On the first opportunity he led them out again. Nicias and the Athenians had determined that, whether the Syracusans would offer battle or not, they must not allow them to carry on their counter-work. For already it had almost passed the end of the Athenian wall, and if the work advanced any further it would make no difference to the Athenians whether they fought1
and conquered in every battle, or never fought at all. So they went out to meet the Syracusans.
Gylippus before engaging led his heavy-armed further outside the walls than on the former occasion; his cavalry and javelin-men he placed on the flanks of the Athenians in the open space between the points at which their respective lines of walls stopped.
In the course of the battle the cavalry attacked the left wing of the Athenians which was opposed to them, and put them to flight; the defeat became general, and the whole Athenian army was driven back by main force within their lines.
On the following night the Syracusans succeeded in carrying their wall past the works of the enemy. Their operations were now no longer molested by them, and the Athenians, whatever success they might gain in the field, were utterly deprived of all hope of investing the city.