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When the events of this year had come to an end, in Athens Diocles took over the chief office,2 and in Rome Quintus Fabius and Gaius Furius held the consulship. At this time Hannibal, the general of the Carthaginians, gathered together both the mercenaries he had collected from Iberia and the soldiers he had enrolled from Libya, manned sixty ships of war, and made ready some fifteen hundred transports. [2] On these he loaded the troops, the siege-engines, missiles, and all the other accessories. After crossing with the fleet the Libyan Sea he came to land in Sicily on the promontory which lies opposite Libya and is called Lilybaeum; [3] and at that very time some Selinuntian cavalry were tarrying in those regions, and having seen the great size of the fleet as it came to land, they speedily informed their fellow citizens of the presence of the enemy. The Selinuntians at once dispatched their letter-carriers to the Syracusans, asking their aid; [4] and Hannibal disembarked his troops and pitched a camp, beginning at the well which in those times had the name Lilybaeum, and many years after these events, when a city was founded near it,3 the presence of the well occasioned the giving of the name to the city.4 [5] Hannibal had all told, as Ephorus has recorded, two hundred thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry, but as Timaeus says, not many more than one hundred thousand men. His ships he hauled up on land in the bay about Motye,5 every one of them, wishing to give the Syracusans the impression that he had not come to make war upon them or to sail along the coast with his naval force against Syracuse. [6] And after adding to his army the soldiers supplied by the Aegestaeans and by the other allies he broke camp and made his way from Lilybaeum towards Selinus. And when he came to the Mazarus River, he took at the first assault the trading-station situated by it, and when he arrived before the city, he divided his army into two parts; then, after he had invested the city and put his siege-engines in position, he began the assaults with all speed. [7] He set up six towers of exceptional size and advanced an equal number of battering-rams plated with iron against the walls; furthermore, by employing his archers and slingers in great numbers he beat back the fighters on the battlements.

1 409 B.C.

2 Of archon.

3 In 396 B.C.

4 The city of Lilybaeum.

5 The bay and island of the same name lie a little north of Lilybaeum.

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