Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/43

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.
28
SICILY

Many of the Sicels forsook him; Acragas declared herself independent; Carthage herself again took the field.

The Carthaginian war of 392-391 was not very memorable. Both sides failed in their chief enterprises, and the main interest of the story comes from the glimpses which we get of the Sicel states. Most of them joined the Carthaginian leader Mago; but he was successfully withstood at Agyrium by Agyris, the ally of Dionysius, who is described as a tyrant second in power to Dionysius himself. This way of speaking would imply that Agyrium had so far advanced in Greek ways as to run the usual course of a Greek commonwealth. The two tyrants drove Carthage to a peace by which she abandoned all her Sicel allies to Dionysius. This time he took Tauromenium and settled it with his mercenaries. For new colonists of this kind the established communities of all races were making way. Former transportations had been movements of Greeks from one Greek site to another. Now all races are confounded.

Dionysius, now free from Phoenician warfare, gave his mind to enterprises which raised his power to its greatest height. In the years 390-387 he warred against the Italiot cities in alliance with their Lucanian enemies. Rhegium, Croton, the whole toe of the boot, were conquered. Their lands were given to Locri; their citizens were taken to Syracuse, sometimes as slaves, sometimes as citizens. The master of the barbarians fell below the lowest Hellenic level when he put the brave Rhegine general Phyton to a lingering death, and in other cases imitated the Carthaginian cruelty of crucifixion. Conqueror of southern Italy, he turned his thoughts yet further, and became the first ruler of Sicily to stretch forth his hands towards the eastern peninsula. In the Adriatic he helped Hellenic extension, desiring no doubt to secure the important trade route into central Europe. He planted directly and indirectly some settlements in Apulia, while Syracusan exiles founded the more famous Ancona. He helped the Parians in their settlements of Issa and Pharos; he took into his pay Illyrian warriors with Greek arms, and helped the Molossian Alcetas to win back part of his kingdom. He was even charged with plotting with his Epirot ally to plunder Delphi. This even Sparta would not endure; Dionysius had to content himself with sending a fleet along the west coast of Italy, to carry off the wealth of the great temple of Caere.

In old Greece men now said that the Greek folk was hemmed in between the barbarian Artaxerxes on the one side and Dionysius, master and planter of barbarians, on the other. These feelings found expression when Dionysius sent his embassy to the Olympic games of 384, and when Lysias bade Greece rise against both its oppressors. Dionysius vented his wrath on those who were nearest to him, banishing many, among them his brother Leptines and his earliest friend Philistus, and putting many to death. He was also once more stirred up to play the part of a Hellenic champion in yet another Punic war.

In this war (383-378) Dionysius seems for once to have had his head turned by a first success. His demand that Carthage should altogether withdraw from Sicily was met by a crushing defeat. Then came a treaty by which Carthage kept Selinus and part of the land of Acragas. The Halycus became the boundary. Dionysius had also to pay 1000 talents, which caused him to be spoken of as becoming tributary to the bar- barians. In the last years of his reign we hear dimly of both Syracusan and Carthaginian operations in southern Italy. He also gave help to Sparta against Thebes, sending Gaulish' and Iberian mercenaries to take part in Greek warfare. His last war with Carthage, which began with an invasion of western Sicily, and which was going on at his death in 367 B.C., was ended by a peace by which the Halycus remained the boundary.

The tyranny of Dionysius fell, as usual, in the second genera- tion; but it was kept up for ten years after his death by the energy of Philistus, now minister of his son Dionysius Dionyaia tne Younger. It fell with the coming back of the o)^ exile Dion in 357. The tyranny had lasted so long

that it was less easy than at the overthrow of the elder tyrants to fall back on an earlier state of things. It had been a time of frightful changes throughout Sicily, full of breaking


up of old landmarks, of confusion of races, and of movements of inhabitants. But it also saw the foundation of new cities. Besides Tyndaris and Tauromenium, BC "f the foundation of Halaca marks another step in Sicel progress towards Hellenism, while the Carthaginians founded their strong town and fortress of Lilybaeum in place of Motya. Among these changes the most marked is the settle- ment of Campanian mercenaries in Greek and Sicel towns. Yet they too could be brought under Greek influences; they were distant kinsfolk of the Sicels, and the forerunners of Rome. They mark one stage of migration from Italy into Sicily.

The reign of Dionysius was less brilliant in the way of art and literature than that of Hiero. Yet Dionysius himself sought fame as a poet, and his success at Athens shows that his compositions did not deserve the full scorn of his enemies. The dithyrambic poet Philoxenus, by birth of Cythera, won his fame in Sicily, and other authors of lost poems are mentioned in various Siceliot cities. One of the greatest losses in all Greek history is that'of the writings of Philistus (436-356), the Syracusan who had seen the Athenian siege and who died in the warfare between Dion and the younger Dionysius. Through the time of both tyrants, he was, next to the actual rulers, the first man in Sicily; but of his record of his own times we have only what filters through- the recasting of Diodorus. But the most remark- able intellectual movement in Sicily at this time was the influence of the»<Pythagorean philosophy, which still lived on in southern Italy/ It led, through Dion, to the several visits of Plato to Sicily under both the elder and the younger Dionysius.

The time following the Dionysian tyranny was at Syracuse a time full of the most stirring local and personal interest, under her two deliverers Dion and Timoleon. It is less easy timoleon to make out the exact effect on the rest of Sicily of the three years' career of Dion. Between the death of Dion in 354 and the coming of Timoleon in 344 we hear of a time of confusion in which Hellenic life seemed likely to die out. The cities, Greek and Sicel, were occupied by tyrants. The work of Timoleon {q.v.), whose headquarters were first at Tauromenium, then at Hadranum, was threefold — the immediate deliverance of Syracuse, the restoration of Sicily in general to freedom and Greek life, and the defence of the Greek cities against Carthage. The great victory of the Crimissus in 339 led to a peace with Carthage with the old frontier; but all Greek cities were to be free, and Carthage was to give no help to any tyrant. Timoleon drove out all the tyrants, and it specially marks the fusion of the two races that the people of the Sicel Agyrium were admitted to the citizenship of free Syracuse. From some towns he drove out the Campanians, and he largely invited Greek settlement, especially from the Italiot towns, which were hard pressed by the Bruttians. The Corinthian deliverer gave, not only Syracuse, but all Greek Sicily, a new lease of life, though a short one.

We have unluckily no intelligible account of Sicily during the twenty years after the death of Timoleon (337-317). His deliverance is said to have been followed by great immediate prosperity, but wars and dissensions very ^ g> soon began again. The Carthaginians played off one city and party against another, and Agathocles, 1 following the same policy, became in 317, by treachery and massacre, undis- puted tyrant of Syracuse, and spread his dominion over many other cities. Acragas, strengthened by Syracusan exiles, now stands out again as the rival of Syracuse. The Carthaginian Hamilcar won many Greek cities to the Punic alliance. Agathocles, however, with Syracuse blockaded by a Carthaginian fleet, formed the bold idea of carrying the war into Africa.

For more than three years (310-307) each side carried on warfare in the land of the other. Carthage was hard pressed by Agathocles, while Syracuse was no less hard pressed by Hamilcar. The force with which Agathocles invaded Africa was far from being wholly Greek; but it was representatively European. Gauls, Samnites, Tyrrhenians, fought for him, while mercenary Greeks and Syracusan exiles fought for Carthage. He won many battles and towns; he quelled mutinies of his own

1 See Tillyard, Agathocles (1908).