George Grote.

A history of Greece: from the earliest period to the close of the generation contemporary with Alexander the Great online

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protection to the city, securing both the inner city (Ortygia) and the
outer city (Achradina) at once. At this time, probably, Syracusans
were more afraid of a second attack from the side <^ the Great Harbour,
since this was the place where Nikias had made his recent disembarka-
tion ; and the new wall now constructed was an important additional
defence from that side.

They next began to tun their attention to defence from the side of

In this latter scheme, however, they were forestalled by the
Athenians, who started from Katana without their knowledge, dis-
embarked their troops near a place or spot called Leon, and hastened
by a forced march up to the summit of Epipoln, called Euryftlus,
which they approached from the plain of Thapsus, the side farthest
removed from Syracuse. Colonel Leake, and Eiepert in his map,
place Leon on the sea-shore, south of the peninsula of Thapsus, and
about half-way between that point and Achradina — immediately under
the steep ascent direct from the sea to Eury&Ius ; and Eiepert draws a
line stn^ht from Leon (so placed) to the Eurydlus, as if he supposed
that the Athenian army clambered straight up. But this is difficult
to suppose ; for Thucydidds says that the Athenian army nm towards
the Bury&lus (rx^P** ^P<W> ^ ^ > ^^'^ i^ ^1^>^ ^'^^ ^^™ possible
for hoplites to have run strai^t up the side of the cliff as it stands
marked on the map, I agree with Dr. Arnold (ad Thuc vi 97) that
the words of ThucydidSs do not necessarily imply that the place called
Leon was on the sea, nor intimate what distance it was from the sea.
It seems more likely that Leon, as well as the landing-place of Nikias,

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was % place somewhere north of the pemDsala of Thapsos, and that
the Athenian troops, having come there on ship-hoard from KatAna^,
were disembarked before the fleet reached that peninsula. There
probably was a regular road or mountain-path, ascending from the
plain of Thapens and reaching Euryftlos from the northern side of
EpipolflB — a road good enough, in most parts, for the Athenians to pass
over at a run. This ascent, as being the farthest removed from Syra-
cuse, would be the most b'kely for them to be able to accomplish
without the knowledge of the Syracosans.

The position of the fort of Labdalum, built by Nikias, has been
differently marked by different authors. Colonel Leake )>lace6 it
(Kotes on Syracuse, p. 53) higher up than Mongibellisi, between that
point and Belvedere. I incline to think that this is higher than the
reality. The words of ThucydidSs — eV axpois roig Kprjfivois rmv *Ewi-
'wokSnf 6pS»v vpos t6. Mtyapa — are translated by him " on the hi^est
rocks of Epipols, looking towards Megara," but it appears to me that
they rather mean — " on the extremity of the cliffs of Epipolss, looking
towards Megara**. The position fixed on by Colonel Leake seems
inconveniently distant frt>m the main operations of Nikiss lower down
on Epipols : moreover, if the fort of Labdalum had been there placed>
it would have guarded the path from Belvedere down to Epipolae, and
would have obstructed Gylippus in his march by that path into Syra-
cuse—which we shall find hereafter that it did not. I think that tiie
fort of Labdalum must have been on the edge of the cliff somewhat
eastward of Mongibellisi, and more to the westward than it stands in
the Plan of GoUer : see Goller's note, ad vL 97, and the Plan annexed
to his Tbucydidfo— and the remarks of Mr. Stanley and Dr. Arnold—
in Arnold's Thucyd. pp. 267—269.

