Such, then, were the signs from Heaven which encouraged the expedition; and making haste, since they were crossing the open sea, they skirted the coast of Italy. But the tidings from Sicily much perplexed Timoleon and disheartened his soldiers.
For Hicetas, after defeating Dionysius in battle and occupying most of the outlying portions of Syracuse, had shut the tyrant up in the acropolis and what was called The Island, where he was himself helping to besiege and wall him in, while he ordered the Carthaginians to see to it that Timoleon should not land in Sicily, but that he and his forces should be repulsed, and that they themselves, at their leisure, should divide the island with one another. So the Carthaginians sent twenty triremes to Rhegium, on board of which were envoys from Hicetas to Timoleon carrying proposals which conformed to his proceedings.
For they were specious and misleading suggestions covering base designs, the envoys demanding that Timoleon himself, if he wished, should come to Hicetas as counsellor and partner in all his successes, but that he should send his ships and his soldiers back to Corinth, since, as they claimed, the war was almost finished, and the Carthaginians were ready to prevent their passage and to fight them if they tried to force one.
When, therefore, the Corinthians, after putting in at Rhegium, met these envoys, and saw the Carthaginians riding at anchor not far off they were indignant at the insult put upon them, and were all of them filled with rage at Hicetas and fear for the Sicilian Greeks, who, as they clearly saw, were left to be a prize and reward, to Hicetas on the one hand for his treachery, and to the Carthaginians on the other for making him tyrant. Moreover, it seemed impossible to overcome both the ships of the Barbarians confronting them there with twice their numbers, and the force under Hicetas in Syracuse, where they had come to take command.