Sparta — The 
Plague — Flight of Himilco — Increase of Dionysius' Power — Wars in 
Italy — Condition of Magna Grsecia — The Native Tribes — Sack of 
Rhegium — Plunder of the Temple of Agylla— Actions of Dionysius 
in the Adriatic, and elsewhere — His Theory at Olympia — Oration of 
Lysias — Fresh War with Carthage— ^Assists the Spartans against 
Thebes, etc. — His Tragic Victory, and Death — His Character, 
and Patronage of Literature. 

It was in the beginning of 397 B.C. that Dionysius, now 
fully prepared for war, commenced his aggressions by 
surrendering the lives and properties of all Carthaginian 
residents in Syracuse or the dependent cities to the 
mercy of the Sicilians. Their mercantile proclivities 
prompted many of that people to reside in the Sicilian 
coast towns, so that they offered an easy and lucrative 
plunder to their enemies. A herald was then despatched 
to Carthage, bidding that power withdraw from all the 
great cities of Sicily on pain of war. The moment was 
well chosen. The same pestilence which had thinned 
the armies of Himilco before Agrigentum and Gela, 
eight years before, had crossed to Africa, and had for 
three years or more been devastating the territories of 
Carthage. So paralyzed were the Government that no 
measures seem to have been taken to counteract the 
declared aims of Dionysius, for he was allowed to subjugate 
the Sicels and the Greek towns at his pleasure, despite 
the special clauses in the recent treaty guaranteeing their 



DIONYSIUS I. 99 

independence, as well as to manufacture arms without 
hindrance. Even the garrisons of the newly-conquered 
towns of the south coast had not been augmented beyond 
their ordinary peace footing ; so that when Dionysius 
appeared in succession before the gates of Camarina, Gela, 
Agrigentum, and Selinus, with a land force of 80,000 foot 
and 3,000 horse supported by a fleet of nearly 500 sail, 
these towns at once welcomed him as a deliverer. The 
garrisons were massacred and sold as slaves, and in the 
spring of the same year (397 b.c), Dionysius laid siege 
to the oldest and most important of the native Cartha- 
ginian settlements, the town of Motye. The intense 
hatred of the Hellenes for the Carthaginians is well illus- 
trated by their thus deliberately transferring themselves 
to the power of a notorious despot like Dionysius. 

The siege of Motye was no slight matter. The Cartha- 
ginian element was almost unmixed in the western corner 
of Sicily, and the scattered fortresses of the Elymi — 
Egesta and Eryx — were more Carthaginian than Greek. 
Entella was occupied by a body of mercenary troops, 
recently in the service of Carthage, and not inclined to 
transfer their support to Dionysius ; while the actual 
coast-line was entirely commanded by the great for- 
tresses of Motye, Panormus and Solus. Nevertheless, 
the Syracusan force was sufficiently large to lay siege to 
Motye while detaching various divisions for action against 
the other positions of the interior. Of the latter, Eryx 
fell into the hands of Dionysius ; but the remainder, 
closing their gates, defied him, though unable to prevent 
his troops from ravaging the whole country at will. The 
town of Motye itself was built on an islet in the small 
bay on the northern side, of the Promontory of Lily- 
bseum, and was connected by a bridge with the coast. 
On the approach of the enemy the bridge had been 
destroyed, and Dionysius was compelled to construct a 
mole from shore to shore — a distance of 1,200 yards — 
before he could bring his engines within reach of the 
walls. But the mole was at length completed and the 
siege commenced in earnest. The Carthaginians, 
alarmed, as they well might be, at the rapid progress 

7—2 



100 



A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 



of their enemies, were only able to despatch Himilco 
with a fleet to act as he best could in defence of their 
countrymen. That general, not venturing to face the 
magnificent fleet of Syracuse in the open sea, endeavoured 
first to raise the siege by a descent upon Syracuse itself ; 
but, fchough the squadron sailed into the harbour there and 
destroyed some merchant vessels, the recently erected 
fortifications prevented their doing any further damage, 
and they returned without creating the intended diver- 
sion. Himilco now attempted to surprise Dionysius' 
fleet while it lay beached in the Bay of Motye, and it 
was only rescued from destruction by the vigorous action 
of the despot. He caused eighty of his vessels to be 
transported bodily across the Promontory of Lilybaeum to 
the sea on the other side, and Himilco, thus threatened 
with a flank attack, was compelled to retire to Carthage. 
Soon afterwards the town fell by a nocturnal surprise, and 
Dionysius, leaving his Admiral Leptines in command, 
with orders to continue the operations against Entella, 
Egesta, and other towns, retired to winter at Syracuse. 

In the following year, 396 B.C., he rejoined Leptines, 
and personally conducted the siege of Egesta, which still 
defied his efi"orts. While thus engaged he received news 
that Himilco had efi'ected a landing at Cape Peloruswith 
a force of 100,000 men and more than 2,000 ships, includ- 
ing transports. The landing had been effected by night, 
and Himilco had taken successful precautions to prevent 
Dionysius learning the destination of the force which he 
knew to be gathering. An attack by Leptines failed to 
prevent his advance, and moving upon Motye, the 
Carthaginian army reoccupied that place without any 
serious resistance. Dionysius, thus robbed in a moment 
of the toil of so many months, and finding himself 
short of supplies, retreated to Syracuse without hazarding 
an engagement."^ 

Having thus relieved the besieged towns, Himilco 
determined to take vengeance on the Greeks for the 
sack of Motye. The Hellenic towns of the south coast, 
so recently pillaged by his troops, offered little hope of 

* Lilybaeum was founded now, to take the place of Motye as chief fortress and 
mart of Carthage in Sicily. 



DIONYSIUS I. 101 

booty, nor were there any noteworthy cities on the north 
coast. He resolved to transfer his forces at once to the 
eastern coast and to attack Messana, the key of the straits, 
a town whose position, in the most remote corner of the 
island, had protected it as yet from the assaults of 
Carthage. Accordingly he marched along the northern 
coast, receiving as he went the allegiance of the Sicel 
tribes, who hated Dionysius as the destroyer of that 
independence which Carthage had by treaty secured 
for them. Feigning a land attack, he induced the full 
force of Messana to quit the town and advance to meet 
him; whereupon his fleet sailed unhindered into the 
harbour and took the place at once. The plunder, if less 
rich than that of Agrigentum, was sufficient to repay the 
trouble of the attack ; the town was rased to the ground 
and left a wilderness. The whole Carthaginian force now 
moved southward upon Syracuse, skirting the coast, and 
so acting in conjunction with the fleet under Mago. 

It is difficult to understand what could have kept the 
Syracusan army inactive during this time, for some 
months must have now elapsed since the retreat from 
Egesta. That retreat had been viewed as an act of 
cowardice by the army, and the old murmurs were again 
heard accusing the despot of collusion with the enemy. 
Such a charge was on this occa.sion ridiculous ; but cer- 
tainly little had been effected to justify the immense pre- 
parations and the great force — the largest ever under 
Greek command — which had been collected in the pre- 
vious year. So widely had the discontent spread that when 
Dionysius at length marched northward to meet Himilco 
he had with him but 30,000 men. Off Catana his fleet 
gave battle to the flotilla under Mago. The battle was 
stubbornly contested, but ended in the complete defeat 
of the Syracusans, with the loss of 100 vessels and 20,000 
men. Dionysius at once retreated without venturing to 
engage their land force, and shut himself up in Syracuse, 
sending urgent requests for assistance to Sparta and 
Corinth. The whole Carthaginian fleet at once sailed into 
the great harbour; Himilco, with his army, fortified a 
camp at the Olympieum and outposts at Plemmyrium and 



102 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Dascon; and twenty years after the Athenian expedition 
the Syracusans saw themselves once more threatened 
with ruin by an enemy occupying the same ground as 
Nicias. 

This second retreat of Dionysius lent new energy to 
the discontent. Mutiny spread among his mercenaries, 
and was wdth difficulty checked. He now exerted him- 
self to recover some of his lost prestige, and personally 
conducted flying squadrons to protect the convoys which 
still reached the Syracusan harbour, despite the vigilance 
of Mago. At the same time he declined to hazard a 
general engagement either by land or sea. He was 
absent on such an expedition, when a citizen named 
Theodoras gave expression to the general discontent. A 
chance engagement in the harbour, brought on by the 
endeavour to seize a Carthaginian transport, had left the 
Syracusans triumphant. Theodoras thereupon bade 
them for the future cease to trust Dionysius, whose 
generalship brought nothing but disgrace, and whose 
despotism was misery. Let them disown him, and fight 
for themselves ; for the recent fight had shown that they 
were more favoured of heaven than were the arms of the 
murderer and temple-plunderer who was their despot. 
Dionysius reappeared while the assembly was still un- 
decided, and with him came Pharacidas, the leader of 
the succours from Sparta. The question depended on 
his decision, for to offend Sparta was to provoke the 
greatest power in the Greek world — a power fresh from 
the overthrow of her enemies, and triumphant through- 
out Greece. But it was no part of Spartan policy to 
favour democracy. She was already seeking the alliance 
of Persia and of Alexander, Tyrant of Pher^e in Thessaly. 
She now allied herself with an equally infamous enemy 
of Hellenic liberty, and through the mouth of Pharacidas 
declared for Dionysius and tyranny. The Syracusans, 
deprived of their one hope of support, were cowled into 
acquiescence, and Dionysius was once more free to con- 
tinue his despotism. 

This stroke of good fortune was followed by another 
which had still more important results. The plague, 



DIONYSIUS I. 103 

which had so often decimated the armaments of Carthage, 
again broke out in the camp of Himilco with appaUing 
virulence. His men died by thousands, while the Syra- 
cusans were untouched. The marsh fevers which had 
wasted the troops of Nicias were as nothing to the 
pestilence which now converted the whole camp of the 
Carthaginians into a mortuary. The wall which Dionysius 
had constructed on the northern slope of Epipolae had 
nullified all attempts at blockade by leaving open the 
road into Syracuse on the northern side, and Himilco 
seems never to have attempted to carry Euryalus, the key 
to the whole position. Pestilence completed what stu- 
pidity had begun. Dionysius could watch the host of 
his enemies melting away, and could choose his own 
time for striking. Eepeating the manoeuvre of Gylippus, 
he marched round the enemy's line and took them in 
the flank, while his fleet attacked and burned the whole 
Carthaginian flotilla and the camp at Dascon. Only dread 
of contagion prevented his occupying Himilco's lines at 
once. He drew off and awaited the approaching end. 
It soon arrived. Himilco endeavoured to negotiate for 
the safe retreat of his whole force. On this being re- 
fused, he made a secret treaty by which his own escape 
and that of the other native Carthaginians in his army 
was assured, and putting to sea by night, sailed away to 
Africa. His deserted army, left without a general, fled 
in all directions, pursued by the Syracusans. The 
Hiberians alone were spared, being taken into the pay of 
the despot (autumn, 395 B.C.). Himilco, publicly de- 
claring his defeat to be the just reward of his sacrilege 
in destroying the tombs on the Helorine Way before 
Syracuse, starved himself to death. But the prostration 
of Carthage was completed by the revolt of her Libyan 
subjects, who, to the number of 120,000 men, occupied 
Tunis, and shut up the Carthaginians within their walls. 
It was only at the last extremity that the Queen of 
Africa was able to crush the revolt by means of an op- 
portune quarrel among the insurgents. She was long 
incapacitated from fresh interference with the power of 
Dionysius, though her Admiral Mago maintained a vigi- 



104 A HISTOKY OF SICILY. 

lant attitude at the western corner of Sicily, and there 
by his concihatory conduct won over many of the neigh- 
bouring towns to the Carthaginian side. 

The first care of Dionysius was to re-estabHsh Messana, 
which he peopled with adherents of his own, intending it 
as a point d'apj^ui in his meditated attacks upon Southern 
Italy. At the same time he reconstituted Leontini as an 
independent town, giving it to some 10,000 mercenaries 
whose mutinous clamours for pay had put him in a 
dangerous position. Then marching westward, he re- 
covered all the ascendancy which Himilco had wrested 
from him in the two preceding years, seizing, in addition, 
Enna, Cephaloedium, and Solus in the extreme west, and 
making alliances with the various Sicel chiefs. 

In the year 393 b.c. he laid siege to Tauromenium, 
which, the strongest position in north-east Sicily, had 
been captured by Himilco in 396 b.c, and by him handed 
over to a body of Sicels. These new colonists offered so 
successful a resistance that Dionysius was unable to effect 
their reduction despite all his efforts, and only narrowly 
escaped with his life in a fruitless night attack. His ill- 
success led to the defection of Agrigentum, which seems 
to have remained dependent on Syracuse since its re- 
covery from the Carthaginians in 397 b.c. It now de- 
clared itself autonomous, and expelled the party of 
Dionysius, while its example found imitators among 
many of the recently conquered Sicels. Even Mago was 
encouraged to take the field anew. He ravaged the 
newly-organised territories of Messana, but was compelled 
to retire with loss on the appearance of the despot. 

In the following spring Dionysius undertook his first 
expedition against the Italiot Greeks. He had never 
forgiven, the insulting reply of the Ehegines on his de- 
manding a wife from their number. The only fit wife 
for him, they had answered, was the daughter of the 
common hangman. He resolved to take a terrible ven- 
geance on Ehegium, and suddenly appeared before the 
walls with a powerful force. It was only the courage of 
Heloris — once a personal friend of Dionysius, but now 
an exile — which saved the town ; and the Syracusan 



DIONYSIUS I. 105 

forces were drawn off before anything further could be 
done in order to meet Mago, who was again advancing. 
The armies met at Agyrium, the capital of the Sicel prince 
Agyris, and Dionysius was able to prevent the capture of 
the town. Mutiny in his own army prevented his further 
progress, and he availed himself of Mago's offers to con- 
clude a peace by which the Sicels of Tauromenium were 
surrendered to him. Attacking that fortress again in the 
following year, he at length reduced it, and repeopled it, 
like Leontini and Messana, with mercenaries of his own. 
He was thus firmly in command of the narrow strait 
which divided him from the scene of his next conquest. 

The cities of Magna Graecia were not unaware of the 
danger which menaced them from Syracuse, but un- 
happily they were harassed at the same moment by an 
even nearer danger. The Samnites, the hardiest moun- 
tain race of central Italy, descending from their fastnesses 
in the Apennines, had spread over Campania, ousting the 
Etruscans of Capua, the Greeks of Cumae and Neapolis, 
and forcing the Lucanians to move southward also, in 
search of new lands. 

The origin of these Lucanians is doubtful, as is also 
their relationship to the Bruttians, the prior occupants of 
the * toe ' of Italy. Probably both were branches of the 
same Samnite stock ; but the Bruttians were now be- 
coming the serfs of their Lucanian invaders, whose power 
had already overthrown one or two Greek cities on the 
coast, such as Laus and Paestum, and now threatened the 
independence of the others. 

To meet these aggressions there had been formed a 
defensive league of all the Greek cities, from Thurii to 
Ehegium, Locri alone standing aloof. That state was 
already connected with Dionysius by his marriage with 
Doris ; it now became his active ally to satisfy its private 
jealousy of the neighbouring city of Ehegium. Its seces- 
sion was sufficient to paralyze the action of the Italian 
league, by furnishing to Dionysius a secure basis of 
operation at the moment when fresh attacks of the 
Lucanians threatened the independence of Thurii. He 
was now in alliance with the Lucanians, and his landing 



106 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

at Locri and instant march upon Ehegium was the signal 
for a simultaneous descent of the Lucanians on Thurii 
(390 B.C.). The latter enterprise was so successfully re- 
pulsed that the Thurians, grown over-confident, followed 
up their foes into the heart of the mountains, and were 
there entrapped, losing 10,000 men out of a force of 
14,000. The 4,000 who. escaped did so by swimming to 
the Syracusan fleet, which was coasting off the scene of 
their defeat, under the impression that it was the allied 
squadron of Crotona. Leptines, the Syracusan admiral, 
despite their hostility, suffered them all to depart safely 
at a small ransom ; for which act of humanity he was 
dismissed by Dionysius, who handed over the command 
to his brother Thearides. He was at the moment smart- 
ing under the complete failure of his attempt on Ehegium, 
where a storm had destroyed the second division of his 
fleet, while he himself escaped to Messana with the 
greatest difficulty. 

In the following year he redoubled his efforts, aiming 
in this campaign at the reduction of the cities generally. 
With 20,000 men and a large fleet he laid siege to 
Caulonia, on the northern borders of the Locrian terri- 
tory. Heloris, now elected commander-general of the 
entire Italiot forces of 25,000 men, marched to the re- 
lief of the place, but was himself surprised and slain 
with his leading division, while the remainder of his 
army was defeated, surrounded, and at length forced to 
capitulate, to the number of 10,000 men, under pressure 
of thirst. Dionysius, by a stroke of humane policy — 
strangely at variance with his usual conduct — set them 
all free, thus disarming much of the opposition to his 
aggression. Then, a third time attacking Ehegium, he 
forced that town, now isolated, to surrender on promise 
of clemency — a promise which he seemed to fulfil in 
exacting only the surrender of the entire Ehegine fleet 
and 100 hostages. Soon afterwards he took both Cau- 
lonia and Hipponium, a town on the western coast, north 
of Ehegium, and handed over the territory of both to 
Locri. In the following year, determined still to wreak 
full vengeance on Ehegium, he picked a new quarrel 



DIONYSIUS I. 107 

with that town, now virtually disarmed, and laid siege 
to it for the fourth and last time. It made a desperate 
resistance, but fell at length ; and when Dionysius 
marched through its gates, there remained alive but 
6,000 inhabitants, whom he sold into slavery. Their 
commander, Phyton, he put to death with a cruelty 
borrowed from the Carthaginians, and the town he 
utterly destroyed. He then returned to Syracuse, where, 
as signs of his wide-felt power, he found waiting him 
envoys from those Gauls who in 390 b.c. sacked Eome, 
and who now begged his alliance (387 B.C.). A few months 
later he extended his Italian power by the capture of 
Croton, the strongest position in the South Italian penin- 
sula ; and prompted, perhaps, by his Gaulish allies, made 
a piratical descent upon Pyrgi, the port of the ancient 
Etruscan town of Caere, where he plundered the immense 
treasures of the temple of Leucothea. His excuse was 
the suppression of Etruscan piracy ; but the real reason 
was doubtless the wish to recruit his exhausted treasury, 
in which he amply succeeded. 

It was in that year, the ninety-ninth Olympiad, Diony- 
sius despatched a magnificent Theory* to Olympia, to 
compete in the chariot-races and dramatic contests, and 
to parade before the eyes of assembled Greece the wealth 
and power of his dominion. At that festival was present 
the famous orator Lysias, once a citizen of Thurii, but 
now domiciled at Athens. Amid the general decay of 
patriotism, Lysias retained some of that feeling which had 
animated the Greeks a century before ; and he now saw 
with disgust the purple magnificence of the Syracusan 
commissioners, the representatives of a tyranny which had 
lately overthrown the free Greek state of Ehegium, and 
reduced many others to dependence. He addressed the 
assembled crowd in a violent harangue, in which he 
spoke of Dionysius as the firebrand that was scorch- 
ing the Western, just as Artaxerxes was consuming the 
Eastern part of Hellas. The multitude took up his text 
with such ardour that they attacked the tents of the 
Syracusan Theory, tore them to pieces, and assaulted the 

* eeaipia; a sacred embassy, representing its particular State at any religious 
event. 



