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1

When Tisandrus was archon in Athens, the Romans elected in place of consuls four military tribunes, Publius Lucretius, Gaius Servilius, Agrippa Menenius, and Spurius Veturius. In this year the Syracusans, dispatching ambassadors to both Corinth and Lacedaemon, urged these cities to come to their aid and not to stand idly by when total ruin threatened the Syracusans. [2] Since Alcibiades supported their request, the Lacedaemonians voted to send aid to the Syracusans and chose Gylippus to be general, and the Corinthians made preparations to send a number of triremes, but at the moment they sent in advance to Sicily, accompanying Gylippus, Pythes with two triremes. [3] And in Catane Nicias and Lamachus, the Athenian generals, after two hundred and fifty cavalry and three hundred talents of silver had come to them from Athens, took their army aboard and sailed to Syracuse. They arrived at the city by night and unobserved by the Syracusans took possession of Epipolae. When the Syracusans learned of this, they speedily came to its defence, but were chased back into the city with the loss of three hundred soldiers. [4] After this, with the arrival for the Athenians of three hundred horsemen from Aegesta and two hundred and fifty from the Siceli, they mustered in all eight hundred cavalry. Then, having built a fort at Labdalum, they began constructing a wall about the city of the Syracusans and aroused great fear among the populace.2 [5] Therefore they advanced out of the city and endeavoured to hinder the builders of the wall; but a cavalry battle followed in which they suffered heavy losses and were forced to flee. The Athenians with a part of their troops now seized the region lying above the harbour and by fortifying Polichne,3 as it is called, they not only enclosed the temple of Zeus4 but were also besieging Syracuse from both sides. [6] Now that such reverses as these had befallen the Syracusans, the inhabitants of the city were disheartened; but when they learned that Gylippus had put in at Himera and was gathering soldiers, they again took heart. [7] For Gylippus, having put in at Himera with four triremes, had hauled his ships up on shore, persuaded the Himeraeans to ally themselves with the Syracusans, and was gathering soldiers from them and the Geloans, as well as from the Selinuntians and the Sicani. And after he had assembled three thousand infantry in all and two hundred cavalry, he led them through the interior of the island to Syracuse.

1 414 B.C.

2 This wall of circumvallation was to run from near Trogilus southward to the Great Harbour.

3 Thuc. 7.4.6 speaks of a polichne ("hamlet") near the Olympieum, which lay west of the centre of the Great Harbour.

4 The Olympieum.

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