« About This Work | Plut. Tim. 0–39 (end) | About This Work »
prI began the writing of my “Lives” for the sake of others, but I find that I am continuing the work and delighting in it now for my own sake also, using history as a mirror and endeavouring in a manner to fashion and adorn my life in conformity with the virtues therein depicted. For the result is like nothing else than daily living and associating together, when I receive and welcome each subject of my history in turn as my guest, so to speak, and observe carefully “how large he was and of what mien,” and select from his career what is most important and most beautiful to know. 2
and more efficacious for moral improvement? Democritus says we ought to pray that we may be visited by phantoms which are propitious, and that from out the circumambient air such only may encounter us as are agreeable to our natures and good, rather than those which are perverse and bad, thereby intruding into philosophy a doctrine which is not true, and which leads astray into boundless superstitions. 3But in my own case, the study of history and the familiarity with it which my writing produces, enables me, since I always cherish in my soul the records of the noblest and most estimable characters, to repel and put far from me whatever base, malicious, or ignoble suggestion my enforced associations may intrude upon me, calmly and dispassionately turning my thoughts away from them to the fairest of my examples. 4Among these were Timoleon the Corinthian and Aemilius Paulus, whose Lives I have now undertaken to lay before my readers; the men were alike not only in the good principles which they adopted, but also in the good fortune which they enjoyed in their conduct of affairs, and they will make it hard for my readers to decide whether the greatest of their successful achievements were due to their good fortune or their wisdom.
“And oh! what greater joy than this canst thou obtain,”
1The state of affairs in Syracuse, before the expedition of Timoleon into Sicily, was as follows. After Dion had driven out Dionysius the tyrant, he was at once treacherously slain, and those who had helped him to free Syracuse were divided among themselves. The city, therefore, was continually exchanging one tyrant for another, and owing to a multitude of ills was almost abandoned, while as for the rest of Sicily, part of it was ruined and already wholly without inhabitants by reason of the wars, 2and most of the cities were occupied by Barbarians of mixed races and soldiers out of employment, who readily consented to the successive changes in the despotic power. At last Dionysius, in the tenth year of his exile, collected mercenaries, drove out Nisaeus, who was at that time master of Syracuse, recovered the power again, and established himself as tyrant anew; he had been unaccountably deprived by a small force of the greatest tyranny that ever was, and now more unaccountably still he had become, from a lowly exile, master of those who drove him forth. 3Accordingly, those of the Syracusans who remained in the city were the slaves of a tyrant who at all times was unreasonable, and whose spirit at this time was rendered altogether savage by misfortunes, but the best and most distinguished of them had recourse to Hicetas the ruler of Leontini, put themselves under his protection, and chose him their general for the war; not that he was better than any acknowledged tyrant, but because they had no other refuge, and felt confidence in one who was a Syracusan by birth and possessed a force that was able to cope with that of Dionysius.
2Meanwhile the Carthaginians came with a large armament to Sicily and were watching their opportunity, and the Sicilian Greeks, in their fright, wished to send an embassy to Greece and ask for assistance from the Corinthians, not only because they trusted them on account of their kinship and in consequence of the many benefits they had already received from them, but also in general because they saw that the city was always a lover of freedom and a hater of tyrants, and had waged the most and greatest of her wars, not for supremacy and aggrandizement, but for the liberty of the Greeks. 2Hicetas, however, since he had made a tyranny for himself, and not the freedom of Syracuse, his sole object in taking the field, had already held secret conferences with the Carthaginians; yet openly he commended the plan of the Syracusans and joined them in sending the embassy to Peloponnesus, not because he wished that an allied force should come from there, but because he hoped that if, as was likely, the Corinthians should refuse their assistance because the disturbed condition of Greece kept them busy at home, he might more easily turn the control of affairs into the hands of the Carthaginians and use these invaders as allies and helpers in a struggle against the Syracusans or against Dionysius. This, then, was fully proved a little later.
3But when the embassy arrived, the Corinthians, since they were wont to be ever solicitous for their colonial cities and for Syracuse in particular, and since by good fortune there was nothing in Greece at that time to disturb them, but they were enjoying peace and leisure, voted readily to give the assistance desired. And while they were seeking for a commander, and the magistrates were writing down the names of those in the city who were eager for the honour and proposing them for election, one of the common people rose to his feet and nominated Timoleon the son of Timodemus, although he no longer took part in public business, and had no expectation or purpose of doing so; 2but some god, as it would seem, put it into the man’s mind to nominate him, such was the kindliness of Fortune that shone forth at once upon his election, and such the grace that attended his subsequent actions and adorned his virtues.
He was born of parents who were illustrious in the city, Timodemus and Demariste, and he was a lover of his country and exceedingly gentle, except as he was a hater of tyrants and of base men. 3As a soldier his nature was so well and evenly attempered that great sagacity was manifested in the exploits of his youth, and no less bravery in those of his old age. He had a brother Timophanes, older than he, and not at all like him, but headstrong and filled with a ruinous passion for absolute power by worthless friends and foreign military adventurers who were ever about him, and having the reputation of being rather impetuous and fond of danger in military service. 4Therefore he won followers among the citizens and as an efficient warrior was given posts of high command. And Timoleon aided him in obtaining these, trying to conceal his mistakes altogether or to make them seem trifling, and embellishing and enhancing his good natural qualities.
4In the battle fought by the Corinthians against the Argives and Cleonaeans, Timoleon was stationed among the men-at-arms, and Timophanes, who commanded the cavalry, was overtaken by extreme peril. For his horse was wounded and threw him in among the enemy, and of his comrades, some scattered in panic flight, while the few who remained fought against great numbers and were with difficulty holding their ground. 2Accordingly, when Timoleon saw what had happened, he came running to the help of Timophanes and held his shield over him as he lay on the ground, and after receiving many javelins and many hand to hand blows upon his person and his armour, at last succeeded in repulsing the enemy and saving his brother.
After this, the Corinthians, fearing lest they should suffer a second loss of their city through the treachery of their allies, voted to maintain four hundred mercenaries, and put Timophanes in command of them; 3but he, without regard for honour and justice, at once took measures to bring the city under his own power, and after putting to death without a trial great numbers of the leading citizens, declared himself tyrant. At this, Timoleon was greatly distressed, and considering his brother’s baseness to be his own misfortune, he attempted to reason with him and exhort him to renounce that unfortunate and mad ambition of his and seek to make some amends for his transgressions against his fellow citizens. 4But when his brother rejected his appeals with scorn, he took his kinsman Aeschylus, who was a brother of the wife of Timophanes, and his friend the seer whose name, according to Theopompus, was Satyrus, but according to Ephorus and Timaeus, Orthagoras, and after waiting a few days went up again to his brother; and the three, surrounding him, besought him even now to listen to reason and change his mind. 5But Timophanes first mocked them, and then lost his temper and was violent, whereupon Timoleon withdrew a little space from him and stood weeping with muffled head, while the other two, drawing their swords, speedily despatched him.
5The deed having been noised abroad, the most influential Corinthians applauded Timoleon for his hatred of baseness and greatness of soul, in that, although a kindly man and fond of his family, he had nevertheless set his country before his family, and honour and justice before expediency; for when his brother was fighting valiantly for his country, Timoleon had saved his life, but after he had plotted against her and enslaved her, Timoleon had slain him. 2However, those who were unable to live in a democracy and were accustomed to pay court to men in power, while they pretended to rejoice at the death of the tyrant, still, by their abuse of Timoleon as the perpetrator of an impious and abominable deed, drove him into despondency. And now he learned that his mother was angry with him and uttered dreadful reproaches and fearful imprecations against him, and went to plead his cause with her; but she could not endure to see his face, 3and closed her house against him. Then indeed he became altogether a prey to grief and disordered in mind, and determined to starve himself to death; but his friends would not suffer this, and brought all manner of entreaty and constraint to bear upon him, so that he made up his mind to live by himself, apart from the world. So he gave up all public life, and for a long while did not even return to the city, but spent his time wandering in great distress of mind among the most desolate parts of the country.