Two other problems come next :— 1. The site of Syk8. 2. What is
the Athenian Oirde f

The Athenians, having finished and garrisoned Labdalum, "de-
scended to Sykd, sat down, and fortified the Circle with all speed".
Many writers consider Syke as a corruption or local pronunciation of
Tychfi, designating the hamlet or suburb joining Achradina at its
north-western extremity, just at the lower extremity of the northern
cliff of £pii)olffi. Colonel Leake and othera place Syk§ on tlie opposite
side of the slope of Epipole, near upon the southern diff. But the
reason which he gives for placing Syk8 near the southern cliff is not
adequate. He founds his opinion upon a construction of a passage of
ThucydidSs (vi. 99), which appears to me less correct and convenient
than that adopted by Dr. Arnold, with whose note on the ^lassage I
perfectly concur.

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I think there is no ground for identifying the place called Syki
with the Syracusan saburb afterwards known as TycM, from the
Temple of Fortune ; and I agree with Dr. Arnold (p. 270) in placing
Sykd '<on the middle of the slope of Epipols, exactly to the south-
ward of Tkrgetta"-or at least nearly sonthward of that point So
also M. Firmin Didot places it in the Plan prafized to the fourth
Tolume of his French translation of Thucydidds.

I also perfectly agree with Dr. Arnold and M. Firmin Didot, in con-
sidering that the expression The Cirde (6 xvicXor) means (not the
entire wall of circumvallation projected by the Athenians, but) a
separate walled enclosure, to serve as a central point from whence the
wall was to be carried northward towards Trogilus, and southward,
first to the southern cliff of Epipols, afterwards to the Great Harbour.
M. Didot defends this opinion in an elaborate note (ad Thucyd. tL
98) : Dr. Arnold also gives some reasons which (in my judgment) are
not 90 strong as they might have been made. He considers one
passage of ThncydidPs as making afi^nst him, which, properly con-
strued, is in his fitvour ; and he therefore proposes a double sense for
the word kvkKos — sometimes meaning "the entire drcumvallation,''
— sometimes "the central walled enclosure separately ". I think that
6 kvkKos always has the latter meanings and that the double sense
aupposed by Dr. Arnold is not to be found in Thucydidds.

The next doubt is about the first counter- wall constructed by the
Syracusans to cut and obstruct the intended line of blockade. G511er,
M. Didot, and Mr. Dunbar 8Up)>ose this counter-wall (cycdpo-coy rcixor)
to have been carried across Ei>ipol«, north of the Athenian Circle or
kvkKos, On the other hand, Ck)lonel Leake (p. 66), Dr. Arnold, and
Dr. Thirlwall suppose it to have been carried south of the Athenian
Circle, but along the platform of Neapolis under Epipols, and not at
all on Epipolae itself. See Dr. Arnold's remarks, pp. 270, 271 ; and the
Plans of Gbller, and M. Didot, and CJolonel Leake.

The first of these suppositions is wholly inadmissible. If it were
adopted, the counter-wall would have been ^rried exactly across the
spot where the Athenians were then actually working, and a battle
must immediately have ensued, which was what the Syracusans did
not desire. The great reason which seems to have induced CM>ller and
others to adopt this supposition is a theory about the third or last
counter- wall {tyKdpawv t€ixos) constructed by the Syracusans, and its
•upposed junction with the first I shall hereafter show that this last-
mentioned theory is erroneous, when I come to explain the third or
last counter-walL

The second supiKwition, whereby this first counter-wall is repre-

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sented to have been carried along the platfonn of Neapolis, has not
the like force of poeitiye argument against it. Yet it appears to
me less probable than that which I have given in the text, and in
which I describe this coanter-wall as having stretched upward along
the dope qf Bp^olee, sonth of the Athenian Circle, firom a point
of the city-wall beneath, to the brink or crest of the southern diff

Respecting the nature and pnrpoee of a counter -wall built by
besieged parties such as the Syracusans, there is one point which tJie
expositors are apt to forget To answer the purpose contemplated by
the besieged, such a counter-wall must not only traverse the enemy's
intended line of blockade, but it must have something for both its
•ztremities to rest upon. Of course it starts from the city-wall, there-
fore one of its extremities is perfectly well supported ; but unless tiie
Tiker or further extrmnUy be supported also, the besiegBrB will be able
to turn it, and get behind it, without taking the trouble to attack it
\a front. The besiegers are naturally the strongest in the field — othec^
wise they would not be engaged in constructing a wall of circumTaUa-
tion. What advantage would the besieged gain, therefore, by carrying
out a counter-wall across the besieging line of blockade, if the fruther
extremity of their counter-wall rested upon mere open space, so tiiat
the besiegers would have nothing to do but to march along its front
and get round behind it t

