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had flattered with the most splendid hopes, and artful insinuations, viz. by saying, that, contenting himself with Sicily, he would leave to Ophellas the empire of Africa. But, as Agathocles did not scruple to commit the most horrid crimes, to promote his ambition and interest, the credulous prince had no sooner put himself and his army in his power, than, by the blackest perfidy, he was murdered by him, in order that Ophel. las's army might be entirely at his devotion. Many nations were now joined in alliance with Agathocles, and several strong holds had admitted his garrisons. He saw the affairs of Africa in a flourishing condition, and therefore thought it proper to lock after those of Sicily : accordingly he sailed back thither, and left his African army to the care of his son Archagathus. His renown, and the report of his victories, flew before him. On the news of his arrival in Sicily, many towns revolted to him ; but bad news soon recalled him to Africa. His absence had quite changed the face of things; and all his arts and endeavours were incapable of restoring them to their former condition. All his strong holds had surrendered to the enemy; the Africans had deserted him ; some of his troops were lost, and the remainder unable to make head against the Carthaginians : a circumstance that was still worse, he had no way to transport them into Sicily, the enemy being masters at sea, and himself unprovided of ships: he could not hope for either peace or treaty with the barbarians, since he had insulted them in so outrageous a manner, by his being the first who had dared to make a descent in their country. In this extremity, he thought only of providing for his own safety. After
meeting with a variety of adventures, this base deserter of his army, and perfidious betrayer of his own children, who were left by him to the wild fury of his disappointed soldiers, stole away from the dangers which hung over him, and arrived at Syracuse with very few persons. His soldiers, seeing themselves thus betrayed, murdered his sons, and surrendered to the enemy. Himself died miserably soon after, and ended, by a cruel death,“ a life that had been polluted with the blackest crimes.
d In this period may be placed another incident, related by Justin. The fame of Alexander's conquests made the Carthaginians fear, that he, very probably, might think of turning his arms towards Africa. The disastrous fate of Tyre, whence they drew their origin, and which he had so lately destroyed; the building.of Alexandria upon the confines of Africa and Egypt, as if he intended it as a rival city to Carthage ; the uninterrupted successes of that prince, whose ambition and good fortune were boundless ; all this justly alarmed the Carthaginians. To sound his inclinations, Hamilcar, surnamed Rhodanus, pretending to have been drove from his country by the cabals of his enemies, went over to the camp of Alexander, to whom he was introduced by Parmenio, and offered him his services. The king received him graciously, and had several
He was poisoned by one Menon, whom he had unnaturally abused. His teeth were putrefied by the violence of the poison, and hir. body tor. tured all over with the most racking pains. Menon was excited to this deed by Archagathus, grandson of Agathocles, whom he designed to defeat of the succession, in favour of his other son Agathocles. Before his death, he restored the democracy to the people. It is observable, that Justin, or rather Trogus, and Diodorus disagree in all the material parts of this tyrant's history.
Justin. l. xxi. c. 6.
conferences with him. Hamilcar did not fail to trans. mit to his country whatever discoveries he made from time to time of Alexander's designs. Nevertheless, on his return to Carthage, after Alexander's death, he was considered as a betrayer of his country to that prince, and accordingly was put to death by a sentence. which displayed equally the ingratitude and.cruelty of his countrymen,
* I am now to speak of the wars of the Carthaginians in Sicily, in the time of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, The Romans, to whom the designs of that ambitious prince were not unknown, to strengthen themselves against any attempts he might make upon Italy, had renewed their treaties with the Carthaginians, who, on their side, were no less afraid of his crossing into Sicily. To the articles of the preceding treaties, there was added an engagement of mutual assistance, in case either of the contracting powers should be attacked by Pyrrhus,
'The foresight of the Romans was very just; for Pyrrhus turned his arms against Italy, and gained many victories. The Carthaginians, in consequence of the last treaty, thought themselves obliged to assist the Romans, and accordingly sent them a fleet of six score sail, under the command of Mago. This general, in an audience before the senate, signified to them the concern his superiors took in the war, which they heard was carrying on against the Romans, and offered them their assistance. The senate returned thanks for the obliging offer of the Carthaginians, but at present thought fit to decline it,
* A. M. 3727. A. Carth. 569. A. Rom. 471. Ant. J. C. 277. Polyb I. i. p. 250, edit. Gronov.
Justin. l. xviii. c. 2.
• Mago, some days after, repaired to Pyrrhus, upon pretence of offering the mediation of Carthage for ter. minating his quarrel with the Romans, but in reality to sound him, and discover, if possible, his designs with regard to Sicily, which common fame reported he was going to invade, They were afraid that either Pyrrhus or the Romans would interfere in the affairs of that island, and transport forces thither for the conquest of it. And, indeed, the Syracusans, who had been besieged for some time by the Carthaginians, had sent pressingly for succour to Pyrrhus. This prince had a particular reason to espouse their interests, hav, ing married Lanassa, daughter of Agathocles, by whom he had a son named Alexander. He at last sailed from Tarentum, passed the strait, and arrived in Sicily. His conquests at first were so rapid, that he left the Carthaginians, in the whole island, only the single town of Lilybeum. He then laid siege to it; but meeting with a vigorous resistance, was obliged to break up; not to mention that the urgent necessity of his affairs called him back to Italy, where his presence was absolutely necessary. Nor was it less so in Sicily, which, on his departure, returned to the obedience of its former masters. Thus he lost this island with the same rapidity that he had won it. As he was embark, ing, turning his eyes back to Sicily, b« What a fine field of battle” said he to those about him, “do we leave the Carthaginians and Romans !". His prediction was soon verified.
& Justin. l. xviii. c. 2.
bo Plut. in Pyrrh. p. 398. 1 Οιαν απολειπομον, • φιλοι, Καρχηδονιους και Ρωμαιους παλαισραη. The Greek word is “ beautiful.” Indeed Sicily was a kind of palestra, where the Carthaginians and Romans exercised themselves in war, and for many years seemed to play the part of wrestlers with each other. The English language, as well as the French, has no word to express the Greek terma
After his departure, the chief public employment of Syracuse was conferred on Hiero, who afterwards obtained the name and dignity of king, by the united suffrages of the citizens, so greatly had his government pleased. He was appointed to carry on the war against the Carthaginians, and obtained several advantages over them. But now a common interest reunited them against a new enemy, who began to appear in Sicily, and justly alarmed both. These were the Romans, who having crushed all the enemies which had hitherto exercised their arms in Italy itself, were now powerful enough to carry them out of it; and to lay the foundation of that vast power there, to which they afterwards attained, and of which it was probable they had even then formed the design. Sicily lay too commodious for them, not to form a resolution of establishing them. selves in it. They therefore eagerly snatched this opportunity for crossing into it, which caused the rupture between them and the Carthaginians, and gave rise to the first Punic war. This I shall treat of more at large, by relating the causes of that war.
THE HISTORY OF CARTHAGE, FROM THE FIRST PUNIC WAR
TO ITS DESTRUCTION.
THE plan laid down by me for the prosecution of this history, does not allow me to enter into an exact detail of the wars between Rome and Carthage; since