22.The Plataeans, after they were ready and had attended a tempestuous night, and withal moonless, went out of the city and were conducted by the same men that were the authors of the attempt.And first they passed the ditch that was about the town and then came up close to the wall of the enemy, who, because it was dark, could not see them coming;and the noise they made as they went could not be heard for the blustering of the wind.
And they came on besides at a good distance one from the other, that they might not be betrayed by the clashing of their arms, and were but lightly armed and not shod but on the left foot for the more steadiness in the wet.
They came thus to the battlements in one of the spaces between tower and tower, knowing that there was now no watch kept there.And first came they that carried the ladders and placed them to the wall: then twelve lightly armed, only with a dagger and a breastplate, went up, led by Ammeas the son of Coroebus, who was the first that mounted;and they that followed him went up into either tower six.To these succeeded others lightly armed that carried the darts for whom they that came after carried targets at their backs that they might be the more expedite to get up, which targets they were to deliver to them when they came to the enemy.
At length, when most of them were ascended, they were heard by the watchmen that were in the towers.
For one of the Plataeans taking hold of the battlements threw down a tile which made a noise in the fall.And presently there was an alarm, and the army ran to the wall.For in the dark and stormy night they knew not what the danger was, and the Plataeans that were left in the city came forth withal and assaulted the wall of the Peloponnesians on the opposite side to that where their men went over.
So that though they were all in a tumult in their several places, yet not any of them that watched durst stir to the aid of the rest nor were able to conjecture what had happened.
But those three hundred that were appointed to assist the watch upon all occasions of need went without the wall and made towards the place of the clamour.
They also held up the fires, by which they used to make known the approach of enemies, towards Thebes.But then the Plataeans likewise held out many other fires from the wall of the city, which for that purpose they had before prepared, to render the fires of the enemy insignificant, and that the Thebans, apprehending the matter otherwise than it was, might forbear to send help till their men were over and had recovered some place of safety.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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