It so happened that the time for purifying the army had come, for which there is a ritual of this sort: the fore part of a dog is cut off and placed on the right side of the road, the hind part, with the entrails, on the left; between the parts of the victim, thus divided, the troops are marched.
At the head of the column are carried the arms and standards of all the kings from the earliest beginnings of Macedonia, then the present king,
accompanied by his children, follows, next is the royal cohort and the bodyguard, and the rest, the rank and file of the Macedonians brings up the rear.
The two youthful sons of the king were riding at his sides, Perseus being now in his thirtieth year, Demetrius five years younger, the former in the full strength of young manhood, the latter in its flower, the mature offspring of a father blessed by fortune, had a sound mind but been his.
It was the custom when the ceremony of purification was finished to manoeuvre the army and dividing it into battle-lines to clash in a sham battle.
The princes were assigned as commanders for this mock engagement: yet it was not the imitation of a battle, but they came together just as if it were a struggle for the throne, and many [p. 19]
wounds were dealt by the pointless weapons,1
was anything but iron wanting to make it look like a regular battle.
The division which was under Demetrius was far superior. When Perseus was angered at this, his shrewder friends rejoiced and said that this was just the thing that would give grounds for accusing the young man.