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40. The generals, agreeing to the proposal, sent the message, and the market was brought down to1 the shore. Suddenly the Syracusans backed water and rowed towards the city; then disembarking they at once took their meal on the spot. [2] The Athenians, regarding their retreat as a confession of defeat, disembarked at leisure, and among other matters set about preparing their own meal, taking for granted that there would be no more fighting that day. [3] Suddenly the Syracusans manned their ships and again bore down upon them; the Athenians, in great disorder and most of them fasting, hurried on board, and with considerable difficulty got under weigh. [4] For some time the two fleets looked at one another, and did not engage; after a while the Athenians thought they had better not delay until they had fairly tired themselves out, but attack at once. [5] So, cheering on one another, they charged and fought. The Syracusans remained firm, and meeting the enemy prow to prow, as they had resolved, stove in by the strength of their beaks a great part of the bows of the Athenian ships. Their javelin-men on the decks greatly injured the enemy. Still more mischief was done by Syracusans who rowed about in light boats and dashed in upon the blades of the enemy's oars, or ran up alongside and threw darts at the sailors.

1 They soon return, to the great surprise of the Athenians, who are now compelled to charge and fight.

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load focus Notes (Charles F. Smith)
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