By this time the consul had determined to march through the pass near Octolophus, where, as we have mentioned, the camp of the king formerly stood.
But he deemed it prudent to despatch before him four thousand men, to secure such places as might be useful: the command of this party was given to Marcus Claudius, and Quintus Marcius the consul's son.
The main body followed close after; but the road was so steep, rough, and craggy, that the advanced party of light troops, with great difficulty, effected in two days a march of fifteen miles; and then encamped. They call the place [p. 2060]
which they took, the tower of Eudieru.
Next day they advanced seven miles; and, having seized on a hill at a small distance from the enemy's camp, sent back a message to the consul, that “they had come up with the enemy; and had taken post in a place which was safe and convenient in every respect; urging him to join them with all possible speed.”
This message came to the consul at the Lake Ascuris, at a time when he was full of anxiety, on account of the badness of the road on which he had entered, and for the fate of the small force he had sent forward into the midst of the posts of the enemy.
His spirits were therefore greatly revived; and, soon effecting a junction of all his forces, he pitched his camp on the side of the hill that had been seized, where the ground was the most commodious.
This hill was so high as to afford a wide-extended prospect, presenting to their eyes, at one view, not only the enemy's camp, which was little more than a mile distant, but the whole extent of territory to Dium and Phila, together with a large tract of the sea-coast;
circumstances which greatly enlivened the courage of the soldiers, giving them so near a view of the grand theatre of the war, of all the king's forces, and of the country of the enemy.
So eager were they, that they pressed the consul to lead them on directly to the enemy's camp; but, after the fatigue that they had suffered on the road, one day was set apart for repose.
On the third day, the consul, leaving one half of his troops to guard the camp, drew out his forces against the enemy.