One event worthy of record occurred: although the Achaeans had the advantage in the war, their praetor Philopoemen was captured, who, in order to get the lead in occupying Coronê, for which the enemy was making, entered a dangerous valley, accompanied by a small guard of cavalry, and was surprised.
They say that he himself could have escaped with the aid of the Thracians and Cretans; but the shame, if he should abandon the cavalry, the noblest of the people, and recently chosen by him personally, restrained him.
While he was offering them a way of escape from the narrow pass by holding the rear in person, sustaining [p. 375]
the charge of the enemy, his horse fell and he himself1
was very near to perishing from the shock to
himself and the weight of the horse which came down upon him, being now seventy years old and much weakened in strength as the result of a long illness from which he was then just recovering.
The enemy, rushing past, came upon him lying there; recognizing him at once, because of their veneration for him and their recollection of his past services, they raised him up as if he were their own leader, revived him and carried him out of the retired
valley to the high-road, scarcely believing their own eyes for this unexpected joy; part of them sent messengers ahead to Messenê to say that the war was over and that they were bringing Philopoemen a prisoner.
At first this seemed so incredible that his words were listened to, not merely as vain, but as the words of a messenger who was scarcely sane.
Then, as one after another came, all bringing the same tidings, at length they were convinced; and before they knew for certain that he was approaching the city, all alike, free and slave, children along with the women, rushed out. So the crowd had blocked the gate, while each for himself, if he had not seen it with his own eyes, would scarcely accept so great a thing as true.
The men who were bringing Philopoemen were hardly able to thrust aside the bystanders and enter the gate.
An equally crowded mass had blocked the rest of the way; and when the largest part had been excluded from the spectacle, they suddenly filled the theatre, which adjoined the street, and with one voice all demanded that he should be brought there to be seen by the people.
The magistrates and leading citizens, fearing that pity for so great a [p. 377]
man, present before their eyes, might cause some2
disturbance, since regret at his former greatness compared with his present fortune would move some and recollection of his tremendous services others, placed him in sight but at a distance, and then speedily removed him from the eyes of men, the praetor Dinocrates saying that
there were matters pertaining to the final issue of the war on which the magistrates wished to question him. Then, after taking him to the senate-house and calling the council, they began their deliberations.