7. Every commander, then, should have intelligence. The Athenian cavalry commander, however, should excel greatly both in the observance of his duty to the gods and in the qualities of a warrior, seeing that he has on his borders rivals in the shape of cavalry as numerous as his and large forces of infantry.1  And if he attempts to invade the enemy's country without the other armed forces of the state, he will have to take his chance with the cavalry only against both arms. Or if the enemy invades Athenian territory, in the first place, he will certainly not fail to bring with him other cavalry besides his own and infantry in addition, whose numbers he reckons to be more than a match for all the Athenians put together.  Now provided that the whole of the city's levies turn out against such a host in defence of their country, the prospects are good. For our cavalrymen, God helping, will be the better, if proper care is taken of them, and our heavy infantry will not be inferior in numbers, and I may add, they will be in as good condition and will show the keener spirit, if only, with God's help, they are trained on the right lines. And, remember, the Athenians are quite as proud of their ancestry as the Boeotians.  But if the city falls back on her navy, and is content to keep her walls intact, as in the days when the Lacedaemonians invaded us with all the Greeks to help them,2 and if she expects her cavalry to protect all that lies outside the walls, and to take its chance unaided against her foes,—why then, I suppose, we need first the strong arm of the gods to aid us, and in the second place it is essential that our cavalry commander should be masterly. For much sagacity is called for in coping with a greatly superior force, and abundance of courage when the call comes.  I take it, he must also be able to stand hard work.3 For if he should elect to take his chance against the army confronting him—an army that not even the whole state is prepared to stand up to—it is evident that he would be entirely at the mercy of the stronger and incapable of doing anything.  But should he guard whatever lies outside the walls with a force that will be just sufficient to keep an eye on the enemy and to remove into safety from as great a distance as possible property that needs saving,—and a large force is not necessary for this: a small force can keep a look-out as well as a large one, and when it comes to guarding and removing the property of friends, men who have no confidence in themselves or their horses will meet the case, because Fear, it seems, is a  formidable member of a guard—well, it may perhaps be a sound plan to draw on these men for his guards. But if he imagines that the number remaining over and above the guard constitutes an army, he will find it too small; for it will be utterly inadequate to risk a conflict in the open. Let him use these men as raiders, and he will probably have a force quite sufficient for this purpose.  His business, it seems to me, is to watch for any blunder on the enemy's part without showing himself, keeping men constantly on the alert and ready to strike.  It happens that, the greater is the number of soldiers, the more they are apt to blunder. Either they scatter deliberately in search of provisions, or they are so careless of order on the march that some get too far ahead, while others lag too far behind.  So he must not let such blunders go unpunished, or the whole country will be occupied; only he must take good care to retire the moment he has struck, without giving time for the main supports to arrive on the scene.  An army on the march often comes to roads where large numbers have no advantage over small. In crossing rivers, again, a man with his wits about him may dog the enemy's steps without danger and regulate according to his will the number of the enemy that he chooses to attack.  Sometimes it is proper to tackle the enemy while his troops are at breakfast or supper or when they are turning out of bed. For at all these moments soldiers are without arms, infantry for a shorter and cavalry for a longer time.  Pickets and outposts, however, should be the mark of incessant plots, these being invariably weak in numbers and sometimes remote from their main force.  But when the enemy has learned to take due precautions against such attacks, it is proper, with God's help, to enter his country stealthily after ascertaining his strength at various points and the position of his outposts. For no booty that you can capture is so fine as a patrol.  Besides, patrols are easily deceived, for they pursue a handful of men at sight, believing that to be their special duty. You must see, however, that your line of retreat does not lead you straight into the enemy's supports.
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On the Cavalry Commander
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