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38. As they met in assembly to assign new commands, the time being midsummer, extraordinary peals of thunder and evil portents from the heavens occurred for fifteen days together, and dispersed the people, whose superstitious fears prevented them from appointing other generals. [2] And when, after waiting for settled fair weather, the popular leaders were proceeding to hold the elections, a draught-ox, who was quite accustomed to crowds, but now for some reason or other got angry at his driver and broke away from the yoke, made a dash for the theatre, and at once dispersed and scattered the people in disorderly flight; then he ran, plunging and throwing everything into confusion, over as much of the rest of the city as the enemy afterwards occupied. However, the Syracusans paid no heed to all this, but elected twenty-five generals, one of whom was Heracleides; [3] they also sent secretly and without his knowledge to Dion's mercenaries, and tried to get them to leave his service and come over to their side, promising them even an equality of civic rights. They, however, would not listen to these proposals, but showing fidelity and zeal, took their weapons in their hands, put Dion in their midst, encompassed him about, and tried to conduct him out of the city, doing violence to no one, but roundly reviling those whom they encountered for their base ingratitude. [4] Then the citizens, seeing that the mercenaries were few in number and did not offer to attack, despised them, and having become far more numerous than they, set upon them, thinking to overpower them easily before they got out of the city, amid slay them all.

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