BOOK XX - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
The first five books

Page 658


Agathocles designs to invade Africa. His Cruelty; Pursu'd in his Voyage. An Eclipse of the Sun very great. Lands in Africa. Burns his Ships. His successes in Africa. Hanno and Bomilcar made Generals in Africa. Battel between them and Agathocles, who routs them, Kills Hanno. His stratagem by Owls. The Cruel Superstition of the Carthaginians in sacrificing their Children. The Actions at Syracuse. Actions of Agathocles in Africa. The Acts of Cassander in Macedonia. Polysperchon seeks to restore Hercules Alexander's Son. The miserable Destruction of Nichocles and his Family in Cyprus. The Wars of Parysidas his Sons, King of the Cimerean Bosphorus. The Valour of Satyrus, one of the Sons; His Death. The sad Death of Eumelus, another Son.

IN the Chancellorship of Hieromnemones at Athens, and the Consulship of Caius Julius and Quintus Aemilius at Rome; Agathocles being routed at Himera in Sicily by the Carthaginians, and having lost the greatest and best Part of his Army, fled to Syracuse; where perceiving that he was for saken of all his Consederates, and that the Barbarians had got into their hands almost all Sicily (except Syracuse) and that they far over-power'd him by their Forces both by Sea and Land, undertook a very Rash and desperate Adventure. For when all were of Opinion that it was not adviseable for him in the least to endeavour to contend with the Carthaginians, he even then resolv'd to leave a strong Garison in the City, and with the Choicest of the rest of his Forces to make a Descent into Africa; and by that means he hop'd by his Old and and experienc'd Soldiers, easily to vanquish the Carthaginians, who (through a long Peace) were grown Soft and Delicate, and unexpert in their Arms; and besides, hereby he thought that their Confederates, who had been for a long time very uneasie under the Yoke of their Government, would take an occasion to Revolt. And which most induc'd him was, That by this sudden and unexpected Invasion, he should load himself with the Spoils of a Country that was never before harrass'd, and that abounded in the Confluence of all forts of Worldly Blessings. And to sum up all, That he should by this Course draw the Barbarians, not only out of his own Country, but out of all Sicily, and transfer the War entirely over into Africa, which happen'd accordingly.

For without advising with any of his Friends he made Antandrus, his Brother, Governor of the City, leaving with him a considerable Garrison; he himself Listed what Soldiers he thought fit for his purpose, ordering the Foot to be ready with Arms at the first Call, and commanded the Horsemen, that besides Arms they should every one carry along with them a Saddle and Bridle, that when ever he could get Horses he might have have those ready to mount them who were furnish'd with all things encessary for that purpose.

For in the late Battle most of his Foot were cut off: but most of his Horse escap'd; but their Horses he could not transport into Africa.

And to prevent all stirrs and commotions (in order to a defection) in Syracuse in his absence, he divided Kindred and Relations one from another, especially Brothers from Brothers, and Parents from Children, taking some along with him and leaving others behind: And he acted in this very wisely; for certain it was, that those who remain'd in Syracuse, although they hated the Tyrant, yet would attempt nothing to his prejudice, by reason of their natural Love and Affection to their Children, and near Relations and Kindred. And because he was in great want of Money, he took the Estates of Infants out of the hands of their Guardians; declaring, That he would have a far greater Care of them than they had, and be more faithful in giving them an Account, and making restitution when they came to full Age. He borrow'd likewise much from the Merchants, and converted to his own use some of the Sacred Treasures of the Temples; and took the Jewels and Ornaments from the Womens Backs.

Whereupon, discerning that the Richer sort were highly displeas'd and incens'd at this Usage, and for that reason hated him, he call'd a General Assembly, in which he greatly lamented the late Overthrow, and the dreadful Calamities that from thence seem'd to hang over their Heads. He told them, that he indeed that was inur'd to Hardships, could easily endure the Miseries of a Siege; but that he should greatly pity the Citizens, if they should be block d up, and forc'd to undergo the like. Therefore he order'd those

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