When Quinctius had moved his camp towards Phthiotic Thebes, he conceived the hope that the city would be betrayed to him by Timon, a leader among this people, and approached it with a few cavalry and light infantry.
This hope was so wholly belied that there was not only a battle with forces which sallied forth, but there was even grave danger had not infantry and cavalry, hastily summoned from the camp, arrived in time.
And after nothing of this rashly-formed hope turned out well, he gave up for the present his design of further attacks upon the town.
And, assured that the king was in Thessaly, but not yet certain of the direction of his march, he ordered soldiers sent out into the country to cut timbers and prepare a stockade.1
Both Macedonians and Greeks employed a stockade, but in a manner ill adapted to ease of transportation or security in defence;
for they cut trees of too great size and with too many branches for one soldier to carry, especially with his arms, and when they had walled a camp by planting these in front, the destruction of their rampart was easy.
For because the trunks of the great trees were planted far apart and numerous strong branches offered easy holds for the hand, two or at most three young men, if they exerted themselves, would easily pull out a tree, and,
this being pulled out, there was at once an opening like a gate, nor was material ready at hand to block it.
The Roman cuts light forked trees with [p. 289]
three or perhaps four branches, as a general rule, -2
so that each soldier could comfortably carry several at once, with his arms hanging on his back;
and they plant them so close together and interweave the boughs so completely that it is difficult to tell to which branch each trunk is joined or to which trunk each branch belongs;
moreover, the branches are so sharp as to leave, interlaced, little space for inserting the hand, so that there is nothing that can be grasped and pulled out, since the interwoven branches bind one another together;
and, if one is by chance pulled out, it leaves a small gap and is easily replaced.3