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The next day he advanced to attack the citadel. It was protected by lofty cliffs on the side of the sea which surrounded the greater part of it like a peninsula, and on the side of the city it was enclosed by a wall and a very deep moat; Hannibal saw at once that it could successfully defy any attack either by storm or by siege works.  As he did not wish to be delayed from undertaking more important operations by having to protect the Tarentines nor to leave them without adequate defence against any attacks which the Romans might make at their pleasure from the citadel, he decided to cut off communication between the city and the citadel by earthworks.  He rather hoped, too, that the Romans might attempt to interfere whilst these were being constructed and give him a chance of fighting, and in case they made a sortie in force he might inflict such heavy loss upon them and so weaken them that the Tarentines could easily hold their own against them unaided.  No sooner was the work commenced than the Romans suddenly flung open the citadel gates and attacked the working party. The detachment who were on guard along the front allowed themselves to be driven in, and the Romans, emboldened by success, followed them up in greater numbers and to a greater distance.  Then a signal was given and the Carthaginians whom Hannibal had drawn up in readiness rushed upon them from all sides. The Romans could not withstand their attack, but their flight was checked by the narrow space and the obstructions caused by the work which had been begun and the preparations made for continuing it.  A great many flung themselves headlong into the fosse, and more were killed in the flight than in the fighting.  After this the work proceeded without molestation. An enormous fosse was dug and on its inner side a breastwork and parapet thrown up, and a little further off in the same direction he made preparations for adding a wall, so that the town could protect itself against the Romans without his aid.  He left, however, a small detachment to garrison the place and also help to complete the wall, while he himself with the rest of his force fixed his camp by the river Galaesus about five miles from Tarentum.  Returning from this position to inspect the work, and finding it much more advanced than he expected, he became hopeful of successfully attacking the citadel. It was not, like other similar places, protected by its lofty position, as it stood on level ground and was separated from the city by a moat and a wall.  While the attack was being pressed with siege works, machines, and artillery of every kind, reinforcements arrived from Metapontum, and thus strengthened, the Romans were encouraged to make a night attack upon the enemies' works. Some they broke up, others they burnt, and that was the end of Hannibal's attempts to storm the walls.  His only hope now was to invest the citadel, but that seemed useless, for standing as it did on a promontory and overlooking the mouth of the harbour, those who held it could make free use of the sea. The city, on the other hand, was cut off from all sea-borne supplies, and the besiegers were more likely to starve than the besieged.  Hannibal called the principal men of the place together and explained all the difficulties of the situation. He told them that he saw no way of carrying a citadel so strongly fortified by storm, and there was nothing to hope for from a blockade as long as the enemy were masters of the sea.  If he had ships, so that all supplies could be stopped from reaching them, they would then have to evacuate the citadel or surrender.  The Tarentines quite agreed with him, but they thought that the man who gave the advice ought to help in carrying it out.  If he sent for Carthaginian vessels from Sicily the thing could be done, but their own ships were locked up in a narrow bay; so how could they escape into the open sea as long as the enemy held the mouth of the harbour?  "They shall escape," Hannibal replied. "Many things which nature makes difficult become easy to the man who uses his brains. You have a city situated in a flat country; broad and level roads lead in all directions.  I will transport your ships without much trouble on wagons and along the road which leads from the harbour through the heart of the city to the sea. Then the sea which the enemy are now masters of will be ours, we shall invest the citadel by sea on the one side, by land on the other, or rather I would say we shall very soon capture it, either after the enemy have evacuated it or with the enemy inside as well."  These words excited not only hopes of success but also an intense feeling of admiration for the general. Wagons were speedily collected from all sides and fastened together; machines were employed for hauling the ships ashore, and the surface of the road was made good so that the wagons could be drawn more easily and the transport effected with less difficulty.  Then draught animals and men were got together, and the work promptly began. After a few days a completely equipped fleet sailed round the citadel and cast anchor off the very mouth of the harbour.  Such was the condition of affairs which Hannibal left behind him at Tarentum when he returned to his winter quarters. Authorities, however, are divided on the question whether the defection of Tarentum occurred this year or last, but the majority, including those who lived nearest to the time of the events, assert that it happened this year.
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