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The Syracusans, believing that the danger no longer was the losing of their city but that, far more, the contest had become one for the capture of the camp together with the enemy, blocked off the entrance to the harbour by the construction of a barrier. [2] For they moored at anchor both small vessels and triremes as well as merchant-ships, with iron chains between them, and to the vessels they built bridges of boards, completing the undertaking in three days. [3] The Athenians, seeing their hope of deliverance shut off in every direction, decided to man all their triremes and put on them their best land troops, and thus, by means both of the multitude of their ships and of the desperation of the men who would be fighting for their lives, eventually to strike terror into the Syracusans. [4] Consequently they put on board the officers and choicest troops from the whole army, manning in this way one hundred and fifteen triremes, and the other soldiers they stationed on land along the beach. The Syracusans drew up their infantry before the city, and fully manned seventy-four triremes; and the triremes were attended by free boys on small boats, who were in years below manhood and were fighting at the side of their fathers. [5] And the walls about the harbour and every high place in the city were crowded with people; for wives and maidens and all who, because of age, could not render the service war demands, since the whole war was coming to its decision, were eyeing the battle with the greatest anguish of spirit.

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