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Himilcar, leading his army at dawn within the walls, put to death practically all who had been left behind; yes, even those who had fled for safety to the temples the Carthaginians hauled out and slew. [2] And we are told that Tellias, who was the foremost citizen in wealth and honourable character, shared in the misfortune of his country: He had decided to take refuge with certain others in the temple of Athena, thinking that the Carthaginians would refrain from acts of lawlessness against the gods, but when he saw their impiety, he set fire to the temple and burned himself together with the dedications in it. For by one deed, he thought, he would withhold from the gods impiety, from the enemy a vast store of plunder, and from himself, most important of all, certain physical indignity. [3] But Himilcar, after pillaging and industriously ransacking the temples and dwellings, collected as great a store of booty as a city could be expected to yield which had been inhabited by two hundred thousand people, had gone unravaged since the date of its founding, had been well-nigh the wealthiest of the Greek cities of that day, and whose citizens, furthermore, had shown their love of the beautiful in expensive collections of works of art of every description. [4] Indeed a multitude of paintings executed with the greatest care was found and an extraordinary number of sculptures of every description and worked with great skill. The most valuable pieces, accordingly, Himilcar sent to Carthage, among which, as it turned out, was the bull of Phalaris,1 and the rest of the pillage he sold as booty. [5] As regards this bull, although Timaeus in his History has maintained that it never existed at all, he has been refuted by Fortune herself; for some two hundred and sixty years after the capture of Acragas, when Scipio sacked Carthage,2 he returned to the Acragantini, together with their other possessions still in the hands of the Carthaginians, the bull, which was still in Acragas at the time this history was being written. [6]

I have been led to speak of this matter rather copiously because Timaeus, who criticized most bitterly the historians before his time and left the writers of history bereft of all forgiveness, is himself caught improvising in the very province where he most proclaims his own accuracy. [7] For historians should, in my opinion, be granted charity in errors that come of ignorance, since they are human beings and since the truth of ages past is hard to discover, but historians who deliberately do not give the exact facts should properly be open to censure, whenever in flattering one man or another or in attacking others from hatred too bitterly, they stray from the truth.

1 Cp. Book 9.18-19.

2 In 146 B.C.

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