Text #4001Epitome of the Phillippic History of Pompeius Trogus .
[Bk. 20 Ch. 3 ]
This affair becoming known, the Crotonians themselves also sent deputies to the oracle at Delphi, asking the way to victory and a prosperous termination of the war. The answer given was, that “the enemies must be conquered by vows, before they could be conquered by arms.” They accordingly vowed the tenth of the spoil to Apollo, but the Locrians, getting information of this vow, and the god’s answer, vowed a ninth part, keeping the matter however secret, that they might not be outdone in vows. When they came into the field, therefore, and a hundred and twenty thousand Crotonians stood in arms against them, the Locrians, contemplating the smallness of their own force (for they had only fifteen thousand men), and abandoning all hope of victory, devoted themselves to certain death; and such courage, arising out of despair, was felt by each, that they thought they would be as conquerors, if they did not fall without avenging themselves. But while they sought only to die with honour, they had the good fortune to gain the victory; nor was there any other cause of their success but their desperation. While the Locrians were fighting, an eagle constantly attended on their army, and continued flying about them till they were conquerors. On the wings, also, were seen two young men1 fighting in armour different from that of the rest, of an extraordinary stature, on white horses and in scarlet cloaks; nor were they visible longer than the battle lasted. The incredible swiftness of the report of the battle made this wonderful appearance more remarkable; for on the same day on which it was fought in Italy, the victory was published at Corinth, Athens, and Lacedaemon.
After this event the Crotonians ceased to exercise their valour, or to care for distinction in the field. They hated the arms which they had unsuccessfully taken up, and would have abandoned their former way of life for one of luxury, had not Pythagoras arisen among them. This philosopher was born at Samos, the son of Demaratus, a rich merchant, and after being greatly advanced in wisdom, went first to Egypt, and afterwards to Babylon, to learn the motions of the stars and study the origin of the universe, and acquired very great knowledge. Returning from thence, he went to Crete and Lacedaemon, to instruct himself in the laws of Minos and Lycurgus, which at that time were in high repute. Furnished with all these attainments, he came to Crotona, and, by his influence, recalled the people, when they were giving themselves up to luxury, to the observance of frugality.
i.e. the Dioscuri. ↩