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Book VII

This webpage reproduces a Bookof
The Histories

of
Polybius

published in Vol. III
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1922 thru 1927

The text is in the public domain.

This text has not yet been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book IX

(Vol. III) Polybius
The Histories

p447 Fragments of Book VIII

I. From the Preface

1 1 It appears to me not to be foreign to my general purpose and original plan to call the attention of my readers to the vast scope of operations of the two states Rome and Carthage, and the diligence with which they pursued their purposes. 2 For who can help admiring the way in which, although they had on their hands such a serious war for the possession of Italy, and another no less serious for the possession of Spain, and though they were in each case both of them quite uncertain as to their prospects of success and in an equally perilous position, 3 they were yet by no means content with the undertakings on which they were thus engaged, but disputed likewise the possession of Sardinia and Sicily, not only entertaining hopes of conquest all the world over, but laying in supplies and making preparations for the purpose? 4 It is indeed when we come to look into the details that our admiration is fully aroused". The Romans had two complete armies for the defence of Italy under the two consuls and two others in Spain, the land forces there being commanded by Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio and the fleet by Publius Cornelius Scipio; 5 and of course the p449same was the case with the Carthaginians. 6 But besides this a Roman fleet lay off the coast of Greece to observe the movements of Philip, commanded first by Marcus Valerius and later by Publius Sulpicius, while at the same time Appius with a hundred quinqueremes and Marcus Claudius Marcellus with a land force protected their interests in Sicily, Hamilcar doing the same on the part of the Carthaginians.

2 1 I consider that a statement I often made at the outset of this work thus receives confirmation from actual facts, 2 I mean my assertion that it is impossible to get from writers who deal in particular episodes a general view of the whole process of history. 3 For how by the bare reading of events in Sicily or in Spain can we hope to learn and understand either the magnitude of the occurrences or the thing of greatest moment, what means and what form of government Fortune has employed to accomplish the most surprising feat she has performed in our times, that is, to bring all the known parts of the world under one rule and dominion, a thing absolutely without precedent? 5 For how the Romans took Syracuse and how they occupied Spain may possibly be learnt from the perusal of such particular histories; 6 but how they attained to universal empire and what particular circumstances obstructed their grand design, or again how and at what time circumstances contributed to its execution is difficult to discern without a general history. 7 Nor for the same reason is it easy otherwise to perceive the greatness of their achievements and the value of their system of polity. 8 It would not be surprising in itself that p451the Romans had designs on Spain and Sicily and made military and naval expeditions to these two countries; 9 but when we realize how at the same time that these projects and countless others were being carried out by the government of a single state, this same people who had all this on their hands were exposed in their own country to wars and other perils, then only will the events appear in their just light and really call forth admiration, and only thus are they likely to obtain the attention they deserve. 11 So much for those who suppose that by a study of separate histories they will become familiar with the general history of the world as a whole.

II. Affairs of Sicily

The Siege of Syracuse

3 1 At the time that Epicydes and Hippocrates1 seized on Syracuse, alienating themselves and the rest of the citizens from the friendship of Rome, the Romans, who had already heard of the fate of Hieronymus, tyrant of Syracuse, appointed Appius Claudius as propraetor, entrusting him with the command of the land forces, while they put their fleet under that of Marcus Claudius Marcellus. 2 These commanders took up a position not far from the city, and decided to attack it with their land forces in the neighbourhood of the Hezapyli, and with their fleet at the Stoa Scytice in Achradina, where p453the wall reaches down to the very edge of the sea. 3 Having got ready their blindages, missiles, and other siege material, they were in high hopes owing to their large numbers that in five days their works would be much more advanced than those of the enemy, but instead they did not reckon with the ability of Archimedes, or foresee that in some cases the genius of one man accomplishes much more than any number of hands. However, now they learnt the truth of this saying by experience. 4 The strength of Syracuse lies in the fact that the wall extends in a circle along a chain of hills with overhanging brows, which are, except in a limited number of places, by no means easy of approach even with no one to hinder it. 5 Archimedes now made such extensive preparations, both within the city and also to guard again an attack from the sea, that there would be no chance of the defenders being employed in meeting emergencies, but that every move of the enemy could be replied to instantly by a counter move. Appius, however, with his blindages, and ladders attempted to use these for attacking the portion of the wall which abuts on the Hexapylus to the east.

4 1 Meanwhile Marcellus was attacking Achradina from the sea with sixty quinqueremes, each of which was full of men armed with bows, slings, and javelins, meant to repulse those fighting from the battlements. 2 He had also eight quinqueremes from which the oars had been removed, the starboard oars from some and the larboard ones from others. These were lashed together two and two, on their dismantled sides, and pulling with the oars on their outer sides they brought up to the wall the so‑called p455"sambucae."2 3 These engines are constructed as follows. 4 A ladder was made four feet broad and of a height equal to that of the wall when planted at the proper distance. Each side was furnished with a breastwork, and it was covered in by a screen at a considerable height. It was then laid flat upon those sides of the ships which were in contact and protruding a considerable distance beyond the prow. 5 At the top of the masts there are pulleys with ropes, and when they are about to use it, they attach the ropes to the top of the ladder, and men standing at the stern pull them by means of the pulleys, while others stand on the prow, and supporting the engine with props, assure its being safely raised. After this the towers on both the outer sides of the ships bring them close to shore, and they now endeavour to set the engine I have described up against the wall. 8 At the summit of the ladder there is a platform protected on three sides by wicker screens, on which four men mount and face the enemy resisting the efforts of those who from the battlements try to prevent the sambuca from being set up against the wall. 9 As soon as they have set it up and are on a higher level than the wall, these men pull down the wicker screens on each side of the platform and mount the battlements or towers, 10 while the rest follow them through the sambuca which is held firm by the ropes attached to both ships. 11 The construction was appropriately called a sambuca, for when it is raised the shape of the ship and ladder together is just like the musical instrument.

p457 5 1 Such were the contrivances with which the Romans intended to attack the towers. 2 But Archimedes, who had prepared engines constructed to carry to any distance, so damaged the assailants at long range, as they sailed up, with his more powerful mangonels and heavier missiles as to throw them into much difficulty and distress; 3 and as soon as these engines shot too high he continued using smaller and smaller ones as the range became shorter, and, finally, so thoroughly shook their courage that he put a complete stop to their advance, 4 until Marcellus was so hard put to it that he was compelled to bring up his ships secretly while it was still night. 5 But when they were close in shore and too near to be struck by the mangonels Archimedes had hit upon another contrivance for attacking the men who were fighting from the decks. 6 He had pierced in the wall at short distances a series of loopholes of the height of a man and of about a palm's breadth on the outer side. Stationing archers and "small scorpions"3 opposite these inside the wall and shooting through them, he disabled the soldiers. 7 So that he not only made the efforts of the enemy ineffective whether they were at a distance or close at hand, but destroyed the greater number of them. 8 And when they tried to raise the sambucae he had engines ready all along the wall, which while invisible at other times, reared themselves when required from inside above the wall, their beams projecting far beyond the battlements, 9 some of them carrying stones weighing as much as ten talents and others large lumps of p459lead. 10 Whenever the sambucae approached these beams were swung round on their axis, and by means of a rope running through a pulley dropped the stones on the sambuca, 11 the consequence being that not only was the engine smashed, but the ship and those on board were in the utmost peril. 6 1 There were some machines again which were directed against parties advancing under the cover of blinds and thus protected from injury by missiles shot through the wall. These machines, on the one hand, discharged stones large enough to chase the assailants from the prow, 2 and at the same time let down an iron hand attached to a chain with which the man who piloted the beam would clutch at the ship, and when he had got hold of her by the prow, would press down the opposite end of the machine which was inside the wall. 3 Then when he had thus by lifting up the ship's prow made her stand upright on her stern, he made fast the opposite end of the machine, and by means of a rope and pulley let the chain and hand suddenly drop from it. 4 The result was that some of the vessels fell on their sides, some entirely capsized, while the greater number, when their prows were thus dropped from a height, went under water and filled, throwing all into confusion. 5 Marcellus was hard put to it by the resourcefulness of Archimedes, and seeing that the garrison thus baffled his attacks not only with much loss to himself but with derision he was deeply vexed, but still made fun of his own performances, saying "Archimedes uses my ships to ladle sea-water into his wine cups, but my sambuca band is flogged out of the banquet in disgrace."