108 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

persons of the sacred commissioners themselves. At 
the same time a poem, which Dionysius caused to be 
recited at the games, was received with hissing and 
hooting. So infuriated was Dionysius on hearing of 
these events — the symbol of the universal hatred of 
Greece — that he is said for a time to have gone out of 
his mind. 

The matter seems to have prompted him to actions 
which might render his position less invidious, and he 
now prepared for a fresh war with Carthage. After 
erecting an additional wall along the southern slope of 
Epipolae, and including the suburb of Neapolis within 
the city walls, he advanced, in 383 B.C., to meet Mago. 
At a battle near Cabala, the position of which is un- 
known, he defeated and slew that commander, with the 
loss of 10,000 men, suffering the remainder to depart on 
condition that the Carthaginians would at once evacuate 
Sicily. The son of Mago, succeeding to his father's 
position, made excuses for some days' delay, until he 
had restored the confidence of his army. Then, attack- 
ing the Greek army at Cronium when unprepared for 
any renewal of hostilities, he utterly destroyed it. Night 
alone saved the remnant. 14,000 dead were left on the 
held. Dionysius was forced to make peace by ceding 
Selinus and much of the territory of Agrigentum, thus 
constituting the river Halycus the boundary between his 
own dominions and those of Carthage, and by paying 
so heavy an indemnity as to make Syracuse for the time 
the tributary of Carthage (382 b.c). Some Carthaginian 
efforts in Italy were less successful, and he was able 
there to maintain his ascendancy ; and he even con- 
templated the construction of a wall across the peninsula 
of Bruttium from sea to sea, to protect the Ijocrian terri- 
tories from incursions on the northern side. 

For the remaining years of his life we have only incidental 
information of the actions of Dionysius. We know that, 
as an ally of Sparta, he sent a squadron of ten vessels to 
act with her against Athens and Boeotia, 373 B.C. — a 
squadron which was captured in its entirety by Iphicrates 
— while he also supplied some small bodies of mercenaries 



DIONYSIUS I. 109 

to the Spartan army. He seems to have been husbanding 
his strength in order to revenge his recent humiliation by 
Carthage, and in 368 b.c. he took the field once more 
with 33,000 horse and foot, and 300 ships of war. His 
efforts were at first successful, and he mastered Eryx, 
Entella, and Selinus. He next laid siege to Lilybaeum — 
the new fortress constructed by the Carthaginians after 
the sack of Motye — but, being surprised here by the un- 
expected appearance of a Carthaginian fleet of 200 sail 
which he believed to have been destroyed in dock by fire, 
he lost 130 ships which were lying in the harbour of 
Eryx to blockade Lilybaeum by sea, and withdrew to 
Syracuse. The Carthaginians contented themselves with 
his repulse and with the recovery of the towns which he 
had lately occupied. 

In the early months of 367 b.c. the news reached 
Syracuse that the despot poet had been at last successful 
in his efforts to win the prize of Tragedy, though only at 
the Lenaja, a second-rate Attic festival. On this occasion 
only had he obtained the first place, and in the excite- 
ment of his delight he indulged too freely in a banquet 
celebrating his triumph. His excesses brought on a 
fever of which he shortly died, leaving behind him in the 
tragedy of his own life the example par excellence to 
Grecian moralists of the misery of the tyrant's position. 
His reign of thirty-eight years is said to have cost the 
lives of 10,000 victims to his personal cruelty, exclusive 
of the thousands who fell in his endless wars ; and in 
the height of his power he went in such dread of assas- 
sination that he would suffer no barber to dress his hair, 
but singed it with his own hands, and searched the 
persons of even his wives and brothers for the dagger 
which he believed them to conceal. Yet his courage and 
boldness are indisputable, and the great Scipio, who in 
later days conquered Carthage, pronounced him one of 
the two Greeks who excelled in military ability. The 
other was Agathocles, his successor fifty years later as 
despot of Syracuse. Nevertheless, when he died he had 
done little to beat back the enemy of Sicily, and at his 
death the Sicilian domain of Carthage was inferior to 



110 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

that which she had held on his accession only by the 
strip of territory which lies between the Halycus and 
the Himera. With all his oppressions he seems to have 
been decidedly a man of culture, and the success of his 
literary activity proves him to have had no mean taste 
for refined pursuits. In this he resembled Hiero, as also 
in his liberal patronage of men of letters ; and his court 
presented the singular spectacle of a group of men each 
distinguished for his excellence in philosophy or literature, 
yet all supporting a regime repugnant alike to their con- 
victions as thinkers and as Greeks with a loyalty which 
endured when Dionysius himself was gone. His chief 
ministers were Philistus, the historian, whose attachment 
to the despot dynasty even exile could not shake, and 
Dion, an ardent disciple of Plato. The great philosopher 
himself visited Syracuse in 387 B.C., and if he found his 
theories of government distasteful to the despot, such a 
result probably surprised no one but himself and his 
fellow-enthusiasts."^ The failure of his endeavours to 
regenerate Dionysius did not damp the ardour of his 
disciples, and Dion still retained his influence, checking 
for the present the violence of his master, and looking 
forward in the future to greater influence with that 
master's successor. 

* He was seized bj- Dionysius, and sold into slavery. 



CHAPTEK IX. 
Dionysius the Younger. 

Family of Dionysius I.— Rival Claims of Aristumache and Doris — Dion 
supports Dionysius — Political Philosophy in Hellas — The Pytha- 
goreans and Eleatics — New Impulse to Philosophy in the Decline of 
Liberty — Theory of Plato — Attitude of Dion— Plato visits Syracuse, 
and misses his Opportunity to reform Dionysius 11. — Disgrace 
and Banishment of Dion — Retirement of Plato — His Third Visit a 
Failure — Mutiny of the Mercenaries, and Banishment of Heraclides — 
He joins Dion in attacking Syracuse — Circumstances Favourable to 
the Attempt — Dion enters Syracuse, and blockades Ortygia — 
Rivalry between Dion and Heraclides — Dion is dismissed, and 
speedily recalled — Again created Supreme General by Land —Sur- 
render of Ortygia by ApoUocrates, the Son of Dionysius — Dion be- 
comes Master of Syracuse, and makes himself Despot — He is 
murdered by Callippus. 

The double marriage of Dionysius the Elder resulted in 
a large family — three sons born of the Locrian Doris, 
two other sons, Hipparinus and Nysaeus, and as many 
daughters, born of Aristomache, daughter of Hipparinus 
the Syracusan. The eldest, both of the sons of Doris 
and of the whole family, was Dionysius the Younger, 
now about twenty-five years of age ; but the great 
influence of Aristomache, herself a native-born Syracusan, 
threatened to set aside the son of the Locrian queen and 
substitute for him her own son Hipparinus. Dion, the 
most trusted of the ministers of the late despot, one of 
the wealthiest men in Syracuse, and undoubtedly the 
person of most influence both within and without the city, 
was brother of Aristomache, and therefore brother-in-law 
to the dead Dionysius. He w^as married to Arete, one 
of the daughters of Aristomache, while the other was wife 



112 



A HISTORY OF SICILY. 



o 

o I 



pa 
O 

« 



O- CO ti w .^.^ 
Qj O s •-'O 







DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER. 113 

of the younger Dionysius, to whom Dion was therefore 
related by marriage as at once brother-in-law and uncle. 
On the other hand, he was by blood the uncle of Aris- 
tomache's sons; and it seemed not unlikely that he 
should lend his influence to advance Hipparinus. His 
philosophy may have led him to disappoint the partisans 
of Aristomache. He at once recognised the succession 
of Dionysius the Younger, and by sound advice and 
sincere support acquired with the son the same authori- 
tative position which he had possessed with the father. 
Foreseeing the probability that Carthage would now push 
more vigorously the war which had been languishing for 
some months, he pointed out the best measures for 
ensuring the security of the. State, putting at the service 
of Dionysius both his person as an envoy to Carthage, 
and his property for the purpose of equipping an adequate 
fleet. Money would seem to have had particular value 
in the eyes of the new despot, whose exchequer was either 
exhausted by the long maintenance of his father's stand- 
ing army and fleet, or by his own indulgences, or was 
possibly sealed by his niggardliness.* Dion's vigorous 
action prevented any coup on the part of the Cartha- 
ginians, and the war apparently came to an end about 
366 B.C. None of its details are known, but it seems to 
have been carried on in part about the Lucanian coasts, 
which had been threatened even during the life of the 
elder Dionysius. t 

But the chief interest of the early years of the reign of 
Dionysius the Younger lies in their relation to the political 
philosophy of the times. The essence of Greek life was 
political activity. The passion for isonomy,| or political 
equality, was innate in every Hellene, and its successful 
assertion had led to the overthrow of the older monarchic 
and despotic governments, either actually or virtually, 

* The forces of Syracuse were at the moment on a war footing, said to have 
amounted to 400 vessels and 100,000 men. That money difficulties occurred a few 
years later (360 B.C.), we know from the revolt of the mercenaries, although the 
interval seems to have been une of peace. See p. 118. 

t Seep. 108. 

t 'IffdKo/ui'a {lit., equality of laws), and 'lar^yopiu (lit., equality of speech), are 
with Herodotus synonyms for democracy in its most complete form; i.e., as it 
appeared in Athens 510 to 410 B.C. Herod. V., 78. 

8 



114 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

throughout Greece. No less national was the tendency 
to philosophic speculations ; and the union of these two 
motives was the characteristic of the Pythagorean School 
of Philosophy, which from its original home at Crotona 
extended itself over most of the cities of Magna Graecia. 
At Crotona the Pythagoreans had formed, as early as 
500 B.C., a kind of secret society which became of such im- 
portance as to incur the suspicion of oligarchical designs;"^ 
arid the populace had driven them out, murdering many 
of their number. Similar outbreaks had occurred in 
other cities against similar clubs; and, taught the dangers 
of dealing with politics in any but the popular spirit, the 
remnant of the brotherhood for the future avoided any 
public parade of their opinions. Much of the thought of 
Western Hellas was transferred about the same time to 
the Eleatic School,! which concerned itself more with 
speculations in ethics and natural philosophy. There 
still remained, however, many distinguished thinkers, 
such as Archytas of Tarentum, who nursed their theories 
with constancy, and waited for the time when they might 
realize them. 

The same distrust of philosophy which had resulted so 
disastrously to the Pythagoreans extended, though in a 
less degree, to all schools of thought. The philosopher 
was called eccentric and useless, even if no graver charges 
were brought against him. J Unpractical he certainly 
was, and finding himself unable to be a politician in his 
own fashion he withdrew entirely from the political 
world — a procedure quite antithetic to the natural 
tendency of the Hellenic mind. But the troubles which 
beset Greece in the later years of the fifth century B.C. — 
the aimless chaos of parties, the failure of all patriotism, 
whether national or civic, and the growing yoke of ex- 
ternal domination — tended to spread amongst all men 

* This was largely due to the mysticism, ascetic seclusion, and freemasonry of 
the Pythagoreans. What they cannot understand is always viewed with suspicion 
by the vulgar. 

t So called from Elea (Velia), on the Gulf of Posidonia, in western Lucania, 
where it was founded by Parmenides, and maintained bj his successor, Zeno. 

I Socrates was put to death at Athens, 401 b.c., on the ground that he corrupted 
the young, and neglected the Gods. The Athenians really revenged upon him the 
misdeeds of his pupil, Alcibiades, the black sheep of Lis fiock. 



DIONTSIUS THE YOUNGER. 115 

disgust for practical politics, and the desire to find in 
philosophy some panacea for the ills of time. 

Succeeding to the schools of Pythagoras and Par- 
menides in the West, that of Socrates' pupil, Plato, was 
now established at Athens as the centre of thought and 
science. Eminently practical in the hands of Socrates, 
it had already become speculative and mystical in the 
hands of Plato, even previous to the year 387 B.C., when 
that philosopher first visited Italy and Sicily. In the 
course of this visit he had made the acquaintance of 
many of the leading representatives of the older Western 
schools, and the symbolism of Pythagoras and of the 
Eleatics had so far blended with the true Platonic doc- 
trines that the Western philosophers, attracted also by 
the brilliant genius and winning manner of Plato, now 
looked up to him as the leader of all philosophies alike. 
According to the Platonic theory, true happiness was 
attainable only in the State wherein the rulers were 
philosophers. Power and knowledge must be combined ; 
and the mind that had been trained up to value virtue 
and truth could alone administer the affairs of a people 
for their welfare. In brief, the Platonic theory claimed 
to have found the key to the long-studied problem. How 
to combine philosophical with political activity. Such a 
theory had attractions for all men ; for while it promised 
to free the philosophers from the disfavour and disabilities 
under which they laboured, it promised also to stop the 
decay of political life, to revive patriotism, and to remove 
by the gentle means of reason and argument the despo- 
tisms which already enthralled half Hellas, which threat- 
ened soon to absorb the other half, and which had so 
often proved themselves too strong to be overthrown by 
force. 

To all these theories Dion, then merely a young 
aristocrat of the ordinary stamp, and the first adviser 
of a despot to boot, had given a ready ear when Plato 
had first visited Syracuse ; and so well had he laid them 
to heart that, despite the disgrace into which Plato fell, 
the pupil became one of his most ardent disciples. He 
laid aside the habits of Sicilian luxury and indulgence, 

8—2 



116 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

which had attained a proverbial notoriety in Greece, and 
became an ascetic. With the Elder Dionysius he could 
do nothing, and he was too prudent to risk his whole 
fortune in the attempt. He reserved his efforts until the 
accession of Dionysius the Younger put the control of 
the greatest power in Hellas into the hands of one whom 
Plato himself describes as * able to think, and willing to 
learn,' and who, at the same time, was bound to him 
by the ties of blood, and of a long-established respect. 
Constituted at once chief political adviser of the new 
despot, he lost no time in making himself also Dionysius' 
tutor ; and he impressed upon him so successfully the 
beauties of philosophy, that he was able within a few 
months to send to Plato the most pressing invitations to 
revisit Syracuse — invitations backed up warmly by Diony- 
sius himself, as well as by the united voice of the 
philosophers of Italy and Sicily. Now was the time to 
realize the Platonic ideal. A magnificent city, che 
capital of a wealthy empire, was at the disposal of one 
young and tractable mind, itself at the disposal of the 
' God of Philosophers.' If Plato would but come and 
reason, as he only knew how to reason in the cause of 
philosophy, Syracuse might become the seat of that 
union of power and knowledge which was to save Hellas, 
and regenerate the world. The appeal was irresistible. 
Though sixty years of age, and enjoying at Athens all 
that the widest influence and respect could give him, 
Plato could not bring himself to fail his disciples at the 
crisis of their hopes; and in the year 367 b.c, he once 
more landed in Syracuse. 

Had he but proceeded at once to take advantage of 
the momentary enthusiasm of Dionysius, all might have 
been well. The young despot was as eager as any 'Nero 
for praise, and would have gone to any lengths in his 
new-born desire for the approval of the greatest sage of 
the time. But in the Platonic theory the mind of the 
philosopher king must pass through a long and arduous 
course of training — a training whose asceticism was more 
than anything else likely to disgust a sensualist. Instead 
of turning to account Dionysius' will and power, and 



DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER. 117 

leaving his motives for later improvement, the two 
enthusiasts, Plato and Dion, began to disgust their pupil 
with himself and with them, by pointing out to him in 
constant lectures his own defects. They treated him as 
a schoolboy, and he saw it with injured vanity. The 
bulk of the Dionysian party, who viewed with jealousy 
the immense influence of Dion and Plato, used their 
opportunity to arouse distrust in the despot's mind. The 
personal bearing of Dion, a man of brusque and intolerant 
character, without any of the tact and gentleness whicli 
were the charm of Plato's manner, confirmed their 
whispered hints. It seemed as if he actually was 
scheming to reduce Dionysius to insignificance, and to 
usurp for himself the despotism, or hand it over to the 
other claimants, the sons of Aristomache. Distrust grew 
into jealousy, jealousy into hatred ; and finally, after 
four months of sullen endurance, Dionysius inveigled his 
uncle to the quays of Ortygia, ordered him into a boat 
which was there lying manned, and sent him away from 
Syracuse. He did not, however, interfere in any way 
with the exile's property, or alter at all his deferential 
demeanour towards Plato ; and it was only some months 
later (366 b.c.) that the philosopher, who now saw his 
last chance of success thwarted, was allowed to depart, 
under promise however that he would return when 
asked. He consented to this arrangement on the despot 
promising to recall Dion at the same time. 

The leader of the opposition to Dion had been Philistus, 
who had been recalled to Syracuse immediately upon 
the accession of Dionysius II. He now became chief 
minister, and doubtless carried out as far as possible the 
traditions of the government of the late tyrant. But we 
have no details of the history of the seven years which 
intervened between the banishment of Dion, and the year 
360 B.C. 

At some time previous to that date Plato had once 
again been prevailed upon to visit Syracuse ; but Diony- 
sius had not fulfilled his promise of recalling Dion. On 
the contrary, he proceeded to confiscate the exile's pro- 
perty, declared Dion's wife Arete divorced, and gave her 



118 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

in marriage to one of his own courtiers, and yet more 
deeply roused his uncle's resentment by purposely lead- 
ing his son into habits of intemperance. In despair 
Plato escaped for the last time from his dangerous host, 
and returned to Athens, 360 b.c. His departure was 
rendered a matter of prudence, as well as of wish, by 
the hostility of the mercenaries, who attributed to his 
influence the fact that their pay had been curtailed. 
They broke out into open mutiny, and actually assaulted 
Ortygia, being at last pacified by the concession of all 
their demands. The blame of the mutiny was thrown 
upon Heraclides, a personal friend of Dion, and long a 
court favourite. He was now sent into exile, and joined 
Dion in the Peloponnesus. 

With the news of Dionysius' brutality towards his 
wife and family, Dion gave up his hopes of a reconcilia- 
tion, and prepared to revenge his wrongs by force. Most 
of the years of his banishment had been passed at Athens; 
but he had also visited many of the notable cities of 
Greece, and was of sufficient influence to get together 
with ease a small force which collected at Corcyra, 
357 B.C., ignorant of the object for which they were 
levied. Here they were joined by Dion, who thus found 
himself at the head of 800 picked troops, 1,000 Syracusan 
exiles, whom his name had attracted to an unknown 
service, and a tiny squadron of five merchant vessels. 
Heraclides was still busy in the Peloponnesus collecting 
and manning a more pretentious squadron. 