6So true is it that the purposes of men, unless they acquire firmness and strength from reason and philosophy for the activities of life, are unsettled and easily carried away by casual praise and blame, being forced out of their native reckonings. For it would seem that not only our action must be noble and just, but the conviction also from which our action springs must be abiding and unchangeable, 2in order that we may be satisfied with what we are about to do, and that mere weakness may not make us dejected over actions which have once been accomplished, when the fair vision of the Good fades away; just as gluttons who devour cloying viands with the keenest appetite are very soon sated and then disgusted with them. For repentance makes even the noble action base; whereas the choice which springs from a wise and understanding calculation does not change, even though its results are unsuccessful. 3For this reason Phocion the Athenian, after having opposed the activities of Leosthenes, when Leosthenes was thought to be successful and the Athenians were seen sacrificing and exulting over the victory, said he could have wished that the achievement were his own, but was glad that he counselled as he did. And with more force Aristides the Locrian, one of Plato’s companions, when Dionysius the Elder asked him for one of his daughters in marriage, said he would be more pleased to see the maid dead than living with a tyrant; 4and when, after a little while, Dionysius put his children to death and then asked him insultingly whether he was still of the same mind about giving his daughters in marriage, answered that he was afflicted by what had been done, but did not repent him of what had been said. Such utterances as these, then, betoken perhaps a larger and more consummate virtue.
7But the grief of Timoleon over what had been done, whether it was due to pity for his dead brother or to reverence for his mother, so shattered and confounded his mental powers that almost twenty years passed without his setting his hand to a single conspicuous or public enterprise. 2Accordingly, when he had been nominated general, and the people had readily approved of it and given him their votes, Telecleides, who was at that time the foremost man in the city for reputation and influence, rose up and exhorted Timoleon to be a noble and brave man in his enterprises. “For if,” said he, “thou contendest successfully, we shall think of thee as a tyrannicide; but if poorly, as a fratricide.”
3But while Timoleon was getting ready for his voyage and collecting soldiers, a letter was brought to the Corinthians from Hicetas which disclosed his treacherous change of sides. For as soon as he had sent out the embassy, he openly attached himself to the Carthaginians and acted with them in order to expel Dionysius from Syracuse and become its tyrant himself. 4And fearing lest his opportunities for action should escape him if a general and an army came from Corinth in advance, he sent a letter to the Corinthians telling them that there was no need of their putting themselves to the trouble and expense of a voyage to Sicily with all its perils, especially since the Carthaginians, with whom their delay had forced him to make an alliance against the tyrant, forbade their expedition and were on the watch for it with a large fleet. 5When this letter had been read publicly, if any of the Corinthians had before been lukewarm towards the expedition, their wrath against Hicetas now incited them all, so that they eagerly joined in supplying Timoleon and helping him get ready for his voyage.
8When the fleet was ready, and the soldiers provided with what they needed, the priestesses of Persephone fancied they saw in their dreams that goddess and her mother making ready for a journey, and heard them say that they were going to sail with Timoleon to Sicily. Therefore the Corinthians equipped a sacred trireme besides, and named it after the two goddesses. 2Furthermore, Timoleon himself journeyed to Delphi and sacrificed to the god, and as he descended into the place of the oracle, he received the following sign. From the votive offerings suspended there a fillet which had crowns and figures of Victory embroidered upon it slipped away and fell directly upon the head of Timoleon, so that it appeared as if he were being crowned by the god and thus sent forth upon his undertaking.
3And now, with seven Corinthian ships, and two from Corcyra, and a tenth which the Leucadians furnished, he set sail. And at night, after he had entered the open sea and was enjoying a favouring wind, the heavens seemed to burst open on a sudden above his ship, and to pour forth an abundant and conspicuous fire. From this a torch lifted itself on high, like those which the mystics bear, and running along with them on their course, darted down upon precisely that part of Italy towards which the pilots were steering. 4The soothsayers declared that the apparition bore witness to the dreams of the priestesses, and that the goddesses were taking part in the expedition and showing forth the light from heaven; for Sicily, they said, was sacred to Persephone, since mythology makes it the scene of her rape; and the island was given to her as a wedding present.
9Such, then, were the signs from Heaven which encouraged the expedition; and making haste, since they were crossing the open sea, they skirted the coast of Italy. But the tidings from Sicily much perplexed Timoleon and disheartened his soldiers. 2For Hicetas, after defeating Dionysius in battle and occupying most of the outlying portions of Syracuse, had shut the tyrant up in the acropolis and what was called The Island, where he was himself helping to besiege and wall him in, while he ordered the Carthaginians to see to it that Timoleon should not land in Sicily, but that he and his forces should be repulsed, and that they themselves, at their leisure, should divide the island with one another. So the Carthaginians sent twenty triremes to Rhegium, on board of which were envoys from Hicetas to Timoleon carrying proposals which conformed to his proceedings. 3For they were specious and misleading suggestions covering base designs, the envoys demanding that Timoleon himself, if he wished, should come to Hicetas as counsellor and partner in all his successes, but that he should send his ships and his soldiers back to Corinth, since, as they claimed, the war was almost finished, and the Carthaginians were ready to prevent their passage and to fight them if they tried to force one. 4When, therefore, the Corinthians, after putting in at Rhegium, met these envoys, and saw the Carthaginians riding at anchor not far off, they were indignant at the insult put upon them, and were all of them filled with rage at Hicetas and fear for the Sicilian Greeks, who, as they clearly saw, were left to be a prize and reward, to Hicetas on the one hand for his treachery, and to the Carthaginians on the other for making him tyrant. Moreover, it seemed impossible to overcome both the ships of the Barbarians confronting them there with twice their numbers, and the force under Hicetas in Syracuse, where they had come to take command.
10However, after Timoleon had met the envoys of Hicetas and the commanders of the Carthaginians, he calmly said that he would obey their commands (for what would he accomplish by refusing?), but he wished that, before he went away, their proposals and his reply should be made in the presence of the people of Rhegium, a Greek city and a friend of both parties; for this would conduce to his own safety, and they, on their part, would abide more firmly by their promises regarding the Syracusans if they made a people witness to the agreements into which they entered. 2In making this overture to them he was contriving a deceit which should secure his safe passage across the strait, and the leaders of the Rhegian helped him contrive it, since they were all desirous that the affairs of the Sicilian Greeks should be in the hands of the Corinthians, and feared to have the Barbarians as neighbours. Therefore they convened an assembly and closed the gates, in order that the citizens might not engage in any other business; then they came forward and addressed the multitude in lengthy speeches, one handing over to another the same topic and coming to no conclusion, 3but protracting the time to no apparent purpose, until the Corinthian triremes should have put to sea, and keeping the Carthaginians in the assembly free from all suspicion, since Timoleon also was there and led them to think that he was on the point of rising to address the people. But when some one secretly brought him word that the other triremes had put to sea, and that one only, his own, had been left behind and was waiting for him, he slipped through the crowd unnoticed, with the connivance of the Rhegians about the bema, went down to the sea, and sailed off with all speed. 4And they put in at Tauromenium in Sicily, whither they had been earnestly invited some time ago, and where they were now kindly received by Andromachus, the master and ruler of the city. Andromachus was father of Timaeus the historian, and after making himself by far the most powerful of the rulers in Sicily at that time, not only led his own citizens in the ways of law and justice, but was also known to be always averse and hostile to tyrants. 5Therefore at this time also he allowed Timoleon to make the city a base of operations, and persuaded his citizens to join the Corinthians in their struggle to set Sicily free.
