Diodorus' Library of History
Preserved in Photius' Bibliotheca (cod. 244)
(Extracted from Booth's tr., vol. 2, pp. 543-49)
1. KING Antiochus besieged Jerusalem. But the Jews stood it
out for some time: but when all their provision was spent, they were forced to
send ambassadors to him, to treat upon terms. Many of his friends persuaded him
to storm the city. and to root out the whole nation of the Jews; For that they
only of all people hated to converse with any of other nations, and treated them
all as enemies: and they suggested to him that their ancestors were driven out
of Egypt, as impious and hateful to the gods: for their bodies being overspread,
and infected with the itch and leprosy, (by way of expiation) they got them
together, and as profane and wicked wretches expelled them out of their coasts:
and that those who were thus expelled, seated themselves about Jerusalem, and
being after embodied into one nation (called the nation of the Jews) their
hatred of all other men descended with their blood to posterity. And therefore
they made strange laws, and quite different from other people: never will eat
nor drink with any of other nations, or wish them any prosperity. For said they,
Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes having
subdued the Jews, entered into the temple of God, into which none was to enter
by their law but the priest; in which when he found the image of a man with a
long beard, carved in stone sitting upon an ass, he took it to be Moses who
built Jerusalem, and settled the nation, and established by law all their wicked
customs and practices, abounding in hatred and enmity to all other men.
Antiochus therefore abhorring this their contrariety to all other people, used
his utmost endeavour to abrogate their laws. To that end be sacrificed a great
swine at the image of Moses, and at the altar of God that stood in the outward
court, and sprinkled them with the blood of the sacrifice. He commanded likewise
that the sacred books, whereby they were taught to hate all other nations,
should be besprinkled with the broth made of the swine's flesh: And he put out
the lamp (called by them immortal) which was ever burning in the temple. Lastly
he forced the high priest and the other Jews to eat swine's flesh. When
Antiochus's friends had debated and considered of these things, they were very
earnest with him to root out the whole nation, or at least that he would
abrogate their laws, and compel them to change their former manner of living and
conversation. But the king being of a generous spirit, and mild disposition
received hostages and pardoned the Jews; but demolished the walls of Jerusalem,
and took the tribute that was due.
2. The affairs of Sicily after the overthrow of.^Carthage having continued successful and prosperous for the space of sixty years; at length broke out the servile war upon the following occasions. The Sicilians (through the enjoyment of a long peace) being grown very rich, brought up abundance of slaves; who being driven in droves like so many herds of cattle from the several places where they were bred and brought up^were stigmatized with certain marks burnt in their bodies: those that were young, they used for shepherds, others for such services as they had occasion. But their masters were very rigid and severe with them and took no care to provide either necessary food or raiment for them insomuch as that most of them were forced to rob and steals to get necessaries: 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. The governors of the provinces, (to say the truth) did what they could to suppress them: but because they durst not punish them, in regard to their masters, who had the sole command and power over their servants, were rich, and men in authority, every governor in his several province was forced to connive at the thefts and rapines that were committed. For many of the masters being Roman knights, and judges of the accusations (brought before the praetors) were terror to the governors themselves. The slaves therefore being in this distress, and vilely beaten and scourged beyond all reason, were now resolved not to bear 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, till at length they really executed what they had before agreed upon. There was a Syrian a servant of Antigenes of Enna, born in the city of Apanea a magician and conjuror: he pretended to tell future events, (or fortunes), discovered to him, as he said by the gods in his dreams, and imposed upon 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. And though he thus juggled, and played the fool, yet by chance many things afterwards proved true. And whereas those things which never happened, were by none censured, but those which did come to pass were every where applauded, he grew more and more into esteem. At length by some trick of art or other, he would breath flames of fire out of his mouth as from a burning lamp, and so Would prophecy as though he had been at that time inspired by Apollo. For he put fire with some combustible matter to feed it, into a nutshell 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 defection this juggler boasted that the goddess Syria 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. The thing being become a common jest and subject of laughter, Antigenes was so taken with this jest and ridiculous conceit of the man, that he took Eunus (for so he was called) with him to feasts and repasts, and several questions being put to him concerning the kingdom, be was asked how he would deal with every one that 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 set all the guests a laughing, upon which some of them as a reward gave him large messes from the table, desiring him to remember their kindness when he came to his kingdom: but all this jesting came at length really to end in the advancing of him to the kingdom; 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 defection was in this manner. There was one Damophilus of Enna, a man by reason of his wealth, of a great spirit, but of a proud and haughty disposition. This man above all measure was cruel and severe to his servants; and his wife Megallis strove to exceed her husband in all kind of cruelty and inhumanity towards the slaves. Upon this, they that had been thus cruelly used, were enraged like wild beasts, and plotted together to rise in arms and cut the throats of their masters. To this end they applied themselves to Eunus, and desired to know bf him whether the Gods would succeed them in their design. He encouraging them declared that they should prosper in what they had in hand, using, (according to his former manner), conjuring words and expressions, and charging them to be speedy in their execution; Whereupon they forthwith raised a body of four hundred slaves, and upon the first opportunity, on a sudden broke in armed into the city Enna, led by their captain Eunus, by his juggling tricks, flaming out fire at his mouth. Then entering the houses, they made so great a slaughter, as that they spared not even the suckling children, 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. With these villains joined a multitude of slaves that were in the city, and first executed their rage and cruelty upon their masters, and then fell a murdering others.
In the mean time Eunus heard that Damophilus and his wife were in some orchards near the city, he sent therefore some of his rabble thither, who brought them with their hands tied behind their backs, loading them, as they passed along with scoffs and scorns; only they declared that they would be kind in every respect to his daughter, for her pity and compassion towards the servants, and her readiness always to he helpful to them. They that were sent for Damophilus and Megallis his wife to the city, brought them into the theatre, whither all the rabble that made a defection flocked. There Damophilus pleading earnestly for his life, and moving many with what he said, Hermias and Zexis loaded him with many bitter accusations, and called him a cheat and dissembler; and not waiting what would be determined by 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 martial affairs, but upon the account of his extraordinary juggling, and that he was the head and author of the defection, and for that his name seemed to portend and to be a good omen, that he would be kind, to his subjects. Being therefore 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 to death except such as were skilful in making of arms, whom he forthwith set on work; as for Megallis he delivered her up to the will of the women slaves, to take their revenge for her as they thought fit: who after they had whipped and tormented her, threw her down a steep precispice. And Eunus himself killed his own master Antigenes and Pytho. At length putting the crown upon his head, and graced with all the ensigns of royalty, he caused his wife, (who was a Syrian and of the same city) to be owned as queen, and chose such as he judged to be most prudent to be of his privy council. Amongst whom was one Achaeus by name, and an Achaean by nation, a wise man and a good soldier: having therefore got together in the space of three days above six thousand men, armed with what they could by any ways or means lay their hands upon, and being joined with others, who were all furnished either with axes, hatches, slings, bills, or stakes sharpened and burnt at one end, or with spits, he ravaged and made spoil all over the country. And being at length joined with an infinite number of slaves, they grew to that height and boldness as to engage in a war with the Roman generals and often in several battles got the victory, by overpowering them with number; having now with him above ten thousand men.
In the mean time, one Cleon a Cilician was the author of another defection of the slaves, and now all were in hopes that this unruly rabble would fall together by the ears one with another, and so Sicily would-be rid of them through the mutual slaughters and destructions amongst themselves. But contrary to all men's hopes and expectations, they joined forces together; and Cleon was observant in every, thing to the commands of Ennus, and served general under him as his prince having five thousand men of his own soldiers. Thirty days were now expired since the first banning of this rebellion: and presently after a battle was fought with Loeins Hyprios, (who coming from Rome commanded eight thousand Sicilians), in which fight the rebels got the day, who were then twenty thousand, and in a very short time after, their army increased to two hundred thousand men. And although they fought with the Romans themselves, yet they often came off conquerors, and were very seldom beaten. This being noised abroad, a defection began at Rome by one hundred and fifty slaves, who conspired against the government; the like in Attica by one thousand; the like at Delos, and many other places. But those in the several places who had intrusted their concerns in their bands, to prevent the mischief from going further, made a quick despatch, and fell upon them on the sudden, and put them all to death, and so those that remained and were ready to break out into rebellion, were reduced to more sound and sober thoughts.
But in Sicily the disorders more and more increased: for cities were taken, and their inhabitants made slaves, and many armies were cut off by the rebels, until such time as Rupilius the Roman general recovered Taurominium, after the besieged had been reduced to that extremity of famine, (by a sharp and close siege), as that they began to eat their own children, and the men their wives; and at length butchered one another for food. There he took Comanus the brother of Cleon, who was endeavouring to escape out of the city while it was besieged. At last Sarapion a Syrian, having betrayed the citadel, all the fugitives fell into his hands, whom having first scourged, he afterwards crucified. Thence he marched to Enna, and by a long siege reduced them into such straits, as that there was no hope left to escape. Afterwards having slain Cleon their general, (who had made a sally from the city and fought like a hero), he exposed his body to open view; and not long after this city likewise was betrayed into his hands, which otherwise could never have been taken by force, by reason of the natural strength of the place. And as for Eunus, he like a coward fled with six hundred of his guards to the tops of certain high rocks, where those that were with him, (foreseeing their inevitable ruin, for Rupilius pursued them close), cut one another's throats. But Eunus the juggling king, out of fear, hid himself in some caves, he had found out for that purpose; whence he was plucked out with four others of his gang, viz. his cook, his barber, he that rubbed him in the bath, and he that in the midst of his cups was his jester. To conclude he war thrown into the gaol, and there eaten up of lice, and so ended his days at Morgantium, by a death worthy the former wickedness of his life. Rupilius afterwards with a small body of men, marching all over Sicily, presently cleared the country of thieves and robbers. This Eunus king of the robbers called himself Antiochus, and all his followers Syrians.