Geographical sites:

  • Enna (click here to focus in map) (see also Pleiades #462236)
    Pleiades_icon (H)Enna settlement Description: An ancient place, cited: BAtlas 47 E3 (H)Enna


Text #103

"First Servile War", in Wikipedia.

The First Servile War of 135–132 BC was an unsuccessful rebellion of slaves against the Roman Republic. The war was prompted by slave revolts in Enna on the island of Sicily. It was led by Eunus, a former slave claiming to be a prophet, and Cleon, a Cilician (from present-day Turkey) who became Eunus’s military commander. After some minor battles won by the slaves, a larger Roman army arrived in Sicily and defeated the rebels.

Following the final expulsion of the Carthaginians during the Second Punic War, there were great changes in land ownership in Sicily. Speculators from Italy rushed onto the island, buying up large tracts of land at low prices, or occupied estates which had belonged to Sicilians of the Carthaginian party. These were forfeited to Rome after the execution or flight of their owners.

The Sicilians of the Roman party also became rich out of the distress of their countrymen. According to Diodorus Siculus, politically influential slave-owners, often Roman equites, did not provide enough food and clothing for their slaves. The slaves turned to banditry to survive. The poorer Sicilians were the sufferers. Several decades of increasing tension finally broke out into war as the slaves revolted.

The chief of the slaves was a Syrian named Eunus, considered an influential prophet and conjurer among the slaves.

While he was still a slave, his master employed him as an entertainer at symposia. He could perform a sleight-of-hand magic show that included breathing fire. During the performance he kept up a patter—thought humorous by his listeners—saying that Sicilian society would experience a role-reversal, in which his aristocratic audience would be killed or enslaved, and he would become king. To those who gave him tips, Eunus promised that they would be spared once he came into his kingdom. During the revolt, he spared the lives of at least some of those individuals.

According to Diodorus Siculus, some 200,000 people joined the rebellion, including men and women and possibly counting children. According to Titus Livius, and Orosius following him, an estimated 70,000 people joined the rebellion.

Little is known about Eunus’s actual participation in the war. Only his enemies left accounts of him, and they gave credit for his victories to his general, a Cilician named Cleon. But Eunus must have been a man of considerable ability to have maintained his leadership position throughout the war and to have commanded the services of those said to have been his superiors. Cleon fell in battle, and Eunus was captured and taken to the city of Morgantina, but he died before he could be punished.

The war lasted from 135 until 132 BC. It was the first of three large-scale slave revolts against the Roman Republic; the last and the most famous was led by Spartacus.


Arnold, History of Rome, Vol. III. London edition.

Shaw, Brent (2001). Spartacus and the Slave Wars: a brief history with documents.

Text #9453

"Eunus", in Wikipedia.

Eunus (died 132 BC) was a slave from Apamea in Syria who became leader of the slave uprising in the First Servile War (135 BC-132 BC) in the Roman province of Sicily. Eunus rose to prominence in the movement through his reputation as a prophet and wonder-worker. Said to blow fire from his mouth, Eunus claimed to receive visions and communications from the goddess Atargatis, a prominent goddess in his homeland; he identified her with the Sicilian Demeter. One of his prophecies was that the rebel slaves would successfully capture the city of Enna.

Eunus participated in the storming of Enna. Diodorus Siculus describes him standing in the front ranks of the assault, blowing fire from his mouth. Upon the capture of Enna, Eunus was crowned king. He subsequently took the name Antiochus, a name used by the Seleucids who ruled Syria. He called his followers, who numbered around 70,000, his Syrians. After the slave army was defeated by a Roman army under the leadership of Perperna, Eunus, with members of his “court”, took refuge in a cavern, where he was subsequently captured.

Most of the literary evidence for Eunus and the First Servile War comes from the writings of Diodorus Siculus, who used Posidonius as his primary source. Florus’ Epitome, which provides excerpts from lost portions of Livy, is the most detailed account in Latin. Both Diodorus and Posidonius were sympathetic to the Romans. Diodorus lived in Rome, and Cicero asked Posidonius to write an account of the former’s consulate. Since Eunus was a defeated enemy of Rome, their accounts of both the slave uprising and its leader were likely biased. Like Eunus, Posidonius was from Syrian Apamea. He likely based his details about Eunus’ worship of Atargatis in his personal knowledge of the goddess’s mendicant priests.

Archaeologists have found a small bronze coin, minted at Enna, which bears the inscription “King Antiochus”. It is likely that the Antiochus in question is Eunus.

Text #9454

Diodorus Siculus. "Historical Library"
[Bk. 34 Ch. 2 Verse 1 ]

2 1 When the affairs of Sicily, after the overthrow of Carthage, had remained successful and prosperous for the space of sixty years, at length war with the slaves broke out for the following reasons. The Sicilians, through the enjoyment of a long peace, grew very rich, and bought up an abundance of slaves; who being driven in droves like so many herds of cattle from the different places where they were bred and brought up, were branded with certain marks burnt on their bodies. 2 Those that were young, they used for shepherds, others for such services as they had occasion. But their masters were very strict and severe with them, and took no care to provide either necessary food or clothing for them, so that most of them were forced to rob and steal, to get these necessities: so that all places were full of slaughters and murders, as if an army of thieves and robbers had been dispersed all over the island. 3 The governors of the provinces, to tell the truth, did what they could to suppress them; but they did not dare punish them, because the masters, who possessed the slaves, were rich and powerful. Therefore every governor was forced to connive at the thefts and rapines that were committed in the province. For many of the landowners were Roman knights, and because they judged the accusations brought against the governors for their conduct in the provinces, they were a terror to the governors themselves.

4 The slaves therefore being in this distress, and vilely beaten and scourged beyond all reason, were now resolved not to bear it any longer. Therefore, meeting together from time to time as they had opportunity, they consulted how to free themselves from the yoke of servitude they lay under, until at length they really accomplished what they had previously agreed upon. 5 There was a Syrian, born in the city of Apameia, who was a slave of Antigenes of Enna, and he was a magician and conjuror; he pretended to foretell future events, revealed to him (as he said) by the gods in his dreams, and deceived many by this kind of practice. Then he proceeded further, and not only foretold things to come, revealed to him in dreams, but pretended that he saw the gods when he was awake, and they declared to him what was to come to pass. 6 And though these were tricks that he played, yet by chance many of the things afterwards proved true. The predictions that were not fulfilled were ignored, but those which did come to pass were everywhere applauded, so that he grew more and more celebrated. By some artifice or other, he used to breath flames of fire out of his mouth as from a burning lamp, and so would prophesy as though he had been at that time inspired by Apollo. 7 For he put fire with some combustible matter to feed it, into a nut-shell or some such thing bored through on both sides; then putting it into his mouth and forcing his breath upon it, there would issue out both sparks and flames of fire. Before the revolt of the slaves this man boasted that the Syrian goddess had appeared to him, and told him that he should reign, and this he declared not only to others but often to his own master.

8 As this became a common subject of laughter, Antigenes was so taken with the jest and the ridiculous conceit of the man, that he took Eunus (for such was his name) with him to feasts and dinners, and several questions being put to him concerning his future kingdom, he was asked how he would treat each person who was there present at the table. He readily went on with his story, and told them that he would be very kind to his masters and like a conjuror using many monstrous magical terms and expressions, he made all the guests laugh, upon which some of them as a reward gave him large helpings frum the table, and asked him to remember their kindness when he came to be king. 9 But all this jesting at length really did end in his advancement to be king; and all those who at the feasts by way of ridicule had been kind to him, he rewarded in earnest. But the beginning of the revolt was in this manner.

