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20. During the same winter the Plataeans, who were still besieged by the Peloponnesians and1 Boeotians, began to suffer from the failure of provisions. They had no hope of assistance from Athens and no other chance of deliverance. So they and the Athenians who were shut up with them contrived a plan of forcing their way over the enemy's walls. The idea was suggested by Theaenetus the son of Tolmides, a diviner, and Eupompidas, the son of Daïmachus, one of their generals. [2] At first they were all desirous of joining, but afterwards half of them somehow lost heart, thinking the danger too great, and only two hundred and twenty agreed to persevere. [3] They first made ladders equal in length to the height of the enemy's wall, which they calculated by the help of the layers of bricks on the side facing the town, at a place where the wall had accidentally not been plastered. A great many counted at once, and, although some might make mistakes, the calculation would be oftener right than wrong; for they repeated the process again and again, and, the distance not being great, they could see the wall distinctly enough for their purpose. [4] In this manner they ascertained the proper length of the ladders, taking as a measure the thickness of the bricks.

1 The Plataeans resolve to break out of plataea, but only two hundred and twenty persevere. They estimate the height of the enemy's wall by the layers of bricks.

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