Sidor som bilder

Greek ritual, if I may use that expression, were offered ap to them ; in a word, nothing was omitted which could be thought conducive in any manner to appease the angry goddesses, and to merit their favour. After this, the defence of the city was the next object of their care. Happily for the Carthaginians, this numerous army had no leader, but was like a body uninformed with a soul ; no provisions or military engines, no discipline or subordination were seen among them: every man setting himself up for a general, or claiming an independence from the rest. Divisions, therefore, arising in this rabble of an army, and the famine increasing daily, the individuals of it withdrew to their respective homes, and delivered Carthage from a dreadful alarm.

The Carthaginians were not discouraged by their late disaster, but continued their enterprises on Sicily. Mago, their general and one of the suffetes, lost a great battle, and his life. And now the Carthagintaņ chiefs demanded a peace, which accordingly was granted, on condition of their evacuating all Sicily, and defraying the expenses of the war. They pretended to accept the peace on the terms it was offered ; but representing that it was not in their power to deliver up the cities, without first obtaining an order from their republic, they obtained so long a truce as gave them time sufficient for sending to Carthage. During this interval they raised and disciplined new troops, over which Mago, son of him who had been lately killed, was appointed general. He was very young, but of great abilities and reputation. Mago, arrived in Sicily, and at the expiration of the truce, he gave Dionysius battle; in which Leptinus, one of the generals of the latter, was killed, and upwards of four. teen thousand Syracusans left dead in the field. By this victory the Carthaginians obtained an honourable peace, which left them in the possession of all they had in Sicily, with even the addition of some strong holds ; besides one thousand talents, which were for defraying the expenses of the war.

* About this time a law was enacted at Carthage, by which its inhabitants were forbid to learn to write or speak the Greek language; in order to deprive them of the means of corresponding with the enemy, either by word of mouth, or in writing. This was occasioned by the treachery of a Carthaginian who had writ in Greek to Dionysius, to give him advice of the depar. ture of the army from Carthage.

Carthage had soon after another calamity to struggle with. The plague got into the city, and made terrible havoc. Panic terrors, and violent fits of frenzy, seized on a sudden the heads of the distempered, who sallying, sword in hand, out of their houses, as if the enemy had taken the city, killed or wounded all who unhappily came in their way. The Africans and Sardinians would very willingly have taken this opportunity to shake off a yoke which was so hateful to them, but both were subjected and reduced to their allegiance. Dionysius formed at this time an enterprise, in Sicily, in the same views, which was equally unsuccesso ful. He died & some time after, and was succeeded by his son of the same name.

• This Leptinus was brother to Dionysius.

d About 206,0001. st. =$915,560. Justin. l. xx c. 5.

* Diod l xv. p. 344.

We have already taken notice of the first treaty which the Carthaginians concluded with the Romans. There was another, which, according to Orosius, was conclud. ed in the 402d year of the foundation of Rome, and consequently about the time we are now speaking of. This second treaty was very near the same with the first, except that the inhabitants of Tyre and Utica were expressly comprehended in it, and joined with the Carthaginians.

After the death of the elder Dionysius, Syracuse was involved in great troubles. Dionysius, the younger, who had been expelled, restored himself by force of arms, and exercised great cruelties there. One part of the citizens implored the aid of Icetes, tyrant of the Leontines, and by descent a Syracusan. This seemed a very favourable opportunity for the Carthaginians to seize upon all Sicily, and accordingly they sent a mighty fleet thither. In this extremity, such of the Syracusans as loved their country best, had recourse to

& This is the Dionysius who invited Plato to his court; and who being afterwards offended with his freedom, sold him for a slave. Some phi. Losophers came from Greece to Syracuse, in order to redeem their broth. er, which having done, they sent him home with this useful lesson : that philosophers ought very rarely, or very obligingly, to converse with tyrants. This Prince had learning, and affected to pass for a poet ; but could not gain that name at the Olympic games, whether he had sent his verses, to be repeated by his brother Thearides. It had been happy for Dionysius had the Athenians entertained no better an opinion of his poetry; for on their pronouncing him victor, when his poems were repeated in their city, he was raised to such a transport of joy and intem. perance, that both together killed him; and thus, perhaps, was verified the prediction of the oracles, viz. that he should die when he had overcome his betters.

b A. M. 3656. A. Carth. 408. A. Rom. 400. Ant. J. C. 348. Diod. 1. xvi. p. 252. Polyb. 1. iii. p. 178. Plut. in Timol.

[ocr errors]

the Corinthians, who had often assisted them in their dangers, and were, of all the Grecian nations, the most professed enemies to tyranny, and the most avowed and most generous assertors of liberty. Accordingly the Corinthians sent over Timoleon, a man of great merit, and who had signalized his zeal for the public welfare, by freeing his country from tyranny at the expense of his own family. He set sail with only ten ships, and arriving at Rhegium, he eluded, by a happy stratagem, the vigilance of the Carthaginians; who, having been informed by Icetes of his voyage and design, wanted to intercept his passage to Sicily.

Timoleon had scarce above a thousand soldiers under his command; and yet with this handful of men, he advanced boldly to the relief of Syracuse. His small

army increased perpetually as he marched. The Syracusans were now in a desperate condition, and quite hopeless. They saw the Carthaginians masters of the port ; Icetes of the city ; and Dionysus of the citadel. Happily, on Timoleon's arrival, Dionysius, having no refuge left, put the citadel into his hands, with all the forces, arms, and ammunition in it, and escaped by his assistance to Corinth. i Timoleon had, by his emissaries, represented artfully to the foreign

i Here he preserved some resemblance of his former tyranny, by turn. ing schoolmaster, and exercising a discipline over boys, when he could no longer tyrannise over men. He had learning, and was once a scholar to Plato, whom he caused to come again into Sicily, not withstanding the unworthy treatment he had met with from Dionysius's father. Philip, king of Macedon, meeting him in the streets at Corinth, and asking him how he came to lose so considerable a principality as had been left him by his father, he answered, that his father had indeed left him the inber. itance, but not the fortune which had preserved both himself and that. However, fortune did him no great injury in replacing him on the dunghill, from which she had raised his father, VOL. 1.


forces in Mago's army, which, by an error in the constitution of Carthage, before taken notice of, was chiefly composed of such, and even the greatest part of these were Greeks, that it was astonishing to see Greeks using their endeavour to make barbarians masters of Sicily, from whence they, in a very little time, would pass over into Greece : for could they imagine, that the Carthaginians were come so far, in no other view but to establish Icetes tyrant of Syracuse ? Such discourses being spread among Mago's soldiers, gave this general very great uneasiness ; and, as he wanted only a pretence to retire, he was glad to have it believed that his forces were going to betray and desert him ; and upon this he sailed with his fleet out of the harbour, and steered for Carthage. Icetes, after his departure, could not hold out long against the Corinthians, so that they now got entire possession of the whole city.

Mago, on his arrival at Carthage, was impeached; but he prevented the execution of the sentence passed upon him, by a voluntary death. His body was hung upon a gallows, and exposed as a public spectacle to the people. New forces were levied at Carthage, and a greater and more powerful fleet than the former was sent to Sicily. It consisted of two hundred ships of war, besides one thousand transports ; and the army amounted to upwards of seventy thousand men. They landed at Lilybeum under the command of Hamilcar and Hannibal, and resolved to attack the Corinthians first. Timoleon did not wait for, but marched out to meet them. And now, such was the consternation of Syracuse, that, of all the forces which were in that city, only three thousand Syracusans, and four thousand

* Plut. p. 248–250.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »