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The Tyrians had bronze workers and machinists, and contrived ingenious counter-measures.1 Against the projectiles from the catapults they made wheels with many spokes, and, setting these to rotate by a certain device, they destroyed some of the missiles and deflected others, and broke the force of all. They caught the balls from the stone throwers in soft and yielding materials and so weakened their force. [2] While this attack was going on from the mole, the king sailed around the city with his whole fleet and inspected the walls, and made it clear that he was about to attack the city alike by land and sea. [3]

The Tyrians did not dare to put to sea again with their whole fleet but kept three ships moored at the harbour mouth.2 The king, however, sailed up to these, sank them all, and so returned to his camp. Wanting to double the security of their walls, the Tyrians built a second one at a distance of five cubits within the first; this was ten cubits in thickness, and the passage between the walls they filled with stones and earth, [4] but Alexander lashed triremes together, mounted his various siege engines upon them, and overthrew the wall for the space of a plethron.3 Through this breach the Macedonians burst into the city, [5] but the Tyrians rained on them a shower of missiles and managed to turn them back,4 and when night came, they rebuilt the fallen part of the wall.

Now the causeway had reached the wall and made the city mainland, and sharp fighting took place along the walls. [6] The Tyrians had the present danger before their eyes and easily imagined what a disaster the actual capture of the city would be, so that they spent themselves so freely in the contest as to despise mortal danger. [7] When the Macedonians moved up towers as high as the walls and in this way, extending bridges, boldly assaulted the battlements, the Tyrians fell back on the ingenuity of their engineers and applied many counter-measures to meet the assault. [8] They forged great tridents armed with barbs and struck with these at close range the assailants standing on the towers. These stuck in the shields, and as ropes were attached to the tridents, they could haul on the ropes and pull them in. [9] Their victims were faced with the alternative of releasing their arms and exposing their bodies to be wounded by the missiles which showered upon them, or clinging to their shields for shame and perishing in the fall from the lofty towers. [10] Other Tyrians cast fishing nets over those Macedonians who were fighting their way across the bridges and, making their hands helpless, pulled them off and tumbled them down from bridge to earth.

1 These "counter-measures" do not appear elsewhere in the sources, and Tarn (Alexander the Great, 2.120 f.) may be right in tracing them ultimately to a technical military manual. It is not impossible that they may be insertions of Diodorus himself and were lacking in his source; Diodorus was interested in curiosities. The wheels appear again below (chap. 45.3) in somewhat different form. They are otherwise unknown in antiquity (Tarn, p. 121). Apparently they were made to whirl in front of the men on the walls, giving them observation through the spokes but protecting them from missiles. The translation here offers difficulties; "wheels divided by thick diaphragms" or "with many barriers at close intervals." Possibly the diaphragms were screens between the wheels.

2 Curtius 4.3.12; Arrian. 2.20.9.

3 The distances are seven and one-half feet, fifteen feet, and one hundred feet respectively.

4 Arrian. 2.22.7.

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