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which were come out of the little port. A sharp engagement was fought at the mouth of the great harbour; one party endeavouring to force their way into it, and the other to keep them out.
Those who defended the forts of Plemmyrium, having Hocked to the shore to view the battle, Gylippus attacked the forts unexpectedly by daybreak; and having carried the greatest of them by storm, the soldiers who defended the other two were so terrified, that they abandoned them in a moment. After this advantage the Syracusans sustained a considerable loss; for such of their vessels as fought at the entrance of the harbour, (after having forced the Athenians) ran foul of one another with much violence as they entered it in disorder ; and by this means shifted the victory to their enemies, who were not contented with pursuing, but also gave chace to those who were victorious in the great harbour. Eleven Syracusan gallies were sunk, and great numbers of the sailors in them killed. Thrce were taken ; but the Athenians likewise lost three, and after towing off those of the enemy, they raised a trophy in a little island that lay before Plemmyrium, and retired to the shelter of their camp.
The Syracusans also raised three trophies for their taking of the three forts; and after rasing one of the smaller, they repaired the fortifications of the other two, and put garrisons into them. Several Athenians had been either killed or made prisoners there; and great sums of money were taken, the property of the public, as well as of merchants and captains of gallies, besides a large quantity of ammunition ; this. being a kind of magazine for the whole army: They likewise
lost the stores and rigging of 40 gallies, with three ships that lay in the dock. But a more considerable circumstance was, Gylippus thereby prevented Nicias from getting provisions and ammunition so easily ; for, whilst the latter was possessed of Plemmyrium, these were procured securely and expeditiously ; whereas, after that place was lost, it was çqually difficult and hazardous, because they could not bring in any thing without fighting; the enemy lying at anchor just off their fort. Thus the Athenians could have no provisions but from the point of their swords, which dispirited the soldiers very much, and threw the whole army into a great consternation.
a There afterwards was a little skirmish in defending a staccado which the inhabitants had made in the sea, at the entrance of the old harbour, to secure the shipping. The Athenians having raised towers and parapets on a large ship, made it advance as near as possible to the staccado, in order that it might serve as a bulwark to some ships wbich carried
a Thucyd, l. vii. p. 500, 50b.
military engines, with which they drew up the stakes by the help of pullies and ropes, exclusive of those which the disers sawed in two ; the besieged defending themselves with their harbour, and the enemies with their tower. Such stakes as had been driven in, level with the surface of the water, in order to strand those vessels that should come near them, were the hardest to force away. The divers, however, being induced by large sums of money, succeeded in removing these also, and most of the stakes were torn up; but then others were immediately driven in their places. The utmost efforts were used on both sides, in the attack as well as the defence.
a One circumstance which the besieged considered of the greatest importance, was to attempt a second engagement both by sea and land, before the fleet, and other succours sent by the Athenians, should arrive. They had concerted fresh measures for a battle at sea, profiting by the errors they had committed in the last engagement. The change made in the gallies was, their prows were now shorter, and at the same time stronger and more solid than before. For this purpose, they fixed great pieces of timber, projecting for ward, on each side of their prows ; and to these pieces they joined beams by way of props. These beams extended to the length of six cubits on each side of the vessel, both within and without. By this they hoped to gain the advantage over the gallies of the Athenians, which did not dare, because of the weakness of their prows, to attack an enemy in front, but only in flank ; not to mention, that should the battle be fought in the harbour, they would not have room to spread themselves, nor to pass between two gallies, in which lay their greatest art ; nor to tack about after they should have been repulsed in order to return to the charge ; whereas the Syracusans, by their being masters of the whole extent of the harbour, would have all these advantages, and might reciprocally assist one another. On these circumstances the laiter founded their hopes of victory.
Gylippus therefore first drew all the infantry out of the .camp. and advanced towards that part of the contravalla. tion of the Athenians which faced the city; whilst the troops of Olympia marched towards the other, and their gallies set sail.
Nicias was unwilling to venture a second battle, saying, that as he expected a fresh fleet every moment, and a great reinforcement under Demosthenes, it would betray the greatest want of judgment, should he, as his troops were interior in number to those of the enemy, and already fatigued, ha2ard a battle without being forced to it. On the contrary, Menander and Euthydemus, who had just before been appointed to share the command with Nicias till the arrival of Demosthenes, fired with ambition, and jealous of those generals, were eager to perform some great exploit, to bereave the one of his glory, and, if possible, eclipse that of the other. The pretence they alleged on this occasion was, the fame and reputation of Athens; and they asserted with so much vehemence, that it would be entirely destroyed should they shun the battle, as the Syracusans offered it them, that they at last forced Nicias to a compliance. The Athenians had 75 gallies, and the Syracusans 80.
a Thucyd. p. 509-513, Plat in Nic. p. 536. Diod. p. 140, 141.
