Skill and Gallantry of Philopoemen
It is clear that Antigonus at any rate entertained that
opinion, for after the battle he asked Alexander, the commander of the cavalry, with the view of convicting him of his
shortcoming, "Why he had engaged before the signal was
given?" And upon Alexander answering that "He had not
done so, but that a young officer from Megalopolis
to anticipate the signal, contrary to his wish:" Antigonus
replied, "That young man acted like a good general in grasping the situation; you, general, were the youngster."
What Eucleidas ought to have done, when he saw the enemy's
lines advancing, was to have rushed down at once upon them;
thrown their ranks into disorder; and then retired himself, step
by step, to continually higher ground into a safe position: for
by thus breaking them up and depriving them, to begin with,
of the advantages of their peculiar armour and disposition, he
would have secured the victory by the superiority of his position.
But he did the very opposite of all this, and thereby forfeited
the advantages of the ground. As though victory were
assured, he kept his original position on the summit of the
hill, with the view of catching the enemy at as great an elevation as possible, that their flight might be all the longer over
steep and precipitous ground. The result, as might have been
anticipated, was exactly the reverse.
For he left himself no
place of retreat, and by allowing the enemy to
reach his position, unharmed and in unbroken
order, he was placed at the disadvantage of having
to give them battle on the very summit of the hill; and so,
as soon as he was forced by the weight of their heavy armour
and their close order to give any ground, it was immediately
occupied by the Illyrians; while his own men were obliged to
take lower ground, because they had no space for manœuvring
on the top. The result was not long in arriving: they suffered a
repulse, which the difficult and precipitous nature of the ground
over which they had to retire turned into a disastrous flight.