Immagini della pagina

A. M. 3632.

A. M. 3644.

A. M. 3646.

A. M. 3647.

A. M. 3654.

Dionysius the younger. Dionysius, son of the

elder Dionysius, succeeded him. He contracts a particular intimacy with Plato, and has frequent conversations with him; who had come to his court at the request of Dion, the near relation of Dionysius. He did not long profit from the wise precepts of that philosopher, and soon abandoned himself to all the vices and excesses which attend tyranny.

Besieged by Dion, he escapes from the citadel, and retires into Italy.

Dion's excellent qualities. He is assassinated in his own house by Callippus.

Thirteen months after the death of Dion, Hip

parinus, brother of Dionysius the younger, expels Callippus, and establishes himself in Syracuse. During the two years of his reign, Sicily is agitated by great commotions.

Dionysius the younger, taking advantage of

those troubles, re-ascends the throne ten years af. ter having quitted it.

At last, reduced by Timoleon, he retires to Co rinth. See vols. i. and iv.

Times of Liberty.
Timoleon restores liberty to Syracuse. He

passes the rest of his life there in a glorious retirement, beloved and honoured by all the citizens and strangers See vol. iv. This interval of liberty was of no long duration.

AGATHOCLES. Agathocles, in a short time

makes himself tyrant of Syracuse. See vol. i. He commits unparalleled cruelties.

He forms one of the boldest designs related in history; carries the war into Africa ; makes himself master of the strongest places, and ravages the whole country.

After various events, he perishes miserably. He reigned about twenty-eight years.

Times of Liberty.

A. M. 3657.

A, M. 3658.

A. M. 3685.

Syracuse revived again for some time, and tastA, M. 3713.

ed with joy the sweets of liberty. But she suffered much from the Carthaginians, who disturbed her tranquillity by continual wars.

She called in Pyrrhus to her aid. The rapid

success of his arms at first gave them great hopes, which soon vanished. Pyrrhus, by a sudden retreat, plunged the Syracusans into new misfortunes. Sec 70.. i.

A. M. 3726.

E 2

HIERO II. They were not happy and in tranquillity till the reigo of Hiero II. which was very long, and almost always pacific.

HIERONYMUS. He scarce reigned one year. His death was followed with great troubles, and the taking of Syracuse by Marcellus.

After that period, what passed in Sicily to its total reduction is little remarkable. There were still some remains of war fomented in it by the partisans of tyranny, and the Carthaginians who supported them; but those wars were unproductive of any event of consequence, and Rome was soon absolute mistress of all Sicily. Half the island had been a Roman province ever since the treaty which put an end to the first Punic war. By that treaty, Sicily was divided into two parts; the one continued in the possession of the Romans; and the other under the government of Hiero ; which last part, after the surrender of Syracuse, fell also into their hands.


Reflections upon the government and character of the Syracusans.

By the taking of Syracuse, all Sicily became a province of the Roman empire: but it was not treated as the Spaniards and Car thaginians were afterwards, upon whom a certain tribute was imposed as the reward of the victors, and punishment of the vanquished: Quasi victoriæ præmium, ac poena belli. Sicily, in submitting to the Roman people,* retained all her ancient rights and customs, and obeyed them upon the same conditions she liad obeyed her kings. And she certainly well deserved that privilege and distinction. She was the firstt of all the foreign nations that had entered into alliance and amity with the Romans; the first conquest their arms had the glory to make out of Italy; and the first country that had given them the grateful experience of commanding a foreign people. The greatest part of the Sicilian cities had expressed an unexampled attachment, fidelity, and affection, for the Romans. The island was afterwards a kind of step for their troops to pass over into Africa; and Rome would not so easily have reduced the formidable power of the Carthaginians, if Sicily had not served it as a magazine, abounding with provisions, and a secure retreat for their fleets. Hence, after the taking and ruin of Carthage, Scipio Africanus thought himself bound to adorn the cities of Sicily with a great number of excellent paintings and curious statues; in order that a people who were so highly gratified with the success of the Roman arms, might be sensible of its effects, and retain illustrious monuments of their victories amongst them.

* Siciliæ civitates sic in amicitiam recepimus, ut eodem jure essent, quo fuissent; eâdem conditione populo R. parerent quâ suis antea paruissent. Cic.

