previous next

Misrepresentations of Philinus and Fabius

The writers whom I have named exemplify the truth
Philinus's misrepresentations.
of these remarks. Philinus, for instance, commencing the narrative with his second book, says that the "Carthaginians and Syracusans engaged in the war and sat down before Messene; that the Romans arriving by sea entered the town, and immediately sallied out from it to attack the Syracusans; but that after suffering severely in the engagement they retired into Messene; and that on a second occasion, having issued forth to attack the Carthaginians, they not only suffered severely but lost a considerable number of their men captured by the enemy." But while making this statement, he represents Hiero as so destitute of sense as, after this engagement, not only to have promptly burnt his stockade and tents and fled under cover of night to Syracuse, but to have abandoned all the forts which had been established to overawe the Messenian territory. Similarly he asserts that "the Carthaginians immediately after their battle evacuated their entrenchment and dispersed into various towns, without venturing any longer even to dispute the possession of the open country; and that, accordingly, their leaders seeing that their troops were utterly demoralised determined in consideration not to risk a battle: that the Romans followed them, and not only laid waste the territory of the Carthaginians and Syracusans, but actually sat down before Syracuse itself and began to lay siege to it." These statements appear to me to be full of glaring inconsistency, and to call for no refutation at all. The very men whom he describes to begin with as besieging Messene, and as victorious in the engagements, he afterwards represents as running away, abandoning the open country, and utterly demoralised: while those whom he starts by saying were defeated and besieged, he concludes by describing as engaging in a pursuit, as promptly seizing the open places, and finally as besieging Syracuse. Nothing can reconcile these statements. It is impossible. Either his initial statement, or his account of the subsequent events, must be false. In point of fact the latter part of his story is the true one. The Syracusans and Carthaginians did abandon the open country, and the Romans did immediately afterwards commence a siege of Syracuse and of Echetla, which lies in the district between the Syracusan and Carthaginian pales. For the rest it must necessarily be acknowledged that the first part of his account is false; and that whereas the Romans were victorious in the engagements under Messene, they have been represented by this historian as defeated. Through the whole of this work we shall find Philinus acting in a similar spirit: and much the same may be said of Fabius, as I shall show when the several points arise.

I have now said what was proper on the subject of this digression. Returning to the matter in hand I will endeavour by a continuous narrative of moderate dimensions to guide my readers to a true knowledge of this war.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Syracuse (Italy) (4)
Messene (Greece) (4)
Echetla (Italy) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: