This speech was received with the most unqualified approbation of all present. It was resolved, however, that praetors should be elected before the nomination of deputies; which being done, some of the praetors themselves were sent as deputies to Marcellus, the chief of whom thus addressed him:
“Neither in the first instance did we Syracusans revolt from you, but Hieronymus, whose impiety towards you was by no means so great as towards us;
nor afterwards was it any Syracusan who disturbed the peace established by the death of the tyrant, but Hippocrates and Epicydes, creatures of the tyrant; while we were overpowered, on the one hand by fear, and on the other by treachery. Nor can any one say that there ever was a time when we were in possession of our liberty, when we were not also at peace with you.
In the present instance, manifestly, as soon as ever we became our own masters, by the death of those persons who held Syracuse in [p. 999]
subjection, we lost no time in coming to deliver up our arms, to surrender ourselves, our city, and our walls, and to refuse no conditions which you shall impose upon us.
To you, Marcellus, the gods have given the glory of having captured the most renowned and beautiful of the Grecian cities. Every memorable exploit which we have at any time achieved by land or sea accrues to the splendour of your triumph.
Would you wish that it should be known only by fame, how great a city has been captured by you, rather than that she should stand as a monument even to posterity; so that to every one who visits her by sea or land, she may point out at one time our trophies gained from the Athenians and Carthaginians, at another time those which you have gained from us; and that you should transmit Syracuse unimpaired to your family, to be kept under the protection and patronage of the race of the Marcelli?
Let not the memory of Hieronymus have greater weight with you than that of Hiero. The latter was your friend for a much longer period than the former was your enemy. From the latter you have realized even benefits, while the frenzy of Hieronymus only brought ruin upon himself.” At the hands of the Romans all things were obtainable and secure.
There was a greater disposition to war, and more danger to be apprehended among themselves; for the deserters, thinking that they were delivered up to the Romans, induced the mercenary auxiliaries to entertain the same apprehension; and hastily seizing their arms, they first put the praetors to death, and then ran through the city to massacre the Syracusans.
In their rage they slew all whom chance threw in their way, and plundered every thing which presented itself; and then, lest they should have no leaders, they elected six praetors, so that three might have the command in the Achradina, and three in the island.
At length, the tumult having subsided, and the mercenary troops having ascertained, by inquiry, what had been negotiated with the Romans, it began to appear, as was really the case, that their cause and that of the deserters were different.