The Romans who held the citadel were about 5000 in number, and some of the Tarentines came to their aid. The prefect of the guard at Metapontum joined them with half of his force, bringing an abundance of missiles and engines with which they expected to drive Hannibal easily back from the walls. But Hannibal had a plentiful supply of these things also. Accordingly he brought up towers, catapults, and tortoises with which he shook some of the walls, pulled off the parapets with hooks attached to ropes, and laid bare the defences. The garrison hurled stones down upon the engines and broke many of them, turned aside the hooks with slip-knots, and making frequent and sudden sallies always threw the besiegers into confusion and returned after killing many. One day when they noticed that the wind was violent some of the Romans threw down firebrands, flax, and pitch upon the engines, while others darted out and put fire under them. Hannibal, despairing of his attempt, threw a wall around the city except on the sea side, where it was not possible to do so. Then turning the siege over to Hanno he advanced into Apulia.
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THE HANNIBALIC WAR
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