The same summer the Syracusans learned that
the Athenians had been joined by their cavalry, and were on the point of
marching against them; and seeing that without becoming masters of Epipolae, a precipitous spot
situated exactly over the town, the Athenians could not, even if victorious
in battle, easily invest them, they determined to guard its approaches, in
order that the enemy might not ascend unobserved by this, the sole way by
which ascent was possible,
as the remainder is lofty ground, and falls right down to the city, and can
all be seen from inside; and as it lies above the rest the place is called by the Syracusans
Epipolae or Overtown.
They accordingly went out in mass at daybreak into the meadow along the
river Anapus, their new generals, Hermocrates and his colleagues, having
just come into office, and held a review of their heavy infantry, from whom
they first selected a picked body of six hundred, under the command of
Diomilus, an exile from Andros, to guard Epipolae, and to be ready to muster
at a moment's notice to help wherever help should be required.
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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