between them, till their differences terminated in the loss of in-
dependence to the one state, and in the total destruction of the
other. The jEgestans were the weaker party, and their inability
to cope with the superior power of their adversaries obliged them
to resort to foreign aid. With this view, they had recourse first
to the Athenians and then to the Carthaginians. The Athenian
expedition to Sicily is too well known to require minute relation
in these pages ; the wide prospects of ambition which it pre-
sented to the people of Athens, then- elated hopes and confi-
dence of success, the famous siege of Syracuse, and the total
destruction of the armament of the Athenians and all their
lofty views on Sicily, have been a favourite theme with some of
the most eloquent of the ancient historians: to their volumes
therefore we shall refer our readers, contenting ourselves with
calling to mind that the complaints of the Leontines against
the Syracusans, enforced by the admired orator Gorgias, and
the prayers of the j-Egestans against the Selinuntians, if not the
motives which instigated the Athenians in their disastrous en-
terprise, were at least the pretext with which they cloaked their
ambitious views on Sicily, and that before laying siege to Syra-
cuse it had been the subject of debate with their leaders, whe-
ther that city or Selinus should he first attacked1.
The jEgestans, having failed in this attempt to obtain redress
by aid of the Athenians, for the encroachments and insults of
then- neighbours, now applied to the Carthaginians for protec-
tion, and offered to put the city itself into their hands. This
1 Thucyd. lib. vi. Diod. Sic.
Uc Orat. Autif]. 82.
t. Nic. and Alcil). Dioit. Hal.