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The Selinuntians, who had for a long time been without experience in sieges and had been the only Sicilian Greeks to fight on the side of the Carthaginians in the war against Gelon,1 had never conceived that they would be brought to such a state of fear by the people whom they had befriended. [2] But when they saw the great size of the engines of war and the hosts of the enemy, they were filled with dread and dismayed at the magnitude of the danger threatening them. [3] However, they did not totally despair of their deliverance, but in the expectation that the Syracusans and their other allies would soon arrive, the whole populace fought off the enemy from the walls. [4] Indeed all the men in the prime of life were armed and battled desperately, while the older men busied themselves with the supplies and, as they made the rounds of the wall, begged the young men not to allow them to fall under subjection to the enemy; and women and girls supplied the food and missiles to the defenders of the fatherland, counting as naught the modesty and the sense of shame which they cherished in time of peace. [5] Such consternation prevailed that the magnitude of the emergency called for even the aid of their women.

Hannibal, who had promised the soldiers that he would give them the city to pillage, pushed the siege-engines forward and assaulted the walls in waves with his best soldiers. [6] And all together the trumpets sounded the signal for attack and at one command the army of the Carthaginians as a body raised the war-cry, and by the power of the rams the walls were shaken, while by reason of the height of the towers the fighters on them slew many of the Selinuntians. [7] For in the long period of peace they had enjoyed they had given no attention whatever even to their walls and so they were easily subdued, since the wooden towers far exceeded the walls in height. When the wall fell the Campanians, being eager to accomplish some outstanding feat, broke swiftly into the city. [8] Now at the outset they struck terror into their opponents, who were few in number; but after that, when many gathered to the aid of the defenders, they were thrust out with heavy losses among their own soldiers; for since they had forced a passage when the wall had not yet been completely cleared and in their attack had fallen foul of difficult terrain, they were easily overcome. At nightfall the Carthaginians broke off the assault.

1 Cp. Book 11.21.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SELIĀ“NUS
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