To attack the power of Sysacuse within its very strong- 
hold was an enterprise in which the mightiest armaments 
of Greece and Africa had repeatedly been foiled. Small 
wonder then that the announcement of the object of the 
expedition spread dismay through the scanty force. Of 
the 1,000 exiles not thirty undertook so great a hazard, 
and it was only by dint of lavish promises and per- 
suasion that Dion could hold together the remainder of 
his company. And yet there was much in his favour. 
The despot of Syracuse was no longer a man of strong 
arm and stronger mind, but a drunken youth of no ex- 
perience in war. The mercenaries which had been the 



DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGEK. 119 

bulwark of his father's power were mutinous. Within 
the walls of Ortygia there were rivals to his throne. 
All these dangers were to be added to the perpetual in- 
security of a tyrant's tenure and the hatred which his 
subjects of all classes bore towards him. The cities of 
Sicily, from Syracuse downward, were as eager now as 
ever to throw off the yoke of their subjection, and the 
same was true of the Italian cities dependent upon 
Syracuse. Moreover, the crusade against Dionysius was 
headed by a man of character known and approved by 
all Hellas, and was supported by the influence, if re- 
luctant, of Plato himself. The actual walls of Ortygia 
alone must see the decision of the conflict. And this 
Dion knew. He wasted no time in occupying a distant part 
of Dionysius' dominions, but steered straight from Corcyra 
for Sicily itself. Philistus, aware of the approaching at- 
tack, had stationed himself with a fleet off the southern 
shores of Italy, never dreaming that his enemy would 
attempt any but the ordinary coasting route to Sicily. 
In consequence the small squadron crossed in safety, and 
had already passed Cape Pachynus when a gale sprang 
up and drove it to the south-west. With difficulty it 
reached Heraclea Minoa, then under Carthaginian rule, 
where the governor, Synalus, received Dion with every 
mark of sympathy.* More welcome still was the news 
that Dionysius had sailed but a few days before for Italy 
with a fleet of eighty vessels, leaving Syracuse in charge 
of Timocrates. Instantly Dion moved across the island, 
reinforced as he went by contingents hastily got together 
from Agrigentum, Gela, Camarina, and the Sicel tribes ; 
and at dawn of the third morning he occupied the 
Helorine Eoad where it crosses the Anapus. Timocrates, 
now in command of the whole mercenary force, occupied 
Ortygia on the one side of the town and Epipolae on the 
other ; but many of his men had moved northwards to 
defend Leontini, misled by the rumour that Dion would 
approach from that quarter. Whatever resistance he 
might have shown was, however, paralyzed by the atti- 

* Dion had frequently acted as envoy of the Elder Dionysius to Carthage, 
which would account for his being on such friendly terms with Synalus. 



120 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

tude of the Syracusans, who rose en masse, threw open 
the gates, and placed Achradina in the hands of Dion 
and his 5,000 men. Timocrates, without waiting to be at- 
tacked, left the garrison which he commanded in Epipclae 
and fled. The citizens met in public assembly for the 
first time for nearly fifty years, and unanimously elected 
Dion and his brother, Megacles, sole generals. But to 
this Dion would not assent, and twenty others were 
nominated to act as colleagues of the two brothers. 
"Without delay the new generals assaulted and carried 
Euryalus, the almost impregnable fortress of Epipolse, 
whose garrison, deserted by Timocrates, made no resistance 
worthy of the name, and then turned their attention to 
the capture of Ortygia. To attempt an escalade was out 
of the question. A blockade was the sole means of re- 
ducing that fortress, and a wall was accordingly at once 
constructed from sea to sea across the necropolis — the 
open space which lay between the islet and the walls of 
Achradina and Neapolis. 

The fortress was, however, still open on the seaward 
side, and seven days later Dionysius sailed once more 
into the Great Harbour with his whole squadron of eighty 
ships of war. But of all Syracuse only the space within 
the citadel's walls now remained to him, and revolt was 
spreading amongst his dependencies, headed by Leontini. 
Dionysius resorted to stratagem. Pretending to be pre- 
pared to make terms at any cost, he requested that 
envoys should visit him and settle the conditions of 
peace. The Syracusans, believing their work accom- 
phshed, gave way, as the despot had foreseen, to festivity, 
and neglected the defence of the blockade wall. His 
mercenaries, choosing their opportunity, suddenly sallied 
from Ortygia, and in a moment carried the whole wall, 
which they proceeded to demolish ; and Dion only suc- 
ceeded in driving them back and recovering his position 
after a furious laattle, and at the imminent risk of his 
own life. Soon afterwards the appearance of Heraclides, 
with a fleet of eighteen vessels, presently reinforced by 
sixty which the Syracusans themselves equipped, de- 
prived Dionysius of his command of the sea, and his 



DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER. 121 

consequent ability to obtain regular supplies. The return 
of Philistus with his fleet for a moment relieved him ; 
but m a general engagement which followed, the flotilla 
under Heraclides, sixty strong, completely defeated, and 
for the most part destroyed, that of Philistus of similar 
strength ; and, more disastrous than all, the latter officer, 
the despot's one able adviser, was captured and brutally 
put to death. The reduction of Ortygia became now only 
a question of time. 

Unfortunately for Dion, he now found a rival in the 
person of Heraclides, and dissension broke out in the 
ranks of the besiegers. The arrogance of Dion and his 
relationship to the house of Dionysius combined to make 
him an object of distrust to the citizens, who did not 
care to fight for one who might use his victory only to 
make himself their master. On the other hand, Hera- 
clides was a man of winning, even of insidious, manners, 
fresh from the glory of his recent naval victory, and what 
was more important than all, not a member of the hated 
Dionysian family. The Syracusans had lately voted him 
admiral, and Dion, complaining that such a course, 
adopted without consulting himself, interfered with his 
own authority, had requested the citizens to cancel their 
vote. They did so ; whereupon Dion himself proposed 
and carried the appointment of Heraclides. He suc- 
ceeded indeed in gratifying his own pride, but he drew 
upon himself the decided enmity of his rival, and gave 
fresh colour to the charge of aiming at the tyrannis. 
Dionysius, apprised of these matters, turned them to the 
best account. He spread treacherous reports through 
the city, compromising still more the character of Dion ; 
and he caused letters to be written in which he invited 
Dion to take his place as despot, offering to retire on 
those terms. These letters were publicly read by order 
of Dion ; but rather increased than allayed the prevalent 
suspicions. Heraclides now put himself forward as the 
direct opponent of Dion. He thwarted his wishes in 
ev(iry possible way, and finally secured his dismissal, 
with the further injustice that the arrears due to Dion's 
troops should not be paid. With such rancour did he 



122 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

follow up his revenge, that he induced the citizens even 
to attack the small force of Dion as he led it out of 
Syracuse; and it found shelter at last in Leontini, 
366 B.C. 

Some time previous to this crisis, Dionysius had 
escaped from Ortygia to Locri, leaving that fortress and 
its garrison in charge of his son Apollocrates. Lack of 
provisions had almost induced the latter to surrender, 
when the quarrels of his opponents, resulting in a less 
vigorous watch upon the seas, allowed a large convoy of 
provisions and reinforcements under Nypsius to reach 
Ortygia from Locri, and thus placed him once more in a 
position to maintain the place. But Nypsius took 
further advantage of the quarrel. A slight success gained 
by Heraclides' fleet over the vessels of the convoy, 
though occurring too late to prevent the relief of Ortygia, 
yet threw the Syracusans once more into a condition of 
extravagant confidence, in the midst of which Nypsius 
sallied out, carried the blockading wall, burst into 
Neapolis and Tyche, and finally into Achradina, thus de- 
stroying at a blow the labours of months. He let loose 
his mercenaries upon the city, which they plundered right 
and left, until the Syracusans, in despair, despatched an 
express to Leontini, entreating Dion to forget and for- 
give, and once again to come to the rescue of their city. 
With noble patriotism Dion complied, and moved at 
once towards Syracuse, arriving at Epipolae by daybreak. 
Here he was met by orders from Heraclides, forbidding 
his nearer approach. The withdrawal of Nypsius to 
Ortygia at the close of his day's pillage had restored 
the courage of the Syracusans, who once more remem- 
bered their party jealousies. The next day they had 
reason to repent their haste. Nypsius renewed his 
attack, and this time he spared nothing. The town was 
deluged with bloodshed, and the mercenaries were 
ordered to fire it in all directions. In the midst of these 
horrors, Dion led his troops down from Epipolae, and 
falling upon the mercenaries while the latter were 
scattered and disorganized, he drove them back to 
Ortygia. Then, rebuilding the wall of blockade, and 



DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER. 123 

quenching the flames, he set himself once more to reduce 
the fortress. Heraclides, to whom were due all the 
recent disasters, he not only pardoned but even defended 
from the resentment of the citizens, securing his appoint- 
ment as admiral while he himself resumed the supreme 
command of the land army. 

Fresh dissensions soon broke out. Heraclides, sailing 
off on the pretence of attacking Dionysius at Locri, took 
the opportunity to inflame his crews against Dion and to 
make a secret treaty with Dionysius. The mediator was 
Pharax, lieutenant of the despot's forces, and he suc- 
ceeded at least in thus frustrating the purpose of the ex- 
pedition, although the furious opposition of the majority 
of the Syracusans prevented Heraclides from carrying out 
his engagement on his return. Shortly afterwards Pharax 
landed near Agrigentum, probably by arrangement with 
Heraclides ; and the latter moved his fleet southwards, 
professing his intention of executing a joint attack upon 
the enemy in conjunction with the land force under Dion. 
But the fleet, instead of coming into action, suffered 
Dion to commence his attack, and then sailed away with 
all speed to Syracuse in the hope of seizing the city and 
barring the return of the land force and its general. The 
latter was beaten off, but was able by the rapidity of his 
return to frustrate this second act of treachery. Hera- 
clides, finding himself thwarted on all sides, at length 
withdrew his opposition, and shortly after ApoUocrates 
surrendered. He was allowed to retire with so much 
property as he could put on board five vessels. Ortygia, 
with its docks, arsenals, and stores, remained in the 
hands of Dion after a struggle of two years (355 b.c). 

It was now time for Dion to fulfil the promises of 
liberty which he had made to the Syracusans on his first 
return. He had expelled the House of Dionysius, and 
was master of its military resources. The Syracusans 
were eager to commence at once the demolition of the 
'Bastile of Syracuse.' But Dion declined to give the 
word. He still nursed his philosophic dreams ; and the 
freedom which he intended to give the city was not that 
of an Athenian democracy. The Platonics found their 



124 A HISTORY OP SICILY. 

ideal government in Sparta, where the ancient monarchy 
existed side by side with a scarcely less ancient oligarchy 
and a more modern element of democracy. This had 
been from time immemorial the polity of a State whose 
conservatism and solidarity were unique in Hellas, and 
under such a polity Sparta had retained for centuries the 
position of leader of Greece. On these lines the liberty of 
Syracuse was now to be organized, and the ideal monarch, 
the philosopher-king, was to be Dion himself. But, freed 
from the actual presence of Dionysius, the Syracusans 
laughed at that philosophy to which they had once looked 
for deliverance, and turned themselves to anticipations of 
the freedom which had been their own after the overthrow 
of Thrasybulus. They expected Dion to dismantle 
Ortygia, to disband his forces, to resign his office of 
general, and to submit himself as a citizen to the popular 
judgment of his fellows. He did nothing of all this. He 
transferred, indeed, his family and property to his original 
dwelling outside the citadel ; but he still kept under arms 
a force probably little inferior in numbers to that of 
Dionysius, and made no sign of surrendering his post. 
The people murmured, and found a leader in Heraclides, 
who could now veil his hostility to Dion under the credit- 
able guise of patriotism. Dion saw himself gradually 
drifting away from his high popularity, while Heraclides 
took his place in the confidence of the people. His 
jealousy at length got the better of himself and his philo- 
sophy. He caused his rival to be assassinated, and in so 
doing declared himself despot. Too late the people saw 
how little trust could be placed in any of the kin of 
Dionysius. A reign of terror set in. The first act of 
lawlessness made easier any after deeds ; and within 
twelve months of his victory, Dion the Liberator was 
known only as Dion the Tyrant. 

He paid the penalty of his mistake in the manner of 
most despots. Callippus the Athenian, himself, too, 
something of a disciple of Plato, long the host of Dion 
during his exile and now his confidant, contrived a wide- 
spread conspiracy. The trustfulness of Dion towards his 
* own particular friend ' enabled Callippus to associate as 



DIONYSIUS THE YOUNGER. 125 

he pleased with known malcontents on the pretence of dis- 
covering their secrets by a feigned sympathy. Arete, the 
despot's wife, more quick-sighted than her husband, 
charged^him with treachery, and he swore his innocence 
by the most awful oaths. On the festival of the Coreia* 
he contrived that the garrisons and gates should all be in 
the hands of the conspirators, and, surrounding Dion's 
house, had him stabbed to death by a band of young men 
who represented themselves as coming on a matter of 
business (353 b.c). 

* So called from Core (' the maiden ') ; i.e., Proserpina, in whose honour it w;ui 
hold. 



CHAPTEE X. 
The Liberation of Timoleon. 

Despotism of CalHppus — Hicetas heads a Kising^Nysseus seizes 
Ortygia — Intrigues of the Dionysian Claimants — Miserable Condi- 
tion of Sicily and Magna Grsecia — Dionysius returns to Ortygia — 
The Syracusans Appeal to Corinth — Early Life of Timoleon — He 
accepts the Post of Liberator — Treachery of Hicetas — Timoleon 
eludes the Carthaginians at Rhegium — Lands at Tauromenium, and 
defeats Hicetas at Adranum — Dionysius surrenders Ortygia and 
retires to Corinth — The Corinthians send fresh Succours — Hicetas 
and Mago besiege Neon in Ortygia — Mago withdraws, and Timo- 
leon drives out Hicetas — He destroys the Fortifications of Ortygia, 
and refounds Syracuse — Expels other Tyrants, and defeats the 
Carthaginians at Crimesus — Puts to Death Hicetas and Mamercus, 
and concludes Peace with Carthage — He lays down his Com- 
mand — Later Years, and Death — Rapid Recovery of the Sicilian 
Towns. 

But this last murder brought no better fortune to the 
unhappy city. Calhppus made the usual promises of 
liberty, and for a few hours posed as a tyrannicide. He 
soon threw off the disguise, and in his turn declared him- 
self despot. He imprisoned the wife and sister of Dion, 
and established himself firmly by dint of force. The 
mercenaries whom Dionysius II. had left behind him, 
and who had it seems passed into the service of Dion, 
now transferred their swords to Callippus. The enor- 
mities of the tyrant soon roused open resistance, and 
Syracuse became once more the battle-ground of rival 
factions. One revolt failed, and the defeated party, led 
by Hicetas, a friend of Dion, took refuge in Leontini. A 
second was more successful. Hipparinus and Nysaeus, 
sons of Dionysius I. and Aristomache, headed a rising 



THE LIBERATION OF TIMOLEON. 127 

and seized the town while Callippus was absent with his 
troops at Catana, probably following up his recent advan- 
tage at Leontini. How insufferable the despotism of 
Callippus must have been may best be judged from the 
fact that members of the House of Dionysius could now 
find sufficient support to recover the city of their father, 
352 B.C. 

Callippus was forced to content himself with the des- 
potism of Catana. Hicetas established himself as despot 
of Leontini ; at Syracuse things grew worse and worse. 
The city was divided between three parties who schemed 
and quarrelled and fought without ceasing, and converted 
the various quarters of the town into camps, its streets 
into battle-fields. Hipparinus headed the party who 
favoured the younger branch of the family of Dionysius, 
the children of the Syracusan Aristomache ; and he was 
so far the superior that he had possession of Ortygia. 
Against him were arrayed a second party who schemed 
to restore Dionysius himself. Against both these 
struggled the party of liberty. At Leontini, Hicetas 
watched an opportunity to return. Callippus at Catana 
could have been no peaceful neighbour, and was suc- 
ceeded by Mamercus, as great a ruffian as himself. 
Murders and bloodshed prevailed everywhere. The wife 
and sister of Dion, set free by their son and nephew 
Hipparinus, were murdered by their pretended friend 
Hicetas. Hipparinus himself was slain in a fit of drunken- 
ness, and his place occupied by NysaBUS. The temples of 
the Gods, the tombs of the dead, were neglected or 
violated. The ruin wrought by Nypsius remained un- 
repaired. Of all the wide dominions of the Syracuse of 
twenty years before, nothing now remained to her. 
Leptines was despot of Apollonia, Nicodemus of Centoripe, 
Apolloniades of Agyrium, and other towns shared the 
common lot. Nothing is known of the condition of the 
cities of the southern and western parts of Sicily ; but it 
is known that Carthage, awaking at last from her apathy, 
was gradually encroaching upon the island, and that 
bands of Campanian mercenaries roamed at will, desolat- 
ing the land, and substituting for the commerce and 



128 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

culture of Hellenism the barbarism of the Oscans. Plato 
(or the author of the letters attributed to that philosopher), 
writing from Athens, prophesies the speedy disappearance 
of even the Greek tongue from Sicily, and the swallowing 
up of Greek despotism and Greek democracy alike in the 
power of Carthaginians and Campanians. He implored 
the factions to be reconciled while there was still time, 
and bade them form a triple monarchy, like the double 
kingship of Sparta, in which the male descendants of 
Doris, of Aristomache, and of Dion, should rule side by 
side. In Magna Grsecia things were no better. That 
Locri which the Elder Dionysius had advanced to be the 
first city of Southern Italy was now desolated by the 
brutalities and cruelties of his son within, and by the 
growing pressure of the Italian tribes, Lucanians and 
Bruttians, without. Nothing but the sword maintained 
Dionysius II. in his mother's State, and no relief came 
until 346 B.C., when he once more seized Ortygia, and 
transferred his tyranny to Syracuse anew\ Then the 
Locrians rose and reasserted their liberties. They seized 
the wife and children of Dionysius, and revenged upon 
them the despot's crimes. For weeks these captives 
afforded a spectacle of insult and agony to their infuriated 
enemies, while beyond the walls the fleet and forces of 
Dionysius tried all that prayers and bribes and violence 
could do to rescue them. They died under their tortures, 
and Dionysius returned to avenge his ill- success upon the 
Sicilians. And now Carthage, confident of an easy con- 
quest of the distracted island, set herself to reduce it in 
earnest. In utter despair the Syracusans sent a piteous 
appeal to their metropolis and entreated Corinth to rescue 
them if it might be so. 

The embassy reached Corinth at a time (344 B.C.) shortly 
after the termination of the Sacred War by Philip of 
Macedon, when Greece lay in a state of apprehensive 
quietude, fearful of making any movement which might 
rouse his jealousy. Corinth was therefore free from any 
activity at home, and glad of the opportunity to engage 
without risk in the affairs of Sicily. A vote of assistance 
was immediately passed, and the chance nomination of 



THE LIBEBATION OF TIMOLEON. 129 

one of the assembled citizens conferred the command 
upon Timoleon. 