† Omnium nationum exterarum princeps Sicilia se ad amicitiam fidemque populi R. applicuit: prima omnium, id quod ornamentum imperii est, provincia est appellata : prima docuit majores nostros, quàm præclarum esset, exteris gentibus imperare-Itaque majoribus nostris in Africam ex hâc provinciâ gradus imperii factus est. Neque enim tam facilè opes Carthagines tantæ concidissent, nisi illud, et rei frumentaria subsidium, et receptaculum classibus nostris pateret. Quare P. Africanus, Carthagine deleti, Siculorum urbes signis monumentisque pulcherrimis exornavit; ut, quos victoriâ populi · R. lætari arbitrabatur, apud eos monumenta victoriæ plurima collocaret. Cic. Verr 2 Ab 2, 3.

Sicily would have been happy in being governed by the Romans, if they had always given her such magistrates as Cicero, as well acquainted as he with the obligations of his function, and like him intent upon the due discharge of it. It is highly pleasing to hear him explain himself upon the subject; which he does in his defence of Sicily against Verres.

After having invoked the gods as witnesses of the sincerity of the sentiments he is going to express, he says: “ In all* the employments with which the Roman people have honoured me to this day, I have ever thought myself obliged, by the most sacred ties of religion, worthily to discharge the duties of them. When I was made quæstor, I looked upon that dignity, not as a gift conferred upon me, but as a deposit confided to my vigilance and fidelity. When I was afterwards sent to act in that office in Sicily, I thought all eyes were turned upon me, and that my person and administration were in a manner exhibited as a spectacle to the view of all the world: and in this thought, I not only denied myself all pleasures of an extraordinary kind, but even those which are authorized by nature and necessity. I am now intended for ædile. I call the gods to witness, that how honourable soever this dignity appears to me, I have too just a sense of its weight, not to have more solicitude and disquiet, than joy and pleasure, from it; so much do I desire to make it appear, that it was not bestowed on me by chance, or the necessity of being filled

up, but confided deservedly by the choice and discernment of my country.”

All the Roman governors were far from being of this character; and Sicily, above all other provinces, experienced, as Cicero some lines after reproaches Verres,f that they were almost all of them like so many tyrants, who believed themselves attended by the fasces and axes, and invested with the authority of the Roman empire, only to exercise in their province an open robbery of the public with inipunity, and to break through all the barriers of justice and shame in such a manner, that no man's estate, life, house, nor even honour, were safe from their violence.

* O dij immortales-Ita mihi meam voluntatem spemque reliquæ vitæ vestra popuTique R. existimatio comprobet, ut ego quos adhuc mihi magistratus populus R. mandavit, sic eos accepi, ut me omnium officiorum obstringi religione arbitrarer. Ita quæstos sum factus, ut nihi honorem illum non tam datum quàm creditum ac commissum putarem. Sic obtinui quæsturam in provinciâ, ut omnium oculos in me unui conjectos arbitrarer : ut me quasturamque meam quasi in aliquo orbis terræ theatro versari existimarem; ut omnia semper, quæ jucunda videntur esse, non modò his extraordinarjis cupiditatihus, sed etiam ipsi naturæ ac necessitati denegarem. Nunc sum designatus ædiiis--Ita mihi deos omnes propitios esse velim, ut tametsi mihi jucundissimus est honos populi, tamen nequaquam tantum capio voluptatis, quantum solicitudinis et laboris, ut hæc ipsa ædilitas, non quia necesse fuit alicui candidato data, sed quia sic oportuerit recte collocata, et judicio populi digno in loco posita esse videatur. Cic. Verr. 7. n. 35-37.

† Nunquam tibi venit in mentem, non tibi idcirco fasces et secures, et tantam imperii vim, tantamquc ornamentorum omnium dignitatem datam; ut earum rerum vi et aucLoritate omnia repagula juris, pudoris, et officii perfringeres; ut omnium bona prædam tuam duceres; nullius res tuta, nullius domus clausa, nullius vita septa, nullius pudicitis munita, contra tuam cupiditatem et audaciam posset esse. Cic. Verr. n. 39,