7 Such was the result of the siege from the sea. p461 7 1 And Appius, too, found himself in similar difficulties and abandoned his attempt. 2 For his men while at a distance were mowed down by the shots from the mangonels and catapults, the supply of artillery and ammunition being admirable both as regards quantity and force, as indeed was to be expected where Hiero had furnished the means and Archimedes had designed and constructed the various contrivances. 3 And when they did get near the wall they were so severely punished by the continuous volleys of arrows from the loopholes of which I spoke above that their advance was checked or, if they attacked under the cover of mantelets, they were destroyed by the stones and beams dropt upon their heads. 4 The besieged also inflicted no little damage by the above-mentioned hands hanging from cranes, for they lifted up men, armour, and all, and then let them drop. 5 At last Appius retired to his camp and called a council of his military tribunes, at which it was unanimously decided to resort to any means rather than attempt to take Syracuse by storm. 6 And to this resolution they adhered; for during their eight months' investment of the city, while leaving no stratagem or daring design untried, they never once ventured again upon an assault. 7 Such a great and marvellous thing does the genius of one man show itself to be when properly applied to certain matters. 8 The Romans at least, strong as they were both by sea and land, had every hope of capturing the town at once if one old man of Syracuse were removed; 9 but as long as he was present, they did not venture p463even to attempt to attack in that fashion in which the ability of Archimedes could be used in the defense. 10 On the contrary, thinking that owing to the large population of the town the best way to reduce it was by famine, they placed their hope in this, cutting off supplies from the sea by their fleet and those from the land by their army. 11 Wishing not to spend in idleness the time during which they besieged Syracuse, but to attain some useful results outside, the commanders divided themselves and their forces, 12 so that Appius with two-thirds of their army invested the town while Marcus took the other third and made raids on the parts of Sicily which favoured the Carthaginians.

III. Affairs of Greece, Philip, and Messenia

8 1 Upon arriving at Messene Philip proceeded to devastate the country like an enemy acting from passion rather than from reason. 2 For he expected, apparently, that while he continued to inflict injuries, the sufferers would never feel any resentment or hatred towards him.

3 What induced me to give a more explicit account of these matters in this and the previous Book, was, in addition to the reasons I above stated, the fact that while some authors have left the occurrences in Messenia unnoticed 4 others, owing either to their regard for the kings or their fear of them, have explained to us unreservedly, that not only did the outrages committed by Philip against the Messenians in defiance of divine or human law deserve no censure, but that on the contrary all his acts were p465to be regarded as praiseworthy achievements. 5 It is not only with regard to the Messenians that we find the historians of Philip's life to be thus biased but in other cases, 6 the result being that their works much more resemble panegyrics than histories. 7 My own opinion is that we should neither revile nor extol kings falsely, as has so often been done, but always give an account of them consistent with our previous statements and in accord with the character of each. 8 It may be said that it is easy enough to say this but exceedingly difficult to do it, because there are so many and various conditions and circumstances in life, yielding to which men are prevented from uttering or writing their real opinions. 9 Bearing this in mind we must pardon these writers in some cases, but in others we should not.

9 1 In this respect Theopompus is one of the writers who is most to blame. At the outset of his history of Philip, son of Amyntas, he states that what chiefly induced him to undertake this work was that Europe had never produced such a man before as this Philip; 2 and yet immediately afterwards in his preface and throughout the book he shows him to have been first so incontinent about women, that as far as in him lay he ruined his own home by his passionate and ostentatious addiction to this kind of thing; 3 next a most wicked and mischievous man in his schemes for forming friendships and alliances; thirdly, one who had enslaved and betrayed a large number of cities by force or fraud; 4 and lastly, one so addicted to strong drink p467that he was frequently seen by his friends manifestly drunk in broad daylight. 5 Anyone who chooses to read the beginning of his forty-ninth Book will be amazed at the extravagance of this writer. Apart from other things, he has ventured to write as follows. I set down the passage in his own words: 6 "Philip's court in Macedonia was the gathering-place of all the most debauched and brazen-faced characters in Greece or abroad, who were there styled the king's companions. 7 For Philip in general showed no favour to men of good repute who were careful of their property, but those he honoured and promoted were spendthrifts who passed their time drinking and gambling. 8 In consequence he not only encouraged them in their vices, but made them past masters in every kind of wickedness and lewdness. 9 Was there anything indeed disgraceful and shocking that they did not practise, and was there anything good and creditable that they did not leave undone? Some of them used to shave their bodies and make them smooth although they were men, and others actually practised lewdness with each other though bearded. 10 While carrying about two or three minions with them they served others in the same capacity, so that we would be justified in calling them not courtiers but courtesans and not soldiers but strumpets. 12 For being by nature man-slayers they became by their practices man-whores. 13 In a word," he continues, "not to be prolix, and especially as I am beset by such a deluge of other matters, my opinion is that those who were called Philip's friends and companions were worse brutes p469and of a more beastly disposition than the Centaurs who established themselves on Pelion, or those Laestrygones who dwelt in the plain of Leontini, or any other monsters."

10 1 Everyone must disapprove of such bitter feeling and lack of restraint on the part of this writer. 2 For not only does he deserve blame for using language which contradicts his statement of the object he had in writing, but for falsely accusing the king and his friends, and especially for making this false accusation in coarse and unbecoming terms. 3 If he had been writing of Sardanapalus or one of his companions he would hardly have dared to use such foul language; and we all know the principles and the debauched character of that king 4 from the epigram on his tomb:

Mine are they yet
the meats I ate,
my wanton sport above,
the joy of love.

