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Marius arrived at Zama. This town, built on a plain, was better fortified by art than by nature. It was well supplied with necessaries, and contained plenty of arms and men. Metellus, having made arrangements suitable for the time and the place, encompassed the whole city with his army, assigning to each of his officers his post of command. At a given signal, a loud shout was raised on every side, but without exciting the least alarm in the Numidians, who awaited the attack full of spirit and resolution. The assault was consequently commenced; the Romans were allowed to act each according to his inclination; some annoyed the enemy with slings and stones from a distance; others came close up to the walls, and attempted to undermine or scale them, desiring to engage in close combat with the besieged. The Zamians, on the other hand, rolled down stones, and hurled burning stakes, javelins,1 and wood smeared with pitch and sulphur, on the nearest assailants. Nor was caution a sufficient protection to those who kept aloof; for darts, discharged from engines or by the hand, inflicted wounds on most of them; and thus the brave and the timid, though of unequal merit, were exposed to equal danger.

1 LVII. Javelins] “Pila.” This pilum may have been, as Müller suggests, similar to the falarica which Livy (xxi. 8) says that the Saguntines used against their besiegers. Falarica erat Saguntinis, missile telum hastili abieg no--id, sicut in pilo, quadratum stuppâ circumligabant, linebantque pice:--quod cum medium accensum mitteretur, etc. Of Sallust's other words, in the latter part of this sentence, the sense is clear, but the readings of different editors are extremely various. Cortius and Gerlach have sudes, pila prœterea picem sulphure et tœ mixtam ardentia mittere; but it can scarcely be believed that Sallust wrote picem--tœ mixtam. Havercamp gives pice et sulphure tœdam mixtam ardentia mittere, which has been adopted by Kritzius and Dietsch, except that they have changed ardentia, on the authority of some of the manuscripts, into ardenti.

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