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History of Universal Supremacy Must Be a Universal History

By means of these facts I presume that what I more than once asserted at the beginning of my work is now shown by actual experience to deserve unmixed credit. I mean my assertion, that it is impossible for historians of particular places to get a view of universal history. For how is it possible for a man who has only read a separate history of Sicilian or Spanish affairs to understand and grasp the greatness of the events? Or, what is still more important, in what manner and under what form of polity fortune brought to pass that most surprising of all revolutions that have happened in our time, I mean the reduction of all known parts of the world under one rule and governance, a thing unprecedented in the history of mankind. In what manner the Romans took Syracuse or Iberia may be possibly learned to a certain extent by means of such particular histories; but how they arrived at universal supremacy, and what opposition their grand designs met with in particular places, or what on the other hand contributed to their success, and at what epochs, this it is difficult to take in without the aid of universal history. Nor, again, is it easy to appreciate the greatness of their achievements except by the latter method. For the fact of the Romans having sought to gain Iberia, or at another time Sicily; or having gone on a campaign with military and naval forces, told by itself, would not be anything very wonderful. But if we learn that these were all done at once, and that many more undertakings were in course of accomplishment at the same time,—all at the cost of one government and commonwealth; and if we see what dangers and wars in their own territory were, at the very time, encumbering the men who had all these things on hand: thus, and only thus, will the astonishing nature of the events fully dawn upon us, and obtain the attention which they deserve. So much for those who suppose that by studying an episode they have become acquainted with universal history. . . .


Hippocrates and Epicydes Take Over Syracuse

Hieronymus succeeded his grandfather, Hiero, in B. C. 216, and was assassinated in Leontini thirteen months afterwards, in B. C. 215. His death, however, did not bring more peaceful relations between Syracuse and Rome, but only gave the Syracusans more able leaders (Livy, 24, 21). After the slaughter of Themistius and Andramodorus, who had been elected on the board of Generals, and the cruel murder of all the royal family, Epicydes and Hippocrates,—Syracusans by descent, but born and brought up at Carthage, and who had been sent to Syracuse on a special mission by Hannibal,—were elected into the vacant places in the board of Generals. They became the leading spirits in the Syracusan government, and for a time kept up an appearance of wishing to come to terms with Rome; and legates were actually sent to Marcellus, at Morgantia (near Catana). But when the Carthaginian fleet arrived at Pachynus, Hippocrates and Epicydes threw off their mask, and declared that the other magistrates were betraying the town to the Romans. This accusation was rendered more specious by the appearance of Appius with a Roman fleet at the mouth of the harbour. A rush was made to the shore by the inhabitants to prevent the Romans landing; and the tumult was with difficulty composed by the wisdom of one of the magistrates, Apollonides, who persuaded the people to vote for the peace with Rome (B. C. 215. Livy, 24, 21-28). But Hippocrates and Epicydes determined not to acknowledge the peace: they therefore provoked the Romans by plundering in or near the Roman pale,1 and then took refuge in Leontini. Marcellus complained at Syracuse, but was told that Leontini was not within Syracusan jurisdiction. Marcellus, therefore, took Leontini. Hippocrates and Epicydes managed to escape, and by a mixture of force and fraud contrived soon afterwards to force their way into Syracuse, seize and put to death most of the generals, and induce the excited mob, whom they had inspired with the utmost dread of being betrayed to Rome, to elect them sole generals (Livy, 24, 29-32). The Romans at once ordered Syracuse to be besieged, giving out that they were coming not to wage war with the inhabitants, but to deliver them.

1 To which proceedings may be referred a sentence of Polybius preserved by Suidas, s. v. διεσκευασμένην—"They send out certain Cretans, as though on a raid, giving them a sham despatch to carry." See Livy, 24, 30-31.

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