This man not only obtained credit with the commons, but being introduced into the senate-house, produced an impression upon the senate also. Some men of no small authority openly declared, that it was very fortunate that the rapacity and cruelty of the Romans had been made apparent in the case of the Leontines; that if they had entered Syracuse, they would have committed the same or even more horrible acts, as there the temptations to rapacity would have been greater.
All, therefore, advised that the gates should be closed and the city guarded, but not the same persons were objects of fear or hatred to all alike. Among the soldiers of every kind, and a great part of the people, the Roman name was hated.
The praetors, and a few of the nobles, though enraged by the fictitious intelligence, rather directed their cautions against a [p. 935]
nearer and more immediate evil.
Hippocrates and Epicydes were now at the Hexapylum; and conversations were taking place, fomented by the relatives of the native soldiers who were in the army, touching the opening of the gates, and the allowing their common country to be defended from the violence of the Romans.
One of the doors of the Hexapylum was now thrown open, and the troops began to be taken in at it, when the praetors interposed; and first by commands and menaces, then by advice, they endeavoured to deter them from their purpose, and last of all, every other means proving ineffectual, forgetful of their dignity, they tried to move them by prayers, imploring them not to betray their country to men heretofore the satellites of the tyrant, and now the corrupters of the army.
But the ears of the excited multitude were deaf to all these arguments, and the exertions made from within to break open the gates, were not less than those without; the gates were all broken open, and the whole army received into the Hexapylum.
The praetors, with the youth of the city, fled into the Achradina; the mercenary soldiers and deserters, with all the soldiers of the late king who were at Syracuse, joined the forces of the enemy.
The Achradina also was therefore taken on the first assault, and all the praetors, except such as escaped in the confusion, were put to the sword.
Night put an end to the carnage. On the following day the slaves were invited to liberty, and those bound in prison were released; after which this mixed rabble created Hippocrates and Epicydes their praetors, and thus Syracuse, when for a brief period the light of liberty had shone on it, relapsed into her former state of servitude.