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The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Etext Book II Chapter 7
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• Contents of Mommsen's History of Rome
• Ancient Rome
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• The Fall of Rome
 


The Sicilian Government Of Pyrrhus
The real weakness of the position of Pyrrhus lay in his faulty internal policy. He governed Sicily as he had seen Ptolemy rule in Egypt: he showed no respect to the local constitutions; he placed his confidants as magistrates over the cities whenever, and for as long as, he pleased; he made his courtiers judges instead of the native jurymen; he pronounced arbitrary sentences of confiscation, banishment, or death, even against those who had been most active in promoting his coming thither; he placed garrisons in the towns, and ruled over Sicily not as the leader of a national league, but as a king. In so doing he probably reckoned himself according to oriental-Hellenistic ideas a good and wise ruler, and perhaps he really was so; but the Greeks bore this transplantation of the system of the Diadochi to Syracuse with all the impatience of a nation that in its long struggle for freedom had lost all habits of discipline; the Carthaginian yoke very soon appeared to the foolish people more tolerable than their new military government. The most important cities entered into communications with the Carthaginians, and even with the Mamertines; a strong Carthaginian army ventured again to appear on the island; and everywhere supported by the Greeks, it made rapid progress. In the battle which Pyrrhus fought with it fortune was, as always, with the "Eagle"; but the circumstances served to show what the state of feeling was in the island, and what might and must ensue, if the king should depart.
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