For the next few days, while the general's [p. 23]
hurt was healing, there was rather a blockade than1
an assault; but though during this interval there was rest from combat, yet was there no slackening in the preparation of engines and defences.
Accordingly the fighting broke out afresh more fiercely than before, and pent-houses began to be pushed forward and rams brought up at many points, though in some places the ground would hardly admit of them.
The Phoenician was lavishly equipped with men —he is credibly supposed to have had a hundred and fifty thousand under arms —but
the townsmen, who, in order to guard and defend every quarter, had been divided into numerous companies, found their strength inadequate.
And so now the walls were being battered with rams and in many places had been severely shaken. One section, giving way continuously for some distance, had exposed the town: three towers in a row, together with the wall connecting them, had come down with a loud crash.
The Phoenicians believed that the town was taken with that breach, through which from either side men rushed to attack, as though the wall had protected both parties alike.
It was not at all like the mellays that commonly occur in sieges, where one side gets an opportunity, but regular battle lines had formed, as in an open field, between the ruins of the wall and the buildings of the city, which stood at some distance off.
On this side hope, on that despair inspired courage. The Phoenicians believed the city to be theirs, if they put forth a little effort. The Saguntines opposed their bodies to defend their city, denuded of its walls, nor would one of them draw back his foot lest he admit an enemy to the spot which he had vacated.
And the harder both sides fought and [p. 25]
the more they crowded in together, the greater was2
the number of those wounded, for no missile fell without taking effect on shield or body.
The Saguntines had a javelin, called a phalarica,
with a shaft of fir, which was round except at the end whence the iron projected; this part, four-sided as in the pilum,
they wrapped with tow and smeared with pitch.
Now the iron was three feet long, that it might be able to go through both shield and body. But what chiefly made it terrible, even if it stuck fast in the shield and did not penetrate the body, was this, that when it
had been lighted at the middle and so hurled, the flames were fanned to a fiercer heat by its very motion, and it forced the soldier to let go his shield, and left him unprotected against the blows that followed.