Polyaenus: Stratagems

    - BOOK 5, Chapters 1-15

Adapted from the translation by R.Shepherd (1793). See key to translations for an explanation of the format. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each section.

CONTENTS:   1 Phalaris ; 2 Dionysius ; 3 Agathocles ; 4 Hipparinus ; 5 Theocles ; 6 Hippocrates ; 7 Daphnaeus ; 8 Leptines ; 9 Hanno ; 10 Himilco ; 11 Gesco ; 12 Timoleon ; 13 Ariston ; 14 Thrasymedes ; 15 Megacles ; → Following Chapters (16-48)


This fifth book of stratagems I offer to your most sacred majesties, Antoninus and Verus. I do not myself assume so much praise in composing this work, as I attribute to you in the diligent attention you have been pleased to employ upon it, when I consider the high authority with which you are invested, and this critical time, when you are so particularly engaged in matters of peace and war. But indeed generals cannot form themselves to victory by any surer means, than by studying the skills by which ancient generals obtained it. A treatise on warlike operations cannot fail to be useful to a prince who is engaged in war. Eloquence is learned by studying the works of celebrated orators; and leaders are taught, by observing the actions of illustrious generals, to form their own conduct, in the various similar instances that may occur. And so I trust that these stratagems may be of service to you, as they will place before your eyes the best models that you may imitate in the field of military glory.

[1]   Phalaris.

G  The people of Acragas decided to build a temple to Zeus Polieus within their citadel; both because the ground there was the firmest and hardest, and therefore most suitable for foundations, and also because the site was the most elevated, and therefore most suitable for the temple of the god. Phalaris undertook to superintend the work, and to finish it for a fixed price, employing the most skilful workmen, and supplying the best materials. The people supposed him to be a proper person to conduct the work, because of his occupation, which was collecting public debts. They therefore contracted the work out to him, and put into his hands the necessary money. With this money he hired a number of strangers, bought many slaves, and gathered a quantity of stones, timber and iron. As soon as he had laid the foundations, he pretended that his materials had been stolen; and he ordered a proclamation to be made, that if anyone disclosed, who had stolen the stones and iron from the citadel, they would receive a sum of money in reward. The people expressed great indignation at the theft; and gave him permission as he requested, to do what was necessary to prevent such thefts in future; in other words, to strengthen the fortress, and dig a trench around it. He then struck off the slaves' shackles, and armed them with battle-axes, hatchets, and stones. While the citizens were intent on celebrating the Thesmophoria, he suddenly fell upon them, slew many of the men, and seized the women and children. In this way he established himself as tyrant of the city of Acragas.

2   Phalaris, when he wished to disarm the inhabitants of Acragas, pretended to entertain them with some very magnificent games outside the city. As soon as a great crowd of the citizens had gone out of the city to watch the games, the gates were shut. The guards, following his orders, searched every house in the city, and carried off whatever weapons they found.

3   When the men of Acragas attacked the Sicanians, Phalaris found it impossible to capture their city by siege, because they had laid aside a great quantity of corn, and therefore he entered into a treaty of peace with them. He had in his camp some corn, which he agreed to leave for them, on condition that he received from them an equal quantity after their harvest. The Sicanians readily complied with these terms, and received the provisions. Phalaris then contrived to bribe the superintendents of the granaries, secretly to remove their roofs in some places; as a result, the rain came in through the holes, and rotted the corn. As soon as the harvest was over, Phalaris received his quantity of new corn, according to their agreement; but when the old corn was found to be rotten, the Sicanians were reduced by hunger, and after giving up their provisions to him, were forced to surrender their liberty as well. [see also: Frontinus, Str.3.4.6]

4   Phalaris dispatched an embassy to Teutus, the ruler of Vessa, which was one of the most flourishing and powerful cities of the Sicanians; and asked for his daughter in marriage. When Teutus gave his consent, Phalaris sent a number of soldiers in chariots, without beards, and in women's clothes, in the guise of servants, who were bringing presents to the bride. As soon as they were let into the house, they drew their swords and secured the place. Phalaris arrived immediately afterwards, and made himself master of Vessa.

[2]   Dionysius.

G  The mercenaries attacked the house of Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, and forced their way in, with the intention of murdering him. He came out to them in mean clothes, with dust on his head, and the told the soldiers, that he gave himself up to them, to treat him as they please. His appearance, being so altered and humiliated, made them abandon their plan; they left him safe, and uninjured. Dionysius not long afterwards surrounded these same men with his troops at Leontini, and cut them all to pieces. [see also: Diodorus, 14.78]

2   Dionysius, son of Hermocrates, was in the service of the Syracusans, and acted as secretary to their generals. When the Syracusans complained of the generals' conduct in the course of an unsuccessful war with the Carthaginians, Dionysius ventured so far as to accuse them of treachery. In consequence of his accusation, some of them were executed, and others were banished. Then he pretended that he was in danger from the intrigues of their supporters, and from their resentment over the active part which he had taken against those who had already been convicted. Therefore, while the Carthaginian war was still continuing, he received from the people a bodyguard for his person. By means of that, he seized control of Syracuse, and became the greatest tyrant that the Syracusans ever knew; he died at an advanced age, and handed the sovereignty on to his son.

3   Dionysius always guarded against conspiracies with great care. When he was informed that a foreigner who was then in the city had claimed that he possessed an infallible secret for revealing conspiracies and treason, Dionysius ordered him to be summoned. As soon as he came to the tyrant's fortress, he asked all those present to withdraw; because he did not want to make the secret widely known, but he was ready to reveal it to Dionysius alone. When the company had accordingly left them, he said;" Only claim, as I have done, that you possess the secret which I am pretending to reveal; and no-one will venture into any conspiracy against you." Dionysius was pleased with this advice, and rewarded the man liberally. He told his guards, that the man had revealed to him the most astonishing means of detecting conspirators; which intimidated them so much, that they never ventured in future to form any plots against him. [see also: Plutarch, Mor.176]

4   When Dionysius left on a foreign expedition, he left Andron in charge of the fortress and the treasury. Hermocrates advised Andron to seize both of these, while Dionysius was absent. A few days later, Dionysius returned from this expedition; he had heard nothing of such a proposition, but he was suspicious, as tyrants always are. He told Andron that he had been informed of a proposal that had been made to him to betray his trust, and he wished to hear the particulars of it from himself. Andron believed what he said, and confessed every detail of what had happened. Dionysius then ordered him to be executed, because he had not revealed the proposal that had been made to him, immediately upon the tyrant's return. Dionysius confined Hermocrates, who had married his sister, in prison; but afterwards, to oblige her, he banished him to the Peloponnese.

5   Dionysius, having persuaded some men in Naxos to betray the city to him, advanced to the walls late in the evening, attended by seven soldiers. The conspirators on the towers suggested to him, that he should attack the city with all his force. But he wished to make himself master of it without any loss, and demanded the surrender of the garrison on the walls. If they refused, he threatened to put every man to the sword. At the same time, on his orders one of his ships entered the port of Naxos, with trumpets on board, and boatswains, who informed the Naxians, that they all belonged to separate ships, which they would soon see in their harbour. The terror of so great a naval force, and the threats of Dionysius, prevailed upon the Naxians to surrender their city, without a blow being struck.

6   When Himilco blocked up the harbour of Motye, Dionysius led his forces out of the town, and encamped on the shore opposite to the enemy, who stretched along the mouth of the harbour. He told his men to take courage, and both soldiers and sailors to exert themselves, in running the ships ashore. In one day, he drew out about eighty ships upon a flat muddy piece of land, about twenty stades wide, that lay under the promontory which formed one side of the harbour; and he protected the ground there with wooden stakes. Himilco was afraid that Dionysius, after securing his own ships, would take an opportunity of attacking the Carthaginians in the rear, and shutting them up in the harbour. He therefore withdrew his fleet with the first suitable wind; and he left Dionysius in possession of the harbour, with his ships in safety, and the town in peace. [see also: Diodorus, 14.49]

7   Dionysius, who was in possession of the citadel, held out against the forces of Dion, and sent an embassy to the Syracusans with proposals of peace. As a preliminary to any such negotiations, they insisted that he should abdicate from the sovereignty. If he complied with this, they were ready to treat with him; but if not, they were determined upon an unremitting war. Dionysius again dispatched a herald, asking them to send ambassadors, into whose hands he would resign the sovereignty, and conclude a peace with them. When the ambassadors had been dispatched to him, the citizens gave themselves up to intemperate joy at the recovery of their liberty, and took less care of their defence. In the meantime, Dionysius detained the ambassadors, and advanced with his forces against the walls, which he captured by a vigorous attack; he recovered the city, and retained possession of the citadel. [see also: Diodorus, 16.11]

8   The next day, Dionysius freed the Syracusan ambassadors, whom he had detained. They were followed by women, carrying letters to Dion and Megacles, from the sister of the one, and the wife of the other; as well as letters to other Syracusans, whose wives had been shut in during the siege. These letters were produced before an assembly of the people, and read. Their general purport was an earnest request to their husbands and relations, not to suffer them to languish in the hands of Dionysius. The address of one particular letter was "Hipparion to his father" (Hipparion was the name of Dion's son). But when the secretary opened the letter, it appeared to be a familiar letter from Dionysius to Dion, written in the most friendly terms, and seeking his support by great promises. This letter put Dion under suspicion by the Syracusans for ever afterwards, and entirely deprived him of his importance in the state, which was the objective which Dionysius most hoped to achieve.