5 But in speaking of Philip and his friends not only would one hesitate to accuse them of cowardice, effeminacy, and shamelessness to boot, but on the contrary if one set oneself the task of singing their praises one could scarcely find terms adequate to characterize their bravery, industry, and in general the virtue of these men 6 who indisputably by their energy and daring raised Macedonia from the rank of a petty kingdom to that of the greatest and most glorious monarchy in the world. 7 Quite apart from what was accomplished during Philip's lifetime, the success achieved after Philip's death by the aid of Alexander indisputably established in the eyes of p471all their reputations for valour. 8 While we should perhaps give Alexander, as commander-in‑chief, the credit for much, notwithstanding his extreme youth, we should assign no less to his co-operators and friends, 9 who defeated the enemy in many marvellous battles, exposed themselves often to extraordinary toil, danger, and hardship, and after possessing themselves of vast wealth and unbounded resources for satisfying every desire, neither suffered in a single case any impairment of their physical powers, nor even to gratify their passion were guilty of malpractices and licentiousness; 10 but all of them, one may say, proved themselves indeed to be kingly men by virtue of their magnanimity, self-restraint, and courage, as long as they lived with Philip and afterwards with Alexander. It is unnecessary to mention anyone by name. 11 And after the death of Alexander, when they disputed the empire of the greater part of the world, they left a record so glorious in numerous memoirs that while we may allow that Timaeus' bitter invective against Agathocles, the ruler of Sicily, however unmeasured it may seem, is justified — for he is accusing him as an enemy, a bad man, and a tyrant — that of Theopompus does not deserve serious consideration. 11 1 For after announcing that he was going to write about a king richly endowed by nature with every quality that makes for virtue, he charges him with everything that is shameful and atrocious. 2 So that either this author must be a liar and a flatterer in the prefatory remarks at the outset of his history, or he is entirely foolish and childish in his assertions p473about particulars, imagining that by senseless and far-fetched abuse he will insure his own credit and gain acceptance for his laudatory estimate of Philip.

3 Again, no one could approve of the general scheme of this writer. Having set himself the task of writing the history of Greece from the point at which Thucydides leaves off, just when he was approaching the battle of Leuctra and the most brilliant period of Greek history, he abandoned Greece and her efforts, and changing his plan decided to write the history of Philip. 4 Surely it would have been much more dignified and fairer to include Philip's achievements in the history of Greece than to include the history of Greece in that of Philip. 5 For not even a man preoccupied by his devotion to royalty would, if he had the power and had found a suitable occasion, have hesitated to transfer the leading part and title of his work to Greece; and no one in his sound senses who had begun to write the history of Greece and had made some progress in it would have exchanged this for the more pompous biography of a king. 6 What can it have been which forced Theopompus to overlook such flagrant inconsistencies, if it were not that in writing the one history his motive was to do good, in writing that of Philip to further his own interests? 7 Possibly indeed as regards this error in changing the scheme of the work he might have found something to say for himself, if anyone had questioned him, 8 but as for the foul language he uses about Philip's friends I think he would hardly have been able to defend himself, but would have admitted that he sinned gravely against propriety. . . .

p475 12 1 The Messenians had now become Philip's enemies, but he was unable to inflict any serious damage on them, although he made an attempt to devastate their territory. 2 Towards his most intimate friends, however, he was guilty of the greatest brutality. It was not long before through the agency of Taurion, his commissioner in the Peloponnese, he poisoned the elder Aratus who had disapproved of his treatment of Messene. 3 The fact was not generally known at the time, the drug not being one of those which kill at once, but one which takes time and produces a sickly condition of the body; 4 but Aratus himself was aware of the criminal attempt, as the following circumstance shows. 5 While keeping it secret from everybody else, he could not refrain from revealing it to Cephalon, an old servant with whom he was very familiar. This servant waited on him during his illness with great assiduity, and on one occasion when he called attention to some spittle on the wall being tinged with blood, Aratus said "That, Cephalon, is the reward I have got from Philip for my friendship." 6 Such a great and fine quality is moderation that the sufferer was more ashamed than the doer of the deed to feel that after acting in union with Philip in so many great enterprises and after such devotion to his interests he had met with so base a reward for his loyalty. 7 This man then, because he had so often held the chief office in Achaea, and owing to the number and importance of the benefits he had conferred on the nation, had fitting honours paid him on his death both by his own city and by the Achaean League. 8 They voted him sacrifices and honours such as are paid to heroes, and everything in short which p477contributes to immortalize a man's memory, so that, if the dead have any feeling, he must take pleasure in the gratitude of the Achaeans and in the recollection of the hardships and perils he suffered in his life. . . .

Philip's capture of Lissus in Illyria

13 1 Philip's attention had long been fixed on Lissus and Acrolissus, and being most anxious to possess himself of these places he started for them with his army. 2 After two days' march he traversed the defiles and encamped by the river Ardaxanus not far from the town. 3 Observing that the defences of Lissus, both natural and artificial, were admirable from land as well as sea, and that Acrolissus which was close to it owing to its height and its general strength looked as if there would be no hope of taking it by storm, he entirely renounced this latter hope, but did not quite despair of taking the town. 4 Noticing that the ground between Lissus and the foot of Acrolissus was convenient for directing an attack from it on the town he decided to open hostilities on this side, and employ a stratagem suitable to the circumstances. 5 After giving his Macedonians a day's rest and addressing them in such terms as the occasion demanded, he concealed during the night the largest and most efficient portion of his light-armed troops in some thickly-wooded ravines above the aforesaid ground on the side farthest from the sea, 6 and next day with his peltasts and the rest of the light-armed infantry marched along the sea on p479the other side of the city. 7 After thus passing round the city and reaching the place I mentioned, he gave the impression of being about to ascend towards the town on this side. 8 The arrival of Philip was no secret, and considerable forces from all the neighbouring parts of Illyria had collected in Lissus; 9 but as for Acrolissus they had such confidence in its natural strength that they had assigned quite a small garrison to it. 14 1 Consequently, on the approach of the Macedonians those in the town began pouring out of it confident in their numbers and in the advantage of the ground. 2 The king halted his peltasts on the level ground, and ordered his light infantry to advance on the hills and deliver a vigorous attack on the enemy. 3 His orders being obeyed, the combat was for some time an even one; but afterwards Philip's troops, yielding to the difficulties of the ground and to superior numbers, were put to flight. 4 When they took refuge with the peltasts, the Illyrians from the town in their contempt for them followed them down the hill and engaged the peltasts on the level ground. 5 At the same time the garrison of Acrolissus, seeing that Philip was slowly withdrawing his divisions one after the other, and thinking that he was abandoning the field, imperceptibly let themselves be enticed out owing to their confidence in the strength of the place, 6 and then abandoning Acrolissus in small bodies poured down by bye-paths to the level ground, thinking there would be a thorough rout of the enemy and a chance of some booty. 7 But at this juncture the troops which had been posted in ambush on the p481land side rose unobserved and delivered a brisk attack, the peltasts at the same time turning and falling upon the enemy. 8 Upon this the force from Lissus was thrown into disorder and retreating in scattered groups gained the shelter of the city, while those who had abandoned Acrolissus were cut off from it by the troops which had issued from the ambuscade. 9 So that both Acrolissus was taken beyond all expectation at once and without striking a blow, and Lissus surrendered on the next day after a desperate struggle, the Macedonians having delivered several energetic and terrific assaults. 10 Philip having thus, to the general surprise, made himself master of these two places assured by this achievement the submission of all the district round, most of the Illyrians placing their towns in his hands of their own accord. 11 For after the fall of these fortresses those who resisted could look forward to no shelter in strongholds or other hope of safety. . . .

