Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/41

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26
SICILY

the champion of Hellas against the barbarian. The great double invasion of 480 B.C. was planned in concert by the barbarians of the East and the West (Diod. xi. 1; schol. on Pind., Pyth. i. 146; Grote v. 294). While the Persians threatened old Greece, Carthage threatened the Greeks of Sicily. There were Siceliots who played the part of the Medizers in Greece: Selinus was on the side of Carthage, and the coming of Hamilcar was immediately brought about by a tyrant of Himera driven out by Thero. But the united power of Gelo and Thero, whose daughter Damarete Gelo had married, crushed the invaders in the great battle of Himera, won, men said, on the same day as Salamis, and the victors of both were coupled as the joint deliverers of Hellas (Herod, vii. 165-167; Diod. xx. 20-25; Pind. Pyth. i. 147-156; Simonides, fr. 42; Polyaenus i. 27). But, while the victory of Salamis was followed by a long war with Persia, the peace which was now granted to Carthage stayed in force for seventy years. Gelo was followed by his brother Hiero (478-467), the special subject of the songs of Pindar. Acragas meanwhile flourished under Thero; but a war between him and Hiero led to slaughter and new settlement at Himera. These transplantings from city to city began under Gelo and went on under Hiero (q.v.). They made speakers in old Greece (Thuc. vi. 17) contrast the permanence of habitation there with the constant changes in Sicily.

None of these tyrannies was long-lived. The power of Thero fell to pieces under his son Thrasydaeus. When the power of Hiero passed in 467 B.C. to his brother Thrasybulus'the freedom of Syracuse was won by a combined movement of Greeks and Sicels, and the Greek cities gradually settled down as they had been before the tyrannies, only with a change to democracy in their constitutions. The mercenaries who had received citizenship from the tyrants were settled at Messana. About fifty years of great prosperity followed. Art, science, poetry had all been encouraged by the tyrants. To these was added the special growth of freedom — the art of public speaking, in which the Sicilian Greeks became especially proficient, Corax being the founder of the rhetorical school of Sicily. Epicharmus (540-450), carried as a babe to Sicily, is a link between native Siceliots and the strangers invited by Hiero; as the founder of the local Sicilian comedy, he ranks among Siceliots. After him Sophron of Syracuse gave the Sicilian mimes a place among the forms of Greek poetry. But the intellect of free Sicily struck out higher paths. Empedocles of Acragas is best known from the legends of his miracles and of his death in the fires of Aetna; but he was not the less philosopher, poet and physician, besides his political career. Gorgias {q.v.) of Leontini had a still more direct influence on Greek culture, as father of the technical schools of rhetoric throughout Greece. Architecture too ad- vanced, and the Doric style gradually lost somewhat of its ancient massiveness. The temple at Syracuse, which is now the metro- politan church, belongs to the earlier days of this time. It is followed by the later temples at Selinus, among them the temple of Apollo, which is said to have been the greatest in Sicily, and by the wonderful series at Acragas (see Agrigentum) .

During this time of prosperity there was no dread of Carthaginian inroads. Diodorus's account of a war between Segesta and Lilybaeum is open to considerable suspicion. We have, on the other hand, Pausanias's evidence for the exist- ence in his day at Olympia of statues offered by Acragas out of spoil won from Motya, assigned to Calamis, an artist of this period (Freeman ii. 552), and the evidence of contemporary Condition inscriptions (1) for a Selinuntine victory over some un- of sicels knownenemy (possibly over Motya also), (2)for dealings aad between Athens and Segesta with reference to Halicyae,

a Sican town. The latter is important as being the first appearance of Athens in Sicily. As early as 480 (Freeman iii. 8) indeed Themistocles seems to have been looking westward. Far more important are our notices of the earlier inhabitants. For now comes the great Sicel movement under Ducetius, who, between force and persuasion, came nearer towards uniting his people into one body than had ever been done before. From his native hill-top of Menae, rising above the lake dedicated to


the Palici, the native deities whom Sicels and Greeks alike honoured, he brought down his people to the new city of Palicae in the plain. His power grew, and Acragas could withstand him only by the help of Syracuse. Alternately victorious and defeated, spared by the Syracusans on whose mercy he cast himself as a suppliant (451), sent to be safe at Corinth, he came back to Sicily only to form greater plans than before. War between Acragas and Syracuse, which arose on account of his return, enabled him to carry out his schemes, and, with the help of another Sicel prince of Herbita, who bore the Greek name of Archonides, he founded Kale Akte on the northern coast. But his work was cut short by his death in 440; the hope of the Sicel people now lay in assimilation to their Hellenic neigh- bours. Ducetius's own foundation of Kale Akte lived on, and we presently hear of Sicel towns under kings and tyrants, all marking an approach to Greek life. Roughly speaking, while the Sicels of the plain country on the east coast became subject to Syracuse, most of those in other parts of the island remained independent. Of the Sicans we hear less; but Hyccara in the north-west was an independent Sican town on bad terms with Segesta. On the whole, setting aside the impassable barrier between Greek and Phoenician, other distinctions of race within the island were breaking down through the spread of the Hellenic element, but among the Greek cities themselves the distinction between the Dorian and the Ionian or Chalcidian settlements was still keenly felt.

Up to this time the Italiot and Siceliot Greeks have formed part of the general Greek world, while within that world they have formed a world of their own, and Sicily has again

formed a world of its own within that. Wars and 1 ' ,tel>

Terence ot conquests between Greeks and Greeks, especially on the A tneas ,

part of Syracuse, though not wanting, have been on the whole less constant than in old Greece. It is even possible to appeal to a local Sicilian patriotism (Thuc. vi. 64, 74). Presently this state of Sicilian isolation was broken in upon by the great Peloponnesian War. The Siceliot cities were drawn into alliance with one side or the other, till the main interest of Greek history gathers for a while round the Athenian attack on Syracuse. At the very beginning of the war the Lacedaemonians looked for help from the Dorian Siceliots. But the first active inter- vention came from the other side. Conquest in Sicily was a favourite dream at Athens (see Peloponnesian War). But it was only in 427 an opportunity for Athenian interference was found in a quarrel between Syracuse and Leontini and their allies. Leontini craved help from Athens on the ground of Ionian kindred. Her envoy was Gorgias; his peculiar style of rhetoric was now first heard in old Greece (Diod. xii. 53, 54), and his pleadings were successful. For several years from this time (427-422) Athens plays a part, chiefly unsuccessful, in Sicilian affairs. But the particular events are of little import- ance, except as leading the way to the greater events that follow. The far more memorable interference of Athens in Sicilian affairs in the year 415 was partly in answer to the cry. of the exiles of Leontini, partly to a quite distinct appeal from the Elymian Segesta. That city, an ally of Athens, asked for Athenian help against its Greek neighbour Selinus. In a dispute, partly about boundaries, partly about the right of intermarriage between the Hellenic and the Hellenizing city, Segesta was hard pressed. She vainly asked for help at Acragas — some say at Syracuse (Diod. xii. 82) — and even at Carthage. The last appeal was to Athens.

The details of the great Athenian expedition (415-413) belong partly to the political history of Athens (q.v.), partly to that of Syracuse (q.v.). But its results make it a marked epoch in Sicilian history, and the Athenian plans, if ex p" d ^° oa successful, would have changed the whole face of the West. If the later stages of the struggle were remarkable for the vast number of Greek cities engaged on both sides, and for the strange inversion of relations among them on which Thucydides (vii. 57, 58) comments, the whole war was yet more remarkable for the large entrance of the barbarian element into the Athenian reckonings. The war was undertaken on behalf of Segesta;