These causes had reunited Damocritus and the Aetolians with the Romans;
and joining Amynander, the king of the Athamanes, they set out and besieged Cercinium. The inhabitants closed its gates, whether willingly or under compulsion, since they had a royal garrison.
But within a few days Cercinium was captured and burned; both the slave and free inhabitants who survived from the great disaster were carried off with the rest of the booty.
Fear of the same fate drove all the dwellers around the marsh of Boëbe to leave their homes and flee to the mountains.
The Aetolians then turned away and began to march toward Perrhaebia, by reason of the shortage of plunder. They captured and ruthlessly destroyed Cyretiae; they received in [p. 121]
voluntary surrender and alliance the people of1
After Perrhaebia, Amynander made the proposal that they march against Gomphi; Athamania lies close to this town, and it seemed possible to capture it without a great struggle.
The Aetolians sought the fields of Thessaly, rich booty for the pillager, with Amynander following, though he did not approve either the haphazard raids of the Aetolians or their habit of pitching camp wherever chance suggested, without any deliberate choice of position or any care as to defence.
Therefore, lest their rashness and carelessness cause any disaster to himself and his men, when he saw them encamping in the plains, exposed to attack from the town of Pharcado, he occupied a hill
a little more than a mile away, that was safe even though weakly fortified.
When the Aetolians, except that they were plundering, seemed scarcely to remember that they were in hostile territory, some wandering about half-armed, some lying around the unguarded camp, spending days and nights alike in sleeping and drinking, Philip fell upon them unawares.
When some frightened fugitives from the fields had brought the news that he was approaching, Damocritus and the other commanders were terrified —for it was about the hour of noon, when most of them lay asleep and heavy with food —men
were rousing one another, ordering them to arm, sending out messengers to recall the pillagers who were straggling through the fields, and so great was the panic that some of the cavalry went out without swords and most of them without putting on their breastplates.
Led out in such haste, when they had been able with difficulty to collect six hundred out of the whole number, infantry and [p. 123]
cavalry, they encountered the king's cavalry, -2
superior in numbers, in equipment and in courage.
And so at the first shock, barely essaying a battle, they made for the camp in disgraceful rout; those who were cut off by the cavalry were killed and captured.