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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 the Athenian1 says, the poet Antimachus2 flourished. [2]

In Sicily3 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. [3] 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. [4] The 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. [5] 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 about their encampment, since they were expecting Dionysius to come with a strong army to the aid of the imperilled inhabitants. [6] 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. [7] After this, 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. [8] 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. [9] 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.

1 Cp. 103.5, note.

2 Antimachus of Colophon wrote an epic poem entitled Thebais and an elegiac poem Lyde.

3 The narrative is resumed from the end of chap. 96.

4 Tyre was the mother-city of the colony of Carthage. The Apollo of Tyre, as well as the Apollo who is mentioned in the treaty between the Carthaginians and Philip of Macedon (Polybius 7.9), is generally considered to have been the god Reshef (variously spelled), originally a flame or lightning god of Syria.

5 Cp. Book 17.41.7.

6 And also a palisade built from the timbers (infra, chap. 110.3).

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