IV. Affairs of Asia

Capture of Achaeus

15 1 There was a certain Cretan named Bolis who had long occupied a high position at the court of Ptolemy, being regarded as a man possessed of superior intelligence, exceptional courage, and much military experience. 2 Sosibius, who had by continued intercourse with this man secured his confidence and rendered him favourably disposed to himself and ready to oblige him, put the matter in his hands, telling him that under present circumstances there was no more acceptable service he could render p483the king than to contrive a plan to save Achaeus. 3 Bolis after listening to him, said he would think the matter over, and left him. 4 After taking counsel with himself he came to Sosibius two or three days afterwards and agreed to undertake the business, adding that he had spent some time in Sardis and knew its topography, and the Cambylus the commander of the Cretans in Antiochus' army was not only his fellow-citizen, but his relative and friend. 5 It happened that Cambylus and his force of Cretans had charge of one of the outposts behind the citadel where the ground did not admit of siege-works, but was guarded simply by the continuous line of these troops of Cambylus. 6 Sosibius received this suggestion with joy, and since he was firmly convinced either that it was impossible to rescue Achaeus from his dangerous situation, or that once one regarded it as possible, no one could do it better than Bolis, since, moreover, Bolis himself helped matters on by displaying such zeal, the project rapidly began to move. 7 Sosibius both advanced funds to meet all the expenses of the undertaking and promised a large sum in the event of its success, then by dwelling in the most exaggerated terms on the rewards to be expected from the king and from Achaeus himself whom they were rescuing raised the hopes of Bolis to the utmost.

9 Bolis, who was quite ready for the enterprise, set sail without the least delay carrying dispatches in cypher and credentials first to Nicomachus at Rhodes, whose affection for Achaeus and fidelity towards him were regarded as being like those of a p485father to a son, and next to Melancomas at Ephesus. 10 For these were the two men who in former times had acted as the agents of Achaeus in his negotiations with Ptolemy and all his other foreign schemes.

16 1 On reaching Rhodes and subsequently Ephesus, Bolis communicated with these men, and finding them disposed to accede to his requests next sent one of his officers named Arianus to Cambylus, 2 saying that he had been dispatched from Alexandria to raise troops, and wished to meet Cambylus to consult him about some matters of urgency. He therefore thought it best to fix a date and place at which they could meet without anyone knowing of it. 3 Arianus made haste to meet Cambylus and deliver his message, upon which the latter readily complied with the request, and having fixed a day and a place known to both, at which they could meet by night, sent Arianus back. 4 Now, Bolis being a Cretan and naturally astute, had been weighing every circumstance and testing the soundness of every plan; 5 but finally met Cambylus as Arianus had arranged, and gave him the letter. With this before them they discussed the matter from a thoroughly Cretan point of view. 6 For they did not take into consideration either the rescue of the man in danger or their loyalty to those who had charged them with the task, but only their personal security and advantage. 7 Both of them, then, Cretans as they were, soon arrived at the same decision, which was to divide between them in equal shares the ten talents advanced by Sosibius 8 and then to reveal the project p487to Antiochus and undertake, if assisted by him, to deliver Achaeus into his hands on receiving a sum of money down and the promise of a reward in the future adequate to the importance of the enterprise. 9 Upon this Cambylus undertook to manage matters with Antiochus, while Bolis agreed to send Arianus to Achaeus in a few days with letters in cypher from Nicomachus and Melancomas bidding Cambylus see to it that he got into the citadel and out again in safety. 11 Should Achaeaus agree to make the attempt and answer Nicomachus and Melancomas, Bolis engaged to devote his energies to the matter and communicate with Cambylus. 12 With this understanding they took leave and each continued to act as they had agreed.

17 1 First of all Cambylus, as soon as he had an opportunity, laid the matter before Antiochus. 2 The king, who was both delighted and surprised at the offer, was ready on the one hand in his extreme joy to promise anything and on the other hand was so distrustful that he demanded a detailed account of their project and the means they were to employ. 3 Hereupon, being now convinced, and almost regarding the plan as directly inspired by Providence, he continued to urge upon Cambylus to put it into execution. 4 Bolis meanwhile had likewise communicated with Nicomachus and Melancomas, who, believing that the attempt was being made in all good faith, at once drew up for Arianus letters to Achaeus written in the cypher they used to employ, 5 so that no one into whose hands a letter fell could p489read a word of it, and sent him off with them, begging Achaeus to place confidence in Bolis and Cambylus. 6 Arianus, gaining admission to the citadel by the aid of Cambylus, handed the letters to Achaeus, and as he had been initiated into the plot from the outset gave a most accurate and detailed account of everything in answer to the numerous and varied questions that were asked him concerning Sosibius and Bolis, concerning Nicomachus and Melancomas and chiefly concerning Combylus. 7 He was able to support this cross-questioning with confidence and candour chiefly because he had no knowledge of the really important part of the agreement between Cambylus and Bolis. 8 Achaeus, convinced by the examination of Arianus and chiefly by the letters in cypher from Nicomachus and Melancomas, at once dispatched Arianus with a reply. 9 After some continuance of the correspondence Achaeus finally entrusted his fortunes to Nicomachus, there being now no other hope of safety left to him, and directed him to send Bolis with Arianus on a moonless night when he would deliver himself into their hands. 10 It should be known that the notion of Achaeus was, when once he had escaped from his present perilous position, to hasten without any escort to Syria, 11 for he had the greatest hope, that by suddenly and unexpectedly appearing to the people in Syria while Antiochus was still occupied in the siege of Sardis, he would create a great movement in his favour and meet with a good reception at Antioch and throughout Coele-Syria and Phoenicia.

18 1  Achaeus, then, his mind full of such hopes and calculations, was waiting for the appearance of Bolis. 2 Melancomas, when on the arrival of Arianus he read the letter, sent Bolis off after exhorting him at length and holding out great hopes to him in the event of his succeeding in the enterprise. 3 Sending on Arianus in advance and acquainting Cambylus with his arrival, he came by night to the appointed spot. 4 After spending a day together, and settling exactly how the matter should be managed, they entered the camp after nightfall. 5 They had regulated their plan as follows. Should Achaeus come down from the acropolis alone or accompanied only by Bolis and Arianus, he need not give them the least concern, and would easily fall into the trap. 6 But if he were accompanied it would be more difficult for those to whom he should entrust his person to carry out his plan, especially as they were anxious to capture him alive, this being what would most gratify Antiochus. 7 It was therefore indispensable that Arianus, in conducting Achaeus out of the citadel, should lead the way, as he was acquainted with the path, having frequently passed in and out of it, 8 while Bolis would have to be last of all, in order that on arriving at the place where Cambylus was to have his man ready in ambush, he could catch hold of Achaeus and hold him fast, so that he would neither escape in the confusion of the night across the wooded country, nor in his despair cast himself from some precipice, but should as they designed fall into his enemies' hands alive. p4939 Such being the arrangement, Cambylus, on the same night that Bolis arrived, took him to speak with Antiochus in private. 10 The king received him graciously, assured him of the promised reward, and after warmly exhorting both of them to put the plan in execution without further delay left for his own camp, 11 while Bolis a little before daybreak went up with Arianus and entered the citadel while it was yet dark.

