The allies then returned to Carystus, all the population of which, before the troops disembarked, left the city and fled to the citadel.
Presently they sent ambassadors to seek protection [p. 201]
from the Roman commander. Life and liberty were1
at once granted the citizens; a ransom of three hundred nummi2
per head was fixed for the Macedonians, and they were ordered to give up their arms and depart. Having paid this ransom they were transported to Boeotia unarmed.
The fleets, having captured two important cities of Euboea within a few days, sailed around Sunium, the promontory of the land of Attica, and steered toward Cenchreae, the port of the Corinthians.
the consul was finding the siege of Atrax longer and more difficult than anyone had expected, and the enemy resisted in a way that he had not in the least anticipated.
For he had believed that the whole task would be to batter down the wall; and that if he had opened a way into the city for the soldiers, the flight and slaughter of the enemy would follow, as usually happens in captured towns;
but when a section of the wall was thrown down by the battering-rams and the soldiers had entered the city over the ruins, that was, so to speak, the beginning of new and fresh toil.
For the Macedonians who formed the garrison, numerous and picked men, thinking that it would be a most noble exploit to
defend the city with arms and valour rather than with walls, in close array, strengthening their formation by increasing the number of ranks within it, when they saw the Romans scaling the ruins, thrust them out over ground that was rough and admitted no easy retreat.
The consul was enraged, and thought that this disgrace not merely meant a delay in capturing this one city, but affected the final issue of the war as a whole, which generally turns on the influence of little things;
clearing out the place which was heaped [p. 203]
up with the debris of the fallen wall, he moved up4
a tower of great height, carrying a large number of men in its numerous galleries, and sent out cohorts, one after the other, under their standards, to pierce, if possible, with their attack the wedge-formation of the Macedonians —they themselves call it the phalanx.
But in addition to the limits of space, only a little of the wall having been destroyed, the enemy had the advantage in character of weapons and in tactics.
When the Macedonians inclose order held before them spears of great length, and when the Romans, hurling
their javelins to no purpose, had drawn their swords against this sort of testudo,5
closely-fashioned as if with shields, they could neither approach near enough to engage hand to hand nor cut off the ends of
the spears, and if they did cut off or break any of them, the spearshaft, the broken part being itself sharp, helped, along with the points of the undamaged pikes, to make a sort of wall.
Moreover, the parts of the rampart that still stood protected the two flanks, nor was it possible either to retire or to charge from a distance, a manoeuvre which usually throws the ranks into disorder.
An accident, too, served to increase the courage of the enemy; for when the tower was being moved along the terrace of loosely-compacted earth, one of its wheels, slipping into a deep rut, caused the tower to lean so much that it seemed to the enemy about to fall,
and caused a panic fear among the soldiers standing upon it. [p. 205]