When the Roman fleet had taken possession of these very safe harbours, the praetor thought proper, before he attempted the fortifications, either by escalade or works, that persons should be sent to sound the disposition of the magistrates and principal people in the place: when he saw them obstinate, he determined to attack the city in two places at the same time.
One part was thinly occupied by private dwellings, temples of the gods occupying a great deal of the ground.
In that part first, having brought up the battering-ram, he began to shake the wall and towers;
and when the multitude within ran thither to defend that spot, the battering-ram, were applied in the other quarter, and the walls [p. 1689]
were now knocked down in both places.
On the fall of which, when some of the Roman soldiers were making an assault over the scattered masses of ruins, others attempted to scale walls; the townsmen made such an obstinate resistance, as plainly showed that they had a firmer dependence on their arms and courage, than on their fortifications.
The praetor, compelled by the danger of the soldiers, sounded a retreat, that he might not expose them incautious to his opponents, maddened with despair and rage.
The fighting being ended, the besieged did not, even then, think of rest; but all hastened from every quarter, to strengthen the walls, and to raise new ones in the place of those that had been demolished.
While they were busily employed in this manner, Quintus Antonius, being sent by the praetor, came to them, who, after having blamed their obstinacy, assured them that “the Romans were more anxious than they were themselves that the battle should not be carried on to the destruction of the city.
If they would desist from their madness, Aemilius would allow them to capitulate on the same terms on which they had formerly surrendered to Caius Livius.”
When they heard this, having taken five days' time to deliberate, and having in the mean time tried the hope of aid from Antiochus, after that the ambassadors sent to the king had brought back word that there was no aid in him, they opened their gates, stipulating that they should suffer nothing hostile.
When the troops were marching into the city, and the praetor had proclaimed that it was his pleasure that the surrendered townsmen should be spared, there arose an universal clamour, “that it was shameful that the Phocaeans, who had never been faithful to any alliance, and had always been bitter in enmity, should escape with impunity.” After which words, as if a signal had been given by the praetor, they ran, in parties, every way, to plunder the city.
Aemilius, at first, began to resist, and call them back, saying, that “towns taken by storm, and not such as surrendered, were plundered; and that, even with regard to the former, the determination lay with the commander, not with the soldiers.”
But rage and avarice were too strong for his authority; wherefore, despatching heralds through all parts of the city, he ordered, that all persons of free condition should come to him in the forum, that they should not be injured: and in all things which were in his power, the [p. 1690]
promise of the praetor was observed.
He restored to them their city, their lands, and their laws; and, as the winter now approached, he chose the harbour of Phocaea for his fleet to pass the winter in.