When these facts were reported to the Romans, the camp was at once removed from Leontini [p. 281]
And, as it happened, legates had1
been sent by Appius by way of the harbour on a five-banker. The four-banker sent in advance was captured on entering the narrows. The legates barely escaped.
And now there remained no longer any rights even of war, not to say of peace, when the Roman army pitched camp at the Olympium, that is, the Temple of Jupiter,2
a mile and a half from the city. From this place also it was decided to send legates in advance.
To prevent their entering the city, Hippocrates and Epicydes and their retinue advanced beyond the gate to meet them.
The speaker for the Romans said he was not bringing war, but aid and comfort to the Syracusans, both to those who, escaping from the midst of the slaughter, had sought refuge with the Romans, and to those who, subdued by their fear, were enduring a slavery more shameful, not only than exile, but even than death; and that the Romans would not leave the atrocious slaughter of their allies unavenged.
Accordingly, if a safe return to their native city should be open to those who had sought refuge with the Romans, if those responsible for the slaughter should be surrendered and their freedom and laws restored to the Syracusans, there was no need of arms. If those conditions should not be met, the Romans would wage war against every man who caused delay.
In reply Epicydes said that, if their message had been addressed to his colleague and himself, they would have given them an answer. When the Syracusan state should be under the control of the men to whom they came, then let them return. Should they make war, they would find from actual experience that to attack Syracuse was by no means the same as [p. 283]
to attack Leontini.
So he left the ambassadors and3
closed the gates.
Thereupon began the siege of Syracuse at the same time by land and by sea, by land from the side of the Hexapylon, by sea from that of Achradina, the wall of which is washed by the waves.
And because, having taken Leontini by a panic and the first assault, the Romans did not doubt that at some point they would make their way into a city immense and widely scattered, they brought all their equipment for besieging cities up to the walls.