9   When the Carthaginians invaded the territory of Syracuse with an army of three hundred thousand men, Dionysius, who had taken care to erect various strongholds and forts in different parts, send ambassadors to conclude a peace with them, on condition of delivering up to them all the strongholds and forts. The terms were readily accepted by the Carthaginians, who were very well satisfied with receiving possession of the forts, without the hazard of a battle; and they left considerable garrisons in each of them. But Dionysius afterwards successfully attacked, and entirely routed, their main army, which was considerably reduced by the detachments, which had been dispersed in the various places. [see also: Frontinus, Str.1.8.11]

10   Although Dionysius wished to capture Himera, he entered into an alliance with the inhabitants of the place. He then made war upon some of the neighbouring cities, and encamped near Himera. He frequently sent deputations to the city, because the people were in alliance with him, and the inhabitants of Himera supplied his army with provisions for some time. But when this great army still continued in their vicinity, without attempting anything of consequence, it raised in the citizens a suspicion of some secret plot; and they refused to supply him in the same generous manner that they had done before. Dionysius therefore made his lack of provisions a pretext for breaking with the men of Himera; he advanced against their city with all his forces, and took it by storm. [see also: Frontinus, Str.3.4.4]

11 G   Dionysius wished to deprive the old soldiers of their pay; but the young men expressed their indignation, saying it was an act of extreme cruelty, to starve those in their old age, who had spent their youth in the service of their country. When he realised that his plan was likely to meet with much opposition, he convened an assembly, and addressed them as follows: "I expect the young men to withstand the shock of battle; but I intend to garrison my forts with the old men; and I will give equal pay to them both. For they, whose loyalty has been proved, are the proper persons to be entrusted with the defence of the fortifications; and this service causes less fatigue." Everyone was pleased with these pronouncements, and departed in good humour. But as soon as the troops were dispersed, and placed in different positions and garrisons, he deprived the veterans of their pay, when they no longer had the body of the army to support them.

12   Dionysius, in an expedition he had undertaken, wanted to test the loyalty of his naval captains. He wished to keep the object of his expedition secret, and therefore mentioned it to none of them. To every captain he gave a tablet which was sealed up, but entirely blank inside. He ordered them, as soon as they were under sail, to open their tablets, upon receiving a certain signal; and then to steer their course, according to the directions which they found inside. As soon as they were under sail, but before the signal was given, he hurried around the fleet in a swift-sailing vessel, and ordered every captain to return his tablet. Those, who had broken their seals, he ordered to be executed for breach of orders; to the rest he gave tablets, in which was written the real name of the city, which was the object of their expedition. In this way the expedition was kept secret, and successfully concluded. He attacked (?) Amphipolis, which was unprepared to resist an enemy, and ungarrisoned; and he easily made himself master of the city.

13   In order to discover the opinions of his subjects about him, and to know who were his enemies, Dionysius demanded to know the names of several female musicians and prostitutes. Instead of receiving presents from him, as they expected, they were made to confess under torture, what were the opinions which they had heard their lovers express about the tyranny. In this way he found out about all, who were opposed to his government; some of them he executed, and others he banished.

14   After Dionysius had disarmed the citizens, he used to march a hundred stades from the city, whenever he had occasion to fight against an army, and then he handed every man his weapons. When the war was finished, before they re-entered the city, and the gates were thrown open, the men were ordered to ground their weapons, which were carried away and kept under guard.

15   Another stratagem which Dionysius employed, to discover who were opposed to his government, was as follows. He secretly set sail for Italy, and ordered a report to be spread about, that he had been killed by his own soldiers. Those who were hostile to the tyranny joyfully met together, and congratulated each other on the happy event. As soon as he was informed of their names, Dionysius ordered them to be seized, and put them to death.

16   At another time Dionysius pretended to be ill, and ordered a report to be spread about, that he was at the point of death. While many were expressing their joy at this occurrence, the tyrant suddenly appeared in public with his guards, and ordered everyone, who had rejoiced at the news, to be taken off to execution.

17   Dionysius obliged the Carthaginians to pay a very high ransom for their prisoners; but he released the Greeks, who had been captured while in the service of Carthage, without any ransom at all. The partiality shown by the tyrant caused the Carthaginians to become suspicious of the Greeks, and they discharged all the Greek mercenaries from their service. Thus Dionysius rid himself of these Greeks, who were a formidable foe.

