Machanidas Changes his Plan
Thus it came about that the mercenaries in the army
of Machanidas fought with such fury and violence, that even
the Illyrians and men with body armour, who formed the
reserve supporting the mercenaries of the Achaean army, were
unable to withstand their assault; but were all driven from
their position, and fled in confusion towards the city of
, which was about seven stades distant.
And now there occurred an undoubted instance of what
some doubt, namely, that the issues in war are for the most part
decided by the skill or want of skill of the commanders. For
though perhaps it is a great thing to be able to follow up a
first success properly, it is a greater thing still that, when the
first step has proved a failure, a man should retain his presence
of mind, keep a good look-out for any error of judgment on
the part of the victors, and avail himself of their mistakes.
At any rate one often sees the side, which imagines itself to
have obtained a clear victory, ultimately lose the day; while
those who seemed at first to have failed recover themselves
by presence of mind, and ultimately win an unexpected victory.
Both happened on this occasion to the respective leaders.
The whole of the Achaean mercenaries having been driven
Machanidas pursues the fugitives,
and thus allows the Achaean hoplites to get between him and his quarters.
from their ground, and their leftwing having been
thoroughly broken up, Machanidas abandoned
his original plan of winning the day by outflanking the enemy with some of his forces and
charging their front with others, and did neither;
but, quite losing his head, rushed forward heedlessly with all his mercenaries in pursuit of the fugitives, as
though the panic was not in itself sufficient to drive those who
had once given way up to the town gates.