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A Band of Gallic Mercenaries

That men, in the infirmity of human nature, should fall into misfortunes which defy calculation, is the fault not of the sufferers but of Fortune, and of those who do the wrong; but that they should from mere levity, and with their eyes open, thrust themselves upon the most serious disasters is without dispute the fault of the victims themselves. Therefore it is that pity and sympathy and assistance await those whose failure is due to Fortune: reproach and rebuke from all men of sense those who have only their own folly to thank for it.

It is the latter that the Epirotes now richly deserved at the

The career of a body of Gallic mercenaries,
hands of the Greeks. For in the first place, who in his senses, knowing the common report as to the character of the Gauls, would not have hesitated to trust to them a city so rich, and offering so many opportunities for treason? And again, who would not have been on his guard against the bad character of this particular body of them? For they had originally been driven from their native country by an outburst of popular indignation at an act of treachery done by them to their own kinsfolk and relations.
at Agrigentum,
at Eryx.
Then having been received by the Carthaginians, because of the exigencies of the war in which the latter were engaged, and being drafted into Agrigentum to garrison it (being at the time more than three thousand strong), they seized the opportunity of a dispute as to pay, arising between the soldiers and their generals, to plunder the city; and again being brought by the Carthaginians into Eryx to perform the same duty, they first endeavoured to betray the city and those who were shut up in it with them to the Romans who were besieging it; and when they failed in that treason, they deserted in a body to the enemy: whose trust they also betrayed by plundering the temple of Aphrodite in Eryx.
Disarmed by the Romans.
Thoroughly convinced, therefore, of their abominable character, as soon as they had made peace with Carthage the Romans made it their first business to disarm them, put them on board ship, and forbid them ever to enter any part of Italy. These were the men whom the Epirotes made the protectors of their democracy and the guardians of their laws! To such men as these they entrusted their most wealthy city! How then can it be denied that they were the cause of their own misfortunes?

My object, in commenting on the blind folly of the Epirotes, is to point out that it is never wise to introduce a foreign garrison, especially of barbarians, which is too strong to be controlled.

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Eryx (Italy) (3)
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