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Defeat of Lycurgus Near Sparta

When he had got within distance of Lycurgus, Philip at first ordered the mercenaries to charge alone: and, accordingly, their superiority in arms and position contributed not a little to give the Lacedaemonians the upper hand at the beginning of the engagement. But when Philip supported his men by sending his reserve of peltasts on to the field, and caused the Illyrians to charge the enemy on the flanks, the king's mercenaries were encouraged by the appearance of these reserves to renew the battle with much more vigour than ever; while Lycurgus's men, terrified at the approach of the heavy-armed soldiers, gave way and fled, leaving a hundred killed and rather more prisoners, while the rest escaped into the town. Lycurgus himself, with a few followers going by a deserted and pathless route, made his way into the town under cover of night. Philip secured the hills by means of the Illyrians; and, accompanied by his light-armed troops and peltasts, rejoined his main forces. Just at the same time Aratus, leading the phalanx from Amyclae, had come close to the town. So the king, after re-crossing the Eurotas, halted with his light-armed peltasts and cavalry until the heavy-armed got safely through the narrow part of the road at the foot of the hills. Then the troops in the city ventured to attack the covering force of cavalry. There was a serious engagement, in which the peltasts fought with conspicuous valour; and the success of Philip being now beyond dispute, he chased the Lacedaemonians to their very gates, and then, having got his army safely across the Eurotas he brought up the rear of his phalanx.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.38
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