previous next

So, having established peaceful conditions everywhere throughout Sicily, he caused the cities to experience a vast growth of prosperity.1 For many years, because of domestic troubles and border wars, and still more because of the numbers of tyrants who kept constantly appearing, the cities had become destitute of inhabitants and the open country had become a wilderness for lack of cultivation, producing no useful crops. But now new settlers streamed into the land in great numbers, and as a long period of peace set in, the fields were reclaimed for cultivation and bore abundant crops of all sorts. These the Siceliot Greeks sold to merchants at good prices and rapidly increased their wealth. [2]

It was by reason of the funds so acquired that many large constructions were completed in that period. There was, first, the structure in Syracuse on the Island called the "Hall of the Sixty Couches," which surpassed all the other buildings of Sicily in size and grandeur.2 This was built by Agathocles the despot, and since, in its pretentiousness, it went beyond the temples of the gods, so it received a mark of Heaven's displeasure in being struck by lightning. Then there were the towers along the shore of the Little Harbour with their mosaic inscriptions of varicoloured stones, proclaiming the name of their founder, Agathocles. Comparable to these but a little later, in the time of Hiero the king, there was built the Olympieium in the market and the altar beside the theatre, a stade in length and proportionally high and broad.3 [3]

Among the lesser cities is to be reckoned Agyrium, but since it shared in the increase of settlers due to this agricultural prosperity, it built the finest theatre in Sicily after that of Syracuse, together with temples of the gods, a council chamber, and a market. There were also memorable towers, as well as pyramidal monuments of architectural distinction marking graves, many and great.

1 Nepos Timoleon 3.1-2. These observations are probably Diodorus's own, based on his personal experience and knowledge. Note the reference to his city, Agyrium, in chap. 83.3. Kokalos, 4 (1958) is devoted exclusively to articles concerned with the effect of Timoleon on Sicily.

2 This was a large banqueting hall. Cp. the tent of one hundred couches employed by Alexander the Great (Book 17.16.4).

3 These monuments are mentioned by Cicero In Verrem 2.4.53.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1958 AD (1)
hide References (8 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: