When Eubulus was archon at Athens, the Romans elected as
consuls Marcus Fabius and Servius Sulpicius.2
In this year Timoleon the Corinthian, who had been chosen by his
fellow-citizens to command in Syracuse, made ready for his expedition to Sicily.
He enrolled seven hundred mercenaries and, putting his men aboard four
triremes and three fast-sailing ships, set sail from Corinth. As he coasted along he picked up
three additional ships from the Leucadians and the Corcyraeans, and so with ten ships he
crossed the Ionian Gulf.3
During this voyage, a peculiar
and strange event happened to Timoleon. Heaven came to the support of his venture and foretold
his coming fame and the glory of his achievements, for all through the night he was preceded by
a torch blazing in the sky up to the moment when the squadron made harbour in Italy.
Now Timoleon had heard already in Corinth from the priestesses of
Demeter and Persephone4
that, while they slept, the goddesses had told them that they
would accompany Timoleon on his voyage to their sacred island.
He and his companions were, in consequence, delighted, recognizing that the goddesses were in
fact giving them their support. He dedicated his best ship to them, calling it "The Sacred Ship
of Demeter and Persephone."5
Encountering no hazards, the
squadron put in at Metapontum in Italy, and so, shortly after, did a Carthaginian trireme also
bringing Carthaginian ambassadors.
Accosting Timoleon, they
warned him solemnly not to start a war or even to set foot in Sicily. But the people of Rhegium
were calling him and promised to join him as allies, and so Timoleon quickly put out from
Metapontum hoping to outstrip the report of his coming.
the Carthaginians controlled the seas, he was afraid that they would prevent his crossing over
to Sicily. He was, then, hastily completing his passage to Rhegium.