The words of Valeria were seconded by the acclamations of the other women, to which Volumnia made answer:—
"I and Vergilia, my countrywomen, have an equal share with you all in the common miseries, and we have the additional sorrow, which is wholly ours, that we have lost the merit and good fame of Marcius, and see his person confined, rather than protected, by the arms of the enemy. Yet I account this the greatest of all misfortunes, if indeed the affairs of Rome be sunk to so feeble a state as to have their last dependence upon us. For it is hardly imaginable he should have any consideration left for us, when he has no regard for the country which he was wont to prefer before his mother and wife and children. Make use, however, of our service; and lead us, if you please, to him; we are able, if nothing more, at least to spend our last breath in making suit to him for our country."
Having spoken thus, she took Vergilia by the hand, and the young children, and so accompanied them to the Volscian camp. So lamentable a sight much affected the enemies themselves, who viewed them in respectful silence. Marcius was then sitting in his place, with his chief officers about him, and, seeing the party of women advance toward them, wondered what should be the matter; but perceiving at length that his mother was at the head of them, he would fain have hardened himself in his former inexorable temper, but, overcome by his feelings, and confounded at what he saw, he did not endure they should approach him sitting in state, but came down hastily to meet them, saluting his mother first, and embracing her a long time, and then his wife and children, sparing neither tears nor caresses, but suffering himself to be borne away and carried headlong, as it were, by the impetuous violence of his passion.
When he had satisfied himself, and observed that his mother Volumnia was desirous to say something, the Volscian council being first called in, he heard her to the following effect: "Our dress and our very persons, my son, might tell you, though we should say nothing ourselves, in how forlorn a condition we have lived at home since your banishment and absence from us; and now consider with yourself, whether we may not pass for the most unfortunate of all women, to have that sight, which should be the sweetest that we could see, converted, through I know not what fatality, to one of all others the most formidable and dreadful, — Volumnia to behold her son, and Vergilia her husband, in arms against the walls of Rome. Even prayer itself, whence others gain comfort and relief in all manner of misfortunes, is that which most adds to our confusion and distress; since our best wishes are inconsistent with themselves, nor can we at the same time petition the gods for Rome's victory and your preservation, but what the worst of our enemies would imprecate as a curse, is the very object of our vows. Your wife and children are under the sad necessity, that they must either be deprived of you, or of their native soil. As for myself, I am resolved not to wait till war shall determine this alternative for me; but if I cannot prevail with you to prefer amity and concord to quarrel and hostility, and to be the benefactor to both parties, rather than the destroyer of one of them, be assured of this from me, and reckon steadfastly upon it, that you shall not be able to reach your country, unless you trample first upon the corpse of her that brought you into life. For it will be ill in me to wait and loiter in the world till the day come wherein I shall see a child of mine, either led in triumph by his own countrymen, or triumphing over them. Did I require you to save your country by ruining the Volscians, then, I confess, my son, the case would be hard for you to solve. It is base to bring destitution on our fellow- citizens; it is unjust to betray those who have placed their confidence in us. But, as it is, we do but desire a deliverance equally expedient for them and us; only more glorious and honorable on the Volscian side, who, as superior in arms, will be thought freely to bestow the two greatest of blessings, peace and friendship, even when they themselves receive the same. If we obtain these, the common thanks will be chiefly due to you as the principal cause; but if they be not granted, you alone must expect to bear the blame from both nations. The chance of all war is uncertain, yet thus much is certain in the present, that you, by conquering Rome, will only get the reputation of having undone your country; but if the Volscians happen to be defeated under your conduct, then the world will say, that, to satisfy a revengeful humor, you brought misery on your friends and patrons."
Marcius listened to his mother while she spoke, without answering her a word; and Volumnia, seeing him stand mute also for a long time after she had ceased, resumed: "O my son," said she, "what is the meaning of this silence? Is it a duty to postpone everything to a sense of injuries, and wrong to gratify a mother in a request like this? Is it the characteristic of a great man to remember wrongs that have been done him, and not the part of a great and good man to remember benefits such as those that children receive from parents, and to requite them with honor and respect? You, methinks, who are so relentless in the punishment of the ungrateful, should not be more careless than others to be grateful yourself. You have punished your country already; you have not yet paid your debt to me. Nature and religion, surely, unattended by any constraint, should have won your consent to petitions so worthy and so just as these; but if it must be so, I will even use my last resource." Having said this, she threw herself down at his feet, as did also his wife and children; upon which Marcius, crying out, "O mother! what is it you have done to me?" raised her up from the ground, and pressing her right hand with more than ordinary vehemence, "You have gained a victory," said he, "fortunate enough for the Romans, but destructive to your son; whom you, though none else, have defeated." After which, and a little private conference with his mother and his wife, he sent them back again to Rome, as they desired of him.
The next morning, he broke up his camp, and led the Volscians homeward, variously affected with what he had done; some of them complaining of him and condemning his act, others, who were inclined to a peaceful conclusion, unfavorable to neither. A third party, while much disliking his proceedings, yet could not look upon Marcius as a treacherous person, but thought it pardonable in him to be thus shaken and driven to surrender at last, under such compulsion. None, however, opposed his commands; they all obediently followed him, though rather from admiration of his virtue, than any regard they now had to his authority. The Roman people, meantime, more effectually manifested how much fear and danger they had been in while the war lasted, by their deportment after they were freed from it. Those that guarded the walls had no sooner given notice that the Volscians were dislodged and drawn off, but they set open all their temples in a moment, and began to crown themselves with garlands and prepare for sacrifice, as they were wont to do upon tidings brought of any signal victory. But the joy and transport of the whole city was chiefly remarkable in the honors and marks of affection paid to the women, as well by the senate as the people in general; every one declaring that they were, beyond all question, the instruments of the public safety. And the senate having passed a decree that whatsoever they would ask in the way of any favor or honor should be allowed and done for them by the magistrates, they demanded simply that a temple might be erected to Female Fortune, the expense of which they offered to defray out of their own contributions, if the city would be at the cost of sacrifices, and other matters pertaining to the due honor of the gods, out of the common treasury. The senate, much commending their public spirit, caused the temple to be built and a statue set up in it at the public charge; they, however, made up a sum among themselves, for a second image of Fortune, which the Romans say uttered, as it was putting up, words to this effect, "Blessed of the gods, O women, is your gift."
These words they profess were repeated a second time, expecting our belief for what seems pretty nearly an impossibility. It may be possible enough, that statues may seem to sweat, and to run with tears, and to stand with certain dewy drops of a sanguine color; for timber and stones are frequently known to contract a kind of scurf and rottenness, productive of moisture; and various tints may form on the surfaces, both from within and from the action of the air outside; and by these signs it is not absurd to imagine that the deity may forewarn us. It may happen, also, that images and statues may sometimes make a noise not unlike that of a moan or groan, through a rupture or violent internal separation of the parts; but that an articulate voice, and such express words, and language so clear and exact and elaborate, should proceed from inanimate things, is, in my judgment, a thing utterly out of possibility. For it was never known that either the soul of man, or the deity himself, uttered vocal sounds and language, alone, without an organized body and members fitted for speech. But where history seems in a manner to force our assent by the concurrence of numerous and credible witnesses, we are to conclude that an impression distinct from sensation affects the imaginative part of our nature, and then carries away the judgment, so as to believe it to be a sensation: just as in sleep we fancy we see and hear, without really doing either. Persons, however, whose strong feelings of reverence to the deity, and tenderness for religion, will not allow them to deny or invalidate anything of this kind, have certainly a strong argument for their faith, in the wonderful and transcendent character of the divine power; which admits no manner of comparison with ours, either in its nature or its action, the modes or the strength of its operations. It is no contradiction to reason that it should do things that we cannot do, and effect what for us is impracticable: differing from us in all respects, in its acts yet more than in other points we may well believe it to be unlike us and remote from us. Knowledge of divine things for the most part, as Heraclitus says, is lost to us by incredulity.
When Marcius came back to Antium, Tullus, who thoroughly hated and greatly feared him, proceeded at once to contrive how he might immediately dispatch him; as, if he escaped now, he was never likely to give him such another advantage. Having, therefore, got together and suborned several partisans against him, he required Marcius to resign his charge, and give the Volscians all account of his administration. He, apprehending the danger of a private condition, while Tullus held the office of general and exercised the greatest power among his fellow- citizens, made answer, that he was ready to lay down his commission, whenever those from whose common authority he had received it, should think fit to recall it; and that in the meantime he was ready to give the Antiates satisfaction, as to all particulars of his conduct, if they were desirous of it.