11But the Carthaginians in Rhegium, after Timoleon had put to sea and the assembly had been dissolved, were indignant, and in their discomfiture afforded amusement to the Rhegians, seeing that, though Phoenicians, they were not pleased with what was effected by deceit. 2Nevertheless, they sent an envoy aboard a trireme to Tauromenium, who, after a long conversation with Andromachus, in which he menaced him in insolent barbaric fashion if he did not expel the Corinthians as soon as possible, finally showed him his hand with the palm up, and then turning it down, threatened that he would turn his city as completely upside down. Andromachus, however, with a laugh, made no further reply than to stretch out his hand, as the Barbarian had done, now palm up, and now palm down, and then order him to sail off, if he did not wish his ship to be turned upside down in the same fashion.
3But Hicetas was afraid when he learned that Timoleon had crossed the strait, and sent for great numbers of the Carthaginian triremes. And now it was that the Syracusans altogether despaired of their deliverance, seeing their harbour in the power of the Carthaginians, their city in the hands of Hicetas, and their citadel in the possession of Dionysius; while Timoleon had but a hold as it were on the fringe of Sicily in the little city of Tauromenium, with a feeble hope and a small force to support him; for apart from a thousand soldiers and provisions barely sufficient for them, he had nothing. 4Nor did the cities feel confidence in him, over full of ills as they were and embittered against all leaders of armies, particularly by reason of the perfidy of Callippusand Pharax, one of whom was an Athenian, and the other a Lacedaemonian; but both of them, while declaring that they came to secure the freedom of Sicily and wished to overthrow its tyrants, made the calamities of Sicily under her tyrants seem as gold in comparison, and brought her people to think those more to be envied who had perished in slavery than those who had lived to see her independence.
12Expecting, therefore, that the Corinthian leader would be no whit better than those who had preceded him, but that the same sophistries and lures were come to them again, and that with fair hopes and kind promises they were to be made docile enough to receive a new master in place of an old one, they all suspected and repulsed the appeals of the Corinthians except the people of Adranum. 2These dwelt in a city that was small, but sacred to Adranus, a god highly honoured throughout all Sicily, and being at variance with one another, one party invited in Hicetas and the Carthaginians, while the other sent an invitation to Timoleon. And by some freak of fortune, both generals hastening to answer the summons, both arrived at one and the same time. 3But Hicetas came with five thousand soldiers, while Timoleon had no more than twelve hundred all told. Taking these with him from Tauromenium, he set out for Adranum, which was three hundred and forty furlongs off. The first day he advanced only a small part of the journey and bivouacked for the night; but on the second day he quickened his pace, and after traversing difficult regions, when day was already declining he heard that Hicetas was just arriving at the little city and pitching his camp. 4Accordingly, his captains and taxiarchs halted the van-guard, in order to give the men food and rest and so make them more ready to fight; but when Timoleon came up, he begged them not to do this, but to lead on with speed and engage the enemy while they were in disorder, as they were likely to be when just at the end of their march and busy with their tents and supper. 5And as he thus spoke, he took his shield, put himself at the head, and led the soldiers on as if to certain victory. And they followed, emboldened by his example, being now distant from the enemy less than thirty furlongs. And when they had traversed these too, they fell upon the enemy, who were confounded and took to flight as soon as they perceived them coming up; wherefore not many more than three hundred of them were slain, while twice as many were taken alive, and their camp was captured. 6Moreover, the people of Adranum threw open their gates and joined Timoleon, reporting to him with terror and amazement that at the beginning of the battle the sacred portals of their temple flew open of their own accord, and the spear of the god was seen to be trembling to the tip of its point, while copious sweat ran down his face.
13These prodigies, as it would seem, were a sign not only of the victory which was then won, but also of the achievements succeeding them, to which that struggle afforded a propitious beginning. For cities at once sent envoys to Timoleon and espoused his cause, and particularly Mamercus, the tyrant of Catana, a warlike and wealthy man, presented himself as an ally. 2And what was most important, Dionysius himself, now grown desperate and almost forced to surrender, despised Hicetas for his shameful defeat, and in admiration of Timoleon sent to him and his Corinthians offering to surrender himself and the citadel to them. Timoleon accepted this unexpected good fortune, and sent Eucleides and Telemachus, men of Corinth, into the acropolis, and with them four hundred soldiers, not all at once, nor openly, for this was impossible when an enemy was blockading the harbour; but they made their way in secretly and in small companies. 3These soldiers, then, took over the acropolis and the castle of the tyrant, together with his equipment and stores for the war; for there were many horses there, all sorts of engines of war, and a great quantity of missiles, and armour for seventy thousand men had been stored up there for a long time. Dionysius also had with him two thousand soldiers; these, as well as the supplies, he turned over to Timoleon, while he himself, with his treasure and a few of his friends, sailed off without the knowledge of Hicetas. 4And after he had been conveyed to the camp of Timoleon, where for the first time he was seen as a private person and in humble garb, he was sent off to Corinth with a single ship and a small treasure, having been born and reared in a tyranny which was the greatest and most illustrious of all tyrannies, and having held this for ten years, and then for twelve other years, after the expedition of Dion, having been involved in harassing struggles and wars, and having surpassed in his sufferings all his acts of tyranny. 5For he lived to see the violent deaths of his grown-up sons and the violation of his maiden daughters, and the shameful abuse of the person of his wife, who was at the same time his sister, and who, while living, was subjected to the most wanton pleasures of his enemies, and after being murdered, together with her children, was cast into the sea. These things, then, have been fully described in my Life of Dion.
14But as for Dionysius, after his arrival at Corinth there was no Greek who did not long to behold and speak to him. But those who rejoiced in his misfortunes were led by their hatred to come together gladly that they might trample, as it were, upon one who had been cast down by Fortune; while those who regarded rather the reversal of his fortune and sympathised with him, saw strong proof, amid the weakness of things that are human and seen, of the power of causes that are unseen and divine. 2For that age showed no work either of nature or of art that was comparable to this work of Fortune, namely, the recent tyrant of Sicily in Corinth, whiling his time away at a fishmonger’s or sitting in a perfumer’s shop, drinking diluted wine from the taverns and skirmishing in public with common prostitutes, or trying to teach music-girls in their singing, and earnestly contending with them about songs for the stage and melody in hymns. 3Some thought that Dionysius did these things as an aimless loiterer, and because he was naturally easy-going and fond of license; but others thought that it was in order to be held in contempt and not in fear by the Corinthians, nor under suspicion of being oppressed by the change in his life and of striving after power, that he engaged in these practices and played an unnatural part, making a display of great silliness in the way he amused himself.
15However, certain sayings of his are preserved, from which it would appear that he accommodated himself to his present circumstances not ignobly. Once, namely, when he landed at Leucadia, a city which had been colonized by Corinthians, just like Syracuse, he said he had the same feelings as young men who have been guilty of misdemeanours; for just as these pass their time merrily with their brothers, but shun their fathers from a feeling of shame, so he was ashamed to live in their common mother-city, and would gladly dwell there with them. 2And again, in Corinth, when a stranger somewhat rudely derided him about his associations with philosophers, in which he used to take delight when he was a tyrant, and finally asked him what good Plato’s wisdom did him now, “Dost thou think,” said he, “that I have had no help from Plato, when I bear my change of fortune as I do?” Further, when Aristoxenus the musician and certain others inquired what his complaint against Plato was and what its origin, 3he told them that of the many ills with which tyranny abounded there was none so great as this, that not one of those reputed to be friends speaks frankly with the tyrant; for indeed it was by such friends that he himself had been deprived of Plato’s good will. Again, when one of those who wish to be witty, in mockery of Dionysius shook out his robe on coming into his presence, as if into the presence of a tyrant, Dionysius turned the jest upon him by bidding him do so when he went out from his presence, that he might not take anything in the house away with him. 4And when Philip of Macedon, at a banquet, began to talk in banter about the lyric poems and tragedies which Dionysius the Elder had left behind him, and pretended to wonder when that monarch found time for these compositions, Dionysius not inaptly replied by saying: “When thou and I and all those whom men call happy are busy at the bowl.”
