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After this Dionysius called a meeting of his friends and took counsel regarding the war. When they all said that his position was unfavourable for a decisive battle with the enemy, he dispatched a herald toward evening to arrange for the taking up of the dead on the next day, and about the first watch of the night he sent out of the city the mass of the people, while he himself set out about the middle of the night, leaving behind some two thousand of his light-armed troops. [2] These had been given orders to keep fires burning through the entire night and to make an uproar in order to cause the Carthaginians to believe that he was still in the city. Now these troops, as the day was beginning to break, set out to join Dionysius, and the Carthaginians, on learning what had taken place, moved their quarters into the city and plundered what had been left of the contents of the dwellings. [3]

When Dionysius arrived at Camarina, he compelled the residents of that city also to depart with their children and wives to Syracuse. And since their fear admitted of no delay, some gathered together silver and gold and whatever could be easily carried, while others fled with only their parents and infant children, paying no attention to valuables; and some, who were aged or suffering from illness, were left behind because they had no relatives or friends, since the Carthaginians were expected to arrive almost immediately. [4] For the fate that had befallen Selinus and Himera and Acragas1 as well terrified the populace, all of whom felt as if they had actually been eyewitnesses of the savagery of the Carthaginians. For among them there was no sparing their captives, but they were without compassion for the victims of Fortune of whom they would crucify some and upon others inflict unbearable outrages. [5] Nevertheless, now that two cities had been driven into exile, the countryside teemed with women and children and the rabble in general. And when the soldiers witnessed these conditions, they were not only enraged against Dionysius but also filled with pity at the lot of the unfortunate victims; [6] for they saw free-born boys and maidens of marriageable years rushing pell-mell along the road in a manner improper for their age, since the stress of the moment had done away with the dignity and respect which are shown before strangers. Similarly they sympathized also with the elderly, as they watched them being forced to push onward beyond their strength while trying to keep up with those in the prime of life.

1 Cp. chaps. 57 f., 62, and 90 respectively.

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