18   When Dionysius was at war with the Messenians, a rumour prevailed, that he had a group in their city who were co-operating with him. In order to encourage this suspicion, when he ravaged the enemy's country, he ordered his men scrupulously to avoid causing any damage to the estates of particular persons. This is a stratagem which, as I remember, was practiced by other generals. But Dionysius carried it further; in pretended secrecy, he dispatched a soldier into the city, with a talent of gold for the suspected persons. The Messenians seized the messenger, with the gold upon him; and when he informed them of those to whom the present was being taken, the persons whom he indicated were ordered to be tried for treason. These men, being persons of importance, had a powerful party to support them, and escaped the tyrant's snare. However dissensions arose as a result, and by this means, Dionysius was able to gain control of Messene.

19   When his treasury was low, Dionysius imposed a tax on the people. They were unwilling to pay, saying that they often been forced to make contributions, and Dionysius did not think it wise to compel the payment of it. A few days later, he ordered the magistrates to take all the offerings from the temple of Asclepius (and there were many of them, both silver and gold), to carry them to the marketplace, and there to put them up for sale. The Syracusans eagerly purchased them at high prices; and a very considerable amount of money was raised. As soon as Dionysius had obtained the money, he passed an edict, that whoever had sacrilegiously bought any of the offerings from the temple of Asclepius, should on pain of death immediately return them to the temple, and restore them to the god. The edict was obeyed; the offerings were returned to the god, and Dionysius kept the money.

20   When Dionysius captured a city, some of the inhabitants died in the siege, and others were banished by him. He left a small garrison in it, but the town was a large one, and to big to be held by the few men he was able to spare. Therefore he married the captive slaves to the daughters of their masters. This not only strengthened the garrison, but, because of the natural abhorrence of each other, which must exist between them and their masters, he made the people loyal to himself.

21 G   Dionysius, when he was sailing to Etruria with a hundred warships and transport ships, landed at the temple of Leucothea. There he received five hundred talents, and then continued his voyage. But he was informed that the soldiers and sailors had stolen a thousand talents of gold, and many more of silver. Therefore, before he disembarked, he made a proclamation, that everyone should take to him half of what he had got, and should keep the other half for himself. He threatened immediate death for anyone who failed to comply with his orders. After he had exacted half of the plunder they had acquired in this way, he extorted the other half from them as well; and instead of it he gave them a month's subsistence of corn.

22   Many of the Parians followed the Pythagorean philosophy, and they were dispersed throughout different parts of Italy. When Dionysius, tyrant of Sicily, sent ambassadors to Metapontum and other Italian states, to propose conditions of peace, Euephenus advised the youths, who studied under him, and their fathers, to pay no attention to the tyrant's words. Dionysius was informed of Euehenus' conduct, and decided, if he could get the philosopher into his power, to move him from Metapontum to Rhegium. It afterwards happened, that Euephenus did fall into his hands; and Dionysius put him on trial for the great wrongs that he had done him. To the accusations that were urged against him, Euephenus replied that he had acted conscientiously and justly. "Those," he said, "whom I advised were my friends and acquaintances; but the tyrant, against whom I advised them, I knew not even by sight." He was however condemned to die. Undaunted by this verdict, he addressed Dionysius, and told him that he had a unmarried sister in Parium, and he wished to settle her before he died; therefore, he requested leave to visit his homeland, and assured the tyrant, that he would return in a short time, and face his sentence. Everybody laughed at the apparent folly of the man; but Dionysius was struck by the firmness of his demeanour, and asked him, who would be bail for his return. "I will find a bail," he replied, "who will answer for it with his life." Immediately he called Eucritus, who readily agreed, at the risk of his life, to answer for his friend's return. Euephenus was allowed six months for the transaction of his business at Parium. He immediate set out there, while in his absence Eucritus remained a prisoner at Rhegium. The fact was extraordinary, but the conclusion of it even more so. After the six months had expired, Euephenus returned to Sicily, having settled his sister. He surrendered himself up for his sentence, and requested that his bail might be discharged. Dionysius, in admiration of the virtue, which they both had displayed, forgave Euephenus, and released Eucritus from confinement. Taking them both by the hand, he asked them to admit him as a third into their friendship; and to remain with him, and to share in his prosperity. They thanked the tyrant for his kindness, but asked him, if he granted them their life, to permit them to return to their former manner of enjoying it, and to their beloved studies. By this act of generosity, Dionysius won the favour of many Italian states.

[3]   Agathocles.

G   Agathocles,the tyrant of Sicily, broke the oath he pledged to his enemies, and slew his prisoners. He told his friends with a laugh, "After supper we will throw up our oaths."

