Just at the right moment the legates returned from Marcellus, stating that the mercenaries had been aroused by an unfounded suspicion, and that the Romans had no reason for demanding their punishment.
One of the three prefects of Achradina was a Spaniard, Moericus by name. To him, among the- retinue of the legates, one1
of the Spanish auxiliaries was sent on purpose. Finding Moericus alone, he first explained the condition in which he had left Spain, from which he had recently come. The whole of that country, he said, was held by Roman arms.
If he should do something worth while, he could be a chief among his own people, whether he preferred to serve on the Roman side or to return to his native town. On the other hand, if he [p. 457]
continued to prefer to be besieged, what hope was2
there for a man shut in by land and sea?
Moericus was impressed by these words, and when it was decided to send legates to Marcellus, sent his brother as one of them. He was escorted separately from the rest to Marcellus by that same Spaniard, and after receiving a promise and arranging the steps to be taken, returned to Achradina.
Then Moericus, to divert the attention of everybody from the suspicion of treason, said he did not approve of having legates going back and forth; that none should be admitted or sent; and that, in order to keep a closer guard, suitable positions should be divided among the prefects, so that each should be responsible for the defence of his own section.
All agreed. In the assignment of sections the region extending from the Fountain of Arethusa to the entrance of the Great Harbour fell to Moericus himself.
He saw to it that the Romans knew that. Accordingly Marcellus ordered a transport with armed men to be towed at night by a four-banker to Achradina,3
and the soldiers to be landed near the gate which is by the Fountain of Arethusa.
This done at the fourth watch, and the soldiers landed there having been admitted according to agreement by Moericus through the gate, Marcellus at daybreak with all his forces assailed the walls of Achradina.
The result was that not only did he turn the attention of the defenders of Achradina to himself, but from Nasus also columns of armed men, leaving their posts, united in haste, to ward off the violent attack of the Romans.
During this confusion light vessels, previously equipped, sailed around to Nasus and landed their troops. These made an unexpected attack upon [p. 459]
the half-manned outposts and the open doors of the4
gate through which the armed men had dashed out a little while before, and with no great resistance captured Nasus, deserted by the excitement and flight of the guards.
And no others showed less capacity to defend or determination to hold out than the deserters, since they did not quite trust even their own men and fled out of the midst of the conflict.
Marcellus, on learning that Nasus had been captured and one section of Achradina occupied, also that Moericus with his force had joined the Romans, sounded the recall, to prevent the royal treasures, which were reported to be larger than they really were, from being plundered.