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As his preparations were now completed, Quinctius broke up his camp and on the second day reached Sellasia on the river Oenus, the place where Antigonus, King of Macedon, was said to have fought with Cleomenes, tyrant of the Lacedaemonians.  On hearing that the descent into the valley was by a difficult and narrow path, he sent an advance party by a short circuit over the heights to make a road, and thus by a fairly broad and open route he arrived at the Eurotas, which flows almost under the very walls of Sparta.  Whilst the Romans were measuring out the site of their camp, and Quinctius had ridden forward with some infantry and cavalry, they were attacked by the tyrant's auxiliary troops. They were not prepared for anything of the kind, as they had met with no opposition on their march; the country through which they passed might have been a friendly territory.  For some time there was considerable confusion, the cavalry calling for help from the infantry and the infantry from the cavalry, no man feeling any confidence in himself.  At last the standards of the legions appeared in sight, and then those who a moment before had been spreading alarm were now driven in disorder back to the city.  The Romans fell back just beyond the range of missiles from the walls and stood for some time in line of battle, but as none of the enemy came out against them they returned to camp.  The next day Quinctius led his army along the river past the city to the foot of Mount Menelaus. The legionary cohorts marched in front and the light infantry and the cavalry closed the column.  Nabis was keeping his mercenaries, his sole hope, drawn up under their standards inside the city wall, ready to attack the Roman rear. As soon as the end of the column had gone by they made the same tumultuous dash as on the previous day from different points.  Appius was in command of the rear and had told his men beforehand what to expect.  He rapidly faced about, and bringing the whole column into line presented an unbroken front to the enemy. So the two armies met one another in battle order, and for some time there was a regular action.  At length Nabis' men began to waver and finally took to flight. The rout would not have been so complete had not the Achaeans who were pursuing them been familiar with the country. They inflicted heavy losses upon them and deprived most of the scattered fugitives of their arms. Quinctius fixed his camp near Amyclae. This city lay in a populous and fertile district and he laid the whole of it waste.  None of the enemy, however, ventured outside their gates, and he shifted his camp to the bank of the Eurotas and from there he carried devastation throughout the district which stretched from the foot of Taygetus to the sea.
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