But the Cretans with one accord called out to them to be of good courage; that they would share every fortune with them.
During this conversation, the vanguard had halted, and the march was delayed; nor had the cause of the delay as yet reached the generals. After the report had spread that Hippocrates and Epicydes were there, and a voice was heard through the whole army, which showed evidently that the troops were pleased at their arrival, the praetors immediately gallopped to
the front, and earnestly asked “what was the meaning of that violation of discipline, which the Cretans had committed in holding conference with the enemy, and allowing them to mingle with their ranks without the authority of the praetors” They ordered Hippocrates to be seized and thrown into chains.
On hearing which such a clamour was raised, first by the Cretans and then by the rest, that it was quite evident if they proceeded farther that they would have cause to fear.
In this state of anxiety and perplexity, they gave orders to march back to Megara, whence they had set out, and sent messengers to Syracuse, to give information of their present condition.
Hippocrates added a deception, seeing that the minds of the troops were disposed to entertain every suspicion. Having sent some Cretans to lie in wait in the roads, he read a letter he pretended had been intercepted, but which he had written himself.
The address was: “The praetors of Syracuse to the consul Marcellus.”
After the customary wishing of health, it stated “that he had acted duly and properly in sparing none of the Leontines, but that the cause of all the [p. 934]
mercenary troops was the same, and that Syracuse would never be tranquil while there were any foreign auxiliaries in the city or in the army.
That it was therefore necessary that he should endeavour to get into his power those who were encamped at Megara, with their praetors, and by punishing them, at length restore Syracuse to liberty.”
After this letter had been read, they ran to seize their arms in every direction, with so great a clamour, that the praetors, in the utmost consternation, rode away to Syracuse during the confusion.
The mutiny, however, was not quelled even by their flight, but an attack was made upon the Syracusan soldiers; nor would any one have escaped their violence, had not Hippocrates and Epicydes opposed the resentment of the multitude, not from pity or any humane motive, but lest they should cut off all hope of effecting their return;
and that they might have the soldiers, both as faithful supporters of their cause, and as hostages, and conciliate to themselves their relatives and
friends, in the first place by so great an obligation, and in the next by reason of the pledge.
Having also experienced that the populace could be excited by any cause, however groundless or trifling, they procured a soldier of the number of those who were besieged at Leontini, whom they suborned to carry a report to Syracuse, corresponding with that which had been falsely told at the Myla;
and by vouching for what he stated, and relating as matters which he had seen, those things of which doubts were entertained, to kindle the resentment of the people.