If men would examine how many are killed with weapons and how many eat and drink themselves to death, there would be found more dead from the cup and the kitchen than from the thrust of a sword. — Thomas More

Story of Greece - Mary Macgregor

The Two Brothers

The city of Corinth stood upon the narrow isthmus that joined the mainland of Greece to the Peloponnesian peninsula. She had two harbours, a large fleet, and she carried on a prosperous trade with other countries.

As the city grew strong and populous, she began to plant colonies in other lands. One of the wealthiest of these colonies was the town of Syracuse in Sicily.

In 346 B.C. Syracuse was in the power of a tyrant named Dionysius. The other cities in Sicily would have been in the same plight had their inhabitants not fled to a neighbouring town, and sought the aid of a powerful prince named Icetes. Icetes had a large army, and with its help they hoped to be able to overthrow Dionysius.

But trouble after trouble overtook the people, for the Carthaginians had sailed from Africa and had reached their shores. Sicily was in despair lest they should conquer the island and make it their own.

In their distress, the Sicilians sent messengers to Corinth, their mother-city, to beg her to help them to get rid of both the Carthaginians and Dionysius.

Icetes pretended to approve of this, but no sooner had the ambassadors set out for Corinth than he made friends with the Carthaginians. He hoped that if they drove Dionysius away, he himself would become tyrant of Sicily.

In Corinth, about twenty years earlier, there dwelt two brothers of noble birth—one was named Timophanes, the other Timoleon. Never were two brothers more unlike save that both were brave. Timophanes was cruel and ambitious, while Timoleon was gentle and content. Yet under his quiet ways Timoleon had one strong passion and that was the love he bore his country.

Timophanes was a captain in the Corinthian army; his brother served in the ranks.

Once when the captain was sent against a neighbouring state, he was thrown from his horse, which had been wounded. He fell close to the enemy and his men fled, leaving him in danger of being taken prisoner.

Timoleon saw what had happened, and rushing from the ranks, he stood over Timophanes with his shield, and defended him from the spears which were being hurled at him by the enemy. Although he himself was sorely wounded, he never flinched. But at length his comrades rushed to his aid and drove off the foe. Timoleon had saved his brother's life.

Not long after this, Timophanes was given the command of four hundred foreign soldiers. This pleased the captain, but to the dismay of the citizens he used the troops to make himself tyrant of the city.

All who dared to oppose him he put to death, while he ruled so harshly that he was hated and feared by everyone.

Timoleon was ashamed of his brother's behaviour. He begged him to treat the people more kindly, and if he must rule at least to rule with justice. But Timophanes first mocked at his brother's words, and then he grew angry and refused to listen to them.

Gentle as Timoleon was, he could be strong when there was need to be so. In a short time he went again to his brother, taking with him two friends who used to admire Timophanes.

Together the three men besought the tyrant to give up the power he had so wrongfully seized, and to serve his country in an upright way.

Again Timophanes laughed at his friends, but when they persisted in their entreaties he grew angry, and rudely bade them begone. Then Timoleon hid his face in his cloak and wept, while the others put his brother to death.

The Corinthians, for the most part, praised Timoleon because he loved his country so well that he sacrificed his brother for her sake. But there were some citizens who blamed Timoleon for allowing his brother to be put to death before his eyes. His mother refused to see him and called down upon him the curses of the gods. This pained Timoleon more than anything else, and he begged her to see him, if it were but once. But she would not allow him to enter her house.

Timoleon loved his mother, and her treatment made him so sad that he refused either to eat or to drink. He resolved to starve himself to death rather than endure his mother's reproaches.

His friends did all they could to comfort him, and at length they succeeded in persuading him to eat. But his sorrow was too great to let him stay in Corinth, so he left the city, and for several years he lived by himself. Even when he returned to Corinth, he still refused to take part in any public business.

Timoleon was fifty years old when in 346 B.C. the Syracusans sent to the Corinthians to beg for help against the Carthaginians.

The Corinthians determined to send an army to Sicily to help their fellow-countrymen, but they could find no one willing to go at its head.

Some one proposed that Timoleon should be made commander of the force that had been raised, and he was at once appointed.

Perhaps Timoleon thought that it was now time that he should do something for his country; in any case he undertook the task that was given him with goodwill.

One worthy citizen bade Timoleon act 'like a man of worth and gallantry. For,' said he, 'if you do bravely in this service we shall believe that you delivered us from a tyrant; but if otherwise, that you killed your brother.'


Front Matter

The Great God Pan
The Six Pomegranate Seeds
The Birth of Athene
The Two Weavers
The Purple Flowers
Danae and Her Little Son
The Quest of Perseus
Andromeda and Sea-Monster
Acrisius Killed by Perseus
Achilles and Briseis
Menelaus and Paris Do Battle
Hector and Andromache
The Horses of Achilles
The Death of Hector
Polyphemus the Giant
Odysseus Escapes from Cave
Odysseus Returns to Ithaca
Argus the Hound Dies
The Bow of Odysseus
The Land of Hellas
Lycurgus and His Nephew
Lycurgus Returns to Sparta
Training of the Spartans
The Helots
Aristomenes and the Fox
The Olympian Games
The Last King of Athens
Cylon Fails to be Tyrant
Solon Frees the Slaves
Athenians Take Salamis
Pisistratus Becomes Tyrant
Harmodius and Aristogiton
The Law of Ostracism
The Bridge of Boats
Darius Rewards Histiaeus
Histiaeus Shaves His Slave
Sardis Is Destroyed
Sandal Sewn by Histiaeus
Earth and Water
Battle of Marathon
Miltiades Sails to Paros
Aristides is Ostracised
The Dream of Xerxes
Xerxes Scourges the Hellespont
Bravest Men of All Hellas
Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Artemisium
Themistocles at Salamis
Themistocles Tricks Admirals
Battle of Salamis
Battle of Plataea
Delian League
Themistocles Deceives Spartans
Themistocles is Ostracised
Eloquence of Pericles
Pericles and Elpinice
The City of Athens
Great Men of Athens
Thebans Attack Plataeans
Attica Invaded by Spartans
Last Words of Pericles
Siege of Plataea
The Sentence of Death
Brasidas Loses His Shield
The Spartans Surrender
Brasidas the Spartan
Amphipolus Surrenders
Alcibiades the Favourite
Socrates the Philosopher
Alcibiades Praises Socrates
Images of Hermes Destroyed
Alcibiades Escapes to Sparta
The Siege of Syracuse
Athenian Army is Destroyed
Alcibiades Returns to Athens
Antiochus Disobeys Alcibiades
Walls of Athens Destroyed
March of the Ten Thousand
Pelopidas and Epaminondas
Seven Conspirators
Battle of Leuctra
Death of Epaminondas
The Two Brothers
Timoleon exiles Dionysius
Icetes Attacks Timoleon
Battle of Crimisus
Demosthenes' Wish
Greatest Orator of Athens
The Sacred War
Alexander and Bucephalus
Alexander and Diogenes
Battle of Granicus
The Gordian Knot
Darius Gallops from Battle
Tyre Stormed by Alexander
Battle of Gaugamela
Alexander Burns Persepolis
Alexander Slays Foster-Brother
Porus and His Elephant
Alexander Is Wounded
The Death of Alexander
Demosthenes in the Temple