2   After Agathocles had defeated Leontini, he sent his general Deinocrates to the city; to inform the inhabitants, that it was his intention, in the preservation of his prisoners, to rival the glory of Dionysius, who after the battle at the river Eleporus preserved the lives of all the Italian prisoners he had taken. The inhabitants of Leontini trusted in his promise, and sent him magnificent presents. Agathocles then ordered all the prisoners to meet him unarmed. When the general, as directed, asked every man, who thought as Agathocles did, to hold up his hand; "My thoughts," said Agathocles, "are to slay every man of you;" and they were ten thousand in number. The soldiers, who surrounded them, according to the tyrant's orders immediately cut them to pieces.

3   Agathocles, having received information that some of the Syracusan leaders intended to attempt a revolution, offered a solemn sacrifice to the gods for a victory he had gained over the Carthaginians. And he invited to the banquet, which he made on that occasion, five hundred persons, whom he supposed most hostile to his government. The banquet was most sumptuous and magnificent. And after the company had all drunk pretty freely, he himself, with a scarlet robe in the Tarentine fashion thrown loosely around him, advanced into the midst of them, and sang, and played on the harp, and danced; while mirth and revelry prevailed around. When they all were in the height of enjoyment, Agathocles withdrew, as being tired, and wanting to change his clothes. A number of armed men immediately rushed in, and falling upon the company with their drawn swords, allowed no-one to escape.

4   Ophellas of Cyrene was advancing with a numerous army against Agathocles. Hearing that Ophellas was notoriously addicted to the love of boys, Agathocles sent an embassy to him, and his son Heracleides, who was a boy of extraordinary beauty, went as a hostage, with orders to hold out for a few days against his solicitations. Ophellas, charmed with the beauty of the boy, conceived a violent passion for him, and strongly solicited him to comply with his desires. While he was thus engaged, Agathocles suddenly attacked and slew him; and entirely defeated his army. His son also he recovered safely, and without any injury having been offered to him.

5   When Agathocles had embarked on an expedition against Carthage, to test the resolution of his men, he ordered a proclamation to be made, that whoever wished to be excused from the expedition might go ashore, and take with him whatever property he had on board. All those who took advantage of the proclamation, he ordered to be executed, as traitors and cowards; and praising those who stayed on board, for their courage and attachment to him, he directed his course with sixty ships to Africa. As soon as he had disembarked his troops, he set fire to his ships; so that his men might fight with greater resolution, when they saw themselves deprived of every resource which the ships might have provided them, if they fled. By these stratagems, Agathocles defeated the Carthaginians in various battles; and made himself master of many cities in Africa.

6   Agathocles asked the Syracusans to furnish him with two thousand men, for an expedition into Phoenicia; where, he informed them, he was invited by a party acting in his interests, who had promised to put him in possession of the country. The Syracusans believed him, and sent him the supplies he required. As soon as he had received them, he thought no more of his Phoenician expedition, but employed his forces against his allies, and demolished the fortifications of Tauromenium.

7   Agathocles concluded a peace with Hamilcar; who drew off his forces, and returned to Africa. Agathocles convened an assembly of the Syracusans; "This is the hour," he said, "that I have ever wished for, when I might see my fellow citizens enjoying full liberty." Having said this, he took off his robe and sword, and declared himself a private citizen. Struck with such an instance of patriotism and moderation, the Syracusans voluntarily committed to him the government of the state. But he, in less than six days, having put many of the citizens to death, and driven more than five thousand into exile, possessed himself of the sovereignty of Syracuse.

8   When Agathocles received intelligence that Tisarchus, Anthropinus, and Diocles had formed designs against him, he sent for them; and invested them with the command of a considerable force, with which he directed them to relieve a city, that was then in alliance with Syracuse, and closely besieged. "Tomorrow," said he, "I will meet you at the Timoleonteium with horses, arms, and baggage, and send forth the expedition." They received his commands with rapture; hoping to have forces put into their hands, which they intended to employ against him. The next day, when they met at the Timoleonteium, Agathocles gave the signal for seizing them. Then his men cut down Diocles, Tisarchus, and Anthropinus, with their guards, to the number of two hundred; and six hundred others, who attempted to assist them, were slain.

[4]   Hipparinus.

G  While Hipparinus was at Leontini, he heard that Syracuse had been left without a garrison, because a considerable force had been sent out of it under the command of Calippus. He decided to march from Leontini with a body of troops, and attack Syracuse, after dispatching some envoys to the city, with orders to slay the guards. After carrying out these orders, they opened the gates. Hipparinus entered with his mercenaries, and made himself master of Syracuse. [see also: Diodorus, 16.36]

[5]   Theocles.

G  Theocles advanced with the Chalcidians from Euboea against Leontini, and made himself master of the place, with the assistance of the Sicilians, who previously possessed it. Lamis also led colonists there from Megara, with the intention of settling at Leontini under the protection of Theocles. Theocles told them that he was under an oath not to disturb the Sicilians, but that he would open the gates to them in the night, and then they could use their discretion in how they proceeded. When the gates were thrown open, the Megarians took possession of the marketplace and the citadel. Then they attacked the Sicilians, who, being unarmed and unprepared, were unable to resist the enemy. The Sicilians abandoned the city, and fled, but the Megarians undertook to take the place of the Sicilians, and became allies of the Chalcidians. [see also: Thucydides, 6.4]

2   After they had resided for about six months with the Chalcidians, Theocles used the following stratagem to expel the Megarians from the city. He pretended that in the course of the recent war he had made a vow, that if ever he became master of Leontini, he would offer sacrifices to the twelve gods, and hold an armed procession in their honour. The Megarian, who had no suspicion of any hostile intentions, congratulated him on this occasion, and wished him success in his pious activities. The Chalcidians then borrowed weapons from them, so that, while the ceremonies were being performed, they might make the procession. After they had halted in the marketplace, Theocles made a proclamation, that the Megarians should leave the city before sun-set. The Megarians fled to the altars, and implored Theocles not to expel them from the city, or at least not to expel them unarmed. But after consulting with the Chalcidians, he decided that it was unsafe to remove such a large number of enemies from the city, and to put swords into their hands. Therefore they were sent away from Leontini without their weapons; and were allowed, with the permission of the Chalcidians, to winter at Trotilus for one year only.

[6]   Hippocrates.

G  Hippocrates hoped to make himself master of the city of the Ergetini, who served as mercenaries in his army. He always gave them the largest portion in the distribution of booty; he gave them increased pay; he complimented them on being the best troops in his army; and he tried by every means to entice as many of them as possible into his service. The honours, the advantages, and the reputation, which they acquired under Hippocrates, induced them to leave their city in great numbers, in order to enlist in his army. He received them with exceptional marks of favour, and after assembling all his forces, he marched through the country of the Laestrygonians. He placed the Ergetini on the shore, and the rest of the army was encamped higher up in the country. While the Ergetini were stranded in this way by the edge of the sea, Hippocrates dispatched a body of cavalry to their abandoned city, and sent a herald to take possession of it in his name. Then he ordered the men of Gelo and Camarina to fall upon the Ergetini, and cut them to pieces.

[7]   Daphnaeus.

G  The Syracusans and Italians were engaged in a battle against the Carthaginians, with the Syracusans on the right wing, and the Italians on the left. Daphnaeus heard a loud and confused noise on the left, and hurried there; he found the Italians hard pressed, and scarcely able to hold their ground. When he returned to the right wing, he told the Syracusans, that they were victorious on the left; and vigorous effort on their part would make the victory complete. The Syracusans, trusting in the truth of their general's report, boldly attacked the barbarians, and defeated them. [see also: Diodorus, 13.87]

[8]   Leptines.

G  The Carthaginians, who were sailing by Pachynus, landed there, and ravaged the country around it. Leptines placed some cavalry in ambush by night, and ordered some others to find some means to set the Carthaginian camp on fire. As soon as the Carthaginians saw their tents and baggage on fire, they hurried there as quickly as possible, to save whatever they could. But while they were intent on this, they were attacked by the cavalry, who pursued them to their ships with great slaughter. [see also: Frontinus, Str.2.5.11]

2   Leptines, after sailing from Lacedaemon, came to Tarentum and landed there with some of his crew. The Tarentines offered no violence to any of the sailors, because they were Lacedaemonians; but they searched for Leptines, in order to seize him. Leptines threw off his clothes, and took on a sailor's apparel; he put some wood on his shoulder, and boarded his ship again. Then he slipped the anchor, and put off to sea. After he had collected the sailors, who swam out to the ship, he directed his course to Syracuse, and joined Dionysius.

[9]   Hanno.

G  When Hanno passed by Sicily, Dionysius dispatched a considerable fleet to intercept him. When the fleet had nearly caught up with him, Hanno furled his sails, and the enemy, who were watching his motions, did the same. Hanno then ordered his men to set their sails as quickly as possible; and by using all the sail he could, he got clear of the enemy, who were thrown into confusion by this sudden movement, because they were not very expert at naval manoeuvres.

[10]   Himilco.

