While these things were being done in Spain, it is true that Marcellus, after the capture of Syracuse, had settled matters in general in Sicily with such conscientiousness and honesty that he added not only to his own fame, but also to the dignity of the Roman people. But as regards the adornments of the city, the statues and paintings which Syracuse possessed in abundance, he carried them away to Rome.
They were spoils of the enemy, to be sure, and acquired by right of war. Yet from that came the very beginning of enthusiasm for Greek works of art and consequently of this general licence to despoil all kinds of buildings, sacred and profane, a licence which finally turned against Roman gods, and first of all against the very temple which was magnificently adorned by Marcellus.
For temples dedicated by Marcus Marcellus near the Porta Capena1
used to be visited by foreigners on account of their remarkable adornments of that kind; but of these a very small part is still to be seen.
Embassies from nearly all the states in Sicily kept coming to him. As their pleas were different, so was their status. Those who before the capture of Syracuse either had not rebelled or had returned to friendly relations were admitted and honoured as faithful allies. Those whom fear had led to surrender after the capture of Syracuse, as vanquished received terms from the victor.
There was left to the Romans, however, no small remainder of the war around Agrigentum, namely, Epicydes and Hanno, the surviving commanders in the previous war, and a third new general sent by Hannibal in place of [p. 497]
Hippocrates. He was of Libyphoenician race, from2
and called Muttines by his countrymen, a man of energy who under Hannibal's teaching had mastered all the arts of war.
He was furnished by Epicydes and Hanno with Numidian auxiliaries, with which he so thoroughly scoured the enemy's lands and sought out allies, in order to retain their loyalty by lending aid to each man at the right
moment, that in a short time he filled all Sicily with his name and was the highest hope of those supporting the Carthaginian cause.
And so, after being confined until then within the walls of Agrigentum, the Carthaginian general and the Syracusan, emboldened not more by the advice of Muttines than by their confidence in him to go outside the walls, pitched their camp by the river Himera.
When news of this reached Marcellus, he at once set his troops in motion and established himself at a distance of about four miles from the enemy, to wait and see what they were doing or intending.
But Muttines gave no occasion or time for hesitation, or for a plan of action; for he crossed the river and attacked the outposts of the enemy, causing great alarm and confusion.
The next day by an engagement almost in regular form he drove the enemy inside their fortifications. Then he was recalled by a mutiny of the Numidians breaking out in the camp, after about three hundred of them had retired to Heraclea Minoa. On leaving, to pacify and recall these men, he is said to have expressly warned the generals not to engage the enemy in his absence.
At that both generals were indignant, especially Hanno, already uneasy because of the man's fame. To think that Muttines, a degenerate African, should set a limit [p. 499]
for him, a Carthaginian commander, sent by senate4
He prevailed upon the hesitating Epicydes to cross the river and form their battle-line. For if they should wait for Muttines and the fortune of battle should favour, the glory, he said, would unquestionably fall to Muttines.