Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

constrained by the last necessity. At present he thought it adviseable that they should send deputies to Andranodorus, to require of him to be amenable to the direction of the senate and people, to open the gates of the island, and withdraw the garrison. If he meant, under the pretext of being guardian of the sovereignty for another, to usurp it into his own hands, he recommended it to them to recover their liberty by much keener exertions than had been shown against Hieronymus.” Accordingly, on the breaking up of the assembly, deputies were sent. The meetings of the senate were now revived; for though it had, during the reign of Hiero, continued to act as the public council of the state, yet since his death, until now, it had never been convened, or consulted on any

business. When the commissioners came to Andranodorus, he was much moved by the united voice of his countrymen, by their being in possession of the other quarters of the city, and moreover by that division of the island, which was the strongest, being lost to him, and in the hands of the other party. But his wife, Demarata, daughter of Hiero, still swelling with royal arrogance and female pride, reminded him of an expression frequently uttered by Dionysius the Tyrant, who used to say, that“ a man ought to relinquish sovereign power when he was dragged by the feet, not while he sat on horseback. It was easy,” she said, " at any moment, to resign the possession of a high station; to arrive at, and acquire it, was difficult and arduous.” Desired him to “ ask from the ambassadors a little time for consideration, and to employ it in sending for the soldiers from Leontini, to whom, if he promised some of the royal treasure, he might dispose of every thing at his pleasure.” These counsels, suited to the character of the woman, Andranodorus neither totally rejected nor immediately adopted; judging it the safer way to the acquisition of power, to yield to the times for the present. He therefore desired the deputies to carry back for answer, that “ he would be obedient to the direc

a

tions of the senate and people.” Next day, at the first light, he opened the gates of the island, and went into the Forum in the Achradina. There he ascended the altar of Concord, from whence Polyænus had addressed the people the day before, and first, at the beginning of his discourse, spent some time in entreating their pardon for the delay which he had made, for “ he had kept the gates shut,” he said, “not with intention to separate his own interest from that of the public, but through fearful uncertainty, the sword being once drawn, when, and in what way, an end might be put to the shedding of blood; whether they would be content with the death of the tyrant, which was all that the cause of liberty required, or whether all who had any connexion with the court, either by consanguinity, affinity, or employments of any kind, were to be put to death, as accomplices in another's guilt. As soon as he perceived that those who had freed their country, meant also, together with liberty, to grant it safety, and that the designs of all aimed at the promotion of the public happiness, he had not hesitated to replace, under the direction of the people, both his own person, and every thing else committed to his charge and guardianship, since the prince who had entrusted him therewith had perished through his own madness.” Then, turning to those who had killed the tyrant, and addressing Theodotus and Sosis by name, “ you have

' performed,” said he, “ a memorable exploit: but believe me, ,

, the career of your glory is only begun, not finished; and there yet subsists the utmost danger, that unless you exert yourselves immediately to secure peace and harmony, the nation may carry liberty to licentiousness.”

XXIII. After this discourse, he laid the keys of the gates and of the royal treasure at their feet. Being dismissed, full of joy, the people, with their wives and children, spent that day in offering thanksgivings in all the temples of the gods, and on the day following an assembly was held for the election of prætors. Among the first was chosen Andranodorus;

a

the greater number of the rest were elected from the band of
conspirators against the king. Two of these were absent at
the time, Sopater and Dinomenes; who, on hearing what had
passed at Syracuse, conveyed thither the money belonging
to the king, which was at Leontini, and delivered it to quæs-
tors appointed for the purpose: to whom was also delivered
the treasure which was in the island and in the Achradina.
That
part

