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The Selinuntians, picking out their best horsemen, dispatched them at once by night, some to Acragas, and others to Gela and Syracuse, 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. [2] 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. [3]

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. [4] He 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. [5] Both 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. [6] When the 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. [7] 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. [8] 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.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), BOEOTARCHES
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NAXOS
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