The first day the fleets continued in sight of each other, in the great harbour, without engaging; and only a few skirmishes passed, after which both parties retired; and it was just the same with the land-forces. The Syracusans did not make the least movement the second day. Nicias, taking advantage of this inactivity, caused the transports to draw up in a line, at some distance from one another, in order that his gallies might retire behind them with safety, in case of a defeat. On the morrow, the Syracusans canie up sooner than usual, when a great part of the day was spent in skirmishing, after which they retired. The Athe. nians did not suppose they would return, but imagined that fear had made them fly: but having refreshed themselves in great diligence, and returning on board their gallies, they attacked the Athenians, who were far from expecting them. The latter being now forced to return immediately on board their ships, they entered them in great disorder, so that they had not time to draw them up in a line of battle, and most of the sailors were fasting. Victory did not long continue in suspense. The Athenians, after making a short and slight resistance, retired behind their line of transports. The enemy pursued them thither, and were stopt by the sailyards of those ships, to which were fixed dolphins of lead, which being very heavy, had they fallen on the enemy's gallies, would have sunk them at once. The Athenians lost seven gallies in this engagement, and a great number of soldiers were either killed or taken prisoners.
bThis loss threw Nicias into the utmost consternation. All the misfortunes he had met with, ever since the time he had tirst enjoyed the supreme command, came into his mind; and he now is involved in a greater than any of them, by his complying with the advice «f his colleagues. Whilst he was revolving these gloomy ideas, Demosthenes's fleet was seen coming forward in great pomp, and with such an air as must fill the enemy with dread: it was now the day after the battle. This fleet consisted of 73 gallies, on board of which were 5,000 fighting men, and about 3,000 archers, slingers, and bowmen. All these gallies were richly trimmed; their prows being adorned with shining streamers, manned with stout rowers, commanded by good officers, and echoing with the sound of clarions and trumpets; Demosthenes having affected an air of pomp and triumph, purposely to strike terror into the enemy.
a This engine, so violent was its motion, broke through a galley from the deck to the hold
Thucyd. I. vii. p. 513-518. Plut. in Nic. p. 537. Diod. p. 141, 142,
This gallant sight alarmed them indeed beyond expression. They did not see any end, or even the least suspension of their calamities: all they had hitherto done or suffered was as nothing, and their work was to begin again. What hopes could they entertain of being able to weary out the patience of the Athenians, since, though a hostile camp was intrenched in the middle of Attica, they were however able to send a second army into Sicily, as considerable as the former; and that their power, as well as their courage, seemed, not withstanding all their losses, instead of diminishing to increase daily?
Demosthenes having made an exact inquiry into the state of things, imagined that it would not be proper for him to lose time as Nicias had done, who, having spread an universal terror at his first arrival, became afterwards the object of contempt, for having wintered in Catana, instead of going directly to Syracuse; and had afterwards given Gylippus an opportunity of throwing troops into it. He fattered himself with the hopes, that he should be able to carry the city at the first attack, by taking advantage of the alarm which the news of his arrival would spread in every part of it, and by that means should immediately put an end to the war: otherwise he intended to raise the siege, and no longer harass and lessen the troops by fighting battles never decisive ; nor quite exhaust the city of Athens, by employing its treasures in needless expenses.
Nicias, terrified by this bold and precipitate resolution of Demosthenes, conjured him not to be so hasty, but to take time to weigh things deliberately, that he might have no cause to repent of what he should do. He observed to him, that the enemy would be ruined by delays; that their provisions as well as money were entirely exhausted; that their allies were going to abandon them; that they must soon be reduced to such extremity, for want of provisions, as would force them to surrender, as they had before resolved: for there were certain persons in Syracuse who beld a secret correspondence with Nicias, and exhorted him not to be impatient, because the Syracusans were tired with the war and with Gylippus; and that should the necessity to
which they were reduced be ever so little increased, they would surrender at discretion.
As Nicias did not explain himself clearly, and would not declare in express terms, that sure and certain advices were 5 sent him of whatever was transacted in the city, his remon
strances were considered as an effect of the timidity and i slowness with which he had always been reproached.
“Such,” said they, “ are his usual protraction, delays, dis“ trusts and fearful precaution, whereby he has deadened all
the vivacity, aud extinguished all the ardour of the troops, " in not marching them immediately against the enemy; but, “on the contrary, by deferring to attack them, till his own “ forces were weakened and despised.” This made the rest of the generals and all the officers come over to Demosthenes's opinion, and Nicias himself was at last forced to acquiesce with it.
Demosthenes, after having attacked to no purpose the Śwall which cut the contravallation of the besiegers, confined
himself to the attack of Epipolæ, from a sup position that s should he once be master of it, the wall would be quite un
defended. He therefore took provisions for five days, with workmen, implements, and every thing necessary for him to defend that post after he should possess himself of it. As there was no going up to it in the daytime undiscovered, he marched thither in the night with all his forces, followed by
Eurymedon and Menander ; Nicias staying behind to guard ; the camp. They went up by the way of Euryelus, as be
fore, unperceived by the sentinels ; attack the first intrenchment, and storm it, after killing part of those who defended it. Demosthenes, not satisfied with this advantage, to prevent the ardour of his soldiers from cooling, and not delay the execution of his design, marches forward. During this interval, the forces of the city, sustained by Gylippus, march under arms out of the intrenchments. Being seized with ass tonishment, which the darkness of the night increased, they were immediately repulsed and put to flight. But as the Athé. nians advanced in disorder, to force whatever might resist their arms, lest the enemy might rally again, should time be allowed them to breathe and recover from their surprise,
they are stopt on a sudden by the Baotians, who make a vi- gorus stand, and marching against the Athenians with their
pikes presented, repulse them with great shouts, and make a dreadful slaughter. This spreads an universal terror through the rest of the army. Those who fled either force along such as were advancing to their assistance, or else mistaking them for enemies, turn their arms against them. They now were all mixed indiscriminately, it being impossible to disa criminate objects in the horrors of a night, which was not so