G  Himilco the Carthaginian, who was were aware that the Africans were fond of liquor, mixed laudanum into a great number of jars of wine. After placing the jars in the suburbs, he skirmished a little with the enemy, and then retreated into the city, as if he had been overpowered. The Africans were elated by their apparent success in blocking up the Carthaginians in their city. They drank large quantities of the abandoned wine, which threw them into a profound sleep, and left them at the mercy of the enemy. [see also: Frontinus, Str.2.5.12]

2   When Himilco weighed anchor by night with the Carthaginian fleet on an expedition to Sicily, he provided the masters of the ships with sealed tablets, in which he wrote the place of their destination, so that, if they should become separated from the rest, they might know which port to head for, without revealing the secret purpose of the expedition for deserters to pass on. And he covereed up the front of his lamps, so that the enemy might not be informed of his invasion, by seeing his lights at a distance. [see also: Diodorus, 14.55]

3   Himilco was besieging a town in Africa, to which there were two narrow and difficult approaches; and the Africans had posted two strong garrisons to defend them. Himilco sent out a pretended deserter, to inform them, that he intended to raise a mound on one of those approaches, where he had decided to make his attack; and to dig a ditch across the other, to prevent the defenders from sallying out, and attacking his rear. When the Africans saw that the work starting, they believed the deserter, and collected their whole strength against the approach, on which Himilco had begun to erect a mound. Then in the night Himilco, who had prepared wood for this purpose, filled in the ditch which he had cut in that approach, and marched his forces over it. Thus he captured the town by that route, while the enemy's whole attention was directed to the other pass.

4   While he was besieging Acragas, Himilco encamped not far from the city. When he saw the enemy march out in great force, he gave secret orders to his officers, at a given signal, to make a hasty retreat. The men of Acragas pressed closely on them in their flight, and they were drawn a considerable distance from their city. Then Himilco, who had placed himself in ambush with a body of his troops, set fire to some wood, which he had ordered to be placed near the walls for that purpose. When the pursuers saw a great amount of smoke arise from the walls, they supposed that some part of their city was on fire. They halted the pursuit, and returned to the relief of the city as quickly as possible. At the same time, the enemy, who before had fled, turned round and pressed hard upon their rear. As soon as they reached the place, where the ambush had been set, Himilco attacked them vigorously with his forces. He cut many of them to pieces, and the rest were made prisoners. [see also: Frontinus, Str.3.10.5]

5   Himilco was encamped near Cronium, opposite the generals of Dionysius. They were between him and the town, and prevented the Carthaginian forces from entering the town, though the inhabitants of Cronium would readily have admitted them. Himilco therefore, when he was informed that the people were well disposed towards him, cut down all the wood that he could find, from the great quantity which grew near the enemy's camp; and piled it in front of them. Then, taking advantage of a wind that blew directly towards them, he set the wood on fire; and while the enemy were surrounded by a cloud of smoke, he slipped past them, and reached the walls. The inhabitants of Cronium opened their gates to him, and he entered the city, while the enemy was still unaware of his march.

[11]   Gesco.

G  Hamilcar, one of the ablest generals that the Carthaginians ever had, was in command of their forces in Africa. But after a series of great successes, he was opposed by a faction, who were jealous of his reputation, and they charged him with planning to undermine the liberties of the people. Through their influence, he was condemned, and executed; and his brother Gesco was banished. New generals were then appointed; but under their command, the Carthaginian armies met with nothing but repeated defeats, until their very survival became a matter of doubt. In these difficulties, what could they do? They could not raise Hamilcar from his tomb. They therefore sent a contrite letter to Gesco, recalling him from exile and appointing him to be general of their armies. They promised to hand over to him his own, and his brother's enemies, for him to punish as he wished. Gesco, on his return to his country, ordered his enemies to be brought before him in chains. He ordered them to lie down upon their bellies on the ground, and he thrice put his foot lightly upon their necks. Then he said that, by this humiliation, he had taken sufficient revenge on them for his brother's death. After this, he dismissed them, adding: "I will not return evil with evil, but repay evil with good." This conduct won Gesco the favour and ready obedience of all parties, both of friends and enemies; as someone who was both amiable and great. And he soon brought them success in their public affairs; he conquered the enemy by his courage, and he gained the support of the vanquished by the sweetness of his nature.

[12]   Timoleon.

G  When Timoleon was leading his army against the Carthaginians in Sicily, just as he was advancing to battle, they met a mule loaded with parsley. His army was intimidated by the omen; for it was customary with them, to cover tombs with parsley. But Timoleon gave a different turn to the omen, and cried out: "The gods have granted us the victory; for the Corinthians give a crown of parsley as a reward for victory in the Isthmian games." After saying this, he put a sprig of parsley upon his head; and his generals did the same. The rest of the army followed their example, and stuck pieces of parsley on their heads; then they advanced to battle, in full confidence of victory. [see also: Plutarch, Tim.26]

