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mander, Demosthenes at once saw that the possession of Epipolæ was the key to the possession of Syracuse and he resolved to make a prompt and vigorous attempt to recover that position, while his force was unimpaired, and the consternation which its arrival had produced among the besieged, remained unabated. The Syracusans and their allies had run out an outwork along Epipolæ from the city walls, intersecting the fortified lines of circumvallation which Nicias had commenced, but from which he had been driven by Gylippus. Could Demosthenes succeed in storming this outwork, and in re-establishing the Athenian troops on the high ground, he might fairly hope to be able to resume the circumvallation of the city, and become the conqueror of Syracuse: for, when once the besiegers' lines were completed, the number of the troops with which Gylippus had garrisoned the place, would only tend to exhaust the stores of provisions, and accelerate its downfall.

An easily-repelled attack was first made on the outwork in the day-time, probably more with the view of blinding the besieged to the nature of the main operations, than with any expectation of succeeding in an open assault, with every disadvantage of the ground to contend against. But, when the darkness had set in, Demosthenes