10 There was one Damophilus of Enna, a man of great wealth, but of a proud and haughty disposition. This man above all measure was cruel and severe to his slaves; and his wife Megallis strove to exceed her husband in all kind of cruelty and inhumanity towards the slaves. The slaves, who had been so cruelly used, were enraged by this like wild beasts, and plotted together to rise in arms and cut the throats of their masters. To this end they consulted Eunus, and asked him whether the gods would give them success in their designs. He encouraged them and declared that they would prosper in their enterprise. He uttered conjuring words and expressions, as was his usual manner, and told them to be speedy in their execution. 11 Therefore, after they had raised a body of four hundred slaves, at the first opportunity they suddenly armed themselves and broke into the city of Enna, led by their captain Eunus, who used his juggling tricks to breathe fire out of his mouth. Then entering the houses, they made such a great a slaughter, that they did not even spare even the suckling children, 12 but plucked them violently from their mother’s breasts and dashed them against the ground. It cannot be expressed how vilely and filthily, for the satisfying of their lusts, they used men’s wives in the very presence of their husbands. These villains were joined by a multitude of the slaves who were in the city. They first executed their rage and cruelty upon their own masters, and then fell to murdering others.

13 In the mean time Eunus heard that Damophilus and his wife were in an orchard near the city. Therefore he sent some of his rabble there, who brought them back with their hands tied behind their backs, taunting them as they passed along with much ill-treatment; but they declared that they would be kind in every respect to their daughter, because of her pity and compassion towards the slaves, and her readiness always to be helpful to them. This showed that the savage behaviour of the slaves towards others arose, not from their own cruel nature, but from a desire to have revenge for the wrongs they had suffered previously. 14 The men that were sent for Damophilus and Megallis his wife brought them to the city and into the theatre, where all the rebellious rabble was assembled. There Damophilus pleaded earnestly for his life and moved many with what he said. But Hermeias and Zeuxis denounced him with many bitter accusations and called him a cheat and dissembler. Then without waiting to hear the decision of the people concerning him, the one ran him through with a sword and the other cut off his head with an axe.

Then they made Eunus king, not for his valour or skill in warfare, but on account of his extraordinary tricks, and because he was the leader and author of the defection; and his name seemed to portend and to be a good omen, that he would be kind {eunous} to his subjects. 15 When he had therefore been made general, with absolute power to order and dispose of all things as he pleased, an assembly was called, and he put all the prisoners from Enna to death except those that were skilful in making of weapons, whom he fettered and set to work. As for Megallis, he delivered her up to the will of the women slaves, to take their revenge on her as they thought fit. After they had whipped and tormented her, they threw her down a steep precipice. 16 And Eunus himself killed his own master Antigenes and Python. At length, putting a diadem upon his head and graced with all the emblems of royalty, he caused his wife, who was a Syrian from the same city, to be called queen, and chose such as he judged to be most prudent to be his councillors. Amongst these was one Achaeus by name, and an Achaean by birth, a wise man and a good soldier. Within the space of three days he got together above six thousand men, armed with what they could by any way or means lay their hands upon; and he was joined by others, who were all furnished either with axes, hatches, slings, bills, or stakes sharpened and burnt at one end, or with spits. With these he ravaged and made spoil all over the country. At length, after he had been joined by an infinite number of slaves, he grew to such power and boldness as to engage in a war with the Roman generals, and often defeated them in battle, by overpowering them with the number of his men; for he now had with him above ten thousand men.

17 In the mean time, a Cilician called Cleon instigated another defection of the slaves, and now all were hoping that this unruly rabble would come to blows one with another, and so Sicily would be rid of them through their mutual slaughters and destruction of each other. But contrary to all men’s hopes and expectations, they joined forces together. Cleon followed the commands of Eunus in every respect, and served his prince as general, having five thousand of his own soldiers. Thirty days had now passed since the first beginning of this rebellion: 18 and presently the slaves fought a battle with Lucius Hypsaeus, who had come from Rome and commanded eight thousand Sicilians. In this fight the rebels won the day; they were then twenty thousand in number, and very soon afterwards their army increased to two hundred thousand men. And although they fought against the Romans themselves, yet they often came off as conquerors, and were very seldom defeated.

19 When news of this spread abroad, a revolt was started at Rome by one hundred and fifty slaves, who conspired against the government; similarly in Attica by one thousand slaves; and likewise at Delos, and many other places. But the magistrates of the various communities, to prevent the mischief from going further, made a quick response, and promptly fell upon the slaves, and put them all to death. So those that remained and were ready to break out into rebellion, were reduced to more sound and sober thoughts.

20 But in Sicily the disorders increased more and more; for cities were taken, and their inhabitants made slaves, and many armies were routed by the rebels, until such time as Rupilius the Roman general recovered Tauromenium. The besieged had been reduced to such an extremity of famine by a sharp and close siege, that they began to eat their own children, and the men their wives; and at length they butchered one another for food. There Rupilius captured Comanus the brother of Cleon, who was endeavouring to escape out of the city while it was besieged. 21 At last Sarapion, a Syrian, betrayed the citadel, and all the fugitives fell into his hands. Rupilius had them scourged and thrown over a cliff. He marched from there to Enna, and by a long siege reduced it to such straits, that there was no hope left for anyone to escape. After slaying Cleon their general, who had made a sally from the city and fought like a hero, he exposed his body to open view; and soon afterwards the city likewise was betrayed into his hands, which otherwise could never have been taken by force because of the natural strength of the place.

22 As for Eunus, he fled like a coward with (?) six hundred of his guards to the top of certain high cliffs, where those that were with him, foreseeing their inevitable ruin (for Rupilius pursued then closely), cut one another’s throats. But Eunus the conjuring king out of fear hid himself in some caves, which he had discovered for that purpose; he was dragged out of there with four others of his gang - his cook, his barber, the man who rubbed him in the bath and the jester at his banquets. 23 Finally he was thrown into prison, and there consumed by lice, and so ended his days at Morgantina by a death worthy of the former wickedness of his life. Rupilius afterwards with a small body of men marched all over Sicily, and presently cleared the country of thieves and robbers.

24 This Eunus king of the robbers called himself Antiochus and all his followers Syrians.

24b The slaves conspired together to rise in revolt and kill their masters. They approached Eunus, who lived not far away, and asked him whether their plan had the approval of the gods. He began to speak in a strange and inspired manner, and when he heard the purpose of their visit, he made it clear that the gods would grant success to their revolt, if they made no delay and immediately put their plot into action; for fate had assigned Enna to them as their home, which was the citadel of the whole island. When they heard what he said, and perceived that the divinity was supporting them in their venture, their spirits were so aroused to revolt that they made no further delay in implementing their plans. They immediately released some slaves from bonds, and called on others dwelling nearby to join with them. About four hundred of them gathered in a field near Enna, and after making pledges to each other and exchanging vows by night over sacrificial victims, they armed themselves as far as the occasion permitted; but they all put on the strongest of weapons, their angry determination to wipe out their arrogant masters. With Eunus as their leader, and urging each other on, about the middle of the night they fell on the city and slew many of the inhabitants.

25 About this time there arose so great a mutiny and sedition of the slaves in Sicily, as no age before could ever parallel, in which many cities suffered and were miserably ransacked. Innumerable multitudes of men, women and children fell into most grievous calamities; and the whole island was now upon the point of falling into the hands of the slaves, who set no other bounds to their exorbitant power, than the absolute destruction of their masters.

These things occurred when none in the least expected them; but those who were accustomed to investigate into the roots and causes of all events, concluded that it was not a thing that happened merely by chance. 26 For the inhabitants of this rich island grew arrogant with too much plenty; they fell into luxury and voluptuousness, and then into pride and insolence. For those reasons the cruelty of the masters towards their slaves, and the hatred of the slaves towards their masters raged and increased more and more every day. At length when a suitable opportunity offered itself, this hatred broke forth and many thousands of slaves suddenly, without any warning, joined together to destroy their masters.

And the same thing happened in Asia, almost about the same time. For when Aristonicus without any proper rights sought to gain the kingdom of Asia, all the slaves, by reason of the cruelty of their masters, joined with him, and filled many towns and cities with bloodshed and slaughter.

27 In like manner the men who had large possessions in Sicily bought up whole slave markets to till their lands. Some they shackled, others they exhausted with hard labour, and branded and marked every one of them. So great a multitude of slaves overflowed all of Sicily, like a deluge, that the excessive number seemed incredible to all who heard it. The rich men of Sicily rivalled the Italians in pride, greed, and wickedness; for many of the Italians who had great numbers of slaves had driven their shepherds to such a degree of villainy, that they allowed them to rob and steal, rather than provide them with any necessary subsistence. 28 Once this license had been permitted to those men who had strength of body, together with time and leisure, sufficient to enable them readily to execute any outrage, and who had been reduced by lack of subsistence to the extremity of attempting anything to supply their needs; in a short time this lawlessness began to spread.

At first they used to murder travellers upon the highway, when only one or two were together; afterwards they would in groups enter into little villages by night, and pillage poor men’s houses, and forcibly carry away whatever they found and kill anyone who opposed them. 29 At length, as they grew everyday more and more audacious, there was neither security in the roads in Sicily for travellers in the night, nor safety in their houses for those who dwelt in the country, but all places were full of rapine, robberies, and murders. And because the shepherds and herdsmen were supplied with weapons, and inured to stay in the open fields through night and day, they every day grew more bold and daring; carrying clubs and lances and long staves, and covered with the skins of wolves and wild boars, they had a most frightful and terrible appearance, almost like they were going to war. 30 Besides, every one had a guard of great mastiff dogs to attend them; and as they guzzled down milk, and glutted themselves with meat, and all other sorts of food, they resembled beasts both in souls and bodies. As a result, the whole island seemed as if it was full of soldiers roving up and down in every place, since all the daring slaves were let loose by their masters to act the part of madmen. 31 It is true indeed that the Roman praetors did what they could to suppress the violence of the slaves, but because they did not dare to punish them, on account of the power and influence of their masters, they were forced to suffer the country to be infested with robberies. For most of their masters were Roman knights, who had judicial authority at Rome, and might act as judges in the cases of the praetors, who were summoned to appear before them on charges relating to their administration of the province; and therefore the magistrates were for good reasons afraid of them.

32 The Italians, who had large estates in Sicily, bought many slaves, every one of whom they branded with marks on their cheeks, and oppressed them with hard labour, and yet failed to give them sufficient subsistence.

33 Not only in political life should the powerful behave humanely towards those who are of humble condition, but also in private life the right-minded should not be too harsh on their slaves. For as in states arrogant behaviour leads to civil dissension amongst the citizens, so in each private home, such behaviour provokes the slaves against their masters, and gives rise to terrible disorders in the cities. For when those in power act cruelly and wickedly, the character of their subjects is inflamed to reckless action. Those whom fate has placed in a lowly position will gladly yield to their superiors in honour and glory, but if they are denied the kindness which they deserve, they revolt against the men who act like cruel despots.

34 There was one Damophilus of Enna, who was wealthy, but very proud and arrogant; this man cultivated a large area of land, had a vast stock of cattle, and imitated the luxury and cruelty of the Italians towards their slaves. He traversed the country up and down, travelling in a coach drawn by stately horses, and guarded by a company of armed slaves; he likewise always carried about with him many beautiful boys, flatterers and parasites. 35 In the city and in the villages he had finely engraved silver vessels, and all sorts of purple carpets of very great value; and he held magnificent feasts and entertainments, rivalling the state and grandeur of a king; in pomp and expense he far surpassed the luxury of the Persians, and his pride and arrogance were excessive. He was uncouth, and brought up without learning, or any liberal education; and having heaped up a great deal of wealth, he abandoned himself to self-indulgent licentiousness. At first this fullness and plenty made him insolent; and at length he was a plague to himself, and the occasion of bringing many miseries and calamities upon his country. 36 For having bought many slaves, he abused them in the highest degree; and those that were free born in their own country, and taken captives in war, he branded on their cheeks with the sharp points of iron pins. Some of these he bound in fetters and put in slave pens; and to others that were ordered to look after the cattle in the fields, he allowed neither clothing nor food sufficient to satisfy nature.

37 The barbarity and cruelty of this Damophilus was such, that never a day passed without him scourging his slaves, without the least cause or occasion. And his wife Megallis was as cruel as himself, towards the maid servants, and other slaves that fell into her hands. Therefore his slaves, being provoked by this cruelty of their master and mistress, concluded that nothing could bring them into a worse condition than they already were; [and they suddenly rose up in revolt].

38 Some naked slaves once went to Damophilus of Enna and complained that they did not have clothes; but he did not listen to their complaints. “What then,” he said to them, “do the travellers in the countryside walk naked along the roads, so that you can not take the clothes off them?” He then attached them to pillars, beat them cruelly, and haughtily dismissed them.

39 In Sicily Damophilus had a young daughter of a very gentle and courteous disposition, who made it her business to relieve and heal those slaves that had been abused and scourged by her parents, and to bring sustenance to those who were shackled; so that she was wonderfully beloved by all the slaves. In remembrance of her former kindness, they all had pity on her, and were so far from offering any violence or injury to the young maid, that every one of them made it their business to preserve her chastity unviolated; and chose the most suitable men from their own company, of whom Hermeias was the most eager, to conduct her to Catana to some of her family.

40 The rebel slaves, venting their fury against the entire household of their masters, committed many terrible outrages. This revenge was not a mark of their cruel disposition, but the outcome of the unfair treatment that they had experienced, which made them turn angrily to punishing those who had wronged them in the past.

Nature itself teaches slaves to give a just response of gratitude or revenge.

41 After Eunus was declared king, he put many rich citizens to death, and spared only those who had commended him for his prophecies at their feasts, to which his master {Antigenes} used to bring him as a jest; those likewise that had been so kind as to give him some of their food, he preserved; so that the strange turn of fortune was truly astonishing, that a kindness shown to such a poor and humble person should result in a great favour, when it was most needed.

42 Achaeus, an advisor to King Antiochus {Eunus}, disapproving the actions of fugitive slaves, censured their excesses, and predicted that they would soon be punished. But Eunus, far from being angry at this frankness, and putting Achaeus to death, gave him instead the house of his masters, and appointed him his advisor.

43 About the same time another rebellion of the slaves broke out. Cleon, a Cilician from near Mount Taurus, who was inured to robberies from a boy and had been appointed to look after the horses in their pastures in Sicily, used to attack travellers on the highways and committed various heinous murders. This man, hearing of the good fortune of Eunus and his followers, persuaded some of the neighbouring slaves to join with him in a sudden revolt. They overran the city of Agrigentum and all the neighbouring country round about.

44 Their pressing needs and lack of provisions forced the rebel slaves to risk everything, because they had no opportunity to follow a better course.

45 It did not need a revelation from god to understand how easy it was to capture the city. It was obvious, even to the simplest observer, that since the walls were in disrepair due to the long time of peace, and many of the garrison had been killed, the city could not hold out for long against a siege.

46 Eunus, keeping his army out of the range of weapons, shouted insults at the Romans, saying that it was not his men, but the Romans who were runaways from danger. He put on mimes for those inside, in which the slaves depicted how they had revolted from their own masters, mocking their masters’ arrogance and the excessive cruelty that led to their overthrow.

47 Although some men may be convinced that the gods are not concerned about the extraordinary misfortunes that afflict men, yet it is beneficial to the community for the fear of the gods to be instilled in the hearts of the masses. Few men act justly solely as a result of their own virtue; the majority of men will be stopped from crime only because of the punishments inflicted by the laws and the retribution of the gods.

48 The common people, far from feeling pity for the immense misfortunes that were suffered by the Sicilians, on the contrary were delighted because they were jealous of the inequality that existed in wealth and living conditions. This jealousy, which used to cause them grief, was now turned to joy, because they saw that those who once enjoyed a brilliant fortune had now fallen into the most miserable condition. But the cruellest thing was that, although the rebels, as a sensible precaution, did not burn their houses, or destroy their property and crops, and indeed wholly avoided harming any of the men engaged in agriculture; yet the populace, using the runaway slaves as a pretext, but in reality motivated by jealousy against the rich, ran out into the countryside, and not only looted the properties but also set fire to the rural dwellings.

Text #104

Editorial comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Characteristics of this slave rebellion make it appear to be a doublet of the Second Servile War. This one may be the doublet projected into the past. It may be that elements of two servile wars were conflated, or that details of the former one were obscured by details of the later one or vice versa. Note the gigantic comet display noted by Seneca for the beginning of the reign of Attalus III in event #63 and then compare to the events of 104 BC at the time of the Second Servile War when another comet is recorded. Also note the eruption of Mt. Etna.

Text #9475

Strabo. Geography. Series: Geography. Vol. 1

Book 6. 2. 6-7

  1. In the interior is Enna, where is the temple of Demeter, with only a few inhabitants; it is situated on a hill, and is wholly surrounded by broad plateaus that are tillable. It suffered most at the hands of Eunus and his runaway slaves, who were besieged there and only with difficulty were dislodged by the Romans. The inhabitants of Catana and Tauromenium and also several other peoples suffered this same fate.

Eryx, a lofty hill, is also inhabited. It has a temple of Aphrodite that is held in exceptional honour, and in early times was full of female temple-slaves, who had been dedicated in fulfilment of vows not only by the people of Sicily but also by many people from abroad; but at the present time, just as the settlement itself, so the temple is in want of men, and the multitude of temple-slaves has disappeared. In Rome, also, there is a reproduction of this goddess, I mean the temple before the Colline Gate which is called that of Venus Erycina and is remarkable for its shrine and surrounding colonnade.

But the rest of the settlements as well as most of the interior have come into the possession of shepherds; for I do not know of any settled population still living in either Himera, or Gela, or Callipolis or Selinus or Euboea or several other places. Of these cities Himera was founded by the Zanclaeans of Mylae, Callipolis by the Naxians, Selinus by the Megarians of the Sicilian Megara, and Euboea by the Leontines. Many of the barbarian cities, also, have been wiped out; for example Camici, the royal residence of Cocalus, at which Minos is said to have been murdered by treachery. The Romans, therefore, taking notice that the country was deserted, took possession of the mountains and most of the plains and then gave them over to horseherds, cowherds, and shepherds; and by these herdsmen the island was many times put in great danger, because, although at first they only turned to brigandage in a sporadic way, later they both assembled in great numbers and plundered the settlements, as, for example, when Eunus and his men took possession of Enna. And recently, in my own time, a certain Selurus, called the son of Aetna,” was sent up to Rome because he had put himself at the head of an army and for a long time had overrun the regions round about Aetna with frequent raids; I saw him torn to pieces by wild beasts at an appointed combat of gladiators in the Forum; for he was placed on a lofty scaffold, as though on Aetna, and the scaffold was made suddenly to break up and collapse, and he himself was carried down with it into cages of wild beasts – fragile cages that had been prepared beneath the scaffold for that purpose.

  1. As for the fertility of the country, why should I speak of it, since it is on the lips of all men, who declare that it is no whit inferior to that of Italy? And in the matter of grain, honey, saffron, and certain other products, one might call it even superior. There is, furthermore, its propinquity; for the island is a part of Italy, as it were, and readily and without great labour supplies Rome with everything it has, as though from the fields of Italy. And in fact it is called the storehouse of Rome, for everything it produces is brought hither except a few things that are consumed at home, and not the fruits only, but also cattle, hides, wool, and the like. Poseidonius says that Syracuse and Eryx are each situated like an acropolis by the sea, whereas Enna lies midway between the two above the encircling plains.

Text #9476

Florus. Epitome of Roman History (no source type set)
    1. 1-8

Though, in the preceding war, we fought with our allies, (which was bad enough,) yet we contended with free men, and men of good birth: but who can with patience hear of a war against slaves on the part of a people at the head of all nations? The first war with slaves occurred in the infancy of Rome, in the heart of the city, when Herdonius Sabinus was their leader, and when, while the state was distracted with the seditions of the tribunes, the Capitol was besieged and wrested by the consul from the servile multitude. But this was an insurrection rather than a war. At a subsequent period, when the forces of the empire were engaged in different parts of the world, who would believe that Sicily was much more cruelly devastated by a war with slaves than in that with the Carthaginians? This country, fruitful in grain, and, in a manner, a suburban province, was covered with large estates of many Roman citizens; and the numerous slave-houses, and fettered tillers of the ground, supplied force enough for a war. A certain Syrian, by name Eunus, (the greatness of our defeats from him makes us remember it,) counterfeiting a fanatical inspiration, and tossing his hair in honour of the Syrian goddess, excited the slaves, by command of heave as it were, to claim their liberty and take up arms. And that he might prove this to be done by supernatural direction, he concealed a nut in his mouth, which he had filled with brimstone and fire, and breathing gently, sent forth flame together with his words. This prodigy at first attracted two thousand of such as came in his way; but in a short time, by breaking open the slavehouses, he collected a force of above sixty thousand, and being adorned with ensigns of royalty, that nothing might be wanting to his audacity, he laid waste, with lamentable desolation, fortresses, towns, and villages. The camps even of praetors (the utmost disgrace of war) were taken by him nor will I shrink from giving their names, they were the camps of Manilius, Lentulus, Piso, and Hypsaeus. Thus those, who ought to have been dragged home by slavetakers, pursued praetorian generals routed in battle. At last vengeance was taken on them by our general Perperna for having conquered them, and at last besieged them in Enna, and reduced them with famine as with a pestilence, he threw the remainder of the marauders into chains, and then crucified them. But over such enemies he was content with an ovation, that he might not sully the dignity of a triumph with the name of slaves.

Text #9477

Orosius. Historiae Adversum Paganos (no source type set)

Book 5. 6

In the consulship of Servius Fulvius Flaccus and Q. Calpurnius Piso, there was born at Rome of a maid servant a boy with four feet, four eyes, a like number of ears, twice as many as in the nature of man. In Sicily, Mount Etna cast forth and spread vast fires which, like torrents flowing precipitously down the neighboring slopes, burned up everything with their consuming fire and scorched more distant places with glowing ashes which flew far and wide with a heavy vapor. This kind of portent, ever native to Sicily, customarily does not foretell evil, but brings it on. In the land of Bononia, the products of the field came forth on trees. And in Sicily, the slave war broke out, which was so serious and fierce, because of the number of the slaves, the equipment of the troops, and the strength of its forces, that, not to mention the Roman praetors whom it thoroughly routed, it terrified even consuls. For seventy thousand slaves are reported to have been among the conspirators at that time, not including the city of Messana which kept its slaves in peace by treating them kindly. But Sicily was more wretched also in this respect, in that it was an island and never with respect to its own status had a law of its own and thus, at one time, was subject to tyrants and, at another, to slaves, or when the former exacted slavery by their wicked domination or the latter effected an interchange of liberty by a perverse presumption, especially because it was hemmed in on all sides by sea, its internal evils could not easily pass out. Indeed, Sicily nourished a viperous growth to its own destruction, increased by its own lust and destined to live with its death. But in this respect, the emotions of a slave tumult, insofar as it is of rarer occurrence among others, to this extent is more ferocious, because a mob of free men is moved by the urge to advance the fatherland; a mob of slaves to destroy it.

    1. 4-8

In addition, the contagion of the Slave War in Sicily infected many provinces far and wide. For at Minturnae, four hundred and fifty slaves were crucified, and at Sinuessa, four thousand slaves were crushed by Q. Metellus and Cn. Servilius Caepio; in the mines of the Athenians also, a like uprising of the slaves was dispersed by Heraclitus; at Delos also, the slaves, rising in another revolt, were crushed by the citizens who anticipated the movement without that first fire of the evil in Sicily, from which the sparks flaring forth fostered these various fires. For in Sicily, after Fulvius, the consul, Piso, the consul, captured the town of Mamertium, where he killed eight thousand fugitives, but those whom he was able to capture he crucified. When Rupilius, the consul, succeeded him, he regained by war Tauromenium and Enna, the strongest places of refuge for fugitive slaves; more than twenty thousand slaves are reported to have been slaughtered at that time. Surely, the cause of such an inextricable war was pitiable. Undoubtedly, the masters would have had to perish had they not met the haughty slaves with the sword. But yet in the very losses of battle, which were most unfortunate, and in the more unfortunate gains of victory, the victors lost as many as perished among the conquered.

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