At the conclusion of this speech, he laid the keys of the gates and of the royal treasure at their feet; and on that day, retiring from the assembly in the highest spirits, they made supplication with their wives and children at all the temples of the gods. On the following day an assembly was held for the election of praetors.
Andranodorus was created among the first; the rest consisted for the most part of the [p. 924]
destroyers of the tyrant; two of these, Sopater and Dinomenes, they appointed in their absence.
These, on hearing of what had passed at Syracuse, conveyed thither the royal treasure which was at Leontini, and put it into the hands of quaestors appointed for that purpose.
The treasure also in the island and the Achradina was delivered to them, and that part of the wall which formed too strong a separation between the island and the other parts of the city, was demolished by general consent. Every thing else which was done was in conformity with this inclination of their minds to liberty.
Hippocrates and Epicydes, on hearing of the death of the tyrant, which Hippocrates had wished to conceal even by putting the messenger to death, being deserted by the soldiery, returned to Syracuse, as that appeared the safest course under present circumstances;
but lest if they appeared there in common they should become objects of suspicion, and looked upon as persons who were seeking an opportunity of effecting some change, they in the first place addressed themselves to the praetors and then through them to the senate.
They declared, that “they were sent by Hannibal to Hieronymus, as to a friend and ally; that they had obeyed the orders of that man whom their general wished them to obey; that they desired to return to Hannibal;
but as the journey would not be safe, as armed Romans were ranging at large through the whole of Sicily, that they requested to be furnished with some escort which might convey them in safety to Locri in Italy; and that thus they would confer a great obligation upon Hannibal, with little trouble.”
The request was easily obtained, for they were desirous of getting rid of these generals of the king, who were skilled in war, and at once necessitous and enterprising. But they did not exert themselves so as to effect what they desired with the requisite speed.
Meanwhile these young men, who were of a military turn and accustomed to the soldiers, employed themselves in circulating charges against the senate and nobles, sometimes in the minds of the soldiers themselves, sometimes of the deserters, of which the greater part were Roman sailors, at other times of men belonging to the lowest order of the
populace, insinuating, that “what they were secretly labouring and contriving to effect, was to place Syracuse under the dominion of the Romans with the pretence of a renewed alliance, and then that a [p. 925]
faction and the few promoters of the alliance would be supreme.”