While these events were taking place
there arrived at Acragas
three thousand picked
soldiers from the Syracusans, who had been dispatched in advance with all speed to bring aid.
On learning of the fall of Selinus
, they sent
ambassadors to Hannibal urging him both to release the captives on payment of ransom and to
spare the temples of the gods.
Hannibal replied that the
Selinuntians, having proved incapable of defending their freedom, would now undergo the
experience of slavery, and that the gods had departed from Selinus
, having become offended with its inhabitants.
However, since the fugitives had sent Empedion as an ambassador, to him Hannibal
restored his possessions; for Empedion had always favoured the cause of the Carthaginians and
before the siege had counselled the citizens not to go to war against the Carthaginians.
Hannibal also graciously delivered up to him his kinsmen who were among the captives and to the
Selinuntians who had escaped he gave permission to dwell in the city and to cultivate its
fields upon payment of tribute to the Carthaginians.
Now this city was taken after it had been inhabited from its
founding for a period of two hundred and forty-two years. And Hannibal, after destroying the
walls of Selinus
, departed with his whole army to
Himera, being especially bent upon razing this city to the ground.
For it was this city which had caused his father to be exiled and before its walls his
grandfather Hamilcar had been out-generalled by Gelon and then met his end,1
and with him one hundred and fifty thousand soldiers
had perished and no fewer than these had been taken captive.
These were the reasons why Hannibal was eager to exact punishment, and with forty thousand
men he pitched camp upon some hills not far from the city, while with the rest of his entire
army he invested the city, twenty thousand additional soldiers from both Siceli and Sicani
having joined him.
Setting up his siege-engines he shook the
walls at a number of points, and since he pressed the battle with waves of troops in great
strength, he wore down the defenders, especially since his soldiers were elated by their
He also set about undermining the walls, which he
then shored up with wooden supports, and when these were set on fire, a large section of the
wall soon fell. Thereupon there ensued a most bitter battle, one side struggling to force its
way inside the wall and the other fearing lest they should suffer the same fate as the
Consequently, since the defenders put up a
struggle to the death on behalf of children and parents and the fatherland which all men fight
to defend, the barbarians were thrust out and the section of the wall quickly restored. To
their aid came also the Syracusans from Acragas
troops from their other allies, some four thousand in all, who were under the command of
Diocles the Syracusan.