2   Timoleon closely besieged the tyrant Mamercus, who, by false promises and breach of oaths, had deceived and murdered many men. Mamercus promised to surrender himself, and stand trial before the Syracusans, if Timoleon would promise not to stand forward as his prosecutor. This condition was complied with, and Timoleon conducted Mamercus to Syracuse. As soon as he had introduced him into the assembly, he said: "I will not prosecute this man, for I have promised him not to. But I order him to be executed immediately. For there is no law more just, than that he, who has deceived many to their death, should for once be overcome by trickery." [see also: Plutarch, Tim.34]

3   When Timoleon, according to the terms of a treaty of alliance, had gone the assistance of the Syracusans, he climbed a high mountain, from where he saw the Carthaginian army drawn up, to the number of fifty thousand men; they were in a bleak position, directly exposed to the wind and the enemy. He immediately convened a council. "Now," he said, "is the moment for victory. For there exists an oracle, which foretells defeat for an army, which occupies the exact position which the Carthaginians have taken. And the time is now at hand, when the oracle will be fulfilled." This assurance gave courage to the Greeks, and despite being very inferior in numbers they obtained the victory.

[13]   Ariston.

G  When Ariston with one small vessel was accompanying the transport ships, which were laden with corn, an enemy ship appeared, gave chase, and caught up with him, just as he was about to land. Ariston placed the transport ships as close to the shore as he could, and he himself kept on the outside of them. So that if the enemy attacked the men, who were landing the corn, they would be harassed with missiles from the transports; and if they attacked the ships, he would come against their triremes from the side, and hem them in between them and his own vessel

2   Ariston, the Corinthian general, after a naval engagement between the Athenians and Syracusans, in which the victory remained undecided, as both sides remained at sea, ordered provisions to be got ready, and headed for the shore. After his forces had disembarked, and made a hasty meal, he ordered them all on board again. The Athenians, supposing that the enemy had retreated in acknowledgement of their defeat, and had left them as masters of the sea, exulted in their victory and returned to land. While some of them were employed on one thing, and some on another, in preparation for their dinner, the Syracusans suddenly attacked them. In the Athenian fleet, all was confusion; leaving their dinner, they all boarded their ships as hastily as possible. But the Syracusans, who had thoroughly refreshed themselves, obtained an easy victory. [see also: Thucydides, 7.39]

[14]   Thrasymedes.

G  Thrasymedes, son of Philomelus, fell in love with the daughter of Peisistratus; as she was walking in a procession, he ran up to her and greeted her. Her brother resented this liberty, and regarded it as an affront; but Peisistratus calmly observed to him, "If we punish men for having too great an affection for us, what must we do with those who openly hate us?" The passion of Thrasymedes increased with every day, and he engaged a group of his friends, to help him to obtain the object of his desire; they achieved this, while she was assisting at a religious ceremony. Forcing their way through the crowd with drawn swords, they seized the maid, and carried her onto a ship, with which they set sail for Aegina. Hippias, the elder of her brothers, was at that time clearing the seas of pirates. Supposing from the speed at which it travelled, that their ship also belonged to pirates, he bore down on it, and captured it. When Thrasymedes and the others were brought before the tyrant, to answer for their outrage, instead of begging for mercy, they told him with firmness and resolution, to treat them as he pleased. They assured him that, from the time they had resolved upon the attempt, they had resigned themselves to death, and despised it. Peisistratus was impressed by the dignity of mind which they revealed, and he gave his daughter in marriage to Thrasymedes. This act gained for him the favour and goodwill of all his subjects; they no longer regarded him as a tyrant, but as an affectionate father, and a patriotic citizen. [see also: Plutarch, Mor.189]

[15]   Megacles.

G   Megacles of Messene in Sicily opposed Agathocles, the tyrant of Syracuse, with extraordinary vigour. He aroused many of the Sicilians against Agathocles, and offered a reward to anyone who assassinated him. Agathocles, who was annoyed by his behaviour, moved to besiege Messene. He sent a herald to demand Megacles, declaring that, if he was not given up to him, he would storm the city and reduce all the inhabitants to slavery. Megacles, who despised death, proposed to his fellow citizens, that he should be appointed to be their ambassador; in which case, he would voluntarily surrender himself into the hands of the tyrant. The Messenians did as he suggested. Megacles was brought into the camp of Agathocles, and spoke to him as follows: "I come in the name of my city, as an ambassador from the Messenians; and the object of my embassy is to die. But first convene your friends, and give me a hearing." Agathocles therefore summoned his friends, and Megacles was brought before them. After pleading for the rights of his country, he said: "If the Messenians had engaged in an expedition against Syracuse, with the intention of completely destroying it, would you not have done the same things against the Messenians, which I have done against the Syracusans?" Agathocles smiled at the question; and his friends, who were present, interceded on behalf of Megacles. Accordingly, Agathocles sent him back unhurt, concluded the war, and entered into an alliance with the Messenians.

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