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81. In the meantime the Syracusians and their confederates, as soon as day appeared and that they knew the Athenians were gone, most of them accusing Gylippus as if he had let them go with his consent, followed them with speed the same way, which they easily understood they were gone, and about dinner time overtook them. [2] When they were come up to those with Demosthenes, who were the hindmost and had marched more slowly and disorderly than the other part had done, as having been put into disorder in the night, they fell upon them and fought. And the Syracusian horsemen hemmed them in and forced them up into a narrow compass, the more easily now because they were divided from the rest. [3] Now the army of Nicias was gone by this time one hundred and fifty furlongs further on. For he led away the faster because he thought not that their safety consisted in staying and fighting voluntarily, but rather in a speedy retreat, and then only fighting when they could not choose. [4] But Demosthenes was both in greater and more continual toil, in respect that he marched in the rear and consequently was pressed by the enemy; and seeing the Syracusians pursuing him, he went not on but put his men in order to fight, till by his stay he was encompassed and reduced, he and the Athenians with him, into great disorder. For being shut up within a place enclosed round with a wall, and which on either side had a way [open] amongst abundance of olive trees, they were charged from all sides at once with the enemy's shot. [5] For the Syracusians assaulted them in this kind, and not in close battle, upon very good reason. For to hazard battle against men desperate was not so much for theirs as for the Athenians' advantage. Besides, after so manifest successes, they spared themselves somewhat, because they were loth to wear themselves out before the end of the business, and thought by this kind of fight to subdue and take them alive.

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