The next day the Athenians from the Circle
proceeded to fortify the cliff above the marsh which on this side of
Epipolae looks towards the great harbour; this being also the shortest line for their work to go down across the
plain and the marsh to the harbour.
Meanwhile the Syracusans marched out and began a second stockade, starting
from the city, across the middle of the marsh, digging a trench alongside to
make it impossible for the Athenians to carry their wall down to the sea.
As soon as the Athenians had finished their work at the cliff they again
attacked the stockade and ditch of the Syracusans.Ordering the fleet to sail round from Thapsus into the great harbour of
Syracuse, they descended at about dawn from Epipolae into the plain, and
laying doors and planks over the marsh where it was muddy and firmest,
crossed over on these, and by daybreak took the ditch and the stockade,
except a small portion which they captured afterwards.
A battle now ensued, in which the Athenians were victorious, the right wing
of the Syracusans flying to the town and the left to the river.The three hundred picked Athenians, wishing to cut off their passage,
pressed on at a run to the bridge,
when the alarmed Syracusans, who had with them most of their cavalry,
closed and routed them, hurling them back upon the Athenian right wing, the
first tribe of which was thrown into a panic by the shock.
Seeing this, Lamachus came to their aid from the Athenian left with a few
archers and with the Argives, and crossing a ditch, was left alone with a
few that had crossed with him, and was killed with five or six of his men.These the Syracusans managed immediately to snatch up in haste and get
across the river into a place of security, themselves retreating as the rest
of the Athenian army now came up.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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