Himilcar, leading his army at dawn within the walls, put to death practically all who had
been left behind; yes, even those who had fled for safety to the temples the Carthaginians
hauled out and slew.
And we are told that Tellias, who was the
foremost citizen in wealth and honourable character, shared in the misfortune of his country:
He had decided to take refuge with certain others in the temple of Athena, thinking that the
Carthaginians would refrain from acts of lawlessness against the gods, but when he saw their
impiety, he set fire to the temple and burned himself together with the dedications in it. For
by one deed, he thought, he would withhold from the gods impiety, from the enemy a vast store
of plunder, and from himself, most important of all, certain physical indignity.
But Himilcar, after pillaging and industriously ransacking the temples
and dwellings, collected as great a store of booty as a city could be expected to yield which
had been inhabited by two hundred thousand people, had gone unravaged since the date of its
founding, had been well-nigh the wealthiest of the Greek cities of that day, and whose
citizens, furthermore, had shown their love of the beautiful in expensive collections of works
of art of every description.
Indeed a multitude of paintings
executed with the greatest care was found and an extraordinary number of sculptures of every
description and worked with great skill. The most valuable pieces, accordingly, Himilcar sent
, among which, as it turned out, was
the bull of Phalaris,1
rest of the pillage he sold as booty.
As regards this bull,
although Timaeus in his History
has maintained that it never existed at all, he
has been refuted by Fortune herself; for some two hundred and sixty years after the capture of
, when Scipio sacked Carthage
he returned to the Acragantini, together with their other
possessions still in the hands of the Carthaginians, the bull, which was still in Acragas
at the time this history was being written.
I have been led to speak of this matter
rather copiously because Timaeus, who criticized most bitterly the historians before his time
and left the writers of history bereft of all forgiveness, is himself caught improvising in the
very province where he most proclaims his own accuracy.
historians should, in my opinion, be granted charity in errors that come of ignorance, since
they are human beings and since the truth of ages past is hard to discover, but historians who
deliberately do not give the exact facts should properly be open to censure, whenever in
flattering one man or another or in attacking others from hatred too bitterly, they stray from