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[6]

In the interior is Enna, where is the temple of Demeter, with only a few inhabitants; it is situated on a hill, and is wholly surrounded by broad plateaus that are tillable. It suffered most at the hands of Eunus1 and his runaway slaves, who were besieged there and only with difficulty were dislodged by the Romans. The inhabitants of Catana and Tauromenium and also several other peoples suffered this same fate.

Eryx, a lofty hill,2 is also inhabited. It has a temple of Aphrodite that is held in exceptional honor, and in early times was full of female temple-slaves, who had been dedicated in fulfillment of vows not only by the people of Sicily but also by many people from abroad; but at the present time, just as the settlement itself,3 so the temple is in want of men, and the multitude of temple-slaves has disappeared. In Rome, also, there is a reproduction of this goddess, I mean the temple before the Colline Gate4 which is called that of Venus Erycina and is remarkable for its shrine and surrounding colonnade.

But the rest of the settlements5 as well as most of the interior have come into the possession of shepherds; for I do not know of any settled population still living in either Himera, or Gela, or Callipolis or Selinus or Euboea or several other places. Of these cities Himera was founded by the Zanclaeans of Mylae, Callipolis by the Naxians, Selinus by the Megarians of the Sicilian Megara, and Euboea by the Leontines.6 Many of the barbarian cities, also, have been wiped out; for example Camici,7 the royal residence of Cocalus,8 at which Minos is said to have been murdered by treachery. The Romans, therefore, taking notice that the country was deserted, took possession of the mountains and most of the plains and then gave them over to horseherds, cowherds, and shepherds; and by these herdsmen the island was many times put in great danger, because, although at first they only turned to brigandage in a sporadic way, later they both assembled in great numbers and plundered the settlements, as, for example, when Eunus and his men took possession of Enna. And recently, in my own time, a certain Selurus, called the "son of Aetna," was sent up to Rome because he had put himself at the head of an army and for a long time had overrun the regions round about Aetna with frequent raids; I saw him torn to pieces by wild beasts at an appointed combat of gladiators in the Forum; for he was placed on a lofty scaffold, as though on Aetna, and the scaffold was made suddenly to break up and collapse, and he himself was carried down with it into cages of wildbeasts—fragile cages that had been prepared beneath the scaffold for that purpose.

1 Eunus was a native of Apameia in Syria, but became a slave of a certain Antigenes at Enna, and about 136 B.C. became the leader of the Sicilian slaves in the First Servile War. For a full account of his amazing activities as juggler, diviner, leader, and self-appointed king, as also of his great following see Diod. Sic. 34.2. 5-18

2 Now Mt. San Giuliano. But Eryx is at the north-western angle of Sicily, near the sea, not in the interior and for this reason some editors consider the passage out of place.

3 Also called Eryx. Hamilcar Barca transferred most of the inhabitants to Drepanum (at the foot of the mountain) in 260 B.C. After that time the city was of no consequence, but the sacred precinct, with its strong walls, remained a strategic position of great importance.

4 The temple of Venus Erycina on the Capitol was dedicated by Q. Fabius Maximus in 215 B.C., whereas the one here referred to, outside the Colline Gate, was dedicated by L. Portius Licinus in 181 B.C.

5 i.e., the rest of the settlements on "the remaining sides" (mentioned at the beginning of section 5), as the subsequent clause shows.

6 A number of the editors transfer to this point the sentence "The whole . . . fortunes," at the end of section 7 below.

7 Camici (or Camicus) is supposed to have been on the site of what is Camastro.

8 The mythical king who harbored Daedalus when he fled from Minos.

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