Hieronymus, king of Syracuse, takes part with the Carthaginians; is put to death by his subjects, on account of his tyranny and cruelty. Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, pro-consul, with an army composed mostly of slaves, defeats the Carthaginian army under Hanno, at Beneventum; gives the slaves liberty. Most of the States in Sicily go over to the side of the Carthaginians. Claudius Marcellus consul besieges Syracuse. War declared against Philip king of Macedonia, who is surprised by night, and routed at Apollonia. Operations of the Scipios, against the Carthaginians, in Spain. Treaty of friendship with Syphax king of Numidia; he is defeated by Massinissa king of the Massylians. The Celtiberians join the Romans, and their troops are taken into pay: the first instance of mercenaries serving in a Roman army.
Y.R. 537. 215.I. ON his return from Campania into Bruttium, Hanno, assisted by the Bruttians, who served him also as guides, endeavoured to gain possession of the Greek cities, which were the more inclined to adhere to their alliance with Rome, for the very reason that they saw the Bruttians, whom they both hated and feared, taking part with the Carthaginians. The first attempt was made on Rhegium, and several days were spent there to no purpose. Meanwhile the Locrians hastily conveyed from the country into the city, corn, timber, and other necessaries, for which they might have occasion, wishing at the same time to leave nothing which the enemy could seize; while the multitude, which poured out of the gates, became every day more and more numerous. At last, those only were left in the place, who were obliged to prepare the works, and to carry weapons to the posts of defence. Against this mixed multitude, consisting of persons of all ages and ranks, and straggling through the fields, mostly unarmed, Hamilcar, the Carthaginian, sent out his cavalry, who, having received orders not to hurt any of them, only threw their squadrons in the way to cut off their retreat to the city, towards which they directed their scattered flight. The general himself, having taken his station on an eminence, which commanded a view both of that and the adjacent country, ordered a cohort of Bruttians to approach the walls, and invite the leaders of the Locrians to a conference, and, with assurances of Hannibal’s friendship, to persuade them to a surrender. At the beginning of the conference, the Bruttians had no credit given to any of their representations. Afterwards, when the Carthaginians appeared on the hills, and the few citizens, who had effected an escape, had informed the townsmen that the rest of the multitude were in the enemy’s power, then, overcome by fear, they answered, that they would consult the people. Accordingly, they instantly summoned an assembly, in which appeared all of the most unsettled who wished for a change of measures and of allies, with those, whose relations had been intercepted by the enemy, and who had their judgments influenced by those pledges, as if so many hostages had been given for their conduct; while a few rather approving in silence, than venturing openly to maintain the cause which they would have espoused, it was concluded, with every appearance of perfect unanimity, to surrender to the Carthaginians. Lucius Atilius, the commander of the garrison, and the Roman soldiers who were with him, were privately conveyed to the harbour, and put on board ships, to be carried off to Rhegium, and then the townsmen received Hasdrubal and his Carthaginians into the city, on the condition of an alliance being immediately entered into on terms of equality. When they had surrendered, they were very near losing the benefit of this stipulation; for the Carthaginian general accused them of having covertly sent away the Roman commander, while they alleged that he had escaped without their privity. A body of cavalry was now sent in pursuit, in case, by any accident, the current might detain him in the streight, or drive the ships to land: these did not overtake him; but they saw other ships crossing from Messana to Rhegium, which carried Roman soldiers, sent by the prætor, Claudius, as a garrison for the security of that city: in consequence of this, the enemy withdrew immediately from Rhegium. In pursuance of orders from Hannibal, a treaty of peace was concluded with the Locrians, on these terms, that “they should live in freedom under their own laws; that the city should be open always to the Carthaginians, but that the harbour should remain in their possession, as at first; and that, as the fundamental principle of the treaty, the Carthaginians should, on all occasions, assist the Locrians, and the Locrians the Carthaginians.”
II. The Carthaginians, after this, marched back from the streight, while the Bruttians expressed great dissatisfaction at their having left Rhegium and Locri in safety, for they had destined to themselves the plunder of those places. Wherefore, having formed into bodies, and armed fifteen thousand of their own young men, they set out to lay siege to Croto, another Grecian city and a sea-port; thinking that it would prove a very great accession to their power, if they should gain possession of an harbour on the coast, and of a strongly fortified town. They were embarrassed by the considerations, that they could not well venture to proceed without calling in the Carthaginians to their assistance, lest they should appear to conduct themselves, in any case, inconsistently with the character of confederates; and that, on the contrary, should the Carthaginian general again act rather as an umpire of peace, than an auxiliary in war, the attack on the independence of Croto, like the former one on Locri, would be productive, to them, of no advantage. For these reasons it was judged most adviseable to send ambassadors to Hannibal, to procure from him beforehand an engagement, that Croto, when reduced, should be the property of the Bruttians. Hannibal, remarking that persons on the spot were the fittest to determine in such a case, referred them to Hanno, from whom they could obtain no decisive answer: for these commanders did not wish that a city, so celebrated and so opulent, should be plundered; and, at the same time, they entertained hopes, that, as the Bruttians were to be the assailants, the Carthaginians not appearing either to countenance or aid the attack, the inhabitants might, the more readily, come over to their side. But the Crotonians were not united in their designs, or in their wishes. The same distemper, as it were, had seized every one of the states of Italy; the nobility and commons embracing opposite parties, the former favouring the Romans, the latter violently endeavouring to bring about an union with the Carthaginians. A deserter informed the Bruttians, that a dissension of this sort prevailed in Croto, that one Aristomachus headed the party of the commons, and pressed them to surrender to the Carthaginians; that the city, being very extensive, and the works stretching to a great extent on all sides, the watches were divided separately between the senators and commons; and that, in every quarter, where the latter had the guard, the assailants would find a ready entrance. Under the direction and guidance of this deserter, the Bruttians encircled the town, and being received into it by the plebeians, carried, at the first assault, every post except the citadel; of this the nobles held the possession, having beforehand secured a refuge there, in case of such an event as now happened. Aristomachus also fled thither, pretending that he had advised surrendering the city to the Carthaginians, not to the Bruttians.
III. Before the coming of Pyrrhus into Italy, the wall encompassing Croto was twelve miles in circumference; since the devastation, caused by the war which then took place, scarcely one half of the inclosed space was inhabited; the river which formerly flowed through the middle of the town, now ran on the outside of the part occupied by buildings, and the citadel was at a great distance from these. Six miles from the city stood the famous temple of Juno Lacinia, more universally celebrated than the city itself, and held in high veneration by all the surrounding nations. Here, a consecrated grove, encompassed on the extremities by close-ranged trees and tall firs, comprehended in the middle a tract of rich pasture ground, in which cattle of every kind, sacred to the goddess, fed, without any keeper, the herds of each particular kind going out separately, and returning at night to their stalls, without ever receiving injury, either from wild beasts, or men. The profits, therefore, accruing from these cattle were great, out of which, a pillar of solid gold was erected and consecrated, so that the same fane became as remarkable for riches as for sanctity. Several miracles are also attributed to it, as they generally are to such remarkable places: it is said, that there is an altar in the porch of the temple, the ashes on which are never moved by any wind. The citadel of Croto, hanging over the sea on one side, and on the other facing the country, had originally no other defence than its natural situation; afterwards a wall was added, inclosing a place, through which Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, effecting a passage over some rocks, at the back part, had taken it by surprise. The fort thus situate, and deemed sufficiently secure, was held by the nobles, while the plebeians of Croto, in conjunction with the Bruttians, carried on the siege against them. After a considerable time, perceiving that the place was too strong to be reduced by their own force, they yielded to necessity, and implored the assistance of Hanno. Hanno endeavoured to prevail on the Crotonians to surrender, allowing a colony of Bruttians to be settled among them; so that their city, wasted and depopulated by wars, might recover its former populous state; but not one of the whole number, excepting Aristomachus, would listen to the proposal; they declared warmly, that “they would rather die, than, by admitting Bruttians into their society, be obliged to adopt foreign rites, manners, laws, and, in time, even a foreign language.” Aristomachus, unable by persuasions to bring about a surrender, and finding no opportunity of betraying the citadel, as he had betrayed the town, left the place and went over to Hanno. Soon after this, ambassadors from Locri going, with Hanno’s permission, into the citadel, used many arguments to prevail on them to suffer themselves to be removed to Locri, and not to resolve on hazarding the last extremities. This design they had already got leave to execute from Hannibal himself, having sent deputies to treat with him in person. Accordingly Croto was evacuated, and the inhabitants, being conducted to the sea, went on board ships. The whole body of the people removed to Locri. In Apulia, even the winter did not produce a suspension of hostilities between the Romans and Hannibal. The consul Sempronius had his winter-quarters at Luceria; Hannibal his near Arpi. Several slight engagements passed between their troops, in consequence of opportunities offering, or of one or the other party gaining an occasional advantage; and by these, the Roman soldiery were improved, and rendered daily more cautious and guarded against the enemy’s stratagems.
IV. In Sicily, the whole course of affairs took a turn unfavourable to the Romans, in consequence of the death of Hiero, and of the kingdom devolving on his grandson Hieronymus, a boy in whom, there was originally no room to expect moderation of conduct, much less, on his being invested with absolute power. His guardians and friends were happy in finding him of such a disposition, as they could hurry, at once, into every kind of vice. It is said that Hiero, foreseeing that this would be the case, had, in the last stage of his life, formed an intention of leaving Syracuse free, lest the sovereignty, which had been acquired and established by honourable means, should, under the tyrannical administration of a boy, be destroyed through folly and extravagance. This design his daughters opposed strenuously, because they expected, that, while Hieronymus enjoyed the title of king, the whole administration of affairs would rest in them and their husbands, Andranodorus and Zoippus, for these were left the principal among his guardians. It was no easy matter for a man, now in his ninetieth year, and beset night and day, by the insinuating wiles of women, to keep his judgment at liberty, and to regulate his domestic concerns by the standard of public utility. He, therefore, only took the precaution of setting fifteen guardians over his grandson; and these he entreated, in his dying moments, to maintain inviolate the alliance with the Roman people, which he had religiously observed through a course of fifty years; to direct their endeavours principally to the making the boy tread in his steps, and pursue the maxims inculcated in his education: after giving these charges, he expired, and the governors quitted him. The will was then produced, and the prince, now about fifteen years old, was brought before the people in assembly, on which a few, who had been placed in different parts of the crowd for the purpose of raising acclamations, signified their approbation of the will; while the rest, affected as if they had lost their parent, dreaded all things, in a state thus bereft of its protector. The King’s funeral was next performed, and, more through the love and affection of his subjects, than any care of his relations, was numerously attended. In a little time after, Andranodorus displaced the other guardians, asserting that Hieronymus had attained to the years of manhood, and was capable of holding the government; and, by thus resigning the guardianship, which he held in common with many, he collected in himself singly the power of them all.
V. Scarcely would even a good and moderate prince, succeeding one so highly beloved as Hiero, have found it easy to acquire the affections of the Syracusans. But Hieronymus, as if he meant, by his own faults, to excite grief for the loss of his grandfather, demonstrated, immediately on his first appearance, how great an alteration had taken place in every particular. For the people, who had for so many years seen Hiero, and his son Gilon, no way differing from the rest of the citizens, either in the fashion of their dress or any other mark of distinction, now beheld purple and a diadem; armed guards, and the king sometimes issuing from his palace, as the tyrant Dionysius used to do, in a chariot drawn by four white horses. This assuming pride in equipage and show naturally exposed him to universal contempt; besides which, he showed a disdainful carriage when addressed, and rudeness in answering; generally refused access, not only to strangers, but even to his guardians, and debased himself by lusts of uncommon kinds, and inhuman cruelty. Such great terror therefore possessed all men, that, of his household, some had recourse to flight, others to a voluntary death, to avoid the sufferings which they apprehended. Two of the former, Andranodorus and Zoippus, the sons-in-law of Hiero, and a man named Thraso, were the only persons permitted to enter his house with any degree of familiarity; and though not much listened to on other subjects, yet when they argued, Andranodorus and Zoippus for taking part with the Carthaginians, and Thraso for maintaining the alliance with the Romans, they sometimes, by the warmth and earnestness of their disputes, attracted the young man’s attention. While matters were in this situation, a servant who was of the same age with Hieronymus, and had, from childhood, enjoyed the privileges of perfect familiarity with him, brought information of a plot formed against his life. The informer could name only one of the conspirators, Theodotus, by whom himself had been sounded on the subject. This man being instantly seized, and delivered to Andranodorus to be put to the torture, without hesitation confessed himself guilty, but still concealed his accomplices. At last, being racked, beyond what human patience could endure, he pretended to be overcome by his sufferings; but, instead of making discovery of the plotters, he pointed his informations against persons who had no concern in the business, telling a feigned story, that Thraso was the author of the conspiracy, and that the others would never have entered on any attempt of such importance, had they not been induced to it by their trust in so powerful a leader; naming, at the same time, those who, while he framed his account in the intervals between his agonies and groans, occurred to him as the most worthless among Hieronymus’s intimates. The mention of Thraso, beyond every other circumstance, made the tyrant think the information deserving of belief. He was therefore instantly consigned to punishment, and the rest, who had been named equally guiltless of the crime, underwent the like fate. Not one of the conspirators, though their associate in the plot was kept for a long time under the torture, either concealed himself or fled: so great was their confidence in the fortitude and fidelity of Theodotus; and which, indeed, were fully approved in him.
VI. The only bond which preserved the connexion with Rome being now dissolved by the removal of Thraso, immediately there appeared a manifest intention of siding with the opposite party. Ambassadors were despatched to Hannibal, who sent back a young man of noble birth, called Hannibal, and with him Hippocrates and Epicydes, who were born at Carthage, but derived their extraction originally from Syracuse, whence their grandfather had been banished; by the mother’s side, they were Carthaginians. By their means, a treaty was formed between Hannibal and the tyrant of Syracuse; and, with the approbation of the Carthaginian, they remained with the latter. The prætor, Appius Claudius, whose province Sicily was, on being acquainted with these transactions, sent, immediately, ambassadors to Hieronymus, who, telling him that they were come to renew the alliance which had subsisted with his grandfather, were heard and dismissed with derision; Hieronymus asking them, with a sneer, “what had been the event of the battle of Cannæ? for Hannibal’s ambassador’s told things scarcely credible. He wished,” he said, “to know the truth, that he might thereby determine which side offered the fairest prospect to his choice.” The Romans told him, that, when he began to listen to embassies with seriousness, they would return to Syracuse; and, after admonishing, rather than requesting him, not to violate faith rashly, they departed. Hieronymus despatched commissioners to Carthage, to conclude an alliance conformable to the treaty with Hannibal; and it was finally agreed, that when they should have expelled the Romans from Sicily, which, he said, would speedily be effected if they sent ships and an army, the river Himera, which nearly divides the island into two parts, should be the boundary between the dominions of Syracuse and those of Carthage. Afterwards, puffed up by the flatteries of people who desired him to remember, not only Hiero, but also his grandfather on his mother’s side, king Pyrrhus, he sent another embassy, representing that he thought it reasonable that Sicily should be entirely ceded to him, and that the dominion of Italy should be acquired for the people of Carthage, as an empire of their own. This fickleness and unsteadiness of mind, they, considering him as a hot-brained youth, did not wonder at; nor did they enter into any dispute on it, content with detaching him from the party of the Romans.
VII. But, on his side, every circumstance concurred to precipitate his ruin; for, after sending before him Hippocrates and Epicydes with two thousand soldiers, to endeavour to get possession of those cities which were held by Roman garrisons, he himself, with all rest of his forces, amounting to fifteen thousand horse and foot, marched to Leontini. Here the conspirators, every one of whom happened to be in the army, posted themselves in an uninhabited house, standing in a narrow lane, through which Hieronymus used to pass to the Forum. While the rest stood here, armed and prepared for action, waiting for his coming up, one of their number, whose name was Dinomenes, and being of the body-guards, had it in charge, that, as soon as the king drew near the door, he should, on some pretence, in the narrow pass, stop the crowd behind from advancing. All was executed as had been concerted. Dinomenes, by stretching out his foot, as if to loosen a knot which was too tight, arrested the people, and occasioned such an opening, that the king, being attacked as he was passing by without his armed followers, was pierced with several wounds, before assistance could be given him. Some, on hearing the shout and tumult, discharged their weapons at Dinomenes, who now openly opposed their passing; notwithstanding which, he escaped with only two wounds. However, seeing the king stretched on the ground, they betook themselves to flight. Of the conspirators, some repaired to the Forum to the populace, who were overjoyed at the recovery of liberty; others proceeded to Syracuse, to take the requisite precautions against the purposes of Andranodorus and other partisans of the king. Affairs being in this unsettled state, Appius Claudius, when he observed the storm gathering in his neighbourhood, informed the senate by letter, that all Sicily favoured the people of Carthage and Hannibal. On his part, in order to counteract the designs of the Syracusans, he drew all his troops to the frontiers between that kingdom and his own province. Towards the close of this year, Quintus Fabius, by direction of the senate, fortified, Puteoli, which, during the war, began to be much frequented as a place of trade, and placed a garrison in it. Going thence to Rome to hold the elections, he issued a proclamation for the assembly, on the first day on which it could properly meet; and, passing by the city without stopping, went down to the field of Mars. On this day, the lot of giving the first vote fell to a younger century of the Anien tribe, and this having nominated Titus Otacilius and Marcus Æmilius Regillus consuls, Quintus Fabius commanded silence, and spoke to this effect:
VIII. “If either we had peace in Italy, or had to deal with such an enemy as would allow of any remissness on our side, I should deem that man deficient in proper respect to your independent rights, who attempted to throw any obstacle in the way of those inclinations, which you bring with you into the field of election, with the purpose of conferring the high offices of the state on persons of your own choice. But when you consider that the present war is of such a nature, and the conduct of our present enemy such, that none of our commanders has ever committed an error which has not been followed by most disastrous consequences, it behoves you to come hither to give your suffrages with the same careful circumspection with which you go out in arms to the field of battle; and every one ought thus to say to himself: ‘I am to nominate a consul qualified to vie with Hannibal in the art of war.’ In the present year, at Capua, on the challenge of Jubellius Taurea, the completest horseman among the Campanians, we sent against him Claudius Asellus, the completest horseman among the Romans. Against a Gaul, who at a former time pronounced a challenge on the bridge of the Anio, our ancestors sent Titus Manlius, a man abundantly furnished both with strength and courage. I cannot deny that there was the same reason for placing every degree of confidence a few years after, in Marcus Valerius, when he took arms for the combat against a Gaul, who gave a similar defiance. Now, as, in selecting foot soldiers and horsemen, we endeavour to find such as are superior, or, if that cannot be effected, equal in strength to their antagonists; let us, in like manner, look out for a commander equal to the general of the enemy. When we shall have chosen the man of the most consummate abilities in the nation, yet still, being elected at the moment, and appointed but for one year, he will be matched against another invested with a command of long and uninterrupted continuance, not confined by any narrow limitations either of time or of authority, or which might hinder him to conduct and execute every measure according to the exigencies of the war; whereas with us, before we have well completed our preparatory operations, and when we are just entering on business, our year expires. I need say no more concerning the qualifications of the persons whom you ought to elect consul; I shall therefore only add a few observations respecting those whom the prerogative century has made the objects of its favour. Marcus Æmilius Regillus is flamen of Quirinus, consequently we could neither send him abroad from his sacred employment, nor keep him at home, without neglecting, in one case, the business of the war, or in the other, that of religion. Otacilius is married to a daughter of my sister, and has children by her. Nevertheless, I am too sensible of the obligations which I and my ancestors owe to your kindness, not to prefer the interest of the public to that of any private connexions. In a calm sea, any mariner, even a passenger, can steer the vessel; but when a furious storm arises, putting the sea into violent agitation, and the ship is hurried away by the tempest, then a pilot of skill and resolution becomes necessary. We sail not in a calm, but have already been very near foundering in several storms; you must, therefore, be careful to use the utmost prudence and caution with respect to the person whom you place at the helm. Titus Otacilius, we have had a trial of you in a less important business: you gave us no proof that we ought to confide in you for the management of affairs of greater moment. We fitted out, this year, a fleet, of which you had the command, for three purposes; to ravage the coast of Africa, to secure our own coasts of Italy, and, principally, to prevent reinforcements with money and provisions being transmitted from Carthage to Hannibal. If he has performed for the public, I do not say all, but any one of these services, create Titus Otacilius consul. But if, on the contrary, while you held the command of the fleet, every thing came to Hannibal safe and untouched, as if he had no enemy on the sea; if the coast of Italy has been more infested this year than that of Africa, what reason can you offer, why people should pitch on you in particular to oppose such a commander as Hannibal? If you were consul, we should judge it requisite to have a dictator nominated according to the practice of our forefathers. Nor could you take offence at its being thought that there was, in the Roman nation, some one superior to you in the art of war. It concerns no man’s interest more than your own, Titus Otacilius, that there be not laid on your shoulders a burthen, under which you would sink. I earnestly recommend, then, Romans, that, guided by the same sentiments which would influence you, if while you stood armed for battle you were suddenly called on to choose two commanders, under whose conduct and auspices you were to fight, you would proceed this day in the election of consuls, to whom your children are to swear obedience, at whose order they are to join the colours, and under whose care and direction they are to wage war. The lake Trasimenus and Cannæ, examples melancholy in the recollection, are, nevertheless, useful warnings to guard against the like. Crier, call back the younger Anien century to vote.”
IX. Otacilius now exclaiming with great heat, that the design of Fabius was to be continued in the consulship, and becoming very obstreperous, the consul ordered his lictors to advance to him; and, as he had not entered the city, but had gone directly, without halting, into the field of Mars, he put him in mind that the axes were carried in his fasces. The prerogative century proceeded a second time to vote, and chose consuls, Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fourth time, and Marcus Marcellus, a third time. The other centuries, without any variation, named the same. One prætor was likewise re-elected, Quintus Fulvius Flaccus. The other three chosen were new ones, Titus Otacilius Crassus, a second time, Quintus Fabius, the consul’s son, who was at the time curule ædile, and Publius Cornelius Lentullus. The election of prætors being over, a decree of the senate was passed, that “Rome should, out of course, be the province of Quintus Fulvius; and that he in particular should hold the command in the city, when the consuls should go abroad to the campaign.” Twice in this year happened great floods, and the Tiber overflowed the country, with great demolition of houses and destruction of men and cattle.Y.R. 538. 214. In the fifth year of the second Punic war, Quintus Fabius Maximus, a fourth, and Marcus Marcellus, a third time entering together into the consulship, attracted the notice of the public in an unusual degree; for, during many years, there had not been two such consuls. The old men observed, that thus had Maximus Rullus and Publius Decius been declared consuls, in the time of the Gallic war; and thus, afterwards, Papirius and Carvilius, against the Samnites, Bruttians, Lucanians, and Tarentines. Marcellus was chosen consul in his absence, being at the time with the army, and the office was continued to Fabius, who was on the spot, and presided in person at the election. The state of the times, the exigencies of the war, and the danger threatening the very being of the state, hindered the people from examining the precedent strictly, neither did they suspect the consul of ambition for command; on the contrary, they rather applauded his greatness of soul, because, knowing that the state stood in need of a general of the highest abilities, and that he himself was unquestionably the person so qualified, he had made light of any public censure which he might incur on the occasion, in comparison with the interest of the commonwealth.
X. On the day of the consuls entering on their office, a meeting of the senate was held in the Capitol, in which it was decreed, first, that the consuls should cast lots, or settle between themselves, which of them should, before his setting out for the army, hold the assembly for the appointment of censors. Then all those who were at the head of armies were continued in authority, and ordered to remain in the provinces: Tiberius Gracchus at Luceria, where he was with an army of volunteer slaves; Caius Terentius Varro in the Picenian, and Manius Pomponius in the Gallic territories. Of the prætors of the preceding year, Quintus Mucius was ordered, in quality of pro-prætor, to hold the government of Sardinia, and Marcus Valerius to command on the sea-coast near Brundusium, watching attentively, and guarding against any motion which might be made by Philip King of Macedonia. To Publius Cornelius Lentullus, the province of Sicily was decreed, and to Titus Otacilius the same fleet which he had commanded the year before against the Carthaginians. Numerous prodigies were reported to have happened this year; and the more these were credited by simple and superstitious people, the more such stories multiplied: that at Lanuvium crows had built their nest in the inside of the temple of Juno Sospita; in Apulia, a green palm-tree took fire; at Mantua, a stagnating piece of water, caused by the overflowing of the river Mincius, appeared as of blood; at Cales, a shower of chalk; and, in the cattle-market at Rome, one of blood fell in the Istrian street; a fountain under ground burst out in such an impetuous stream, as to roll and carry off jars and casks which were in the place, like a violent flood; lightning fell on the public court-house, in the Capitol, the temple of Vulcan in the field of Mars, a nut-tree in the country of the Sabines, and a public road, a wall and a gate at Gabii. Other stories of miracles were already spread about; that the spear of Mars at Præneste moved forward of its own accord; that an ox spoke in Sicily; that an infant in the mother’s womb, in the country of the Marucinians, had called out, “Io, Triumphe!” at Spoletum a woman was transformed into a man, and at Adria an altar was seen in the sky, and round it figures of men in white garments. Nay, even in the city of Rome itself, besides a swarm of bees being seen in the Forum, several persons, affirming that they saw armed legions on the Janiculum, roused the citizens to arms; when those who were at the time on the Janiculum asserted, that no person had appeared there except the usual inhabitants of that hill. These prodigies were expiated, conformably to the answers of the Aruspices, by victims of the greater kinds, and supplication was ordered to be performed to all the deities who had shrines at Rome.
XI. Having finished the ceremonies enjoined for conciliating the favour of the gods, the consuls proposed to the senate, to take into consideration the state of the nation, the management of the war, the number of forces to be employed, and the places where the several divisions were to act. It was resolved that eighteen legions should be employed against the enemy; that each of the consuls should take two to himself; that two should be employed in the defence of the provinces of Gaul, Sicily, and Sardinia; that Quintus Fabius, prætor, should have two under his command in Apulia, and Tiberius Gracchus two of volunteer slaves in the country about Luceria; that one should be left to Caius Terentius, proconsul, for Picenum, one to Marcus Valerius for the fleet at Brundusium, and that two should garrison the city. In order to fill up this number of legions, it was necessary to levy six new ones, which the consuls were ordered to raise as soon as possible; and, at the same time, to fit out an additional number of ships; so that, including those which were stationed on the coasts of Calabria, the fleet should, this year, consist of an hundred and fifty ships of war. The levy being finished, and the new vessels launched, Quintus Fabius held an assembly for the appointment of censors, when Marcus Atilius Regulus and Publius Furius Philus were elected. A rumour spreading, that war had broke out in Sicily, Titus Otacilius was ordered to proceed thither with his fleet; and there being a scarcity of seamen, the consuls, in pursuance of a decree of the senate, published a proclamation, that every person, who in the censorship of Lucius Æmilius and Caius Flaminius had been rated, or whose father had been rated at fifty thousand asses of brass*, or from that sum, up to one hundred thousand†, or had since acquired such a property, should furnish one seaman with pay for six months; every one rated from an hundred thousand, up to three hundred thousand‡, three seamen, with pay for a year; every one rated from three hundred thousand, up to one million§, five seamen; every one rated higher, seven; and that senators should provide eight seamen each, with pay for a year. The seamen furnished in obedience to this ordinance, being armed and equipped by their owners, went on board the ships, with provisions ready dressed for thirty days. This was the first instance of a Roman fleet being manned at the expense of private persons.
XII. These preparations, so unusually great, raised fears among the Campanians in particular, lest the Romans should begin the campaign with the siege of Capua. They sent ambassadors, therefore, to Hannibal, entreating him to march his army to that place: acquainting him, that “the Romans were raising new armies for the purpose of laying siege to it, for there was no city against which they were more highly incensed, for having deserted their party.” As this message, and the manner in which it was delivered, intimated such strong apprehensions, Hannibal thought it adviseable to proceed with despatch, lest the Romans might be beforehand with him; whereupon, leaving Arpi, he took possession of his old camp on the Tifata over Capua. Then leaving the Numidians and Spaniards for the defence both of the camp and the city, he marched away with the rest of his forces to the lake of Avernus, under the pretence of performing sacrifice, but in reality with a design to make an attempt on Puteoli and the garrison there. As soon as Maximus received intelligence that Hannibal had departed from Arpi and was returning into Campania, he hastened back to his army, without halting either night or day, sending orders to Tiberius Gracchus, to bring forward his forces from Luceria to Beneventum, and to the prætor Quintus Fabius, son to the consul, to hasten to Luceria, in the place of Gracchus. At the same time, the two prætors set out for Sicily, Publius Cornelius to command the army, Otacilius the fleet on the sea-coast. The rest also departed to their respective provinces, and those who were continued in command remained in the same districts where they had been in the former year.