19 1 Achaeus, receiving Bolis with singular cordiality, questioned him at length about all the details of the scheme, 2 and judging both from his appearance and his manner of talking that he was a man equal to the gravity of the occasion, while he was on the one hand overjoyed at the hope of delivery, he was yet in a state of the utmost excitement and anxiety owing to the magnitude of the consequences. 3 As, however, he was second to none in intelligence, and had had considerable experience of affairs, he judged it best not to repose entire confidence in Bolis. 4 He therefore informed him that it was impossible for him to come out of the citadel at the present moment, but that he would send three or four of his friends, and after they had joined Melancomas, he would himself get ready to leave. 5 Achaeus indeed was doing his best, but he did not consider that, as the saying is, he was trying to play the Cretan with a Cretan; for there was no probable precaution of this kind that Bolis had not minutely examined. 6 However, when the night came in which Achaeus had said he would send out his p495friends with them, he sent on Arianus and Bolis to the entrance of the citadel, ordering them to await there the arrival of those who were about to go out with them. 7 When they had done as he requested, he revealed at the last moment the project to his wife Laodice, who was so much taken by surprise that she almost lost her wits, so that he had to spend some time in beseeching her to be calm and in soothing her by dwelling on the brightness of the prospect before him. 9 After that, taking four companions with him, whom he dressed in fairly good clothes while he himself wore a plain and ordinary dress and made himself appear to be of mean condition, he set forth, ordering one of his friends to answer all Arianus' questions and to address any necessary inquiries to him stating that the others did not know Greek.

20 1 Upon their meeting Arianus, the latter placed himself in front of owing to his acquaintance with the path, while Bolis, as he had originally designed, brought up the rear, finding himself, however, in no little doubt and perplexity as to the facts. 2 For although a Cretan and ready to entertain every kind of suspicion regarding others, he could not owing to the darkness make out which was Achaeus, or even if he were present or not. 3 But most of the way down being very difficult and precipitous, at certain places with slippery and positively dangerous descents, whenever they came to one of these places some of them would take hold of Achaeus and others give him a hand down, 4 as they were unable to put aside for the time their habitual attitude of respect to him, and Bolis very soon understood p497which of them was Achaeus. 5 When they reached the spot where they had agreed to meet Cambylus, and Bolis gave the preconcerted signal by a whistle, the men from the ambush rushed out and seized the others while Bolis himself caught hold of Achaeus, clasping him along with his clothes so that his hands were inside, as he was afraid lest on perceiving that he was betrayed he might attempt his life, for he had provided himself with a sword. 7 He was very soon surrounded on all sides and found himself in the hands of his enemies, who at once led him and his friends off to Antiochus. 8 The king, who had long been waiting the issue in a fever of excitement, had dismissed his usual suite and remained awake in his tent attended only by two or three of his bodyguard. 9 When Cambylus and his men entered and set down Achaeus on the ground bound hand and foot, Antiochus was so dumbstruck with astonishment that for a long time he remained speechless and at last was deeply affected and burst into tears, 10 feeling thus, as I suppose, because he actually saw how hard to guard against and how contrary to all expectation are events due to Fortune. 11 For Achaeus was the son of Andromachus the brother of Laodice the wife of Seleucus; he had married Laodice the daughter of King Mithridates, and had been sovereign of all Asia on this side of the Taurus; 12 and now when he was supposed by his own forces and those of the enemy to be dwelling secure in the strongest fortress in the world, he was actually sitting on the ground bound hand and foot and at the mercy of his enemies, not a soul being aware of what had happened except the actual perpetrators of the deed.

p499 21 1 But when at dawn the king's friends flocked to his tent, as was the custom, and saw the thing with their own eyes, they were in the same case as the king himself had been; for they were so astonished that they could not credit their sense. 2 At the subsequent sitting of the Council, there were many proposals as to the proper punishment to inflict on Achaeus, and it was decided to lop off in the first place the unhappy prince's extremities, and then, after cutting off his head and sewing it up in an ass's skin, to crucify his body. 4 When this had been done, and the army was informed of what had happened, there was such enthusiasm and wild excitement throughout the whole camp, that Laodice, who was alone aware of her husband's departure from the citadel, when she witnessed the commotion and disturbance in the camp, divined the truth. 5 And when soon afterwards the herald reached her, announcing the fate of Achaeus and bidding her come to an arrangement and withdraw from the citadel, there was at first no answer from those in the citadel but loud wailing and extravagant lamentation, not so much owing to the affection they bore Achaeus as because the event struck everyone as so strange and entirely unexpected. 7 After this outburst the garrison continued in great perplexity and hesitation. 8 Antiochus having dispatched Achaeus continued to press hard upon those in the citadel, feeling convinced that some means of taking the place would be furnished him by the garrison itself and more especially by the rank and file. 9 And this actually took place. For they quarrelled among themselves and divided into two factions, the one p501placing itself under Aribazus and the other under Laodice; upon which as they had no confidence in each other, they both of them very soon surrendered themselves and the place.

10 Thus did Achaeus perish, after taking every reasonable precaution and defeated only by the perfidy of those whom he had trusted, leaving two useful lessons to posterity, firstly to trust no one too easily, and secondly not to be boastful in the season of prosperity, but being men to be prepared for anything.

Discussion of some similar Instances

35 1 Tiberius, the Roman pro-consul, fell into an ambush and after a gallant resistance perished with all who accompanied him. Regarding such accidents it is by no means safe to pronounce whether the sufferers are to be blamed or pardoned, because many who have taken all reasonable precautions have notwithstanding fallen victims to enemies who did not scruple to violate the established laws of mankind. 2 Nevertheless we should not out of indolence at once abandon the attempt to reach a decision of this point, but keeping in view the times and circumstances of each case censure certain generals and acquit others. What I mean will be clear from the following instances.

3 Archidamus, the king of Sparta, fearful of the ambition of Cleomenes, went into exile; but a short time afterwards was induced to put himself into the power of Cleomenes. 4 Consequently he lost both his throne and his life, leaving nothing to be said in his defence to posterity. 5 For the situation being still the same and Cleomenes having become p503even more ambitious and powerful, we cannot but confess that in surrendering to the very man from whom he had formerly saved himself almost miraculously by flight, he deserved the fate he met with. 6 Again, Pelopidas of Thebes, though acquainted with the unprincipled character of Alexander, tyrant of Pherae, and well aware that every tyrant regards as his chief enemies the champions of liberty, after prevailing on Epaminondas to espouse the cause of democracy not only at Thebes but throughout Greece, and after himself appearing in Thessaly with a hostile force for the purpose of overthrowing the despotism of Alexander, actually ventured a second time to go on a mission to this very tyrant. 8 The consequence was that by falling into the hands of his enemies he both inflicted great damage on Thebes and destroyed his previous reputation by rashly and ill-advisedly reposing confidence where it was utterly misplaced.

9 A similar misfortune befell the Roman consul Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio in the first Punic War, when he ill-advisedly surrendered to the enemy. I could mention more than one other case.

36 1 While, therefore, we must censure those who incautiously put themselves in the power of the enemy, we should not blame those who take all possible precautions. 2 For it is absolutely impracticable to place trust in no one, and we cannot find fault with anyone for acting by the dictates of reason after receiving adequate pledges, 3 such pledges being oaths, wives and children held as hostages, and above all the past life of the person in question; 4 thus to be betrayed and ruined by such means carries no reproach to the sufferer but only to the author of the deed. 5 The safest course of all p505therefore is to seek for such pledges as will render it impossible for the man in whom we trust to break his word, 6 but as these can rarely be obtained, the second best course is to take reasonable precautions, so that if our expectations are deceived, we may at least not fail to be condoned by public opinion. 7 This has been the case with many victims of treachery in former times, but most conspicuous instance and that nearest in date to the time of which I am now speaking will be that of Achaeus, who though he had taken every possible step to guard against treachery and ensure his safety, foreseeing and providing against every contingency as far as it was possible for human intelligence to do so, yet fell into the power of his enemy. 9 The event created a general feeling of pity and pardon for the victim, while his betrayers were universally condemned and detested.

