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22. When the Plataeans had completed their preparations they took advantage of a night on1 which there was a storm of wind and rain and no moon and sallied forth. They were led by the authors of the attempt. First of all they crossed the ditch which surrounded the town; then they came right up to the wall of the enemy. The guard did not discover them, for the night was so dark that they could not be seen, while the clatter of the storm drowned the noise of their approach. [2] They marched a good way apart from each other, that the clashing of their arms might not betray them; and they were lightly equipped, having the right foot bare that they might be less liable to slip in the mud. [3] They now set about scaling the battlements, which they knew to be deserted, choosing a space between two of the towers. Those who carried the ladders went first and placed them against the wall; they were followed by twelve others, armed only with sword and breastplate, under the command of Ammeas the son of Coroebus: he was the first to mount; after him came the twelve, ascending the wall and proceeding to the towers on the right and left, six to each2. To these succeeded more men lightly armed with short spears, others following who bore their shields, that they might have less difficulty in mounting the wall; [4] the shields were to be handed to them as soon as they were near the enemy. A considerable number had ascended, when they were discovered by the guards in the towers. [5] One of the Plataeans, taking hold of the battlements, threw down a tile which made a noise in falling: immediately a shout was raised and the army rushed out upon the wall; for in the dark and stormy night they did not know what the alarm meant. At the same time, in order to distract their attention, the Plataeans who were left in the city made a sally against the Peloponnesian wall on the side opposite to the place at which their friends were getting over. [6] The besiegers were in great excitement, but every one remained at his own post, and dared not stir to give assistance, being at a loss to imagine what was happening. [7] The three hundred who were appointed to act in any sudden emergency marched along outside the walls towards the spot from which the cry proceeded; [8] and fire-signals indicating danger were raised towards Thebes. But the Plataeans in the city had numerous counter signals ready on the wall, which they now lighted and held up, thereby hoping to render the signals of the enemy unintelligible, that so the Thebans, misunderstanding the true state of affairs, might not arrive until the men had escaped and were in safety.

1 The Plataeans sally forth. They are discovered by an accident. Their friends in the city make an attack from the opposite side

2 See note on the passage.

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load focus Notes (Charles F. Smith, 1894)
load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1909)
load focus English (Thomas Hobbes, 1843)
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