When Scipio perceived this he planned to close the entrance to the harbor on the west side, not very far from the shore. For this purpose he carried a strong embankment into the sea, beginning on the tongue of land which lay between the lake and sea, advancing straight toward the harbor's mouth. He filled it with heavy stones so that it might not be washed away by the waves. The embankment was twenty-four feet wide on the top and four times as much on the bottom. The Carthaginians at first despised this work as likely to take a long time, and perhaps impossible of execution altogether. But when they saw the whole army proceeding eagerly, and not intermitting the work by day or by night, they became alarmed, and began to excavate another entrance at another part of the harbor in midsea, where it was impossible to carry an embankment on account of the depth of the water and the fury of the wind. Even the women and children helped to dig. They began the work inside, and carefully concealed what they were doing. At the same time they built triremes and quinqueremes from old material, and they left nothing to be desired in the way of courage and high spirit. Moreover, they concealed everything so perfectly that not even the prisoners could tell Scipio with certainty what was going on, but merely that there was a great racket in the harbor day and night; what it was about they did not know. Finally, everything being finished, the Carthaginians opened the new entrance about the dawn of day and passed out with fifty triremes, besides pinnaces, brigantines, and other small craft decked out in a way to cause terror.
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THE PUNIC WARS
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