XIII. While Hannibal was at the lake Avernus, there came to him, from Tarentum, five young men of quality, who had been made prisoners, some at the lake Trasimenus, some at Cannæ, and who had been sent home with that generosity which the Carthaginian showed towards all the allies of the Romans: these told him, that “out of gratitude for his kind treatment, they had persuaded a great number of the Tarentine youth to prefer his alliance and friendship to that of the Romans; and that they had been sent as deputies by their countrymen, to request that Hannibal would draw his army nearer to Tarentum; that if his standards and his camp were once seen from that place, the city would, without any delay, be delivered into his hands; for the commons were under the influence of the younger men, and the management of public affairs was with the commons.” Hannibal, after highly commending and loading them with a profusion of promises, desired them to return home in order to bring the scheme to maturity, saying, that he would be there in due time. With these hopes the Tarentines were dismissed. Hannibal had, before their application, conceived an ardent wish to gain possession of Tarentum; he saw that it was a city not only opulent and of great note, but likewise a seaport, commodiously situated, opposite Macedonia; and that King Philip, should he pass over into Italy, would steer his course to that harbour, because the Romans were in possession of Brundusium. Having performed the sacrifice which he had proposed at his coming, and having, during his stay, utterly laid waste the lands of Cumæ, as far as to the promontory of Misenum, he changed his route suddenly to Puteoli, with design to surprise the Roman garrison. This consisted of six thousand men, and the place was secured, not only by the nature of its situation, but by strong works. Here Hannibal delayed three days, and attempted the garrison on every quarter; but, finding no prospect of success, he marched forward to ravage the territory of Neapolis, rather for the sake of gratifying his resentment, than with any hope of becoming master of the town. By his arrival in the neighbourhood, the commons of Nola were encouraged to stir, having for a long time been disaffected to the cause of the Romans, and harbouring, at the same time, resentment against their own senate. Deputies, therefore, came to invite Hannibal, with a positive promise to deliver the city into his hands: but the consul Marcellus, whom the nobles solicited, by his expeditious measures prevented the design from taking place. In one day he made a march from Cales to Suessula, though he met with some delay in passing the river Vulturnus; and from thence, on the ensuing night, introduced into Nola six thousand foot and three hundred horse, to support the senate. While every precaution requisite for securing the possession of Nola was thus used by the consul with vigorous despatch, Hannibal, on the other side, was dilatory in his proceedings; for, after having twice before been baffled in a project of the same kind, he was now the less inclined to credit the professions of the Nolans.
XIV. Meanwhile the consul, Quintus Fabius, set out to attempt the recovery of Casilinum, which was held by a Carthaginian garrison; and, at the same time, as if by concert, there arrived at Beneventum, on one side, Hanno from Bruttium, with a large body of infantry and cavalry; and, on another, Tiberius Gracchus, from Luceria. The latter came first into the town; then, hearing that Hanno was encamped at the river Calor, about three miles distant, and that, by detachments from thence, devastations were committed on the country, he marched out his troops, pitched his camp about a mile from the enemy, and there held an assembly of his soldiers. The legions which he had with him consisted mostly of volunteer slaves, who had chosen rather to merit their liberty in silence, by the service of a second year, than to request it openly. He had observed, however, as he was leaving his winter-quarters, that the troops, on their march, began to murmur, asking, whether “they were ever to serve as free citizens?” He had, however, written to the senate, insisting, not so much on their wishes, as on their merits; declaring that “he had ever found them faithful and brave in the service; and that, excepting a free condition, they wanted no qualification of complete soldiers.” Authority was given him to act in that business, as he himself should judge conducive to the good of the public. Before he resolved upon coming to an engagement, therefore, he gave public notice, that “the time was now come, when they might obtain the liberty which they had so long wished for. That he intended, next day, to engage the enemy in regular battle, in a clear and open plain, where, without any fear of stratagems, the business might be decided by the mere dint of valour. Every man then, who should bring home the head of an enemy, he would, instantly, by his own authority, set free; and every one, who should retreat from his post, he would punish in the same manner as a slave. Every man’s lot now depended on his own exertion; and, as security for their obtaining their freedom, not only he himself stood pledged, but the consul Marcellus, and even the whole senate, who, having been consulted by him on the subject of their freedom, had authorized him to determine in the case.” He then read the consul’s letter and the decree of the senate, on which an universal shout of joy was raised. They eagerly demanded the fight, and ardently pressed him to give the signal instantly. Gracchus gave notice that they should be gratified on the following day, and then dismissed the assembly. The soldiers, exulting with joy, especially those who were to receive liberty as the price of their active efforts for one day, spent the rest of their time until night in getting their arms in readiness.
XV. Next day, as soon as the trumpets began to sound to battle, the above-mentioned men, the first of all, assembled round the general’s quarters, ready and marshalled for the fight. At sun-rise Gracchus led out his troops to the field, nor did the enemy hesitate to meet him. Their force consisted of seventeen thousand foot, mostly Bruttians and Lucanians, and twelve thousand horse, among whom were very few Italians, almost all the rest were Numidians and Moors. The conflict was fierce and long; during four hours neither side gained any advantage, and no circumstance proved a greater impediment to the success of the Romans, than from the heads of the enemy being made the price of liberty; for when any had valiantly slain an opponent, he lost time, first, in cutting off the head, which could not be readily effected in the midst of the crowd and tumult, and then his right hand being employed in securing it, the bravest ceased to take a part in the fight, and the contest devolved on the inactive and dastardly. The military tribunes now represented to Gracchus, that the soldiers were not employed in wounding any of the enemy who stood on their legs, but in maiming those who had fallen, and instead of their own swords in their right hands, they carried the heads of the slain. On which he commanded them to give orders with all haste, that “they should throw away the heads, and attack the enemy: that their courage was sufficiently evident and conspicuous, and that such brave men need not doubt of liberty.” The fight was then revived, and the cavalry also were ordered to charge: these were briskly encountered by the Numidians, and the battle of the horse was maintained with no less vigour than that of the foot; so that the event of the day again became doubtful, while the commanders, on both sides, vilified their adversaries in the most contemptuous terms, the Roman speaking to his soldiers of the Lucanians and Bruttians, as men so often defeated and subdued by their ancestors; and the Carthaginian, of the Romans, as slaves, soldiers taken out of the workhouse. At last Gracchus proclaimed, that his men had no room to hope for liberty, unless the enemy were routed that day, and driven off the field.
XVI. These words so effectually inflamed their courage, that, as if they had been suddenly transformed into other men, they renewed the shout, and bore down on the enemy with an impetuosity, which it was impossible longer to withstand. First the Carthaginian vanguard, then the battalions were thrown into confusion; at last the whole line was forced to give way; they then plainly turned their backs, and fled precipitately into their camp, in such terror and dismay, that none of them made a stand, even at the gates or on the rampart; and the Romans following close, so as to form almost one body with them, began anew a second battle within their works. Here, as the fight was more impeded by the narrowness of the place, so was the slaughter more dreadful, the prisoners also lending assistance, who, during the confusion, snatched up weapons, and forming in a body, cut off numbers in the rear. So great, therefore, was the carnage, that out of so large an army, scarcely two thousand men, most of whom were horsemen, escaped with their commander; all the rest were either slain or made prisoners; thirty-eight standards were taken. Of the victorious party, there fell about two thousand. All the booty was given up to the soldiers, except the prisoners, and such cattle as should be claimed by the owners within thirty days. When they returned into the camp, laden with spoil, about four thousand of the volunteer soldiers, who had fought with less spirit than the rest, and had not broken into the Carthaginian camp along with them, dreading punishment, withdrew to an eminence at a small distance. Next day they were brought down from thence by a military tribune, and arrived just as Gracchus was holding an assembly, which he had summoned. Here the proconsul, having, in the first place, honoured with military presents the veteran soldiers, according to the degree of courage and activity shown by each in the fight, said, that “as to what concerned the volunteers, he rather wished that all in general, worthy and unworthy, should receive commendations from him, than that any should be reprimanded on such a day as that;” and then, praying that “it might prove advantageous, happy, and fortunate to the commonwealth and to themselves;” he pronounced them all free. On which declaration, in transports of joy, they raised a general shout, and while they now embraced and congratulated each other, raising their hands towards heaven, and praying for every blessing on the Roman people, and on Gracchus in particular, the proconsul addressed them thus: “Before I had set all on an equal footing of freedom, I was unwilling to distinguish any by a mark, either of bravery or of cowardice. But now, since I have acquitted the honour of government, lest every distinction between them be lost, I will order the names of those who, conscious of being remiss in the action, have lately made a secession, to be laid before me; and, summoning each, will bind them by an oath, that, as long as they shall serve me in the army, they will never, except obliged by sickness, take food or drink in any other posture than standing. This penalty you will undergo with patience, if you consider, that your cowardice could not be more slightly branded.” He then gave the signal of preparation for a march, and the soldiers, carrying and driving on their booty, returned to Beneventum so cheerful and so gay, that they seemed to have come home from a feast, given on some remarkable occasion, rather than from a field of battle. All the Beneventans poured out in crowds to meet them at the gates, embraced the soldiers, congratulated them, and pressed them to come to their houses. They had already prepared entertainments in their inner courts, and entreated Gracchus to permit his soldiers to partake of the same. Gracchus gave them leave, on condition that they should all dine in the public street: every thing was accordingly brought out before each person’s door, where the volunteers dined with the caps of liberty, or white woollen fillets in their hands, some reclining, others standing, who, at the same time, attended the rest. This afforded a sight so pleasing, that Gracchus, on his return to Rome, ordered a representation of that day’s festival to be painted in the Temple of Liberty, which his father caused to be built on the Aventine, out of money accruing from fines, and which he afterwards dedicated.
XVII. While these transactions passed at Beneventum, Hannibal, after ravaging the lands of Neapolis, marched his army to Nola. The consul, as sooh as he was apprised of his approach, sent for the proprætor Pomponius, and the army which lay in the camp over Suessula; being determined to go out, and not to decline an engagement with him. He sent Caius Claudius Nero with the main strength of the cavalry, in the dead of the night, through the gate which was most distant from the enemy, ordering him to ride round so as not to be observed, until he came behind their army, to follow them leisurely as they moved, and as soon as he should perceive that the battle was begun, to advance on their rear. What prevented Nero from executing these orders, whether mistake of the road, or the shortness of the time, is uncertain. Although the battle was fought while he was absent, yet the Romans had evidently the advantage; but by the cavalry not coming up in time, the plan of operations was disconcerted. Marcellus, not daring to follow the retiring foe, gave the signal for retreat, while his men were pursuing their success. However, more than two thousand of the enemy are said to have fallen that day; of the Romans less than four hundred. About sunset, Nero returned, after having to no purpose fatigued the men and horses through the whole day and night, without even getting a sight of the Carthaginian; he was very severely reprimanded by the consul, who went so far as to affirm, that he was the cause of their not having retorted on the enemy the disaster suffered at Cannæ. Next day the Roman army marched out to the field, but Hannibal, tacitly acknowledging his defeat, kept within his trenches. In the dead of the night of the third day, giving up all hope of getting possession of Nola, a project never attempted without loss, he marched away towards Tarentum, where he had a greater prospect of success.
XVIII. Nor did less spirit appear in the administration of the Roman affairs at home, than in the field. The censors being, by the emptiness of the treasury, discharged from the care of erecting public works, turned their attention to the regulating of men’s morals, and checking the growth of vices, which, like distempered bodies, ever apt to generate other maladies, had sprung up during the war. First, they summoned before them those, who, after the battle of Cannæ, were said to have formed the design of deserting the commonwealth, and abandoning Italy. At the head of these was Lucius Cæcilius Metellus, who happened to be quæstor at the time. They then ordered him, and the others accused of the same criminal conduct, to plead to the charge; and as these could not clear themselves, they pronounced judgment, that those persons had made use of words and discourses, tending to the detriment of the commonwealth, inasmuch as they purported the forming of a conspiracy for the purpose of abandoning Italy. Next to these were summoned the over ingenious casuists, with respect to the means of dissolving the obligation of an oath, who supposed, that by returning privately into Hannibal’s camp, after having begun their journey with the rest of the prisoners, they should fulfil the oath which they had taken. Of these, and the others above-mentioned, such as had horses at the public expense, were deprived of them, and they were all degraded from their tribes and disfranchised. Nor was the care of the censors confined merely to the regulating of the senate and the equestrian order. They erased from the lists of the younger centuries, the names of all those who had not served as soldiers during the last four years, not having been regularly exempted from service, or prevented by sickness. These, in number above two thousand, were disfranchised, and all were degraded from their tribes. To this simple censorial sentence was added a severe decree of the senate, that all those whom the censors had degraded should serve as foot soldiers, and be sent into Sicily, to join the remains of the army of Cannæ; the time limited for the service of soldiers of this description being, until the enemy should be driven out of Italy. While the censors now, on account of the impoverished treasury, declined contracting for the repairs of the sacred edifices, the furnishing of horses to the curule magistrates, and other matters of like nature, a great number of those, who had been accustomed to engage in contracts of the kind, waited on them, and recommended that they “transact every kind of business, and engage in contracts, in the same manner as if there were money in the coffers; assuring them, that no one would call on the treasury for payment, until the conclusion of the war.” Afterwards came the former owners of those whom Tiberius Sempronius had made free at Beneventum; who said, that they had been sent for by the public bankers, in order that they might receive the price of their slaves; but that they did not desire it until the war should be at an end. When this disposition to support the credit of the treasury appeared among the plebeian class, the property belonging to minors, and of widows, began to be brought in; the people believing that they could not deposit it any where in greater security, or with more religious regard to their trust, than under the public faith: and when any thing was bought, or laid in for the use of the said minors or widows, a bill was given for it on the quæstor. This generous zeal of the private ranks spread from the city into the camp, where no horseman, no centurion, would take his pay; and should any have received it, the others would have censured them as mercenary.
