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Now it so happened that Gelon won his victory on the same day that Leonidas and his soldiers were contesting against Xerxes at Thermopylae,1 as if the deity intentionally so arranged that both the fairest victory and the most honourable defeat should take place at the same time. [2] After the battle at the city of the Himerans twenty warships made their escape from the fight, being those which Hamilcar, to serve his routine requirements, had not hauled up on shore. Consequently, although practically all the rest of the combatants were either slain or taken prisoner, these vessels managed to set sail before they were noticed. But they picked up many fugitives, and while heavily laden on this account, they encountered a storm and were all lost. A handful only of survivors got safely to Carthage in a small boat to give their fellow citizens a statement which was brief: "All who crossed over to Sicily have perished." [3]

The Carthaginians, who had suffered a great disaster so contrary to their hopes, were so terror-stricken that every night they kept vigil guarding the city, in the belief that Gelon with his entire force must have decided to sail forthwith against Carthage. [4] And because of the multitude of the lost the city went into public mourning, while privately the homes of citizens were filled with wailing and lamentation. For some kept inquiring after sons, others after brothers, while a very large number of children who had lost their fathers, alone now in the world, grieved at the death of those who had begotten them and at their own desolation through the loss of those who could succour them. And the Carthaginians, fearing lest Gelon should forestall them in crossing over to Libya, at once dispatched to him as ambassadors plenipotentiary their ablest orators and counsellors.

1 Hdt. 7.166 says that the battle of Himera took place on the same day as the battle of Salamis.

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    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.166
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