The Gothic King Cavarus4

22 1 Cavarus, king of the Thracian Gauls, being naturally kingly and high-minded, afforded great security to traders sailing to the Pontus, and rendered great services to the Byzantines in their wars with the Thracians and Bithynians. 3 This Cavarus, so excellent in other respects, was corrupted by the flatterer Sostratus a native of Chalcedon. . . .

Antiochus at Armosata
(circa 212 B.C.)

23 1 When Xerxes was king of the city of Armosata, which lies near the "Fair Plain" between the Euphrates and Tigris, Antiochus, encamping before p507this city, undertook its siege. 2 Xerxes, when he saw the king's strength, at first conveyed himself away, but after a short time fearing lest, if his palace were occupied by the enemy, the rest of his dominions would be thrown into a state of disturbance, he regretted this step and sent a message to Antiochus proposing a conference. 3 The most trusty of Antiochus' friends advised him not to let him go, but to make himself master of the city and bestow the sovereignty on Mithridates his own sister's son. 4 The king, however, paid no attention to them, but sent for the young man and composed their differences, remitting the greater part of the sum which his father had still owed for tribute. 5 Receiving from him a present payment of three hundred talents, a thousand horses, and a thousand mules with their trappings, he restored all his dominions to him and by giving his sisterº Antiochis in marriage conciliated and attached to himself all the inhabitants of the district, who considered that he had acted in a truly royal and magnanimous manner. . . .

V. Affairs of Italy

24 1 It was the pride engendered by prosperity which made the Tarentines call in Pyrrhus of Epirus. For in every case where a democracy has for long enjoyed power, it naturally begins to be sick of present conditions and next looks out for a master, and having found one very soon hates him again, as p509the change is manifestly much for the worse. And this was what happened then to the Tarentines. . . .

4 They started from the city at first as if for an expedition, and on approaching the camp of the Carthaginians at night, the rest concealed themselves in a wood by the roadside while Philemenus and Nicon went up to the camp. 5 There they were arrested by the guards and brought before Hannibal; for they had not said a word as to who they were or whence they came, but had simply stated that they wished to meet the general. 6 They were at once taken before Hannibal and said that they desired to speak with him in private. 7 When he most readily granted them the interview, they gave him an account of their own situation and that of their country, bringing many different accusations against the Romans so as not to seem to have entered on their present design without valid reasons. 8 Hannibal having thanked them and received their advances in the kindest manner, sent them back for the time after arranging that they should come and meet him again very soon. 9 For the present he bade them as soon as they were at a certain distance from his camp surround and drive off the first herds of cattle that had been driven out to pasture and the men in charge of them and pursue their way without fear, for he would see to their safety. 10 This he did with the object first of giving himself time to inquire into the proposal made by the young men and next of gaining for them the confidence of the townsmen, who would believe that it was really on forays that they left the town. 11 Nicon and his friends did as they were p511bidden, and Hannibal was now delighted in having at length succeeded in finding a means of executing his design, 12 while Philemenus and the rest were much encouraged in their project now that the interview had safely taken place, and they had found Hannibal so willing, and the quantity of booty had established their credit sufficiently with their countrymen. 13 Selling some of the captured cattle and feasting on others they not only gained the confidence of the Tarentines, but had many emulators.

25 1 After this they made a second expedition, managed in a similar manner, and this time they pledged their word to Hannibal 2 and received in return his pledge that he would set Tarentum free and that the Carthaginians would neither exact any kind of tribute from the Tarentines nor impose any other burdens on them; but they were to be allowed, after capturing the city, to plunder the houses and residences of the Romans. 3 They also agreed on a watchword by which the sentries were to admit them to the camp without any hesitation each time they came. 4 They thus were enabled to meet Hannibal more than once, sometimes pretending to be going out of the town on a foray, sometimes again on a hunting-party. 5 Having made their arrangements to serve their purpose in the future, the majority of them awaited the time for action, 6 the part of huntsman being assigned to Philemenus, as owing to his excessive passion for the chase it was generally thought that he considered it the most important thing in life. p5137 He was therefore directed to ingratiate himself by presents of the game he killed first of all with Gaius Livius the commandant of the town, and then with the guards of the towers behind the Temenid gate. Having been entrusted with this matter, he managed, either by catching game himself or by getting it provided by Hannibal, to keep constantly bringing some in, giving part of it to Gaius and some to the men of the tower to make them always ready to open the postern to him; 9 for he usually went out and came in by night, on the pretence that he was afraid of the enemy, but as a fact to lay the way for the contemplated attempt. 10 When Philemenus had once got the guard at the gate into the habit of not making any trouble about it but of opening the postern gate to him at once by night, whenever he whistled on approaching the wall, 11 the conspirators having learnt that on a certain day the Roman commandant of the place was going to be present at a large and early party in the building called the Museum near the market-place, agreed with Hannibal to make the attempt on that day.

26 1 Hannibal had for some time past pretended to be sick, to prevent the Romans from being surprised when they heard that he had spent such a long time in the same neighbourhood, 2 and he now pretended that his sickness was worse. His camp was distant three day's journey from Tarentum, 3 and when the time came he got ready a force of about ten thousand men selected from his infantry and cavalry for their activity and courage, ordering them to take provisions for four days; 4 and starting at p515dawn marched at full speed. Choosing about eighty of his Numidian horse he ordered them to advance in front of the force at a distance of about thirty stades and to spread themselves over the ground on each side of the road, so that no one should get a view of the main body, 5 but that of those whom they encountered, some should be made prisoners by them while those who escaped should announce in the town that a raid by Numidian horse was in progress. 6 When the Numidians were about a hundred and twenty stades away from the town, Hannibal halted for supper on the bank of a river which runs through a gorge and is not easily visible. 7 Here he called a meeting of his officers, at which he did not inform them exactly what his plan was, but simply exhorted them first to bear themselves like brave men, as the prize of success had never been greater, secondly to keep each of them the men under his command in close order on the march and severely punish all who left the ranks on no matter what pretext, and lastly to attend strictly to orders and to do nothing on their own initiative, but only what should be commanded. 10 After thus addressing and dismissing the officers, he started on his march just after dusk, intending to reach the walls of the town about midnight. He had Philemenus with him for a guide and had procured for him a wild boar to use in a manner that had been arranged.

