He had given the order at the last moment, when the charge had already begun, and Aristocles1
and Hipponoidas refused to make the movement. (For the cowardice which they were supposed to have shown on this occasion they were afterwards banished from Sparta.) The enemy were upon him before he was ready, and as the two divisions would not advance into the place left by the Sciritae, Agis ordered the Sciritae themselves to close up, but he found that it was too late, and that they also were now unable to fill the vacant space.
Then the Lacedaemonians showed in a remarkable manner that, although utterly failing in their tactics, they could win by their courage alone.
When they were at close quarters with the enemy, the Mantinean right put to flight the Sciritae and the soldiers of Brasidas. The Mantineans and their allies and the thousand chosen Argives dashed in through the gap in the Lacedaemonian ranks and completed their defeat; they surrounded and routed them, and so drove them to their waggons, where they killed some of the elder men who were appointed to guard them.
In this part of the field the Lacedaemonians were beaten, but elsewhere, and especially in the centre of the army, where the king Agis and the three hundred Knights, as they are called, who attend him, were posted, they charged the elder Argives, the Five Divisions as they are termed, the Cleonaeans, Orneatae, and those of the Athenians who were ranged with them, and put them to flight. Most of them never even struck a blow, but gave way at once on the approach of the Lacedaemonians; some were actually trodden under foot, being overtaken by the advancing host.