their nature and alike in their circumstances.
Not long before the period we are now
describing some Campanian mercenaries of
Agathocles, having for some time cast greedy
eyes upon Messene, owing to its beauty and wealth, no
sooner got an opportunity than they made a
treacherous attempt upon that city. 1. Messene. They
entered the town under guise of friendship, and, having once
got possession of it, they drove out some of the
citizens and put others to the sword. Agathocles died, B. C. 289. This
done, they seized promiscuously the wives and
children of the dispossessed citizens, each keeping those which
fortune had assigned him at the very moment of the lawless
deed. All other property and the land they took possession
of by a subsequent division and retained.
The speed with which they became masters of a fair territory2. Rhegium, Livy Ep. 12.
and city found ready imitators of their conduct.
The people of Rhegium, when Pyrrhus was crossing to Italy, felt a double anxiety. They