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Mediterranean Hegemon of Ancient Greece – Chapter 489: Battle of the sea near Crotone (I) Bahasa Indonesia

Hearing the heavy expectations in their words, Davos smiled lightly and said, “You don’t need to worry about Syracuse. Instead, you should worry about whether we have enough men to govern those lands in the south of Magna Graecia after we defeat our enemy!”

As the statesmen became stunned, Davos turned his head and took a deep look at the hills facing the river in the east of the city of Thurii. He knew that his wife and children must also be gazing this way, looking forward to his early victorious return…

“Let’s go.” With a slight cough, he turned his horse’s head and set foot onto the wooden bridge with his personal guards.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Syracusan soldiers burned, killed and looted the city of Crotone overnight; their main victims were mostly the freemen and foreigners in the port area and nearly half of Crotone’s populace who failed to escape into the Acropolis in time.

Noon the following day, most of the Syracusan soldiers were still sleeping in the military camp or the houses of the civilians in the city of Crotone in order to recover their exhausted strength.

Dionysius, on the other hand, got up early in the morning and led his men to deal with military matters.

The first thing they need to solve urgently is the wounded. Yesterday’s battle results were brilliant, but their losses were equally huge. From the preliminary statistics last night, the number of casualties in the battle alone exceeded 5,000, and there were more than 4,000 soldiers with varying degrees of light wounds. It resulted in Syracuse losing about 1/8 of its strength after this battle. So they need to complete a series of tedious matters such as saving the wounded, replenishing the soldiers and reorganising the troops as soon as possible.

Yet the most time-consuming and laborious matter – cleaning up the battlefield and burying the dead, had instead become the easiest to accomplish as the Syracusans only needed to send the tens of thousands of Crotonians who had become prisoners to serve as labourers. Thus the countless prisoners wailed as they carefully sorted the remains of Crotonian soldiers who had died both inside and outside the city walls! While numerous prisoners quietly kicked and cursed and vented their anger as they dragged the bodies of Syracusan soldiers!

But for Dionysius, he didn’t care too much about those, as what he cares more about is Crotone’s Acropolis. The Acropolis is located just south of Crotone’s centre and is built on a hill, and have the largest Temple of Apollo in Magna Graecia. Thus, the Acropolis of Apollo is naturally the largest among the city-state in Magna Graecia.

Dionysius should have taken precautions when the city fell because retreating to the Acropolis was the final defensive strategy often adopted by Greek city-states. However, because of the fierce fighting in the daytime, the Syracusan soldiers attacked violently carried out crazy killing and looting in the city after they breached the wall last night. Furthermore, Dionysius was unable to effectively command his troops because of the darkness, which delayed their attack and resulted in more than half of the Crotonians(including many soldiers) fleeing into the Acropolis under the management of Milo and Lysias, which gave the Acropolis sufficient manpower to defend.

Furthermore, the Acropolis is situated in high terrain and surrounded by houses, making it impossible for the large siege engines to come near the walls. So unless they razed the surrounding houses and buildings, and built a sturdy and wide causeway to allow the siege towers and siege wagons to reach the walls, an attack from below by soldiers alone would not only cause heavy casualties but would also be difficult to accomplish.

However, it would take a long time to prepare if they did such a siege, and what Dionysius lacks the most now is time. He also needs to lead his army to attack Theonia as he will never allow his biggest enemy to have more breathing opportunities to stabilise his territory and form more troops.

Thus Dionysius sent messengers to have the Crotonians in the Acropolis surrender by threatening them with the lives of the captured Crotonians and soldiers.

Unfortunately for Dionysius, the Crotonians hiding in the Acropolis had witnessed the atrocities committed by the Syracusans in the city last night while suffering through the night amidst the heartrending wails of their compatriots. With their fear and hatred of the Syracusans and Syracuse’s tyranny in Scylletium, the Crotonians regarded Syracuse as a “man-eating beast”. Thus they did not believe the messenger’s proposal that “as long as they become an ally of Syracuse and send troops to Syracuse’s army, Dionysius would release all Crotonian prisoners and return the city of Crotone”.

Ascamas, who had done his best to reorganise the defeated troops to stop the Syracusans from attacking and looting the city and protect the people who were fleeing to the Acropolis, fought the enemy in the city’s streets, eventually dying in battle. In their grief, the Crotonians, who had lost their supreme military commander, had urgently elected their saviour, Milo, as their supreme commander, while Lysias and the others did not object. At this moment, the Crotonian hierarchy, led by Lysias and Milo, uncompromisingly rejected the messenger’s request and showed their courage and determination to fight the Syracusans to death by cutting off the messenger’s ears and nose and expelling him out of the Acropolis.