An assembly was called, and popular speakers, as had been concerted, came forward to exasperate and incense the multitude; but when Marcius stood up to answer, the more unruly and tumultuous part of the people became quiet on a sudden, and out of reverence allowed him to speak without the least disturbance; while all the better people, and such as were satisfied with a peace, made it evident by their whole behavior, that they would give him a favorable hearing, and judge and pronounce according to equity.
Tullus, therefore, began to dread the issue of the defense he was going to make for himself; for he was an admirable speaker, and the former services he had done the Volscians had procured and still preserved for him greater kindness than could be outweighed by any blame for his late conduct. Indeed, the very accusation itself was a proof and testimony of the greatness of his merits, since people could never have complained or thought themselves wronged, because Rome was not brought into their power, but that by his means they had come so near to taking it. For these reasons, the conspirators judged it prudent not to make any further delays, nor to test the general feeling; but the boldest of their faction, crying out that they ought not to listen to a traitor, nor allow him still to retain office and play the tyrant among them, fell upon Marcius in a body, and slew him there, none of those that were present offering to defend him. But it quickly appeared that the action was in nowise approved by the majority of the Volscians, who hurried out of their several cities to show respect to his corpse; to which they gave honorable interment, adorning his sepulchre with arms and trophies, as the monument of a noble hero and a famous general. When the Romans heard tidings of his death, they gave no other signification either of honor or of anger towards him, but simply granted the request of the women, that they might put themselves into mourning and bewail him for ten months, as the usage was upon the loss of a father or a son or a brother; that being the period fixed for the longest lamentation by the laws of Numa Pompilius, as is more amply told in the account of him.
Marcius was no sooner deceased, but the Volscians felt the need of his assistance. They quarreled first with the Aequians, their confederates and their friends, about the appointment of the general of their joint forces, and carried their dispute to the length of bloodshed and slaughter; and were then defeated by the Romans in a pitched battle, where not only Tullus lost his life, but the principal flower of their whole army was cut in pieces; so that they were forced to submit and accept of peace upon very dishonorable terms, becoming subjects of Rome, and pledging themselves to submission.
COMPARISON OF ALCIBIADES WITH CORIOLANUS
Having described all their actions that seem to deserve commemoration, their military ones, we may say, incline the balance very decidedly upon neither side. They both, in pretty equal measure, displayed on numerous occasions the daring and courage of the soldier, and the skill and foresight of the general; unless, indeed, the fact that Alcibiades was victorious and successful in many contests both by sea and land, ought to gain him the title of a more complete commander. That so long as they remained and held command in their respective countries, they eminently sustained, and when they were driven into exile, yet more eminently damaged the fortunes of those countries, is common to both. All the sober citizens felt disgust at the petulance, the low flattery, and base seductions which Alcibiades, in his public life, allowed himself to employ with the view of winning the people's favor; and the ungraciousness, pride, and oligarchical haughtiness which Marcius, on the other hand, displayed in his, were the abhorrence of the Roman populace. Neither of these courses can be called commendable; but a man who ingratiates himself by indulgence and flattery, is hardly so censurable as one who, to avoid the appearance of flattering, insults. To seek power by servility to the people is a disgrace, but to maintain it by terror, violence, and oppression, is not a disgrace only, but an injustice.
Marcius, according to our common conceptions of his character, was undoubtedly simple and straightforward; Alcibiades, unscrupulous as a public man, and false. He is more especially blamed for the dishonorable and treacherous way in which, as Thucydides relates, he imposed upon the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, and disturbed the continuance of the peace. Yet this policy, which engaged the city again in war, nevertheless placed it in a powerful and formidable position, by the accession, which Alcibiades obtained for it, of the alliance of Argos and Mantinea. And Coriolanus also, Dionysius relates, used unfair means to excite war between the Romans and the Volscians, in the false report which he spread about the visitors at the Games; and the motive of this action seems to make it the worse of the two; since it was not done, like the other, out of ordinary political jealousy, strife, and competition. Simply to gratify anger, from which, as Ion says, no one ever yet got any return, he threw whole districts of Italy into confusion, and sacrificed to his passion against his country numerous innocent cities. It is true, indeed, that Alcibiades also, by his resentment, was the occasion of great disasters to his country, but he relented as soon as he found their feelings to be changed; and after he was driven out a second time, so far from taking pleasure in the errors and inadvertencies of their commanders, or being indifferent to the danger they were thus incurring, he did the very thing that Aristides is so highly commended for doing to Themistocles: he came to the generals who were his enemies, and pointed out to them what they ought to do. Coriolanus, on the other hand, first of all attacked the whole body of his countrymen, though only one portion of them had done him any wrong, while the other, the better and nobler portion, had actually suffered, as well as sympathized, with him. And, secondly, by the obduracy with which he resisted numerous embassies and supplications, addressed in propitiation of his single anger and offense, he showed that it had been to destroy and overthrow, not to recover and regain his country, that he had excited bitter and implacable hostilities against it. There is, indeed, one distinction that may be drawn. Alcibiades, it may be said, was not safe among the Spartans, and had the inducements at once of fear and of hatred to lead him again to Athens; whereas Marcius could not honorably have left the Volscians, when they were behaving so well to him: he, in the command of their forces and the enjoyment of their entire confidence, was in a very different position from Alcibiades, whom the Lacedaemonians did not so much wish to adopt into their service, as to use, and then abandon. Driven about from house to house in the city, and from general to general in the camp, the latter had no resort but to place himself in the hands of Tisaphernes; unless, indeed, we are to suppose that his object in courting favor with him was to avert the entire destruction of his native city, whither he wished himself to return.
As regards money, Alcibiades, we are told, was often guilty of procuring it by accepting bribes, and spent it in in luxury and dissipation. Coriolanus declined to receive it, even when pressed upon him by his commanders as all honor; and one great reason for the odium he incurred with the populace in the discussions about their debts was, that he trampled upon the poor, not for money's sake, but out of pride and insolence.
Antipater, in a letter written upon the death of Aristotle the philosopher, observes, "Amongst his other gifts he had that of persuasiveness;" and the absence of this in the character of Marcius made all his great actions and noble qualities unacceptable to those whom they benefited: pride, and self-will, the consort, as Plato calls it, of solitude, made him insufferable. With the skill which Alcibiades on the contrary, possessed to treat every one in the way most agreeable to him, we cannot wonder that all his successes were attended with the most exuberant favor and honor; his very errors, at times, being accompanied by something of grace and felicity. And so, in spite of great and frequent hurt that he had done the city, he was repeatedly appointed to office and command; while Coriolanus stood in vain for a place which his great services had made his due. The one, in spite of the harm he occasioned, could not make himself hated, nor the other, with all the admiration he attracted, succeed in being beloved by his countrymen.
Coriolanus, moreover, it should be said, did not as a general obtain any successes for his country, but only for his enemies against his country. Alcibiades was often of service to Athens, both as a soldier and as a commander. So long as he was personally present, he had the perfect mastery of his political adversaries; calumny only succeeded in his absence. Coriolanus was condemned in person at Rome; and in like manner killed by the Volscians, not indeed with any right or justice, yet not without some pretext occasioned by his own acts; since, after rejecting all conditions of peace in public, in private he yielded to the solicitations of the women, and, without establishing peace, threw up the favorable chances of war. He ought, before retiring, to have obtained the consent of those who had placed their trust in him; if indeed he considered their claims on him to be the strongest. Or, if we say that he did not care about the Volscians, but merely had prosecuted the war, which he now abandoned, for the satisfaction of his own resentment, then the noble thing would have been, not to spare his country for his mother's sake, but his mother in and with his country; since both his mother and his wife were part and parcel of that endangered country. After harshly repelling public supplications, the entreaties of ambassadors, and the prayers of priests, to concede all as a private favor to his mother was less an honor to her than a dishonor to the city which thus escaped, in spite, it would seem, of its own demerits, through the intercession of a single woman. Such a grace could, indeed, seem merely invidious, ungracious, and unreasonable in the eyes of both parties; he retreated without listening to the persuasions of his opponents, or asking the consent of his friends. The origin of all lay in his unsociable, supercilious, and self-willed disposition, which, in all cases, is offensive to most people; and when combined with a passion for distinction passes into absolute savageness and mercilessness. Men decline to ask favors of the people, professing not to need any honors from them; and then are indignant if they do not obtain them. Metellus, Aristides, and Epaminondas certainly did not beg favors of the multitude; but that was because they, in real truth, did not value the gifts which a popular body can either confer or refuse; and when they were more than once driven into exile, rejected at elections, and condemned in courts of justice, they showed no resentment at the ill-humor of their fellow-citizens, but were willing and contented to return and be reconciled when the feeling altered and they were wished for. He who least likes courting favor, ought also least to think of resenting neglect: to feel wounded at being refused a distinction can only arise from an overweening appetite to have it.
Alcibiades never professed to deny that it was pleasant to him to be honored, and distasteful to him to be overlooked; and, accordingly, he always tried to place himself upon good terms with all that he met; Coriolanus's pride forbade him to pay attentions to those who could have promoted his advancement, and yet his love of distinction made him feel hurt and angry when he was disregarded. Such are the faulty parts of his character, which in all other respects was a noble one. For his temperance, continence, and probity, he might claim to be compared with the best and purest of the Greeks; not in any sort or kind with Alcibiades, the least scrupulous and most entirely careless of human beings in all these points.
It was for the sake of others that I first commenced writing biographies; but I find myself proceeding and attaching myself to it for my own; the virtues of these great men serving me as a sort of looking-glass, in which I may see how to adjust and adorn my own life. Indeed, it can be compared to nothing but daily living and associating together; we receive, as it were, in our inquiry, and entertain each successive guest, view
Their stature and their qualities,
and select from their actions all that is noblest and worthiest to know.
Ah, and what greater pleasure could one have?
or, what more effective means to one's moral improvement? Democritus tells us we ought to pray that of the phantasms appearing in the circumambient air, such may present themselves to us as are propitious, and that we may rather meet with those that are agreeable to our natures and are good, than the evil and unfortunate; which is simply introducing into philosophy a doctrine untrue in itself, and leading to endless superstitions. My method, on the contrary, is, by the study of history, and by the familiarity acquired in writing, to habituate my memory to receive and retain images of the best and worthiest characters. I thus am enabled to free myself from any ignoble, base, or vicious impressions, contracted from the contagion of ill company that I may be unavoidably engaged in, by the remedy of turning my thoughts in a happy and calm temper to view these noble examples. Of this kind are those of Timoleon the Corinthian, and Paulus Aemilius, to write whose lives is my present business; men equally famous, not only for their virtues, but success; insomuch that they have left it doubtful whether they owe their greatest achievements to good fortune, or their own prudence and conduct.
The affairs of the Syracusans, before Timoleon was sent into Sicily, were in this posture: after Dion had driven out Dionysius the tyrant, he was slain by treachery, and those that had assisted him in delivering Syracuse were divided among themselves; and thus the city, by a continual change of governors, and a train of mischiefs that succeeded each other, became almost abandoned; while of the rest of Sicily, part was now utterly depopulated and desolate through long continuance of war, and most of the cities that had been left standing were in the hands of barbarians and soldiers out of employment, that were ready to embrace every turn of government. Such being the state of things, Dionysius takes the opportunity, and in the tenth year of his banishment, by the help of some mercenary troops he had got together, forces out Nysaeus, then master of Syracuse, recovers all afresh, and is again settled in his dominion; and as at first he had been strangely deprived of the greatest and most absolute power that ever was, by a very small party, so now in a yet stranger manner; when in exile and of mean condition, he became the sovereign of those who had ejected him. All, therefore, that remained in Syracuse, had to serve under a tyrant, who at the best was of an ungentle nature, and exasperated now to a degree of savageness by the late misfortunes and calamities he had suffered. The better and more distinguished citizens, having timely retired thence to Hicetes, ruler of the Leontines, put themselves under his protection, and chose him for their general in the war; not that he was much preferable to any open and avowed tyrant; but they had no other sanctuary at present, and it gave them some ground of confidence, that he was of a Syracusan family, and had forces able to encounter those of Dionysius.
In the meantime, the Carthaginians appeared before Sicily with a great navy, watching when and where they might make a descent upon the island; and terror at this fleet made the Sicilians incline to send an embassy into Greece to demand succors from the Corinthians, whom they confided in rather than others, not only upon the account of their near kindred, and the great benefits they had often received by trusting them, but because Corinth had ever shown herself attached to freedom and averse from tyranny, and had engaged in many noble wars, not for empire or aggrandizement, but for the sole liberty of the Greeks. But Hicetes, who made it the business of his command not so much to deliver the Syracusans from other tyrants, as to enslave them to himself, had already entered into some secret conferences with those of Carthage, while in public he commended the design of his Syracusan clients, and dispatched ambassadors from himself, together with theirs, into Peloponnesus; not that he really desired any relief to come from there, but, in case the Corinthians, as was likely enough, on account of the troubles of Greece and occupation at home, should refuse their assistance, hoping then he should be able with less difficulty to dispose and incline things for the Carthaginian interest, and so make use of these foreign pretenders, as instruments and auxiliaries for himself, either against the Syracusans or Dionysius, as occasion served. This was discovered a while after.
The ambassadors being arrived, and their request known, the Corinthians, who had always a great concern for all their colonies and plantations, but especially for Syracuse, since by good fortune there was nothing to molest them in their own country, where they were enjoying peace and leisure at that time, readily and with one accord passed a vote for their assistance. And when they were deliberating about the choice of a captain for the expedition, and the magistrates were urging the claims of various aspirants for reputation, one of the crowd stood up and named Timoleon, son of Timodemus, who had long absented himself from public business, and had neither any thoughts of, nor the least pretension to, an employment of that nature. Some god or other, it might rather seem, had put it in the man's heart to mention him; such favor and good-will on the part of Fortune seemed at once to be shown in his election, and to accompany all his following actions, as though it were on purpose to commend his worth, and add grace and ornament to his personal virtues. As regards his parentage, both Timodemus his father, and his mother Demariste, were of high rank in the city; and as for himself, he was noted for his love of his country, and his gentleness of temper, except in his extreme hatred to tyrants and wicked men. His natural abilities for war were so happily tempered, that while a rare prudence might be seen in all the enterprises of his younger years, an equal courage showed itself in the last exploits of his declining age. He had an elder brother, whose name was Timophanes, who was every way unlike him, being indiscreet and rash, and infected by the suggestions of some friends and foreign soldiers, whom he kept always about him, with a passion for absolute power. He seemed to have a certain force and vehemence in all military service, and even to delight in dangers, and thus he took much with the people, and was advanced to the highest charges, as a vigorous and effective warrior; in the obtaining of which offices and promotions, Timoleon much assisted him, helping to conceal or at least to extenuate his errors, embellishing by his praise whatever was commendable in him, and setting off his good qualities to the best advantage.
It happened once in the battle fought by the Corinthians against the forces of Argos and Cleonae, that Timoleon served among the infantry, when Timophanes, commanding their cavalry, was brought into extreme danger; as his horse being wounded fell forward, and threw him headlong amidst the enemies, while part of his companions dispersed at once in a panic, and the small number that remained, bearing up against a great multitude, had much ado to maintain any resistance. As soon, therefore, as Timoleon was aware of the accident, he ran hastily in to his brother's rescue, and covering the fallen Timophanes with his buckler, after having received abundance of darts, and several strokes by the sword upon his body and his armor, he at length with much difficulty obliged the enemies to retire, and brought off his brother alive and safe. But when the Corinthians, for fear of losing their city a second time, as they had once before, by admitting their allies, made a decree to maintain four hundred mercenaries for its security, and gave Timophanes the command over them, he, abandoning all regard to honor and equity, at once proceeded to put into execution his plans for making himself absolute, and bringing the place under his own power; and having cut off many principal citizens, uncondemned and without trial, who were most likely to hinder his design, he declared himself tyrant of Corinth; a procedure that infinitely afflicted Timoleon, to whom the wickedness of such a brother appeared to be his own reproach and calamity. He undertook to persuade him by reasoning, that, desisting from that wild and unhappy ambition, he would bethink himself how he should make the Corinthians some amends, and find out an expedient to remedy and correct the evils he had done them. When his single admonition was rejected and contemned by him, he makes a second attempt, taking with him Aeschylus his kinsman, brother to the wife of Timophanes, and a certain diviner, that was his friend, whom Theopompus in his history calls Satyrus, but Ephorus and Timaeus mention in theirs by the name of Orthagoras. After a few days, then, he returns to his brother with this company, all three of them surrounding and earnestly importuning him upon the same subject, that now at length he would listen to reason, and be of another mind. But when Timophanes began first to laugh at the men's simplicity, and presently broke out into rage and indignation against them, Timoleon stepped aside from him and stood weeping with his face covered, while the other two, drawing out their swords, dispatched him in a moment.