5Now, Plato did not live to see Dionysius when he was in Corinth, but he was already dead; Diogenes of Sinope, however, on meeting him for the first time, said: “How little thou deservest, Dionysius, thus to live!” Upon this, Dionysius stopped and said: “It is good of thee, O Diogenes, to sympathize with me in my misfortunes.” “How is that?” said Diogenes; “Dost thou suppose that I am sympathizing with thee? Nay, I am indignant that such a slave as thou, and one so worthy to have grown old and died in the tyrant’s estate, just as thy father did, should be living here with us in mirth and luxury.” 6Wherefore, when I compare with these words the mournful utterances of Philistus about the daughters of Leptines, how from the great blessings of the tyranny they fell to a lowly life, they seem the lamentations of a woman who pines for her alabaster caskets and purple gowns and golden trinkets.
These details, then, will not seem foreign to my biography, I think, nor without usefulness, to readers who are not in haste, and are not occupied with other matters.
16But though the misfortune of Dionysius seemed extraordinary, none the less did the good fortune of Timoleon have something marvellous about it. For within fifty days after his landing in Sicily the acropolis of Syracuse was surrendered to him and Dionysius was sent off to Peloponnesus. Stimulated by this success, the Corinthians sent him two thousand men-at-arms and two hundred horsemen. 2These got as far as Thurii, but seeing that their passage thence was impracticable, since the sea was beset with many Carthaginian ships, they were compelled to remain there quietly and await their opportunity, and therefore turned their leisure to advantage in a most noble action. When the Thurians, namely, went on an expedition against the Bruttians, the Corinthians received their city in charge, and guarded it honestly and faithfully to the end, as though it were their own.
3But Hicetas kept the acropolis of Syracuse under siege and prevented the importation of food for the Corinthians there; he also sent to Adranum two foreigners whom he had engaged to assassinate Timoleon; for Timoleon at no time kept a guard in array about his person, and at this time in particular, owing to his trust in their god, he was altogether without anxiety or suspicion in his diversions with the people of Adranum. The men who had thus been sent learned, as chance would have it, that he was about to offer a sacrifice, and therefore came into the sacred precinct with daggers under their robes, mingled with those who stood around the altar, and gradually drew nearer their intended victim. 4And as they were just on the point of exhorting one another to begin their work, somebody smote one of them on the head with a sword and laid him low, whereupon neither he who had struck the blow nor the companion of him who had received it kept his place; but the one, with his sword still in his hand, fled to a lofty rock and sprang upon it, while the other laid hold of the altar and begged immunity from Timoleon on the condition of his revealing everything. And when he had obtained his request, he testified against himself and against his dead comrade that they had been sent to kill Timoleon. 5Meanwhile others brought down the man who had fled to the rock, who kept crying out that he had done no wrong, but had justly slain the man on behalf of his dead father, who had been murdered by him some time ago in Leontini. Some of the bystanders bore witness also to the truth of his words, and wondered, too, at the dexterity of Fortune, seeing how she makes some things lead up to others, brings all things together from afar, weaves together incidents which seem to be most divergent and to have nothing in common with one another, and so makes use of their reciprocal beginnings and endings.
6To this man, then, the Corinthians gave a reward of ten minas, because he had put his just resentment at the service of the deity who was guarding Timoleon, and had not at an earlier time expended the wrath which had long been in his heart, but with a personal motive had reserved it, under Fortune’s guidance, for the preservation of that general. Moreover, their good fortune in the present crisis raised their hopes for the future also, and they anticipated that men would revere and protect Timoleon, looking upon him as a sacred personage, and one who had come under divine guidance to avenge the wrongs of Sicily.
17But when Hicetas had failed in this attempt and saw that many were now thronging to the support of Timoleon, he found fault with himself because, when so large a force of the Carthaginians was at hand, he was using it in small detachments and secretly, as though he were ashamed of it, bringing in his allied troops like a thief and by stealth; he therefore called in Mago their general together with his whole armament. 2Thus Mago, with a formidable fleet of a hundred and fifty ships, sailed in and occupied the harbour, disembarking also sixty thousand of his infantry and encamping them in the city of Syracuse, so that all men thought that the barbarization of Sicily, long talked of and expected, had come upon her. For never before in all their countless wars in Sicily had the Carthaginians succeeded in taking Syracuse; but now Hicetas admitted them and handed over to them the city, and men saw that it was a barbarian camp. 3But those of the Corinthians who held the acropolis were beset with difficulty and danger; for they no longer had sufficient food, but suffered lack because the harbours were blockaded; and they were forever dividing up their forces in skirmishes and battles around the walls, and in repelling all sorts of engines and every species of siege warfare.
18However, Timoleon came to their aid by sending them grain from Catana in small fishing boats and light skiffs; these would make their way in, especially in stormy weather, by stealing along through the barbarian triremes, which lay at wide intervals from one another because of the roughness of the sea. This soon came to the notice of Mago and Hicetas, who therefore determined to take Catana, from which provisions came in by sea to the besieged; so taking with them the best of their fighting men, they sailed forth from Syracuse. 2But Neon the Corinthian (for he it was who commanded the besieged), observing from the citadel that the enemy who had been left behind were keeping an easy and careless watch, fell suddenly upon them as they were scattered apart; some he slew, others he put to flight, and then mastered and took possession of the quarter called Achradina. This seems to have been the strongest and least vulnerable part of the city of Syracuse, which was, in a manner, an assemblage and union of several cities. 3Having thus supplied himself with grain and money, he did not give up the place, nor did he go back again to the citadel, but fenced in the circumference of Achradina, united it by his fortifications with the acropolis, and guarded both. Mago and Hicetas were already near Catana, when a horseman from Syracuse overtook them and told them of the capture of Achradina. They were confounded by the tidings and went back in haste, having neither taken the city against which they went forth, nor kept the one they had.
19In these successes, then, foresight and valour might still dispute the claims of Fortune; but that which followed them would seem to have been wholly due to good fortune. The Corinthian soldiers, namely, who were tarrying at Thurii, partly because they feared the Carthaginian triremes which were lying in wait for them under Hanno, and partly because a storm of many days’ duration had made the sea very rough and savage, set out to travel by land through Bruttium; and partly by persuading, partly by compelling the Barbarians, they made their way down to Rhegium while a great storm was still raging at sea. 2But the Carthaginian admiral, since he did not expect that the Corinthians would venture forth and thought his remaining there inactive an idle thing, after convincing himself that he had devised something clever and mischievous in the way of deceit, ordered his sailors to crown their heads with garlands, decorated his triremes with purple battleflags and Greek shields, and sailed for Syracuse. And as he passed the acropolis at a dashing speed amid clapping of hands and laughter, he shouted that he was come from conquering and capturing the Corinthians, whom he had caught at sea as they were trying to cross the strait; supposing, indeed, that he would thus greatly dishearten the besieged. 3While he was thus babbling and playing the trickster, the Corinthians who had come down from Bruttium to Rhegium, since no one was lying in wait for them and the unexpected cessation of the storm had made the strait smooth and calm to look upon, speedily manned the ferry-boats and fishing craft which they found at hand, put off, and made their way across to Sicily, with such safety and in so great a calm that their horses also swam along by the side of the boats and were towed by the reins.
