Dionysius now led his forces to the
Strait and made preparations to cross over. And first he asked the Rhegians to provide him with
supplies for sale, promising that he would promptly return from Syracuse what they had given.
He made this request in order that men should think that, if they did not provide the food, he
would be justified in seizing the city, whereas if they did, he believed their food would run
out and by sitting down before the city he would speedily master it by starvation.
The Rhegians, suspecting nothing of this, at first supplied them
lavishly with food for several days; but when he kept extending his stay, at one time claiming
illness and at another offering other excuses, they suspected what he had in mind and no longer
furnished his army with supplies.
Dionysius, pretending now to
be angered at this, returned the hostages to the Rhegians, laid siege to the city, and launched
daily assaults upon it. He also constructed a great multitude of siege weapons of unbelievable
size by which he rocked the walls in his determination to take the city by storm.
The Rhegians chose Phyton as general, armed all who could bear arms,
gave close concern to their watches, and, as opportunity arose, sallied out and burned the
enemy's siege engines.
Fighting brilliantly as they did for
their fatherland on many occasions before the walls, they roused the anger of the enemy, and
although they lost many of their own troops, they also slew no small number of the Sicilian
And it happened that Dionysius himself was struck by a
lance in the groin and barely escaped death, recovering with difficulty from the wound. The
siege wore on because of the unsurpassable zeal the Rhegians displayed to maintain their
freedom; but Dionysius held his armaments to the daily assaults and would not give up the task
he had originally proposed to himself.