XIX. The consul, Quintus Fabius, lay encamped before Casilinum, which was defended by a garrison of two thousand Campanians, and seven hundred of Hannibal’s soldiers. The commander was Statius Metius, sent thither by Cneius Magius Atellanus, who was chief magistrate that year, and was now employed in arming the populace and the slaves promiscuously, intending to attack the Roman camp while the consul was laying siege to the place. None of his designs escaped the knowledge of Fabius, who therefore sent a message to his colleague at Nola, that, “while the siege of Casilinum was carried on, there was a necessity for another army to oppose the Campanians; that either he himself should come, leaving a moderate garrison at Nola, or, if affairs there required his stay, from not yet being in a state of security against the attempts of Hannibal, he should in that case send for the proconsul, Tiberius Gracchus, from Beneventum.” On receiving this message, Marcellus, leaving two thousand men to garrison Nola, came with the rest of his army to Casilinum, and, by his arrival, the Campanians, who were on the point of breaking out into action, were kept quiet. And now the two consuls, with united forces, pushed on the siege. But the Roman soldiers, in their rash approaches to the walls, receiving many wounds, and meeting little success in any of their attempts, Quintus Fabius gave his opinion, that they ought to abandon an enterprise which, though of slight importance, was attended with as much difficulty as one of great consequence; and that they should retire from the place, especially as more momentous business called for their attention. Marcellus prevented their quitting the siege with disappointment, urging, that there were many enterprises of such a nature, that, as they ought not to be undertaken by great generals, so when once engaged in they ought not to be relinquished, because the reputation either of success or of failure, must be productive of weighty consequences. All kinds of works were then constructed, and machines of every description pushed forward to the walls. On this, the Campanians requested of Fabius that they might be allowed to retire in safety to Capua, when, a few having come out of the town, Marcellus seized on the pass by which they came, and immediately a promiscuous slaughter began near the gate, and soon after, on the troops rushing in, it spread through the city. About fifty of the Campanians, who first left the place, ran for refuge to Fabius, aud under his protection escaped to Capua. Thus was Casilinum taken by surprise, during the conferences and delays of those who went to negociate terms of capitulation. The prisoners, both Campanians and Hannibal’s soldiers, were sent to Rome, and there shut up in prison, and the multitude of the townspeople were dispersed among the neighbouring states, to be kept in custody.
XX. At the same time, when the army, after effecting their purpose, removed from Casilinum, Gracchus, who was in Lucania, detached, under a præfect of the allies, several cohorts, which had been raised in that country, to ravage the lands of the enemy. These Hanno attacked while they straggled in a careless manner, and retaliated a blow almost as severe as that which he had received at Beneventum; then, to avoid being overtaken by Gracchus, he retired with the utmost speed into Bruttium. As to the consuls, Marcellus returned to Nola, whence he had come; Fabius proceeded into Samnium, in order to overrun the country, and recover, by force, the cities which had revolted. The Samnites of Caudium suffered the most grievous devastations; their territory was laid waste with fire to a great extent, and men and cattle were carried off as spoil. The following towns were taken from them by assault: Combulteria, Telesia, Compsa, Melæ, Fulfulæ, and Orbitanium; from the Lucanians, Blandæ, Æcæ, belonging to the Apulians, was taken after a siege. In these towns twenty-five thousand were taken or slain, and three hundred and seventy deserters retaken; these, being sent by the consul to Rome, were all beaten with rods in the Comitium, and cast down from the rock. All this was performed by Fabius in the course of a few days. Bad health confined Marcellus at Nola, and prevented his taking the field. At the same time the prætor, Quintus Fabius, whose province was the country round Luceria, took by storm a town called Accua, and fortified a strong camp near Ardonea. While the Romans were thus employed in various places, Hannibal had arrived at Tarentum, after utterly destroying every thing in his way. At last, when he entered the territory of Tarentum, his troops began to march in a peaceable manner: nothing was injured there, nor did any ever go out of the road; this proceeding flowed manifestly not from the moderation either of the soldiers or their commander, but from a wish to acquire the esteem of the Tarentines. However, after he had advanced almost close to the walls, finding no commotion raised in his favour, an event which he expected to happen on the sight of his van-guard, he encamped about the distance of a mile from the town. Three days before Hannibal’s approach, Marcus Livius being sent by the proprætor. Marcus Valerius, commander of the fleet at Brundusium, had formed the young nobility of Tarentum into bodies; and, posting guards at every gate, and along the walls, wherever there was occasion, by his unremitting vigilance both by day, and more particularly by night, left no room for any attempt, either of the enemy or of the wavering allies. Wherefore, after many days were spent there to no purpose, Hannibal, finding that none of those who had attended him at the lake Avernus either came themselves or sent any message or letter, and perceiving that he inconsiderately suffered himself to be led by delusive promises, decamped and withdrew. He did not even then do any injury to their country, for though his counterfeited tenderness had brought him no advantage, yet he still entertained hopes of prevailing on them to renounce their present engagements. When he came to Salapia he collected there stores of corn from the lands of Metapontum and Heraclea, for midsummer was now past, and the place appeared commodious for winter-quarters. From hence he sent out the Moors and Numidians to plunder the territory of Sallentum, and the nearest woody parts of Apulia, where not much booty was found of any other kind than horses, several studs of which made the principal part of their acquisitions; of these, four thousand were distributed among the horsemen to be trained.
XXI. The Romans, seeing that a war of no slight moment was ready to break out in Sicily, and that the death of the tyrant had only given the Syracusans enterprising leaders, without working any change in their principles or tempers, decreed that province to the consul Marcus Marcellus. Immediately after the murder of Hieronymus, the soldiers in Leotini had raised a tumult, furiously exclaiming, that the death of the king should be expiated by the blood of the conspirators. Afterwards, the words LIBERTY RESTORED, a sound ever delightful to the ear, being frequently repeated, and hopes being held out of largesses from the royal treasure, of serving under better generals, mention at the same time being made of the tyrant’s shocking crimes, and more shocking lusts; all these together produced such an alteration in their sentiments, that they suffered the body of the king, whom just now they had so violently lamented, to lie without burial. The rest of the conspirators remained in the place in order to secure the army on their side; but Theodotus and Sosis, getting on horseback, galloped with all possible speed to Syracuse, wishing to surprise the king’s party, while ignorant of every thing that had happened. But not only report, than which nothing is quicker on such occasions, but likewise an express, by one of Hieronymus’s servants, had arrived before them. Wherefore Andranodorus had strengthened with garrisons both the island* and the citadel, and also every other post which was convenient for his purpose. After sunset, in the dusk of the evening, Theodotus and Sosis rode into the Hexapylum, and having shown the king’s garment dyed with blood, and the ornament which he wore on his head, passed on through the Tycha, calling the people at once to liberty and to arms, and desiring them to come all together into the Achradina. As to the populace, some ran out into the streets, some stood in the porches of their houses, some looked on from the roofs and windows, all inquiring into the cause of the commotion. Every place blazed with lights, and was filled with various confused noises. Such as had arms assembled in the open places; such as had none, pulled down from the temple of Olympian Jove the spoils of the Gauls and Illyrians, presented to Hiero by the Roman people, and hung up there by him; beseeching the god to lend, with good will, those consecrated weapons to men taking them up in defence of their country, of the temples of their deities, and of their liberty. This multitude was also joined to the watch, stationed in the several principal quarters of the city. In the island Andranodorus had, among other places, occupied the public granary with a guard; this place, which was inclosed with hewn stone, and built up to a great height, like a citadel, was seized by the band of youths appointed by Andranodorus to garrison it, and they despatched a message to the Achradina, that the corn therein was at the disposal of the senate.
XXII. At the first dawn the whole body of the people, armed and unarmed, came together into the Achradina to the senate-house; and there, from an altar of Concord, which stood in the place, one of the principal nobles, by name Polyænus, made a speech fraught with sentiments both of liberty and moderation. He said that “men who had experienced the hardships of servitude and insult, knew the extent of the evil against which they vented their resentment; but what calamities civil discord introduces, the Syracusans could have learned only from the relations of their fathers, not from their own experience. He applauded them for the readiness with which they had taken arms, and would applaud them yet more if they did not make use of them unless constrained by the last necessity. At present he thought it adviseable that they should send deputies to Andranodorus, to require of him to be amenable to the direction of the senate and people, to open the gates of the island, and withdraw the garrison. If he meant, under the pretext of being guardian of the sovereignty for another, to usurp it into his own hands, he recommended it to them to recover their liberty by much keener exertions than had been shown against Hieronymus.” Accordingly, on the breaking up of the assembly, deputies were sent. The meetings of the senate were now revived; for though it had, during the reign of Hiero, continued to act as the public council of the state, yet since his death, until now, it had never been convened, or consulted on any business. When the commissioners came to Andranodorus, he was much moved by the united voice of his countrymen, by their being in possession of the other quarters of the city, and moreover by that division of the island, which was the strongest, being lost to him, and in the hands of the other party. But his wife, Demarata, daughter of Hiero, still swelling with royal arrogance and female pride, reminded him of an expression frequently uttered by Dionysius the Tyrant, who used to say, that “a man ought to relinquish sovereign power when he was dragged by the feet, not while he sat on horseback. It was easy,” she said, “at any moment, to resign the possession of a high station; to arrive at, and acquire it, was difficult and arduous.” Desired him to “ask from the ambassadors a little time for consideration, and to employ it in sending for the soldiers from Leontini, to whom, if he promised some of the royal treasure, he might dispose of every thing at his pleasure.” These counsels, suited to the character of the woman, Andranodorus neither totally rejected nor immediately adopted; judging it the safer way to the acquisition of power, to yield to the times for the present. He therefore desired the deputies to carry back for answer, that “he would be obedient to the directions of the senate and people.” Next day, at the first light, he opened the gates of the island, and went into the Forum in the Achradina. There he ascended the altar of Concord, from whence Polyænus had addressed the people the day before, and first, at the beginning of his discourse, spent some time in entreating their pardon for the delay which he had made, for “he had kept the gates shut,” he said, “not with intention to separate his own interest from that of the public, but through fearful uncertainty, the sword being once drawn, when, and in what way, an end might be put to the shedding of blood; whether they would be content with the death of the tyrant, which was all that the cause of liberty required, or whether all who had any connexion with the court, either by consanguinity, affinity, or employments of any kind, were to be put to death, as accomplices in another’s guilt. As soon as he perceived that those who had freed their country, meant also, together with liberty, to grant it safety, and that the designs of all aimed at the promotion of the public happiness, he had not hesitated to replace, under the direction of the people, both his own person, and every thing else committed to his charge and guardianship, since the prince who had entrusted him therewith had perished through his own madness.” Then, turning to those who had killed the tyrant, and addressing Theodotus and Sosis by name, “you have performed,” said he, “a memorable exploit: but believe me, the career of your glory is only begun, not finished; and there yet subsists the utmost danger, that unless you exert yourselves immediately to secure peace and harmony, the nation may carry liberty to licentiousness.”
XXIII. After this discourse, he laid the keys of the gates and of the royal treasure at their feet. Being dismissed, full of joy, the people, with their wives and children, spent that day in offering thanksgivings in all the temples of the gods, and on the day following an assembly was held for the election of prætors. Among the first was chosen Andranodorus; the greater number of the rest were elected from the band of conspirators against the king. Two of these were absent at the time, Sopater and Dinomenes; who, on hearing what had passed at Syracuse, conveyed thither the money belonging to the king, which was at Leontini, and delivered it to quæstors appointed for the purpose: to whom was also delivered the treasure which was in the island and in the Achradina. That part of the wall, which formed too strong a fence between the island and the city, was, with universal approbation, abolished. The other events which took place corresponded with the general zeal for liberty, which now actuated men’s minds: Hippocrates and Epicydes, when intelligence was received of the tyrant’s death, which the former had wished to conceal even by the murder of the messenger, were deserted by the soldiers; and, as the safest step in their present circumstances, returned to Syracuse. Lest their stay there should subject them to suspicion, as if they were watching some opportunity for effecting a revolution, they addressed first the prætors, and afterwards, through them, the senate; represented, that, “being sent by Hannibal to Hieronymus, as to a friend and ally, they had obeyed his orders, in conformity to the will of their own commander. That they wished to return to Hannibal, but as they could not travel with safety while every part of Sicily was overspread with the Roman arms, they requested that a guard might be granted to escort them to Locri in Italy, and that thus, with very little trouble, the senate would confer a great obligation on Hannibal.” The request was easily obtained, for the senate wished the departure of those generals of the late king, men well skilled in war, and at the same time needy and daring. But this measure, so agreeable to their wishes, they did not execute with the care and expedition requisite. Meanwhile those young men, accustomed to a military life, employed themselves sometimes among the soldiery; at others, among the deserters, the greatest number of whom were Roman seamen; at others, among the very lowest class of plebeians, in propagating insinuations against the senate and nobility; hinting to them, that “in the appearance of reviving the former alliance, they were secretly forming and preparing to execute a scheme of bringing Syracuse under the dominion of the Romans; and that then their faction, and the few advocates for the renewal of the treaty, would domineer without control.”
XXIV. Crowds of people, disposed to listen to and believe such reports, flocked into Syracuse in great numbers every day, and afforded, not only to Epicydes, but to Andranodorus likewise, some hopes of effecting a revolution. The latter, wearied by the importunities of his wife, who urged that “now was the time to possess himself of the sovereignty, while all was in a state of disorder, in consequence of liberty being lately recovered, but not yet established on a regular footing; while the soldiers, who owed their livelihood to the pay received from the late king, were yet at hand, and while the commanders sent by Hannibal, who were well acquainted with those soldiers, could aid the enterprise,” took, as an associate in his design, Themistus, to whom Gelon’s daughter was married; and, in a few days after, incautiously disclosed the affair to one Ariston, an actor on the stage, whom he was accustomed to entrust with other secrets; a man whose birth and circumstances were both reputable; nor did his employment disgrace them, because, among the Greeks, that profession is not considered as dishonourable. This man, resolving to be guided by the duty which he owed to his country, discovered the matter to the prætors; who, having learned by unquestionable proofs that the information was well founded, first consulted the elder senators, by whose advice he placed a guard at the door of the senate-house, and, as soon as Themistus and Andranodorus entered, put them to death. This fact, in appearance uncommonly atrocious, the cause of which was unknown to the rest, occasioned a violent uproar; but, having at length procured silence, they brought the informer into the senate-house. He then gave a regular detail of every circumstance, showing that the conspiracy owed its origin to the marriage of Gelon’s daughter, Harmonia, with Themistus; that the auxiliary troops of Africans and Spaniards had been engaged for the purpose of massacreing the prætors and others of the nobility, whose property, according to orders given, was to be the booty of their murderers; that a band of mercenaries, accustomed to the command of Andranodorus, had been procured, with the design of seizing again on the island. He afterwards laid before them every particular; what things were to be done, and by whom, together with the whole plan of the conspiracy, supported by men with arms, ready to execute it. On which the senate gave judgment, that they had suffered death as justly as Hieronymus. The crowd round the senate-house being variously disposed, and unacquainted with the real state of the case, became clamorous: but, while they were uttering furious threats, the sight of the conspirators’ bodies in the porch of the senate-house impressed them with such terror, that they silently followed the well-judging part of the plebians to an assembly which was summoned. Sopater was commissioned by the senate and his colleagues to explain the matter to the people.