That the counter-wall now built by the Sjrraousans was not to be
thus turned is sufficiently evident ; otherwise, the Athenians would
not have taken the risk and trouble of storming it in front It most
therefore have had something for its farther extreuiity to rest upon.
Now, in the course which I suppose it to have taken, tiiis is provided
for. The precipitous southern diff fbrmed its farther extremity, and
prevented the Athenians from turning it, so that they were compelled
to attack it in frt)nt, wherein they were able and fortunate enou^ to
succeed. What still further confirms my view that the steep southern
cliff formed the flank support of this first oounter-wall is that the
Athenians, immediately after their victory, take possession of the
southern cliff and fortify it, so as to prevent it from ever again serving
the Syracusans for the like purpose (vi 101, 1), Tj ^ wrrtpalq. ax6
rov kvkKov mix^Cop r^r Kpvffju^ rhv vrip rov fXow, fte.

Now if we adopt the supposition of Dr. Arnold and othen tiiat
this counter-wall ran along the platform of Neapolis, npon what are
we to suppose ihaX its farther extremity rested, or what was there to
prevent Uie Athenians firom turning it, and getting behind itt If it
had been possible for them to turn it, they would not have attacked

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App first and second C0ni9TER-W0RK& 541

it in front. Upon the soppodtion which I am now considering no
satisfactory answer can be given to this question.

Colonel Leake and Dr. Arnold suppose that the Athenians got down
the openings in the southern cliff of Epipols, in order to attack this
connter-wall which was on the lower platfonn. But in the description
which ThucydidSs gives of the attack there is nothing to indicate any
such descent on the part of the assailants ; nothing at all like what he
•ays in describing the attack upon the second Syracusan counter-work,
where he expressly mentions the Athenians as descending from Epipoln
to the level ground, — avrol irtpl 6p$pop Kora^aifrts anrb tS>v 'ErriYro-
Xc*v is rh oyiaKov (vL 101), &c Colonel Leake (p. 56) founds an
argument upon the words of Thucydidds, npoKaTc^afifiapovr€s rhs
€<f>6dovSf which he interprets to mean the two or three vpoa-^trtif
or practicable openings in the cliff for descent But I have already
remarked in my Jiote that r^i €<l}6dov£ seems to me to mean ''the
attacks of the enemy "—not '* the roads by which he might attack '*.
Besides, if the attack were made in the manner thus supposed— by thfr
Athenians fit>m the cUff, upon the Syracusan counter-wall running
along the lower level — tMs would imply that the Athenians were
previously in possession and occupation of the southern brink or edge
of the cUff ; whereas Thucydidds, in his next chapter, tells us that
they moved thither afUnoaird^ fit>m the Circle (vi 101, 1).

The words viroT€4xtf€ti» — k6t»$€v tov kCkKov t&v *A$rjvaic»v —
(vi 100) do not necessarily imply that this new counter-wall ran
along a platform upon a lower level than Epipoln. They merely
imply that it began at a point lower on the slope and ran up to a
higher ; the first half of its course being on a lower level than the
Athenian Circle. I will here add that Thucydid^, in his description,
manifests no knowledge of that intennediate level which expositors
speak of as the platform qf Neapolia. He mentions only the cliff above
and the marsh beneath.

