meanwhile, having overcome all opposition in Africa, left the command of his army to his
son Archagathus, and went back to Sicily, thinking that all he had done in Africa was as
nothing, if Syracuse was still to be besieged; for after the death of Hamilcar the son of
Gisco, a fresh army had been sent thither by the Carthaginians. Immediately on his arrival,
all the cities of Sicily, having previously heard of his achievements in Africa,
unanimously submitted to him; and being thus enabled to drive the Carthaginians from
Sicily, he made himself master of the whole island. Returning afterwards to Africa, he was
received by his army in a state of mutiny; for the discharge of their arrears of pay had
been deferred by the son till the arrival of his father. Summoning them, therefore, to a
general assembly, he proceeded to pacify them with soothing words, saying that “pay was
not to be asked of him, but to be taken from the enemy; that they must gain a common
victory, and common spoil; and that they must continue to support him for a short time,
till what remained of the war was finished, as they were certain that the capture of
Carthage would satisfy all their desires.” The mutiny being thus allayed, he led the army,
after an interval of some days, against the camp of the enemy, but commencing an engagement
too rashly, lost the greater part of his force. Retreating to his camp, therefore, and
finding the odium of his rash engagement affecting his character, and dreading, at the same
time, a revival of the former murmurs at his failure in paying the arrears, he fled from
his camp at midnight, attended only by his son Archagathus. When the soldiers heard of his
departure, they were in no less consternation than if they had been captured by the enemy,
exclaiming that “they had been twice deserted by their leader in the midst of the enemy's
country, and that the care of their lives had been abandoned by him by whom not even their
burial should have been neglected.” As they were going to pursue Agathocles, they were met
by some Numidians, and returned to the camp, but not without having seized and brought back
Archagathus, who, through mistaking his way in the night, had been separated from his
father. Agathocles, with the ships in which he had returned from Sicily, and the men that
he had left to guard them, arrived safe at Syracuse; affording a signal instance of
dishonourable conduct, a prince deserting his army, and a father abandoning his children.
In Africa, meanwhile, after the flight of Agathocles, his soldiers, making a
capitulation with the enemy, and putting to death the sons of Agathocles, surrendered
themselves to the Carthaginians. Archagathus, when he was going to be killed by Arcesilaus,
a former friend of his father, asked him “what he thought Agathocles would do to the
children of him by whom he was rendered childless?” Arcesilaus replied, that “he felt no
concern, since he knew that his children would certainly survive those of Agathocles.” Some
time after, the Carthaginians sent new commanders into Sicily, to terminate what remained
of the war there, and Agathocles made peace with them on equal terms.
1 All that took place in Sicily from the year B.C. 342 to B.C. 316, is omitted by Justin. During that period Timoleon, whom Justin does not even name, expelled the Carthaginians from Sicily, and gave liberty to the whole island. See Plutarch, Cornelius Nepos, and Diodorus Siculus, lib. xvi.
2 Adversus Aetnaeos.] Aetna was a town at the foot of Mount Aetna, not far from Catana.
3 The text of Wetzel, with the older editions, has expositis ignibus cereis tactisque, “ignes cerei” being interpreted “lighted waxen tapers.” But it may be doubted whether those two words will fairly bear that sense. Many other editions have ignibus Cereris, a conjecture of Sebisius, which Berneccerus, Scheffer, and Faber approve, because Ceres was worshipped in Sicily, and because Juvenal, Sat. xiv., has Vendet perjuria summa Exigua, Cereris tangens aramque pedemque. I am better pleased with a conjecture of Peyraredus, expositis ignibus sacris, tactisque, and have translated the passage accordingly. Nic. Heinsius would read Tunc Hamilcari aris rex positis insigni ceremonia, tactisque, &c.; Graevius, Tunc Hamilcari aris positis, et ignibus Cereris, tactisque, &c., on the supposition that aris might have been absorbed, as it were, by the preceding Hamilcari.
4 Namely, by sending out Hamilcar.
5 Sententias inauditas.] Justin means the secret votes, of which he had just spoken, and which were sealed up in an urn.Vorstius.
6 In the third year of the 117th olympiad, B.C. 309, on the 15th of August, at two in the afternoon, according to the calculations of astronomers.Wetzel.
7 Bomilcar, rex Poenorum.] He was one of the suffetes. See the first note on xix. 1.
8 See xxi. 4.
9 Concerning his banishment nothing has been said before.Wetzel.
10 See the 2nd and 3rd chapters of this book.