XXV. He brought his charges against the deceased as if they were then on trial: after taking a review of their former lives, he insisted that whatever wicked and impious acts had been perpetrated since the death of Hiero, Andranodorus and Themistus were the authors of them. “For what,” said he, “did the boy Hieronymus ever do by the direction of his own will? What, indeed, could he do who had scarcely exceeded the years of childoood? His guardians and teachers exercised the sovereign power, screened from the public hatred which fell on him; and therefore ought to have died either before Hieronymus or with him. Nevertheless, those men who had merited and been doomed to die, have, since the death of the tyrant, attempted new crimes; at first openly, when Andranodorus, shutting the gates of the island, assumed the throne as his by inheritance, and kept as proprietor what he had held as trustee: afterwards, being abandoned by those who were in the island, and blockaded by all the rest of the citizens who held the Achradina, and finding his open and avowed attempts on the crown ineffectual, he endeavoured to attain it by secret machinations and treachery: nor could he be induced to alter his measures even by kindness and the honour conferred on him; for it should be remembered that among the deliverers of their country, this treacherous conspirator against its liberty was chosen a prætor. But the spirit of royalty has been infused into these men by their royal consorts, Hiero’s daughter married to one, Gelon’s to the other.” At these words a shout was heard from every part of the assembly, that “none of the race of the tyrants ought to live.” Such is the nature of the populace; they are either abject slaves or tyrannic masters. Liberty, which consists in a mean between these, they either undervalue, or know not how to enjoy with moderation; and in general, there are not wanting agents disposed to foment their passions, who, working on minds which delight in cruelty, and know no restraint in the practice of it, exasperate them to acts of blood and slaughter. Thus, on the present occasion, the prætors instantly proposed the passing of an order, and it was hardly proposed before it was passed, that all the royal family should be put to death; whereupon persons sent by these magistrates, executed the sentence on Demarata, daughter of Hiero, and Harmonia, daughter of Gelon, the wives of Andranodorus and Themistus.
XXVI. There was another daughter of Hiero, called Heraclea, wife to Zoippus; who having been sent by Hieronymus ambassador to King Ptolemy, had continued abroad in voluntary exile. On getting notice that the executioners were coming to her also, she fled for refuge into the chapel of her household gods, taking with her two maiden daughters, with their hair dishevelled, and their appearance in every other particular calculated to excite compassion: to this she added prayers, beseeching the executioners, “by the memory of her father Hiero, and of her brother Gelon, not to suffer her, an innocent woman, to be involved in ruin under the hatred incurred by Hieronymus. To her nothing had accrued, from his being on the throne, but the exile of her husband; neither, during the life of Hieronymus, was her situation the same with that of her sister, nor since his death was her cause the same. Must it not be allowed, that if Andranodorus had succeeded in his projects, her sister would have reigned with him, whereas she must have been in servitude with the rest? If any one should tell Zoippus, that Hieronymus was killed and Syracuse free, who could doubt but he would instantly get on board a ship and return to his country? How deceitful were the hopes of men! Could he imagine, that in his native soil, restored to liberty, his wife and children were struggling to preserve their lives; and in what respect did they obstruct the cause of liberty or the laws? What danger could arise from them, a solitary, and, in a manner, widowed woman, and her poor orphan children? But though no danger was apprehended from them, yet the whole royal race was detested. Let herself and children be banished far from Syracuse and from Sicily; let them be conveyed to Alexandria; a wife to her husband, the daughters to their father.” Finding them still inexorable, and wishing to make the best use of the time, (for she saw some even drawing their swords,) she desisted from farther entreaties for herself, and continued to beseech them to “spare, at least, her daughters, who were children of an age which even enraged enemies refrain from injuring; and not, while they pursued their revenge against tyrants, to imitate themselves the crimes which had raised their hatred.” While she was speaking, they dragged her from the sanctuary, and slew her; and then turned their weapons against the children, who were sprinkled with the blood of their mother. But they, deprived of reason by grief and fear together, rushed out of the chapel with such quickness, that, had a passage been open to the public street, they would have filled the whole city with tumult: even as it was, though the extent of the house was not great, they several times made their way through the midst of many armed men, without receiving a wound, and extricated themselves from those that took hold of them, notwithstanding the number and strength of the hands with which they had to struggle; but at length, being reduced to the last weakness by wounds, after covering every place with their blood, they fell and expired. This scene, piteous in itself, was rendered yet more so by an incident that ensued; for shortly after, arrived a message, countermanding their execution, the sentiments of the people having suddenly turned to the side of compassion: and this compassion was soon converted into anger, on account of the precipitancy with which the sentence had been hurried on, so as to leave no time for re-consideration or the subsiding of passion. The populace, therefore, expressed much discontent, and insisted on an assembly of election to fill up the places of Andranodorus and Themistus, for both had been prætors; and this election was not at all likely to terminate in a manner agreeable to the present prætors.
XXVII. A day was appointed for the election, when, to the surprise of all, some person in the remotest part of the crowd named Epicydes; then another, in the same quarter, Hippocrates; which names were afterwards the most frequently repeated, with the manifest approbation of the multitude. The assembly itself was an irregular one; for, not the commons alone, but also great numbers of the soldiery, and even of deserters, who wished to overturn every present establishment, composed the disorderly crowd. The magistrates, at first, pretended ignorance of what was going forward, thinking to protract the business; but, at last, overcome by the united voice of so very many, and dreading an insurrection, they declared those men prætors: who, however, did not immediately unveil their sentiments, though greatly chagrined — first, at ambassadors having gone to Appius Claudius to conclude a truce of ten days, and then, when that was obtained, on others being sent to negociate a renewal of the old alliance. At this time the Romans had a fleet of an hundred sail at Murgantia, watching what might be the result of the commotions of Syracuse, in consequence of the deaths of the tyrants, and to what points the view of the people might be directed by the late acquisition of liberty, to which they had so long been strangers. Meanwhile, the Syracusan ambassadors had been sent by Appius to Marcellus on his arriving in Sicily; who, when he heard the terms on which they proposed the alliance, conceiving expectations that the business might be adjusted to mutual satisfaction, sent ambassadors on his part to Syracuse, to treat with the prætors in person. Here was no longer the same quiet and tranquillity: on news being received that a Carthaginian fleet had arrived at Pachynum, Hippocrates and Epicydes, freed from apprehension, now began, sometimes among the mercenary soldiers, at others among the deserters, to spread insinuations, that there was a design of betraying Syracuse to the Romans. And when Appius came and kept his fleet stationed at the mouth of the harbour, with intention to raise the spirits of the other party, this gave the utmost appearance of credibility to their ill-grounded suggestions, insomuch that the populace at the first ran down in a tumultuous manner, to oppose the landing of his men, if such an attempt should be made.
XXVIII. In this troubled state of affairs, it was judged necessary to call a general assembly. Here, while opposite parties drew contrary ways, and a civil war was on the point of breaking out, one of the leading nobles, named Apollonides, addressed them in a discourse of very salutary tendency at such a juncture; telling them that “no state ever had a nearer prospect either of safety or of ruin. If all would unanimously incline either on the side of the Romans or to that of the Carthaginians, their prosperity and happiness would equal that of any other nation whatever. If separate parties laboured to counteract each other, the war between the Carthaginians and the Romans was not more furious, than would be that which must follow between the Syracusans themselves, when each party should have its own troops, its own arms, its own leaders within the same walls. The most effectual endeavours ought to be used to bring all to unanimity in opinion. Which of the alliances might be the more profitable, was a question of a very inferior nature, and of much less moment. Nevertheless, on the choice of allies, they ought rather to follow the judgment of Hiero than that of Hieronymus, and give the preference to a friendship, of which they had an happy experience for fifty years, before one which would be at the present new to them, and was formerly found deceitful. Another consideration ought to be allowed some weight in their resolves; that it was in their power to decline a treaty of friendship with the Carthaginians; and yet not to enter, immediately at least, into a war with them; whereas with the Romans, they must instantly have either peace or war,” The less of party spirit and warmth this speech contained, the greater was its influence on the hearers. To the prætors, and a select number of senators, a military council was joined, and even the commanders of companies, and the præfects of the allies, were ordered to share in their consultations. After the affair had been frequently debated with great heat, they at last resolved, because they could discover no plan on which war could be maintained against the Romans, that a treaty of peace should be formed with them, and that ambassadors should be sent with those of that nation, then in Syracuse, to ratify it.
XXIX. Not many days had passed, when deputies from the Leontines arrived, requesting aid for the defence of their country; and this application was considered as coming most seasonably for ridding the city of a disorderly turbulent rabble, and removing their leaders out of the way. The prætor, Hippocrates, was ordered to conduct the deserters thither; and these were accompanied by great numbers of mercenary auxiliaries, so that the whole amounted to four thousand soldiers. This expedition was highly pleasing, both to the persons employed, and to their employers; the former gaining, what they had long wished for, an opportunity for disturbing the government; the latter rejoicing at such a nuisance being removed; the sink, as it were, of the city. However, this proved only like giving a sick person present ease, that he might relapse with an aggravation of his disorder. For Hippocrates began at first, by secret excursions, to ravage the nearest parts of the Roman province; but afterwards, when Appius had sent a body of troops to protect the territories of the allies, he attacked, with his entire force, a detachment posted in his way, and killed a great number. When Marcellus was informed of these transactions, he instantly despatched ambassadors to Syracuse, to complain of this infraction of the treaty, and to represent, that occasions of quarrel would never be wanting, unless Hippocrates and Epicydes were banished, not only from Syracuse, but far from every part of Sicily. Epicydes not choosing, by remaining where he was, either to face the charge of being a confederate in his absent brother’s crime, or to omit contributing his share towards effecting a rupture, went off to his seceding countrymen at Leontini, where, finding the inhabitants filled with a sufficient degree of animosity against the Roman people, he undertook to detach them from the Syracusans also. For “the latter,” he said, “had stipulated in their treaty with Rome, that every state which had been subject to their kings, should for the future be subject to them; and they were not now content with liberty, unless they possessed along with it regal and arbitrary power over other nations. The proper answer, therefore, to be given to any requisition from them was, that the Leontines deemed themselves entitled to freedom no less than themselves, if it were only because their city was the spot where the tyrant fell; that there liberty was first proclaimed, where the troops had abandoned the king’s generals, and flocked to Syracuse. Wherefore that article must be expunged from the treaty, or a treaty containing such an article should not be admitted.” The multitude were easily persuaded; and when ambassadors from Syracuse complained of their cutting off the Roman detachment, and delivered an order, that Hippocrates and Epicydes should depart either to Locri, or to any other place which they chose, provided they retired out of Sicily, the Leontines roughly answered, that they had not commissioned the Syracusans to make a treaty of peace with the Romans for them, neither were they bound by other people’s treaties.” This answer the Syracusans laid before the Romans, declaring that “the Leontines were not under their direction; that, therefore, the Romans might make war on that people without any violation of the treaty with Syracuse, and that they would not fail to give their assistance in it, on condition that the others, when reduced to submission, should be again subjected to their government.”
XXX. Marcellus marched against Leontini with his whole force, sending also for Appius, that he might attack it on another quarter; and so great was the ardour of the soldiers on that occasion, inspired by their resentment for the detachment being cut off while a treaty of peace was depending, that at the first sssault, they carried the town. Hippocrates and Epicydes, when they saw the enemy in possession of the walls, and breaking open the gates, retired, with a few others, into the citadel, from whence they made their escape secretly, during the night, to Herbessus. The Syracusans having marched from home in a body, eight thousand in number, were met at the river Myla by a messenger, who acquainted them, that Leontini was taken, and who mixed several falsehoods with the truth, saying, that both soldiers and townsmen had been put to the sword without distinction; nor did he believe that any one above the age of childhood, was left alive; that the city was sacked, and the effects of the wealthy bestowed on the soldiers. On hearing such a shocking account, the army halted; and, every one being highly exasperated, the commanders, who were Sosis and Dinomenes, entered into consultation how they should act. The false report had received a colour of truth sufficient to justify apprehension, from the circumstance of a number of deserters, amounting to two thousand, having been beaten with rods and beheaded. But not one of the Leontines, or the other soldiers, had been hurt after the capture of the city was completed; and every kind of property had been restored to the owners, except what was destroyed in the first confusion of the assault. The troops, who complained grievously of their fellow-soldiers being treacherously put to death, could not be prevailed on, either to proceed to Leontini, or to wait in their present post for more certain intelligence. On which the prætors, perceiving that they were inclined to mutiny, but that this ferment would not be of long duration if their ringleaders in this foolish conduct were removed, led the army to Megara, whence they themselves, with a small body of horse, proceeded to Herbessus, with hopes that, in consequence of the general consternation, the city might be surrendered into their hands; but, being disappointed in their expectations, they next day decamped from Megara, in order to lay siege to it with the whole of their force. Hippocrates and Epicydes now adopted a plan, which, though at first sight not free from danger, yet, every hope being cut off, was the only one which they could pursue; this was to put themselves into the hands of the soldiery, of whom a great part were well acquainted with them, and all were incensed on account of the supposed slaughter of their fellow-soldiers; and they accordingly went out to meet the army on its approach. It happened that the corps which led the van was a battalion of six hundred Cretans, who in the reign of Hieronymus, had served under their command, and were also under an obligation to Hannibal, having been taken prisoners at the Trasimenus, with other auxiliaries to the Romans, and dismissed. Hippocrates and Epycides knowing them by their standards, and the fashion of their armour, advanced to them, holding out olive branches and other emblems of suppliants, and besought them to receive them into their ranks, to protect them there, and not to betray them into the hands of the Syracusans, by whom they themselves would soon be delivered up to the Romans, to be murdered. The Cretans immediately, with one voice, bade them keep up their courage, for they should share every fortune with them.
