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Cleomenes Tries to Take Megalopolis

Again the Spartan Cleomenes, when proposing to take
Cleomenes. See 2, 55.
Megalopolis by a stratagem, arranged with the guards of that part of the wall near what is called the Cavern to come out with all their men in the third watch, the hour at which his partisans were on duty on the wall; but not having taken into consideration the fact that at the time of the rising of the Pleiads the nights are very short, he started his army from Sparta about sunset.
May 12.
The result was that he was not able to get there in time, but being overtaken by daybreak, made a rash and ill-considered attempt to carry the town, and was repulsed with considerable loss and the danger of a complete overthrow. Now if he had, in accordance with his arrangement, hit the proper time, and led in his men while his partisans were in command of the entrance, he would not have failed in his attempt.

Similarly, once more, King Philip, as I have already

Philip's attack on Meliteia. See 5.97.
stated, when carrying on an intrigue in the city of Meliteia, made a mistake in two ways. The ladders which he brought were too short for their purpose, and he mistook the time. For having arranged to arrive about midnight, when every one was fast asleep, he started from Larissa and arrived in the territory of Meliteia too early, and was neither able to halt, for fear of his arrival being announced in the city, nor to get back again without being discovered. Being compelled therefore to continue his advance, he arrived at the city while the inhabitants were still awake. Consequently he could neither carry the wall by an escalade, because of the insufficient length of the ladders; nor enter by the gate, because it was too early for his partisans inside to help him. Finally, he did nothing but irritate the people of the town; and, after losing a considerable number of his own men, retired unsuccessful and covered with disgrace; having only given a warning to the rest of the world to distrust him and be on their guard against him.

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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), MELITAEA
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