20When they had all crossed over, Timoleon took them and at once occupied Messana, then, uniting them with his other forces, marched against Syracuse, relying on the good fortune and success that attended his efforts rather than on the strength of his army; for his followers were not more than four thousand in number. But when Mago got tidings of his approach, disturbed and fearful as he was, he was made still more suspicious for the following reason. 2In the shoals about the city, which receive much fresh water from springs, and much from marshes and rivers emptying into the sea, great numbers of eels live, and there is always an abundance of this catch for anybody. These eels the mercenary soldiers on both sides, when they had leisure or a truce was on, used to hunt together. And since they were Greeks and had no reason for private hatred of one another, while in their battles they risked their lives bravely, in their times of truce they would visit and converse with one another. 3And so now, as they were busy together with their fishing, they conversed, expressing their admiration of the richness of the sea and the character of the adjacent lands. And one of those who were serving on the Corinthian side said: “Can it really be that you, who are Greeks, are eager to barbarize a city of such great size and furnished with such great advantages, thus settling Carthaginians, who are the basest and bloodiest of men, nearer to us, when you ought to pray for many Sicilies to lie as a barrier between Greece and them? 4Or do you suppose that they have collected an army and are come hither from the pillars of Heracles and the Atlantic sea in order to risk their lives in behalf of the dynasty of Hicetas? He, if he reasoned like a true leader, would not be casting out his kindred people, nor would he be leading against his country her natural enemies, but would be enjoying a befitting amount of honour and power, with the consent of Timoleon and the Corinthians.” Such speeches as these the mercenaries disseminated in their camp, and made Mago suspicious of treachery, though he had long wanted a pretext for going away. 5Therefore when Hicetas begged him to remain and tried to show him how much superior they were to their enemies, he thought rather that they were more inferior to Timoleon in bravery and good fortune than they surpassed him in the number of their forces, and weighing anchor at once, sailed off to Libya, thus letting Sicily slip out of his hands disgracefully and for no reason that man could suggest.
21On the day after his departure, Timoleon came up with his forces arrayed for battle. But when they learned of Mago’s flight and saw the docks empty of vessels, they could not help laughing at his cowardice, and went about the city proclaiming a reward for any one who told them whither the Carthaginian fleet had fled away from them. 2However, since Hicetas was still eager for battle and would not let go his hold upon the city, but clung to the parts of it in his possession, which were strong and dangerous to attack, Timoleon divided his forces, he himself attacking along the river and ordering others, under the lead of Isias the Corinthian, to make their attempt from Achradina. The third division was led against Epipolae by Deinarchus and Demaretus, who had brought the second reinforcement from Corinth. 3The attack was made in all three places at once, and the troops of Hicetas were overwhelmed and took to flight. That the city was taken by storm and fell quickly into their hands after the enemy had been driven out, it is right to ascribe to the bravery of the soldiers and the ability of their general; but that not one of the Corinthians was killed or even wounded, this the good fortune of Timoleon showed to be her own work, vying emulously, as it were, with his valour, in order that those who hear his story may wonder at his happy successes more than at his laudable efforts. 4For his fame not only filled at once all Sicily and Italy, but within a few days Greece echoed with his great success, so that the city of Corinth, which was in doubt whether his armament had got across the sea, heard at one and the same time that it had safely crossed, and that it was victorious. So prosperous was the course of his enterprises, and such was the speed with which Fortune crowned the beauty of his achievements.
22When he had become master of the citadel, he did not repeat the experience of Dion, nor did he spare the place on account of the beauty and great cost of its architecture, but guarding against the suspicions which had brought calumny and then destruction upon his predecessor, he made proclamation that all Syracusans who wished should come with implements of iron and help in the demolition of the tyrants’ bulwarks. 2And when they had all come up, considering that day with its proclamation to be a most secure beginning of freedom, they overthrew and demolished, not only the citadel, but also the palaces and the tombs of the tyrants. Then, as soon as he had levelled off the place, Timoleon built the courts of justice there, thus gratifying the citizens by making their democracy triumphant over tyranny.
3But the city which he had taken had not citizens enough, since some had perished in their wars and seditions, while others had gone into exile from tyrannical governments. Indeed, for lack of population the market place of Syracuse had produced such a quantity of dense herbage that horses were pastured in it, while their grooms lay down in the grass; and the other cities, with almost no exceptions, were full of deer and wild swine, while in their suburbs and around their walls those who had leisure for it went hunting, 4and not one of those who were established in fortresses and strongholds would hearken to any summons, or come down into the city, but fear and hatred kept all away from market place and civic life and public speaking, which had produced the most of their tyrants. Therefore Timoleon and the Syracusans decided to write to the Corinthians urging them to send settlers to Syracuse from Greece. 5For otherwise the land was likely to lie uncultivated, and they expected a great war from Africa, since they learned that the Carthaginians, after Mago’s suicide, had impaled his dead body, in their rage at his conduct of the expedition, and that they were assembling a great force with the intention of crossing into Sicily in the summer.
23When these letters from Timoleon had been delivered, and were accompanied by Syracusan envoys who begged them to take thought for their city and to become anew its founders, the Corinthians did not seize the opportunity for their own aggrandizement, nor did they appropriate the city for themselves, but, in the first place, they visited the sacred games in Greece and the greatest festival assemblages, and proclaimed by heralds that the Corinthians had overthrown the tyranny in Syracuse, and driven out the tyrant, 2and now invited Syracusans, and any other Sicilian Greeks who wished, to people the city with free and independent citizens, allotting the land among them on equal and just terms. In the second place, they sent messengers to Asia and the islands, where they learned that most of the scattered exiles were residing, and invited them all to come to Corinth, assuring them that the Corinthians, at their own expense, would furnish them with leaders and transports and a safe convoy to Syracuse. 3By these proclamations the city of Corinth earned the justest praise and the fairest glory; she was freeing the land from its tyrants, saving it from the Barbarians, and restoring it to its rightful citizens.
When these had assembled at Corinth, being too few in number, they begged that they might receive fellow colonists from Corinth and the rest of Greece; and after their numbers had risen to as many as ten thousand, they sailed to Syracuse. 4But by this time many also from Italy and Sicily had flocked to Timoleon; and when their numbers had risen to sixty thousand, as Athanis states, Timoleon divided the land among them, and sold the houses of the city for a thousand talents, thus at once reserving for the original Syracusans the power to purchase their own houses, and devising an abundance of money for the community; this had so little, both for other purposes, and especially for the war, that it actually sold its public statues at auction, 5a regular vote of condemnation being passed against each, as though they were men submitting their accounts. It was at this time, they say, that the statue of Gelon, their ancient tyrant, was preserved by the Syracusans, though they condemned the rest, because they admired and honoured him for the victory which he had won over the Carthaginians at Himera.
24Seeing the city thus beginning to revive and fill itself with people, since its citizens were streaming into it from all sides, Timoleon determined to set the other cities also free, and utterly to root out all tyrannies from Sicily. He therefore made an expedition into their territories and compelled Hicetas to forsake the cause of Carthage, and to agree to demolish his citadels and live as a private person in Leontini. 2And as for Leptines, who lorded it over Apollonia and numerous other strongholds, when he was in danger of being taken by main force, he surrendered himself; and Timoleon spared his life and sent him off Corinth, considering it a fine thing to have the tyrants of Sicily in the mother city what the Greeks could observe them living the lowly life of exiles. 3Moreover, he wished that his mercenaries might get booty from the enemy’s country and not remain idle. Accordingly, while he himself returned to Syracuse in order to apply himself to the establishment of the civil polity and to assist the lawgivers who had come from Corinth, Cephalus and Dionysius, in arranging its most important details in the most attractive way, 4he sent forth the troops under Deinarchus and Demaretus into that part of the island which the Carthaginians controlled, where they brought many cities to revolt from the Barbarians, and not only lived in plenty themselves, but actually raised moneys for the war from the spoils they made.