XXXI. During this conversation the standards had halted, nor had the cause of the delay yet reached the general. But soon a rumour spread, that it was occasioned by Hippocrates and Epicydes, and a murmur ran along the whole line, evidently demonstrating that the troops were pleased at their coming. On this, the prætors instantly rode forward, at full speed, to the van, asking, “What sort of behaviour was this? What did the Cretans mean by such disorderly conduct, maintaining conversation with an enemy, and allowing them to mix in their ranks?” They then ordered Hippocrates to be seized, and put in chains. On which words such a clamour ensued, begun by the Cretans, and continued by the rest, as clearly showed that if they proceeded farther in the matter, they would have cause to be apprehensive for their own safety. Alarmed and perplexed by their situation, they ordered the army to march back to Megara, and sent expresses to Syracuse, with accounts of their present state. While the men were disposed to entertain every kind of suspicion, Hippocrates, to increase their apprehensions, employed an artifice: having sent out some of the Cretans to watch the roads, he afterwards read publicly a letter composed by himself, but which he pretended had been intercepted. The address was, “The prætors of Syracuse to the consul Marcellus.” After the usual salutations, it mentioned, that “he had acted rightly and properly in not sparing any in Leontini. That all the mercenary soldiers were to be considered in the same light, and never would Syracuse enjoy tranquillity as long as one of the foreign auxiliaries remained, either in the city, or in their army:” they therefore requested him to use his endeavours to reduce under his power those who were encamped with their prætors at Megara, and, by putting them to death, effectuate, at length, the delivery of Syracuse.” As soon as this was read to the soldiers, they ran on all sides to arms with such clamours, that the prætors, in a fright, rode away, during the confusion, to Syracuse. But even their flight did not serve to quell the mutiny, and several attacks were made on the Syracusan troops: nor would one of them have found mercy, had not Epicydes and Hippocrates opposed the rage of the multitude, not through compassion, or any humane intention, but through fear of forfeiting all hope of ever returning to the city; and from this further consideration, that, while they should find these men themselves both faithful soldiers and hostages, they would, at the same time, engage also the favour of their relations and friends; in the first place, by so great an obligation conferred, and then, by having such a pledge in their hands. As they knew, too, from experience, how slight and insignificant an impulse is sufficient to set the populace in motion, they procured a soldier, who had been one of the number besieged in Leontini, and suborned him to carry to Syracuse, a story corresponding with the feigned tale told at Myla; and, by avowing himself the author, and asserting as facts, of which he had been an eye-witness, those particulars, of which doubts were harboured, to irritate the passions of the people.
XXXII. This man not only gained credit with the populace, but, being brought before the senate, had address enough to influence even their judgment; and several, not apt to be over credulous, openly observed, that “it was happy that the avarice and cruelty of the Romans had been unmasked at Leontini. Had they come into Syracuse, their behaviour would have been the same, or probably more barbarous, as the incitements to avarice were greater there.” Wherefore all agreed in opinion, that the gates ought to be shut, and guards posted for the defence of the city. But they did not so generally agree in the object either of their fears or their aversions. Among the military of all descriptions, and a great part of the plebeians, their hatred fell on the Roman nation; while the prætors, and a few of the nobility, notwithstanding that their judgment had been infected by the false intelligence, yet took more pains to guard against a nearer and more immediate danger: for Hippocrates and Epicydes were already at the Hexapylum; and the relations of the native soldiers then in the army, were using many arguments to persuade the people to open the gates, and to let their common country be defended against the Romans. And now one of the gates of the Hexapylum had been opened, and the troops had begun to march in, when the prætors arrived at the spot; they endeavoured, at first by commands and menaces, then by counsel and advice, to deter the inhabitants from their purpose; and, at last, finding all these ineffectual, they descended from their dignity, and had recourse to entreaties, beseeching them not to betray their country to men who were lately instruments of a tyrant, and who now imprisoned the soldiers minds. But, in the heat of the present ferment, the ears of the multitude were deaf to all such arguments, and efforts were made to break open the gates on the inside, no less violent than those from without. They were all soon forced, and the whole army received into the Hexapylum. The prætors, with the youth of the city, fled for safety into the Achradina. The mercenaries, deserters, and all the soldiers of the late King, then in Syracuse, augmented the force of the enemy. In consequence, the Achradina was taken at the first assault, and the prætors, except such as could make their escape in the confusion, were all put to death. Night put an end to the shedding of blood. Next day the slaves were invited to freedom; all the prisoners were discharged from confinement, and the motley rabble, composed of all these different sorts, elected Hippocrates and Epicydes prætors: thus Syracuse, after a short enjoyment of the sunshine of liberty, sunk back into its former state of servitude.
XXXIII. As soon as the Romans were informed of these events, they immediately decamped from Leontini, and marched to Syracuse. At the same time it happened that ambassadors, sent by Appius, and who were approaching the place in a quinquereme, with difficulty escaped being taken: which, however, was the fate of a quadrireme, ordered to advance some distance before their galley, on its entering the harbour. And now not only the laws of peace, but even those of war, had been all thrown aside, when the Roman army pitched their camp at Olympium, a temple of Jupiter so called, distant a mile and a half from the city. From hence also it was judged proper to send ambassadors, who were prevented entering the city by Hippocrates and Epicydes, with their adherents, coming out from the gate to meet them. The Roman, whose part it was to speak, said, that “the Romans came not with the intention of making war on the Syracusans, but of giving succour and support both to such as, after extricating themselves from the midst of carnage, fled to them for refuge; and also to those, who, overpowered by fear, endured a bondage more shocking, not only than exile, but even than death. Nor would the Romans suffer such an abominable massacre of their allies to pass unpunished. Wherefore if those, who had taken refuge with them, were allowed to return to their country with safety, and the authors of the massacre were delivered up, and liberty and their laws restored to the Syracusans, there would be no occasion for quarrel. If these requisitions were not complied with, whoever was the cause of the refusal should undergo the severest vengeance which their arms could inflict.” To this Epicydes replied, that “if they had been charged with any message to him, and his friends, they would have returned an answer. That when the government of Syracuse should be in the hands of those to whom they came, they might then return to Sicily. If they began hostilities, they should learn, on trial, that the siege of Syracuse was a very different kind of business from that of Leontini.” So saying, he turned his back on the ambassadors, and shut the gates. The Romans then, immediately, began to form the siege of Syracuse, both by land and sea; by land, on the side of the Hexapylum; by sea, on that of the Achradina, the wall of which is washed by its waves. Having mastered Leontini by the terror which their assault inspired, and that at the first attack, they doubted not but they should be able, in some quarter or other, to make their way into a city of such wide extent, and whose defended parts lay at such a distance from each other; they pushed forward therefore to the walls every kind of machine used in sieges.
XXXIV. This enterprize, from the spirit and vigour with which it was undertaken, must have met the expected success, had it not been for one single person then in Syracuse: this was Archimedes, a man singularly skilled in the science of astronomy, and a great geometrician, eminently distinguished in the invention and construction of warlike engines, by means of which, with very slight exertions, he baffled the efforts of the enemy, made with immense labour. The wall, which, being drawn along unequal eminences, was in some parts high and difficult of access, in others low and liable to be approached through the level vales, he furnished with machines of all kinds, adapted to the nature of each particular place. That of the Achradina, which, as before observed, is washed by the sea, Marcellus attacked from his largest ships; while from the small vessels, the archers, slingers, and light-infantry, (whose weapon is of such a kind that it cannot well be thrown back, except by experienced hands,) wounded almost every one defending the works. These, requiring room for the discharge of their missiles, kept at a distance: but the other and larger ships, eight in number, were fastened together in pairs, by the removal of one tier of oars; while those on the exterior sides moved them both as if a single ship. These carried turrets of several stories in height, with instruments for demolishing the rampart. Against this naval armament, Archimedes disposed, on the walls, engines of various sizes. On the ships, which lay at a distance, he discharged rocks of immense weight; and those which lay nearer, lighter and therefore more numerous annoyances. And lastly, he opened in the wall from top to bottom a great number of spike-holes, a cubit in diameter, through which without being seen, or in danger of being hurt, they poured arrows and darts from scorpions. Some ships having come up closer, in order that the weapons from the engines might fly over them, he used an engine called Tolleno, composed of a long lever supported at the middle, and fixed in such a manner that one arm of it projected beyond the wall; from the extremity of this hung, by a strong chain, an iron grapple, which, taking hold of the fore part of the ship, while the other extremity of the lever was weighed down to the ground by a heavy counterpoise of lead, lifted up the prow and set the vessel on its stern; the grappel then was suddenly disengaged, and the ship was, to the utter consternation of the seamen, dashed into the water with such force, that even if it had fallen in an erect position, it would have taken in a great deal of water. By these means the assailants were foiled in every attempt by sea; abandoning therefore that part of the plan, they bent all their efforts to the pushing forward the operations by land, and with their whole force. But on this side, too, the place was furnished with a similar train of engines of every description, procured in a course of many years by the direction and at the expense of Hiero, and through the singular skill of Archimedes. The nature of the ground also was favourable to the defendants, because the rock on which the foundations of the wall were laid, is in most places so steep, that not only bodies thrown from an engine, but such as rolled down by their own weight, fell with great power on the enemy: the same cause rendered the ascent difficult to be climbed, and the footing unsteady. Wherefore a council being held, it was resolved, since every attempt ended in disappointment and disgrace, to desist from farther attacks, and only to blockade the place so closely as to cut off all supplies of provisions, either by land or sea.
XXXV. Meanwhile, Marcellus marched, with about a third part of the forces, to recover those cities which, during the general disturbances, had revolted to the Carthaginians. Helorus and Herbessus he received by voluntary surrender. Having taken Megara by storm, he sacked and demolished it, in order to strike terror into others, particularly the Syracusans. About the same time Himilco, who had for a long time kept his fleet at the promontory of Pachynum, landed at Heraclea, which is also called Minoa, twenty-five thousand infantry, three thousand horses, and twelve elephants; a much greater force than he had before on board his ships at Pachynum. When Syracuse was seized by Hippocrates, he had gone to Carthage, and there, being encouraged by ambassadors from him as chief, and by letters from Hannibal, who affirmed that the time was now come for recovering possession of Sicily with the highest honour; and as his own advice given on the spot had no small degree of influence, he easily procured an order, that the greatest force possible of infantry and cavalry should be transported into that island Immediately on his arrival he reduced Heraclea, and within a few days after, Agrigentum; raising at the same time in all the other states, who sided with the Carthaginians, such warm hopes of expelling the Romans from Sicily, that at last even the Syracusans, besieged as they were, assumed new courage. Judging that a part of their forces would be sufficient for defence alone, they divided the business in such a manner, that Epicydes should command the troops so appointed for guarding the city, and Hippocrates, in conjunction with Himilco, conduct the war against the Roman consul. The latter accordingly, with ten thousand foot and five hundred horse, having passed by night through some intervals between the Roman posts, began to pitch his camp near the city Acrillæ: while they were raising their fortifications, Marcellus came upon them, for he was now returning from Agrigentum, to which place he had in vain hastened by quick marches, in hope of reaching it before the enemy, but he found it already in their possession, and expected nothing less at that time than to meet a Syracusan army in his way. However, through fear of Himilco and the Carthaginians, for whom he was by no means a match with the force which he then had, he was marching with all possible caution, and with his troops prepared for every occurrence.
XXXVI. This precaution adopted against the Carthaginians, happened to prove useful in respect of the Syracusans. Finding them scattered, separately employed in forming their camp, and mostly unarmed, he surrounded and cut off the whole of their infantry; the cavalry, after a slight opposition, fied with Hippocrates to Acræ. This stroke having effectually checked the designs of those states, which were disposed to revolt from the Romans, Marcellus returned to Syracuse; and, after a few days, Himilco, being joined by Hippocrates, came and encamped at the river Anapus, about eight miles distant. About the same time fifty-five Carthaginian ships of battle, commanded by Bomilcar, as admiral, put into the great harbour at Syracuse, and a Roman fleet of thirty quinqueremes landed the first legion at Panormus; it seemed, indeed, as if the theatre of war was removed hither from Italy, so intent were both nations on the affairs of Sicily. Himilco expected that the Roman legion, landed at Panormus, would fall a prey to him on its way to Syracuse; but he missed it by taking the road which led through the inland parts of the country, while the legion, keeping close to the sea-coast, and being attended by the fleet, effected a junction with Appius Claudius, who, with a part of his forces, came as far as Pachynum to meet it. Nor did the Carthaginians delay longer at Syracuse. On the one hand, Bomilcar was diffident of his own strength at sea, as the Romans had a fleet, of at least double his number; and, at the same time, as he perceived that the only effect of his forces remaining there, where they could do no service, would be, the aggravating the distress of his allies in the article of provisions, he sailed out into the main, and passed over to Africa. On the other hand, Himilco had in vain followed Marcellus to Syracuse, in hopes of finding an opportunity of engaging him before he should join the larger division of his army; but being disappointed in this, and seeing likewise that the enemy’s post at Syracuse was secured from every attempt, both by the fortifications and the number of their forces, he did not choose to waste time to no purpose in sitting there as a spectator of the siege carried on against his allies, and therefore decamped and marched away his army, with intention to carry it wherever a prospect of a revolt from the Romans should invite him, that he might invigorate by his presence the resolution of those who favoured his interest. And first, through the treachery of the inhabitants, who betrayed the Roman garrison, he got possession of Murgantia, where the Romans had large magazines of corn and every kind of provisions.
XXXVII. By this revolt, other states were encouraged to imitate the example; and the Roman garrisons were either driven out of the fortresses, or betrayed and overpowered. Enna, standing on a lofty eminence, which was steep and craggy on every side, was not only impregnable by reason of its situation, but had moreover a strong force in its citadel, with a governor who could not be easily overreached by treachery. This was Lucius Pinarius, a man of spirit and activity, who relied more on his own precaution, to render every scheme of perfidy impracticable, than on the fidelity of the Sicilians; and his solicitude to be prepared for every emergency was now increased by the intelligence he had received of so many cities revolting, or being betrayed, and the garrisons put to death. Wherefore, every thing was kept in a state of readiness, with guards and watches constantly on duty, as well by night as by day, nor did the soldier ever quit his arms or his post. When the leading men in Enna, who had already bargained with Himilco for the betraying of the garrison, understood that the Roman commander had left no room for the practice of any deception, they resolved to act openly, and represented to him, that the city and the citadel ought to be under their care, since they had been connected with “the Romans as free men in alliance, not as slaves in custody.” They therefore required that the keys of the gates should be returned to them, observing, that “on good allies honour was the strongest tie, and that then only would the senate and people of Rome think them deserving of thanks, when they should continue in friendship out of their own free will, not through compulsion.” To this the Roman answered, that “he was placed there by his general, and from him had received the keys of the gates and the custody of the citadel, which he held not at his own disposal, or that of the inhabitants of Enna, but at his who had committed them to his charge. That to relinquish a man’s post in a garrison, was, among the Romans, a capital crime, and that parents had confirmed that law even by the death of their own children. That the consul Marcellus was not far distant; let them send ambassadors to him, who had the right and authority to determine.” They declared positively, that they would not send, and gave him notice, that, since words were of no avail, they would seek some other means of asserting their liberty. Pinarius then desired, “that if they did not choose to take the trouble of sending to the consul, they would, at least, allow him to meet the people in assembly, that it might be known whether these were the denunciations of a party only, or of the whole state;” which being agreed to, an assembly was proclaimed for the following day.
