Timoleon (Greek: Τιμολέων), son of Timodemus, of Corinth (c. 411–337 BC) was a Greek statesman and general.

As the champion of Greece against Carthage he is closely connected with the history of Sicily, especially Syracuse.

Early life

In the mid 360s BC, Timophanes, the brother of Timoleon, took possession of the acropolis of Corinth and effectively made himself tyrant of the city. In response, Timoleon, who had earlier saved his brother's life in battle, became involved in the assassination of Timophanes.[1] Public opinion approved his conduct as patriotic; however the curses of his mother and the indignation of some of his kinsfolk drove him into an early retirement for twenty years.[2]


Sicily cultures 431bc
Sicily 431 BC

Because of the political problems facing Syracuse and the threat from Sparta, a group of Syracusans sent an appeal for help to Corinth which reached the city state in 344 BC.[3] Corinth could not refuse help, though her chief citizens declined to accept responsibility for attempting to establish a stable government in fractious and turbulent Syracuse.[2]

Timoleon, being named by an unknown voice in the Corinthian popular assembly, was chosen by a unanimous vote to undertake the mission, and set sail for Sicily with seven ships, a few of the leading citizens of Corinth and 700 Greek mercenaries.[1] He eluded a Carthaginian squadron and landed at Tauromenium (now Taormina) in 344 BC, where he met with a friendly reception. At this time Hicetas, tyrant of Leontini, was master of Syracuse, with the exception of the island of Ortygia, which was occupied by Dionysius, still nominally tyrant.

Hicetas was defeated by Timoleon at Adranum, an inland town, and driven back to Syracuse. Timoleon was sent reinforcements from Corinth and some north-western Greek states.[1] During the siege of Syracuse, Dionysius surrendered Ortygia in 343 BC on the condition of his being granted a safe conduct to Corinth. This was agreed and Dionysius was sent to exile in Corinth.[2]

Hicetas now received help from Carthage (60,000 men), but ill-success roused mutual suspicion; the Carthaginians abandoned Hicetas, who was besieged in Leontini, and who was then compelled to surrender. Timoleon was thus master of Syracuse.[2]

He at once began the work of restoration, bringing new settlers from the mother-city and from Greece generally, and establishing a popular government on the basis of the democratic laws of Diocles. The citadel was razed to the ground, and a court of justice erected on its site. The amphipolos, or priest of Olympian Zeus (ἀμφίπολος Διὸς Ὀλυμπίου),[4] who was chosen annually by lot out of three clans, was invested with the chief magistracy. The impress of Timoleon's reforms seems to have lasted to the days of Augustus.[2]

Hicetas was able to persuade Carthage to send (340–339 BC) a great army (70,000 men), which landed at Lilybaeum (now Marsala). With a miscellaneous levy of about 12,000 men, most of them mercenaries, Timoleon marched westwards across the island to the neighbourhood of Selinus and won a great and decisive victory on the Crimissus. Timoleon led his infantry, and the enemy's discomfiture was completed by a blinding storm of rain and hail.[2]

Carthage made one more effort and despatched some mercenaries to prolong the conflict between Timoleon and the tyrants. But it ended in the defeat of Hicetas, who was taken prisoner and put to death. Carthage then agreed to a treaty in 338 BC by which Carthage was confined in Sicily to the west of the Halycus (Platani) and undertook to give no further help to the Sicilian tyrants. Most of the remaining tyrants were killed or expelled.[5] This treaty gave the Greeks of Sicily many years of peace and safety from Carthage.

Ruler of Syracuse

Timoleon established a new Syracusan constitution. It was described at the time as democratic. However, he did have wide powers equivalent to a supreme commander. He invited settlers from mainland Greece to assist in the re-population of Syracuse and other Sicilian cities. During this period, Greek Sicily enjoyed a recovery in its economy and its culture.[1]


Timoleon retired into private life, possibly on becoming blind, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted.[5] He was buried at the cost of the citizens of Syracuse, who erected a monument to his memory in their market-place, afterwards surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.[2]

Tyrant or democrat?

