Selinuntians, picking out their best horsemen, dispatched them at once by night, some to
, and others to Gela
, asking them to
come to their aid with all speed, since their city could not withstand the strength of the
enemy for any great time.
Now the Acragantini and Geloans
waited for the Syracusans, since they wished to lead their troops as one body against the
Carthaginians; and the Syracusans, on learning the facts about the siege, first stopped the war
they were engaged in with the Chalcidians and then spent some time in gathering the troops from
the countryside and making great preparations, thinking that the city might be forced by siege
to surrender but would not be taken by storm.
Hannibal, when the night had passed, at daybreak launched assaults from
every side, and the part of the city's wall which had already fallen and the portion of the
wall next the breach he broke down with the siege-engines.
then cleared the area of the fallen part of the wall and, attacking in relays of his best
troops, gradually forced out the Selinuntians; it was not possible, however, to overpower by
force men who were fighting for their very existence.
sides suffered heavy losses, but for the Carthaginians fresh troops kept taking over the
fighting, while for the Selinuntians there was no reserve to come to their support. The siege
continued for nine days with unsurpassed stubbornness, and in the event the Carthaginians
suffered and inflicted many terrible injuries.
Iberians mounted where the wall had fallen, the women who were on the house-tops raised a great
cry, whereupon the Selinuntians, thinking that the city was being taken, were struck with
terror, and leaving the walls they gathered in bands at the entrances of the narrow alleys,
endeavoured to barricade the streets, and held off the enemy for a long time.
And as the Carthaginians pressed the attack, the multitudes of women and
children took refuge on the housetops whence they threw both stones and tiles on the enemy. For
a long time the Carthaginians came off badly, being unable either, because of the walls of the
houses, to surround the men in the alleys or, because of those hurling at them from the roofs,
to fight it out on equal terms.
However, as the struggle went
on until the afternoon, the missiles of the fighters from the houses were exhausted, whereas
the troops of the Carthaginians, which constantly relieved those which were suffering heavily,
continued the fighting in fresh condition. Finally, since the troops within the walls were
being steadily reduced in number and the enemy entered the city in ever increasing strength,
the Selinuntians were forced out of the alleys.