XXXVIII. After this conversation, he went back immediately into the citadel, and calling the troops together, spoke thus: “Soldiers, you must have heard in what manner the Roman garrisons have, of late, been betrayed and cut off by the Sicilians. The same treachery you have escaped, principally through the kindness of the gods, and next through your own resolution, in keeping continual guard and watch under arms, without intermission by day or by night. I wish it were in our power to pass the rest of our time without either enduring or offering cruel treatment. But this caution, which we have hitherto used, guards only against their secret machinations; which, not having succeeded to their wish, they now openly and plainly demand the keys of the gates. The moment these are delivered to them, Enna will be made over to the Carthaginians, and we shall be massacred here in a more shocking manner than were those of Murgantia. This one night’s time, I have, with difficulty, procured for consultation, that I might apprize you of the imminent danger to which you are exposed. At sunrise they intend to hold an assembly for the purpose of criminating me, and incensing the populace against you: before to-morrow night, therefore, Enna will be deluged either with your blood, or with that of its inhabitants. If they anticipate your measures, you will have no resource; if you anticipate theirs, you will have no danger: whoever first draws the sword, his will be the victory. Do you, therefore, in arms, and with all your attention awake, wait for the signal. I will be in the assembly, and, by talking and disputing, will prolong the time until every thing shall be ready. As soon as I give the signal with my gown, then let me see that you raise a shout on every quarter, attack the multitude, and mow down all with the sword; take care that no one be left alive from whom either force or fraud can be feared. O! Mother Ceres and Proserpine, and you other gods whether of the superior or inferior regions, who patronise this city and these consecrated lakes and groves, so prosper us, I beseech you, with your favour and assistance, as we undertake such an enterprise with a view of averting, not of afflicting injury. I would use more words in exhorting you, soldiers, if you were to have a contest with men in arms: that unarmed and unguarded crowd you will kill until you shall be satisfied with killing: besides, the consul’s camp is at hand, so that nothing can be feared from Himilco and the Carthaginians.”
XXXIX. Being dismissed with this exhortation, they went to take refreshment. Next day they posted themselves in different places, to block up the streets, and shut the passes against the townsmen going out; the greatest part of them, on and round the theatre, as they had been before accustomed to stand spectators of the assemblies. The Roman commander was conducted by the magistrates into the presence of the people, where he represented, that the power and authority of determining the business in question lay in the consul, not in him, urging mostly the same arguments, which he had used the day before; on which a few at first, then greater numbers, at last all, with one voice, insisted on his delivering the keys; and when he hesitated and demurred, began to threaten him furiously, showing evidently that they would no longer refrain from the utmost violence. The governor then gave the concerted signal with his gown. The soldiers were prepared, having a long time expected it with earnest attention; and now, while some of them, with loud shouts, ran down from the higher places against the rear of the assembly, others, in close array, blocked up the passages from the theatre. Thus, pent up in the inclosure, the inhabitants of Enna were put to the sword. Yet did they perish, not only by the weapons of their enemy, but by their own hasty flight, for many tumbled over the others, and the whole falling on the wounded, the living on the dead were all promiscuously heaped together. From thence, the soldiers spread themselves over the city, and, as if it had been taken by storm, filled every part of it with terror and carnage, their rage venting itself with no less fury on the unarmed crowd, than if their passions had been exasperated by an equality of danger in the heat of battle. Thus, by an act either wholly unjustifiable, or excuseable only on the ground of necessity, the possession of Enna was retained. Marcellus showed no disapprobation of the deed; on the contrary, he granted the plunder of that place to the soldiers; thinking that the Sicilians, deterred by fear of like treatment, would desist from the practice of betraying the Roman fortresses. The history of the sad catastrophe of this city, which stood in the middle of Sicily, and was so conspicuous, both on account of the extraordinary natural strength of its situation, as also on account of every part of it being rendered sacred by the monuments of the rape of Proserpine of old, reached every part of the island almost in one day. People considered that horrid carnage as a violation of the mansions of the gods, as well as of those of men; and now even those who had hesitated until this time, openly declared in favour of the Carthaginians. Hippocrates then retired to Murgantia, and Himilco to Agrigentum; for they had, on an invitation from the treacherous inhabitants, brought their armies to Enna to no purpose. Marcellus returned into the territory of Leoutini, where, having stored his camp with magazines of corn and other provisions, and left a small body of troops to defend it, he went to carry on the siege of Syracuse. Appius Claudius having obtained his leave to go to Rome to canvass for the consulship, he appointed in his room Titus Quintus Crispinus to the command of the fleet and of the old camp. He fortified a camp for himself, in which he erected huts for the winter, at a place called Leon, five miles distant from the Hexapylum. These were the transactions in Sicily previous to the commencement of winter.
XL. During that summer, the war with king Philip, which had been apprehended for some time, broke out into action. Deputies came from Oricum to the proprætor Marcus Valerius, who commanded the fleet at Brundusium and on the neighbouring coasts of Calabria, informing him, that Philip had first attempted Appollonia, sailing up the river with a hundred and twenty barks of two banks of oars; and, not succeeding there as speedily as he expected, had afterwards marched his army secretly by night to Oricum, which city, being situated in a plain, and being but weakly defended, either by fortifications or by men and arms, was overpowered at the first assault. To this information they joined entreaties, that he would bring them succour, and repel the attacks of that avowed enemy to the Romans from the maritime cities, which were assailed for no other reason, than because they lay contiguous to Italy. Marcus Valerius, leaving a lieutenant-general, Titus Valerius, to maintain his present post, and putting on board the ships of burthen a number of soldiers, for whom there was not room in the ships of war, set sail with his fleet fully equipped and prepared, and arrived on the second day at Oricum, and without much difficulty retook that city, which had for its defence but a weak garrison, left by Philip at his departure. Hither came deputies from the Appollonians, with information, that they were besieged, because they refused to take part against the Romans, and that they were unable longer to withstand the force of the Macedonians, unless a Roman garrison were sent to their aid. Valerius promised to comply with their wishes, and sent two thousand chosen men in ships of war to the mouth of the river, under the command of Quintus Nævius Crista, præfect of the allies, a man of an enterprising spirit and experienced in service. He, as soon as his men were landed, sent back the ships to join the rest of the fleet at Oricum, whence he came; and leading his troops at a distance from the river, through a road where he was least likely to meet any of the king’s party, got into town by night, without being discovered by them. During the following day all remained quiet, while the præfect reviewed the forces of the Appollonians, their arms, and the defences of the city. On examining all those matters, he found sufficient ground for confidence; at the same time learning from scouts, that a great degree of negligence and inattention prevailed among the enemy. In consequence of this intelligence, he marched out of the city in the dead of the night, without any noise, and, on entering their camp, found it so neglected and exposed, that a thousand of his men had gotten within the rampart, as we are well assured, before any one perceived them, and had they refrained from killing the soldiers, might have reached the pavilion of the king. The destroying of those who were nearest to the gate roused the others from sleep: and immediately such terror and dismay took possession of all, that not one of them offered to take arms, or to attempt expelling the assailants: nay, instead of that, even the king himself fled in the same condition as he had started out of bed; half naked in a manner, and in a dress which would scarcely be decent for a private soldier, much less a monarch, he effected his escape to his ships in the river. Thither also the rest of the multitude directed their precipitate flight. Somewhat less than three thousand men were either killed or taken, but the number of prisoners considerably exceeded that of the killed. The camp was then sacked, and the Appollonians carried into their city, for the defence of their walls on any future occasion, the catapultas, balistas, and other engines, which had been provided for the purpose of demolishing them; all the rest of the booty found in the camp was consigned to the Romans. As soon as the news of this event reached Oricum, Marcus Valerius instantly drew his fleet to the mouth of the river, lest the King should attempt to escape by water. Philip, therefore, despairing of being able to cope with his adversaries, either by land or sea, drew up some of his ships into dock, burned the rest, and with his troops, mostly unarmed and despoiled of their baggage, returned by land into Macedonia. Marcus Valerius, with the Roman fleet, wintered at Oricum.
XLI. In Spain the contending parties met with various success during this campaign. For, before the Romans passed the river Iberus, Mago and Hasdrubal defeated a very numerous army of Spaniards, and all farther Spain would have revolted from the Romans, had not Publius Cornelius, by a rapid march, arrived in time to confirm the wavering resolutions of his allies. The Romans encamped, first at a place called the High Fort, remarkable for the death of the great Hamilcar. The fortress was strong, and they had already provided a store of corn. Nevertheless, because all the country round was full of the enemy’s troops, and as the Roman army, on its march, had been harassed by their cavalry, without being able to take revenge, and had lost two thousand men, who either loitered behind or straggled through the country, they removed thence to the neighbourhood of a friendly people, and fortified a camp at the mount of Victory. Hither came Cneius Scipio with all his forces; while on the other side, Hasdrubal, son of Gisgo, with a complete army, joined the other two Carthaginian generals, and their whole combined forces sat down opposite to the Roman with a river between them. Publius Scipio, going out privately with some light-armed troops to take a view of the adjacent country, passed not unobserved by the enemy, who would have cut him off in an open plain, had he not seized an eminence, which was nigh. Even there he was closely invested, but his brother coming up, relieved him from that dangerous situation. Castulo, a strong city, reckoned among the most remarkable in Spain, and so closely connected with the Carthaginians, that Hannibal had married a native of it, revolted to the Romans. The Carthaginians laid siege to Illiturgi, because it was held by a Roman garrison, and they had reason to expect that it would soon fall into their hands, chiefly in consequence of a scarcity of provisions. Cneius Scipio, with a legion lightly equipped, marched to the relief of the allies and the garrison, and forced his way into the city, between the two camps of the enemy with great slaughter of their men. On the day following he made a sally, and fought with the same success. In the two battles, he killed above twelve thousand men, and took more than ten thousand, with thirty-six military standards: in consequence of which losses, the Carthaginians raised the siege. They then sat down before the city of Bigerra, which also was in alliance with the Romans, but on the approach of Cneius Scipio raised the siege without a battle.
XLII. The Carthaginians then removed their camp to Munda, whither the Romans quickly followed them. Here a general engagement took place, which lasted near four hours: the Romans had decidedly the advantage; but, while they were pursuing the victory with the utmost ardour, the signal of retreat was given, in consequence of Cneius Scipio’s thigh being pierced through with a javelin; the soldiers round him being seized with a panic, in the supposition that the wound was mortal. There was no doubt, but that, if they had not been thus stopped, they would, on that day, have taken the enemy’s camp. Not only their soldiers, but elephants also, had already been driven up to the rampart, and, on the top of it, thirty-nine elephants had been killed with spears. Twelve thousand men are said to have fallen in this battle, and near three thousand to have been taken, with fifty-seven military ensigns. From thence the Carthaginians retreated to the city of Aurinæ, and the Romans, not to allow them time to recover from their defeat, followed them closely. Here Scipio, though carried into the field in a litter, engaged them again, and obtained a decided victory: though fewer of the enemy, by half, were slain in this battle than in the former; because, after their loss on that occasion, they could only bring a smaller number into the field. But as they are a race fitted by nature for the reviving of wars and the recruiting of armies, they soon, through the diligence of Mago, who was sent by his brother to levy soldiers, filled up the complement of their troops, and resumed courage to risk a-fresh the issue of a battle. Though their battallions were now composed mostly of foreign soldiers, yet fighting on a side which had suffered so many discomfitures within a few days, they showed the same spirit as before, and the same consequence ensued. More than eight thousand men were slain, not many short of a thousand taken prisoners, together with fifty-eight military standards. The greater part of the spoils had belonged to the Gauls, among which were golden chains and bracelets in great numbers; there were also two remarkable chieftains of the Gauls killed in that battle, Mœnicaptus and Civismarus: eight elephants were taken, and three killed. During this current of success in Spain, the Romans began to feel ashamed of having suffered the town of Saguntum, the original object of dispute, to continue five years in the possession of the enemy. Wherefore, dislodging the Carthaginian garrison, they retook possession of the town, and restored it to such of the inhabitants as had survived the violence of the conflict. As to the Turdetanians, who had been the instigators of the war between the Carthaginians and the people, they totally subdued them, sold them as slaves, and rased their city to the ground. Such were the occurrences in Spain during the consulate of Quintus Fabius and Marcus Claudius.
XLIII. At Rome, no sooner had the new plebeian tribunes entered into office, than one of them, Lucius Metellus, summoned the censors, Publius Furius and Marcus Ætilius, to trial before the people. In the preceding year, when he was quæstor, they had degraded him from the equestrian rank and from his tribe, and had disfranchised him on account of his having formed a conspiracy at Cannæ, to abandon Italy: but they were supported by the other nine tribunes, who protested against their being brought to trial, and were consequently discharged. The death of Publius Furius prevented their closing the Lustrum; and Marcus Ætilius abdicated his office. The election of consuls was held by the consul Quintus Fabius Maximus, and two were chosen who were both absent at the time, Quintus Fabius Maximus, the present consul’s son, and Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, a second time. The prætors appointed were Marcus Atilius, and two who were then curule ædiles, Publius Sempronius Tuditanus and Cneius Fulvius Centumalus, and lastly, Marcus Æmilius Lepidus. It is recorded, that stage plays were now, for the first time, exhibited four days successively, by direction of the curule ædiles. This Tuditanus, now ædile, was the person who, at Cannæ, while the rest were stupified by fear, in consequence of such a dreadful disaster, made his way through the middle of the enemy.