The ancient historian Timaeus gave Timoleon high accolades in his work. However, Polybius criticized Timaeus for bias in favour of Timoleon and many modern historians have sided with Polybius.[6] Peter Green shares this scepticism but thinks it has gone too far. While he concedes that Timoleon tended to play the democrat while using the methods of a tyrant (albeit benevolently), he did make an effort to maintain the outward forms of democracy. Further, he reformed Syracuse in a democratic direction and demolished the stronghold of the island that had been so useful to tyrants in the past.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Tony (2000). Who's Who in the Classical World. New York: Oxford Paperback Reference. p. 403. ISBN 0192801074.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ History of Greece, George Grote, vol. 7 pp. 575-6.
  4. ^ ἀμφίπολος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  5. ^ a b Historians History of the World, Editor: Henry Smith Williams vol 4 p207
  6. ^ Peter Green, Alexander to Actium p. 219.
  7. ^ Peter Green, Alexander to Actium, pp. 219-20.


Primary sources

Secondary sources

Further reading

  • Westlake, H.D. Timoleon and His Relations With Tyrants. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1952 (hardcover, ISBN 0-7190-1217-1).
  • Bicknell, P.J. "The Date of Timoleon's Crossing to Italy and the Comet of 361 B.C.", The Classical Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 34, No. 1. (1984), pp. 130–134.
  • Talbert, R.J.A. Timoleon and the Revival of Greek Sicily, 344–317 B.C. (Cambridge Classical Studies). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-20419-4); 2008 (paperback, ISBN 0-521-03413-2).
Preceded by:
Dionysius the Younger
Tyrant of Syracuse
345–337 BC
Succeeded by:
position next held by
Agathocles in 320 BC
Apollonia (Sicily)

Apollonia (Greek: Ἀπολλωνία) was an ancient city of Sicily, which, according to Stephanus of Byzantium, was situated in the neighborhood of Aluntium and Calacte. Cicero also mentions it (Or. in Verr. 2.3.103) and in conjunction with Haluntium, Capitium, and Enguium, in a manner that seems to imply that it was situated in the same part of Sicily with these cities; and we learn from Diodorus (xvi. 72) that it was at one time subject to Leptines, the tyrant of Enguium, from whose hands it was wrested by Timoleon, and restored to an independent condition. A little later we find it again mentioned among the cities reduced by Agathocles, after his return from Africa, 307 BCE (Diod. xx. 56). But it evidently regained its liberty after the fall of the tyrant, and in the days of Cicero was still a municipal town of some importance. (Or. in Verr. 2.4.51) From this time it disappears from history, and the name is not found either in Pliny or Ptolemy.

Its site has been much disputed; but the passages above cited point distinctly to a position in the north-eastern part of Sicily; and it is probable that the modern Pollina, a small town on a hill, about 5 km (3 mi) from the sea-coast, and 15 km (9 mi) east from Cefalù, occupies its site. The resemblance of name is certainly entitled to much weight; and if Enguium be correctly placed at Gangi, the connection between that city and Apollonia is easily explained. It must be admitted that the words of Stephanus require, in this case, to be construed with considerable latitude, but little dependence can be placed upon the accuracy of that writer.

Battle of the Crimissus

The Battle of the Crimissus (also spelled Crimisus and Crimesus) was fought in 339 BC between a large Carthaginian army commanded by Asdrubal and Hamilcar and an army from Syracuse led by Timoleon. Timoleon attacked the Carthaginian army by surprise near the Crimissus river in western Sicily (originally it was thought that it was the modern Belice river in southwest Sicily but it has been recently identified with the modern Freddo river in northwest Sicily ) and won a great victory. When he defeated another much smaller force of Carthaginians shortly afterwards, Carthage sued for peace. The peace allowed the Greek cities on Sicily to recover and began a period of stability. However, another war between Syracuse and Carthage erupted after Timoleon's death, not long after Agathocles seized power in 317 BC.

