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BATTLE OF THE CRIMESUS.

313

B.C. 340

solstice; and the river sending up a thick mist, all the Crimeadjacent plain was at first darkened with the fog, so June, that for a while they could discern nothing in the direc- or 339 tion of the enemy; only a confused buzz and undistinguished mixture of voices came up the hill, from the distant motions of so vast a multitude. When the Corinthians had mounted, and stood on the top, and had laid down their shields to take breath and

repose

themselves, the sun coming round and drawing up the vapours from below, the gross foggy air that was now gathered and condensed above, formed in a cloud upon the mountains; and, all the under places becoming clear and open, the Crimesus appeared in sight, and they saw the enemies passing over it, first with their formidable four horse chariots of war, and then ten thousand footmen bearing white shields, whom they guessed to be all Carthaginians, from the splendour of their arms, and the slowness and order of their march. And when now the troops of various other nations, flowing in behind them, began to throng for passage in a tumultuous and unruly manner, Timoleon perceiving that the river would portion off for them whatever number of the enemies they should choose to engage with at once, and bidding his soldiers observe how their forces were divided into two separate bodies by the intervention of the stream, some being already over, and others still to ford it, he gave Demaretus command to fall in upon

the Carthaginians with his horse, and disturb their ranks before they should be drawn up into form of battle; and coming down into the plain himself, forming his right and left wing of other Sicilians, intermingling only a few strangers in each, he placed the natives of

Syracuse in the middle, with the stoutest mercenaries he had; and, waiting a little to observe the action of his horse, when he saw they were not only hindered from grappling with the Carthaginians by the armed chariots that ran before their army, but forced continually to wheel about to escape having their ranks broken, and so to repeat their charges anew, he took his shield *, and crying out to the foot to follow and fear nothing, he seemed to speak with a more than human accent, and a voice stronger than ordinary; whether it were that he naturally raised it in the vehemence and ardour of his mind, or, as his soldiers thought, some god spoke with him. When they quickly gave an echo to

The Aspis, or Clipeus, or round Grecian shield. (From fictile vases.)

it, and besought him to lead them on without delay, he made a sign to the horse to draw off from the front where the chariots were and pass sidewards to attack on the flank; then making his line compact, man to man, and shield to shield, he caused the trumpet to sound, and bore in upon the Carthaginians.

* The heavy shield would be carried for the general by an attendant. The Crimésus, or Crimessus, is south of Palermo.

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They for their part stoutly received and sustained his 28 first onset; and having their bodies armed with breastplates of iron, and helmets of brass on their heads, beside great bucklers to cover and secure them, they could repel the charge of the Greek spears.

But when it came to a decision by the sword, where mastery depends no less upon art than strength, all of a sudden from the mountain tops violent peals of thunder and vivid flashes of lightning broke out; following upon which the darkness, that had been resting upon the higher grounds and the crests of the hills, descending to the place of battle and bringing a tempest of rain and of wind and hail along with it, was driven upon the Greeks behind and fell only at their backs, but discharged itself in the very faces of the barbarians; the rain beating on them, and the lightning dazzling them, without cessation ; annoyances that in many ways distressed at any rate the inexperienced, and in particular the claps of thunder and the noise of the rain and hail beating on their arms kept them from hearing the commands of their officers. Besides which the very mud also was a great hindrance to the Carthaginians, who were not lightly equipped, but, as I said before, loaded with unusually heavy armour; and then their shirts underneath getting drenched, the folds becoming filled with water grew unwieldy and cumbersome to them as they fought, and made it easy for the Greeks to throw them down, and, when they were once down, impossible for them, under that weight, to disengage themselves and rise again with their arms. The river Crimesus too, swollen partly by the rain, and partly by the stoppage of its course with the numbers

that were passing through, overflowed its banks; and the level ground by the side of it, being so situated as to have a number of small ravines and hollows of the hill-side descending upon it, was now filled with rivulets and currents that had no certain channel, in which the Carthaginians stumbled and rolled about, and found themselves in great difficulty. So that in fine, the storm bearing still upon them, and the Greeks having cut in pieces four hundred men of their first ranks, the whole body of their army began to fly. Great numbers were overtaken in the plain and put to the sword there; and many of them, as they were making their way back through the river, falling foul upon others that were yet coming over, were borne away and overwhelmed by the waters; but the major part, attempting to get up the hills and so make their escape, were intercepted and destroyed by the light-armed troops. It is said, that of ten thousand who lay dead after the fight, three thousand at least were Carthaginian citizens; a heavy loss and great grief to their countrymen; those that fell being men inferior to none among them as to birth, wealth, or reputation. Nor do their records mention that so many native Carthaginians were ever cut off before in any one battle; as they usually employed Africans, Spaniards, and Numidians in their wars, so that if they chanced to be defeated, it was still

at the cost and damage of other nations. 29 The Greeks easily discovered of what condition the

slain were, by the richness of their spoils; for when they came to collect the booty, there was little reckonng made either of brass or iron, so abundant were better metals, and so common were silver and gold.

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For they crossed the river, and became masters of their camp and carriages. And as for captives, the greater number of them were stolen away and sold privately by the soldiers, but about five thousand were brought in and delivered up for the benefit of the public: two hundred of their chariots of war were also taken. The tent of Timoleon presented a most glorious and magnificent appearance, being heaped up and hung round with every variety of spoils and military ornaments, among which there were a thousand breastplates of rare workmanship and beauty, and shields to the number of ten thousand. The victors being but few to strip so many that were vanquished, and having such valuable booty to occupy them, it was the third day after the fight before they found time to erect their trophy. Timoleon sent tidings of his victory to Corinth, together with the most splendid of the arms, that he thus might render his country an object of emulation to the whole world, when of all the cities of Greece men should there alone behold the chief temples adorned, not with Grecian spoils nor offerings obtained by the bloodshed and plunder of their own countrymen and kindred, and attended therefore with sad and unhappy remembrances, but with such as had been stripped from barbarian enemies, with the noblest titles inscribed upon them, titles telling of the justice as well as fortitude of the conquerors; namely, that the people of Corinth and Timoleon their general, having redeemed the Greeks of Sicily froin Carthaginian bondage, made oblation of these to the gods in grateful acknowledgment of their favour.

Having done this, he left his hired soldiers in the 30

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