The inhabitants of Rhegium, who were colonists of Chalcis, were angered to
see the growing power of Dionysius. For he had sold into slavery the Naxians and
their kinsmen, and to the
Rhegians, because they were of the same blood as2
these unfortunate peoples, this act was the cause of no
ordinary concern, since all feared the same disaster would befall them.
They therefore decided to take the field speedily against the tyrant
before he became entirely secure. Their decision upon war was forthwith supported strongly also
by the Syracusans who had been exiled by Dionysius, for most of them were at that time resident
in Rhegium and were continually discussing the matter and pointing out that all the Syracusans
would seize the occasion to join in an attack.
In the end the
Rhegians appointed generals and sent out with them six thousand infantry, six hundred cavalry,
and fifty triremes. The generals crossed the strait and induced the generals of the Messenians
to join in the war, declaring that it would be a terrible thing for them to stand idly by when
Greek cities, and their neighbours, had been totally destroyed by the tyrant.
Now the generals were won over by the Rhegians and, without obtaining a
vote of the people, led forth their forces which consisted of four thousand infantry, four
hundred cavalry, and thirty triremes. But when the armaments we have mentioned had advanced as
far as the borders of Messene, opposition broke out among the soldiers due to a harangue
delivered by the Messenian Laomedon;
for he advised them not
to begin a war against Dionysius who had done them no wrong. Accordingly the Messenian troops,
since the people had not approved the war, followed his advice at once, and, deserting their
generals, turned back home;
and the Rhegians, since they were
not strong enough alone for a battle, when they saw that the Messenians were disbanding their
army, also turned back speedily to Rhegium. At the outset Dionysius had led out his army to the
border of the Syracusan territory, awaiting the attack of the enemy; but when he learned of
their retirement, he led his forces back to Syracuse.
Rhegians and Messenians sent ambassadors to treat upon terms of peace, he decided that it was
to his advantage to put an end to enmity against these states and concluded peace.