Not long after the peace
Darius, the King of Asia, died after a reign of nineteen years, and Artaxerxes, his eldest son,
succeeded to the throne and reigned for forty-three years. During this period, as Apollodorus
says, the poet
at the beginning of
summer Himilcon, the commander of the Carthaginians, razed to the ground the city of the
Acragantini, and in the case of the temples which did not appear to have been sufficiently
destroyed even by the fire he mutilated the sculptures and everything of rather exceptional
workmanship; he then at once with his entire army invaded the territory of the Geloans.
In his attack upon all this territory and that of Camarina he
enriched his army with booty of every description. After this he advanced to Gela and pitched
his camp along the river of the same name as the city.
Geloans had, outside the city, a bronze statue of Apollo of colossal size; this the
Carthaginians seized as spoil and sent to Tyre.4
The Geloans had set up the
statue in accordance with an oracular response of the god, and the Tyrians at a later time,
when they were being besieged by Alexander of Macedon, treated the god disrespectfully on the
ground that he was fighting on the side of the enemy.5
But when Alexander took the city, as Timaeus says, on the day with the
same name and at the same hour on which the Carthaginians seized the Apollo at Gela, it came to
pass that the god was honoured by the Greeks with the greatest sacrifices and processions as
having been the cause of its capture.
Although these events
took place at different times, we have thought it not inappropriate to bring them together
because of their astonishing nature.
Now the Carthaginians cut
down the trees of the countryside and threw a trench6
encampment, since they were expecting Dionysius to come with a strong army to the aid of the
The Geloans at first voted to remove
their children and women out of danger to Syracuse because of the magnitude of the expected
danger, but when the women fled to the altars about the market-place and begged to share the
same fortune as the men, they yielded to them.
forming a very large number of detachments, they sent the soldiers in turn over the
countryside; and they, because of their knowledge of the land, attacked wandering bands of the
enemy, daily brought back many of them alive, and slew not a few.
And although the Carthaginians kept launching assaults in relays upon the city and
breaching the walls with their battering-rams, the Geloans defended themselves gallantly; for
the portions of the walls which fell during the day they built up again at night, the women and
children assisting. For those who were in the bloom of their physical strength were under arms
and constantly in battle, and the rest of the multitude stood by to attend to the defences and
the rest of the tasks with all eagerness.
In a word, they met
the attack of the Carthaginians so stoutly that, although their city lacked natural defences
and they were without allies and they could, besides, see the walls falling in a number of
places, they were not dismayed at the danger which threatened them.