27 1 As the young men had foreseen, Gaius Livius had been feasting since early in the day with his friends in the Museum, and about sunset, when the drinking was at its height, news was brought to him that the Numidians were overrunning the country. 2 He took measures simply to meet this raid, by p517summoning some of his officers and ordering half his cavalry to sally out in the early morning and prevent the enemy from damaging the country; but just because of this he was less inclined to be suspicious of the plot as a whole. 3 Meanwhile Nicon and Tragiscus and the rest, as soon as it was dark, all collected in the town to await the return home of Livius. 4 The banquet broke up somewhat early, as the drinking had begun in the afternoon, and, while the other conspirators withdrew to a certain place to await events, some of the young men went to meet Livius and his company, making merry and creating by their mutual jests the impression that they too were on the way back from a carouse. 5 As Livius and his company were still more intoxicated, when the two parties met they all readily joined in laughter and banter. 6 The young men turned around and escorted Livius to his house, where he lay down to rest overcome by wine, as people naturally are who begin drinking early in the day, and with no apprehension of anything unusual or alarming, but full of cheerfulness and quite at his ease. 7 Meanwhile, when Nicon and Tragiscus had rejoined the young men they had left behind, they divided themselves into three bodies and kept watch, occupying the streets that gave most convenient access to the market-place, in order that no intelligence from outside and nothing that happened inside the town should escape their notice. 8 Some of them posted themselves near Livius' house, as they knew that if there were any suspicion of what was about to happen it would be communicated to him and that any measures taken would be due to his initiative. 9 When diners-out had all returned to their homes, p519and all such disturbance in general had ceased, the majority of the townsmen having gone to bed, night now wearing on apace and nothing having occurred to shake their hopes of success, they all collected together and proceeded to get about their business.

28 1 The agreement between the young Tarentines and Hannibal was as follows: Hannibal on approaching the city on it eastern side, which lies towards the interior, was to advance towards the Temenid gate and light a fire on the tomb, called by some that of Hyacinthus, by others that of Apollo Hyacinthus. 3 Tragiscus, when he saw this signal, was to signal back by fire from within the town. 4 This having been done, Hannibal was to put out the fire and march only slowly in the direction of the gate. 5 Agreeably to these arrangements, the young men having traversed the inhabited portion of the city reached the cemetery. 6 For all the eastern part of the Tarentum is full of tombs, since their dead are still buried within the walls owing to a certain ancient oracle, the god, it is said, gate responded to the Tarentines that they would fare better and more prosperously if they made their dwelling-place with the majority. 8 Thinking, then, that according to the oracle they would be best off if they had the departed also inside the wall, the Tarentines up to this day bury their dead within the gates. 9 The young men on reaching the tomb of Pythionicus stopped and awaited the event. 10 When Hannibal p521drew near and did as agreed, Nicon, Tragiscus, and their companions as soon as they saw the fire felt their courage refreshed, and when they had exhibited their own torch and saw that of Hannibal go out again, they ran at full speed to the gate 11 wishing to arrive in time to surprise and kill the guards of the gate-tower, it having been agreed that the Carthaginians were to advance at an easy pace. 12 All went well, and on the guards being surprised, some of the conspirators busied themselves with putting them to the sword, while others were cutting through the bolts. 13 Very soon the gates were thrown open, and at the proper time Hannibal and his force arrived, having marched at such a pace as ensured that no attention was called to his advance until he reached the city.

29 1 His entrance having been thus effected, as pre-arranged, in security and absolutely without noise, Hannibal thought that the most important part of his enterprise had been successfully accomplished, and now advanced confidently towards the market-place, by the broad street that leads up from what is called the Deep Road. 2 He left his cavalry, however, not less than two thousand in number, outside the wall as a reserve force to secure him against any foe that might appear from outside and against such untoward accidents as are apt to happen in enterprises of this kind. 3 When he was in the neighbourhood of the market-place he halted his force in marching order and himself awaited the appearance of Philemenus also, being anxious to see how this part of his design would succeed. 4 For at the time that he lit the fire signal and was about to advance to the gate he had sent off Philemenus p523with the boar on a stretcher and about a thousand Libyans to the gate, wishing, as he had originally planned, not to let the success of the enterprise depend simply on a single chance but on several. 5 Philemenus, on approaching the wall, whistled as was his custom, and the sentry at once came down from the tower to the postern gate. 6 When Philemus from outside told him to open quickly as they were fatigued for they were carrying a wild boar, the guard was very pleased and made haste to open, hoping for some benefit to himself also from Philemenus' good luck, as he had always had his share of the game that was brought in. 7 Philemenus then passed in supporting the stretcher in front and with him a man dressed like a shepherd, as if he were one of the country-folk, and after them came two other men supporting the dead beast from behind. 8 When all four were within the postern gate they first of all cut down the guard on the spot, as, unsuspicious of any harm, he was viewing and handling the boar, and then quietly and at their leisure let in through the little gate the Libyans, about thirty in number, who were immediately behind them and in advance of the others. 9 After this they at once proceeded some of them to cut the bolts, others to kill the guardians of the gate-tower, and others to summon the Libyans outside by a preconcerted signal. 10 When the latter also had got in safely, they all, as had been arranged, advanced towards the market-place. 11 Upon being joined by this force also Hannibal, much pleased that matters were proceeding just as he had wished, proceeded to put his project in execution. 30 1 Separating about two thousand Celts from the others p525and dividing them into three bodies, he put each under the charge of two of the young men who were managing the affair, sending also some of his own officers to accompany them with orders to occupy the most convenient approaches to the market; 3 and when they had done this he ordered the Tarentine young men to set apart and save any of the citizens they met and to shout from a distance advising all Tarentines to stay where they were, as their safety was assured. 4 At the same time he ordered the Carthaginian and Celtic officers to put all Romans they met to the sword. The different bodies hereupon separated and began to execute his orders.

5 As soon as it was evident to the Tarentines that the enemy were within the walls, the city was filled with clamour and extraordinary confusion. 6 When Gaius heard of the entrance of the enemy, recognizing that his drunken condition rendered him incapable, he issued from his house with his servants and made for the gate that leads to the harbour, where as soon as the guard there had opened the postern for him, he escaped through it, and getting hold of one of the boats at anchor there embarked on it with his household and crossed to the citadel. 7 Meanwhile Philemenus and his companions, who had provided themselves with some Roman bugles and some men who had learnt to sound them, stood in the theatre and gave the call to arms. 8 The Romans responding in arms to the summons and running, as was their custom, towards the citadel, things fell out as the Carthaginians designed. 9 For reaching the thoroughfares p527in disorder and in scattered groups, some of them fell among the Carthaginians and some among the Celts, and in this way large numbers of them were slain.

10 When day broke the Tarentines kept quietly at home unable as they were yet to understand definitely what was happening. 11 For owing to the bugle call and the fact that no acts of violence or pillage were being committed in the town they thought that the commotion was due to the Romans; 12 but when they saw many Romans lying dead in the streets and some of the Gauls despoiling Roman corpses, a suspicion entered their minds that the Carthaginians were in the town.

31 1 Hannibal having by this time encamped his force in the market-place, and the Romans having retired to the citadel where they had always had a garrison, it being now bright daylight, he summoned all the Tarentines by herald to assemble unarmed in the market-place. 2 The conspirators also went round the town calling on the people to help the cause of freedom and exhorting them to be of good courage, as it was for their sake that the Carthaginians had come. 3 Those Tarentines who were favourably disposed to the Romans retired to the citadel when they knew what had happened, and the rest assembled in response to the summons without their arms and were addressed by Hannibal in conciliatory terms. 4 The Tarentines loudly cheered every sentence, delighted as they were at the unexpected prospect, and Hannibal on dismissing the meeting ordered everyone to return as quickly as possible to his own house and write on the door p529"Tarentine," 5 decreeing the penalty of death against anyone who should write this on the house of a Roman. 6 He then selected the most suitable of his officers and sent them off to conduct the pillage of the houses belonging to Romans, ordering them to regard as enemy property all houses which were uninscribed, and meanwhile he kept the rest of his forces drawn up in order to act as a support for the pillagers.

