who were engaged in civil strife and were forced to live as slaves under many varied tyrannies,
sent ambassadors to Corinth with the request that the Corinthians should dispatch to them as
general a man who would administer their city and curb the ambitions of those who aimed to
The Corinthians, concluding that it was only
right to assist people who were offshoots of themselves,2
voted to send as general Timoleon,
son of Timaenetus, a man of highest prestige amongst his fellow citizens for bravery and
sagacity as a general and, in a word, splendidly equipped with every virtue. A peculiar
coincidence befell him which contributed toward his being chosen to the generalship.
Timophanes, his brother, a man of outstanding wealth and effrontery
amongst the Corinthians, had for some time past been clearly aiming at a tyranny and at the
moment was winning the poor to his cause and laying up a store of suits of armour and parading
about the market-place accompanied by a band of ruffians, not actually claiming to be tyrant
but practising the arts of tyranny.
Timoleon, who was much
averse to the rule of one man, first attempted to dissuade his brother from his overt attempt,
but when the latter refused to heed and continued all the more his headstrong career, Timoleon,
being unable by reasoning with him to make him mend his ways, put him to death as he was
promenading in the market-place.3
A scuffle ensued and a mob of citizens came surging up stirred
by the surprising character and the enormity of the deed, and dissension broke out. One side
claimed that as the perpetrator of a kin-murder Timoleon should receive the punishment
prescribed by the laws, whereas the other party asserted just the opposite, that they should
applaud him as a tyrannicide.
When the senate met to
deliberate in the council chamber and the matter in dispute was referred to the session,
Timoleon's personal enemies denounced him, while those more favourably inclined rallied to his
cause and counselled letting him go free.
investigation was still unsettled there sailed into the harbour from Syracuse the ambassadors
who, having made known their mission to the senate, requested them to dispatch with all speed
the general they needed.
The session accordingly voted to send
Timoleon and, in order to ensure the success of the project, they proposed a strange and
amazing alternative to him. They affirmed categorically that if he ruled the Syracusans fairly,
they adjudged him a tyrannicide, but if too ambitiously, a murderer of his brother.4
Timoleon, not so much in fear of the threat imposed on him by
the senate as because of his native virtue, administered the government in Sicily fairly and
profitably. For he subdued in war the Carthaginians, restored to their original state the Greek
cities which had been razed by the barbarians, and made all Sicily independent; in a word,
having found Syracuse and the other Greek cities depopulated when he took them over, he made
them notably populous.
These matters, however, we shall record
severally below in their proper periods; now we shall return to the thread of our narrative.