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The History of the Peloponnesian War

Page: 172

Leaving these two towns to prepare together against the speedy arrival of the Athenians, Brasidas and Perdiccas started on a second joint expedition into Lyncus against Arrhabaeus; the latter with the forces of his Macedonian subjects, and a corps of heavy infantry composed of Hellenes domiciled in the country; the former with the Peloponnesians whom he still had with him and the Chalcidians, Acanthians, and the rest in such force as they were able. In all there were about three thousand Hellenic heavy infantry, accompanied by all the Macedonian cavalry with the Chalcidians, near one thousand strong, besides an immense crowd of barbarians. On entering the country of Arrhabaeus, they found the Lyncestians encamped awaiting them, and themselves took up a position opposite. The infantry on either side were upon a hill, with a plain between them, into which the horse of both armies first galloped down and engaged a cavalry action. After this the Lyncestian heavy infantry advanced from their hill to join their cavalry and offered battle; upon which Brasidas and Perdiccas also came down to meet them, and engaged and routed them with heavy loss; the survivors taking refuge upon the heights and there remaining inactive. The victors now set up a trophy and waited two or three days for the Illyrian mercenaries who were to join Perdiccas. Perdiccas then wished to go on and attack the villages of Arrhabaeus, and to sit still no longer; but Brasidas, afraid that the Athenians might sail up during his absence, and of something happening to Mende, and seeing besides that the Illyrians did not appear, far from seconding this wish was anxious to return.

While they were thus disputing, the news arrived that the Illyrians had actually betrayed Perdiccas and had joined Arrhabaeus; and the fear inspired by their warlike character made both parties now think it best to retreat. However, owing to the dispute, nothing had been settled as to when they should start; and night coming on, the Macedonians and the barbarian crowd took fright in a moment in one of those mysterious panics to which great armies are liable; and persuaded that an army many times more numerous than that which had really arrived was advancing and all but upon them, suddenly broke and fled in the direction of home, and thus compelled Perdiccas, who at first did not perceive what had occurred, to depart without seeing Brasidas, the two armies being encamped at a considerable distance from each other. At daybreak Brasidas, perceiving that the Macedonians had gone on, and that the Illyrians and Arrhabaeus were on the point of attacking him, formed his heavy infantry into a square, with the light troops in the centre, and himself also prepared to retreat. Posting his youngest soldiers to dash out wherever the enemy should attack them, he himself with three hundred picked men in the rear intended to face about during the retreat and beat off the most forward of their assailants, Meanwhile, before the enemy approached, he sought to sustain the courage of his soldiers with the following hasty exhortation:


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