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The Tarantines Blockade the Romans

But when he had already completed the preparation
Hannibal's arrangements for storming the citadel frustrated.
of the necessary engines for the assault, the Romans received some slight encouragement on a reinforcement throwing itself into the citadel by sea from Metapontium; and consequently they sallied out by night and attacked the works, and destroyed all Hannibal's apparatus and engines.
Romans reinforced.
After this Hannibal abandoned the idea of a storm: but as the new wall was now completed, he summoned a meeting of the Tarentines and pointed out to them that the most imperative necessity, in view of the present state of things, was to get command of the sea. For as the citadel commanded the entrance to the harbour, the Tarentines could not use their ships nor sail out of it; while the Romans could get supplies conveyed to them by sea without danger: and as long as that was the case, it was impossible that the city should have any security for its freedom.
New plans for cutting off the
Hannibal saw this clearly, and explained to the Tarentines that, if the enemy on the citadel were deprived of hope of succour by sea, they would at once give way, and abandon it of their own accord, without attempting to defend the place.
Roman supplies by sea.
The Tarentines were fully convinced by his words: but how it was to be brought about in the present state of affairs they could form no idea, unless a fleet should appear from Carthage; which at that time of the year was impossible. They therefore said that they could not understand what Hannibal was aiming at in these remarks to them. When he replied that it was plain that, even without the Carthaginians, they were all but in command of the sea, they were still more puzzled, and could not guess his meaning. The truth was that Hannibal had noticed that the broad street, which was at once within the wall separating the town from the citadel, and led from the harbour into the open sea, was well suited for the purpose; and he had conceived the idea of dragging the ships out of the harbour to the sea on the southern side of the town. Upon his disclosing his idea to the Tarentines, they not only expressed their agreement with the proposal, but the greatest admiration for himself; and made up their minds that there was nothing which his acuteness and daring could not accomplish. Trucks on wheels were quickly constructed: and it was scarcely sooner said than done, owing to the zeal of the people and the numbers who helped to work at it. In this way the Tarentines dragged their ships across into the open sea, and were enabled without danger to themselves to blockade the Romans on the citadel, having deprived them of their supplies from without.
B. C. 212-211.
But Hannibal himself, leaving a garrison for the city, started with his army, and returned in a three day's march to his original camp; and there remained without further movements for the rest of the winter. . . .

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