The son of noble parents, a man of tried bravery and 
wonderful gentleness, Timoleon had for nearly twenty 
years lived the life of a recluse at his country house, 
tormented by the erinmjs of his brother's murder and his 
mother's curse. In the year 366 b.c, Corinth was en- 
gaged as an ally of Sparta and Athens in resisting the 
growing power of Thebes,. to whom, with the battle of 
Leuctra, had passed the hegemony of Greece. The 
Athenians had, despite the fact of the alliance, formed a 
plan for surprising the town of Corinth, and though timely 
warning of the intended treachery enabled the Corinthians 
to put themselves on their guard, yet the imminency of 
the risk induced them to establish a permanent garrison 
of mercenary troops, 400 in number, who were put under 
the command of Timophanes, brother of Timoleon. Since 
the fall of Psammetichus, the last of the Cypselid despots, 
581 B.C., the town had been ruled by a moderate oligarchy, 
who, despite the security of their tenure, did not care to 
arm the populace as a garrison. Their caution did not 
benefit them, for Timophanes at once threw off all re- 
straint and established himself as despot by wholesale 
murder, finding his instrument in the mercenaries under 
him. In vain did Timoleon reason with his brother, 
whose life he had once saved at the peril of his own,* 
and finding entreaties vain, he adopted a terrible course. 
Taking into his confidence the brother of the tyrant's 
wife, and one or perhaps two other friends, he visited the 
usurper in the Acrocorinthus,t and, after again pleading 
fruitlessly for the freedom of the city, stood by while his 
allies cut down Timophanes. Men heard of the deed 
with mingled relief and horror ',% ^^^ mother cursed him, 
and he withdrew, a broken-hearted man, from all inter- 
course with the world. 

His appointment to the command against Dionysius 

* In a battle between the Argives and the troops of Argos and Cleone. The 
date is unknown. 

t The citadel or acropolis of Corinth. 

X To kill a tyrant was an act of virtue ; but to shed the blood of a kinsman 
was an inexpiable crime in Grecian eyes. 

9 



130 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

and Carthage came to him as a glad distraction from his 
own thoughts. It was a forlorn hope in the eyes of all 
men ; and the Corinthians told him as he departed that 
if he succeeded they would regard him as justified in his 
crime; if he failed, as receiving heaven's chastisement 
for it. Their diminished resources prevented them from 
furnishing him with any adequate force. Timoleon him- 
self was too poor to equip more than seven triremes. 
His entire force, not counting one or two distinguished 
Corinthians who accompanied him as volunteers, 
amounted only to ten vessels and 1,200 men, mostly dis- 
charged mercenaries lately serving on the Phocian side 
in the Sacred War, and branded with the charge of 
sacrilege for their participation in the plundering of the 
great temple of Delphi. 

Before he could sail, there reached Corinth an embassy 
from Hicetas, countermanding the request of the Syracu- 
sans, to which he had been a party, that assistance should 
be sent. That despot had so strengthened himself atLeon- 
tini, that he had forces sufficient to face Dionysius in the 
field, and upon him the Syracusans mainly relied for the 
moment. But he had designs of his own which would 
be hindered by the appearance of a Corinthian force. He 
aimed at seizing Syracuse for himself by the help of the 
Carthaginians, who were now close at hand. Accord- 
ingly, having now matured his arrangements with the 
latter, he sent word to Corinth that the delay in the ap- 
pearance of any succours from that city had compelled 
him to enter into alliance with Carthage, who declined 
to allow the interference of any Corinthian armament. 
Timoleon saw through the pretext, and knew that he had 
now lost his only ally in Sicily ; but none the less he 
hurried to the scene of action, and the omens that greeted 
him at Delphi and elsewhere, marked him out as the 
chosen instrument of Ceres and Proserpina for the de- 
livery of their island. 

Arrived at Ehegium, Timoleon found further progress 
barred by the presence of a Carthaginian fleet of twenty 
ships, having on board an envoy from Hicetas. That 
despot was now in possession of the whole of Syracuse 



THE LIBERATION OF TIMOLEON. 131 

with the exception of Ortygia, where he kept Dionysius 
closely blockaded by the help of the Carthaginian main fleet 
under Hanno. His envoy therefore declared that, as the 
surrender of Dionysius was now a foregone conclusion, 
the presence of Timoleon was needless, and his return to 
Corinth necessary, inasmuch as the Carthaginians declined 
to allow him to land in Sicily. Seeming to assent, Timo- 
leon bade the envoy explain the matter in public assembly 
before the Ehegines, where he himself attended after 
giving secret orders to his crews to watch their oppor- 
tunity, and quietly put across one by one. The Cartha- 
ginians, deeming the matter settled, paid no further 
attention to the movements of the Corinthian vessels, 
which made the passage safely to Tauromenium ; and 
when the assembly, at the close of the envoy's address, 
looked around for Timoleon to reply, they learnt that he 
too had quietly slipped away and joined his men. 

But though he had at length reached Sicily, Timoleon 
found his position precarious. Tauromenium, though a 
strong fortress, was not of sufficient importance to give 
him any positive aid, and he had no other allies in the 
island. Suddenly there reached him a summons from 
Adranum, a Sicelo-Greek town, forty-two miles inland, 
where a party quarrel had ended in the appeal of one 
faction to Hicetas, the other to Timoleon. He marched 
thither at once, and arrived near the town — a small place, 
but of importance as the holy town of the Sicel God 
Adranus — on the same evening as did Hicetas. The 
latter, unaware of the vicinity of his enemy, allowed his 
men to bivouac ; and Timoleon, taking them by surprise, 
completely defeated them. The Sicels accepted his 
victory as a sign of the favour of their God. He was 
admitted into the town, and in a short time received the 
adhesion of many small Sicel communities and the more 
important alliance of Mamercus, despot of Catana. 

With an army thus reinforced to the number of 2,000 
men, Timoleon marched at once to Syracuse. His arrival 
found Dionysius on the point of capitulating to Hicetas, 
and it averted the passing of Ortygia into the hands of a 
despot as inhuman as its former master. To surrender 

9—2 



132 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

to Hicetas meant certain death for Dionysius ; to sur- 
render to Timoleon might secure personal safety and 
would at any rate balk Hicetas of his prize. Within a 
few hours a Corinthian garrison of 400 men under Neon 
passed into the fortress, where the mercenaries, 2,000 in 
number, at once embraced the cause of Timoleon ; and 
Dionysius, with some small portion of his property and 
money, was received into Timoleon's camp. He was im- 
mediately dismissed to Corinth, where he lived as a private 
citizen for the remaining years of his life, passing his 
time in drinking and idleness ; and on his death, he left 
behind him a favourite example to all time of retribu- 
tion slow to come but sure. * Dionysius at Corinth ' * 
became a proverb for an uncrowned king. Asked once in 
what way his Platonic studies had benefited him, he had 
the spirit to reply that they had at least taught him how 
to bear his changed fortunes. Another explanation of 
his passive endurance was the fact that any undue activity 
on his part would certainly bring upon him the sword of 
justice, which he knew was only stayed, not sheathed, in 
his favour.t 

The arrival of Dionysius in Corinth, as proof of the 
marvellous success of Timoleon, led to the instant equip- 
ment of a fresh force of 2,200 foot and horse, which were 
despatched forthwith and safely reached Thurii. Here 
a large Carthaginian force barred their progress ; but, 
marching across Bruttium, they reached Ehegium, found 
the strait unguarded, and so crossed without molestation 
to Messana, which town at once declared for Timoleon. 

After the occupation of Ortygia, with all its stores (in- 
cluding arms for 70,000 men, laid up probably by Diony- 
sius the Elder), Timoleon had withdrawn the remainder 
of his small army to Adranum. Hicetas now laid fresh 
siege to Ortygia, and called in the aid of the united fleet 
and army of the Carthaginians, to the number of 60,000 
men and 150 ships, under Mago. Finding that the 
blockade was rendered futile, owing to the continued 

t There is an improbable story that he opened a school at Corinth ; but he is 
known to have been too well off, and was presumably too indolent, for such a 



THE LIBEEATION OF TIMOLEON. 133 

arrival of blockade-runners from Catana, Hicetas per- 
suaded Mago to co-operate with him in an attack on that 
town. No sooner had they departed, than Neon sallied 
out of Ortygia and captured Achradina, which he at 
once united to the citadel by walls ; and before the 
absent forces could be recalled from Catana, Timoleon 
descended to the coast, reinforced by the new arrivals 
from Corinth, and seized the Olympieum. This reverse, 
which practically annihilated the possibility of a success- 
ful blockade, aroused the suspicions of Mago, who knew 
the character of Hicetas too well to trust him. His 
suspicions grew into alarm ; and he at length drew off 
his entire force by night. Dawn of day saw Timoleon 
advance to the storming of the Carthaginian camp, which 
he found deserted. He now arranged for a threefold 
assault upon the three portions of the city which re- 
mained still in the hands of Hicetas. He himself attacked 
Epipolae, the strongest position, from the steep southern 
side; the new Corinthian reinforcements assaulted it 
from the less difficult northern slope ; while Neon and 
the garrison in Ortygia and Achradina attacked Tyche 
and Neapolis. Hicetas was driven out with slight re- 
sistance and fled to Leontini, leaving the entire city in 
the hands of Timoleon. 

Timoleon had accomplished what no Greek invader 
had ever done before at Syracuse ; he now achieved a 
greater victory still, and one unique in the annals of 
Greek history. At one blow he might have made him- 
self despot of the city which had been the victim of so 
much self-seeking, and which even the philosophic Dion 
could not endure to give up. Timoleon rased at once 
the walls of Ortygia, and blotted out the stronghold of 
Syracusan, even of Sicilian, tyrannis. On the spot he 
built in its stead halls of justice. Then he turned to the 
graver problem of restoring the fallen city and healing 
the wounds of the past years of misery. He summoned 
back to their homes all exiles, and invited colonists from 
Greece, whose advent under Corinthian auspices marked 
the second founding of the city. By these measures 
10,000 new inhabitants were enrolled, many of them men 



134 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

of wealth. To accommodate them, the lands and houses 
of Syracuse were sold by auction, and the money thus 
obtained served to relieve the miserably impoverished 
remnant of the old citizens. Two native Corinthians, 
Cephalus and Dionysius, men of high estimation and 
character, came as commissioners to revise the constitu- 
tion ; and they revived the laws of Diodes, which had 
been so briefly exercised on their original institution."^ 
No details are known as to their character, save that 
they were democratical. 

But the restoration of Syracusan liberty was but a 
part of the task to which Timoleon had bound himself. 
After some months of quietude, during which he was 
busied with the settlement of the new colonists, he 
moved against Leontini, Apollonia, and other cities. 
Hicetas professed instant submission, and was for the 
moment spared ; Leptines of Apollonia was deposed and 
sent away to Corinth. Timoleon then returned to his 
work at Syracuse, despatching his troops to the west of 
the island to gather pay and plunder from the Cartha- 
ginian province. Hicetas was at the moment negotiating 
for fresh Carthaginian assistance, and the news of the 
foray into Western Sicily came just at the right moment 
to support his appeal. Moreover, the Carthaginians 
were smarting under the ignominy of the recent retreat 
of Mago from Syracuse — a retreat all the more vexing as 
until then no Carthaginian army had ever been admitted 
within the walls. They revenged themselves by cruci- 
fying the dead body of Mago, who committed suicide to 
avoid a more painful death, and then turned their whole 
energy to organising a fresh invasion of the island. 

In the spring of 340 b.c , Hamilcar and Hasdrubal 
landed at Lilybaeum with 70,000 men and 2,000 war 
chariots, and a fleet of 500 ships of war and twice that 
number of transports to co-operate with them by sea. 
The army moved eastward upon Syracuse, and the news 
of its approach spread panic amongst the new settlers, to 
whom Carthaginian warfare was a matter of hearsay 
only. Timoleon could levy only 13,000 men of all arms, 

* See above, p. 83. 



THE LIBERATION OF TIMOLEON. 135 

including those troops which had lately been raiding 
beyond the Halycus ; and of this small force, 1,000 
mercenaries, prompted by their commander Thrasius, 
deserted on the road and marched back co Syracuse. 
With difficulty could Timoleon retain the residue of his 
men, who marched on as if to certain death. Their 
gloomy forebodings seemed confirmed by the appearance 
of a train of mules laden with parsley, a plant largely 
used in funeral ceremonies. Timoleon's ready wit 
averted the evil omen. He seized a handful of the 
leaves, and bound them as a chaplet on his brow, re- 
minding his men that it was also the garland of the 
conqueror at their own Isthmian games. The troops 
recovered their spirits, and at early dawn heard the 
Carthaginian host, six times as numerous, fording the 
swampy stream of the Crimesus* below them. It was 
now May, and the mist which lay along the valley pre- 
vented the invading army from seeing their enemies, 
even had they been prepared to find any opposition so 
near to their own territories. The chariots had already 
crossed, and behind them the chosen Carthaginian in- 
fantry, including the 2,500 of the sacred band.t But the 
bulk of the army, the mixed mercenary troops, were still 
on the farther bank, and thus the charge of Timoleon's 
cavalry had to deal only with a portion of their foes. 
His cavalry could effect little, however, against the solid 
wall of chariots, though the latter were, from the hilly 
nature of the ground, unable to come into real action. 
Still, the Carthaginian army was in a measure disordered 
by the sudden attack, and ill prepared for the charge of 
the Grecian hoplites led by Timoleon in person. The 
marvellous good fortune which had always waited upon 
their leader had brought the Greeks to regard him as the 
favourite of heaven, and they followed him now with 
enthusiastic courage. The battle was terrible. That of 

* The battle was fought about the head waters of this stream, which rises in 
the difiBcult mountainous covintry on the direct road between Panormus and Se- 
linus. It was thus well within the Carthaginian reservation, where they would 
expect no resistance. 

t Composed, like the similar body at Thebes, of picked young warriors, so 
arranged that each had at his side his dearest friend. They were the flower of 
the native aristocracy. 



136 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Leuctra alone could equal it for the obstinacy of the 
hand-to-hand struggle. Spears were useless against the 
mail of the native Carthaginians, and it became a struggle 
of the short dagger-like sword. A terrific storm of hail and 
rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, now burst 
upon the combatants. It affected the Greeks little, as it 
beat only upon their backs, but it soon threw the Cartha- 
ginian ranks into disorder. What kept the chariots still 
inactive we do not know. They rendered at any rate no 
assistance, and when the front line of infantry turned at 
last to fly, they found themselves checked by the still 
advancing numbers of their own mercenaries. But once 
began, the rout soon extended. The whole army of 
Carthage was beaten back to Lilybaeum, leaving behind 
15,000 prisoners and 10,000 dead, including, it is said, 
the entire Sacred Band. The booty of their camp, with 
its gold and silver plate, and the costly panoplies of the 
native troops, was enormous, and did more to recoup at 
once the impoverishment of Syracuse than any of Timo- 
leon's more peaceful measures (340 B.C.). 

Hicetas and Mamercus, who had been unable to join 
the Carthaginian army before its defeat, were now iso- 
lated. They appealed once more for help, and in this or 
the next year (339 B.C.) a mercenary army under Gisco* 
appeared off the north coast of the island. One or two 
successes were gained by the two despots over detach- 
ments commanded by officers of Timoleon, and they were 
now joined by Messana, which had been seized by a 
tyrant named Hippo. Hicetas even undertook a raid 
into the territory of Syracuse, but on his return he was 
defeated with the loss of 1,000 men by a mere handful of 
cavalry under Timoleon at the river Damurias ; and on 
the appearance of the Syracusan army before Leontini 
shortly afterwards the garrison surrendered the town and 
its despot. The Syracusans put him to death, with his 
whole family, in revenge for the murder of Aristomache 
and Arete. t A little later Mamercus and Gisco were 
defeated on the river Abolus; and the Carthaginians, 

* He is called the son of Hanno, possibly the admiral mentioned on p. 131. 
He appears to have been banished for his father's ill success, and was now 
recalled to take the command. 

t See p. 127. 



THE LIBERATION OF TIMOLEON. 137 

giving up the struggle, sued for peace. The river Halycus 
was once more made the boundary between the Grecian 
and Carthaginian territories, and a special clause stipu- 
lated for the absolute freedom of all the Greek cities 
(339 B.C.). 

Mamercus now applied to the Lucanians for aid, but 
the surrender of Catana by its garrison to Timoleon 
compelled him to fly to Hippo at Messana. The town 
was at once besieged. Hippo, endeavouring to escape 
by sea, was caught and put to death in the theatre before 
the assembled people of all ages. Mamercus surrendered 
to Timoleon, who carried him to Syracuse, where he 
defended himself in vain before the assembly, and was 
executed as a brigand. In rapid succession fell the few 
remaining' despots in the island. The various settlements 
of foreign mercenaries were expelled, and by the year 
337 B.C., all Sicily east of the Halycus was once more 
Hellenic and free. 

Timoleon returned to Syracuse and at once laid down 
his command. Like Caesar, he could say, Veiii, vidi, 
vici ; and he could further add vixi. No shadow of 
suspicion had ever crossed his path, and now he ended 
his days still the first and best-beloved citizen of the 
State which he had restored, and no less honoured through- 
out Sicily than in Syracuse. He sent for his family from 
Corinth, and lived upon an estate voted to him by the 
people. He was attacked with blindness in the last 
months of his life, but none the less shared in all the 
public business of the State, and his opinion was seldom 
disputed. Once only did he meet with any ingratitude. 
Laphystius and Demaenetus ventured to attack him on 
petty grounds, and he insisted on having the matter tried 
in public in the usual way. His acquittal was, of course, 
a foregone conclusion ; but he expressed his gratification 
at being thus able to prove how entirely he was on a level 
with the meanest of his fellow-citizens. He died in 337 
or 336 B.C., and his funeral was magnificent in the ex- 
treme. His tomb was known as the Timoleontium, and 
his memory was honoured with public games and con- 
tests as that of a hero. 



138 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Before his death, he had seen the prosperity of Sicily 
rise anew. Colonists from all parts of Greece, leaving 
the sphere of Macedonian supremacy, crowded to the 
old cities of Sicily. Gela, Agrigentum and Camarina 
attained once more to something of their ancient opulence 
and grandeur, and the whole of the Hellenic portion of 
the island shared in their good fortune. The land which 
had been a desert at the time of Timoleon's first arrival 
became once more the garden of the Mediterranean ; 
and it may have owed something of its prosperity to 
the depression which still weighed down the cities of 
Magna Graecia, where the Lucanians and Bruttians con- 
tinually pushed their ascendancy. Increase of power 
and opulence brought with it the usual disturbances, and 
within a very few years of the death of Timoleon even 
Syracuse was again in the hands of an oligarchy. We 
know nothing of the process of the change, only that 
the oligarchy was close in the extreme, limited either in 
fact or in name to 600. Corinthian influence coming in 
with the new settlers may have contributed to the change; 
but the history of these later events belongs to the time 
of Agathocles. 



CHAPTER XI. 
Agathocles. 

His Origin and Early Life — Military Successes — Is banished in the 
Italian War — His Return — Expulsion of Sosistratus — Again 
banished and recalled — He arms the Rabble and sacks Syracuse 
— Is proclaimed Autocrat — Collusion of the Carthaginian General — 
Acrotatus commands the Exiles — His Conduct and Flight — Disso- 
lution of the League and Aggrandisement of Agathocles — Proceed- 
ings of Carthage against Hamilcar — Dinocrates heads the Exiles, 
who obtain Assistance from Carthage — Arrival of Hamilcar Gisco 
— Battle of Ecnomus and Siege of Syracuse— Agathocles prepares 
to quit Syracuse — He lands in Africa — His Reasons — He bums his 
Ships — Defeats the Carthaginians — Hamilcar raises the Siege of 
Syracuse — The Libyans join Agathocles — Defeat and Death of 
Hamilcar — Agrigentum heads the revolted Sicilians — Mutiny and 
Second Victory of the African Army — Arrival of Ophelias— History 
of Cyrene — Treason of Bomilcar — Agathocles revisits Sicily — Defeat 
of Archagatbus — Return of Agathocles— His Flight — Cruelties in 
Sicily — Italian and other Wars — Death and Character. 

