This battle had already come to an end
when there arrived at Himera
from the Sicilian
Greeks the twenty-five triremes which had previously been sent to aid the Lacedaemonians1
but at this time had
returned from the campaign.
And a report also spread through
the city that the Syracusans en masse
together with their allies were on the march
to the aid of the Himeraeans and that Hannibal was preparing to man his triremes in Motye with
his choicest troops and, sailing to Syracuse
seize that city while it was stripped of its defenders.
Consequently Diocles, who commanded the forces in Himera
, advised the admirals of the fleet to set sail with all speed for
, in order that it might not happen that
the city should be taken by storm while its best troops were fighting a war abroad.
They decided, therefore, that their best course was to abandon the city,
and that they should embark half the populace on the triremes (for these would convey them
until they had got beyond Himeraean territory) and with the other half keep guard until the
triremes should return.
Although the Himeraeans complained
indignantly at this conclusion, since there was no other course they could take, the triremes
were hastily loaded by night with a mixed throng of women and children and of other inhabitants
also, who sailed on them as far as Messene
and Diocles, taking his own soldiers and leaving behind the
bodies of those who had fallen in the fighting, set forth upon the journey home.2
And many Himeraeans with children and wives set out with Diocles,
since the triremes could not carry the whole populace.