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When the Syracusans heard that the Athenian armaments were at the Strait,Of Messina. they appointed three generals with supreme power, Hermocrates, Sicanus, and Heracleides, who enrolled soldiers and dispatched ambassadors to the cities of Sicily, urging them to do their share in the cause of their common liberty; for the Athenians, they pointed out, while beginning the war, as they alleged, upon the Syracusans, were in fact intent upon subduing the entire island. Now the Acragantini and Naxians declared that they would ally themselves with the Athenians; the Camarinaeans and Messenians gave assurances that they would maintain the peace, while postponing a reply to the request for an alliance; but the Himeraeans, Selinuntians, Geloans, and Catanaeans promised that they would fight at the side of the Syracusans. The cities of the Siceli, while tending to be favourably inclined toward the Syracusans, nevertheless remained neutral,
And though all this was done, yet know ye, that there was but one single city, that, namely, of the Mamertines, which by public resolution sent ambassadors to speak in his favour. But you heard the chief man of that embassy, the most noble man of that state, Caius Eleius, speak on his oath, and say, that Verres had had a transport of the largest size built at Messana, the work being contracted for at the expense of the city. And that same ambassador of the Mamertines, his panegyrist, said that he had not only robbed him of his private property, but had also carried away his sacred vessels, and the images of the Di Penates, which he had received from his ancestors, out of his house. A noble panegyric; when the one business of the ambassadors is discharged by two operations, praising the man and demanding back what has been
The very day on which he reached Sicily, (see now whether he was not come, according to that omen bruited about the city,) prepared to sweep This is another pun on the name of Verres, from its similarity in sound to the word verro, I sweep. the province pretty clean, he immediately sends letters from Messana to Halesa, which I suppose he had written in Italy. For, as soon as he disembarked from the ship, he gave orders that Dio of Halesa should come to him instantly; saying that he wished to make inquiry about an inheritance which had come to his son from a relation, Apollodorus Laphiro.
But, as I began to say, remark the miseries of the Sicilians. Heraclius, whom I have mentioned, and Epicrates came forward a great distance to meet me, with all their friends. When I came to Syracuse, they thanked me with tears; they wished to leave Syracuse, and go to Rome in my company: because I had many other towns left which I wanted to go to, I arranged with the men on what day they were to meet me at Messana. They sent a messenger to me there, that they were detained by the praetor. And though I summoned them formally to attend and give evidence,—though I gave in their names to Metellus,—though they were very eager to come, having been treated with the most enormous injustice, they have not arrived yet. These are the rights which the allies enjoy now, not to be allowed even to complain of their distresses.