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During these proceedings in Rome the siege of Saguntum was being pressed with the utmost vigour.  That city was by far the most wealthy of all beyond the Ebro; it was situated about a mile from the sea. It is said to have been founded by settlers from the island of Zacynthus, with an admixture of Rutulians from Ardea.  In a short time, however, it had attained to great prosperity, partly through its land and sea-borne commerce, partly through the rapid increase of its population, and also through the maintenance of a high standard of political integrity which led it to act with a loyalty towards its allies that brought about its ruin.  After carrying his ravages everywhere throughout the territory, Hannibal attacked the city from three separate points.  There was an angle of the fortifications which looked down on a more open and level descent than the rest of the ground surrounding the city, and here he decided to bring up his vineae to allow the battering rams to be placed against the walls.  But although the ground to a considerable distance from the walls was sufficiently level to admit of the vineae being brought up, they found when they had succeeded in doing this that they made no progress.  A huge tower overlooked the place, and the wall, being here more open to attack, had been carried to a greater height than the rest of the fortifications.  As the position was one of especial danger, so the resistance offered by a picked body of defenders was of the most resolute character. At first they confined themselves to keeping the enemy back by the discharge of missiles and making it impossible for them to continue their operations in safety.  As time went on, however, their weapons no longer flashed on the walls or from the tower, they ventured on a sortie and attacked the outposts and siege works of the enemy.  In these irregular encounters the Carthaginians lost nearly as many men as the Saguntines. Hannibal himself, approaching the wall somewhat incautiously, fell with a severe wound in his thigh from a javelin, and such was the confusion and dismay that ensued that the vineae and siege works were all but abandoned.
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