Dispatched to Sicily in 344 BC as an elderly man at the head of a small, motley band of mercenaries, Timoleon had no experience of the island. Yet, in less than eight years Timoleon overthrew tyrants, expelled the Carthaginians, and introduced peace, prosperity and constitutional government to an area which for decades had known only disorder. The peace he had brought was broken after his death, and tyranny returned in 317 BC; but the prosperity which he had set in motion continued to increase well into the third century. Dr Talbert has deliberately avoided the temptation to write a biography, and has confined himself to coverage of those aspects of Timeleon's work for which some evidence survives. He examines closely the uneven and frequently eulogistic accounts left by ancient writers. He also discusses fully the light thrown on Timoleon's revival by the discovery of numerous silver coin hoards in Sicily, and by archaeological excavations undertaken there since the Second World War. His studies add up to a most thorough investigation of Timoleon's work.
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