The name of Agathocles, like that of so many of the 
great names of history, was surrounded from an early 
date with an atmosphere of prodigy. In simple fact he 
was the son of Carcinus, an exile from Rhegium, who 
had fled to Thermas, at that time under Carthaginian 
dominion, and there practised the trade of a potter. 
When Timoleon, after the battle of Crimesus, bestowed 
the freedom of Syracuse upon all who chose to demand 
it, Carcinus enrolled himself as a citizen and migrated 
with his son, now about twenty-two years of age, to 
Syracuse, where both continued to practise the father's 
trade. To these bare details legend added that Carcinus, 
warned by dreams and by the Delphian oracle that the 
child yet to be born would bring mighty calamities upon 



140 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Carthage and Sicily alike, had exposed Agathocles at his 
birth, and left him to perish. His mother, however, a 
native of Thermae, had contrived to rescue him, and had 
placed him under the care of her brother, with whom he 
remained seven years. His beauty and growth then 
attracted the notice of his father, whose admiration en- 
couraged the mother to reveal the child's identity, and 
so to secure for him his rights."^ 

Agathocles was already infamous for his vices when he 
came to reside at Syracuse. Here he found a patron in 
Damas,f one of the leading citizens, who was the means 
not only of enriching him, but of advancing him to public 
notice. In a war arising out of the old jealousy between 
Syracuse and Agrigentum,| Damas, commander of the 
Syracusan army, appointed his favourite to be captain of a 
division. Already distinguished for his size and strength, 
Agathocles gained in the war the further reputation of 
headlong daring and high courage. At its close he so 
improved his opportunities as to become a popular leader, 
for which his audacity and fluency well fitted him ; and 
on the death of Damas he married the latter' s widow, 
thus succeeding to a large property and to his late patron's 
position. 

Some time after, the Crotoniates,§ being harassed by 
the Bruttii, appealed to Syracuse, and a strong force was 
despatched to their assistance under Heraclides and 
Sosistratus, both men of infamous lives and leading 
oligarchs. The known democratic spirit of Agathocles, 
now serving as a chiliarch by special appointment of the 
people, prejudiced the generals against him to such a 
degree that they withheld from him the due rewards of 
his indisputable courage and bravery. He retorted by 
accusing them of aiming at the despotism ; but his warn- 
ings being unheeded, Sosistratus carried out his design, 
became virtual master of Syracuse, jj and compelled Aga- 
thocles to go into exile. The latter formed the plan of 

* Compare the story of Cyrus the Great, 
t Or Damasco. 

X Justin says iEtna was the belligerent town. . 
§ Others say the Campani. At any rate, it was an Italiot war. 
II It is not known whether Sosistratus became despot, or merely subverted the 
democracy in favour of the Six Hundred. 



AGATHOCLES. 141 

seizing Crotona, where, as the bravest soldier in the army 
lately sent to the town's assistance, he might reasonably 
hope for success. The plot failed, however, perhaps 
owing to the action of the Sosistratid party, and Aga- 
thocles fled to Tarentum, where he offered his services as 
a mercenary. Here, too, his very bravery aroused dis- 
trust, and he was again banished as guilty of revolutionary 
designs. 

About that time Sosistratus laid siege to Ehegium. 
Agathocles at once offered his services to the Ehegines 
in the hopes of thwarting the author of his exile. It 
seems he succeeded, for the next we hear is that Sosis- 
tratus was banished from Syracuse and Agathocles re- 
called. The absence of the former in Italy, and the 
activity of the latter — always, of course, in the interests 
of the democracy — probably gave to the Syracusans at 
once the courage and the opportunity to recover their 
liberties. The Six Hundred were overthrown, and. many 
of their supporters driven with them into exile. 

As usual, however, the expulsion of so many influential 
citizens produced only further troubles. Had the de- 
mocracy been content with the banishment of Sosistratus 
and a few only of his most active partisans, the remainder 
might have remained quiescent. As it was, they were 
ejected in large numbers, and being all men of position 
and well connected, they found ready audience and 
sympathy amongst the Greek cities — with oligarchic 
States as being themselves oligarchs, with democracies 
perhaps as offering a means of humbling the pride of 
Syracuse. Moreover, the Carthaginians, ever desirous 
of an occasion for fresh interference and eager to revenge 
themselves on Syracuse for their defeat at Crimesus, saw 
their opportunity in playing off one party against the 
other, and assisted the exiles, though we do not know 
to what extent. A long and dubious war followed, of 
which we know virtually nothing. We are told, indeed, 
that Agathocles was the moving spirit at Syracuse, and 
that he upheld the democracy alike as a private citizen 
and when entrusted with commands in the field, especially 
distinguishing himself by the manner in which he drew 



142 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

off his men from an unsuccessful attempt to surprise 
Gela by night. That town was garrisoned by Sosistratus, 
who was warned of the attempted surprise in time to 
meet the Syracusans, and coop them up in a narrow 
gateway. Agathocles, himself wounded in seven places, 
ordered his buglers to pass along the wall in opposite 
directions, and there give the customary signal for ad- 
vance. The Geloans, hearing the signals and expecting 
a fresh attack in two opposite quarters, ceased their 
pursuit of Agathocles' force, and allowed him to draw it 
off in safety. 

But despite his services he become an object of dis- 
trust to the Syracusans. The democracy remembered 
that the despot usually reached his aims by means of 
demagogy, and they did not forget the open attempts of 
Agathocles to establish himself at Grotona and Tarentum. 
Eival leaders of the popular party would endeavour to 
rid themselves of so formidable an opponent, and even- 
tually Acestorides, a Corinthian,"^ at the time in command 
of the army, plotted the assassination of Agathocles. He 
gave him orders to leave the city, and placed men in 
ambush to despatch him on the road, neither impeach- 
ment nor open assault being likely to succeed. Agatho- 
cles dressed in his own armour a slave who was attacked 
and killed, while the real object of attack escaped and 
collected amongst the Sicel tribes an army sufficiently 
large to alarm both Greeks and Carthaginians. Indis- 
criminately attacking both, he forced them to come to 
terms with one another in order the more successfully to 
resist himself. The exiled partisans of Sosistratus were 
accordingly recalled, and peace was made with Carthage. 
Sosistratus and Heraclides were thus disarmed and the 
Carthaginians disposed of. 

Agathocles could now direct his whole force against 
Syracuse. Supported by the hill-tribes, and in particular 
by Morgantine, he captured Leontini, shut up the Syra- 
cusans within their walls, and even laid siege to that 
city. Intestine feud prevented any united effort within 

* Possibly a soldier of Timoleon's army, or sent, like that general, to act on 
behalf of Syracuse. 



AGATHOCLES. 143 

the walls, and an appeal was made to Carthage. A gar- 
rison, under Hamilcar, was thrown into Syracuse; but 
Agathocles won their commander over by lavish promises,* 
and the citizens, finding their pretended allies of no use, 
bought off the threatened assault by again admitting 
Agathocles within the walls, upon his solemn affirmation 
that he would make no attempt to subvert the govern- 
ment. 

His return only intensified the bitterness of the fac- 
tions within the city. Calling himself * Patron of the 
Democracy,' he did his utmost to weaken the oligarchic 
party, now restored by the recall of the Sosistratid exiles. 
The latter constituted the Six Hundred, and were led by a 
handfiil of the extreme aristocracy. But democrats and 
oligarchs alike were divided into cliques, each with a 
separate aim and each hostile to the rest. Agathocles' 
studied moderation disarmed suspicion.! The Syra- 
cusans appointed him supreme commander and guardian 
of the peace until the different factions could be brought 
to agreement. 

It seems that his action now led to the exile of a 
large number of citizens, who betook themselves to 
Herbita, a Sicel town of the north-west, and there 
collected a force for war. Fortune favoured Agathocles. 
On pretence of resisting the exiles he collected his Sicel 
allies from Morgantine and elsewhere, and gathered 
about him all the worst class of citizens to whom a 
revolution might bring gain. This force he stationed in 
readiness at the Timoleontium, and invited to a con- 
ference at that spot Pisarchus and Diodes, leaders of the 
oligarchy. On their arrival with forty of their supporters 
he had them all arrested, declaring that they came com- 
missioned by the Six Hundred to seize him. His 
troops took up the cue, and demanded vengeance. 

* It seems that Agathocles promised to aid Hamilcar in his attempt to make 
himself independent of Carthage, or its despot. It was not unlikely that the 
Carthaginians should aid the Sosistratids again ; more probable still that they 
should transfer their assistance to Agathocles, consistently with their policy of 
encouraging despotism at the expense of democracy. The chronology cannot be 
determined. 

t It is probable that he purposely fomented the feuds which he professed to 
allay. 



144 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Agathocles threw off all disguise, and let his men loose 
to plunder the property of the oligarchs. For two days 
the town was a scene of murder and robbery. On the 
third day the surviving oligarchs, and such other citizens 
as were likely to be dangerous, were summoned before the 
' Patron of Democracy,' who put some to death and 
banished the rest, amongst whom was one Dinocrates. 
Then, declaring that he had ' purged the State,' he laid 
aside the general's mantle. But those who had acquired 
by his means the wealth of the exiled and murdered 
citizens could not risk the retribution which would follow 
the retirement of their protector. They pressed him to 
resume the generalship, and on his declaring that he 
would do so only without colleagues, they created him 
* autocrat.'* 

It now remained to deal with the exiles, who had 
moved from Herbita to Messana. Thither Agathocles 
marched, and having surprised a frontier fortress he pre- 
tended to negotiate a ransom, and meanwhile attempted 
to surprise Messana while off its guard. Failing in this 
he occupied Mylse, and so hemmed in the town on the 
west. In the autumn he laid siege to it with his whole 
force. The Messenians begged for assistance from the 
Carthaginians, who sent envoys to Agathocles, bidding 
him withdraw and restore the captured fort on pain of 
war, and accusing him of breaking the peace. Being not 
yet prepared for so serious a war he complied, but he did 
not desist from his aggressions upon the other Sicilian 
towns. Hamilcar, the Carthaginian commander, was, 
indeed, in direct collusion with him, and pledged to ad- 
vance him in every way as an instrument to his own 
designs. But as, by the Peace of Timoleon, autonomy 
was secured to all towns east of the Halycus, the govern- 
ment of Carthage could with justice accuse Agathocles 
of breaking the treaty. Many of these towns seem, 
indeed, to have placed themselves under Carthaginian 
protection as a defence against Agathocles. 

* Justin says that Agathocles was supported in this coup d'etat by 5,000 of 
Hamil car's troops. He also says that the whole of the Six Hundred were 
murdered, together with many democratical leaders ; while the populace, assem- 
bled in the theatre, were there kept in check by a body of troops. 



AGATHOCLES. 145 

Meanwhile the exiles from Syracuse, their ranks now 
increased by refugees from other conquered cities, formed 
a coalition of Agrigentum, Gela, and Messana. Afraid 
to entrust one of their own number with the command — 
a course which seemed to result invariably in the estab- 
lishment of a new tyrannis — they applied to Sparta for 
a commander. It happened that the Spartans had been 
defeated by Antipater, King of Macedonia, on the Peneus, 
in 323 B.C., and the numerous survivors of the defeat had 
been exempted, as in the case of Leuctra, from the or- 
dinary ignominy visited upon such survivors. This ex- 
emption Acrotatus, son of King Cleomenes, had violently 
opposed, and the resentment of the survivors was so 
bitter as to endanger his life. He was glad, therefore, to 
accept the command of the confederate Sicilians, and 
sailed at once, calling at Tarentum en route, where he 
was joined by a fleet of twenty-eight vessels. His arrival 
raised high hopes, and he was soon at the head of a large 
force. His position turned his head. Abandoning the 
rigours of Spartan discipline, he paraded himself in all 
the luxury and self-will which the Greeks stigmatized as 
Persism. Finally, growing jealous of Sosistratus, the ex- 
tyrant of Syracuse and leader of the confederates, he 
had him assassinated at a banquet. The discontent now 
came to a head. He was forced to steal away to Sparta ; 
the Tarentines, who had followed him only because he 
belonged to the blood-royal of their mother-city, returned 
home ; and the members of the confederacy, at the 
mediation of Hamilcar, concluded peace with Agathocles. 

The conduct of Hamilcar was on this occasion so mani- 
festly philo-Syracusan that the various States under the 
Carthaginian protectorate made personal complaints 
against him at Carthage. Always ready to find a handle 
against a general who did them no credit, the Cartha- 
ginians could take no open action, inasmuch as Hamilcar 
was in possession of their Sicilian territory, and would 
immediately ally himself openly, in case of danger, with 
Agathocles. His second in command, Hamilcar, son of 
Gisco, was of known loyalty, but probably in no position 
to withstand the attack of two such powerful allies. 

10 



146 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

Accordingly, the Carthaginian Senate contented them- 
selves with recalling Hamilcar Gisco, and with taking a 
secret ballot as concerned his superior officer, the result 
of which should not be disclosed until the arrival of 
Hamilcar Gisco in Africa. This piece of diplomacy was 
rendered nugatory by the death of its object, apparently 
about 314, 313 b.c. 

Agathocles was well aware that the peace was insecure, 
and that Carthage would take the first occasion to set it 
aside. He therefore busied himself in far-sighted pre- 
parations for the coming struggle, keeping on foot a 
mercenary force of 10,000 men and 3,000 horse, manu- 
facturing arms, and putting Syracuse in a state of defence. 
At the same time he extended his power, either by alliance 
or by conquest, over the various cities until he was once 
more checked by Messana. This town seems not to have 
acceded to the recent pacification, and to have become 
again the resort of all the Sicilian refugees. Isolated as 
it was, it was easily persuaded to abandon the cause of 
exiles who had no claim upon it. Agathocles secured the 
recall of such of its own citizens as had been banished 
for partisanship with himself, and immediately after- 
wards massacred 600 others who had resisted his aggres- 
sions. 

With the whole of the eastern sea-board in his power, 
Agathocles now felt himself able to defy Carthage and to 
pursue his aggressions towards the west. Gela and 
Agrigentum, the leading cities of the late league, were 
now in alliance with Carthage, and thither had collected 
the exiles recently expelled from Messana,, under Dino- 
crates, whom Agathocles had dismissed after the sack of 
Syracuse. Hamilcar was dead ; and it seemed that a 
blow might be struck before a new general could con- 
solidate the Carthaginian forces in Sicily. The Syra- 
cusan army was suddenly moved across the island upon 
Agrigentum, but found on its arrival that the Cartha- 
ginian general had already occupied the harbour with 
60 vessels. Agathocles withdrew, and ravaged the 
Carthaginian reservation, capturing several fortresses 
there. 



AGATHOCLES. 147 

News of this insult reached Carthage at the moment 
when Dinocrates was present as the envoy of the exiles. 
Added to his representations, it spurred the Carthaginians 
to fresh and vigorous efforts to crush the despot before 
his power reached a yet greater height. Dinocrates re- 
turned with the promise of speedy and effectual help, 
and was greeted with the news that his general, Nympho- 
dorus, had been cut off with an entire detachment by the 
Syracusans in the attempt to occupy Centoripe at the in- 
vitation of some of its inhabitants, whom Agathocles pro- 
ceeded to massacre forthwith. 

Meanwhile the Carthaginians, as earnest of their 
resolve, despatched to Sicily a fleet which sailed sud- 
denly, unopposed, into the Great Harbour of Syracuse. 
It could effect little damage, however, and retired north- 
wards, where part of it fell into the hands of Syracusan 
vessels off Bruttium. Dinocrates now occupied Calauria, 
at the invitation of its inhabitants, and being there at- 
tacked by a Syracusan army under Philonides and Pasi- 
philus, lieutenants of Agathocles, was defeated with loss 
and the road to Gela thrown open. Thither Agathocles 
at once marched, aware that the Carthaginians were 
encamped on Ecnomus, a hill in the Geloan territories. 
They declined battle, however, and Agathocles returned 
to Syracuse at the close of 312 B.C., boasting himself a 
match for the world. 

In the year 311 B.C. Hamilcar Gisco sailed for Sicily 
with a fleet of 130 ships of war, 10,000 African troops, 
1,000 Etruscan mercenaries, and 2,000 native Cartha- 
ginians, many of them leading citizens. He brought 
also 200 chariots and 1,000 Balearic slingers, and a fleet 
of transports laden with money, arms, and supplies of 
all kinds. A storm scattered the flotilla and destroyed 
60 ships of war and 200 transports, while the remainder 
reached Sicily only with great difficulty. But Hamilcar 
was soon enabled to recruit his forces to the number of 
40,000 foot and 5,000 horse from his Sicilian allies, whom 
he possessed the faculty of conciliating to a high degree. 
He occupied the same position as in the previous year at 
Ecnomus. 

10—2 



148 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

The kiudness of Hamilcar, contrasting with the con- 
tinued cruelties of Agathocles, caused widespread defec- 
tion throughout the States subject to the despot — 
defection increased by the news that the Carthaginian 
fleet had swept the straits of Messana, captured a Syra- 
cusan fleet of 20 sail, and was menacing the supplies of 
the city itself. Gela threatened to open its gates to 
Hamilcar, and Agathocles determined at one blow to 
secure that fortress and to intimidate the wavering 
States. Small detachments of his troops entered the 
town on various pretexts, mastered it, and massacred 
4,000 of the inhabitants on the charge of contemplating 
revolt. The remainder were stripped of all their valu- 
ables and money ; and Agathocles moved westward after 
securely garrisoning the place. 

The Carthaginians occupied the brow of the high 
ground on the right bank of the Himera, where it falls 
into the sea 20 miles west of Gela. On the left or 
eastern bank was another strong position called Phala- 
rium, and said to take its name from Phalaris, as Ecnomus 
from the lawlessness"^ of that tyrant. Here Agathocles 
entrenched himself; and for one or two days the two 
armies faced each other, neither caring to commence the 
struggle, owing to superstitious dread of an oracle which 
declared that the spot should one day be the scene of 
much bloodshed. At length Agathocles, to whose interest 
it was to hurry on the conflict, posted an ambuscade by 
the river, and sent across a small body of horse to draw 
out the enemy by driving off their cattle and horses. 
His plan succeeded. The Numidian cavalry dashed 
down, pursued the retreating Syracusans, and found 
themselves entrapped in the ambuscade. They were 
forced to retire in their turn, and Agathocles now moved 
his whole force across the river to storm the opposite 
hill. Success seemed probable, but the services of the 
Balearic slingers, whose missiles weighed as much as a 
pound each, at length drove off the Greeks ; and when 
they rallied and again charged up the slope they found 
themselves taken in the rear by a reinforcement of 

* envoisia, lawlessness. 



