After this appeal to the gods Archidamus put
his army in motion.First he enclosed the town with a palisade formed of the fruit-trees which
they cut down, to prevent further egress from Plataea; next day they threw up a mound against the city, hoping that the largeness
of the force employed would insure the speedy reduction of the place.
They accordingly cut down timber from Cithaeron, and built it up on either
side, laying it like lattice-work to serve as a wall to keep the mound from
spreading abroad, and carried to it wood and stones and earth and whatever
other material might help to complete it.
They continued to work at the mound for seventy days and nights without
intermission, being divided into relief parties to allow of some being
employed in carrying while others took sleep and refreshment; the Lacedaemonian officer attached to each contingent keeping the men to
But the Plataeans observing the progress of the mound, constructed a wall
of wood and fixed it upon that part of the city wall against which the mound
was being erected, and built up bricks inside it which they took from the
The timbers served to bind the building together, and to prevent its
becoming weak as it advanced in height; it had also a covering of skins and hides, which protected the wood-work
against the attacks of burning missiles and allowed the men to work in
Thus the wall was raised to a great height, and the mound opposite made no
less rapid progress.The Plataeans also thought of another expedient; they pulled out part of the wall upon which the mound abutted, and carried
the earth into the city.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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