of the wall, which formed too strong a fence between the island and the city, was, with universal approbation, abolished. The other events which took place corresponded with the general zeal for liberty, which now actuated men's minds: Hippocrates and Epicydes, when intelligence was received of the tyrant's death, which the former had wished to conceal even by the murder of the messenger, were deserted by the soldiers; and, as the safest step in their present circumstances, returned to Syracuse. Lest their stay there should subject them to suspicion, as if they were watching some opportunity for effecting a revolution, they addressed first the prætors, and afterwards, through them, the senate; represented, that, “ being sent by Hannibal to Hieronymus, as to a friend and ally, they had obeyed his orders, in conformity to the will of their own commander. That they wished to return to Hannibal, but as they could not travel with safety while every part of Sicily was overspread with the Roman arms, they requested that a guard might be granted to escort them to Locri in Italy, and that thus, with very little trouble, the senate would confer a great obligation on Hannibal.” The request was easily obtained, for the senate wished the departure of those generals of the late king, men well skilled in war, and at the same time needy and daring. But this measure, so agreeable to their wishes, they did not execute with the care and expedition requisite. Meanwhile those young men, accustomed to a military life, employed themselves sometimes among the soldiery; at others, among the deserters, the greatest number of whom were Roman

[ocr errors]

seamen; at others, among the very lowest class of plebeians, in propagating insinuations against the senate and nobility; hinting to them, that " in the appearance of reviving the former alliance, they were secretly forming and preparing to execute a scheme of bringing Syracuse under the dominion of the Romans; and that then their faction, and the few advocates for the renewal of the treaty, would domineer without control.”

XXIV. Crowds of people, disposed to listen to and believe such reports, flocked into Syracuse in great numbers every day, and afforded, not only to Epicydes, but to Andranodorus likewise, some hopes of effecting a revolution. The latter, wearied by the importunities of his wife, who urged that

now was the time to possess himself of the sovereignty, while all was in a state of disorder, in consequence of liberty being lately recovered, but not yet established on a regular footing; while the soldiers, who owed their livelihood to the pay received from the late king, were yet at hand, and while the commanders sent by Hannibal, who were well acquainted with those soldiers, could aid the enterprise,” took, as an associate in his design, Themistus, to whom Gelon's daughter was married; and, in a few days after, incautiously disclosed the affair to one Ariston, an actor on the stage, whom he was accustomed to entrust with other secrets; a man whose birth and circumstances were both reputable; nor did his employment disgrace them, because, among the Greeks, that profession is not considered as dishonourable. This man, resolving to be guided by the duty which he owed to his country, discovered the matter to the prætors; who, haying learned by unquestionable proofs that the information was well founded, first consulted the elder senators, by whose advice he placed a guard at the door of the senate-house, and, as soon as Themistus and Andranodorus entered, put them to death. This fact, in appearance uncommonly atrocious, the cause of which was unknown to the rest, occasion

a

ed a violent uproar; but, having at length procured silence, they brought the informer into the senate-house. He then gave a regular detail of every circumstance, showing that the conspiracy owed its origin to the marriage of Gelon's daughter, Harmonia, with Themistus; that the auxiliary troops of Africans and Spaniards had been engaged for the purpose of massacreing the prætors and others of the nobility, whose property, according to orders given, was to be the booty of their murderers; that a band of mercenaries, accustomed to the command of Andranodorus, had been procured, with the design of seizing again on the island. He afterwards laid before them every particular; what things were to be done, and by whom, together with the whole plan of the conspiracy, supported by men with arms, ready to execute it. On which the senate gave judgment, that they had suffered death as justly as Hieronymus. The crowd round the senatehouse being variously disposed, and unacquainted with the re?) state of the case, became clamorous : but, while they were uttering furious threats, the sight of the conspirators' bodies in the porch of the senate-house impressed them with such terror, that they silently followed the well-judging part of the plebians to an assembly which was summoned. Sopater was commissioned by the senate and his colleagues to explain the matter to the people.

XXV. He brought his charges against the deceased as if they were then on trial: after taking a review of their former lives, he insisted that whatever wicked and impious acts had been perpetrated since the death of Hiero, Andranodorus and Themistus were the authors of them. “For what," said he, “ did the boy Hieronymus ever do by the direction of his own will? What, indeed, could he do who had scarcely exceeded the years of childoood ? His guardians and teachers exercised the sovereign power, screened from the public hatred which fell on him; and therefore ought to have died either before Hieronymus or with him. Nevertheless, those

'

« IndietroContinua »