|Do not fly Iberia
Aemilius Chapter 14: An attempt of the Romans to conquer a passage[168 BC]
Return to index
Aemilius lay still for some days, and it is said, that there were never two great armies so nigh, that enjoyed so much quiet. When he had tried and considered all things, he was informed that there was yet one passage left unguarded, through Perrhaebia by the temple of Apollo and the Rock. Gathering, therefore, more hope from the place being left defenseless than fear from the roughness and difficulty of the passage, he proposed it for consultation. Amongst those that were present at the council, Scipio, surnamed Nasica, son-in-law to Scipio Africanus, who afterwards was so powerful in the senate-house, was the first that offered himself to command those that should be sent to encompass the enemy. Next to him, Fabius Maximus, eldest son of Aemilius, although yet very young, offered himself with great zeal. Aemilius, rejoicing, gave them, not so many as Polybius states, but, as Nasica himself tells us in a brief letter which he wrote to one of the kings with an account of the expedition, three thousand Italians that were not Romans, and his left wing consisting of five thousand. Taking with him, besides these, one hundred and twenty horsemen, and two hundred Thracians and Cretans intermixed that Harpalus had sent, he began his journey towards the sea, and encamped near the temple of Hercules, as if he designed to embark, and so to sail round and environ the enemy. But when the soldiers had supped and it was dark, he made the captains acquainted with his real intentions, and marching all night in the opposite direction, away from the sea, till he came under the temple of Apollo, there rested his army. At this place Mount Olympus rises in height more than ten furlongs, as appears by the epigram made by the man that measured it:
Where stands Apollo's temple, has a height
Of full ten furlongs [Note 1] by the line, and more,
Ten furlongs, and one hundred feet, less four.
Eumelus' son Xenagoras, reached the place.
Adieu, O king, and do thy pilgrim grace.
Note 1: a furlong is 1/8 of a mile or 201 m.
Event: Battle of Pydna