Respecting the second counter-work of the Syracusans— the paHsade
and ditch dug across the marsh — ^there is no material difficulty, except
that none of the commentators tells us upon what support its farther
extremity rested, or what prevented it from being turned. That this
was impossible we know, because the Athenians attacked it in front ;
and hence I have described this palisade and ditch as reaching to the
river Anapus, which prevented the Athenians from turning it As a
confirmation of this idea, we may see that Thucydidds (describing the^
battle which ensued when the Atiienians attacked the palisade in front
and stormed it) teUs us that the defeated Syracusans on the left flank
took flight and ran away "along th4 banks of the AnapuB^—ol fiir

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rh dcftoy jccpos c;(oftTC£ vpos tt^v vokiv e^vyor, oi de eirt r«p evw
irv/i^, vapa t6v irora/xu^ (yL 101). This implieB tb^t their
poflition wad already doee apon the hanks of the river, and theiefore
that the counter- work most have reached as far as the riyer.

After their defeat, the Syiacnsans made no farther attempt ai
constmcting coanter-works. The Athenians went on with their double
wall across the marsh from Epipolte to the Oreat Harbour. Wben
Gylippns arrived, this wall was almost finished, except a small portion
near the harbour, which was terminated soon afterwards. Besides
this, the southern portion of the blockading wall upon the hi^
ground of Epipoltt was also executed ; so that the Athenian wall of
circumvallation, from the Circle (on the centre of the slope of Epipobe)
southward down to the Oreat Harbour, was complete. But the portion
of Epipola) north of the Athenian Circle was not yet walled across,
though some progress had been made towards it, and stones had been
laid along most of the lina By this road Gylippus and hia anny
entered Syracuse.

We have now to follow the proceedings of Oylippus— especially in
reference to his third and final counter-wall, about which there is
much to be cleared up.

After he had regained superiority in the field — at least apparently,
by offering the Athenians battle, and by their refusing to accept it —
and after he had surprised and captured the fort of Labdalum — ^he
commenced the construction of a new counter-wall or iyicdpatop re (x^^*
He canttrueUd a simple toaU from the city cuross Epipola it Uen & di m ff
the line of blockade (which was yet not filled up) to the north of tbe
Athenian circle. Kal ptra ravra rr€i;(i^ov oi Svpaxdcrtot ml ol
^fxpaxoi dih r&v *Eiri7ro\»Vf airb r^f voktios dpf ofmKX, Sim wp69 t6
tyKopa-iov, rclxof durXovv * Sirns ol *A$rfpaLioi^ fjv firj hwaofro jcwXwroi,
pirfKiri oloi rt inrtp aworfixl(rai (vii. 4). I agree with Dr. Arnold,
CoL Leake, and others, in construing vp6s rh cyjcdpo-cor here as
itself equivalent to an adjective or adverb. Others construe the
passage as if rctxor were understood a second time, and as if two walls
were spoken of — Sva irp6s t6 iyKopviov rtix^^y rtixos dirXovi' : tikoa
assuming that two walls are indicated— one of them, an eyxdpcnor
T€ixo£ already existing— another, a t€ixos AirXovv about to be con-
structed to meet it. Orammatically speaking, such a construction ia
At least harsh ; but those who adopt it are unable to explain what waD
is meant by this iyKapotov t€ixos assumed as pre-existing. Didot
And Gkiller think that it was the first counter-work constructed by the
Syracusans ; but there are two fatal objections to this — first, that the
Athenians had destroyed this counter-work, after their victory (vi.

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100)— Dezt, tliat it passed to the south, and not to the north, of the
Athenian Circle, and therefore never could have joined the third
oonnter-work now projected.

