Quinctius, having decamped to Thebes in Phthiotis, and having received encouragement to hope that the city would be betrayed to him by Timon, a leading man in the state, came up close to the walls with only a small number of cavalry and some light infantry.
So entirely were his expectations disappointed, that he was not only obliged to maintain a fight with the enemy who sallied out against him, but would have incurred a fearful conflict had not both infantry
and cavalry been called out hastily from the camp, and come up in time. Not meeting with that success which he had too inconsiderately expected, he desisted from any further attempt to take the city at present.
He had received certain information of the king being in Thessaly; but as he had not [p. 1444]
yet discovered into what part of it he had come, he sent his soldiers round the country, with orders to cut timber and prepare palisades.
Both Macedonians and Greeks had palisades; but the latter had not adopted the most convenient mode of using them, either with respect to carriage, or for the purpose of strengthening their fortifications.
They cut trees both too large and too full of branches for a soldier to carry easily along with his arms: and after they had fenced their camp with a line of these, the demolition of their palisade was no difficult matter;
for the trunks of large trees appearing to view, with great intervals between them, and the numerous and strong shoots affording the hand a good hold, two, or at most three young men, uniting their efforts, used to pull out one tree, which, being removed,
a breach was opened as wide as a gate, and there was nothing at hand with which it could be stopped up.
But the Romans cut light stakes, mostly of one fork, with three, or at the most four branches; so that a soldier, with his arms slung at his back, can conveniently carry several of them together;
and then they stick them down so closely, and interweave the branches in such a manner, that it cannot be seen to what main stem any branch belongs; besides which, the boughs are so sharp, and wrought so intimately with each other, as to leave no room for a hand to be thrust between;
consequently an enemy cannot lay hold of any thing capable of being dragged out, or, if that could be done, could he draw out the branches thus intertwined, and which mutually bind each other.
And even if, by accident, one should be pulled out, it leaves but a small opening, which is very easily filled up.