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While Acilius was at Thermopylae he sent a message to the Aetolians, advising them, now that they had found out how empty the king's promises were, to return to a right mind and think about delivering up Heraclea and begging pardon of the senate for their madness and delusion.  Other cities in Greece, he reminded them, had been faithless to their best friends, the Romans, in that war, but after the flight of the king, whose assurances had seduced them from their duty, they did not aggravate their fault by willful obstinacy, and had once more been received as allies.  Even in the case of the Aetolians, though they had not followed the king, but had actually invited him, and were not his associates but his leaders in the war-even for them there was still the possibility, if they showed true repentance, of remaining unharmed.  To this message they returned a defiant answer; the question would evidently have to be decided by arms, and though the king was overcome, the war with the Aetolians was clearly only just beginning. The consul accordingly moved his army from Thermopylae to Heraclea, and on the very same day he rode round the entire circuit of the walls to ascertain the situation of the city.  Heraclea lies at the foot of Mount Oeta;  the city itself is situated in a plain, and it has a citadel which commands it from a position of considerable elevation and precipitous on all sides.  After carefully considering all there was to be learnt he decided to deliver a simultaneous attack from four different points. In the direction of the Asopus, where the Gymnasium stood, he placed L. Valerius in charge of the operations. Towards the citadel outside the walls, where the houses were almost closer together than in the city itself, he gave the direction of the assault to Tiberius Sempronius Longus.  On the side facing the Maliac Gulf, where the approach presented considerable difficulty, M. Baebius was in command. Towards the stream which they call the Melana, opposite the temple of Diana, he posted Appius Claudius.  Through the strenuous exertions of these commanders, each trying to outdo the other, the towers and battering rams and all the other preparations for an assault were completed in a few days.  The land round Heraclea is marshy and covered with tall trees, which furnished a liberal supply of timber for siege works [11??] of every kind, and as the Aetolians living in the suburb had taken refuge in the city the deserted houses afforded useful materials for various purposes, including not only beams and planks, but also bricks and building stones of all shapes and sizes.
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