Hannibal, being eager to launch assaults in an increasing number of places, ordered the
soldiers to tear down the monuments and tombs and to build mounds extending to the walls. But
when these works had been quickly completed because of the united labour of many hands, a deep
superstitious fear fell upon the army.
For it happened that
the tomb of Theron,1
which was exceedingly large, was shaken by a stroke of lightning; consequently,
when it was being torn down, certain soothsayers, presaging what might happen, forbade it, and
at once a plague broke out in the army, and many died of it while not a few suffered tortures
and grievous distress.
Among the dead was also Hannibal the
general, and among the watch-guards who were sent out there were some who reported that in the
night spirits of the dead were to be seen. Himilcar, on seeing how the throng was beset with
superstitious fear, first of all put a stop to the destruction of the monuments, and then he
supplicated the gods after the custom of his people by sacrificing a young boy to Cronus and a
multitude of cattle to Poseidon by drowning them in the sea. He did not, however, neglect the
siege works, but filling up the river which ran beside the city as far as the walls, he
advanced all his siege-engines against them and launched daily assaults.
The Syracusans, seeing that Acragas
was under siege and fearing lest the besieged might
suffer the same fate as befell the Selinuntians and Himeraeans,2
had long been eager to send them
their aid, and when at this juncture allied troops arrived from Italy
their forces they added along the way soldiers from Camarina and Gela
, and summoning additional troops from the peoples of the interior they made
their way towards Acragas
, while thirty of their ships
sailed along beside them. The forces which they had numbered in all more than thirty thousand
infantry and not less than five thousand cavalry.