The Rise of Hiero II
But the Mamertines (for this was the name which the
Effect of the fall of the rebellious garrison of Rhegium on the Mamertines.
Campanians gave themselves after they became masters of Messene
), as long as they
enjoyed the alliance of the Roman captors of
, not only exercised absolute control
over their own town and district undisturbed,
but about the neighbouring territory also gave no little trouble
to the Carthaginians and Syracusans, and levied tribute from
many parts of Sicily
. But when they were deprived of this
support, the captors of Rhegium
being now invested and besieged, they were themselves promptly forced back into the
town again by the Syracusans, under circumstances which I
will now detail.
Not long before this the military forces of the Syracusans
The rise of Hiero. He is elected General by the army, B. C. 275-274.
had quarrelled with the citizens, and while stationed near Merganè elected commanders from
their own body. These were Artemidorus and
Hiero, the latter of whom afterwards became
King of Syracuse
. At this time he was quite a young man, but
had a certain natural aptitude for kingcraft and the politic conduct of affairs. Having taken over the command, and having by
means of some of his connexions made his way into the city,
he got his political opponents into his hands; but conducted
the government with such mildness, and in so lofty a spirit,
that the Syracusans, though by no means usually acquiescing
in the election of officers by the soldiers, did on this occasion
unanimously approve of Hiero as their general. His first step
made it evident to close observers that his hopes soared above
the position of a mere general.