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The Rhodian is Captured

What contributed most to encourage him to a repetition of the feat was the fact that by frequent experience he had marked out the course for himself by clear land marks. As soon as he had crossed the open sea, and was coming into sight, he used to steer as though he were coming from Italy, keeping the seaward tower exactly on his bows, in such a way as to be in a line with the city towers which faced towards Libya; and this is the only possible course to hit the mouth of the channel with the wind astern.
His example is followed by others.
The successful boldness of the Rhodian inspired several of those who were acquainted with these waters to make similar attempts. The Romans felt themselves to be in a great difficulty; and what was taking place determined them to attempt blocking up the mouth of the harbour. The greater part of the attempted work was a failure: the sea was too deep, and none of the material which they threw into it would hold, or in fact keep in the least compact. The breakers and the force of the current dislodged and scattered everything that was thrown in, before it could even reach the bottom. But there was one point where the water was shallow, at which a mole was with infinite labour made to hold together; and upon it a vessel with four banks of oars and of unusually fine build stuck fast as it was making the outward passage at night, and thus fell into the hands of the enemy.
The Rhodian is at length captured.
The Romans took possession of it, manned it with a picked crew, and used it for keeping a look out for all who should try to enter the harbour, and especially for the Rhodian. He had sailed in, as it happened, that very night, and was afterwards putting out to sea again in his usual open manner. He was, however, startled to see the four-banked vessel put out to sea again simultaneously with himself. He recognised what ship it was, and his first impulse was to escape her by his superior speed. But finding himself getting overhauled by the excellence of her rowers, he was finally compelled to bring to and engage at close quarters. But in a struggle of marines he was at a complete disadvantage: the enemy were superior in numbers, and their soldiers were picked men; and he was made prisoner. The possession of this ship of superior build enabled the Romans, by equipping her with whatever was wanted for the service she had to perform, to intercept all who were adventurous enough to try running the blockade of Lilybaeum.

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