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As soon as the Athenians had obtained possession of 414 B.C. Epipolae, they fortified a point known as Labdalum, which looked from the north side of the cliff towards

Megara. From Labdalum they marched down Epipolae towards the walls of the city, searching for a site suitable for the building of a central fort which might serve them as a base of operations while engaged in circumvallating the city. Presently they found themselves in a broad open table-land which descended by a barely perceptible incline to the walls of Achradina.

In selecting the site for this central fortress, the Athenian generals had to look for a point which lay about half-way between the Great Harbour and the northern sea-since to those limits their projected lines were to be carried northward and southward. The fort must not be very near to the city itself;

1 For the convenience of junior students and of those who prefer to avoid controversy, I have relegated to the end of the section the arguments on which these remarks are based.

but, at the same time, the question of the distance to be covered with their lines was, of course, of extreme importance. They fixed on a site due south of Trogilus, and distant from the north coast about a mile and a half or rather less. Reckoning together

the wall which would have to be built on the southern cliff from the central fort and that which would run from the southern cliff to the Great Harbour, about the same distance would have to be covered south of the fort that is to say about a mile and a half. This point was thus north of the Portella del Fusco, and a short distance from the spot at which the southern wall would touch the edge of the cliff. In this place, then, they built a large round fort-or circle-protected in front by an outwork.

Soon, when the fortress stood finished, they began building out from it towards Trogilus. Meantime the Syracusans knew well that the object of the enemy was to hem them in, and they determined, by building a counter-work, to prevent him from reaching the Great Harbour. The besieged knew better than the besiegers that safe communication with the harbour was to the Athenian a matter of vital importance. This safe communication he should not obtain without a struggle. Now he was at present thinking only of his communication with his naval station at Thapsus. Accordingly the Syracusans built out a wall towards the Portella del Fusco, intending to carry it immediately south of and past the Athenian 'circle.' On the north side the wall was protected by a palisade, and near the east end there was a door in the wall affording communication between the north and south.

But the Athenians, after biding their opportunity,

attacked, captured and destroyed both palisade and wall. They then realised that, in order to secure communication with the sea, the southern wall was more needed than the northern. They therefore ceased building north of the 'circle' and 'proceeded to fortify the cliff above the marsh.' That is to say, they filled up with a wall the short space between the 'circle' and the Portella del Fusco. It is not possible to ascertain the exact point on the cliff at which this short piece of wall ended.

The Syracusans made a second effort to prevent the Athenians from reaching the Great Harbour. It was now useless to build along the cliff as they had previously done. Nor did they choose the middle level above the marsh, apparently because they expected that the Athenian works would reach it before they could build far enough to check them. Starting from the city they dug a trench across the marsh itself and towards the Anapus, building as before a palisade on the north side. But this work also was captured by the Athenians, but only at the cost of Lamachus' life. During the battle, the Athenian fleet, having left Thapsus, entered the Great Harbour.

And now from the Portella del Fusco Nicias built a double wall towards the coast. But why was it double? We can hardly doubt that Nicias had Athens and the Piraeus in mind, and that, following that model, he wanted to render safe the conveyance of provisions to the upper walls. When the fleet left Thapsus, he seems to have modified his plans to some extent and to have supposed that the northern wall might safely be left a mere fragment until he was quite secure on the south. He must have con

sidered also, that should the Syracusans occupy the Olympieium-a double wall in the low ground would be absolutely necessary to protect his army against simultaneous attacks directed from the village and from the city.

The account given above of the siege-works differs in some respects from all those hitherto published. The difficulties are entirely due to the careless description of Thucydides, who seems to have forgotten that his readers would not know the ground, with which he was himself familiar.

1. Where was the Kúkλos? Thucydides says at Syce, which tells us nothing. On the middle of the slope of Epipolae, say Arnold, Grote, Stahl, Holm and Freeman. Near the southern cliffs, says Leake, who unfortunately arrives at his conclusion by an entirely wrong route. But the conclusion appears to be right. (a) Those who are opposed to it urge that the κúkλos was to be the central position of the Athenian lines, which were to run north and south from it. But this argument appears to me to be in favour of Leake. In the Seventh Book Thucydides mentions тà Tεíxŋ many times, but never to denote only the northern wall and that which joined the kúkλos to the edge of the cliff. He means by Tà Teixη either forts, or the double wall, or the lines generally. He evidently did not think rà Teixη the right expression for the two short pieces of single wall. Now, in order that the Kúkλos may be approximately in the centre of the Athenian Teίx, it is clear that if the KÚKλos is to be placed north or north-west of the Portella del Fusco, it must also be near the cliff; otherwise the distance to be built over will be considerably greater at

Of itself,

the south than at the north of the kúkλos. however, the argument that the Kúkλos must have been the central point is not of much weight.

(b) In vi. 101, 1 comes a statement which causes great difficulty to those who place the Kúkλos on the middle of Epipolae. Thucydides says ἀπὸ τοῦ κύκλου ἐτείχιζον τὸν κρημνὸν τὸν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἕλους, and then further on he refers to τὸ πρὸς τὸν κρημνόν. First, what does ἐτείχιζον τὸν κρημνόν mean ? 'They fortified a point on the cliff,' according to Arnold, Grote, and Freeman, and, owing to the distance which they assume between κúkλos and κρημνός, they naturally find ἀπὸ τοῦ κύκλου difficult to explain. Subsequently, they say, Nicias must have built a wall between this new fort on the κpnμvós and the kúkλos. But Thucydides says nothing about such a building. Stahl sees that ἐτείχιζον τὸν κρημνόν must mean they fortified the cliff,' and cannot mean 'built a wall along the cliff,' as Classen says. So Stahl reads < ἐς > τὸν κρημνόν with Lupus.

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Surely the words mean they built a wall on the cliff.' The expression is quite natural as soon as we place the Kúkλos just north of the Portella del Fusco; for a wall built from the Kúkλos will thus be on the cliff. This short piece of wall is afterwards still more accurately called τὸ πρὸς τὸν κρημνόν ; but so short comparatively was the wall built to the cliff' that it could also be called a wall on the cliff.'

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(c) The nearer the kúkλos to the south cliff, the easier would communication be with the Great Harbour. The fact that the southern wall was double sufficiently shows that Nicias knew that he would have to be careful about this matter. It is no objection that he began building to the north first; for, when no walls as yet existed, he may quite well have thought that he was even more exposed to attack on that side, and at first he probably contemplated keeping a naval station at Thapsus with a view to his connection with Catana and

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