Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/42

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27
SICILY

the Steels gave Athens valuable help; the greater barbarian powers out of Sicily also came into play. Some help actually came from Etruria. But Carthage was more far-sighted. If Syracuse was an object of jealousy, Athens, succeeding to her dominion, creating a power too nearly alike to her own, would have provoked far greater jealousy. So Athens found no active support save at Naxos and Catana, though Acragas, if she would not help the invaders, at least gave no help to her own rival. But after the Spartan Gylippus came, almost all the other Greek cities of Sicily were on the side of Syracuse. The war is instructive in many ways. It reminds us of the general conditions of Greek seamanship when we find that Corcyra was the meeting-place for the allied fleet, and that Syracuse was reached only by a coasting voyage along the shores of Greek Italy. We are struck also by the low military level of the Sicilian Greeks. The Syracusan heavy-armed are as far below those of Athens as those of Athens are below those of Sparta. The quasi-continental character of Sicily causes Syracuse, with its havens and its island, to be looked on, in comparison with Athens, as a land power (ἠπειρῶται, Thuc. vii. 21). That is to say, the Siceliot level represents the general Greek level as it stood before the wars in which Athens won and defended her dominion. The Greeks of Sicily had had no such military practice as the Greeks of old Greece; but an able commander could teach both Siceliot soldiers and Siceliot seamen to out-manœuvre Athenians. The main result of the expedition, as regards Sicily, was to bring the island more thoroughly into the thick of Greek affairs. Syracuse, threatened with destruction by Athens, was saved by the zeal of her metropolis Corinth in stirring up the Peloponnesian rivals of Athens to help her, and by the advice of Alcibiades after his withdrawal to Sparta. All chance of Athenian dominion in Sicily or elsewhere in the west came to an end. Syracuse repaid the debt by good service to the Peloponnesian cause, and from that time the mutual influence of Sicily and old Greece is far stronger than in earlier times.

But before the war in old Greece was over, seventy years after the great victory of Gelo (410), the Greeks of Sicily had to undergo barbarian invasion on a vaster scale than ever. The disputes between Segesta and Selinus called in these enemies also. Carthage, after a long Phoenician invasion under Hannibal. under period of abstention from intervention in Sicilian affairs, and the observance of a wise neutrality during the war between Athens and Syracuse, stepped in as the ally of Segesta, the enemy of her old ally Selinus. Her leader was Hannibal, grandson and avenger of the Hamilcar who had died at Himera. In 409, at the head of a vast mercenary host, he sailed to Sicily, attacked Selinus (q.v.), and stormed the town after a murderous assault of nine days. Thence he went to Himera, with the object of avenging his grandfather. By this time the other Greek cities were stirred to help, while Sicels and Sicans joined Hannibal. At last Himera was stormed, and 3000 of its citizens were solemnly slaughtered on the spot where Hamilcar had died. Hannibal then returned to Carthage after an absence of three months only. The Phoenician possessions in Sicily now stretched across the island from Himera to Selinus. The next victim was Acragas, against which another expedition sailed in 406 under Hannibal and Himilco; the town was sacked and the walls destroyed.

Meanwhile the revolutions of Syracuse affected the history of Sicily and of the whole Greek world. Dionysius (q.v.) the tyrant began his reign of thirty-eight years in the first months of 405. Almost at the same moment, the new Carthaginian commander, Himilco, attacked Gela and Dionysius I. Camarina. Dionysius, coming to the help of Gela, was defeated, and was charged (no doubt with good ground) with treachery. He now made the mass of the people of both towns find shelter at Syracuse. But now a peace, no doubt arranged at Gela, was formally concluded (Freeman iii. 587). Carthage was confirmed in her possession of Selinus, Himera and Acragas, with some Sican districts which had opposed her. The people of Gela and Camarina were allowed to occupy their unwalled towns as tributaries of Carthage. Leontini, latterly a Syracusan fort, as well as Messana and all the Sicels, were declared independent, while Dionysius was acknowledged as master of Syracuse (Diodorus xiii. ir4). No war was ever more grievous to freedom and civilization. More than half Sicily was now under barbarian dominion; several of its noblest cities had perished, and a tyrant was established in the greatest. The 5th century b. c, after its central years of freedom and prosperity, ended in far deeper darkness than it had begun. The minuter account of Dionysius belongs to Syracusan history; but his position, one unlike anything that had been before seen in Sicily or elsewhere in Hellas, forms an epoch in the history of Europe. His only bright side is his championship of Hellas against the Phoenician, and this is balanced by his settlements of barbarian mercenaries in several Greek cities. Towards the native races his policy varied according to momentary interests; but on the whole his reign tended to bring the Sicels more and more within the Greek pale. His dominion is Italian as well as Sicilian; his influence, as an ally of Sparta, is important in old Greece; while, as a hirer of mercenaries everywhere, he had wider relations than any earlier Greek with the nations of western Europe. He further opened new fields for Greek settlement on both sides of the Adriatic. In short, under him Sicily became for the first time the seat of a great European power, while Syracuse, as its head, became the greatest of European cities. His reign was unusually long for a Greek tyrant, and his career furnished a model for other rulers and invaders of Sicily. With him in truth begins that wider range of Greek warfare, policy and dominion which the Macedonian kingdoms carry on.

The reign of Dionysius (405–367) is divided into marked periods by four wars with Carthage, in 398–397, 392, 383–378 and 368. Before the first war his home power was all but overthrown; he was besieged in Syracuse itself in 403; but he lived through the storm, and extended his dominion over Naxos, Catana and Leontini. AllHis war with Carthage. three perished as Greek cities. Catana was the first Siceliot city to receive a settlement of Campanian mercenaries, while others settled in non-Hellenic Entella. Naxos was settled by Sicels; Leontini was again merged in Syracuse. Now begin the dealings of Dionysius with Italy, where the Rhegines, kinsmen of Naxos and Catana, planned a fruitless attack on him in common with Messana. He then sought a wife at Rhegium, but was refused with scorn, while Locri gladly gave him Doris. The two cities afterwards fared accordingly. In the first war with Carthage the Greek cities under Carthaginian dominion or dependence helped him; so did Sicans and Sicels, which last had among them some stirring leaders; Elymian Segesta clave to Carthage. Dionysius took the Phoenician stronghold of Motye; but Himilco recovered it, destroyed Messana, founded the hill-town of Tauromenium above Naxos for Sicels who had joined him, defeated the fleet of Dionysiusoff Catana and besieged Syracuse. Between invasion and home discontent, the tyrant was all but lost; but the Spartan Pharacidas stood his friend; the Carthaginians again suffered from pestilence in the marshes of Lysimelia; and after a masterly combined attack by land and sea by Dionysius Himilco went away utterly defeated, taking with him his Carthaginian troops and forsaking his allies. Gela, Camarina, Himera, Selinus, Acragas itself, became subject allies of Dionysius. The Carthaginian dominion was cut down to what it had been before Hannibal's invasion. Dionysius then planted mercenaries at Leontini, conquered some Sicel towns, Henna among them, and made alliances with others. He restored Messana, peopling it with motley settlers, among whom were some of the old Messenians from Peloponnesus. But the Spartan masters of the old Messenian land grudged this possible beginning of a new Messenian power. Dionysius therefore moved his Messenians to a point on the north coast, where they founded Tyndaris. He clearly had a special eye to that region. He took the Sicel Cephaloedium (Cefalii), and even the old Phoenician border-fortress of Solous was betrayed to him. He beat back a Rhegine expedition; but his advance was checked by a failure to take the new Sicel settlement of Tauromenium. His enemies of all races now declared themselves.