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Hieronymus of Syracuse

Meanwhile intelligence of this transaction had reached
The Roman praetor sends to remonstrate. scene with the king.
the Roman praetor at Lilybaeum, who immediately despatched legates to Hieronymus, to renew the treaty which had been made with his ancestors. Being thoroughly annoyed with this embassy, Hieronymus said that "He was sorry for the Romans that they had come to such utter and shameful grief1 in the battles in Italy at the hands of the Carthaginians." The legates were overpowered by the rudeness of the answer: still they proceeded to ask him, "Who said such things about them?" Whereupon the king pointed to the Carthaginian envoys who were there, and said, "You had better convict them, if they have really been telling me lies?" The Roman legates answered that it was not their habit to take the word of enemies: and advised him to do nothing in violation of the existing treaty; for that would be at once equitable and the best thing for himself. To this the king answered that he would take time to consider of it, and tell them his decision another time; but he proceeded to ask them, "How it came about that before his grandfather's death a squadron of fifty Roman ships had sailed as far as Pachynus and then gone back again." The fact was that a short time ago the Romans had heard that Hiero was dead; and being much alarmed lest people in Syracuse, despising the youth of the grandson whom he left, should stir up a revolution, they had made this cruise with the intention of being ready there to assist his youthful weakness, and to help in maintaining his authority; but being informed that his grandfather was still alive, they sailed back again. When the ambassadors had stated these facts, the young king answered again, "Then please to allow me too now, O Romans, to maintain my authority by 'sailing back' to see what I can get from Carthage." The Roman legates perceiving the warmth with which the king was engaging in his policy, said nothing at the time; but returned and informed the praetor who had sent them of what had been said. From that time forward, therefore, the Romans kept a careful watch upon him as an enemy.

1 κακοί κακῶς, a phrase at once insulting and vulgar.

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Syracuse (Italy) (2)
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