The Siceli, who had hated
Dionysius from of old and now had an opportunity to revolt, went over in a body, with the
exception of the people of Assorus, to the Carthaginians. In Syracuse Dionysius set free the
slaves and manned sixty ships from their numbers; he also summoned over a thousand mercenaries
from the Lacedaemonians, and went about the countryside strengthening the fortresses and
storing them with provisions. He was most concerned, however, to fortify the citadels of the
Leontines and to store in them the harvest from the plains.
also persuaded the Campanians who were dwelling in Catane to move to Aetne, as it is now
called, since it was an exceptionally strong fortress. After this he led forth his entire army
one hundred and sixty stades from Syracuse and encamped near Taurus, as it is called. He had at
that time thirty thousand infantry, more than three thousand cavalry, and one hundred and
eighty ships of war, of which only a few were triremes.
Himilcon threw down the walls of Messene and issued orders to
his soldiers to raze to the ground the dwellings, and to leave not a tile or timber or anything
else but either to burn or break them. When the many hands of the soldiers speedily
accomplished this task, no one would have known that the site had been occupied
For, reflecting that the place was far separated from the cities which
were his allies and yet was the most strategically situated of any in Sicily, he had determined
that he would see either that it was kept uninhabited or that it was an arduous and prolonged
task to rebuild it.