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The Carthaginians, after transporting their armaments to Sicily, marched against the city of the Acragantini and made two encampments, one on certain hills where they stationed the Iberians and some Libyans to the number of about forty thousand, and the other they pitched not far from the city and surrounded it with a deep trench and a palisade. [2] And first they dispatched ambassadors to the Acragantini, asking them, preferably, to become their allies, but otherwise to stay neutral and be friends with the Carthaginians, thereby remaining in peace; and when the inhabitants of the city would not entertain these terms, the siege was begun at once. [3] The Acragantini thereupon armed all those of military age, and forming them in battle order they stationed one group upon the walls and the other as a reserve to replace the soldiers as they became worn out. Fighting with them was also Dexippus the Lacedaemonian, who had lately arrived there from Gela with fifteen hundred mercenaries; for at that time, as Timaeus says, Dexippus was tarrying in Gela, enjoying high regard by reason of the city of his birth. [4] Consequently the Acragantini invited him to recruit as many mercenaries as he could and come to Acragas; and together with them the Campanians who had formerly fought with Hannibal,1 some eight hundred, were also hired. These mercenaries held the height above the city which is called the Hill of Athena and is strategically situated overhanging the city. [5] Himilcar and Hannibal, the Carthaginian generals, noting, after they had surveyed the walls, that in one place the city was easily assailable, advanced two enormous towers against the walls. During the first day they pressed the siege from these towers, and after inflicting many casualties then sounded the recall for their soldiers; but when night had fallen the defenders of the city launched a counter-attack and burned the siege-engines.

1 Cp. chaps. 44.1; 62.5.

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