On the rumor of this act being soon scattered about, the better and more generous of the Corinthians highly applauded Timoleon for the hatred of wrong and the greatness of soul that had made him, though of a gentle disposition and full of love and kindness for his family, think the obligations to his country stronger than the ties of consanguinity, and prefer that which is good and just before gain and interest and his own particular advantage. For the same brother, who with so much bravery had been saved by him when he fought valiantly in the cause of Corinth, he had now as nobly sacrificed for enslaving her afterward by a base and treacherous usurpation. But then, on the other side, those that knew not how to live in a democracy, and had been used to make their humble court to the men of power, though they openly professed to rejoice at the death of the tyrant, nevertheless, secretly reviling Timoleon, as one that had committed an impious and abominable act, drove him into melancholy and dejection. And when he came to understand how heavily his mother took it, and that she likewise uttered the saddest complaints and most terrible imprecations against him, he went to satisfy and comfort her as to what had happened; and finding that she would not endure so much as to look upon him, but caused her doors to be shut, that he might have no admission into her presence, with grief at this he grew so disordered in his mind and so disconsolate, that he determined to put an end to his perplexity with his life, by abstaining from all manner of sustenance. But through the care and diligence of his friends, who were very instant with him, and added force to their entreaties, he came to resolve and promise at last, that he would endure living, provided it might be in solitude, and remote from company; so that, quitting all civil transactions and commerce with the world, for a long while after his first retirement he never came into Corinth, but wandered up and down the fields, full of anxious and tormenting thoughts, and spent his time in desert places, at the farthest distance from society and human intercourse. So true it is that the minds of men are easily shaken and carried off from their own sentiments through the casual commendation or reproof of others, unless the judgments that we make, and the purposes we conceive, be confirmed by reason and philosophy, and thus obtain strength and steadiness. An action must not only be just and laudable in its own nature, but it must proceed likewise from solid motives and a lasting principle, that so we may fully and constantly approve the thing, and be perfectly satisfied in what we do; for otherwise, after having put our resolution into practice, we shall out of pure weakness come to be troubled at the performance, when the grace and goodliness, which rendered it before so amiable and pleasing to us, begin to decay and wear out of our fancy; like greedy people, who, seizing on the more delicious morsels of any dish with a keen appetite, are presently disgusted when they grow full, and find themselves oppressed and uneasy now by what they before so greedily desired. For a succeeding dislike spoils the best of actions, and repentance makes that which was never so well done, become base and faulty; whereas the choice that is founded upon knowledge and wise reasoning, does not change by disappointment, or suffer us to repent, though it happen perchance to be less prosperous in the issue. And thus Phocion, of Athens, having always vigorously opposed the measures of Leosthenes, when success appeared to attend them, and he saw his countrymen rejoicing and offering sacrifice in honor of their victory, "I should have been as glad," said he to them, "that I myself had been the author of what Leosthenes has achieved for you, as I am that I gave you my own counsel against it." A more vehement reply is recorded to have been made by Aristides the Locrian, one of Plato's companions, to Dionysius the elder, who demanded one of his daughters in marriage: "I had rather," said he to him, "see the virgin in her grave, than in the palace of a tyrant." And when Dionysius, enraged at the affront, made his sons be put to death a while after, and then again insultingly asked, whether he were still in the same mind as to the disposal of his daughters, his answer was, "I cannot but grieve at the cruelty of your deeds, but am not sorry for the freedom of my own words." Such expressions as these may belong perhaps to a more sublime and accomplished virtue.
The grief, however, of Timoleon at what had been done, whether it arose from commiseration of his brother's fate, or the reverence he bore his mother, so shattered and broke his spirits, that for the space of almost twenty years, he had not offered to concern himself in any honorable or public action. When, therefore, he was pitched upon for a general, and joyfully accepted as such by the suffrages of the people, Teleclides, who was at that time the most powerful and distinguished man in Corinth, began to exhort him that he would act now like a man of worth and gallantry: "For," said he, "if you do bravely in this service, we shall believe that you delivered us from a tyrant; but if otherwise, that you killed your brother." While he was yet preparing to set sail, and enlisting soldiers to embark with him, there came letters to the Corinthians from Hicetes, plainly disclosing his revolt and treachery. For his ambassadors were no sooner gone for Corinth, but he openly joined the Carthaginians, negotiating that they might assist him to throw out Dionysius, and become master of Syracuse in his room. And fearing he might be disappointed of his aim, if troops and a commander should come from Corinth before this were effected, he sent a letter of advice thither, in all haste, to prevent their setting out, telling them they need not be at any cost and trouble upon his account, or run the hazard of a Sicilian voyage, especially since the Carthaginians, alliance with whom against Dionysius the slowness of their motions had compelled him to embrace, would dispute their passage, and lay in wait to attack them with a numerous fleet. This letter being publicly read, if any had been cold and indifferent before as to the expedition in hand, the indignation they now conceived against Hicetes so exasperated and inflamed them all, that they willingly contributed to supply Timoleon, and endeavored, with one accord, to hasten his departure.
When the vessels were equipped, and his soldiers every way provided for, the female priests of Proserpina had a dream or vision, wherein she and her mother Ceres appeared to them in a traveling garb, and were heard to say that they were going to sail with Timoleon into Sicily; whereupon the Corinthians, having built a sacred galley, devoted it to them, and called it the galley of the goddesses. Timoleon went in person to Delphi, where he sacrificed to Apollo, and, descending into the place of prophecy, was surprised with the following marvelous occurrence. A riband with crowns and figures of victory embroidered upon it, slipped off from among the gifts that were there consecrated and hung up in the temple, and fell directly down upon his head; so that Apollo seemed already to crown him with success, and send him thence to conquer and triumph. He put to sea only with seven ships of Corinth, two of Corcyra, and a tenth which was furnished by the Leucadians; and when he was now entered into the deep by night, and carried with a prosperous gale, the heaven seemed all on a sudden to break open, and a bright spreading flame to issue forth from it, and hover over the ship he was in; and, having formed itself into a torch, not unlike those that are used in the mysteries, it began to steer the same course, and run along in their company, guiding them by its light to that quarter of Italy where they designed to go ashore. The soothsayers affirmed, that this apparition agreed with the dream of the holy women, since the goddesses were now visibly joining in the expedition, and sending this light from heaven before them: Sicily being thought sacred to Proserpina, as poets feign that the rape was committed there, and that the island was given her in dowry when she married Pluto.
These early demonstrations of divine favor greatly encouraged his whole army; so that, making all the speed they were able, by a voyage across the open sea, they were soon passing along the coast of Italy. But the tidings that came from Sicily much perplexed Timoleon, and disheartened his soldiers. For Hicetes, having already beaten Dionysius out of the field, and reduced most of the quarters of Syracuse itself, now hemmed him in and besieged him in the citadel and what is called the Island, whither he was fled for his last refuge; while the Carthaginians, by agreement, were to make it their business to hinder Timoleon from landing in any port of Sicily; so that he and his party being driven back, they might with ease and at their own leisure divide the island among themselves. In pursuance of which design, the Carthaginians sent away twenty of their galleys to Rhegium, having aboard them certain ambassadors from Hicetes to Timoleon, who carried instructions suitable to these proceedings, specious amusements and plausible stories, to color and conceal dishonest purposes. They had order to propose and demand that Timoleon himself, if he liked the offer, should come to advise with Hicetes, and partake of all his conquests, but that he might send back his ships and forces to Corinth, since the war was in a manner finished, and the Carthaginians had blocked up the passage, determined to oppose them if they should try to force their way towards the shore. When, therefore, the Corinthians met with these envoys at Rhegium, and received their message, and saw the Phoenician vessels riding at anchor in the bay, they became keenly sensible of the abuse that was put upon them, and felt a general indignation against Hicetes, and great apprehensions for the Siceliots, whom they now plainly perceived to be as it were a prize and recompense to Hicetes on one side for his perfidy, and to the Carthaginians on the other for the sovereign power they secured to him. For it seemed utterly impossible to force and overbear the Carthaginian ships that lay before them and were double their number, as also to vanquish the victorious troops which Hicetes had with him in Syracuse, to take the lead of which very troops they had undertaken their voyage.
