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Antiochus Takes Sardis

Antiochus encouraged the attempt and urged Lagoras to carry it out. The latter promised to do his best, and desired the king to join with him Theodotus the Aetolian, and Dionysius the commander of his bodyguard, with orders to devote them to assist him in carrying out the intended interprise. The king at once granted his request, and these officers agreed to undertake it: and having held a consultation on the whole subject, they waited for a night on which there should be no moon just before daybreak. Such a night having arrived, on the day on which they intended to act, an hour before sunset, they selected from the whole army fifteen of the strongest and most courageous men to carry the ladders, and also to mount with them and share in the daring attempt. After these they selected thirty others, to remain in reserve at a certain distance; that, as soon as they had themselves climbed over the walls, and come to the nearest gate, the thirty might come up to it from the outside and try to knock off the hinges and fastenings, while they on the inside cut the cross bar and bolt pins.1 They also selected two thousand men to follow behind the thirty, who were to rush into the town with them and seize the area of the theatre, which was a favourable position to hold against those on the citadel, as well as those in the town. To prevent suspicion of the truth getting about, owing to the picking out of the men, the king gave out that the Aetolians were about to throw themselves into the town through a certain gully, and that it was necessary, in view of that information, to take energetic measures to prevent them.

1 βαλανάγρας. The βαλανάγρα was a straight piece of wood with upright pins corresponding with those that fall into the bolt (the βάλανοι), and which are pushed up by it. It was thus used as a key which could be taken out and kept by the Commandant, as in Herod. 3, 155; Thucyd. 2, 4. But Polybius here seems to use it as equivalent to βάλανος. See Aeneas, Tact. 18-20, who recommends that the μόχλος should be sheeted with iron to prevent this very operation. Cp. 4. 57. What he means by ζύγωμα on the outside (here translated "fastenings") is also somewhat doubtful. From Hesychius, s. v. ἐπιξευκτήρ, it might be conjectured that chains of some kind were intended. Casaubon supposed it to be a cross bar similar to the μόχλος inside, and Schw. to represent the posts and the lintel connecting them.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 3.155
    • Thucydides, Histories, 2.4
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