Gylippns pursued the building of his new counter-wall, and after
gaining a victory over Nikias, succeeded in carrying it across the
Athenian line of blockade between the Circle and Trogilus : he
employed partly the very stones which the Athenians had laid down
on that line for their own intended wall (vii. 6, 7). He carried the
new wall beyond this Athenian line as far as the northern cliff of
EpipoUe, which served as a flank support, and prevented his new wall
from being turned. ATter this important step, the consummation of
the projected line of blockade became impossible, unless the Athenians
could attack his new wall in front, and take it by storm, for which
their present force was iuadequate. Even a victory in the field gained
by the Athenians would now be insufficient for the success of the
aiege. Compare vii 6 and vii. 11. &aT€ firj cfvoi ft-t ntpiTtixitrai
avrovSf fjv firj rts r6 vapaTeixiCfia tovto vo\K§ arpari^ iiriKBc^v TKji
— which is the expression of Kikias in his letter to the Athenians, and
is rather more precise than the expression of Thucydidds himself—
tKfipovs d€ (the Athenians) koX vavrdnatriv car€<rr(pf)Kiv€Uy ci koi
KpoToUpy fuf &p h-i a<t>as airoreixiccu — where we must construe
KparoUv as alluding simply to a victory gained in the field, as
distinguished from a superiority so marked as to enable the Athenians
to storm the counter-wall.

But the defensive plans of Gylippus were not yet completed. He
knew that the Athenian army might be materially strengthened, as in
hct it afterwards was; and being just now reinforced by twelve
Corinthian triremes, he employed them ''in assisting to complete the
remainder of his scheme of fortifications as far as the (new) counter-

Such are the words of Thucydidds — Mcra d^ roOro at rt t&p Kopiv-
3la>u vfJ€S «ecd ^AfurpOKUor&v koX AcvicadtCi>y iatTtk^vaap al vnoKomoi
dttdcica, \a6ov<rai ttjv tS>v ^ABrjvaioip <^vXajc^p, «eal ^vv€T§ ix^iaaw
r6 XoiTTov r o a ^v fjuKoiT iois fii xpi rov iy Kapalov
TMixovs (viL 7).

This passage has greatly perplexed expositors. Many different
interpretations of it have been proposed, but not one of them seems
tome satisfactory; and Dr. Arnold, after rejecting various explana-
tions proposed by others, and vainly attempting to elucidate it in a
way convincing to his own mind, pronounces it to be unintelligible at
least, if not corrupt (Arnold, pp. 274, 275). Colonel Leake explains
the passage by saying — "The Syracusan cross* wall was now united

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with the eDclosQie of Temenitis, and thoa largely extended the
dimensions of that outwork of Achiadina ** (Notes on Syracuse, p. 67).
And Dr. Arnold (p. 275) inclines to the same supposition. But in the
first place, it is difficult to see what the Syracusans gained by carrying
out an additional wall, in the manner here described, which gsre
them no new security; besides that Colonel Leake (in his Plan)
represents the third Syracnsan counter-work as if it rose straight ap
the slope of Epipols, which is hardly consistent with the words of
Thucydidds, dih r»v 'EmiroX&v. Moreover Nikias in his letter
written afterwards to the Athenians describes the new counter-wall,
whereby Gylippus had frustrated the scheme of blockade, as being
still, eyen in October, and after all that Gylippus had done to improye
it, a tingU or simple wall (oi dc fraptoKoSofiriKaa'iv riftuf r€txot ^Xovm,
▼iL 11). Such a description cannot be held to apply to the counter'
wall as it stands delineated in Colonel Leake's Plan.

It appears to me that the words of Thucydid^ {^erelxio-atf ro
Xoi7r6v Tois ^vpaxofTiois fte^P* ''<*'' iyKopa-iov reixovsi) admit of a
different explanation, which will be found both consistent with all
the existing circumstances and explanatory of all which follow.

