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Jieved from this "difficulty, and soon recovered "the advantage. The famine, which now made itself felt in its turn in the besieged city, the dissensions of the Sicilian generals, and the incapacity or treachery of some among them, at length led to the abandonment of Agrigentum, of which Himilco thus became master, after a siege protracted for nearly eight months. (Diod. xiii. 80—89 ; Xen. Hell. i. 5. § 21, ii. 2. § 24.) Here he took up his quarters for the winter, and in the spring of 405 advanced against Gela, to which he laid siege. Dionysius, then just established as tyrant of Syracuse, led a large force to its relief, but was defeated in the first encounter, on which he at once withdrew, taking with him the whole population, not only of Gela, but of Camarina also. The cities, thus abandoned, naturally fell, without a struggle, into the hands of Himilco ; but of his farther operations we know nothing, except that a pestilence broke out in his army, which led him to make offers of peace to the Syracusans. These were gladly accepted, and the terms of the treaty were highly advantageous to Carthage, which retained, in addition to its former possessions, Selinus, Hi-mera, and Agrigentum, besides which Gela and Camarina were to pay her tribute, and remain unfortified. (Diod. xiii. 91, 108—114.)
Himilco now returned to Africa, but his army carried with it the seeds of pestilence, which quickly spread from the soldiers to the inhabitants, and committed dreadful ravages, which appear to have extended through a period of several years. Carthage was thus sorely weakened, and wholly unprepared for war, when, in 397, Dionysius, who had spent several years in preparations, sent a herald to declare war in form against the Carthaginians. They were thus unable to prevent his victorious progress from one end of the island to the other, or even to^avert the fall of Motya, their chief, and almost theirJast, strong-hold in Sicily. All that Himilcq,; who still held the chief command, and who was about this time advanced to the dignity, of king or suffete (Diod. xiv. 54), could do, was to attempt the destruction of Dionysius's fleet, by attacking it suddenly with 100 triremes, when most of the ships were drawn up on shore ; but foiled in this, he was obliged to return to Africa. Meanwhile, however, he had been actively engaged in preparations, and by the following spring (b. c. 396), he had assembled a numerous fleet and an army of 100,000 men, with which he landed at Panormus, though not without heavy loss, having been attacked on the voyage by Lep-tines, and many of his ships sunk. But once arrived in Sicily^ he quickly regained the advantage, recovered possession of Eryx and Motya, and compelled Dionysius to fall back towards the eastern side of the island, on which the Sicaniaris immediately declared in favour of Carthage.
Thus again master of the western part of Sicily, Himilco advanced along the north coast both with his fleet and army ; and having effected his march without opposition as far as Messana, surprised that city during the absence of most of the inhabitants, and levelled it to the ground; after which he directed his march southwards, against Syracuse itself. Dionysius had advanced with a large anny to meet him, but the defection of his Sicilian allies, and the total defeat of his fleet by that of the Carthaginians under Mago, excited his apprehensions for the safety of Syracuse, and he hastened j
to shut himself up with his army within the walls of that city. Himilco, thus finding no enemy to oppose him in the field, advanced at once with his army to the very gates of Syracuse, and encamped on the same ground previously occupied by the Athenians under Nicias, while his fleet of 208 triremes, besides a countless swarm of transports, occupied, and almost .filled, the great port. For 30 days Himilco ravaged the neighbouring country unopposed, and repeatedly offered battle to the Syracusans; but though he made himself master of one of the suburbs, he does not appear to have made any vigorous attacks on the city itself. Meanwhile, a fever, caused by the marshy nature of the ground in which he was encamped and the great heat of the summer, broke out in his army, and soon assumed the character of a malignant pestilence. This visitation was attributed by the Greeks to the profanation of their temples; and Dionysius took advantage of the confidence thus inspired to make a sudden attack upon the Carthaginian camp both by sea and land, which .proved completely successful; a great part of their fleet was either sunk, burnt, or captured; and Himilco; despairing of retrieving his fortune, immediately sent proposals to Dionysius for a secret capitulation, by which he himself, together with the native Carthaginians under his command, should be permitted to depart unmolested, on payment of a sum of 300 talents. These terms were gladly accepted by the Syracusans, and Himilco made his escape under cover of the night, leaving all the forces of his allies and mercenary troops at the mercy of Dionysius. But though he thus secured his personal safety, as well as that of the Carthaginian citizens in his army, a termination at once so ignominious and so disastrous to a campaign that had promised so much, caused him, on his return to Carthage, to be overwhelmed with obloquy, until at length unable to bear the weight of odium that he had incurred, he put an end to his life by voluntary abstinence. (Diod. xiv. 41, 47—76 ; Justin. xix. 2.)
4. One of the generals appointed by the Carthaginians to conduct the war in Africa against Archagathus, the son of Agathocles. He totally defeated the division of the Syracusan forces under1 the command of Eumachus, and put them almost all to the sword. After this he occupied the passes and strongholds in the neighbourhood of Tunis, so as completely to blockade Archagathus in that city. (Diod. xx. 60, 61.) What part he took ia the subsequent operations against Agathocles himself is not mentioned.
5. Commander of the Carthaginian forces at Lilybaeum during the first Punic war. At what time he was sent to Sicily does not appear, but we find him in command of Lilybaeum when the Romans, after the great victory of Metellus over Hasdrubal (b. c. 250), determined to form the siege of that important fortress. Himilco appears to have done all that an energetic and able officer could do : the forces under his command amounted to only 10,000 regular troops, while the Romans-are said to have brought not less than 110,000 men to the siege; but this must, of course, include all who took part in the works, not merely the fighting men. Both consuls (C. Atilius and L» Manlius) were with the Roman army, and they carried on their operations with the utmost vigour, endeavouring to block up the port by a- great mole,