Intelligence of these events having been carried into the camp of the Sicilians, that Epicydes had departed from Syracuse, that the island was deserted by the Carthaginians, and almost again delivered up to the Romans;
after sounding the inclinations of the besieged in conferences, they sent ambassadors to Marcellus, to treat about terms of capitulation.
They had not much difficulty in coming to an agreement, that all the parts of the island which had been under the dominion of their kings should be ceded to the Romans; that the rest, with their liberty and their own laws, should be preserved to the Sicilians.
They then invited to a conference the persons who had been intrusted with the management of affairs by Epicydes; to whom they said, that they were sent from the army of the Sicilians, at once to Marcellus and to them, that both those who were besieged and those who were not might share the same fortune; and that neither of them might stipulate any thing for themselves separately.
They were then allowed to enter, in order to converse with their relations and friends; when, laying before them the terms which they had made with Marcellus, and holding out to them a hope of safety, they induced them to join with them in an attack upon the praefects of Epicydes, Polyclitus, Philistion, and Epicydes, surnamed Sindon.
Having put them to death, they summoned the multitude to an assembly; and after complaining [p. 998]
of the famine, at which they had been accustomed to express their dissatisfaction to each other in secret, they said, that “although they were pressed by so many calamities, they had no right to accuse Fortune, because it was at their own option how long they should continue to suffer them.
That the motive which the Romans had in besieging Syracuse was affection for the Syracusans, and not hatred; for when they heard that the government was usurped by Hippocrates and Epicydes, the creatures first of Hannibal and then of Hieronymus, they took arms and began to besiege the city, in order to reduce not the city itself, but its cruel tyrants.
But now that Hippocrates is slain, Epicydes shut out of Syracuse, his praefects put to death, and the Carthaginians driven from the entire possession of Sicily by sea and land, what reason can the Romans have left why they should not desire the preservation of Syracuse, in the same manner as they would if Hiero were still living, who cultivated the friendship of Rome with unequalled fidelity?
That, therefore, neither the city nor its inhabitants were in any danger, except from themselves, if they neglected an opportunity of restoring themselves to the favour of the Romans; and that no so favourable a one would ever occur as that which presented itself at the present instant, immediately upon its appearing that they were delivered from their insolent tyrants.”