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When the land army of the Carthaginians had been thus wiped out, the Sicilians who had been with Hippocrates took possession of two walled towns, not large ones certainly, but made safe by their situation and strong fortifications. One was three miles from Syracuse, the other fifteen. They carried supplies to these towns from their own states and asked for reinforcements.  Bomilcar had in the meantime paid a second visit to Carthage with his fleet and had drawn such a picture of the state of things in Syracuse as to lead the government to hope that they might not only render effectual assistance to their friends, but even succeed in capturing the Romans inside that city, which they had in some measure captured.  He persuaded them to despatch as many cargo ships as they could, laden with stores of all kinds, and also to augment his force of fighting ships. The result was that he left Carthage with 130 ships of war and 700 transports.  The winds were favourable for him whilst sailing for Sicily, but they prevented him from rounding the promontory of Pachinus.  The news of Bomilcar's approach and then his unexpected delay excited first hope and then fear amongst the Syracusans and just the reverse among the Romans.  Epicydes was afraid that if the east wind lasted much longer the Carthaginian fleet would return to Africa, and he handed [7??] Achradina over to the commanders of the mercenaries and put off to meet Bomilcar.  He found him at anchor with his ships headed for the African coast and anxious to avoid a naval engagement, not because he was inferior in the strength or number of his ships-he really had more than the Romans-but because the winds were more favourable to them than to him; Epicydes, however, persuaded him to try his chance in a sea fight.  When Marcellus became aware that an army of Sicilians was being raised from the whole of the island, and that a Carthaginian fleet was approaching with vast supplies, he determined, though inferior in the number of ships to prevent Bomilcar from reaching Syracuse, lest he should be shut in by sea and land whilst he was confined and hampered in a hostile city.  The two fleets lay facing each other off the promontory of Pachinus, ready to engage as soon as the sea was calm enough to allow them to sail into deep water.  As soon as the east wind, which had been blowing strongly for some days, dropped Bomilcar made the first move.  It seemed as though he was making for the open sea in order the better to round the promontory, but when he saw the Roman ships sailing straight for him he crowded on all sail and skirting the coast of Sicily made for Tarentum, having previously sent a message to Heraclea ordering the transports to return to Africa.  Finding all his hopes suddenly crushed, Epicydes did not care to go back to a city which was in a state of siege and a large part of which was already taken. He sailed for Agrigentum, to watch events rather than to control them.
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