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In fact the catapult was invented at this time in Syracuse,1 since the ablest skilled workmen had been gathered from everywhere into one place. The high wages as well as the numerous prizes offered the workmen who were judged to be the best stimulated their zeal. And over and above these factors, Dionysius circulated daily among the workers, conversed with them in kindly fashion, and rewarded the most zealous with gifts and invited them to his table. [2] Consequently the workmen brought unsurpassable devotion to the devising of many missiles and engines of war that were strange and capable of rendering great service. He also began the construction of quadriremes and quinqueremes, being the first to think of the construction of such ships. [3] For, hearing that triremes had first been built in Corinth, he was intent, in his city that had been settled by a colony from there, on increasing the scale of naval construction. [4] After obtaining leave to transport timber from Italy he dispatched half of his woodmen to Mount Aetne, on which there were heavy stands at that time of both excellent fir and pine, while the other half he dispatched to Italy, where he got ready teams to convey the timber to the sea, as well as boats and crews to bring the worked wood speedily to Syracuse. [5] When Dionysius had collected an adequate supply of wood, he began at one and the same time to build more than two hundred ships and to refit the one hundred and ten he already had; and he also constructed all about the Great Harbour, as it is now called, one hundred and sixty costly shipsheds, most of which could accommodate two vessels, and repaired the one hundred and fifty which were already there.

1 Machines for throwing heavy missiles were known to the Assyrians several centuries before this and their use was probably brought to the west by the Carthaginians, from whom the western Greeks learned of them.

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