Immagini della pagina

quiet. And now the two consuls, with united forces, pushed on the siege. But the Roman soldiers, in their rash approaches to the walls, receiving many wounds, and meeting little success in any of their attempts, Quintus Fabius gave his opinion, that they ought to abandon an enterprise which, though of slight importance, was attended with as much difficulty as one of great consequence; and that they should retire from the place, especially as more momentous business called for their attention. Marcellus prevented their quitting the siege with disappointment, urging, that there were many enterprises of such a nature, that, as they ought not to be undertaken by great generals, so when once engaged in they ought not to be relinquished, because the reputation either of success or of failure, must be productive of weighty consequences. All kinds of works were then constructed, and machines of every description pushed forward to the walls. On this, the Campanians requested of Fabius that they might be allowed to retire in safety to Capua, when, a few having come out of the town, Marcellus seized on the pass by which they came, and immediately a promiscuous slaughter began near the gate, and soon after, on the troops rushing in, it spread through the city. About fifty of the Campanians, who first left the place, ran for refuge to Fabius, aud under his protection escaped to Capua. Thus was Casilinum taken by surprise, during the conferences and delays of those who went to negociate terms of capitulation. The prisoners, both Campanians and Hannibal's soldiers, were sent to Rome, and there shut up in prison, and the multitude of the townspeople were dispersed among the neighbouring states, to be kept in custody.

XX. At the same time, when the army, after effecting their purpose, removed from Casilinum, Gracchus, who was in Lucania, detached, under a præfect of the allies, several cohorts, which had been raised in that country, to ravage the lands of the enemy. These Hanno attacked while they straggled in a careless manner, and retaliated a blow almost as severe as that which he had received at Beneventum; then, to avoid being overtaken by Gracchus, he retired with the utmost speed into Bruttium. As to the consuls, Marcellus returned to Nola, whence he had come; Fabius proceeded into Samnium, in order to overrun the country, and recover, by force, the cities which had revolted. The Samnites of Caudium suffered the most grievous devastations; their territory was laid waste with fire to a great extent, and men and cattle were carried off as spoil. The following towns were taken from them by assault: Combulteria, Telesia, Compsa, Melæ, Fulfulæ, and Orbitanium; from the Lucanians, Blandæ, Æcæ, belonging to the Apulians, was taken after a siege. In these towns twenty-five thousand were taken or slain, and three hundred and seventy deserters retaken; these, being sent by the consul to Rome, were all beaten with rods in the Comitium, and cast down from the rock. All this was perforined by Fabius in the course of a few days. Bad health confined Marcellus at Nola, and prevented his taking the field. At the same time the prætor, Quintus Fabius, whose province was the country round Luceria, took by storm a town called Accua, and fortified a strong camp near Ardonea. While the Romans were thus employed in various places, Hannibal had arrived at Tarentum, after utterly destroying every thing in his way. At last, when he entered the territory of Tarentum, his troops began to march in a peaceable manner: nothing was injured there, nor did any ever go out of the road; this proceeding flowed manifestly not from the moderation either of the soldiers or their commander, but from a wish to acquire the esteem of the Tarentines. However, after he had advanced almost close to the walls, finding no commotion raised in his favour, an event which he expected to happen on the sight of his van-guard, he encamped about the distance of a mile from the town. Three days before Hannibal's approach, Marcus Livius being sent by the proprætor,


Marcus Valerius, commander of the fleet at Brundusium, had formed the young nobility of Tarentum into bodies; and, posting guards at every gate, and along the walls, wherever there was occasion, by his unremitting vigilance both by day, and more particularly by night, left no room for any attempt, either of the enemy or of the wavering allies. Wherefore, after many days were spent there to no purpose, Hannibal, finding that none of those who had attended him at the lake Avernus either came themselves or sent' any message or letter, and perceiving that he inconsiderately suffered himself to be led by delusive promises, decamped and withdrew. He did not even then do any injury to their country, for though his counterfeited tenderness had brought him no advantage, yet he still entertained hopes of prevailing on them to renounce their present engagements. When he came to Salapia he collected there stores of corn from the lands of Metapontum and Heraclea, for midsummer was now past, and the place appeared commodious for winter-quarters. From hence he sent out the Moors and Numidians to plunder the territory of Sallentum, and the nearest woody parts of Apulia, where not much booty was found of any other kind than horses, several studs of which made the principal part of their acquisitions; of these, four thousand were distributed among the horsemen to be trained.