Although the messenger clutched his bloody wound and cried to Dionysius, Dionysius did not show much anger and only laughed grimly, “Foolish Crotonians thinks that I can’t do anything to them just because they are hiding on that hill! They could indeed improve their defence by hiding in tens of thousands of people in that little Acropolis, but can they defend against hunger and thirst?!!”

The food consumption of tens of thousands of people is indeed massive, and the people rushing to the Acropolis couldn’t carry many rations. Hence even if Milo had prepared in advance, he couldn’t guarantee it would last longer. Furthermore, what worried the Crotonians the most was that they didn’t have a water source, as the priests would usually get their water from the temple’s cistern. So even though the cistern was full due to the heavy rain the last few days, it is only a drop in the bucket for the needs of tens of thousands of people.

That’s why Dionysius ordered to send a small number of troops to surround Crotone’s Acropolis, believing that the Crotonians would go down the hill and surrender within a few days due to lack of water and food.

He originally wanted to order the ballistae to fire at the Acropolis to frighten the Crotonians more and force them to surrender earlier. But after a second thought, he remembered there was a Temple of Apollo inside the Acropolis, so if he were to destroy it intentionally, it might affect the soldier’s morale. After all, the sudden rainstorm last time had made him, who was always arrogant, worried and he didn’t want any more accidents.

Dionysius knew that the Crotonians hid in the Acropolis to survive and hoped the Theonians would come to their rescue. Therefore, even though the Theonians were Syracuse’s army target for their upcoming attack, his soldiers needed to rest as they had just experienced a fierce siege battle. Thus he could only continue to send the mercenary cavalries to the north to scout the enemy.

Although the greedy Numidians and Celts, who did not participate in last night’s looting, vented their dissatisfaction, Dionysius did not get angry. On the contrary, he gave these foreigners a lot of spoils because Phidias had said, ‘These foreign cavalries are their sharp weapon against the Theonians in the field.’

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

In the port of Crotone, a scouting ship sailed into it.

“Navarch, Theonia’s fleet is coming!” The captain hurriedly disembarked to report to Leptines, who was inspecting the military port and commanding the moored ships.

This morning, the Syracusan navy had just moved into Crotone’s military port because Crotone’s military port is much larger and could accommodate more ships than Scylletium’s. Furthermore, it is closer to Theonia’s territory, making it more convenient for the Syracusan navy to learn about the movements of the Theonian fleet and have better coordination with their land forces.

But he didn’t expect that just as their fleet entered the port and their sailors had not yet completely disembarked, the Theonian fleet had come. Leptines’ heart is now beating like a drum, but he still maintains a calm expression, “How many ships?”

At sea, it is much more difficult to judge the number of ships than investigating the number of troops on land because a fleet of hundreds of ships often occupies an area of five-six nautical miles when sailing. Furthermore, with the people’s limited sight and no place to hide in the endless sea, they have to get closer to observe it, which requires a lot of risks.

“Err…I think their number is similar to our previous battle.” Thus the captain could only give a general idea.

Then he further emphasised, “Those Theonian ships have drawbridges on their foremast!”

When Leptines heard this, he became a bit flustered as their tragic defeat a few days ago reappeared in front of him.

‘Fight or not?’ Because he couldn’t make a decision, he had to run to the city to ask Dionysius for instructions.

When Dionysius learned that the Theonian fleet was coming, he only pondered for a bit before he resolutely issued an order, ‘Attack!’

In this regard, he has several considerations.

First of all, since they learned that the number of Theonian fleet is not that different from last time, and they were all equipped with that so-called drawbridge, it means that their analysis of the Theonians still using their own ships due to the number of sailors and the difficulty of refitting the captured ships was correct. Furthermore, the Syracusan navy still has a slight advantage in terms of the number of triremes.

Secondly, as the supreme commander, Dionysius knows how significant morale is on the soldiers’ combat effectiveness. Not long ago, the Syracusan navy suffered a disastrous defeat, so if they did not make up for it this time and chose to give way, it would undoubtedly “destroy their own prestige and raise the morale of the enemy”. So if they were to reencounter the Theonian fleet in the future, the Syracusan fleet would undoubtedly have lesser will to fight.

Moreover, they have gathered the Syracusan army in Crotone and are currently recuperating after yesterday’s arduous battle. Thus if the Theonian fleet were allowed to cross the sea and land on the empty rear such as Scylletium or Caulonia, which hasn’t truly surrendered, it would cause the Syracusan army to be greatly passive. Hence Dionysius would never allow that to happen.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Although this is the second time Seclian led the fleet, in his heart, this would be his actual first time to lead the fleet independently without King Davos by his side, relieving him of the sense of constraint.


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