This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
There was another daughter of Hiero's, Heraclia, the wife of Zoippus, a man whom Hieronymus had sent on an embassy to Ptolemy, and who had chosen to remain in voluntary exile.  As soon as she learned that the executioners were coming to her she fled for sanctuary into the private chapel where the household gods were, accompanied by her unmarried daughters with their hair dishevelled and everything in their appearance which could appeal to pity.  This silent appeal she strengthened by remonstrances and prayers. She implored the executioners by the memory of her father Hiero and her brother Gelo not to allow an innocent woman like her to fall a victim to the hatred felt for Hieronymus.  "All that I have gained by his reign is my husband's exile; in his lifetime my sisters' fortunes were very different from mine and now that he has been killed our interests are not the same.  Why! had Andranodorus' designs succeeded, her sister would have shared her husband's throne and the rest would have been her slaves.  Is there one of you who doubts that if any one were to announce to Zoippus the assassination of Hieronymus and the recovery of liberty for Syracuse, he would not at once take ship and return to his native land?  How are all human hopes falsified! Now his country is free and his wife and children are battling for their lives, and in what are they opposing freedom and law?  What danger is there for any man in a lonely, all but widowed woman and daughters who are living in orphanhood? Ah, but even if there is no danger to be feared from us, we are of the hated royal birth.  Then banish us far from Syracuse and Sicily, order us to be transported to Alexandria, send the wife to her husband, the daughters to their father."  She saw that ears and hearts were deaf to her appeals and that some were getting their swords ready without further loss of time. Then, no longer praying for herself, she implored them, to spare her daughters; their tender age even an exasperated enemy would respect.  "Do not," she cried, "in wreaking vengeance on tyrants, imitate the crimes which have made them so hated."  In the midst of her cries they dragged her out of the chapel and killed her. Then they attacked the daughters who were bespattered with their mother's blood. Distracted by grief and terror they dashed like mad things out of the chapel, and, could they have escaped into the street, they would have created a tumult all through the city.  Even as it was, in the confined space of the house they for some time eluded all those armed men without being hurt, and freed themselves from those who got hold of them, though they had to struggle out of so many strong hands. At last, exhausted by wounds, while the whole place was covered by their blood, they fell lifeless to the ground.  Their fate, pitiable in any case, was made still more so by an evil chance, for very soon after all was over a messenger came to forbid their being killed.  The popular sentiment had changed to the side of mercy, and mercy soon passed into self-accusing anger for they had been so hasty to punish that they had left no time for repentance or for their passions to cool down.  Angry remonstrances were heard everywhere against the praetors, and the people insisted upon an election to fill the places of Andranodorus and Themistus, a proceeding by no means to the liking of the other praetors.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.