But the soldiers of Dionysius at Syracuse, as long as it was day, did much mischief to the city; when night came, however, they retired to the acropolis, having lost some few of their number. Upon this, the popular leaders of the Syracusans plucked up courage, and in the hope that the enemy would rest content with what they had done, exhorted the citizens once more to ignore Dion, and if he should come up with his mercenaries, not to admit them, nor yield precedence to them as superior in point of bravery, but to save their city and their liberty by their own efforts.
Accordingly, fresh messengers were sent to Dion, some from the generals forbidding his advance, but others from the horsemen and more reputable citizens urging him to hasten it. For this reason he came marching on now slowly, and now at top speed. As the night advanced the enemies of Dion took possession of the gates in order to shut him out, but Nypsius, sending his mercenaries once more from the citadel in greater numbers and with more impetuosity than before, tore down at once the entire siege-wall, and overran and sacked the city.
And now there was a slaughter not only of men, but also of women and children; there was little haling away of prisoners, but a great destruction of all alike. For since Dionysius now despaired of his cause and fiercely hated the Syracusans, he wished to make their city as it were a tomb for his falling tyranny. So his soldiers, forestalling the succour which Dion was bringing, resorted to the speediest destruction and annihilation of everything by burning, setting fire to what was near them with the brands and torches in their hands, and scattering fiery arrows from their bows among the remoter parts.
As the Syracusans fled, some were overtaken and slain in the streets, and those who sought cover in their houses were driven out again by the fire, many buildings being now a-blaze and falling upon those who were running about.