Y.R. 539. 213.XLIV. As soon as the elections were finished, the consuls elect were called home to Rome, by the advice of the present consul Quintus Fabius, and assumed the administration. They then called a meeting of the senate, to determine concerning their own provinces and those of the prætors, the armies to be employed, and the commanders to whom each was to be allotted. These were distributed in the following manner: To the consuls was assigned the province of making head against Hannibal; and of the armies, the one which Sempronius himself had already under his command, and another commanded by the late consul Fabius. These consisted of two legions each. Marcus Æmilius, the prætor, to whose lot the foreign jurisdiction had fallen, (his share in the administration of justice being consigned to his colleague, Marcus Atilius, city prætor,) was to hold the province of Luceria, and the two legions which Quintus Fabius, the present consul, had commanded as prætor; to Publius Sempronius fell the province of Ariminium; to Cneius Fulvius, Suessula, with two legions likewise to each; Fulvius to take with him the city legions; Tuditanus to receive his from Marcus Pomponius. The following commanders and provinces were continued: to Marcus Claudius, Sicily, so far as the limits of Hiero’s dominions had extended; to Lentullus, proprætor, the old Roman province in that island; to Titus Otacilius, the fleet. No additions were made to their armies. Greece and Macedonia were allotted to Marcus Valerius, with the legion and fleet which he had there; to Quintus Mucius, Sardinia, with his old army, which consisted of two legions, and to Caius Terentius, Picenum, with the one legion at the present under his command. It was ordered, that, besides those mentioned, two city legions should be levied, and twenty thousand troops of the allies. These were the leaders, these the forces, provided for the defence of the Roman empire, against a multitude of enemies, either declared or suspected. The consuls, after raising the two city legions, and filling up the numbers of the others, before they quitted Rome, expiated several prodigies, which had been reported. A wall and a gate had been struck by lightning, and also the temple of Jupiter at Aricia. Besides which, several deceptions of the eyes and ears were credited as facts; that the figures of ships of war had appeared in the river at Tarracina, where no such ships were; that in the temple of Jupiter, at Vicilinum in the district of Compsa, a clashing of arms was heard, and that the river at Amiturnum flowed in streams of blood. When the expiation of these was performed, according to the direction of the pontiffs, the consuls set out, Sempronius to Lucania, Fabius to Apulia. The father of the latter coming into the camp at Suessula, as lieutenant-general under his son, the son went out to meet him, and the lictors, out of reverence to his dignity, went on in silence, until the old man rode past eleven of the fasces, when the consul ordering his next lictor to take care, he called to him to dismount, and the father then, at length, alighting, said, “I had a mind, my son, to try whether you were properly sensible of being consul.”
XLV. Into this camp Darius Altinius of Arpi came privately by night, with three slaves, promising that if he were properly rewarded, he would betray Arpi to them. Fabius held a council to consider of the matter, when some were of opinion, that “he ought to be scourged and put to death as a deserter, being a common foe to both parties, ever ready to change sides; who, after the misfortune at Cannæ, as if faith ought to follow the changes of fortune, had gone over to the Carthaginians, and drawn Arpi into a revolt; and now, when the Roman affairs were, contrary to his hopes and wishes, recovering from that disaster, it must appear doubly base to offer to serve, by an act of treachery, the party on whom he had practised his treachery before. Such a wretch, who always appeared to act on one side, while his wishes were on the other, such a perfidious ally and fickle enemy, ought to be made a third lesson to deserters along with the Falerian and Pyrrhus’s traitors.” On the other hand Fabius, the consul’s father, said, that “people did not attend to the state of the times; but, in the very heat of war, as in a time of tranquillity, pronounced their decisions on every case without any allowance for circumstances. Thus, at a time when they should rather contrive and labour to prevent, if possible, any of the allies revolting from the Roman cause, or become wavering in their inclinations, they were of opinion, that a person who repented and showed an inclination to return to his former connexions, ought to be punished for an example. But if those who had once forsaken the part of the Romans, were at no time allowed to return to it, who could doubt, but that their nation would be deserted by its allies, and that they would shortly see every state in Italy combined under Carthaginian treaties? Nevertheless, he was not disposed to think that any confidence should be reposed in Altinius: but he would strike out a middle way of proceeding, and recommend that, at present, he should not be treated either as an enemy or an ally, but should, during the continuance of the war, be kept in custody, at a small distance from the camp, in some city, whose fidelity could be relied on; and that, in the event of peace, it should be considered whether his former defection pleaded stronger for punishment, or his present return for pardon.” This advice of Fabius was adopted. Altinius was bound in chains, and, together with his attendants, delivered into custody; and a large quantity of gold which he had brought with him, was ordered to be kept for his use. He was sent to Cales, where he was allowed to go out by day, attended by guards, who confined and watched him by night. When he was missed at his house in Arpi, search was made for him at first, then the report of what had happened spreading through the city, occasioned a tumult among the citizens, as if they had lost their leader; so that, dreading an alteration of their present system, they despatched, instantly, to Hannibal, an account of the affair. This was not at all displeasing to the Carthaginian, because he had long harboured suspicions of him, knowing the duplicity of his character; and besides, he had now gained an excuse for seizing and confiscating his great property. However, in order to make people believe that he was actuated rather by anger than rapaciousness, he exhibited a scene of uncommon barbarity; for, having ordered his wife and children to be brought into the camp, he made a strict inquiry concerning the flight of Altinius, and likewise concerning the quantities of gold and silver which he had left at home; and, when he had got sufficient information of every particular, he burned them alive.
XLVI. Fabius set out from Suessula, intending to open the campaign with the siege of Arpi, and having pitched his camp about half a mile from the place, and taken a near view of the situation and fortifications of the town, he resolved to make his principal attack on a quarter where the works were the strongest, and the guard the most negligently kept. After providing every thing requisite for an assault, he selected out of the whole army the ablest centurions, and placed over them tribunes of known bravery, giving them six hundred soldiers, which number was deemed sufficient, with orders, that, on the sounding of the signal of the fourth watch, they should advance with scaling ladders to the chosen spot. The gate on that side was low and narrow, the corresponding street being little frequented, as leading through a deserted part of the town. He ordered them, after first scaling the wall, to proceed to this gate, and break down the bars on the inside; then, as soon as they had got possession of that quarter of the city, to give the signal with a cornet, that the rest of the forces might join them, saying, that he would have every thing in readiness. His orders were executed with vigour and spirit; while a circumstance, which seemed likely to obstruct the undertaking, proved the most favourable for concealing their operations. A heavy rain at midnight obliged the guards and watches in the town to slip away from their posts, and run for shelter into the houses, while the loudness of the storm, which was most violent at the beginning, prevented their hearing the noise made by those who were breaking the postern, and the sound, becoming afterwards more soft and regular, lulled most of the men to sleep. As soon as the assailants had secured possession of the gate, they placed the cornet players in the street, at equal distances, and ordered them to sound as a summons to the consul; who, finding this part of the plan executed, immediately ordered his troops to march, and, a little before day, entered the city through the broken gate.
XLVII. At length the enemy were roused, the rain too abating with the approach of day. There was in the city a garrison of Hannibal’s troops, amounting to five thousand effective men, and the armed people of Arpi themselves were three thousand more. These latter, the Carthaginians, to guard against any treachery on their rear, opposed in front to the enemy. The fight was maintained for some time in the dark, and in narrow streets, the Romans having seized not only all the passes, but the houses likewise next to the gate, lest they might be struck or wounded by any thing thrown down from them. Some of the Arpians and Romans recognising each other, began to enter into conversation; the latter asking what had been the demerit of their countrymen, or what the merit of the Carthaginians, that could induce Italians to wage war in their favour — in favour of foreigners and barbarians; in fine, against their ancient allies, and striving to reduce Italy to a state of vassalage, and to make it a tributary province to Africa? The Arpians, in excuse for themselves, declared, that, without knowing any thing of the matter, they had been sold to the Carthaginians by those who had the management of their affairs, and that they were kept in a state of subjection and oppression by a faction of a few. In consequence of this declaration, greater numbers on both sides joined in the conversation. At last the prætor of Arpi was brought by his countrymen to the consul, and mutual assurances being given, in the midst of the standards and troops, the Arpians on a sudden turned their arms against the Carthaginians in favour of the Romans. A body of Spaniards, also, nearly a thousand in number, came over to the consul, without stipulating any other condition than that the Carthaginian garrison should be allowed to depart unhurt; which article was punctually fulfilled: the gates were thrown open: they were dismissed in safety, and joined Hannibal at Salapia. Thus was Arpi restored to the Romans, without any other loss than that of the life of one man, long since branded with treason, and lately with desertion. To the Spaniards a double allowance of provisions was ordered; and, on very many occasions afterwards, the goverment found them brave and faithful soldiers. While one of the consuls was in Apulia, and the other in Lucania, an hundred and twelve Campanian horsemen, all men of noble birth, having, under pretence of ravaging the enemy’s country, obtained leave from the magistrates to go out of Capua, came to the Roman camp above Suessula, told the advanced guard who they were, and that they wished to speak with the prætor. Cneius Fulvius, who commanded there, on receiving their message, ordered ten of their number, unarmed, to be conducted into his presence; and having heard their demands, which amounted to no more than that, on Capua being recovered, their property might be restored to them, he received them all into protection. At the same time the other prætor, Sempronius Tuditanus, reduced, by force, the town of Aternum, took above seven thousand prisoners, and a considerable quantity of brass and silver coin. At Rome a dreadful fire raged during two nights and one day: every thing between the Salinæ and the Carmental gate was levelled to the ground, as were the Æquimælium and the Jugarian street. The fire, catching the temples of Fortune, of Mother Matuta, and of Hope, on the outside of the gate, and spreading to a vast extent, consumed a great number of buildings, both religious and private.
XLVIII. During this year, the two Cornelii Publius and Cneius, by the prosperous course of affairs in Spain, and from their having recovered many old, and acquired many new allies, were encouraged to extend their views to Africa itself. Syphax, at this time king of a part of Numidia, had suddenly commenced a war with the Carthaginians: to him they sent three centurions as ambassadors, to form a treaty of frendship and alliance, and to assure him, that, if he continued to prosecute the war against the Carthaginians, the Roman senate and people would be thankful for the service, and would use their best endeavours to repay the kindness afterwards to his entire satisfaction. This embassy was very acceptable to the barbarian: he entered into conversation with the ambassadors on the art of war; and when he heard the discourses of those experienced veterans, and compared his own practice with such a regular system of discipline, he became sensible of his ignorance in many particulars. Then he requested, as the first instance of that favour, which he might expect from good and faithful allies, that “two of them might carry back to their commanders the result of their embassy, and the other remain with him as his instructor in military knowledge; adding that the people of Numidia were quite unacquainted with the method of fighting on foot, and were useful only on horseback: that this was the mode practiced by their ancestors since their first existence as a nation, and to the same had the present generation been accustomed since their childhood. That he had to deal with an enemy whose chief confidence lay in the power of their infantry; and that, therefore, if he expected to put himself on an equality with them in point of firm strength, he must procure a body of foot soldiers to oppose theirs. That his dominions abounded with numbers of men fit for the purpose, but that he was totally ignorant of the proper method of arming, training, and marshalling them; and they were in every respect awkward and unmanageable, like a mere mob collected by chance.” The ambassadors answered, that they would, at the present, comply with his desire, provided he gave them an assurance that he would send the person back, in case their commanders should disapprove of what they had done. The name of him who remained with the king was Quintus Statorius. With the two centurions, the Numidian sent into Spain ambassadors on his part, to receive the ratification of the convention from the Roman generals; and he charged them, after they should have executed this commission, to persuade the Numidians, who acted as auxiliaries in the Carthaginian garrisons, to come over to the other side. Satorius, finding abundance of young men, raised an army of infantry for the king, and forming them into distinct bodies, according to the Roman method, taught them, in taking their posts and performing their several evolutions, to follow their standards and keep their ranks; and he so inured them to the practice of military works, and other duties of soldiers, that, in a short time, the king placed not more confidence in his cavalry than in his infantry, and, even in a pitched battle, on a level plain, he defeated an army of Carthaginians. The arrival of the king’s ambassadors was productive of great advantages to the Romans in Spain, for, as soon as it was known, the Numidians began to come over in great numbers from the enemy. In this manner did friendship commence between the Romans and Syphax. Of which transaction, as soon as the Carthaginians got notice, they instantly despatched ambassadors to Gala, who reigned in the other part of Numidia, over the nation called Massylians.
XLIX. Gala had a son named Masinissa, at that time only seventeen years old, but endowed with such talents as, even then, afforded strong presumption that he would leave the kingdom more extensive and opulent than when he received it. The ambassadors represented, that, “since Syphax had united himself with the Romans, for the purpose of being enabled, by their assistance, to exert greater force against the other kings and natives of Africa, it would be the interest of Gala to enter into alliance, as soon as possible, with the Carthaginians, on the other side; that, before Syphax passed over into Spain, or the Romans into Africa, it would be very practicable to overpower the former, who had, as yet, gained no advantage from his connexion with Rome, except the name of it. Gala was easily persuaded to take part in the war, especially as his son earnestly solicited the command of the armies; and, in conjunction with the legions of the Carthaginians, he totally defeated Syphax in a great battle, in which, as we are told, thirty thousand men were slain. Syphax fled from the field with a few horsemen, and took refuge among the Maurusian Numidians, who inhabit the remotest coast of the ocean, opposite to Gades. Here the barbarians, attracted by his fame, flocked to him from all sides, in such numbers, that he was soon at the head of a very great army. In order to prevent his carrying this force into Spain, from which he was separated only by a narrow streight, Masinissa, with his victorious troops, came up with him; and there, by his own strength, without any aid from the Carthaginians, he maintained the war against Syphax with great glory. In Spain nothing memorable was performed, except that the Roman generals brought over to their side the youth of Celtiberia, granting them the same pay which they had stipulated with the Carthaginians, and sending above three hundred Spaniards of the highest distinction into Italy, to endeavour to draw off their countrymen, who served as auxiliaries in Hannibal’s army. The only incident which occurred in Spain remarkable enough to deserve being recorded, was, that the Celtiberians, in this year, were the first mercenary troops ever entertained in the Roman armies.
* 161l. 9s. 2d.
† 322l. 18s. 4d.
‡ 1,866l. 14s.
§ 3,229l. 3s. 4d.
* Syracuse was founded by a colony of Athenians, and rose gradually to the very first rank of greatness and splendour At the time of these transactions it consisted of four parts, each of which deserved the name of a city. 1. The island, called also Ortygia, was joined to the main land by a bridge, and stretching out into the bay, formed two harbours, a large one to the south-east, and a smaller one on the north-west. Here stood the royal palace and the treasury, and, at the remotest point, the fountain Arethusa arises. 2. The Achradina. This was the largest and strongest division of the city, it stretched along the bottom of the lesser harbour, whose waters washed it, and was divided from the other parts by a strong wall. 3. The Tycha, so named from a remarkable temple of Fortune, ’τυχή, formed the southeastern part of the city. 4 Neapolis, or the New Town; this was the latest built, and lay westward of the Tycha. The principal entrance into this part was guarded by a fort called Hexapylum, from its having six gates. To this part belonged Epipolæ, an eminence commanding a view of the whole city.
Of this once famous city the only part now inhabited is the island. The ruins of the rest are about twenty two miles in circumference, and are covered with vineyards, orchards, and corn fields.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:52