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When Eubulus was archon at Athens, the Romans elected as consuls Marcus Fabius and Servius Sulpicius.2 In this year Timoleon the Corinthian, who had been chosen by his fellow-citizens to command in Syracuse, made ready for his expedition to Sicily. [2] He enrolled seven hundred mercenaries and, putting his men aboard four triremes and three fast-sailing ships, set sail from Corinth. As he coasted along he picked up three additional ships from the Leucadians and the Corcyraeans, and so with ten ships he crossed the Ionian Gulf.3 [3]

During this voyage, a peculiar and strange event happened to Timoleon. Heaven came to the support of his venture and foretold his coming fame and the glory of his achievements, for all through the night he was preceded by a torch blazing in the sky up to the moment when the squadron made harbour in Italy. [4] Now Timoleon had heard already in Corinth from the priestesses of Demeter and Persephone4 that, while they slept, the goddesses had told them that they would accompany Timoleon on his voyage to their sacred island. [5] He and his companions were, in consequence, delighted, recognizing that the goddesses were in fact giving them their support. He dedicated his best ship to them, calling it "The Sacred Ship of Demeter and Persephone."5

Encountering no hazards, the squadron put in at Metapontum in Italy, and so, shortly after, did a Carthaginian trireme also bringing Carthaginian ambassadors. [6] Accosting Timoleon, they warned him solemnly not to start a war or even to set foot in Sicily. But the people of Rhegium were calling him and promised to join him as allies, and so Timoleon quickly put out from Metapontum hoping to outstrip the report of his coming. [7] Since the Carthaginians controlled the seas, he was afraid that they would prevent his crossing over to Sicily. He was, then, hastily completing his passage to Rhegium.

1 345/4 B.C.

2 Eubulus was archon from July 345 to June 344 B.C. Broughton (1.131) gives the consuls of 345 B.C. as M. Fabius Dorsuo and Servius Sulpicius Camerinus Rufus.

3 The narrative is continued from chap. 65. There is a parallel but often differing account of these events in Plut. Timoleon 7.1-3; 8.3, where the ten ships are itemized as seven Corinthian, one Leucadian, and two Corcyraean. This distinction between triremes and "fast-sailing ships" is artificial.

4 Plut. Timoleon 8.1.

5 Plut. Timoleon 8.1 states that this dedication was made by the Corinthians before the departure of the flotilla.

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