The case being thus, Timoleon, after some conference with the envoys of Hicetes and the Carthaginian captains, told them he should readily submit to their proposals (to what purpose would it be to refuse compliance?): he was desirous only, before his return to Corinth, that what had passed between them in private might be solemnly declared before the people of Rhegium, a Greek city, and a common friend to the parties; this, he said, would very much conduce to his own security and discharge; and they likewise would more strictly observe articles of agreement, on behalf of the Syracusans, which they had obliged themselves to in the presence of so many witnesses. The design of all which was, only to divert their attention, while he got an opportunity of slipping away from their fleet: a contrivance that all the principal Rhegians were privy and assisting to, who had a great desire that the affairs of Sicily should fall into Corinthian hands, and dreaded the consequences of having barbarian neighbors. An assembly was therefore called, and the gates shut, that the citizens might have no liberty to turn to other business; and a succession of speakers came forward, addressing the people at great length, to the same effect, without bringing the subject to any conclusion, making way each for another and purposely spinning out the time, till the Corinthian galleys should get clear of the haven; the Carthaginian commanders being detained there without any suspicion, as also Timoleon still remained present, and gave signs as if he were just preparing to make an oration. But upon secret notice that the rest of the galleys were already gone on, and that his alone remained waiting for him, by the help and concealment of those Rhegians that were about the hustings and favored his departure, he made shift to slip away through the crowd, and, running down to the port, set sail with all speed; and having reached his other vessels, they came all safe to Tauromenium in Sicily, whither they had been formerly invited, and where they were now kindly received by Andromachus, then ruler of the city. This man was father of Timaeus the historian, and incomparably the best of all those that bore sway in Sicily at that time, governing his citizens according to law and justice, and openly professing an aversion and enmity to all tyrants; upon which account he gave Timoleon leave to muster up his troops there, and to make that city the seat of war, persuading the inhabitants to join their arms with the Corinthian forces, and assist them in the design of delivering Sicily.
But the Carthaginians who were left in Rhegium perceiving, when the assembly was dissolved, that Timoleon had given them the go by, were not a little vexed to see themselves outwitted, much to the amusement of the Rhegians, who could not but smile to find Phoenicians complain of being cheated. However, they dispatched a messenger aboard one of their galleys to Tauromenium, who, after much blustering in the insolent barbaric way, and many menaces to Andromachus if he did not forthwith send the Corinthians off, stretched out his hand with the inside upward, and then turning it down again, threatened he would handle their city even so, and turn it topsy-turvy in as little time, and with as much ease. Andromachus, laughing at the man's confidence, made no other reply, but, imitating his gesture, bid him hasten his own departure, unless he had a mind to see that kind of dexterity practiced first upon the galley which brought him thither.
Hicetes, informed that Timoleon had made good his passage, was in great fear of what might follow, and sent to desire the Carthaginians that a large number of galleys might be ordered to attend and secure the coast. And now it was that the Syracusans began wholly to despair of safety, seeing the Carthaginians possessed of their haven, Hicetes master of the town, and Dionysius supreme in the citadel; while Timoleon had as yet but a slender hold of Sicily, as it were by the fringe or border of it, in the small city of the Tauromenians, with a feeble hope and a poor company; having but a thousand soldiers at the most, and no more provisions, either of corn or money, than were just necessary for the maintenance and the pay of that inconsiderable number. Nor did the other towns of Sicily confide in him, overpowered as they were with violence and outrage, and embittered against all that should offer to lead armies, by the treacherous conduct chiefly of Callippus, an Athenian, and Pharax, a Lacedaemonian captain, both of whom, after giving out that the design of their coming was to introduce liberty and depose tyrants, so tyrannized themselves, that the reign of former oppressors seemed to be a golden age in comparison, and the Sicilians began to consider those more happy who had expired in servitude, than any that had lived to see such a dismal freedom.
Looking, therefore, for no better usage from the Corinthian general, but imagining that it was only the same old course of things once more, specious presences and false professions to allure them by fair hopes and kind promises into the obedience of a new master, they all, with one accord, unless it were the people of Adranum, suspected the exhortations, and rejected the overtures that were made them in his name. These were inhabitants of a small city, consecrated to Adranus, a certain god that was in high veneration throughout Sicily, and, as it happened, they were then at variance among themselves, insomuch that one party called in Hicetes and the Carthaginians to assist them, while the other sent proposals to Timoleon. It so fell out that these auxiliaries, striving which should be soonest, both arrived at Adranum about the same time; Hicetes bringing with him at least five thousand fighting men, while all the force Timoleon could make did not exceed twelve hundred. With these he marched out of Tauromenium, which was about three hundred and forty furlongs distant from that city. The first day he moved but slowly, and took up his quarters betimes after a short journey; but the day following he quickened his pace, and, having passed through much difficult ground, towards evening received advice that Hicetes was just approaching Adranum, and pitching his camp before it; upon which intelligence, his captains and other officers caused the vanguard to halt, that the army being refreshed, and having reposed a while, might engage the enemy with better heart. But Timoleon, coming up in haste, desired them not to stop for that reason, but rather use all possible diligence to surprise the enemy, whom probably they would now find in disorder, as having lately ended their march, and being taken up at present in erecting tents and preparing supper; which he had no sooner said, but laying hold of his buckler and putting himself in the front, he led them on as it were to certain victory. The braveness of such a leader made them all follow him with like courage and assurance. They were now within less than thirty furlongs of Adranum, which they quickly traversed, and immediately fell in upon the enemy, who were seized with confusion, and began to retire at their first approaches; one consequence of which was that amidst so little opposition, and so early and general a flight, there were not many more than three hundred slain, and about twice the number made prisoners. Their camp and baggage, however, was all taken. The fortune of this onset soon induced the Adranitans to unlock their gates, and embrace the interest of Timoleon, to whom they recounted, with a mixture of affright and admiration, how, at the very minute of the encounter, the doors of their temple flew open of their own accord, that the javelin also, which their god held in his hand, was observed to tremble at the point, and that drops of sweat had been seen running down his face: prodigies that not only presaged the victory then obtained, but were an omen, it seems, of all his future exploits, to which this first happy action gave the occasion.
For now the neighboring cities and potentates sent deputies, one upon another, to seek his friendship and make offer of their service. Among the rest, Mamercus, the tyrant of Catana, an experienced warrior and a wealthy prince, made proposals of alliance with him, and, what was of greater importance still, Dionysius himself being now grown desperate, and wellnigh forced to surrender, despising Hicetes who had been thus shamefully baffled, and admiring the valor of Timoleon, found means to advertise him and his Corinthians that he should be content to deliver up himself and the citadel into their hands. Timoleon, gladly embracing this unlooked for advantage, sends away Euclides and Telemachus, two Corinthian captains, with four hundred men, for the seizure and custody of the castle, with directions to enter not all at once, or in open view, that being impracticable so long as the enemy kept guard, but by stealth, and in small companies. And so they took possession of the fortress, and the palace of Dionysius, with all the stores and ammunition he had prepared and laid up to maintain the war. They found a good number of horses, every variety of engines, a multitude of darts, and weapons to arm seventy thousand men (a magazine that had been formed from ancient time), besides two thousand soldiers that were then with him, whom he gave up with the rest for Timoleon's service. Dionysius himself, putting his treasure aboard, and taking a few friends, sailed away unobserved by Hicetes, and being brought to the camp of Timoleon, there first appeared in the humble dress of a private person, and was shortly after sent to Corinth with a single ship and a small sum of money. Born and educated in the most splendid court and the most absolute monarchy that ever was, which he held and kept up for the space of ten years succeeding his father's death, he had, after Dion's expedition, spent twelve other years in a continual agitation of wars and contests, and great variety of fortune, during which time all the mischiefs he had committed in his former reign were more than repaid by the ills he himself then suffered; since he lived to see the deaths of his sons in the prime and vigor of their age, and the rape of his daughters in the flower of their virginity, and the wicked abuse of his sister and his wife, who, after being first exposed to all the lawless insults of the soldiery, was then murdered with her children, and cast into the sea; the particulars of which are more exactly given in the life of Dion.
Upon the news of his landing at Corinth, there was hardly a man in Greece who had not the curiosity to come and view the late formidable tyrant, and say some words to him; part, rejoicing at his disasters, were led thither out of mere spite and hatred, that they might have the pleasure of trampling, as it were, on the ruins of his broken fortune; but others, letting their attention and their sympathy turn rather to the changes and revolutions of his life, could not but see in them a proof of the strength and potency with which divine and unseen causes operate amidst the weakness of human and visible things. For neither art nor nature did in that age produce anything comparable to this work and wonder of fortune, which showed the very same man, that was not long before supreme monarch of Sicily, loitering about perhaps in the fish-market, or sitting in a perfumer's shop, drinking the diluted wine of taverns, or squabbling in the street with common women, or pretending to instruct the singing women of the theater, and seriously disputing with them about the measure and harmony of pieces of music that were performed there. Such behavior on his part was variously criticized. He was thought by many to act thus out of pure compliance with his own natural indolent and vicious inclinations; while finer judges were of opinion, that in all this he was playing a politic part, with a design to be contemned among them, and that the Corinthians might not feel any apprehension or suspicion of his being uneasy under his reverse of fortune, or solicitous to retrieve it; to avoid which dangers, he purposely and against his true nature affected an appearance of folly and want of spirit in his private life and amusements.
However it be, there are sayings and repartees of his left still upon record, which seem to show that he not ignobly accommodated himself to his present circumstances; as may appear in part from the ingenuousness of the avowal he made on coming to Leucadia, which, as well as Syracuse, was a Corinthian colony, where he told the inhabitants, that he found himself not unlike boys who have been in fault, who can talk cheerfully with their brothers, but are ashamed to see their father; so, likewise, he, he said, could gladly reside with them in that island, whereas he felt a certain awe upon his mind, which made him averse to the sight of Corinth, that was a common mother to them both. The thing is further evident from the reply he once made to a stranger in Corinth, who deriding him in a rude and scornful manner about the conferences he used to have with philosophers, whose company had been one of his pleasures while yet a monarch, and demanding, in fine, what he was the better now for all those wise and learned discourses of Plato, "Do you think," said he, "I have made no profit of his philosophy, when you see me bear my change of fortune as I do?" And when Aristoxenus the musician, and several others, desired to know how Plato offended him, and what had been the ground of his displeasure with him, he made answer, that, of the many evils attaching to the condition of sovereignty, the one greatest infelicity was that none of those who were accounted friends would venture to speak freely, or tell the plain truth; and that by means of such he had been deprived of Plato's kindness. At another time, when one of those pleasant companions that are desirous to pass for wits, in mockery to Dionysius, as if he were still the tyrant, shook out the folds of his cloak, as he was entering into the room where he was, to show there were no concealed weapons about him, Dionysius, by way of retort, observed, that he would prefer he would do so on leaving the room, as a security that he was carrying nothing off with him. And when Philip of Macedon, at a drinking party, began to speak in banter about the verses and tragedies which his father, Dionysius the elder, had left behind him, and pretended to wonder how he could get any time from his other business to compose such elaborate and ingenious pieces, he replied, very much to the purpose, "It was at those leisurable hours, which such as you and I, and those we call happy men, bestow upon our cups." Plato had not the opportunity to see Dionysius at Corinth, being already dead before he came thither; but Diogenes of Sinope, at their first meeting in the street there, saluted him with the ambiguous expression, "O Dionysius, how little you deserve your present life!" Upon which Dionysius stopped and replied, "I thank you, Diogenes, for your condolence." "Condole with you!" replied Diogenes; "do you not suppose that, on the contrary, I am indignant that such a slave as you, who, if you had your due, should have been let alone to grow old, and die in the state of tyranny, as your father did before you, should now enjoy the ease of private persons, and be here to sport and frolic it in our society?" So that when I compare those sad stories of Philistus, touching the daughters of Leptines, where he makes pitiful moan on their behalf, as fallen from all the blessings and advantages of powerful greatness to the miseries of a humble life, they seem to me like the lamentations of a woman who has lost her box of ointment, her purple dresses, and her golden trinkets. Such anecdotes will not, I conceive, be thought either foreign to my purpose of writing Lives, or unprofitable in themselves, by such readers as are not in too much haste, or busied and taken up with other concerns.
But if the misfortune of Dionysius appear strange and extraordinary, we shall have no less reason to wonder at the good fortune of Timoleon, who, within fifty days after his landing in Sicily, both recovered the citadel of Syracuse, and sent Dionysius an exile into Peloponnesus. This lucky beginning so animated the Corinthians, that they ordered him a supply of two thousand foot and two hundred horse, who, reaching Thurii, intended to cross over thence into Sicily; but finding the whole sea beset with Carthaginian ships, which made their passage impracticable, they were constrained to stop there, and watch their opportunity: which time, however, was employed in a noble action. For the Thurians, going out to war against their Bruttian enemies, left their city in charge with these Corinthian strangers, who defended it as carefully as if it had been their own country, and faithfully resigned it up again.
Hicetes, in the interim, continued still to besiege the castle of Syracuse, and hindered all provisions from coming in by sea to relieve the Corinthians that were in it. He had engaged also, and dispatched towards Adranum, two unknown foreigners to assassinate Timoleon, who at no time kept any standing guard about his person, and was then altogether secure, diverting himself, without any apprehension, among the citizens of the place, it being a festival in honor of their gods. The two men that were sent, having casually heard that Timoleon was about to sacrifice, came directly into the temple with poniards under their cloaks, and pressing in among the crowd, by little and little got up close to the altar; but, as they were just looking for a sign from each other to begin the attempt, a third person struck one of them over the head with a sword, upon whose sudden fall, neither he that gave the blow, nor the partisan of him that received it, kept their stations any longer; but the one, making way with his bloody sword, put no stop to his flight, till he gained the top of a certain lofty precipice, while the other, laying hold of the altar, besought Timoleon to spare his life, and he would reveal to him the whole conspiracy. His pardon being granted, he confessed that both himself and his dead companion were sent thither purposely to slay him. While this discovery was made, he that killed the other conspirator had been fetched down from his sanctuary of the rock, loudly and often protesting, as he came along, that there was no injustice in the fact, as he had only taken righteous vengeance for his father's blood, whom this man had murdered before in the city of Leontini; the truth of which was attested by several there present, who could not choose but wonder too at the strange dexterity of fortune's operations, the facility with which she makes one event the spring and motion to something wholly different, uniting every scattered accident and lose particular and remote action, and interweaving them together to serve her purposes; so that things that in themselves seem to have no connection or interdependence whatsoever, become in her hands, so to say, the end and the beginning of each other. The Corinthians, satisfied as to the innocence of this seasonable feat, honored and rewarded the author with a present of ten pounds in their money, since he had, as it were, lent the use of his just resentment to the tutelar genius that seemed to be protecting Timoleon, and had not preexpended this anger, so long ago conceived, but had reserved and deferred, under fortune's guidance, for his preservation, the revenge of a private quarrel.
But this fortunate escape had effects and consequences beyond the present, as it inspired the highest hopes and future expectations of Timoleon, making people reverence and protect him as a sacred person sent by heaven to avenge and redeem Sicily. Hicetes, having missed his aim in this enterprise, and perceiving, also, that many went off and sided with Timoleon, began to chide himself for his foolish modesty, that, when so considerable a force of the Carthaginians lay ready to be commanded by him, he had employed them hitherto by degrees and in small numbers, introducing their reinforcements by stealth and clandestinely, as if he had been ashamed of the action. Therefore, now laying aside his former nicety, he calls in Mago, their admiral, with his whole navy, who presently set sail, and seized upon the port with a formidable fleet of at least a hundred and fifty vessels, landing there sixty thousand foot which were all lodged within the city of Syracuse; so that, in all men's opinion, the time anciently talked of and long expected, wherein Sicily should be subjugated by barbarians, was now come to its fatal period. For in all their preceding wars and many desperate conflicts with Sicily, the Carthaginians had never been able, before this, to take Syracuse; whereas Hicetes now receiving them, and putting the city into their hands, you might see it become now as it were a camp of barbarians. By this means, the Corinthian soldiers that kept the castle found themselves brought into great danger and hardship; as, besides that their provision grew scarce, and they began to be in want, because the havens were strictly guarded and blocked up, the enemy exercised them still with skirmishes and combats about their walls, and they were not only obliged to be continually in arms, but to divide and prepare themselves for assaults and encounters of every kind, and to repel every variety of the means of offense employed by a besieging army.