32 1 A quantity of objects of various kinds were collected by the spoilers, the booty coming quite up to the expectation of the Carthaginians. 2 They spent that night under arms, and on the next day Hannibal calling a general meeting which included the Tarentines, decided to shut off the town from the citadel, so that the Tarentines should have no further fear of the Romans who held that fortress. 3 His first measure was to construct a palisade parallel to the wall of the citadel and the moat in front of it. 4 As he knew very well that the enemy would not submit to this, but would make some kind of armed demonstration against it, he held in readiness some of his best troops, thinking that nothing was most necessary with respect to the future than to strike terror into the Romans and give confidence to the Tarentines. 5 When accordingly upon their planting the first palisade the Romans made a most bold and daring attack on the enemy, Hannibal after a short resistance retired in order to tempt the assailants on, and when most of them advanced beyond the moat, ordered up his men and fell upon them. 6 A stubborn engagement followed, as the fighting took p531place in a narrow space between two walls, but in the end the Romans were forced back and put to flight. 7 Many of them fell in the action, but the largest number perished by being hurled back and precipitated into the moat.

33 1 For the time Hannibal, when he had safely constructed his palisade, remained quiet, his plan having had the intended effect. 2 For he had shut up the enemy and compelled them to remain within the wall in terror for themselves as well as for the citadel, 3 whereas he had given such confidence to the townsmen that they considered themselves a match for the Romans even without the aid of the Carthaginians. 4 But later, at a slight distance behind the palisade in the direction of the town he made a trench parallel to the palisade and to the wall of the citadel. 5 The earth from the trench was in turn thrown up along it on the side next the town and a second palisade erected on the top, so that the protection afforded was little less effective than that of a wall. 6 He next prepared to construct a wall at an appropriate distance from this defence and still nearer the town reaching from the street called Saviour to the Deep Street, 7 so that even without being manned the fortifications in themselves were sufficient to afford security to the Tarentines. 8 Leaving an adequate and competent garrison for guarding the town and the wall and quartering in the neighbourhood a force of cavalry to protect them, he encamped at about forty stades from the city on the p533banks of the river called by some Galaesus, but most generally Eurotas, after the Eurotas which runs past Lacedaemon. 9 The Tarentines have many such names in their town and the neighbouring country, as they are acknowledged to be colonists of the Lacedaemonians and connected with them by blood. 10 The wall was soon completed of the zeal and energy of the Tarentines and the assistance rendered by the Carthaginians, and Hannibal next began to contemplate the captured of the citadel.

34 1 When he had completed his preparations for the siege, some succour having reached the citadel by sea from Metapontum, the Romans recovered their courage in a measure and attacking the works at night destroyed all the machines and other constructions. 2 Upon this Hannibal abandoned the project of taking the citadel by storm, but as his wall was now complete he called a meeting of the Tarentines and pointed out to them that the most essential thing under present circumstances was to get command of the sea. 3 For since, as I have already stated, the Tarentines were entirely unable to use their ships or sail out of the harbour, whereas the Romans got all they required conveyed to them safely by sea; 4 and under these conditions it was impossible that the city should ever be in secure possession of its liberty. 5 Hannibal perceived this, and explained to the Tarentines, that if the garrison of the citadel were cut off from the hope of succour p535by sea they would in a very short time give in of their own accord and abandoning the fortress would surrender the whole place. 6 The Tarentines gave ear to him and were quite convinced by what he said, but they could think of no plan for attaining this at present, unless a fleet appeared from Carthage, which at the time was impossible. 7 They were, therefore, unable to conceive what Hannibal was leading up to in speaking to them on this subject, 8 and when he went on to say that it was obvious that they themselves without the aid of the Carthaginians were very nearly in command of the sea at this moment, they were still more astonished, being quite unable to fathom his meaning. 9 He had noticed that the street just within the cross wall, and leading parallel to this wall from the harbour to the outer sea, could easily be adapted to his purpose, and he designed to convey the ships across by this street from the harbour to the southern side. 10 So the moment he revealed his plan to the Tarentines they not only entirely agreed with what he said, but conceived an extraordinary admiration for him, being convinced that nothing could get the better of his cleverness and courage. 11 They very soon constructed carriages on wheels, and the thing was no sooner said than done, as there was no lack of zeal and no lack of hands to help the project on. 12 Having thus conveyed their ships across to the outer sea the Tarentines effectively besieged the Romans in the citadel, cutting off their supplies from outside. 13 Hannibal now leaving a garrison in the town withdrew his army, and after three days' march got p537back to his old camp, where he remained fixed for the rest of the winter.

VI. Affairs of Sicily

Capture of Syracuse

37 1 He counted the courses. For the masonry of the tower was even, so that it was very easy to reckon the distance of the battlements from the ground. . . .

2 A few days afterwards a deserter reported that for three days they had been celebrating in the town a general festival in honour of Artemis, and that while they ate very sparingly of bread owing to its scarcity, they took plenty of wine, as both Epicydes and the Syracusans in general had supplied it in abundance; and Marcellus now recollected his estimate of the height of the wall at its lowest point, and thinking it most likely that the men would be drunk owing to their indulgence in wine and the want of solid food, determined to try his chance. 3 Two ladders high enough for the wall were soon constructed, and he now pushed on his design, communicating the project to those whom he regarded as fittest to undertake the first ascent and bear the brunt of the danger, with promises of great rewards. 4 He next selected other men who would assist them and bring up the ladders; simply instructing these latter to hold themselves in readiness to obey the word of command. His orders having been complied with he woke up the first batch of men at the proper hour of the night. 5 Having p539sent the ladder-bearers on in front escorted by a maniple and a tribune, and having reminded the scaling party of the rewards that awaited them if they behaved with gallantry, he subsequently woke up all his army and sent the first batches off at intervals maniple by maniple. 6 When these amounted to about a thousand, he waited for a short time and followed with the rest of his army. 7 When the ladder-bearers had succeeded in planting them against the wall unobserved, the scaling party at once mounted without hesitation, 8 and when they also got a firm footing on the wall, without being observed, all the rest ran up the ladders, in no fixed order as at first but everyone as best he could. 9 At first as they proceeded along the wall they found no sentries at their posts, the men having assembled in the several towers owing to the sacrifice, some of them still drinking and others drunk and asleep. 11 Suddenly and silently falling on those in the first tower and in the one next to it they killed most of them without being noticed, and when they reached Hexapyli they descended, and bursting open the first postern-door that is built into the wall there, admitted through it the general and the rest of the army. This was how the Romans took Syracuse. . . .

12 None of the citizens knew what was happening owing to the distance, the city being large. . . .

13 The Romans were rendered very confident by their conquest of Epipolae. . . .

VII. Spanish Affairs

(Cp. Liv. XXV.36)

38 1 He gave orders to the infantry to take the beasts of burden with their packs on from the rear and place them in the front, and when this was done the protection afforded was more effective than any stockade.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Leading Syracusan politicians after the assassination of Hieronymus.

2sambuca was a musical instrument somewhat resembling a harp.

Thayer's Note: Details, citations, and an engraving are given in the article in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

3 A certain kind of engine for the discharge of missiles was so named.

4 See Bk. IV.46 and 52.


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