Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"The Boeotians presently sent for darters and slingers from [the towns on] the Melian gulf; and with these, and with two thousand men of arms of Corinth, and with the Peloponnesian garrison that was put out of Nisaea, and with the Megareans, all which arrived after the battle, they marched forthwith to Delium and assaulted the wall. And when they had attempted the same many other ways, at length they brought to it an engine, wherewith they also took it, made in this manner: Having slit in two a great mast, they made hollow both the sides, and curiously set them together again in the form of a pipe. At the end of it in chains they hung a cauldron; and into the cauldron from the end of the mast they conveyed a snout of iron, having with iron also armed a great part of the rest of the wood. They carried it to the wall, being far off, in carts, to that part where it was most made up with the matter of the vineyard and with wood. And when it was to, they applied a pair of great bellows to the end next themselves, and blew. The blast, passing narrowly through into the cauldron, in which were coals of fire, brimstone, and pitch, raised an exceeding great flame, and set the wall on fire, so that no man being able to stand any longer on it, but abandoning the same and betaking themselves to flight, the wall was by that means taken." -- Thucydides, historian, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book IV, Chapter 100, 431 B.C.