Paullus, as soon as he saw the camp marked out, and the baggage laid up, drew off,
first, the veterans from the rear line, then the first-rank men, while the spear-men stood in the front, lest the enemy might make any attempt; and lastly, the spear-men, beginning at the right wing, and leading them away, gradually, by single companies.
Thus were the infantry drawn off without tumult; and, in the mean time, the cavalry and light infantry faced the enemy; nor were the cavalry recalled from their station, until the rampart and trench were finished.
The king, though he was disposed to have given battle that day, was yet satisfied; since his men knew, that the delay was owing to the enemy: and he led back his troops to their station.
When the camp had been thoroughly fortified, Caius Sulpicius Gallus, a military tribune of the second legion, who had been praetor the year before, with the consul's permission collected the soldiers in assembly, and gave them notice, lest they should any of them consider the matter as a prodigy, that, “on the following night, the moon would be eclipsed, from the second hour to the fourth.”
He mentioned that, “as this happened in the course of nature, at stated times, it could be known, and foretold.
As, therefore, they did not wonder at the regular rising and setting of the sun and moon, or at the moon's sometimes shining with a full orb, and sometimes in its wane, showing only small horns, so neither ought they to construe as a portent, its being obscured when covered with the shadow of the earth.”
When on the night preceding the day before the nones of September, at the hour mentioned, the eclipse took place, the Roman soldiers thought the wisdom of Gallus almost divine; but the Macedonians were shocked, as at a dismal prodigy, foreboding the fall of their kingdom and the ruin of their nation; nor did their soothsayers explain it otherwise.
There was shouting and yelling in the camp of the Macedonians, until the moon emerged forth into its full light.
Both armies had been so eager for an engagement, that, next day, both the [p. 2103]
king and the consul were censured by many of their respective men for having separated without a battle.
The king could readily excuse himself, not only as the enemy had led back his troops into camp, openly declining a battle; but, also, as he had posted his men on ground of such a nature, that the phalanx (which even a small inequality of surface renders useless) could not advance on it.
The consul, besides appearing to have neglected an opportunity of fighting, and to have given the enemy room to go off in the night, if he were so inclined, was thought to waste time at the present, under pretence of offering sacrifice, though the signal had been displayed, at the first light, for going out to the field.
At last, about the third hour, the sacrifices being duly performed, he summoned a council, and there, too, he was deemed by several to spin out, in talking and unseasonable consultation, the time that ought to be employed in action; after the conversation, however, the consul addressed to them the following speech.