Syracuse, from all we have seen of it, must have appeared like a theatre, on which many different and surprising scenes have been exhibited; or rather like a sea, sometimes calm and untroubled, but oftener violently agitated by winds and storms, always ready to overwhelm it entirely. We have seen in no other republic such sudden, frequent, violent, and various revolutions; sometimes enslaved by the most cruel tyrants, at others under the government of the wisest kings; sometimes abandoned to the capricious will of a populace, without either curb or restriction; sometimes perfectly docile and submissive to the authority of law, and the empire of reason, it passed alternately from the most insupportable slavery to the most grateful liberty, from a kind of convulsive and frantic emotions, to a wise, peaceable, and regular conduct. The reader will easily call to mind, on the one side, Dionysius the father and son, Agathocles and Hieronymus, whose cruelties made them the object of the public hatred and detestation; on the other, Gelon, Dion, Timoleon, the two Hieros, ancient and modern, universally beloved and revered by the people.

To what are such opposite extremes, and vicissitudes so contrary to be attributed? Undoubtedly, the levity and inconstancy of the Syracusans, which was their distinguishing characteristic, had a great share in them: but what, I am convinced, conduced the most to them, was the very form of their government, compounded of an aristocracy and a democracy; that is to say, divided between the senate or elders, and the people. As there was no counterpoise in Syracuse to balance those two bodies, when authority inclined either to the one side or the other, the government presently changed either into a violent and cruel tyranny, or an unbridled liberty, without order or regulation. The sudden confusion, at such times, of all orders of the state, made the way to sovereign power easy to the most ambitious of the citizens: to attract the affection of their country, and soften the yoke to their fellow-citizens, some exercised that power with lenity, wisdom, equity, and affability; and others, by nature, less virtuously inclined, carried it to the last excess of the most absolute and cruel despotism, under pretext of supporting themselves against the attempts of their citizens, who, jealous of their liberty, thought every means for the recovery of it legitimate and laudable.

There were, besides, other reasons that rendered the government of Syracuse difficult, and thereby made way for the frequent changes it underwent. That city did not forget the signal victories it had obtained against the formidable power of Africa, and that it hag


carried its victories and the terror of its arms even to the walls of Carthage; and that not once only, as afterwards against the Athenians, but during several ages. The high idea its tieets and numerous troops suggested of its maritime power, at the time of the irruption of the Persians into Greece, occasioned its pretending to equal Athens in that respect, or at least to divide the empire of the sea with that state.

Besides which, riches, the natural effect of commerce, had rendered the Syracusans proud, haughty, and imperious, and at the same time had plunged them into a sloth and luxury that inspired them with a disgust for all fatigue and application. They gene rally abandoned themselves blindly to their orators, who had acquired an absolute ascendant over them. In order to make them obey, it was necessary either to flatter or reproach them.

They had naturally a fund of equity, humanity, and good-nature; and yet, when influenced by the seditious discourses of the orators, they would proceed to excessive violence and cruelties, of which they immediately after repented.

When they were left to themselves, their liberty, which at that time knew no bounds, soon degenerated into caprice, fury, violence, and, I might say, even frenzy. On the contrary, when they were subjected to the yoke, they became base, timorous, submissive, and grovelling, like slaves. But as this condition was constrained, and directly contrary to the character and disposition of the Greek na tion, born and nurtured in liberty, the sense of which was not wholly extinguished in them, but merely lulled asleep, they waked from time to time from their lethargy, broke their chains, and made use of them, if I may be admitted to use the expression, to beat down and destroy the unjust masters who had imposed them.

With the slightest attention to the whole series of the history of the Syracusans, it may easily be perceived (as Galba afterwards said of the Romans,) that* they were equally incapable of bearing either entire liberty or entire servitude. So that the ability and policy of those who governed them, consisted in keeping the people to a wise medium between those two extremes, by seeming to leave them an entire freedom in their resolutions, and reserving only to themselves the care of explaining the utility, and facilitating the execution, of good measures. And in this the magistrates and kings we have spoken of were wonderfully successful, under whose government the Syracusans always enjoyed peace and tranquillity, were obedient to their princes, and perfectly submissive to the laws. And this induces me to conclude, that the revolutions of Syracuse were less the effect of the people's levity, than the fault of those that governed them, who had not the art of managing their passions, and engaging their affection, which is properly the science of kings, and of all who command others. Imperaturus es hominibus, qui nec totam servitutem pati possunt, nec totam libes

Tacit. Hist. 1. i. & 16.


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