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At one time the Tarantini were exceedingly powerful, that is, when they enjoyed a democratic government; for they not only had acquired the largest fleet of all peoples in that part of the world but were wont to send forth an army of thirty thousand infantry, three thousand cavalry, and one thousand commanders of cavalry. Moreover, the Pythagorean philosophy was embraced by them, but especially by Archytas,1 who presided over the city for a considerable time. But later, because of their prosperity, luxury prevailed to such an extent that the public festivals celebrated among them every year were more in number than the days of the year; and in consequence of this they also were poorly governed. One evidence of their bad policies is the fact that they employed foreign generals; for they sent for Alexander2 the Molossian to lead them in their war against the Messapians and Leucanians, and, still before that, for Archidamus,3 the son of Agesilaüs, and, later on, for Cleonymus,4 and Agathocles,5 and then for Pyrrhus,6 at the time when they formed a league with him against the Romans. And yet even to those whom they called in they could not yield a ready obedience, and would set them at enmity. At all events, it was out of enmity that Alexander tried to transfer to Thurian territory the general festival assembly of all Greek peoples in that part of the world—the assembly which was wont to meet at Heracleia in Tarantine territory, and that he began to urge that a place for the meetings be fortified on the Acalandrus River. Furthermore, it is said that the unhappy end which befell him7 was the result of their ingratitude. Again, about the time of the wars with Hannibal, they were deprived of their freedom, although later they received a colony of Romans, and are now living at peace and better than before. In their war against the Messapians for the possession of Heracleia, they had the co-operation of the king of the Daunians and the king of the Peucetians.

1 Archytas (about 427-347 B.C.), besides being chosen seven times as chief magistrate ("strategus") of Tarentum, was famous as general, Pythagorean philosopher, mathematician, and author. Aristotle and Aristoxenus wrote works on his life and writings, but both of these works are now lost.

2 Alexander I was appointed king of Epeirus by Philip of Macedonia about 342 B.C., and was killed by a Luecanian about 330 B.C. (cp. 6. 1. 5).

3 Archidamus III, king of Sparta, was born about 400 B.C. and lost his life in 338 B.C. in this war.

4 Little is know of this Cleonymus, save that he was the son of Cleomenes II, who reigned at Sparta 370-309 B.C.

5 Agathocles (b. about 361 B.C.—d. 289 B.C.) was a tyrant of Syracuse. He appears to have led the Tarantini about 300 B.C.

6 Pyrrhus (about 318-272 B.C.), king of Epeirus, accepted the invitation of Tarentum in 281 B.C.

7 6. 1. 5.

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