When the Carthaginians saw the shore thronged with infantry and the ships
of the Greeks bearing down on them, they were at once not a little alarmed and began to make
for the land; but later, when they realized the risk they ran of destruction in giving battle
at the same time both to the fleet and to the infantry, they quickly changed their mind.
Deciding, therefore, to face the battle at sea, they drew up their ships and awaited the
approach of the enemy.
Leptines advanced with his thirty best
vessels far ahead of the rest and joined battle, in no cowardly fashion, but without prudence.
Attacking forthwith the leading ships of the Carthaginians, at the outset he sank no small
number of the opposing triremes; but when Magon's massed ships crowded about the thirty, the
forces of Leptines surpassed in valour, but the Carthaginians in numbers.
Consequently, as the battle grew fiercer, the steersmen laid their ships
broadside in the fighting and the struggle came to resemble conflicts on land. For they did not
drive upon the opposing ships from a distance in order to ram them, but the vessels were locked
together and the fighting was hand to hand. Some, as they leaped for the enemy's ships, fell
into the sea, and others, who succeeded in their attempt, continued the struggle on the
In the end Leptines was driven off and
compelled to flee to the open sea, and his remaining ships, attacking without order, were
overcome by the Carthaginians; for the defeat suffered by the admiral raised the spirits of the
Phoenicians and markedly discouraged the Sicilian Greeks.
After the battle had ended in the manner we have described,
the Carthaginians pursued with even greater ardour the enemy who were fleeing in disorder and
destroyed more than one hundred of their ships, and stationing their lighter craft along the
shore, they slew any of the sailors who were swimming toward the land army.
And as they perished in great numbers not far from the land, while the
troops of Dionysius were unable to help them in any way, the whole region was full of corpses
and wreckage. There perished in the sea battle no small number of Carthaginians, but the loss
of the Sicilian Greeks amounted to more than one hundred ships and over twenty thousand men.
After the battle the Phoenicians anchored their triremes in
the harbour of Catane, took in tow the ships they had captured, and when they had brought them
in, repaired them, so that they made the greatness of their success not only a tale for the
ears but also a sight for the eyes of the Carthaginians.1