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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book XXVII Chapter 32: Philip V defeated[208 BC]
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The first day of their advance in the enemy's country was spent in plunder and destruction. The next day they marched in battle array towards the city, the cavalry having been sent forward to provoke the Aetolians to fight, which they were perfectly ready to do. The invaders were unaware that Sulpicius had sailed across from Naupactus to Cyllene with fifteen ships and landed 4000 men who had entered Elis in the night. As soon as they recognised the standards and arms of Rome amongst the Aetolians and Eleans, the unlooked-for sight filled them with great alarm. At first the king wanted to retire his men, but they were already engaged with the Aetolians and Trallians an Illyrian tribe and as he saw that they were being hard pressed, he charged the Roman cohort with his cavalry. His horse was wounded by a javelin and fell, throwing the king over its head, and a fierce contest began, on both sides, the Romans making desperate efforts to reach him and his own men doing their best to protect him. Compelled as he was to fight on foot amongst mounted men, he showed conspicuous courage. The struggle became at length an unequal one, many were falling round him and many were wounded, and he was seized by his own men and placed on another horse on which he fled. That day he fixed his camp about five miles from Elis; the following day he led the whole of his force to a fortified place called Pyrgus. This was a fort belonging to the Eleans, and he had been informed that a large number of peasants with their cattle had taken refuge there through fear of being plundered. Destitute as they were of organisation and arms, the mere fact of his approach filled them with terror and they were all made prisoners. This booty was some compensation for his humiliating defeat at Elis. Whilst he was distributing the spoil and the captives there were 4000 prisoners and 20,000 head of cattle large and small a messenger arrived from Macedonia stating that a certain Eropus had taken Lychnidum after bribing the commander of the garrison, that he was in possession of some villages belonging to the Dassaretii and was also making the Dardanians restless. Philip at once abandoned hostilities with the Aetolians and prepared to return home. He left a force of 2500 all arms under the command of Menippus and Polyphantas to protect his allies, and taking his route through Achaia and Boeotia, and across Euboea, he arrived at Demetrias in Thessaly on the tenth day after his departure from Dymae. |
First Macedonian War. 208 BC.
Standard:When an army was in camp, they were fixed in the ground, each marking the station of the cohort to which it belonged; when they were taken up it was the signal for breaking up the camp and commencing the march.
Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).