25Meanwhile the Carthaginians put in at Lilybaeum with an army of seventy thousand men, two hundred triremes, and a thousand transports carrying engines of war, four-horse chariots, grain in abundance, and other requisite equipment. Their purpose was, not to carry on the war by piece-meal any more, but at one time to drive the invading Greeks out of all Sicily; for their force would have been sufficient to capture the native Greeks, even though they had not been politically weak and utterly ruined by one another. 2And on learning that the territory which they controlled was being ravaged by the Corinthians, they were furious, and straightway marched against them under the command of Hasdrubal and Hamilcar. Tidings of this coming quickly to Syracuse, the Syracusans were so terrified at the magnitude of the enemy’s forces that only three thousand out of so many tens of thousands could with difficulty be brought to pluck up courage, take their arms, and go forth with Timoleon. 3Furthermore, the mercenaries were only four thousand in number; and of these, again, about a thousand played the coward on the march and went back to Syracuse, declaring that Timoleon was not in his right mind, but was more crazy than his years would lead one to expect, and was marching against seventy thousand of the enemy with five thousand foot and a thousand horse, and was taking his force a march of eight days away from Syracuse, so that those of them who fled from the field would find no safety, and those who fell upon it would have no burial. 4As for these men, then, Timoleon counted it gain that they had shown what they were before the battle; the rest he encouraged and led them with all speed to the river Crimesus, where he heard that the Carthaginians also were concentrating.
26As he was marching up a hill, from the crest of which they expected to look down upon the camp and the forces of the enemy, there met them by chance some mules laden with parsley; and it occurred to the soldiers that the sign was a bad one, because we are generally accustomed to wreath the tombs of the dead with parsley; and this has given rise to a proverb, namely, that one who is dangerously sick “needs only parsley.” 2Accordingly, wishing to free them from their superstitious fears and take away their despondency, Timoleon halted them on their march, and after discoursing otherwise as befitted the occasion, said also that the wreath for their victory had come into their hands in advance and of its own accord, the wreath with which Corinthians crown the victors at the Isthmian games, considering the garland of parsley to be traditionally sacred in their country. For at that time parsley was still used for wreaths at the Isthmian, as it is now at the Nemean games, and it was not long ago that the pine came into use instead. 3Accordingly, when Timoleon had addressed his soldiers, as I have said, he took of the parsley and crowned himself with it first, and then the captains and the common soldiers about him did the same. Moreover, the soothsayers, observing two eagles coming up on the wing, one of which bore a serpent pierced with its talons, while the other flew with a loud and inspiring cry, pointed them out to the soldiers, and all betook themselves to invoking the gods with prayers.
27Now, the season of the year was early summer, the month of Thargelion was drawing to a close, and the summer solstice was near; the river exhaled a thick mist which at first hid the plain in darkness, and nothing could be seen in the enemy’s camp, only an inarticulate and confused noise made its way up to the hill, showing that the vast host was moving forward. 2But after the Corinthians had ascended the hill, where they stopped, laid down their shields, and rested themselves, the sun was passing the meridian and drawing the vapours on high, the thick haze moved in masses towards the heights and hung in clouds about the mountain summits, while the regions below cleared up, the Crimesus came into view, and the enemy were seen crossing it, in the van their four-horse chariots formidably arrayed for battle, and behind these ten thousand men-at-arms with white shields. 3These the Corinthians conjectured to be Carthaginians, from the splendour of their armour and the slowness and good order of their march. After these the other nations streamed on and were making the crossing in tumultuous confusion. Then Timoleon, noticing that the river was putting it in their power to cut off and engage with whatever numbers of the enemy they themselves desired, and bidding his soldiers observe that the phalanx of the enemy was sundered by the river, since some of them had already crossed, while others were about to do so, 4ordered Demaretus to take the horsemen and fall upon the Carthaginians and throw their ranks into confusion before their array was yet formed. Then he himself, descending into the plain, assigned the wings to the other Sicilian Greeks, uniting a few of his mercenaries with each wing, while he took the Syracusans and the best fighters among his mercenaries under his own command in the centre. Then he waited a little while, watching what his horsemen would do, 5and when he saw that they were unable to come to close quarters with the Carthaginians on account of the chariots which coursed up and down in front of their lines, but were forced to wheel about continually that their ranks might not be broken, and to make their charges in quick succession after facing about again, he took up his shield and shouted to his infantrymen to follow and be of good courage; and his voice seemed stronger than usual and more than human, whether it was from emotion that he made it so loud, in view of the struggle and the enthusiasm which it inspired, or whether, as most felt at the time, some deity joined in his utterance. 6Then, his men re-echoing his shout, and begging him to lead them on without delay, he signalled to his horsemen to ride along outside and past the line of chariots and attack the enemy on the flank, while he himself made his vanguard lock their shields in close array, ordered the trumpet to sound the charge, and fell upon the Carthaginians.
28But these withstood his first onset sturdily, and owing to the iron breastplates and bronze helmets with which their persons were protected, and the great shields which they held in front of them, repelled the spear thrusts. But when the struggle came to swords and the work required skill no less than strength, suddenly, from the hills, fearful peals of thunder crashed down, and vivid flashes of lightning darted forth with them. 2Then the darkness hovering over the hills and mountain summits came down to the field of battle, mingled with rain, wind, and hail. It enveloped the Greeks from behind and smote their backs, but it smote the Barbarians in the face and dazzled their eyes, a tempest of rain and continuous flames dashing from the clouds. In all this there was much that gave distress, and most of all to the inexperienced; and particularly, as it would seem, the peals of thunder worked harm, and the clatter of the armour smitten by the dashing rain and hail, which made it impossible to hear the commands of the leaders. 3Besides, since the Carthaginians were not lightly equipped, but, as I have said, encased in armour, both the mud and the bosoms of their tunics filled with water impeded them, so that they were unwieldy and ineffective in their fighting, and easily upset by the Greeks, and when they had once fallen it was impossible for them to rise again from the mud with their weapons. 4For the Crimesus, having been already greatly swollen by the rains, was forced over its banks by those who were crossing it, and the adjacent plain, into which many glens and ravines opened from the hills, was filled with streams that hurried along no fixed channels, and in these the Carthaginians wallowed about and were hard beset. Finally, the storm still assailing them, and the Greeks having overthrown their first rank of four hundred men, the main body was put to flight. 5Many were overtaken in the plain and cut to pieces, and many the river dashed upon and carried away to destruction as they encountered those who were still trying to cross, but most of them the light-armed Greeks ran upon and despatched as they were making for the hills. At any rate, it is said that among ten thousand dead bodies, three thousand were those of Carthaginians—a great affliction for the city. 6For no others were superior to these in birth or wealth or reputation, nor is it recorded that so many native Carthaginians ever perished in a single battle before, but they used Libyans for the most part and Iberians and Numidians for their battles, and thus sustained their defeats at the cost of other nations.
29The rank of those who had fallen was made known to the Greeks from the spoils. For those who stripped the bodies made very little account of bronze and iron; so abundant was silver, so abundant gold. For they crossed the river and seized the camp with its baggage-trains. As for the prisoners, most of them were stolen away and hidden by the soldiers, but as many as five thousand were delivered into the public stock; there were also captured two hundred of the four-horse chariots. 2But the most glorious and magnificent sight was presented by the tent of Timoleon, which was heaped about with all sorts of spoils, among which a thousand breast-plates of superior workmanship and beauty and ten thousand shields were exposed to view. And as there were but few to strip many, and the booty they came upon was great, it was the third day after the battle before they could erect their trophy.
Along with the report of his victory Timoleon sent to Corinth the most beautiful of the captured armour, wishing that his own native city should be envied of all men, 3when in her alone of Greek cities they saw the most conspicuous temples, not adorned with Greek spoils, nor possessed of joyless memorials in the shape of votive offerings from the slaughter of kinsmen and fellow citizens, but decked with barbarian spoils which set forth in fairest inscriptions the justice as well as the valour of the victors, declaring that Corinthians and Timoleon their general set the Greeks dwelling in Sicily free from Carthaginians, and thus dedicated thank-offerings to the gods.
