Diodorus Siculus

BOOK XIV - The Library of History

Page 401


Dionysius his Expedition against Rhegium. The War between the Lucanians and Thurians in Italy. The Thurians cut off by their own rashness. Leptines generously sav'd those that swam to his Ships, though he was a Friend to their Enemies. Dionysius his second Expedition into Italy, Besieges Caulonia and routs Heloris. Makes Peace with the Rhegians. Razes Caulonia to the Ground, and transplants the Inhabitants to Syracuse. Watches an Occasion to be reveng'd on them of Rhegium. Besieges it. He sends rich Chariots to the Olympick Games. His Poetry ridicul'd.

IN Sicily Dionysius the Tyrant of Syracuse, though he had a Design, and did what he could to bring all Sicily and the Neighbouring Greeks in Italy under his Power, yet deferr'd the Expedition against them to some other time, as we said before. Having therefore in the mean time, consider'd how greatly it would advance his Affairs if he could gain Rhegium (the Key of Italy) he now drew out his Army into the Field. He had then under his Command Twenty thousand Foot, and a Thousand Horse, and a Hundred and Twenty Gallies. With these he pass'd over to the Borders of Locris, and thence marching through the Heart of the Country he wasted and spoiled all the Territories of Rhegium with Fire and Sword: His Fleet attending over against him he at length Encamp'd with all his Forces near the Sea. But the Italians hearing of the Arrival of Dionysius, and his Design upon Rhegium, with all speed put forth sixty Sail from Crotona for the aid of the Rhegians. Whereupon, Dionysius made forth against them with fifty Gallies, and though they made to the Shore to avoid him, yet he pursu'd them so close that he threw Grappling-Irons into them, to draw them off from Land; and all the Sixty Sail had cettainly fallen into his hand, if the whole Body of the Rhegians had not with showers of Darts forc'd him from the Shore, and by the Advantage of a Storm (that then arose) hal'd up the Ships to Land. And thô Dionysius fought very Valiantly, yet he lost seven Gallies, and no less than Fifteen hundred Men on the Rhegian Shore; and both Ships and Men being thrown upon the Shore by the Storm, many of the Seamen were taken Prisoners by the Citizens. The Tyrant himself flying in a Vessel of Five Oars escaped drowning very narrowly, and landed at length with much difficulty, about Midnight at the Port of Messina. And because Winter now drew on, having made a League with the Lucanians, he return'd with his Army to Syracuse.

After this, the Lucanians made an Incursion into the Territories of the Thurians, upon which they sent forthwith to their Confederates for assistance: For the Greek Cities throughout all Italy had agreed together, That if the Lucanians fell upon any one of them, all the rest should come into the help of them that were so oppress'd. And if any City should not have their Forces ready to defend them, the Chief Commanders should be put to Death.

As soon therefore as the Cities had notice by the Posts of the march of the Enemy, the Thurians all unanimously prepar'd for the Encounter, and hastily and unadvisedly in an imprudent Heat, (not waiting for their Confederates) with above Fourteen thousand Foot and a Thousand Horse, march'd against the Enemy.

The Lucanians hearing of their approach, suffer'd them to enter into their Country: Upon which they pierc'd into Lucania with great Violence, and at the first were so successful as that they took a Castle, and carry'd away thence much Plunder, which was in truth but as a Bait laid in their way for their Destruction. For while they were puff'd up and grown high-crested with this Success, they contemned the Enemy, so far as that they daringly ventured through straight and craggy Passages (through the heat of Ambition and Covetousness) eager to possess themselves of a City and Country so bless'd with the Fulness of all things as that was: But as soon as they came into the Plain surrounded with high and steep Hills on every side, the Lucanians coming in with their Forces from all Parts intercepted all the Passages, leaving them no hopes of return any ways. And shewing themselves on every side from the tops of the Hills, the Grecians were struck with great Fear and Terror, both with the Greatness of their Army, and the Difficulty of the Places: For the Lucanians were no fewer than Thirty thousand Foot, and Four thousand Horse. While the Graecians were in this perplexity, unexpectedly surrounded with

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