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Treason in Lilybaeum

But about this time some of the officers of highest
Attempted treason in Lilybaeum.
rank in the mercenary army discussed among themselves a project for surrendering the town to the Romans, being fully persuaded that the men under their command would obey their orders. They got out of the city at night, went to the enemy's camp, and held a parley with the Roman commander on the subject. But Alexon the Achaean, who on a former occasion had saved Agrigentum from destruction when the mercenary troops of Syracuse made a plot to betray it, was on this occasion once more the first to detect this treason, and to report it to the general of the Carthaginians. The latter no sooner heard it than he at once summoned a meeting of those officers who were still in their quarters; and exhorted them to loyalty with prayers and promises of liberal bounties and favours, if they would only remain faithful to him, and not join in the treason of the officers who had left the town. They received his speech with enthusiasm, and were there and then commissioned by him, some to go to the Celts accompanied by Hannibal, who was the son of the Hannibal killed in Sardinia, and who had a previous acquaintance with that people gained in the expedition against them; others to fetch the rest of the mercenary troops, accompanied by Alexon, because he was liked and trusted by them. These officers then proceeded to summon a meeting of their men and address them. They pledged their own credit for the bounties promised them severally by the General, and without difficulty persuaded the men to remain staunch. The result was that when the officers, who had joined in the secret mission, returned to the walls and tried to address their men, and communicate the terms offered by the Romans, so far from finding any adherents, they could not even obtain a hearing, but were driven from the wall with volleys of stones and darts. But this treason among their mercenaries constituted a serious danger: the Carthaginians had a narrow escape from absolute ruin, and they owed their preservation from it to that same Alexon whose fidelity had on a former occasion preserved for Agrigentum her territory, constitution, and freedom.

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Lilybaeum (Italy) (2)
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