30After this, he left his mercenaries in the enemy’s territory plundering the dominion of the Carthaginians, and went himself to Syracuse; there he ordered out of Sicily the thousand mercenaries by whom he had been deserted before the battle, and compelled them to depart from Syracuse before the sun went down. 2These, then, after crossing into Italy, were perfidiously slain by the Bruttians, thus receiving from the divine power a penalty for their treachery. Mamercus, however, the tyrant of Catana, and Hicetas, whether through envy of the successes won by Timoleon, or because they feared him as one who distrusted tyrants and would make no peace with them, formed an alliance with the Carthaginians and urged them to send a general with an army if they did not wish to be cast out of Sicily altogether. 3Accordingly, Gisco set sailwith a fleet of seventy ships, and added Greek mercenaries to his forces, although the Carthaginians had never before employed Greek soldiers; they did so at this time, however, because they had come to admire them as the best and most irresistible fighters in the world. After they had all united their forces in the territory of Messana, they slew four hundred of Timoleon’s mercenaries who had been sent thither as auxiliaries, and in that part of the island belonging to the Carthaginians, near the place called Ietae, they set an ambush for the mercenaries under Euthymus the Leucadian and cut them to pieces. 4Herein even most of all did the good fortune of Timoleon become famous. For these were some of the men who, with Philomelus the Phocian and Onomarchus, had seized Delphi and shared in their spoliation of the sanctuary. Then, since all mankind hated them and shunned them as men who had put themselves under a curse, they wandered about Peloponnesus, where they were enlisted in his service by Timoleon, in the dearth of other soldiers. 5And after coming into Sicily, they were victorious in all the battles which they fought under his leadership, but when the most and greatest of his struggles were over, they were sent out by him to the assistance of others, and then perished utterly, not all at one time, but little by little. And Justice thus punished them, while at the same time she sustained the good fortune of Timoleon, in order that no harm might come to the good from the chastisement of the wicked. So, then, the good will of the gods towards Timoleon was no less to be admired in his reverses than in his successes.
31But the people of Syracuse were vexed at the insults heaped upon them by the tyrants. For Mamercus, who valued himself highly as a writer of poems and tragedies, boasted of his victory over the mercenaries, and in dedicating their shields to the gods wrote the following insolent couplet:—
2And after this, when Timoleon was on an expedition to Calauria, Hicetas burst into the territory of Syracuse, took much booty, wrought much wanton havoc, and was marching off past Calauria itself, despising Timoleon, who had but few soldiers. But Timoleon suffered him to pass on, and then pursued him with cavalry and light-armed troops. When Hicetas was aware of this, he crossed the river Damurias, and halted on the farther bank to defend himself; for the difficulty of the passage, and the steepness of the banks on either side, gave him courage. 3Then among Timoleon’s cavalry officers an astonishing strife and contention arose which delayed the battle. For not one of them was willing to cross the river against the enemy after another, but each demanded to begin the onset himself, and their crossing was likely to be without order if they crowded and tried to run past one another. Timoleon, therefore, wishing to decide their order by lot, took a seal-ring from each of the leaders, and after casting all the rings into his own cloak and mixing them up, he showed the first that came out, and it had by chance as the device of its seal a trophy of victory. 4When the young men saw it, they cried aloud for joy and would no longer wait for the rest of the lot, but all dashed through the river as fast as they could and closed with the enemy. These could not withstand the violence of their onset, but fled, all alike losing their arms, and a thousand being left dead on the field.
“These bucklers, purple-painted, decked with ivory, gold, and amber,
We captured with our simple little shields.”
32Not long afterwards Timoleon made an expedition into the territory of Leontini and captured Hicetas alive, together with his son Eupolemus and his master of horse Euthymus, who were bound and brought to Timoleon by his soldiers. Hicetas, then, and his young son, were punished as tyrants and traitors and put to death, and Euthymus, though a brave man in action and of surpassing boldness, found no pity because of a certain insult to the Corinthians which was alleged against him. 2It is said, namely, that when the Corinthians had taken the field against them, Euthymus told the men of Leontini in a public harangue that it was nothing fearful or dreadful if
So natural is it for most men to be more galled by bitter words than hostile acts; since insolence is harder for them to bear than injury. Besides, defensive acts are tolerated in an enemy as a necessary right, but insults are thought to spring from an excess of hatred or baseness.
“Corinthian women came forth from their homes.”
33After Timoleon had returned, the Syracusans brought the wives and daughters of Hicetas and his friends to public trial, and then put them to death. And this would seem to have been the most displeasing thing in Timoleon’s career; for if he had opposed it, the women would not have been thus put to death. 2But apparently he neglected them and abandoned them to the wrath of the citizens, who were bent on taking vengeance in behalf of Dion, who drove out Dionysius. For Hicetas was the man who took Arete the wife of Dion, and Aristomache his sister, and his son, who was still a boy, and threw them into the sea alive, concerning which things I have written in my Life of Dion.
34After this, Timoleon made an expedition against Mamercus to Catana, conquered and routed him in a pitched battle near the stream of the Abolus, and slew above two thousand of his soldiers, a large part of whom were the Carthaginians sent him as auxiliaries by Gisco. Thereupon the Carthaginians made a peace with him which they sought themselves; the terms were that they should keep the territory within the river Lycus, restoring their families and property to all who wished to change their homes from there to Syracuse, and renouncing their alliance with the tyrants. 2Then Mamercus, despairing of success, took ship for Italy with the purpose of bringing the Lucanians against Timoleon and Syracuse; but his companions on the voyage turned their triremes back, sailed to Sicily, and handed Catana over to Timoleon, whereupon Mamercus himself also was compelled to seek refuge in Messana with Hippo the tyrant of that city. 3But Timoleon came up against them and besieged them by land and sea, and Hippo was caught as he was trying to steal away on board a ship. Then the Messanians took him into the theatre, brought their children thither from their schools to behold, as a glorious spectacle, the tyrant’s punishment, and put him to torment and death. As for Mamercus, he gave himself up to Timoleon on condition that he should undergo trial at Syracuse, and that Timoleon should not denounce him. 4So he was brought to Syracuse, and when he came before the people, attempted to rehearse a speech composed by him a long time before; but being received with noise and clamour, and seeing that the assembly was inexorable, he flung away his mantle, ran right across the theatre, and dashed head foremost against one of the stone steps, hoping to kill himself. However, he was not so fortunate as to die in this way, but was taken away, still living, and crucified like a robber.
35In this manner, then, did Timoleon extirpate the tyrannies and put a stop to their wars. He found the whole island reduced to a savage state by its troubles and hated by its inhabitants, but he made it so civilized and so desirable in the eyes of all men that others came by sea to dwell in the places from which their own citizens used to run away before. 2Agrigentum and Gela, for instance, great cities which had been ruined and depopulated by the Carthaginians after the Attic war, were re-peopled at this time, one by Megellus and Pheristus from Velia, the other by Gorgus, who sailed from Ceos and brought with his company the old citizens. To these settlers Timoleon not only afforded safety and calm after so long a storm of war, but also supplied their further needs and zealously assisted them, so that he was revered by them as a founder. 3All the other inhabitants also cherished like feelings towards him, and no conclusion of war, no institution of laws, no settlement of territory, no arrangement of civil polity seemed satisfactory, unless he gave the finishing touches to it, like a master builder adding to a work that is drawing to completion some grace which pleases gods and men.
36At any rate, though in his time Greece produced many men who were great and wrought great things, such as Timotheus, Agesilaüs, Pelopidas, and Epaminondas (whom Timoleon most emulated), still, the lustre of their achievements was tarnished by a certain degree of violence and laborious effort, so that some of them were followed by censure and repentance; whereas in the career of Timoleon, setting aside his necessary treatment of his brother, there is nothing to which it were not meet, as Timaeus says, to apply the words of Sophocles:—
2For just as the poetry of Antimachus and the pictures of Dionysius, both Colophonians, for all their strength and vigour, seem forced and laboured, while the paintings of Nicomachus and the verses of Homer not only have power and grace besides, but also give the impression of having been executed readily and easily; so, if we compare the generalship of Epaminondas and Agesilaüs, which in both cases was full of toil and bitter struggles, with that of Timoleon, which was exercised with much ease as well as glory, it appears to men of just and careful reasoning a product, not of fortune, but of fortunate valour. 3And yet all his successes were ascribed by him to fortune; for in his letters to his friends at home and in his public addresses to the Syracusans he often said he was thankful to God, who, desiring to save Sicily, gave him the name and title of its saviour. Moreover, in his house he built a shrine for sacrifice to Automatia, or Chance, and the house itself he consecrated to man’s sacred genius. 4And the house in which he dwelt was picked out for him by the Syracusans as a prize for his achievements in the field; they also gave him the pleasantest and most beautiful of their country estates, and at this he used to spend the greater part of his leisure time, after he had sent home for his wife and children. For he did not return to Corinth, nor did he take part in the disturbances of Greece or expose himself to the jealousy of his fellow citizens, the rock on which most generals, in their insatiable greed for honours and power, make shipwreck; but he remained in Sicily, enjoying the blessings of his own creation, the greatest of which was the sight of so many cities and myriads of people whose happiness was due to him.
“Ye God, pray tell what Cypris or what winning love
Was partner in this work?”
37But since, as it would seem, not only all larks must grow a crest, as Simonides says, but also every democracy a false accuser, even Timoleon was attacked by two of the popular leaders at Syracuse, Laphystius and Demaenetus. Of these, Laphystius once tried to make him give surety that he would appear at a certain trial, and Timoleon would not suffer the citizens to stop the man by their turbulent disapproval; 2for he himself, he said, had of his own accord endured all his toils and dangers in order that any Syracusan who wished might avail himself of the laws. And when the other, Demaenetus, brought many denunciations in open assembly against his conduct in the field, to him, indeed, Timoleon made no answer, but said he owed thanks to the gods, for he had prayed them that he might live to see the Syracusans gain the right of free speech.
3So, then, having by general confession performed the greatest and most glorious deeds of any Greek of his time, and having been the only one to succeed in those achievements to which the rhetoricians, in their speeches at the national assemblies, were ever exhorting the Greeks; having been removed betimes by a happy fortune, pure and unstained with blood, from the evils which were rife in the mother country, 4and having displayed ability and valour in his dealings with Barbarians and tyrants, as well as justice and gentleness in his dealings with the Greeks and his friends; having set up most of the trophies of his contests without causing his fellow citizens either tears or mourning, and having in even less than eight yearshanded over to her inhabitants a Sicily purged of her perpetual intestine miseries and complaints; 5at last, being now advanced in years, he began to lose his sight, and then, after a little, became completely blind. He had done nothing himself to occasion this, nor was he therein the sport and mockery of Fortune, but suffered from some congenital disease, as it would seem, which came upon him with his years; for it is said that not a few of his kindred lost their sight in a similar way, when it was enfeebled by old age. 6But Athanis says that while the war against Hippo and Mamercus was still in progress, in his camp at Mylae, his vision was obscured by a cataract in the eye, and it was plain to all that he was getting blind; he did not, however, desist from the siege on this account, but persisted in the war and captured the tyrants; yet after his return to Syracuse, he at once laid aside the sole command and begged the citizens to excuse him from it, now that matters had reached the happiest conclusion.
38Well, then, that he himself should bear his misfortune without repining is less a matter for wonder; but the gratitude and honour which the Syracusans showed him in his blindness are worthy of admiration. They often went to visit him in person, and brought strangers who were sojourning in the city to his house and to his country seat to see their benefactor, exulting and proud that he chose to end his days among them; and thus made light of the brilliant return to Greece which had been prepared for him by reason of his successes. 2And of the many great things decreed and done in his honour, nothing surpassed the vote passed by the people of Syracuse that whenever they went to war against alien peoples, they would employ a Corinthian as their general. Moreover, the proceedings in their assemblies afforded a noble spectacle in his honour, since, while they decided other matters by themselves, for the more important deliberations they summoned him. 3Then he would proceed to the theatre carried through the market place on a mule-car; and when the vehicle in which he sat was brought in, the people would greet him with one voice and call him by name, and he, after returning their greetings and allowing some time for their felicitations and praises, would then listen carefully to the matter under debate and pronounce opinion. And when this opinion had been adopted, his retainers would conduct his car back again through the theatre, and the citizens, after sending him on his way with shouts of applause, would proceed at once to transact the rest of the public business by themselves.
39Cherished in old age amid such honour and good will, like a common father, a slight cause co-operated with his great age to bring him to his end. A number of days having been allowed in which the Syracusans might prepare for his funeral, while the country folk and strangers came together, the whole ceremony was conducted with great magnificence, and besides, young men selected by lot carried his bier with all its decorations through the precinct where the palace of Dionysius had stood before Timoleon destroyed it. 2The bier was escorted, too, by many thousands of men and women, whose appearance was one that became a festival, since all were crowned with garlands and wore white raiment; while cries and tears, mingled with benedictions upon the dead, betokened, not a formal tribute of respect, nor a service performed in obedience to public decree, but a just sorrow and a thankfulness arising from genuine good will. 3And finally, when the bier had been placed upon the funeral pyre, Demetrius, who had the loudest voice of any herald of the time, read from manuscript the following decree:—
“By the people of Syracuse, Timoleon, son of Timodemus, from Corinth, is here buried at a public cost of two hundred minas, and is honoured for all time with annual contests, musical, equestrian, and gymnastic, because he overthrew the tyrants, subdued the Barbarians, re-peopled the largest of the devastated cities, and then restored their laws to the Greeks of Sicily.”
4Furthermore, they buried his ashes in the market place, and afterwards, when they had surrounded it with porticoes and built palaestras in it, they set it apart as a gymnasium for their young men, and named it Timoleonteum. And they themselves, using the civil polity and the laws which he had ordained, enjoyed a long course of unbroken prosperity and happiness.
« About This Work | Plut. Tim. 0–39 (end) | About This Work »
 As Priam admired Achilles, Iliad, xxiv. 630.
 An iambic trimeter from the Tympanistae of Sophocles (Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.2, p. 270).
 In the MSS. this Introduction stands as the first chapter of the Aemilius Paulus.
 See the Dion, chapter lvii. This was in 354 B.C.
 346 B.C.
 Syracuse was founded by Corinthians in 735 B.C.
 Perhaps between 368 and 366 B.C.
 As they had at the hands of the Argives in 393 B.C.
 Diodorus (xvi. 65, 4) says that Timoleon slew his brother with his own hand in the market place; Nepos (Timoleon, i. 4) supports Plutarch's account, though with differing details.
 See the Phocion, xxiii. 4.
 Won by the allied Greeks under Leosthenes over Antipater of Macedonia, in 323 B.C. The victory was soon followed by the defeat of the Greeks at Crannon.
 In 344 B.C.
 The false friend of Dion (Dion, chapters liv.-lvii.).
 Cf. the Dion, xlviii. 3; xlix. 1 f.
 There is nothing in the Dion to justify this statement. The cruelties described were committed by the revolting people of Locri, to whom Dionysius had made himself odious during his residence there from 356 to 346 B.C. Cf. Athenaeus, p. 541 c-e.
 On his voyage from Syracuse to Corinth.
 To show that no weapon was concealed there.
 Plato died in 348 B.C.; Dionysius came to Corinth in 343 B.C.
 The Greek of this sentence is obscure, and has thus far defied emendation.
 See the Dion, chapter liii. 1.
 In 480 B.C., on the same day, it is said, as the victory at Salamis. Cf. Herodotus, vii. 166.
 Cf. chapter xxii. 3.
 It was early in June, 339 B.C.
 In the spring of 338 B.C.
 This was at the beginning of the second so-called Sacred War, 356 B.C.
 An adaptation of Euripides, Medeia, 215 (Kirchhoff), where Medea speaks to the chorus in the first person.
 Chapter lviii. 4.
 Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag.2 p. 316.
 346-338 B.C.
 In 337 or 336 B.C.