To find out what is meant by t6 Xotir6p — that rmnaifuUr which the
Syracusans thus fortified with the help of the Corinthians and others
— we have only to compare the fortifications as they stood when
Gylippus entered Syracuse, with the fortifications as they stood a few
months afterwards, when Demosthends and his second armament
arrived from Athens. Now three distinct constructions are mentioned
as existing at this later period, which had not been in existence at the

1. A fort {T€Lxt(TfUMy yii 48, 8) on the higher ground of Epipolse,
guarding the entrance to Epipolee from the Eury&lus.

2. A cross- wall {naparfixKrfjuiy yii 42, 4 ; 43, 1 — 5) which joined
this fort at one extremity, and was carried dovon the slope of ^pipcim
wnJtiU it joined the ctfunter-wall or iyKopa-iov rtlxo s — (/^XP* ^^
tyKapa-iov relxovs).

8. Three strong encampments {irpor€iX'iaiucra\ placed at different
points up the slope of Epipole, along this cross-wall and on the north
side of it ; that is, behind it, speaking with reference to the Athenian
camp. These encampments were necessary for the accommodation of
those who were to defend the cross-wall, as well as to succour the fiort
(No. 1) in case it were attacked by an enemy from the Euiyalus. For
the cross-wall was single (or simple), and therefore had no permanent
accommodation except for a few neceasaiy sentries.

All these three works will be found distinctly specified by Thucy«

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didls, where he deserihes the labeeqneiit opeimtions of DemosthenlL
None of them yet existed when Gylippni entered Syiacoae : the upper
portion of Epipobo was then nnoceapied, except by the Athenum fort
of Labdilom. Here then we h*Te the rwwofarftr (r^ Xonr^ (wml-
Xitf'oy) which the Syraonsans and Oorinthians are now stated to hare
jointly oonstmcted.

The words m^xP* ^^ tyKoptrUtv rfixovs hare here a plain and
instmotiye meaning. First the Syracosans constncted the npper fort
to defend the entrance to Spipobo from Enryftlns ; next they oairied
down the cross-wall or waparuxurfia continnoiisly from the fort until
it joined the coonter-wall or iyidSipvum rtlxos which had already been
extended across the Athenian line of blockade. The wapar€ix^H^
and the ryicdpcum rci^off — ^the cross-wall and the connter-wall, were
thus made to form one oontinnoos wall — not indeed in the same line,
for the former probably met the latter at an ang^e — ^yet tUU ons
comtkmoua wmU, beffinning at the fofi en the JUs^ graumd q^ SpipoltB,
trmenimg the Athemtm Uneofbloekade on the northern eide tfVu slope,
and ending ai the toail qfSffraeuee iteelf. They are in hat spoken of
as one watt, and both toge^er are called the vaparelxurfAa and the
Tfixoff dtrXow (compare vii 11, 8 ; tIl 42, 4 ; vii 48, 1—6). That
this Kopareixur/Ma or cross-wall joined the npper fort on tiie high ground
of Epipola, Thucydidls distinotly intimates, when he tells us that the
Athenians under Demosthenis, as soon as they had succeeded in their
nocturnal surprise of the fort, b^gan to pull down the adjacent portion
of the cross-wall with its battlements (yii 48, 6). Here then is one
tenninus of the cross-wall or parateichisma ; and the words now under
discussion— /A^xP* rov ryKopa-lov relxovs — inform us what became of
the other terminus. The reader will ase it marked on the Plan
annexed to this Tolume.

I am aware that in putting this i nte rpr e tation upon the words I
depart from all the previous commentators ; but I venture to assert,
that while the words are most literally construed, there is no other
interpretation of them which can be rendend consiitent with the actual
and subsequent course of erents.

Gylippus had cairied his iyK^po'um reixos or counter-wall across the
pr opose d line of Athenian drcumvaUatioii : so far Syracuse was safe,
as long as the Athenian army continued without reinforcement. But
what if a large reinforoement osme from Athens, as was very probable t
On that supposition Syracuse was not safe ; since all the upper portion
of Spipola, togeUur with the road on to Spipoltt, from the EuiyUus,
remained unoccupied and undefended. The ilrtt thing necessary was
to provide a fort for the defence of the entrance upon Bpipolie from

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Eoiy&liia ; in order that this important point mi^t not be seized by a

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