Carthage had tried to prevent Timoleon's arrival on Sicily, where he had been invited by the citizens of Syracuse to depose the Greek tyrants and restore democracy and order. After liberating Syracuse itself, Timoleon sent his mercenaries to raid the Carthaginian territory on western Sicily. Carthage had already gathered a large army, which was moving towards Syracuse in response to the raids.

Vastly outnumbered, Timoleon attacked the Carthaginian army while it was crossing the Crimissus river. The Carthaginians fiercely resisted the initial assault, but a storm which started during the battle worked to the advantage of the Greeks. When the first rank of the Carthaginian army was defeated, the whole army was routed. The Greeks killed or captured many of those who fled and Carthage lost a large number of its wealthiest citizens in the battle.

Carl Timoleon von Neff

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French ship Commerce de Bordeaux (1785)

Commerce de Bordeaux was a Téméraire-class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. She was funded by a don des vaisseaux donation from Bordeaux.

Renamed Timoléon in February 1794, she took part in the Battle of the Nile under captain Louis-Léonce Trullet. In the confusion of the battle, her rudder was damaged by misdirected fire from the neighbouring Généreux. She fought for three days, eventually running aground and set on fire by her crew. She exploded around noon on 2 August, the last fighting French ship of the battle.

Iraota timoleon

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Jean Paul Timoléon de Cossé Brissac

Jean Paul Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac, 7th Duke of Brissac (12 October 1698, Paris - 1784, Sarrelouis), was a French general during the reign of King Louis XV. He is most notable for leading the French vanguard at the Battle of Minden, and he became a Marshal of France. He was also a Grand Panetier of France.

List of tyrants of Syracuse

Syracuse (Gr. Συρακοῦσαι) was an ancient Greek city-state, located on the east coast of Sicily. The city was founded by settlers from Corinth in 734 or 733 BC, and was conquered by the Romans in 212 BC, after which it became the seat of Roman rule in Sicily. Throughout much of its history as an independent city, it was governed by a succession of tyrants, with only short periods of democracy and oligarchy. While Pindar addressed the Deinomenids as kings (basileus) in his odes, it is not clear that this (or any other title) was officially used by any of the tyrants until Agathocles adopted the title in 304.

Louis Hercule Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac

Louis Hercule Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac, Duke of Brissac (14 February 1734, Paris - 9 September 1792, Versailles) was a French military commander and peer of France. He was the second son and eventual heir of Jean Paul Timoléon de Cossé Brissac, 7th Duke of Brissac, who was a French general.

Siege of Syracuse (343 BC)

The Siege of Syracuse from 344 to 343/342 BC was part of a war between the Syracusan general Hicetas and the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius II. The conflict became more complex when Carthage and Corinth became involved. The Carthaginians had made an alliance with Hicetas to expand their power in Sicily. Somewhat later the Corinthian general Timoleon arrived in Sicily to restore democracy to Syracuse. With the assistance of several other Sicilian Greek cities, Timoleon emerged victorious and reinstated a democratic regime in Syracuse. The siege is described by the ancient historians Diodorus Siculus and Plutarch, but there are important differences in their accounts.

Timoleon (horse)

For the Greek statesman of this name, see Timoleon.

Timoleon (foaled in either 1813 or 1814, depending on source*), was a good American Thoroughbred racehorse and was later an important sire.

Timoleon (poems)

Timoleon (full title: Timoleon and Other Ventures in Minor Verse) is a collection of forty-two poems by American writer Herman Melville. It was privately published in May 1891, four months before the author's death. Printed by the Caxton Press in an edition of 25 copies, it was the last work by the author published during his life.

Timoleon Filimon

Timoleon Filimon (Greek: Τιμολέων Φιλήμων 1833 – 7 March 1898) was a Greek journalist, politician, intellectual and tutor of King George I. He was one of the founding members of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece.

