Continued Success of Antiochus
This unbroken stream of success caused the inhabitants
of the neighbouring Arabia
to rouse each other up to take action;
and they unanimously joined Antiochus.
With the additional
encouragement and supplies which they afforded he continued
his advance; and, arriving in the district of Galatis, made himself master of Abila, and the relieving force which
had thrown itself into that town, under the
command of Nicias, a friend and kinsman of Menneas.
Gadara was the only town now left, which is
thought to be the strongest of any in those parts.
He therefore encamped under its walls and, bringing siegeworks to bear upon it, quickly terrified it into
submission. Then hearing that a strong force
of the enemy were concentrated at Rabbatamana in Arabia
and were pillaging and overrunning the territory of those
Arabians who had joined him, he threw everything else aside
and started thither; and pitched his camp at the foot of the
high ground on which that city stands. After going round
and reconnoitring the hill, and finding that it admitted of being
ascended only at two points, he led his army to them and set
up his siege artillery at these points. He put one set of siege-works under the care of Nicarchus, the other under that of
Theodotus: while he superintended both equally, and observed
the zeal shown by the two respectively. Great exertions were
accordingly made by each, and a continual rivalry kept up as
to which should be the first to make a breach in the wall
opposite their works: and the result was that both breaches
were made with unexpected rapidity; whereupon they kept
making assaults night and day, and trying every
means to force an entrance, without an hour's
But though they kept up these
attempts continuously, they failed to make any impression; until
a prisoner showed them the underground passage through which
the besieged were accustomed to descend to fetch water.
They broke into this and stopped it up with timber and
stones and everything of that sort; and when this was done,
the garrison surrendered for want of water. Having thus got
possession of Rabbatamana, Antiochus left Nicarchus with an
adequate garrison in command of it; and sent the two
deserters from Ptolemy, Hippolochus and Ceraeas, with five
thousand infantry, to Samaria
: with orders to
take the government of the district and protect all
who submitted to him.
Samaria. Antiochus goes into winter quarters, B. C. 218-217.
He then started with
his army for Ptolemais
, where he was resolved