AGATHOCLES. 149 

Carthaginian troops which had just landed at the mouth 
of the Himera and moved up the valley unnoticed under 
cover of the hills. Hamilcar, who had probably waited 
for this to happen, now allowed his men to charge, and 
the Greeks, caught between two armies, were routed with 
terrible loss. Seven thousand fell, including most of the 
cavalry, and Agathocles shut himself up in Gela. With- 
out wasting time in assaulting that place, Hamilcar 
moved rapidly through the island, winning over amongst 
many others the numerous towns of the eastern coast, 
Catana, Leontini, Tauromenium, Messana, Abacaenum, 
and Camarina ; and Agathocles, finding his communica- 
tions with Syracuse threatened, withdrew thither to 
make what preparations he could to withstand the im- 
pending siege. 

With all Sicily leagued against him on the side of 
Hamilcar, his revenues intercepted, his cavalr}^ and the 
bulk of his mercenaries lost, with the Carthaginian fleet 
blockading the harbour of Syracuse and cutting off all 
supplies, Agathocles found himself reduced to extremity. 
Desperation quickened his wits. With the greatest 
secrecy he ordered the equipment of a fleet of 60 
ships, finding funds for the purpose by stripping the 
temples of their treasures, and by raising forced loans 
from the wealthy merchants. The walls of Ortygia, 
rebuilt upon the plan of the Dionysian fortifications, 
concealed the Inner Harbour so effectually that the 
whole fleet was built and manned without any rumour 
of the proceeding reaching the Carthaginians. Even the 
citizens were ignorant of its object, and imagined that 
the despot contemplated a descent upon Italy, Sardinia, 
or the Carthaginian possessions in Western Sicily. On 
board was put a force levied from the flower of the re- 
maining mercenaries, slaves armed for the purpose, and 
one or more members of every Syracusan family of note. 
To meet as far as possible the lack of cavalry, each horse- 
man was ordered to provide himself with saddle and 
bridle as harness for animals to be obtained by foray. 
When all was ready Agathocles convened an assembly. 
* He had hit,' he said, ' upon the one and only plan of 



150 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

salvation. He would restore the failing fortunes of 
Syracuse ; but the city itself must continue to hold the 
besiegers in check while he did so. All who despaired, 
or did not care to face the risk, were at liberty to depart.' 
Sixteen hundred of the leading citizens, amongst others, 
took advantage of this permission and prepared to quit 
the town, whereupon Agathocles slew them all and con- 
fiscated their property. He thus obtained additional 
funds, and at the same time rid himself of a large faction 
whose intrigues would have been dangerous. The good 
behaviour of the remaining citizens was secured by the 
presence of their relatives — brothers, sons, or parents — 
in the force now about to sail, where they were virtually 
hostages for the good conduct of those left behind. 
Antander, brother of the despot, with an ^tolian named 
Erymnon as his adviser, was left in charge of the city. 

tjnwilling to attempt to break out of the blockaded 
harbour by force, Agathocles waited some time for an 
opportunity to escape unattacked. At length the Cartha- 
•ginian squadron quitted their moorings to intercept a 
convoy coming up with supplies, and Agathocles at once 
put out to sea. The appearance of his fleet, of whose 
very existence they had been unaware, took the enemy 
completely by surprise, and while they were forming to 
meet the expected attack he obtained so good a start 
that, despite the keen pursuit which was at once made 
when it was found that he did not intend to fight, he 
was still in advance when night fell. The darkness, 
aided providentially by a total eclipse of the sun on the 
following day, enabled him to make good this advantage. 
For six days the chase was continued ; but when the 
enemy at last hove in sight the fugitive fleet was already 
off the coast of Africa, where, after a brief engagement, 
Agathocles ran his vessels ashore and disembarked. Here 
he fortified a camp, and the Carthaginians, believing that 
they had driven their prey into the toils, drew off in 
satisfaction. But they were terribly mistaken. Aga- 
thocles had resolved on nothing less than the invasion of 
Africa, and he had succeeded in the first step thereto. 

The total eclipse of the sun occurred on August 15, 



AGATHOCLES. 151 

310 B.C., which gives iVugust 19 as the day upon which 
Agathocles landed in Africa. The exact spot of his 
debarkation is unknown ; but a locaHty answering to 
the recorded name, Latomiae (The Quarries), is situated 
just to the west of the Mercurian Promontory. That he 
was able to induce his men to push forward so strenuously 
upon an expedition of unknown destination, and then, 
when its destination was at length revealed, to fall in so 
readily with his plans, speaks volumes for the influence 
and tact of Agathocles, more particularly in face of the 
eclipse — a prodigy which struck terror into the hearts of 
his crews, as it had done previously in the case of Nicias' 
troops, though at the same time it saved them by frustra- 
ting the success of the enemy's pursuit. 

There was much to justify a coup de main which was 
at best desperate. The maintenance of the siege at 
Syracuse was now a question of days, cut off as it was 
from all supplies of food and money ; while continued 
reverses gave daily fresh strength to the odium against 
the tyrant, who might look at any moment for his over- 
throw by an internal rising. Even if he had been able 
to withstand the siege, non-success would have been as 
fatal to him as defeat. On the other hand, by invading 
Africa he hoped at least to secure the recall of Hamilcar, 
and so to raise the siege of Syracuse; while the mere 
daring of the attempt would, for awhile at least, until its 
issue was seen, check the disaffection of his subjects, whose 
hatred of the * Barbarians ' was only second to their hatred 
of the tyrant. Moreover, he knew Africa to be a veritable 
garden, teeming with plunder of the richest kind, and in 
no position to resist attack ; he knew that the tributary 
cities would gladly throw off the yoke of Carthage if once 
they saw their way to doing so with success ; he knew 
that the wild nomad tribes, nominally allies of Carthage, 
would be quick to repudiate that alliance for one which 
offered them a share in the plunder of the richest country 
of the ancient world. To remain in Syracuse was to 
perish by starvation or the sword. To invade Africa 
might possibly turn the tables entirely ; at the worst, it 
offered a glorious revenge and a soldier's death. The 



152 



A HISTORY OF SICILY 



spirit which animated the despot was shown by his first 
measures. Declaring that he had vowed the sacrifice to 
Ceres and Proserpine if he should but reach Africa in 
safety, he solemnly fired his fleet with his own hand; 
and the troops, which yesterday had despaired of every- 
thing, assisted with enthusiasm at the sacrifice which cut 
off their every hope of retreat. 

Before the fears of his army could recur, Agathocles 
broke up his camp, and, marching southward, stormed 
Megalopolis,"^ which was, Tike all the Carthaginian subject- 
cities excepting Utica, quite unfortified. Every step of 
his progress increased his booty and his confidence. It 
was * a land of corn, wine, and oil,' of pasturage and 
flocks, of luxurious villas and wealthy towns, and all 
absolutely undefended. Marching round the Bay of 
Tunis, he occupied the town of Tunes, only fourteen 
miles south of Carthage, and made it his base of opera- 
tions. 

Meantime the Carthaginian fleet, after collecting the 
brazen beaks of the burnt Syracusan triremes, sailed 
round to Carthage, where the report of Agathocles' pre- 
sence in Africa, taken as proof of the destruction of the 
army under Hamilcar, had already spread dismay. It 
had even been proposed to send an embassy to Agathocles 
to sue for peace, when the arrival of the fleet, with its 
assurance of its own and Hamilcar's safety, reassured 
and emboldened the citizens. Hanno and Bomilcar 
were appointed generals, and, overlooking the perils 
likely to arise from the well-known rivalry of those two 
leaders, the Carthaginians trusted that such rivalry would 
serve as a mutual check upon their ambition. But the 
unhappy policy of punishing the general for his ill- success 
had not been without result. Bomilcar had no mind to 
risk crucifixion, and he determined to secure his personal 
safety by seizing the despotism. The workings of the 
same motives have already been seen in the case of that 
Hamilcar against whom the Senate passed a secret ballot. 

* Not mentioned in any other connection than the present. Apparently a 
Graj3ised form of the common Phoenician word magurim, which becomes in 
Latin inagalia, and in Greek usually Megara. 



AGATHOCLES. 153 

Bomilcar was his nephew, and he had therefore the 
additional motive of wounded honour. He led out his 
army with the resolve to strike, not for his country, but 
for himself. 

The force which now took the field mustered 30,000 
infantry besides chariots and cavalry, and included the 
entire native Carthaginian levy. To oppose it Agathocles 
could marshal only 13,500 men, of whom some were but 
half-armed ; while he seems to have had as yet no cavalry 
worth mentioning. His right wing, confronting Bomilcar, 
he entrusted to his son Archagathus. He himself, with 
1,000 picked men, faced the Carthaginian right wing, 
commanded by Hanno, and including the Sacred Band. 
The charge of the chariots and cavalry was apparently 
nullified by opening the ranks, and so allowing them to 
dash past with little effect. Before they could wheel 
and repeat their charge the whole Grecian line had ad- 
vanced and was already engaged in a hand-to-hand 
conflict. The Carthaginian right seemed on the point 
of victory, when the fall of Hanno, striking panic into 
his men, led to their complete rout ; and Bomilcar, find- 
ing himself thus left sole commander, at once attempted 
to draw off his men, and so leave the victory with Aga- 
thocles. His aim was to allow the invading army to 
break the power of Carthage, and thus open to himself the 
path to usurpation ; for in the event of Agathocles being 
defeated and his army destroyed, Bomilcar would have 
no further excuse for retaining his office of commander ; 
while the government would be left too strong to be 
attacked with any chance of success. Victory, indeed, 
remained with Agathocles ; but Bomilcar's attempted 
retreat became a total flight. The camp of the Cartha- 
ginians was captured with all its stores, and 20,000 pairs 
of manacles intended for the conquered Greeks. Two 
thousand men were slain, but the loss of the victors was 
proportionately heavy ; for the Sacred Band and the 
Libyans about them fought valiantly, and only fled when 
deserted by the rest of the line. 

The first proceeding of the Carthaginians on the news 
of this defeat was to order a wholesale holocaust of 200 



154 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

infants to Moloch as a propitiatory offering ; their second, 
to send to Hamilcar Gisco orders to despatch an instant 
reinforcement to Africa. The first measure was due to 
the discovery of a rehgious scandal, it being found that 
the annual sacrifices to the God had been evaded by 
substituting children of low birth for the noble infants 
prescribed as victims in the State ritual. The second 
measure showed that Carthage was in a critical position, 
and ill able to spare troops for foreign service. The 
bearers of the message to Hamilcar carried with them the 
beaks of Agathocles's vessels, and, suppressing all news 
of the defeat of Hanno and Bomilcar, Hamilcar spread 
the report that the armament which left Syracuse a few 
days before was annihilated. He then summoned the 
city to instant surrender, displaying the beaks of the 
triremes as proof of his assertions. But the Syracusan 
commanders suspected treachery. They suppressed in 
their turn all that Hamilcar's envoy had announced, and 
at once expelled from the city 8,000 citizens who were 
known to be in favour of capitulation. The refugees 
found shelter with Hamilcar, who now drew up his forces 
for the assault. He sent, however, a second envoy, re- 
peating his previous summons, and it was by the influence 
of Erymnon only that Antander, a weak-spirited man, 
was prevented from compliance. The delay proved the 
destruction of Hamilcar's hopes, for before he could com- 
mence the assault two despatch-boats ran the blockade 
and brought to Ortygia the news of the complete victory 
of Agathocles. Thus encouraged, the Syracusans were 
able to repulse the attempt to storm their walls, and 
Hamilcar raised the siege, despatching 5,000 men to the 
assistance of the government at home. 

Meanwhile, Agathocles, still pushing southward, had 
besieged and stormed Hadrunietum and Thapsus, and 
had repulsed with loss an attempt to recover Tunes. 
His success began to bear fruit in the defection of nomad 
tribes in alliance with Carthage, one of which, under 
their chief Elymas, now openly joined him. He next 
moved westward into the interior, but was recalled by 
the news that Elymas had rejoined the Carthaginians, 



AGATHOCLES. 155 

and that the latter, reinforced by the troops from Sicily, 
were a second time assaulting Tunes. He defeated and 
slew Elymas, and hurrying northwards, came upon the 
enemy by surprise in their lines before Tunes, and routed 
them with the loss of 2,000 men. 

The retirement of Hamilcar with his land force had in 
a measure relieved Syracuse, but it seems that the Car- 
thaginian fleet had never been withdrawn, so that supplies 
from seaward were uncertain and scanty, while on the 
landward side they could only be obtained, at the risk of 
surprise, by foraging parties. Hamilcar himself spent 
some months in making a fresh circuit of the island, and 
about the middle of 309 b.c. again moved upon Syracuse 
with a force of 100,000 men. He determined, as Demos- 
thenes did before him, to attempt the surprise of Eurya- 
lus, and with the same result. The Syracusans, sus- 
pecting his purpose, had already garrisoned that fortress 
with 3,400 men, who fell upon the advancing Carthagin- 
ians in the confusion born of their own numbers and the 
darkness, and drove them headlong over the cliffs. 
Hamilcar, fighting bravely, was captured alive, and as 
the seers had foretold him, he supped that night in 
Syracuse, though not in the manner in which he had 
anticipated. He was loaded with chains, paraded round 
the city, and finally killed by tortures. His head was cut 
off and sent to Agathocles. 

The defeated army remained in its lines and the siege 
still continued ; but the death of Hamilcar deprived it of 
union. The question of choosing his successor ended in 
a complete breach between the Grecian and Carthaginian 
portions of the army, and the former, amounting to a 
considerable section of the whole, withdrew in disgust 
and elected Dinocrates as their generalissimo. At this 
moment Agrigentum declared herself the liberator of 
Sicily. Dinocrates was unpopular and might easily be 
crushed, for his troops would desert to the banner which 
promised autonomy. The Carthaginians must soon leave 
the island to defend their home possessions. The Syra- 
cusans were too exhausted to resist anything short of 
actual attack. It was a brilliant opportunity of acquiring 



156 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

and honestly using in Sicily that position which Syracuse 
had usurped and abused. The Agrigentines put themselves 
under the command of Xenodicus, and proclaimed the 
freedom and independence of all Greek towns in Sicily. 

These towns were, however, now mostly garrisoned by 
the Carthaginians. Of all the recent possessions of 
Agathocles only Gela and Echetla"^ remained to him. 
The former town opened its gates to Xenodicus by night, 
expelled the Syracusan garrison, and joined heart and 
soul in the cause. The storming of Echetla — a strongly 
fortified position occupied by a handful of Agathocles' 
mercenaries, who raided on the territories of Leontini 
and Camarina in the hope of restoring their lost ascend- 
ancy in the vicinity of Syracuse — inspired the Syracusans 
with fresh fear, while it encouraged the various towns to 
expel their garrisons and set up democratical governments. 
The Carthaginians, in their absorbing desire to crush 
Syracuse, appear to have made no effort to stay the rise 
of this new Grecian power in the island. 

The head of Hamilcar, insolently paraded before their 
camp by Agathocles, showed too clearly to the Car- 
thaginians the fate of their forces in Sicily, while it 
heightened the confidence of the invading army, which 
seems to have moved unmolested up and down the 
country, plundering and destroying, but never going far 
from the walls of Carthage. An unfortunate brawl 
checked this tide of success. Lyciscus, one of the most 
popular officers, used insulting language to his com- 
mander while intoxicated, and though Agathocles took 
no notice of the offence, his son Archagathus saw fit to 
take the law into his own hands and to assassinate the 
offender. The whole army at once rose in mutiny. They 
clamoured for revenge on the assassin, and for the arrears 
of pay due to them.f They chose new generals, occupied 
Tunes, and, putting Agathocles and his son under sur- 

* A hill-fort commanding the overland route to Gela and Camarina, and also 
dominating the whole of the south-east corner of Sicily as far as Leontini. 

t This curious hint shows that the booty which Agathocles obtained was less 
valuable than it is said to have been. The bulk of the valuables had probably 
been carried into Carthage by the owners ; and there were none of the usual 
facilities for disposing advantageously of captives and plunder. Agathocles is 
said to have sailed from Syracuse witli no more tlian fifty talents. 



AGATHOCLES. 157 

veillance, threatened to make the father's life atone for 
the son's misdeeds unless the latter were surrendered to 
punishment. At the same time they opened negotiations 
with the Carthaginian army close at hand, and seemed 
in a fair way to coming to terms. Agathocles laid aside 
his dress and assumed the attire of a beggar, and saying 
that he did not care to live if his soldiers cared not to 
defend him, he made a feint of committing suicide. The 
soldiery relented and stayed his hand. Instantly he re- 
sumed his command, put his force under arms, and, 
marching out, inflicted a severe defeat upon the Cartha- 
ginians, who believed that the whole Grecian army was 
coming up to surrender. He then hurried again into the 
interior in pursuit of a Carthaginian army sent to reduce 
the revolted Numidians. In two engagements nothing 
decisive was effected by either party. A body of mer- 
cenary Greeks in the service of Carthage fell into the 
hands of Agathocles, who put them all to death after 
promising to spare their lives. 

At about the same time (309 — 308 B.C.) two additional 
events occurred to increase the difficulties of Carthage — 
the arrival of an army to reinforce Agathocles under 
Ophelias, King of Cyrene, and the attempt of Bomilcar to 
overturn the government. The city of Cyrene, now 
Ghrennah, was situate exactly midway between Alex- 
andria and Carthage. Originally a colony of Spartans 
under Battus, it remained for many years under a dynasty 
of kings, called after their founder the Battiadae ; and 
occupying one of the few fertile spots on the coast of 
North Africa, it attained a high degree of prosperity.* 
Its territory extended westward as far as the Arae Philaeni, 
where it adjoined that of Carthage. When Alexander 
conquered Egypt, 33?- B.C., Cyrene made submission to 
him ; but on his demise, Ptolemy, son of Lagus, who 
succeeded to the kingdom of Egypt, seeing the city in- 
volved in an exhausting war with some exiles who were 
seeking to effect their return, took its part, drove the 

* The fertility of Cyrenaica — the district round Cyrene — was proverbial. Its 
main product was silphium (assafcetida), the medicinal drug; whence t6 Buttuu 
aiXcpiuv is, with Aristophanes, equivalent to an Eldorado. 



158 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

exiles out of the country, and annexed the whole district. 
He organised it as a vice-royalty under Ophelias, late an 
officer in the army of Alexander, and connected by mar- 
riage with the house of the Athenian Miltiades. 

The wealth of Gyrene, could it be enlisted in his service, 
promised materially to aid the arms of Agathocles. He 
invited Ophelias to bring his whole force against Car- 
thage, promising that, in the event of success, Carthage 
should be the prize of Ophelias, while he himself would 
be content to have freed Sicily for all further fear of 
Carthaginian aggression. The influence of Ophelias 
enabled him to levy a large army — upwards of 20,000 
fighting men — with which he at once struck into the 
Libyan desert. The march was one of terrible sufferings, 
beset by the dangers of thirst and snake-bites, and 
harassed by the incessant attacks of the Libyans. It 
was accomplished, however, though with heavy losses; 
and Agathocles found himself reinforced by an army of 
10,000 Greeks, under the command of a general too 
powerful to be acceptable. He accused Ophelias of 
plotting against him, and put him to death. The Gyre- 
nian army, left without a leader, had no choice but to 
throw in its fortunes with those of the assassin. 