Timoleon made shift to relieve them in these straits, sending corn from Catana by small fishing-boats and little skiffs, which commonly gained a passage through the Carthaginian galleys in times of storm, stealing up when the blockading ships were driven apart and dispersed by the stress of weather; which Mago and Hicetes observing, they agreed to fall upon Catana, from whence these supplies were brought in to the besieged, and accordingly put off from Syracuse, taking with them the best soldiers in their whole army. Upon this, Neon the Corinthian, who was captain of those that kept the citadel, taking notice that the enemies who stayed there behind were very negligent and careless in keeping guard, made a sudden sally upon them as they lay scattered, and, killing some and putting others to flight, he took and possessed himself of that quarter which they call Acradina, and was thought to be the strongest and most impregnable part of Syracuse, a city made up and compacted as it were, of several towns put together. Having thus stored himself with corn and money, he did not abandon the place, nor retire again into the castle, but fortifying the precincts of Acradina, and joining it by works to the citadel, he undertook the defense of both. Mago and Hicetes were now come near to Catana, when a horseman, dispatched from Syracuse, brought them tidings that Acradina was taken; upon which they returned, in all haste, with great disorder and confusion, having neither been able to reduce the city they went against, nor to preserve that they were masters of.
These successes, indeed, were such as might leave foresight and courage a pretence still of disputing it with fortune, which contributed most to the result. But the next following event can scarcely be ascribed to anything but pure felicity. The Corinthian soldiers who stayed at Thurii, partly for fear of the Carthaginian galleys which lay in wait for them under the command of Hanno, and partly because of tempestuous weather which had lasted for many days, and rendered the sea dangerous, took a resolution to march by land over the Bruttian territories, and, what with persuasion and force together, made good their passage through those barbarians to the city of Rhegium, the sea being still rough and raging as before. But Hanno, not expecting the Corinthians would venture out, and supposing it would be useless to wait there any longer, bethought himself, as he imagined, of a most ingenious and clever stratagem apt to delude and ensnare the enemy; in pursuance of which he commanded the seamen to crown themselves with garlands, and, adorning his galleys with bucklers both of the Greek and Carthaginian make, he sailed away for Syracuse in this triumphant equipage, and using all his oars as he passed under the castle with much shouting and laughter, cried out, on purpose to dishearten the besieged, that he was come from vanquishing and taking the Corinthian succors, which he fell upon at sea as they were passing over into Sicily. While he was thus biding and playing his tricks before Syracuse, the Corinthians, now come as far as Rhegium, observing the coast clear, and that the wind was laid as it were by miracle, to afford them in all appearance a quiet and smooth passage, went immediately aboard on such little barks and fishing-boats as were then at hand, and got over to Sicily with such complete safety and in such an extraordinary calm, that they drew their horses by the reins, swimming along by them as the vessels went across.
When they were all landed, Timoleon came to receive them, and by their means at once obtained possession of Messena, from whence he marched in good order to Syracuse, trusting more to his late prosperous achievements than his present strength, as the whole army he had then with him did not exceed the number of four thousand; Mago, however, was troubled and fearful at the first notice of his coming, and grew more apprehensive and jealous still upon the following occasion. The marshes about Syracuse, that receive a great deal of fresh water, as well from springs as from lakes and rivers discharging themselves into the sea, breed abundance of eels, which may be always taken there in great quantities by any that will fish for them. The mercenary soldiers that served on both sides, were wont to follow the sport together at their vacant hours, and upon any cessation of arms, who being all Greeks, and having no cause of private enmity to each other, as they would venture bravely in fight, so in times of truce used to meet and converse amicably together. And at this present time, while engaged about this common business of fishing, they fell into talk together; and some expressing their admiration of the neighboring sea, and others telling how much they were taken with the convenience and commodiousness of the buildings and public works, one of the Corinthian party took occasion to demand of the others: "And is it possible that you who are Grecians born, should be so forward to reduce a city of this greatness, and enjoying so many rare advantages, into the state of barbarism; and lend your assistance to plant Carthaginians, that are the worst and bloodiest of men, so much the nearer to us? whereas you should rather wish there were many more Sicilies to lie between them and Greece. Have you so little sense as to believe, that they come hither with an army, from the Pillars of Hercules and the Atlantic Sea, to hazard themselves for the establishment of Hicetes? who, if he had had the consideration which becomes a general, would never have thrown out his ancestors and founders to bring in the enemies of his country in the room of them, when he might have enjoyed all suitable honor and command, with consent of Timoleon and the rest of Corinth." The Greeks that were in pay with Hicetes, noising these discourses about their camp, gave Mago some ground to suspect, as indeed he had long sought for a pretence to be gone, that there was treachery contrived against him; so that, although Hicetes entreated him to tarry, and made it appear how much stronger they were than the enemy, yet, conceiving they came far more short of Timoleon in respect of courage and fortune, than they surpassed him in number, he presently went aboard, and set sail for Africa, letting Sicily escape out of his hands with dishonor to himself, and for such uncertain causes, that no human reason could give an account of his departure.
The day after he went away, Timoleon came up before the city, in array for a battle. But when he and his company heard of this sudden flight, and saw the docks all empty, they could not forbear laughing at the cowardice of Mago, and in mockery caused proclamation to be made through the city, that a reward would be given to any one who could bring them tidings whither the Carthaginian fleet had conveyed itself from them. However, Hicetes resolving to fight it out alone, and not quitting his hold of the city, but sticking close to the quarters he was in possession of, places that were well fortified and not easy to be attacked, Timoleon divided his forces into three parts, and fell himself upon the side where the river Anapus ran, which was most strong and difficult of access; and he commanded those that were led by Isias, a Corinthian captain, to make their assault from the post of Acradina, while Dinarchus and Demaretus, that brought him the last supply from Corinth, were, with a third division, to attempt the quarter called Epipolae. A considerable impression being made from every side at once, the soldiers of Hicetes were beaten off and put to flight; and this, — that the city came to be taken by storm, and fall suddenly into their hands, upon the defeat and rout of the enemy, — we must in all justice ascribe to the valor of the assailants, and the wise conduct of their general; but that not so much as a man of the Corinthians was either slain or wounded in the action, this the good fortune of Timoleon seems to challenge for her own work, as though, in a sort of rivalry with his own personal exertions, she made it her aim to exceed and obscure his actions by her favors, that those who heard him commended for his noble deeds might rather admire the happiness, than the merit of them. For the fame of what was done not only passed through all Sicily, and filled Italy with wonder, but even Greece itself, after a few days, came to ring with the greatness of his exploit; insomuch that those of Corinth, who had as yet no certainty that their auxiliaries were landed on the island, had tidings brought them at the same time that they were safe and were conquerors. In so prosperous a course did affairs run, and such was the speed and celerity of execution with which fortune, as with a new ornament, set off the native lustres of the performance.
Timoleon, being master of the citadel, avoided the error which Dion had been guilty of. He spared not the place for the beauty and sumptuousness of its fabric, and, keeping clear of those suspicions which occasioned first the unpopularity and afterwards the fall of Dion, made a public crier give notice, that all the Syracusans who were willing to have a hand in the work, should bring pick-axes and mattocks, and other instruments, and help him to demolish the fortifications of the tyrants. When they all came up with one accord, looking upon that order and that day as the surest foundation of their liberty, they not only pulled down the castle, but overturned the palaces and monuments adjoining, and whatever else might preserve any memory of former tyrants. Having soon leveled and cleared the place, he there presently erected courts for administration of justice, gratifying the citizens by this means, and building popular government on the fall and ruin of tyranny. But since he had recovered a city destitute of inhabitants, some of them dead in civil wars and insurrections, and others being fled to escape tyrants, so that through solitude and want of people the great marketplace of Syracuse was overgrown with such quantity of rank herbage that it became a pasture for their horses, the grooms lying along in the grass as they fed by them; while also other towns, very few excepted, were become full of stags and wild boars, so that those who had nothing else to do went frequently a hunting, and found game in the suburbs and about the walls; and not one of those who had possessed themselves of castles, or made garrisons in the country, could be persuaded to quit their present abode, or would accept an invitation to return back into the city, so much did they all dread and abhor the very name of assemblies and forms of government and public speaking, that had produced the greater part of those usurpers who had successively assumed a dominion over them, — Timoleon, therefore, with the Syracusans that remained, considering this vast desolation, and how little hope there was to have it otherwise supplied, thought good to write to the Corinthians, requesting that they would send a colony out of Greece to repeople Syracuse. For else the land about it would lie unimproved; and besides this, they expected to be involved in a greater war from Africa, having news brought them that Mago had killed himself, and that the Carthaginians, out of rage for his ill conduct in the late expedition, had caused his body to be nailed upon a cross, and that they were raising a mighty force, with design to make their descent upon Sicily the next summer.
