Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/205

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A.D. 359.]

at their feet, and with loud cries shot their arrows among the citizens with prodigious skill.

6. And presently the whole of the mighty host of the enemy assaulted the city with more ferocity than ever. And while we stood hesitating and perplexed to know which danger to oppose first, whether to make head against the foe above us, or against the multitude who were scaling the battlements with ladders, our force was divided; and five of the lighter balistæ were brought round and placed so as to attack our tower. They shot out heavy wooden javelins with great rapidity, sometimes transfixing two of our men at one blow, so that many of them fell to the ground severely wounded, and some jumped down in haste from fear of the creaking engines, and being terribly lacerated by the fall, died.

7. But by measures promptly taken, the walls were again secured on that side, and the engines replaced in their former situation.

8. And since the crime of desertion had increased the labours of our soldiers, they, full of indignation, moved along the battlements as if on level ground, hurling missiles of all kinds, and exerting themselves so strenuously that the Virtæ, who were attacking on the south side, were repulsed covered by wounds, and retired in consternation to their tents, having to lament the fall of many of their number.


§1. Thus fortune showed us a ray of safety, granting us one day in which we suffered but little, while the enemy sustained a heavy loss; the remainder of the day was given to rest in order to recruit our strength; and at the dawn of the next morning we saw from the citadel an innumerable multitude, which, after the capture of the fort called Ziata, was being led to the enemy's camp. For a promiscuous multitude had taken refuge in Ziata on account of its size and strength; it being a place ten furlongs in circumference.

2. In those days many other fortresses also were stormed and burnt, and many thousands of men and women carried off from them into slavery; among whom were many men