But far more dangerous to Carthage was the intestine 
peril which threatened her. Bomilcar, still commander- 
in-chief, despite his manifest treachery, on pretence of a 
levy, collected in the suburbs a force of 4,000 mercenaries 
and some 500 citizens favourable to his designs. Dividing 
these into five columns, he entered the city, cutting down 
his opponents on all sides; but the main body of the 
citizens, when their first alarm was over, seeing the 
scanty numbers of his forces, assailed him so vigorously 
with showers of missiles from the roofs that he was com- 
pelled to retire and fortify himself in the suburb known 
as Neapolis. By well-timed lenity the government 
induced the insurgents to lay down their arms, and dis- 
missed them all in safety, with the exception of Bomilcar 
in person, whom they at once crucified. It was a fortu- 
nate thing for Carthage that Agathocles was unaware of 
the crisis. Had he known of it in time he might have 



AQATHOCLES. 159 

captured the city. On the other hand, the sedition kept 
the Carthaginians employed when they might otherwise 
have taken advantage of the murder of Ophelias to draw 
over the whole of his army to their side.* A little later 
Agathocles moved round to the northern side of Carthage, 
and, after a short siege, took, and sacked Utica and 
Hippo Acra, two cities which had thus far remained 
loyal to Carthage. This was followed by the ravaging 
of the whole maritime district, t and the adhesion of 
many of the Numidians. Famine began to be felt in 
the- city, and so far superior was Agathocles now that 
he ventured to leave Archagathus in command, and to 
recross to Sicily in order to restore, if possible, something 
of his old ascendancy in that island. Two of his generals, 
Leptines and Demophilus, had recently driven Xenodicus 
out of the field, and at the moment when Agathocles 
landed at Selinus there was no force, Greek or Cartha- 
ginian, to oppose him. He re-established his authority 
at Heraclea Minoa, where it had only recently been dis- 
owned, and crossed to the north coast so as to avoid 
Agrigentum, where Xenodicus was stationed. Here he 
expelled the Carthaginian garrisons from Thermae and 
Cephaloedium, and arrived at Syracuse in the autumn of 
308 B.C., with no other reverse than the failure of an 
attempt upon Centoripe. His presence once more roused 
the entire island to arms, and, Xenodicus hanging back, 
Dinocrates took the command of an army of 20,000 Greeks 
— a force which Agathocles dared not meet in the field, 
but could only harass and annoy. Jealousy soon divided 
his opponents, and the Agrigentines placed themselves 
under Xenodicus. That general, compelled against his 
judgment to give battle to Leptines, was defeated with 
loss and fled to Gela. The recall of Agathocles to Africa, 
there to rescue the army under Archagathus, prevented 
his following up this success. 

The removal of Bomilcar had given fresh life to the 

* The chronology of these events is dubious. Justin says that there was no 
assault upon Carthage by Bomilcar, but that the latter was seized and executed 
immediately upon the discovery of his treachery, which occun-ed after a defeat 
of the Carthaginians by the combined armies of Agathocles and Ophelias. 

t I.e., the district to the north of Carthage and westward of the Bay of Tunis. 



160 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

Carthaginian government. Three columns of 10,000 
men each, commanded by Himilco, Adherbal, and Hanno, 
were despatched to act in the interior, on the coast, and 
in the central region respectively. Archagathus, elated 
by the success which had attended his lieutenant, Euma- 
chus, in a distant expedition amongst the Numidians, 
made the mistake of dividing his own small force in a 
similar manner. In rapid succession one division, under 
^schrion, was surprised and destroyed by Hanno ; a 
second, under Eumachus, inveigled by stratagem into 
attacking Himilco, was defeated and compelled to sur- 
render for lack of water ; and Archagathus himself, in 
command of the third remaining column, found himself 
shut up in Tunes and there besieged by the united Car- 
thaginian forces, now strengthened by the adhesion of 
all the towns which had sided with the invaders in the 
day of their success. 

Summoned urgently to the rescue, Agathocles, rein- 
forced by eighteen ships from Etruria, gave battle to the 
squadron which still blockaded Ortygia, and defeated it 
so completely that its admiral committed suicide to escape 
capture. He then joined Archagathus in Tunes. He 
found the troops starving and mutinous, but still num- 
bering 12,000 Greeks and 10,000 Numidians of doubtful 
fidelity. With these he endeavoured to draw out the 
Carthaginians to battle, but the latter declined, trusting 
to famine to gain the victory for them. In desperation 
he made an assault upon the besiegers' lines, and was 
driven back into the town with the loss of 3,000 men. 
During the same night the Carthaginian camp was acci- 
dentally fired by the flames of their triumphal sacrifices 
and completely destroyed, while at the same time the 
attempted desertion of the Numidians in Agathocles' 
army caused a panic so disastrous that 4,000 Greeks fell 
by each other's hands in the confusion and darkness. 
This second time did chance prevent either side from 
profiting by the disasters of the other. Agathocles now 
abandoned all hope, and made a cowardly attempt to 
escape. Detected, he was arrested and put in chains 
together with his sons Archagathus and Heraclides, 



AGATHOCLES. 161 

bnt was again set at liberty, on the report that the 
Carthaginians were advancing to assault the town, that 
he might organize some means of resistance. But he 
availed himself of the opportunity to make good his 
escape, deserting his whole army, and leaving even his 
sons in the hands of his infuriated mercenaries, who 
straightway put both to death in revenge for his flight, 
and sent immediately to treat with the besieging force. 
They agreed to restore all the towns still remaining in 
their hands for a sum of 300 talents, receiving in return 
permission either to take service in the Carthaginian 
army, or, if they preferred it, to retire to Sicily and 
reside at Solus. A few who still preferred to resist were 
captured and crucified. 

It was about the end of October, 307 B.C., that 
Agathocles finally quitted Africa. He had maintained 
his position there for three years and two months, during 
which he had been virtually master of the entire Cartha- 
ginian possessions in Africa. But his attempt to relieve 
Syracuse by the diversion thus created had been only 
partially successful, and he seems to have in no wise re- 
paired his exchequer by the plunder of Africa. The 
opportunities which continually offered themselves for 
making a favourable peace he declined, although he 
must have known how futile were his hopes of one day 
occupying Carthage. The only solid result of his actions 
was one which did not appear until long after he was 
dead — * he had probed the weakness of the Carthaginian 
empire to the very bottom, and mightier men than he 
.... were all too soon to follow in his footsteps.'* 
Sixty years later Kegulus followed his lead with the same 
ill-success. More than a century later Scipio the Elder 
did what both Agathocles and Eegulus had failed to do, 
and broke the power of Carthage on the field of Zama. 

We do not know what had been effected by Dinocrates 
since the second departure of Agathocles, but the despot's 
return was the signal for horrors which dwarfed anything 
as yet achieved by him. Enraged at the failure of his 
attempt in Africa, and by the loss of his army there; 

^ Carthayt and the Carthaginians, p. 59. 

11 



162 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

and expecting an immediate rising of all Sicily, he re- 
solved to deter it by a deed of blood. Marching through 
the island, he halted before the walls of Egesta and de- 
manded a large contribution in money. The town now 
numbered 10,000 inhabitants, who demurred at the mag- 
nitude of the impost. Agathocles replied by driving out 
and murdering all the poorer citizens in a body ; the re- 
mainder he tortured to death in detail, with an inquisi- 
torial refinement of cruelty which spared no age or sex, 
and did not hesitate to inflict the most horrible mutila- 
tions — a species of savagery almost unknown to the 
Hellenic hand. Now, too, he heard of the death of his 
sons in the camp at Tunes, and he took a terrible re- 
venge. It has been said that the Syracusans who formed 
the original army of invasion were chosen from all the 
notable families of the city to serve as sureties for the 
good conduct of their relatives at home. These relatives 
were now massacred without exception by Antander at 
his brother's command, and numbers of families were 
thus cut off root and branch. 

Agathocles, continuing his career of extortion, was 
checked by the news that his general, Pasiphilus, with 
the whole of the troops and towns under his command, 
had joined Dinocrates. Quite unmanned by this blow, 
he sent to Dinocrates with offers to retire altogether from 
Syracuse if he were allowed to retain only Thermae and 
Cephaloedium. Bat the latter, confident in his superior 
numbers and aware that peace would deprive him of the 
command of the force by which he hoped to seize the 
tyrannis for himself, made such extravagant demands 
that Agathocles took fresh courage. He concluded a 
treaty with the Carthaginians, surrendering to them 300 
talents and a large supply of corn, and all their old 
possessions in Sicily, and thus rid of their opposition he 
applied himself to dealing with Dinocrates alone. By 
accusing him of purposely declining the proffered peace 
for his own ends, he spread such disaffection amongst 
the ranks of his opponent's army that many of his sol- 
diers went over to Agathocles when the latter at length 
ventured on an engagement near Torgium, and the whole 



AGATHOCLES. 163 

force was destroyed either on the spot or in subsequent 
encounters. Dinocrates himself came to terms with the 
despot, and became henceforth a sort of partner in the 
tyrannis at Syracuse. It is more than probable that the 
victory of Agathocles at Torgium was a preconcerted 
affair, by which Dinocrates purchased his reward. At 
any rate he secured a position second only to that at 
which he had aimed, and he alone, of all the allies of 
Agathocles, never had reason to repent his alliance 
(306 B.C.). 

From this point onwards until 264 b.c. we have nothing 
but fragmentary notices of Sicilian history. It seems 
that Agathocles, once more securely established at Syra- 
cuse, directed his arms now against Italy. He led an 
expedition also against the Lipari Isles, of which we 
have no particulars ; but his main efforts seem to have 
been against the Bruttii, who, after forcing the Lucanians 
to aid them, were descending upon the Greek towns of 
Southern Italy. As early as 332 b.c. the latter had 
called in the assistance of Alexander of Epirus, who, 
however, was completely defeated and himself slain. In 
the course of the next thirty years the Eomans subdued 
Samnium, and strengthened by their alliance, the Luca- 
nians had become more than ever aggressive. In 307 b.c. 
the Tarentines called in the aid of Sparta, and King 
Cleonymus appeared in Italy with a large force. The 
close of the second Samnite war left the Tarentines 
isolated, and they, too, signed peace with Rome ; Cleo- 
nymus sailed away and seized the island of Corcyra 
(304 B.C.). Within a few years the Tarentines fomented 
the third Samnite war (298 B.C.), and the Greek cities, 
again attacked by the Lucanians and Bruttians, called in 
the aid of Agathocles. It is probable that during his 
presence in Italy he came into actual collision with the 
Roman troops ; at any rate his occupation of Crotona 
and Hipponium paralyzed the action of the Tarentines, 
and the Samnites, left to themselves, were a third time 
and finally reduced to peace, 290 b.c. It was during this 
war that Cleonymus, attacked in Corcyra by Cassander, 
King of Macedon, called in the aid of Agathocles, who 

11—2 



164 A HISTOliY OF SICILY. 

drove off Cassander and seized the island for himself 
about 298 B.C. Three years later, 295 b.c, he ceded 
the island to Pyrrhus as a dowry with his daughter 
Lanassa. 

In 289 B.C. he again quarrelled with the Carthaginians, 
and while organizing a new force to invade Africa was 
seized by mortal illness. He declared as his heir his son 
and namesake Agathocles, and directed the various gar- 
risons to be handed over to him. One such garrison was 
at ^tna, commanded by a second Archagathus, son of him 
who had perished in Africa and grandson of the despot ; 
and, on the new ruler appearing to take over the troops, 
Archagathus assassinated him. The dying tyrant, having 
nothing to hope for from the lenity of his grandson, de- 
spatched to Egypt, to the protection of Ptolemy, his wife 
Theoxena and his remaining children. He died shortly 
after, and dying heard that the Carthaginians had once 
more overrun the greater part of the island, which had 
owed what little immunity from barbarian encroachment 
it ever enjoyed only to the still greater barbarism of its 
Greek tyrant. 

Agathocles presents even more truly than Dionysius 
the Elder the ideal of outrageous tyr minis. A self-seeker 
from the first, he had attained the despotism by means 
which even Dionysius did not employ — the sack and 
pillage of the city he wished to rule. Like Dionysius he 
had spent the whole of his life in war, and each despot 
had brought ruin and misery upon Sicily at large — the 
latter in greater measure than the former. But there 
was in Agathocles none of the patronage of literature or 
the architectural munificence which made the Syracuse 
of Dionysius the leading city of Hellas, and cruel as 
Dionysius undoubtedly was, his character appears mild 
and forgiving by the side of the brutal temper of 
Agathocles 



CHAPTEE XII. 
Literature. 

Small remains of purely Sicilian Literature — The NatiVe School of 
Comedians — Epicharmus, Phormis, and Dinolochus — The Mimes 
of Sophron — Stesichorus, Pindar, Simonides, Bacchylides — The 
Transition — Sicilian Rhetoric — Corax, Tisias, and Gorgias — Empe- 
docles — The Birds of Aristophanes — The Second Period ; Court of 
Dionysius the Elder — The Poets — Philoxenus and Dionysius — The 
Historians — Philistus — Decay of Literature in the time of Diony- 
sius II. — Timseus — the Later Comedians— Theocritus — The Authori- 
ties for this History — Diodorus Siculus — Justinus. 

The wealth of Sicily, fostering the brilliant Hellenic 
genius, gave birth to numbers of poets, historians, and 
orators between the years 500 and 290 b.c, yet of all 
that number one only has survived in anything but the 
barest fragments, and most of them are names and 
nothing more. The old Dorian vintage songs developed 
into a perfect form of comedy, the brief space of freedom 
in the middle of the fifth century b.c. produced a brilUant 
school of rhetoricians, before the Attic comedy had 
obtained recognition, and while oratory was still a gift, 
not an art, in the foremost state of Greece. Towards 
the end of the fourth century b.c. was born Theocritus, 
whose poems have remained for all time the type of 
pastoral poetry — a poetry which had no counterpart at 
all in Attica. His works alone survive of all that was 
written in these three peculiarly Sicilian branches of 
literature by native Sicilians."*^ 

Sicily gained, however, an especial fame as the patron 

* The poems of Bion and Moschus, imitators of Theocritus, also survive in 
part ; but the former (flourished 280 B.C.) was a native of Smyrna, and both come 
later than the period under notice. Moschus flourished 250 h.c. 



166 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

of all the litterateurs of Hellas, under the rule of the 
earlier tyrants. The double-sided education of the Greek 
left its stamp upon the man, whether a citizen in a free 
democracy or despot of a subject people. The tyrants 
exercised their power mainly by the aid of physical 
strength ; but there always remained the national desire 
to excel in ' music ' also — the accomplishments of the 
mind. Hence came the splendid theories of the despots 
to Olympia, Nemea, Delphi, and the Isthmus ; hence 
the peaceful triumphs of Thero, Gelo, and Hiero with 
their chariots, and of Dionysius with his tragedies ; and 
hence came that patronage of literature — more particularly 
poetry — for which the courts of Gelonian and Dionysian 
dynasts were famous, and which was the one possible 
saving feature in the character of the sternest of despots. 
The literature of the fifth and fourth centuries of Sicily 
divides naturally into two periods of brilliancy followed 
by two periods of transition, less known but not therefore 
less prolific. The two eras of florescence are those of the 
Gelonian despotism, 485 — 470 B.C., and of the tyrannis of 
the Elder Dionysius, 400—367 B.C. 

The Sicilian Comedy, which attained perfection about 
a generation earlier than the Old Comedy of Athens, was 
developed spontaneously in Sicily. In character it was 
something between the Old Comedy of Aristophanes and 
the Comedy of Criticism to which the latter gave place. 
It consisted largely of mythological travesties, not unlike 
the later Satyric Drama of Athens, and contained at the 
same time suflicient of the political element to afford 
possibly a pattern for the Aristophanic Comedy. This is, 
however, doubtful. The political allusions in Sicilian 
Comedy must necessarily have been mild and guarded 
under the surveillance of a Gelo or Hiero, and it does not 
seem that this branch of the drama retained its character- 
istics later than the close of the Gelonian supremacy. 
More peculiar to it were the semi-philosophical and 
critical discourses with which it abounded, which were at 
once the prototype of the Athenian Comedy of Criticism 
(after 410 b.c.) and of the sententious dialogues of the 



LITERATURE. 167 

Athenian Tragedy whose first master, ^schylus, must 
have imbibed their style during his sojourn in Sicily. 

Epicharmus, the father of Sicilian Comedy according 
to Plato, was a native of Cos who migrated early to 
Megara in Sicily and was removed thence to Syracuse by 
Gelo. He is said to have been, like most Coans, a skil- 
ful physician, and he had considerable influence in 
the Court of Hiero. He died before 440 B.C. The 
* JVfenaechmi ' of Plautus is said to have been modelled 
upon a play of Epicharmus. 

The names of two other comedians of this school remain, 
Phormis and Dinolochus. The former was tutor to the 
sons of Gelo ; the latter is said to have been the son of 
Epicharmus, and a native of either Syracuse or Agrigen- 
tum. He flourished about 480 b.c. Phormis is possibly 
the same as Phormus the Maenalian who served in the 
armies of both Gelo and Hiero with distinction. In this 
case he was by birth an Arcadian. He is said to have 
introduced the use of purple skins as a covering for the 
stage. 

Sophron, son of Agathocles and a native of Syracuse, 
introduced his famous Mimes at about the time of the 
fall of the Gelonian dynasty. These were dialogues for 
all kinds of characters, written like the Comedies of 
Epicharmus in the Doric dialect, the prevailing dialect of 
the Sicilian Greeks. Whether they were in prose or verse 
is doubtful ; Professor Mahaffy suggests that they may 
have been of a similar style to the poems of the American 
writer, Walt Whitman. They took their names from low- 
life and were certainly coarse ; but they were marked by 
a dramatic power and vigour which rapidly made them 
popular, and Plato is said to have studied them as the 
best model for his own philosophical dialogues. Sophron 
left a son, Xenarchus, who was sufficiently successful in 
the same line of genius to be hired by Dionysius I. when 
that tyrant wished to have the Khegines lampooned on 
the stage of Syracuse. 

The tragedian ^schylus may be mentioned here as 
having resided in Sicily for some years. He is said to 
have left Athens in 468 b.c, disgusted with the success 



168 A HISTOBY OF SICILY. 

of the young Sophocles, who obtained the first prize at 
the great Dionysia of that year. He resided chiefly in 
Sicily until his death, which occurred at Gela, 456 b.c. 
The first year of his Sicilian life was spent in the court 
of Hiero. 

But the Gelonian era of literature derives its main 
lustre chiefly from the visits of three great lyric poets, 
Pindar, Simonides, and Bacchylides, who spent many 
years of their life at the courts of Gelo and Hiero. The 
Greek lyrists of the previous age had found their patrons 
in the courts of the tyrants of Corinth, Athens, Samos, 
and elsewhere. They now^ followed the transfer of the 
area of despotism to Sicily. The despot paid munificently 
for the panegyrics (encomia) which extolled his praises, 
the dirges {tlireni) which mourned his grief, the epitaphs 
which commemorated the dead ; for the processional and 
choric songs [prosodia and hyporchemata) which were 
sung at his festivals and feasts ; for hymns to the Gods, 
dithyrambs, paeans, odes to his successes in the games 
(epinicia), and drinking songs {parcemia). These were 
the special study of the lyric poets, and hence their great 
favour in the tyrant's eyes. 

