The onslaught of the soldiers being checked and time and place for their flight given to the deserters who were in Achradina,
the Syracusans, at last relieved of their fear, open the gates of Achradina and send representatives to Marcellus, asking nothing else than their own lives and those of their children.
Marcellus, calling a council and admitting also those Syracusans who, after being driven from home during the uprisings, had been inside the Roman lines, replied that the good acts of Hiero toward the Roman people during fifty years had not been more numerous than the evil deeds done in the last few years by those who held Syracuse.
But most of the misdeeds, he said, had reacted just as they should, and the men had exacted from themselves much more serious penalties for the broken treaties than the Roman people wished.
For his part, he was besieging Syracuse for the third year, not that the Roman people might keep the city enslaved, but to prevent the commanders of deserters [p. 461]
and foreigners from holding it in captivity and1
What the Syracusans could have done was shown by the example either of those Syracusans inside the Roman lines, or of the Spanish commander Moericus, who surrendered his post, or finally of the belated but courageous resolution of the Syracusans themselves.
To his mind it was by no means a sufficient reward for all the hardships and dangers, so long endured on land and sea about the Syracusan walls, that he had been able to capture Syracuse.
Thereupon the quaestor was sent from Nasus with a force to receive and guard the royal funds. The city was given over to the soldiers to plunder, guards being first assigned to the houses of the men who had been inside the Roman lines.
While many shameful examples of anger and many of greed were being given, the tradition is that Archimedes, in all the uproar which the alarm of a captured city could produce in the midst of plundering soldiers dashing about, was intent upon the figures which he had traced in the dust and was slain by a soldier, not knowing who he was;2
that Marcellus was grieved at this, and his burial duly provided for; and that his name and memory were an honour and a protection to his relatives, search even being made for them.
Such in the main was the capture of Syracuse,3
in which there was booty in such quantity as there
would scarcely have been [p. 463]
if Carthage, with which the conflict was on even4
terms, had at that time been captured.
A few days before Syracuse was taken, Titus Otacilius with eighty five-bankers crossed over from Lilybaeum to Utica. And having entered the harbour before daylight, he captured cargo-ships laden with grain, and disembarking ravaged a considerable area around Utica and drove booty of every kind back to the ships.
On the third day after he had left Lilybaeum he returned thither with a hundred and thirty cargo-ships laden with grain and booty, and sent the grain at once to Syracuse.
Had it not arrived so opportunely, a famine equally destructive to victors and vanquished was impending.