43.After this, Demosthenes thought good to try the wall which the Athenians had built to enclose the city withal with engines.But seeing the engines were burnt by the defendants fighting from the wall, and that having assaulted it in divers parts with the rest of his army he was notwithstanding put back, he resolved to spend the time no longer, but having gotten the consent of Nicias and the rest in commission thereunto, to put in execution his design for Epipolae, as was before intended.
By day it was thought impossible not to be discovered, either in their approach or in their ascent.Having therefore first commanded to take five days' provision of victual, and all the masons and workmen, as also store of casting weapons, and whatsoever they might need, if they overcame, for fortification, he and Eurymedon and Menander, with the whole army, marched about midnight to Epipolae, leaving Nicias in the camp.
Being come to Epipolae at Euryelus, where also the army went up before, they were not only not discovered by the Syracusians that kept the watch, but ascending took a certain fortification of the Syracusians there and killed part of them that kept it.
But the greatest number, escaping, ran presently to the camps, of which there were in Epipolae three walled about without the city, one of Syracusians, one of other Sicilians, and one of confederates, and carried the news of their coming in, and told it to those six hundred Syracusians that kept this part of Epipolae at the first, who presently went forth to meet them.
But Demosthenes and the Athenians lighting on them, though they fought valiantly, put them to flight, and presently marched on, making use of the present heat of the army to finish what he came for before it were too late;and others [going on] in their first course took the cross-wall of the Syracusians, they flying that kept it, and were throwing down the battlements thereof.
The Syracusians and their confederates, and Gylippus and those with him, came out to meet them from their camps;but because the attempt was unexpected and in the night, they charged the Athenians timorously, and were even at first forced to retire.
But as the Athenians advanced more out of order, [chiefly] as having already gotten the victory, but desiring also quickly to pass through all that remained yet unfoughten with, lest through their remissness in following they might again rally themselves, the Boeotians withstood them first, and charging, forced them to turn their backs.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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