Long before the days of Pindar had flourished Stesi- 
chorus of Himera, the earliest of Sicilian poets. With 
Alcman he shared the honour of the headship of Dorian 
poetry, and he was the first of the poets to break away 
from the old division between the lyric and epic styles, 
and to adapt the subjects of the latter to the music of 
the former. Though his efforts never reached the per- 
fection of the Pindaric odes, yet they approximated very 
nearly to them ; and he is generally regarded as the 
pioneer of the great Gelonian lyrists. He died as early 
as 552 B.C., having been a contemporary of Phalaris in 
Sicily, and of Pittacus, Alcaeus, and Sappho in Eastern 
Hellas. Ibycus of Ehegium, a court poet of Poly crates, 
despot of Samos, followed in the steps of Stesichorus, 
but did not live long enough to improve upon him, and 
his fame rests mostly on the pretty story of the ' Cranes 
of Ibycus,' who betrayed his murderers in the Theatre of 
Corinth. 



LITERATURE. 169 

Pindar (522 — 442 b.c.) was a native of Boeotia, where 
he chiefly resided; but the world-wide fame which he 
early acquired rendered him the envied guest of all the 
Hellenic courts — at Cyrene, in Macedonia, at Agrigentum, 
where he visited Thero, and at Syracuse, where Hiero 
entertained him for four years (473 — 469 b.c). His 
surviving poems are all Epinicia — songs commemorating 
the victories of winners at the four great Hellenic festi- 
vals, to each of which one book is devoted. Amongst 
these winners are Thero, Gelo, Hiero, and Psaumis of 
Camarina. 

Simonides (556 — 467 b.c.) was a native of Ceos. He 
lived at Athens at the court of the despot Hipparchus, 
next amongst the despot-oligarchies of Thessaly, and 
again at Athens, where he carried off no less than fifty-six 
prizes, conquered ^Eschylus in a competition for an elegy 
on those w^ho fell at Marathon, and finally went to Syra- 
cuse (476 B.C.), where he lived until his death. He was 
the great poet of elegy, mournful lyrics in alternate 
hexameter and pentameter lines, and he rivalled Pindar 
in the composition of odes. The latter poet's jealousy 
leads him to make continual innuendoes as to the avarice 
of his rival, whom he declares to have been the first to 
prostitute the art of poetry by taking money for his works. 
Numerous epitaphs by Simonides remain — notably that 
on the Spartans who were killed at Thermopylae — and 
a large number of fragments. He is to be distinguished 
carefully from his namesake, the iambic poet of Amorgos, 
who lived about 660 b.c. 

Of Bacchylides, nephew of Simonides of Ceos, there 
remain only two epigrams and a number of fragments. 
He flourished about 475 b.c, and lived long at the Syra- 
cusan court, composing paeans, odes, and dithyrambs. 

With the expulsion of Thrasybulus and the Liberation 
disappeared most of the munificence which had main- 
tained the brilhant lyricists of the previous era. These 
were still employed to celebrate the victories at the great 
festivals, but they no longer had any fixed Hellenic court 
to which they could congregate. In Sicily the Liberation 
brought with it the famous rhetorical school. Ehetoric 



170 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

— the art of oratory — could find no play under the rule 
of despots, who suppressed all public debate. With the 
sudden growth of democracy came the attendant art of 
swaying popular assemblies. It never attained in Sicily 
the logical and scientific accuracy and method which 
characterized the rhetoric of the Athenians of the fourth 
century B.C., being stamped out while still in its infancy 
by the despotism of the Dionysii. It was distinguished 
rather by the features natural to an art as yet empirical 
and untrained — by the lavish use of mere figures of speech 
and ornamental language, metaphor, and excessive ten- 
dency towards striking and often false antitheses. Never- 
theless, its first utterances from the lips of Gorgias in the 
Athenian Assembly produced a great effect, and led to the 
immediate study of rhetoric in that State. 

Corax, of Syracuse, was the pioneer of Sicilian rhe- 
toric. So powerful was his oratory that he became 
the leading figure in the State upon the expulsion of 
Thrasybulus. He composed the earliest treatise on 
rhetoric, which he called simply ' The Art ' (Techne), and 
his work long retained its value with later rhetoricians. 
Contemporary with him was Tisias, of whom nothing is 
known beyond that he taught at Thurii, where Lysias 
was one of his pupils. 

But the greatest of the Sicilian rhetors was Gorgias of 
Leontini (born 480 B.C.). In the year 427 b.c. he con- 
ducted the embassy which applied to Athens for help 
against the Sicilian Dorians, and made so great an im- 
pression that many Athenians at once became his pupils, 
amongst them Alcibiades, Antisthenes, and ^schines. 
He was a master of effective alliteration and antithesis, 
and prided himself on the nice balance of his periods. 
Besides being a rhetorician, he was also a sophist and 
philosopher. He wrote epideictic speeches, or declama- 
tions intended only for display, and there remain two 
of doubtful authenticity, the * Apology of Palamedes,' and 
the * Encomium of Helen.' He spent the later years of 
his life, after 420 b.c, in Greece and Thessaly, dying at 
the age of over a hundred years. In the dialogue en- 
titled Gon/ias, Plato represents him as arguing on the 



LITERATURE. 



171 



value of rhetoric with Socrates and others. Polus, of 
Agrigentum, a disciple of Gorgias, wrote several works. 
He appears as one of the characters in the Platonic 
dialogue just mentioned. 

Lysias, the Attic orator, need be mentioned only as a 
pupil of Tisias, at Thurii. His Sicilian training shows 
itself but slightly in his speeches, which are the very 
model of Attic oratory. To his harangue was due the 
insult offered by the Greeks to the Theory of Dionysius I. 
at Olympia, 384 b.c. Amongst the other Attic orators 
Isocrates shows very clearly the study of Sicilian models. 

Mention has already been made* of the schools of 
Pythagoras and Parmenides, which flourished so exten- 
sively throughout Western Hellas at this period. The 
only native Sicilian philosopher of whom any waitings 
remain was Empedocles, of Agrigentum, who flourished 
about 444 B.C., and was the teacher of Gorgias. He was 
one of the leading actors in the revolution which ex- 
pelled Thrasydaeus, and in the later overthrow^ of The 
Thousand. His philosophy dealt mainly with natural 
phenomena, and he therefore ranked amongst the early 
physiologists. He is said to have prevented the malaria 
which prevailed at Agrigentum by his schemes of 
drainage, and to have been so successful a physician as 
to win the name of a magician — a reputation which he 
studied to maintain. He even threw himself into the 
crater of -^tna, that the mystery of his disappearance 
might never be solved, and that it might be attributed 
to a deathless apotheosis. He wrote, amongst other 
works, all in poetry, a book explaining his system of 
natural philosophy (tsoI cfyvtjsug), and a poem entitled 
* Purifications ' (xa(Ja^,ao/), recommending virtuous living as 
a means of avoiding maladies. Lucretius thought highly 
of him, and made him his model in the poem De Bcrum 
Natura. 

The years succeeding Gorgias' retirement from Sicily 
have left no literature of Sicilian origin until the era of 
Dionysius I. Nevertheless, the Sicilian expedition in- 
fluenced the literature of Athens considerably, and one 

* See page 114. 



172 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

example of this is probably left in the Birds of Aristo- 
phanes, which seems to ridicule the inordinate ambition 
and hopes of the Athenians for empire in Sicily, which is 
represented by Nephelococcygia — ' Cuckoo-town in the 
Clouds.' The sixth and seventh books of Thucydides' 
history are almost entirely devoted to the details of the 
Sicilian expedition, and it is not unlikely that the author, 
who became an exile in 423 e.g., visited Syracuse. His 
predecessor, Herodotus, certainly migrated to Thurii, 
where he died. 

With the firm establishment of Dionysius began the 
second era of Sicilian literature ; but it was now rather 
an era of prose writers than of poets, although Philoxenus 
was a poet of considerable ability, and Dionysius himself , 
as has been said, competed successfully for the prize of 
Tragedy. Philoxenus (435 — 380) was a native of Cythera, 
who was sold in his youth as a slave, and resided for 
some years at Athens, where the poet Melanippides in- 
structed him in dithyrambic poetry. He migrated after- 
wards to Syracuse, where he was long in high favour. 
He fell into disgrace, however, for the severe criticisms 
which he passed on the verses of Dionysius, and was im- 
prisoned. Soon released, he never quite regained his 
position, and ultimately went to Ephesus, where he died, 
380 B.C. He wrote, amongst other poems, a dithyrambic 
ode entitled Cyclops for Galatea), and another named 
The Banquet {AiT^vov), describing the luxurious living of 
the despot. Only fragments remain of either work. 

Of the compositions of Dionysius nothing is known but 
the title of the play — ' The Eansom of Hector ' — which 
conquered at the Athenian Lenaeaof 367 b.c, and so led 
indirectly to its author's illness and death. 

The chief writer of prose was Philistus, a native of 
Syracuse, who assisted Dionysius I. in his usurpation, and 
was for many years his leading minister. He was then 
banished, and retired to Adria, where he composed his 
history. He returned on the accession of Dionysius II., 
and remained the chief adviser of that tyrant when he 
had secured the banishment of his rival Dion. His death 



LITER ATUliE. 173 

has already been described.* His history consisted of 
two parts. The former, comprising seven books, re- 
counted the history of Sicily down to the sack of Agrigen- 
tum, 406 B.C. ; the second related the history of Diony- 
sius I. in four books, and that of Dionysius II. in two 
more. Only a few fragments remain. His style was 
modelled closely on that of Thucydides. 

There must have been many other authors at the court 
of Syracuse at this period, for it rivalled the literary 
brilliancy of the days of the Gelonian dynasty. None, 
however, have survived ; and the troubles which followed 
the death of Dionysius the Elder soon broke up the circle ,» 
which had gathered about him, particularly when his 
successor quarrelled with Dion and threw off his brief 
enthusiasm for intellectual pursuits. The years between 
367 — 339 B.C. were years of misery, in which no such 
pursuits could thrive, and with Plato literature virtually 
quitted Sicily until the time of Timoleon and the Second 
Liberation. The succeeding years produced more fruit 
as peace and security returned ; but even in the worst of 
the years of oppression a few glimpses of better things 
may be seen. The tyrant Mamercus was an author of 
tragedies of no mean merit ; Athanis wrote history ; 
Archytas and his followers studied philosophy in Magna 
Graecia, as did ^schines at Syracuse, himself a disciple 
of Socrates. Of the relationship of Plato's philosophy to 
this period full details have been given already, f 

The town of Tauromenium, which was the first to 
welcome Timoleon, was the birthplace of TimuBus the 
historian, whose father Andromachus was the leading 
citizen of that town. He was born about 350 b.c. ; but 
of his life nothing is known, save that he was banished 
by Agathocles, and died at the age of ninety-six at Athens, 
where he had resided for fifty years. He was the author 
of a voluminous History of Sicily from the earliest times 
down to 264 b.c, when Philinus and Polybius took up 
the thread of his narrative. The work exceeded forty 
books, and though Polybius often attacks it, it had the 
merit of being full of archaeological details, of which the 

* See page 121. t See page H3 sq<i. 



174 A HISTORY OF SICILY. 

loss is irreparable. He was the first writer to introduce 
the system of chronology which dates events by Olym- 
piads. Only fragments remain. 

During the years of the Liberation there was a revival 
of the dramatic art in Sicily. Sosicles of Syracuse, who 
flourished 340 — 320 b.c. , wrote seventy- three tragedies, and 
was seven times a victor. Nothing is known of his plays, 
and he seems to have been almost isolated in his pursuit 
of the tragic drama. The names of comedians are a little 
more numerous. Chief amongst them were Philemon and 
Apollodorus. The former was a native of Soli or Syracuse ; 
he probably resided at the latter place for some time. 
He began to exhibit in 330 b.c, and was considered by 
some even superior to Menander, the greatest writer of 
the Comedy of Manners. Even Quinctilian, the critic, 
places him second. He imitated the style of Euripides, 
and of the fifty-three comedies of which the names 
survive. The Treasure (Oriffav^oc) was translated by Plautus 
as the Trinummus. Apollodorus of Gela was another 
contemporary of Menander (whose date is 342 — 291 B.C.). 
The Phormio of Terence was a translation of a play of 
his, as was also Terence's Hecyra according to one 
account, though another attributes it to Menander in its 
original form. This Apollodorus was confounded with a 
namesake, a native of Carystus, who ranked as one of the 
six masters of the New Comedy. 

About the time of Sosicles flourished Alexis of Thurii, 
the uncle and teacher of Menander, and author of no less 
than two hundred and forty-five comedies. 

The poet Theocritus belongs strictly to the middle of 
the third century B.C., but something may be said of 
him here. The date of his birth is unknown. He was a 
Syracusan, son of Praxagoras and Philinna, and early 
removed to Alexandria, afterwards returning to Sicily, 
where he lived at the court of Hiero II. in the time of 
the first Punic War. The Idylls which go by his name 
are not all genuine, and the same applies to the twenty- 
two epigrams and the fragments of a poem called Berenice 
which are attributed to him. He was the first writer of 
Bucolic, or Pastoral Poetry, but some of his genuine 



LITERATURE. 175 

Idylls are encomia on Hiero and on Ptolemy Soter, King 
of Egypt, who patronized the poet when at Alexandria. 
The purely bucolic idylls describe the everyday life of 
the Sicilian peasantry without any of that false simplicity 
and virtue which characterizes later bucolic poetry. He 
found imitators in Bion and Moschus, in Vergil, whose 
Eclogues are freely copied from the idylls, and in every 
later age down to the Corydons and Phyllides of the 
English poets of the eighteenth century. His is the 
last great name in Sicilian literature, the most individual, 
and at the same time the only name which possesses a 
reality for modern thought. All the others are little 
more than shadows, since their writings have in every case 
all but perished. And hence the gaps which occur in 
our knowledge of the history of even Syracuse, and the 
almost total blank in our knowledge of other Sicilian 
States. Nothing can repair the loss of the histories of 
Philistus and TimjEus. Our sole authorities for any 
continuous history are Diodorus Siculus, a native of 
Agyrium, and contemporary with Caesar and Augustus, 
and Justinus. But the work of the former, aiming at 
being a univeral history, naturally allows of little detail 
except in the case of such events as those of the lives of 
Dionysius and Agathocles, and even these are interrupted 
by the loss of portions. Of the forty books only fifteen 
survive in a complete form, including the history of the 
known world from 480 to 302 b.c. Justinus (a writer 
whose date is unknown, but probably about the third or 
fourth century a.d.) has left merely a digest of the forty- 
four books of the * HistoriaB Philippica3 ' of Pompeius 
Trogus, and is as brief as epitomizers usually are, or even 
more so. These scanty materials are eked out by the 
help of casual notices in Herodotus for the period prior 
to 480 B.C. ; by the sixth and seventh, and portions of 
other books of Thucydides ; by Plutarch's Lives of Dion, 
Timoleon, and Nicias, and incidental allusions in other 
Lives ; by the fragments of the historians of Sicily ; and 
by those of Ephorus of Cymae, who wrote a Universal 
History down to the year 341 b.c, in thirty books, largely 
utilized by Diodorus. These, and still slighter allusions 



176 A HISTOEY OF SICILY. 

and hints in the writings of Greek and Eonian poets, 
orators, and historians, constitute the entire stock of 
materials for the history of one of the most famous 
islands in the world — an island w^hose soil was the seen 
of some of the greatest struggles and triumphs of the 
Greeks, and the seat of some of their noblest cities. 



t51. 0— — — — ^~£i 

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Editor of Cicero Be Amicitia, Pro Balbo, and De Finibus I. 
A. H. Allcroft, Esq., B.A. Oxon., First Class Classical Honours at 

Moderations and Final Classical Exam. ; Editor of Livy XXI., 

Sophocles' Antigone, Horace' Odes ; Author of >t4 Historg of Sicily, 

Th^ £e\gn of Auyuitus, Latin Syntax and Componition. 



Additional Tutors for Special Subjects. 

F. Ryland, Esq., M. A., Second in First Class Honours (Mental and 

Moral Science, &c.) ; Examiner for the Moral Sciences Tripos, 
Cambridge ; Author of a Manual of Ptychology and Ethiea for 
Lond. B.A. and B.Sc, &c. 

Robert Bryant, Esq., D.Sc.-Lond., B.A. Lond., Assistant Examiner 
in Mathematics at London University. 

J. H. Haydon, Esq., M.A. Camb. and Lond., Exhibitioner in Latin 
at Inter. Arts, Univ. Scholar in Classics at B.A., Gold Medallist 
at M.A. ; First Class, First Div., Classical Tripos. 

G. F. H. Syjcbs, Esq., B.A. Lond., Classical Honours, Assistant 

Examiner in Classics at Lond. Univ ; Author of a Translation of 
Thucydides IV., and Iphiyenia in Tatiris. 

Hbimrich Baumann, Esq., M.A. Lond., First in First Class Honours 
at Inter, and Final 13. A. both in French and German. 

W. H. Evans, Esq., B.Sc, M.D. Lond., First Class Honours at M.B. 

Samtjbl Rideal, Esq., D.So. (Chemistry), Gold Medallist; Assistant 
Examiner to the Science and Art Department. 

J. W. Btans, B«q., B.Sc., LL.B. Loud., First in First Class Hons. 

C. H. Draper, Esq., D.Sc, B.A., Teachers' Diploma. 

A. H. Walker, Esq., D.Mus. Lond., 10th in Honours at Matricu- 
lation, and Honours in Classical Tripos. 

G. W. Hill, Esq., B.Sc. (Hons.), M.B. (Hons.). 

H, E. Just, Esq., B.A. Lond., Double Honours in French and Ger- , 
man (Ist Class), First in First Class Honours at Inter. 



CHIEF SUCCESSES 

'£OTUT 

EECENTLY GAINED BY 

mintveraiti? Correeponbence College* 

AT MATRICULATION. JUNE, 1889, 

78 U. C. Coll. Students passed. 

Thia number far exceeds the largest ever passed by any other Institu- 
tion at this Examination. 

AT INTER. ARTS, 1889, 

71 U. C. Coll. Students passed, 

(A number altogether unprecedented) ; 
Eleven in Honours, two with first places, and one with a second place. 

21 also passed the Inter. So. and Prel. Sol. Exams., 

five in Honours. V •' ••..>.f;>. ■:. 

AT B.A., 1889. 

70 U. C. Coll. Students passed; 

Being a larger number than was ever before passed by any Institution. 

16 U. C. Coll. Students took Honours. 

6 also passed at B.Sc, 2 of whom headed Honour lists. 

AT M.A., 1889, 

Two Students of Univ. Corr. Coll. 

passed in Branch I., and in 188S 

One headed the DSental and Moral Science List. 



Full Prospectus, Pass Lists, and further information maybe had on 
application to the 

SECRETARY, 12'^ Booksellers Row, Strand, W.C, 





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