But every thing conspired to hurry him into perdition. For having sent before him Hippocrates and Epicydes with two thousand armed men, to make an attempt upon those cities which were occupied by Roman garrisons, he himself also proceeded to
Leontium with all the remaining troops, which amounted to fifteen thousand foot and horse, when the conspirators (who all happened to be in the army) took
posses- sion of an uninhabited house, which commanded a narrow [p. 904]
way, by which the king was accustomed to go to the forum. The rest stood here prepared and armed, waiting for the king to pass by.
One of them, by name Dinomenes, as he was one of the body-guards, had the task assigned him of keeping back the crowd behind in the narrow way, upon some pretext, when the king approached the door. All was done according to the arrangement.
Dinomenes having delayed the crowd, by pretending to lift up his foot and loosen a knot which was too tight, occasioned such an interval, that an attack being made upon the king, as he passed by unattended by his guards, he was pierced with several wounds before any assistance could be brought.
When the shout and tumult was heard, some weapons were discharged on Dinomenes, who now openly opposed them; he escaped from them, however, with only two wounds. The body-guard, as soon as they saw the king prostrate, betook themselves to flight.
Of the assassins, some proceeded to the forum to the populace, who were rejoiced at the recovery of their liberty; others to Syracuse to anticipate the measures of Andranodorus and the rest of the royal party.
Affairs being in this uncertain state, Appius Claudius perceiving a war commencing in his neighbourhood, informed the senate by letter, that Sicily had become reconciled to the Carthaginians and Hannibal.
For his own part, in order to frustrate the designs of the Syracusans, he collected all his forces on the boundary of the province and the kingdom.
At the close of this year, Quintus Fabius, by the authority of the senate, fortified and garrisoned Puteoli, which, during the war, had begun to be frequented as an emporium.
Coming thence to Rome to hold the election, he appointed the first day for it which could be employed for that purpose, and, while on his march, passed by the city and descended into the Campus Martius.
On that day, the right of voting first having fallen by lot on the junior century of the Anien tribe, they appointed Titus Otacilius and Marcus Aemilius Regillus consuls, when Quintus Fabius, having obtained silence, delivered the following speech: