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[5] Pyrrhus was brought over to Sicily by an embassy of the Syracusans. The Carthaginians had crossed over and were destroying the Greek cities, and had sat down to invest Syracuse, the only one now remaining. When Pyrrhus heard this from the envoys he abandoned Tarentum and the Italiots on the coast, and crossing into Sicily forced the Carthaginians to raise the siege of Syracuse. In his self-conceit, although the Carthaginians, being Phoenicians of Tyre by ancient descent, were more experienced sea men than any other non-Greek people of that day, Pyrrhus was nevertheless encouraged to meet them in a naval battle, employing the Epeirots, the majority of whom, even after the capture of Troy, knew no thing of the sea nor even as yet how to use salt. Witness the words of Homer in the Odyssey:—“Nothing they know of ocean, and mix not salt
with their victuals.
Hom. Od. 11.122

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