To this revolt the minds of other states also were stimulated; and the Roman garrisons were now either driven out of the citadels, or treacherously given up and overpowered.
Enna, which stood on an eminence lofty and of difficult ascent on all sides, was impregnable on account of its situation, and had besides in its citadel a strong garrison commanded by one who was very unlikely to be overreached by treachery, Lucius Pinarius, a man of vigorous mind, who relied more on the measures he took to prevent treachery, than on the fidelity of the Sicilians;
and at that time particularly the intelligence he had received of so many cities being betrayed, and revolting, and of the massacre of the garrisons, had made him solicitous to use every precaution.
Accordingly, by day and night equally, every thing was kept in readiness, and every place furnished with guards and watches, the soldiery being continually under arms and at their posts.
But when the principal men in Enna, who had already entered into a covenant with Himilco to betray the garrison, found that they could get no opportunity of circumventing the Roman, they resolved to act openly. They urged, that “the city and the citadel ought to be under their control, as they had formed an alliance
with the Romans on the understanding that they were to be free, and had not been delivered into their custody as slaves. That they therefore thought it just that the keys of the gates should be restored to them.
That their honour formed the strongest tie upon good allies, and that the people and senate of Rome would entertain feelings of gratitude towards them if they continued in friendship with them of their own free will, and [p. 941]
not by compulsion.”
The Roman replied, that “he was placed there by his general to protect the place; that from him he had received the keys of the gates and the custody of the citadel, trusts which he held not subject to his own will, nor that of the inhabitants of Enna, but to his who committed them to him.
That among the Romans, for a man to quit his post was a capital offence, and that parents had sanctioned that law by the death even of their own children. That the consul Marcellus was not far off; that they might send ambassadors to him, who possessed the right and liberty of deciding.”
But they said, they would certainly not send to him, and solemnly declared, that as they could not obtain their object by argument, they would seek some means of asserting their liberty.
Pinarius upon this observed, “that if they thought it too much to send to the consul, still they would, at least, grant him an assembly of the people, that it might be ascertained whether these denunciations came from a few, or from the whole state.” An assembly of the people was proclaimed for the next day, with the general consent.