Timoleon Raimondi

Timoleon Raimondi (5 May 1827 – 27 September 1894) (Chinese: 高雷門) was the Last Prefect and First Vicar Apostolic of Hong Kong (17 November 1874).

Raimondi was born in Milan, Italy. He was the younger brother of Antonio Raimondi, a prominent naturalist who worked in Peru. Timoleon was ordained as a priest on 25 May 1850. He was appointed as prefect of Hong Kong in Hong Kong on 27 December 1868.

Raimondi was also:

Titular Bishop of Achantus and Hong Kong – 4 October 1874

Titular Bishop of Achantus – 22 November 1874He died in Hong Kong on 27 September 1894.

Raimondi College in the Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island was named after him.

Timoleon Vassos

Timoleon Vassos or Vasos (Greek: Τιμολέων Βάσσος or Βάσος; 1836–1929) was a Greek Army officer and general. He was born in Athens in 1836, the younger son of the hero of the Greek Revolution Vasos Mavrovouniotis. He studied at the Hellenic Army Academy and continued his studies in France before being appointed as aide de camp to King George I. In February 1897, as a colonel, he was sent at the head of an expeditionary force to Crete to assist the local Cretan revolt against the Ottoman Empire, an act which precipitated the outbreak of the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. He eventually reached the rank of major general and garrison commander of Athens. He died in Athens in October 1929.

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Timoleon Vieta Come Home: A Sentimental Journey (2003) is a novel by British author Dan Rhodes, a parody of the classic Lassie Come Home film. It was Rhodes' first novel, and won the 2003 Author's Club First Novel Award. It has been translated into at least 20 languages.

Timoleón Jiménez

Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri (born January 22, 1959 in Calarcá, Quindío), most known under the nom de guerre Timoleón Jiménez and the nickname Timochenko or Timochenco, is the former leader of the rebel group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

After finishing high school, Timochenko joined the Young Communists League. He studied at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow. Timochenko received military training in Yugoslavia. He completed his studies in Cuba. Upon his return to Colombia, those who knew him said he had become decidedly more radical. Londoño joined the FARC in 1982 after being introduced to the rebel group by Miller Chacon.'Timochenko' took over the FARC leadership in November 2011 from Alfonso Cano after the leader was killed by the Colombian army.

With more than 30 years of guerilla war experience and a reputation of being a ruthless military commander he "has widespread respect among the rank-and-file, particularly the hardliners that form the core of the rural fighters". According to the Colombian Air Force his alias is referring to Soviet Marshal Semyon Timoshenko. Before assuming the leadership of the guerrilla group, Timochenko was one of the commanders of the Middle Magdalena Bloc of the FARC-EP and was thought to have some 800 men under his command.

Timoléon C. Brutus

Timoléon C. Brutus (1886–1971) was a Haitian politician and historian. He served as foreign minister of Haiti from 1946 to 1949. As a historian, Brutus wrote books about the leaders of the Haitian Revolution, Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines. His most well-known works are Ranςon du Génie ou la Leςon de Toussaint Louverture (1945) and L'homme d'Airain (1946). One of his sons, Edner Brutus, also became a prominent politician and historian.His youngest son, Jean-Claude Brutus became a psychiatrist.

Timoléon d'Espinay

Timoléon d'Espinay (1580–1644), French soldier, was the eldest of the four sons of François d'Espinay, seigneur de Saint Luc (1554–1597), and was himself marquis de Saint Luc. In 1603 he accompanied Sully in his embassy to London.

In 1622, in his capacity as vice-admiral of France, he gained some advantages over the defenders of La Rochelle, obliging the Huguenot commander, Benjamin de Rohan, seigneur de Soubise, to evacuate the islands of Ré and Oléron. In 1627 he was named lieutenant-general of Guienne and Marshal of France.

The works of Plutarch
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