XXI. The Romans, seeing that a war of no slight moment was ready to break out in Sicily, and that the death of the tyrant had only given the Syracusans enterprising leaders, without working any change in their principles or tempers, decreed that province to the consul Marcus Marcellus. Immediately after the murder of Hieronymus, the soldiers in Leotini had raised a tumult, furiously exclaiming, that the death of the king should be expiated by the blood of the conspirators. Afterwards, the words LIBERTY RESTORED, a sound ever delightful to the ear, being frequently repeated, and hopes being held out of largesses from the royal treasure, of serving under better generals, mention at the same time being made of the tyrant's shocking crimes, and more shocking lusts; all these together produced such an alteration in their sentiments, that they suffered the body of the king, whom just now they had so violently lamented, to lie without burial. The rest of the conspirators remained in the place in order to secure the army on their side; but Theodotus and Sosis, getting on horseback, galloped with all possible speed to Syracuse, wishing to surprise the king's party, while ignorant of every thing that had happened. But not only report, than which nothing is quicker on such occasions, but likewise an express, by one of Hieronymus's servants, had arrived before them. Wherefore Andranodoras had strengthened with garrisons both the island* and the citadel, and also every other post which was convenient for his purpose. After sunset, in the dusk of the evening, Theodotus and Sosis rode into the Hexapylum, and having shown the king's garment dyed with blood, and the orna. ment which he wore on his head, passed on through the

Syracuse was founded by a colony of Athenians, and rose gradually to the very first rank of greatness and splendour. At the time of these transactions it consisted of four parts, each of which deserved the name of a city, 1. The island, called also Ortygia, was joined to the main land by a bridge, and stretching out into the bay, formed two harbours, a large one to the south-east, and a smaller one on the north-west. Here stood the royal palace and the treasury, and, at the remotest point, the fountain Arethusa arises. 2. The Achradina. This was the largest and strongest division of the city: it stretched along the bottom of the lesser harbour, whose waters washed it, and was divided from the other parts by a strong wall. 3. The Tycha, so named from a remarkable temple of Fortune, 'ruxń, formed the southeastern part of the city. 4. Neapolis, or the New Town; this was the latest built, and lay westward of the Tycha. The principal entrance into this part was guarded by a fort called Hexapylum, from its having six gates. To this part belonged Epipolæ, an eminence commanding a view of the whole city.

Of this once famous city the only part now inhabited is the island. The ruins of the rest are about twenty-two miles in circumference, and are covered with vineyards, orchards, and corn fields.


Tycha, calling the people at once to liberty and to arms, and desiring them to come all together into the Achradina. As to the populace, some ran out into the streets, some stood in the porches of their houses, some looked on from the roofs and windows, all inquiring into the cause of the commotion. Every place blazed with lights, and was filled with various confused noises. Such as had arms assembled in the open places, such as had none, pulled down from the temple of Olympian Jove the spoils of the Gauls and Illyrians, presented to Hiero by the Roman people, and hung up there by him; beseeching the god to lend, with good will, those consecrated weapons to men taking them up in defence of their country, of the temples of their deities, and of their liberty. This multitude was also joined to the watch, stationed in the several principal quarters of the city. In the island Andranodorus had, among other places, occupied the public granary with a guard; this place, which was inclosed with hewn stone, and built up to a great height, like a citadel, was seized by the band of youths appointed by Andranodorus to garrison it, and they despatched a message to the Achradina, that the corn therein was at the disposal of the senate.

XXII. At the first dawn the whole body of the people, armed and unarmed, came together into the Achradina to the senate-house; and there, from an altar of Concord, which stood in the place, one of the principal nobles, by name Polyænus, made a speech fraught with sentiments both of liberty and moderation. He said that “ men who had experienced the hardships of servitude and insult, knew the extent of the evil against which they vented their resentment; but what calamities civil discord introduces, the Syracusans could have learned only from the relations of their fathers, not from their own experience. He applauded them for the readiness with which they had taken arms, and would applaud them yet more if they did not make use of them unless


« IndietroContinua »