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Quote of the day: Civilis, however, was naturally politic
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXI Chapter 8: Siege of Saguntum (cont.)[218 BC]
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For a few days after, while the general's wound was being cured, there was rather a blockade than a siege: during which time, though there was a respite from fighting, yet there was no intermission in the preparation of works and fortifications. Hostilities, therefore, broke out afresh with greater fury, and in more places, in some even where the ground scarcely admitted of the works, the vineae began to be moved forward, and the battering-ram to be advanced to the walls. The Carthaginian abounded in the numbers of his troops; for there is sufficient reason to believe that he [Note 1] had as many as a hundred and fifty thousand in arms. The townsmen began to be embarrassed, by having their attention multifariously divided, in order to maintain their several defences, and look to every thing; nor were they equal to the task, for the walls were now battered by the rams, and many parts of them were shattered. One part by continuous ruins left the city exposed; three successive towers and all the wall between them had fallen down with an immense crash, and the Carthaginians believed the town taken by that breach; through which, as if the wall had alike protected both, there was a rush from each side to the battle. There was nothing resembling the disorderly fighting which, in the storming of towns, is wont to be engaged in, on the opportunities of either party; but regular lines, as in an open plain, stood arrayed between the ruins of the walls and the buildings of the city, which lay but a slight distance from the walls. On the one side hope, on the other despair, inflamed their courage; the Carthaginian believing that, if a little additional effort were used, the city was his; the Saguntines opposing their bodies in defence of their native city deprived of its walls, and not a man retiring a step, lest he might admit the enemy into the place he deserted. The more keenly and closely, therefore, they fought on both sides, the more, on that account, were wounded, no weapon falling without effect amidst their arms and persons. There was used by the Saguntines a missile weapon, called falarica, with the shaft of fir, and round in other parts except towards the point, whence the iron projected: this part, which was square, as in the pilum, they bound around with tow, and besmeared with pitch. It had an iron head three feet in length, so that it could pierce through the body with the armour. But what caused the greatest fear was, that this weapon, even though it stuck in the shield and did not penetrate into the body, when it was discharged with the middle part on fire, and bore along a much greater flame, produced by the mere motion, obliged the armour to be thrown down, and exposed the soldier to succeeding blows.

Note 1: he = Hannibal

Event: Siege and destruction of Saguntum

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Vineae:Movable shelters, open at both ends, pushed along on wheels, and made of stout wattling, covered with leather. As the name suggests, the earliest were probably constructed of interlaced vine stems. Under their protection battering-rams could be worked, mines commenced, and other siege operations conducted.