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In Sicily, Dionysius the tyrant having large armies, and perceiving that the Carthaginians were in no condition for war because of the plague which had raged in their midst1 and the defection of the Libyans, decided to take the field against them. Not having a reasonable excuse for strife, he alleged that the Phoenicians in the empire of Carthage had violated the territory subject to him. [2] He therefore got ready an armament of thirty thousand foot, three thousand horse, three hundred triremes and the supply train appropriate for that force, and invaded Carthaginian territory in Sicily. He immediately won Selinus and Entella, laid waste the whole countryside, and, having captured the city of Eryx, besieged Lilybaeum,2 but there were so many soldiers in the place that he abandoned the siege. [3] Hearing that the Carthaginians' dockyards had been burned and thinking their whole fleet had been destroyed, he conceived a contempt for them and dispatched only one hundred thirty of his best triremes to the harbour of Eryx, sending all the rest back to Syracuse. [4] But the Carthaginians, having unexpectedly manned two hundred ships, sailed against the fleet at anchor in the harbour of Eryx, and, as the attack was unforeseen, they made off with most of the triremes. Later when winter had set in, the two states agreed to an armistice and separated, each going to its own cities. [5] A little later Dionysius fell sick and died, after ruling as overlord for thirty-eight years. His son Dionysius succeeded and ruled as tyrant twelve years.

1 For previous Sicilian passages see chaps. 6-7, 13, 14, 15-17, 24 (plague and revolt). For a discussion of this Third Carthaginian War see Beloch, Griechische Geschichte (2), 2.2.375 and Bury, Cambridge Ancient History, 6.131.

2 Selinus is on the south coast of Sicily near the west end, Entella is inland from it, while Eryx is in the extreme northwest corner, the modern harbour of which is Trapani, and Lilybaeum is to the south on the coast.

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