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37. But since, as it would seem, not only all larks must grow a crest, as Simonides says, but also every democracy a false accuser, even Timoleon was attacked by two of the popular leaders at Syracuse, Laphystius and Demaenetus. Of these, Laphystius once tried to make him give surety that he would appear at a certain trial, and Timoleon would not suffer the citizens to stop the man by their turbulent disapproval; [2] for he himself, he said, had of his own accord endured all his toils and dangers in order that any Syracusan who wished might avail himself of the laws. And when the other, Demaenetus, brought many denunciations in open assembly against his conduct in the field, to him, indeed, Timoleon made no answer, but said he owed thanks to the gods, for he had prayed them that he might live to see the Syracusans gain the right of free speech.

[3] So, then, having by general confession performed the greatest and most glorious deeds of any Greek of his time, and having been the only one to succeed in those achievements to which the rhetoricians, in their speeches at the national assemblies, were ever exhorting the Greeks; having been removed betimes by a happy fortune, pure and unstained with blood, from the evils which were rife in the mother country, [4] and having displayed ability and valour in his dealings with Barbarians and tyrants, as well as justice and gentleness in his dealings with the Greeks and his friends; having set up most of the trophies of his contests without causing his fellow citizens either tears or mourning, and having in even less than eight years1 handed over to her inhabitants a Sicily purged of her perpetual intestine miseries and complaints; [5] at last, being now advanced in years, he began to lose his sight, and then, after a little, became completely blind. He had done nothing himself to occasion this, nor was he therein the sport and mockery of Fortune, but suffered from some congenital disease, as it would seem, which came upon him with his years; for it is said that not a few of his kindred lost their sight in a similar way, when it was enfeebled by old age. [6] But Athanis says that while the war against Hippo and Mamercus was still in progress, in his camp at Mylae, his vision was obscured by a cataract in the eye, and it was plain to all that he was getting blind; he did not, however, desist from the siege on this account, but persisted in the war and captured the tyrants; yet after his return to Syracuse, he at once laid aside the sole command and begged the citizens to excuse him from it, now that matters had reached the happiest conclusion.

1 346-338 B.C.

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