Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XI - The Library of History

Page 226


How the Carthaginians invaded Sicily, and were routed by Gelon.

THE Carthaginians (as it was before agreed between them and the Persians, that they should at the same time set upon the Greeks in Sicily) had made great preparation for War: And now all things being in readiness, they chose Amil ••r General of their Army, a Man of great Authority amongst the Citizens; who being furnish'd both with Sea and Land Forces, looses from Carthage. The Land Army was no less than Three Hundred Thousand, and his Fleet above Two Thousand Sail, besides Transport Ships for the carrying of Provision, which were above Three Thousand.

But Sailing through the Libian Sea, by the violence of a Storm, he lost his Ships, wherein the Horses and Chariots were on Board: And when he came to Pannormus, the Port of Sicily, he was heard to say, that there was now an end of the War; for he was much afraid, that the Sicilians by the favour of the Sea, had escaped the Danger. There he lay for the space of Three Days, refreshing his Army, and repairing his Ships; and then marched by Land against Himera, his Fleet sailing over against him near the Shoar.

When he came to the City, he plac'd his Army in Two Camps, in the one his Land, and in the other his Naval Forces. Under all his Long Ships or Gallies, he caus'd deep Trenches to be drawn, and to be barracado'd round with Timber. His Land Forces he encamped in Front, over against the City, Extending the Fortifications from the Barracado of his other Camp to the Hills that overtopt the City. When he had thus blockt up the Place on the West side, he unladed all the Ships of Burden, of the Meat and Provision, and sent away what Ships he had left, for Corn, and what other Provision and Victuals they could buy, to be brought to him from Africa and Sardinia: But he himself march'd towards the City with a choice part of the Army, and routed the Himerians that came sorth to oppose him, by which the struck a great Terror into the Besieg'd.

Hereupon Theron Prince of the Agrigentines, though he had aid sufficient with him for the Defence of Himera; yet being now in a great Fright, sent with all speed to Syracuse to Gelon for Succours; who being prepared with his Forces beforehand, and understanding the fear the Himerians were in, without delay, marched out of Syracuse, with no less than Fifty Thousand Foot, and Five Thousand Horse, and with a swift March came to Himera. Upon which, he reviv'd the Spirits of the Himerians, and freed them from all Fear of the Carthaginian Army; for he encamped near the City, and fortified himself both with a Wall and deep Trench, and then sent forth all his Horse to seek out the Enemy, who were at that time dispersed, forraging all over the Country. These Horse setting upon the Carthaginians roving and disorderly dispers'd, took as many Prisoners as each of them could carry back; for above Ten Thousand were brought into the City. By which Exploit, the Authority and Glory of Gelon was much advanc'd; and now the Himertans began to contemn their Adversaries.

Afterwards (with no less courage) he perform'd other things; for all the Gates that Thero before (for fear of the Enemy) had built, he on the other Hand (in contempt of the Carthaginians) caused to be pull'd down, and furnish'd the Place with others that were of absolute necessity. To sum up all, Gelon being an expert Soldier, and prudent in Management, set his Head at work how he might by some Stratagem deceive the Barbarians, and destroy their Forces without any Danger to himself or his Army: Which Device of his was much forwarded by an Accident that then happen'd, for as things then stood, resolving upon burning the Enemy's Fleet, it fortun'd Amilcar being then in the Camp with his Navy, preparing for a great Festival Day to Neptune, some of the Horse-men brought to Gelon a C •• rier taken in the Fields, who brought Letters from the Selim ••t ans, in which was written, that they would send the Horse-men to him at the Day that he had appointed; which was the Day whereon he had determin'd the Sacrifice Upon the same Day therefore Gelon sends Horse-men of his own, commanding them, that conveying themselves privately in the Night to Places nearest

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