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Ancient History Sourcebook:
Herodotus:
The Carthaginian Attack on Sicily, 480 BCE


VII.165: They, however, who dwell in Sicily, say that Gelo, though he knew that he must serve under the Lacedaemonians, would nevertheless have come to the aid of the Hellenes, had not it been for Terillos, the son of Crinippos, king of Himera; who, driven from his city by Thero, the son of Ainesidemos, king of Agrigentum, brought into Sicily at this very time an army of three hundred thousand men---Phoenicians, Libyans, Iberians, Ligurians, Helisykians, Sardinians, and Corsicans, under the command of Hamilcar the son of Hanno, king of the Carthaginians. Terillos prevailed upon Hamilcar, partly as his sworn friend, but more through the zealous aid of Anaxilaos the son of Cretines, king of Rhegium; who, by giving his own sons to Hamilcar as hostages, induced him to make the expedition. Anaxilaos herein served his own father-in-law; for he was married to a daughter of Terillos, by name Kydippe. So, as Gelo could not give the Hellenes any aid, he sent (they say) the sum of money to Delphi.

VII.166: They say too, that the victory of Gelo and Thero in Sicily over Hamilcar the Carthaginian fell out upon the very day that the Hellenes defeated the Persians at Salamis. Hamilcar, who was a Carthaginian on his father's side only, but on his mother's a Syracusan, and who had been raised by his merit to the throne of Carthage, after the battle and the defeat, as I am informed, disappeared from sight: Gelo made the strictest search for him, but he could not be found anywhere, either dead or alive.

VII.167: The Carthaginians, who take probability for their guide, give the following account of this matter: Hamilcar, they say, during all the time that the battle raged between the Hellenes and the barbarians, which was from early dawn till evening, remained in the camp, sacrificing and seeking favorable omens, while he burned on a huge pyre the entire bodies of the victims which he offered.

Here, as he poured libations upon the sacrifices, he saw the rout of his army; whereupon he cast himself headlong into the flames, and so was consumed and disappeared. But whether Hamilcar's disappearance happened, as the Phoenicians tell us, in this way, or, as the Syracusans maintain, in some other, certain it is that the Carthaginians offer him sacrifice, and in all their colonies have monuments erected to his honor, as well as one, which is the grandest of all, at Carthage. Thus much concerning the affairs of Sicily.


Source:

Herodotus, The History, George Rawlinson, trans., (New York: Dutton & Co., 1862)

Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized the text.


This text is part of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

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© Paul Halsall, August 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu