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Headword: Πύρρος
Adler number: pi,3232
Translated headword: Pyrrhus, Pyrrhos
Vetting Status: high
This man crossed a second time into Italy, since affairs in Sicily were not proceeding to his liking because his leadership did not seem regal to the cities but despotic. For after being brought into Syracuse by Sosistratus, who held power in the city at that time, and by Thoinon the commander of the garrison, and having received from them money and some 200 bronze-rammed ships in all and having brought all of Sicily under his control except for the city of Lilybaeum,[1] which was the only city that the Carthaginians still held, he started exhibiting a tyrannical wilfullness. When the worst and most impious of his associates, Euegorus son of Theodorus, Balacrus son of Nicander and Deinarchus son of Nicias, saw that he was in a predicament and in search of any kind of revenues, being the adherents of the most godless and accursed teachings they propose to him a source of impious funds: the opening of the sacred treasuries of Persephone; for it was a shrine rich in gold, which had been kept untouched for all time. In it there was a sort of bottomless pit of gold, situated below ground out of the sight of the general public. Led astray by these toadies, and considering his need more important than anything, he employed as accomplices in the sacrilege the men [who devised] the plan, put the gold into ships and sent it off to Tarentum.[2] But righteous Providence put her power on display; for the ships were wrecked, and the gold was given back to the shrine.
Greek Original:
Πύρρος: οὗτος διέβη τὸ δεύτερον ἐς Ἰταλίαν, οὐ χωρούντων αὐτῷ τῶν ἐν Σικελίᾳ πραγμάτων κατὰ νοῦν, διὰ τὸ μὴ βασιλικὴν φανῆναι τὴν ἡγεμονίαν, ἀλλὰ δεσποτικὴν ταῖς πόλεσιν. ἐσαχθεὶς γὰρ ἐς Συρακούσας ὑπό τε Σωσιστράτου κρατοῦντος τῆς πόλεως τότε καὶ Θοίνωνος τοῦ φρουράρχου, παραλαβὼν παρ' ἐκείνων χρήματα καὶ ναῦς χαλκεμβόλους ὁμοῦ τι σ1# καὶ πᾶσαν ὑφ' ἑαυτῷ ποιησάμενος Σικελίαν πλὴν Λιλυβαίου πόλεως, ἣν ἔτι μόνην Καρχηδόνιοι κατεῖχον, ἐς αὐθάδειαν τυραννικὴν ἐτρέπετο. ἀμηχανοῦντα δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ πόρους παντοδαποὺς ἐπιζητοῦντα ὁρῶντες αὐτὸν οἱ κάκιστοι καὶ ἀνοσιώτατοι τῶν φίλων, Εὐήγορος Θεοδώρου καὶ Βάλακρος Νικάνδρου καὶ Δείναρχος Νικίου, τῶν ἀθέων καὶ ἐξαγίστων δογμάτων ζηλωταί, πόρον ὑποτίθενται χρημάτων ἀνοσίων, τοὺς ἱεροὺς ἀνοῖξαι τῆς Περσεφόνης θησαυρούς: ἦν γὰρ ἱερὸν πολύχρυσον, ἐκ παντὸς τοῦ χρόνου πεφυλαγμένον ἄθικτον ἔχον: ἐν ᾧ χρυσός τις ἄβυσσος, ἀόρατος τοῖς πολλοῖς κατὰ γῆς κείμενος. ὑπὸ τούτων ἐξαπατηθεὶς τῶν κολάκων καὶ τὴν ἀνάγκην κρείττονα παντὸς ἡγησάμενος τὴν γνώμην ἀνδράσι διακόνοις τῆς ἱεροσυλίας ἐχρήσατο καὶ τὸν χρυσὸν ναυσὶν ἐνθέμενος ἀπέστειλεν ἐς Τάραντα. ἡ δὲ δικαία πρόνοια τὴν αὑτῆς δύναμιν ἀπεδείξατο: ἐναυάγησαν γὰρ αἱ νῆες, καὶ ὁ χρυσὸς ἀπεδόθη εἰς τὸ ἱερόν.
For King Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 BCE), see generally Peter Derow in OCD4 s.v. The present material is an abridgement of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 20.8-9 (via Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Excerpta de virtutibus 2.81.13-83.13, abridged), with some errors. Partial quotations of the same passage at alpha 105, chi 439, and (very briefly) theta 527; cf. pi 507 and delta 369 for other events related to this episode.
[1] Modern-day Marsala, Italy, on the the west coast of Sicily; Barrington Atlas map 47 grid A3.
[2] In southern Italy, nowadays Taranto; cf. tau 112 and tau 113.
Keywords: biography; economics; ethics; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; philosophy; politics; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: William Hutton on 12 September 2013@23:22:59.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (expanded primary note; tweaks and cosmetics) on 13 September 2013@03:57:51.
William Hutton (typo) on 13 September 2013@05:23:09.
David Whitehead on 24 October 2013@06:07:23.
David Whitehead on 10 August 2014@07:27:22.
Ronald Allen (added geographical notes, added map note, added cross-references) on 10 July 2018@21:18:00.


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