At the close of the year, in Athens
became archon, and in Rome six military
tribunes administered the office of consul, Popilius Mallius, Publius Maelius, Spurius Furius,
and Lucius Publius.3
the tyrant of the Syracusans, had completed all his preparations for the war according to his
personal design, he sent a herald to Carthage, having given him a letter to the senate,
which contained the statement that the Syracusans had
resolved to make war upon the Carthaginians unless they withdrew from the Greek cities. The
herald accordingly, pursuant to his orders, sailed to Libya and delivered the letter to the
senate. When it had been read in the council and subsequently before the people, it came about
that the Carthaginians were not a little distressed at the thought of war; for the plague had
killed great numbers of them, and they were also totally unprepared.
Nevertheless, they waited for the Syracusans to take the initiative and dispatched
members of the senate with large sums of money to recruit mercenaries in Europe.4
Dionysius with the Syracusans,
the mercenaries, and his allies marched forth from Syracuse and made his way towards Eryx.5
For not far from this hill lay the city
of Motye, a Carthaginian colony, which they used as their chief base of operations against
Sicily; and Dionysius hoped that with this city in his power he would have no small advantage
over his enemies.
In the course of his march he received from
time to time the contingents from the Greek cities, supplying the full levy of each with arms;
for they were all eager to join his campaign, hating as they did the heavy hand of Phoenician
domination and relishing the prospect at last of freedom.
received first the levy from Camarina, then those of Gela and Acragas; and after these he sent
for the Himeraeans, whose home was on the other side of Sicily, and after adding the men of
Selinus, as he passed by, he arrived at Motye with all his army.
He had eighty thousand infantry, well over three thousand cavalry, and a little less
than two hundred warships, and he was accompanied by not less than five hundred merchantmen
loaded with great numbers of engines of war and all the other supplies needed.