These letters from Timoleon being delivered at Corinth, and the ambassadors of Syracuse beseeching them at the same time, that they would take upon them the care of their poor city, and once again become the founders of it, the Corinthians were not tempted by any feeling of cupidity to lay hold of the advantage. Nor did they seize and appropriate the city to themselves, but going about first to the games that are kept as sacred in Greece, and to the most numerously attended religious assemblages, they made publication by heralds, that the Corinthians, having destroyed the usurpation at Syracuse and driven out the tyrant, did thereby invite the Syracusan exiles, and any other Siceliots, to return and inhabit the city, with full enjoyment of freedom under their own laws, the land being divided among them in just and equal proportions. And after this, sending messengers into Asia and the several islands where they understood that most of the scattered fugitives were then residing, they bade them all repair to Corinth, engaging that the Corinthians would afford them vessels and commanders, and a safe convoy, at their own charges, to Syracuse. Such generous proposals, being thus spread about, gained them the just and honorable recompense of general praise and benediction, for delivering the country from oppressors, and saving it from barbarians, and restoring it at length to the rightful owners of the place. These, when they were assembled at Corinth, and found how insufficient their company was, besought the Corinthians that they might have a supplement of other persons, as well out of their city as the rest of Greece, to go with them as joint-colonists; and so raising themselves to the number of ten thousand, they sailed together to Syracuse. By this time great multitudes, also, from Italy and Sicily, had flocked in to Timoleon, so that, as Athanis reports, their entire body amounted now to sixty thousand men. Among these he divided the whole territory, and sold the houses for a thousand talents; by which method, he both left it in the power of the old Syracusans to redeem their own, and made it a means also for raising a stock for the community, which had been so much impoverished of late, and was so unable to defray other expenses, and especially those of a war, that they exposed their very statues to sale, a regular process being observed, and sentence of auction passed upon each of them by majority of votes, as if they had been so many criminals taking their trial: in the course of which it is said that while condemnation was pronounced upon all other statues, that of the ancient usurper Gelo was exempted, out of admiration and honor and for the sake of the victory he gained over the Carthaginian forces at the river Himera.
Syracuse being thus happily revived, and replenished again by the general concourse of inhabitants from all parts, Timoleon was desirous now to rescue other cities from the like bondage, and wholly and once for all to extirpate arbitrary government out of Sicily. And for this purpose, marching into the territories of those that used it, he compelled Hicetes first to renounce the Carthaginian interest, and, demolishing the fortresses which were held by him, to live henceforth among the Leontinians as a private person. Leptines, also, the tyrant of Apollonia and divers other little towns, after some resistance made, seeing the danger he was in of being taken by force, surrendered himself; upon which Timoleon spared his life, and sent him away to Corinth, counting it a glorious thing that the mother city should expose to the view of other Greeks these Sicilian tyrants, living now in an exiled and a low condition. After this he returned to Syracuse, that he might have leisure to attend to the establishment of the new constitution, and assist Cephalus and Dionysius, who were sent from Corinth to make laws, in determining the most important points of it. In the meanwhile, desirous that his hired soldiers should not want action, but might rather enrich themselves by some plunder from the enemy, he dispatched Dinarchus and Demaretus with a portion of them into the part of the island belonging to the Carthaginians, where they obliged several cities to revolt from the barbarians, and not only lived in great abundance themselves, but raised money from their spoil to carry on the war.
Meantime, the Carthaginians landed at the promontory of Lilybaeum, bringing with them an army of seventy thousand men on board two hundred galleys, besides a thousand other vessels laden with engines of battery, chariots, corn, and other military stores, as if they did not intend to manage the war by piecemeal and in parts as heretofore, but to drive the Greeks altogether and at once out of all Sicily. And indeed it was a force sufficient to overpower the Siceliots, even though they had been at perfect union among themselves, and had never been enfeebled by intestine quarrels. Hearing that part of their subject territory was suffering devastation, they forthwith made toward the Corinthians with great fury, having Asdrubal and Hamilcar for their generals; the report of whose numbers and strength coming suddenly to Syracuse, the citizens were so terrified, that hardly three thousand, among so many myriads of them, had the courage to take up arms and join Timoleon. The foreigners, serving for pay, were not above four thousand in all, and about a thousand of these grew fainthearted by the way, and forsook Timoleon in his march towards the enemy, looking on him as frantic and distracted, destitute of the sense which might have been expected from his time of life, thus to venture out against an army of seventy thousand men, with no more than five thousand foot and a thousand horse; and, when he should have kept those forces to defend the city, choosing rather to remove them eight days' journey from Syracuse, so that if they were beaten from the field, they would have no retreat, nor any burial if they fell upon it. Timoleon, however, reckoned it some kind of advantage, that these had thus discovered themselves before the battle, and, encouraging the rest, led them with all speed to the river Crimesus, where it was told him the Carthaginians were drawn together.
As he was marching up an ascent, from the top of which they expected to have a view of the army and of the strength of the enemy, there met him by chance a train of mules loaded with parsley; which his soldiers conceived to be an ominous occurrence or ill-boding token, because this is the herb with which we not unfrequently adorn the sepulchres of the dead; and there is a proverb derived from the custom, used of one who is dangerously sick, that he has need of nothing but parsley. So, to ease their minds, and free them from any superstitious thoughts or forebodings of evil, Timoleon halted, and concluded an address, suitable to the occasion, by saying, that a garland of triumph was here luckily brought them, and had fallen into their hands of its own accord, as an anticipation of victory: the same with which the Corinthians crown the victors in the Isthmian games, accounting chaplets of parsley the sacred wreath proper to their country; parsley being at that time still the emblem of victory at the Isthmian, as it is now at the Nemean sports; and it is not so very long ago that the pine first began to be used in its place.
Timoleon, therefore, having thus bespoke his soldiers, took part of the parsley, and with it made himself a chaplet first, his captains and their companies all following the example of their leader. The soothsayers then, observing also two eagles on the wing towards them, one of which bore a snake struck through with her talons, and the other, as she flew, uttered a loud cry indicating boldness and assurance, at once showed them to the soldiers, who with one consent fell to supplicate the gods, and call them in to their assistance. It was now about the beginning of summer, and conclusion of the month called Thargelion, not far from the solstice; and the river sending up a thick mist, all the adjacent plain was at first darkened with the fog, so that for a while they could discern nothing from the enemy's camp; only a confused buzz and undistinguished mixture of voices came up to the hill from the distant motions and clamors of so vast a multitude. When the Corinthians had mounted, and stood on the top, and had laid down their bucklers to take breath and repose themselves, the sun coming round and drawing up the vapors from below, the gross foggy air that was now gathered and condensed above formed in a cloud upon the mountains; and, all the under places being clear and open, the river Crimesus appeared to them again, and they could descry the enemies passing over it, first with their formidable four horse chariots of war, and then ten thousand footmen bearing white shields, whom they guessed to be all Carthaginians, from the splendor of their arms, and the slowness and order of their march. And when now the troops of various other nations, flowing in behind them, began to throng for passage in a tumultuous and unruly manner, Timoleon, perceiving that the river gave them opportunity to single off whatever number of their enemies they had a mind to engage at once, and bidding his soldiers observe how their forces were divided into two separate bodies by the intervention of the stream, some being already over, and others still to ford it, gave Demaretus command to fall in upon the Carthaginians with his horse, and disturb their ranks before they should be drawn up into form of battle; and coming down into the plain himself, forming his right and left wing of other Sicilians, intermingling only a few strangers in each, he placed the natives of Syracuse in the middle, with the stoutest mercenaries he had about his own person; and, waiting a little to observe the action of his horse, when he saw they were not only hindered from grappling with the Carthaginians by the armed chariots that ran to and fro before the army, but forced continually to wheel about to escape having their ranks broken, and so to repeat their charges anew, he took his buckler in his hand, and crying out to the foot that they should follow him with courage and confidence, he seemed to speak with a more than human accent, and a voice stronger than ordinary; whether it were that he naturally raised it so high in the vehemence and ardor of his mind to assault the enemy, or else, as many then thought, some god or other spoke with him. When his soldiers quickly gave an echo to it, all besought him to lead them on without any further delay, he made a sign to the horse, that they should draw off from the front where the chariots were, and pass sidewards to attack their enemies in the flank; then, making his vanguard firm by joining man to man and buckler to buckler, he caused the trumpet to sound, and so bore in upon the Carthaginians.