Now, he made war upon the Rhodians1
because they were allies of Ptolemy, and brought up against their walls his greatest
‘city-taker.’ Its base was square, and each of its sides measured at the bottom forty-eight cubits. It rose to a height of sixty-six cubits, and tapered from base to summit.
Within, it was divided off into many storeys and chambers, and the side of it which faced the enemy had windows opening out of every storey, and out through these issued missiles of every sort; for it was full of men who fought in every style of fighting. Moreover, it did not totter or lean when it moved, but remained firm and erect on its base, advancing evenly with much noise and great impetus, and this astounded the minds and at the same time greatly charmed the eyes of those who beheld it.
For his use in this war there were brought to Demetrius from Cyprus two iron coats of mail, each of which weighed only forty pounds. Wishing to show their strength and power of resistance, Zoilus their maker gave orders that a catapult's missile should be shot at one of them from a distance of twenty paces, and in the place where it struck the iron remained intact, although it did get a faint scratch, such as might be made by a graver.
This coat of mail Demetrius wore himself; the other was worn by Alcimus the Epeirot, the sturdiest and most warlike of all the men under him, and the only one whose suit of armour weighed a hundred pounds (the rest used suits of fifty pounds weight); he fell in battle at Rhodes near the theatre.