But when the enemy came up and began to surround the city with a trench, then the Egyptian changed his mind, grew fearful of the siege, and wished to give battle, for which the Greeks also were very eager, since there were no provisions in the place. Agesilaüs, however, would not permit it, but opposed it, and was therefore maligned by the Egyptians even more bitterly than before, and called a betrayer of the king. But he bore their calumnies more patiently now, and sought to find the fitting moment for his stratagem.
This was as follows. The enemy were digging a deep trench outside around the city, in order to shut its occupants up completely. Accordingly, when the trench had been carried almost around the city, and its ends were near one another, after waiting for evening to come and ordering the Greeks to arm themselves, Agesilaüs went to the Egyptian and said:
‘Now is the time, young man, for us to save ourselves, and I would not speak of it until it came, for fear of vitiating it.
The enemy have now worked out our safety with their own hands. They have dug their trench so far that the part which is finished hinders them from attacking us in great numbers, and the space between the ends gives us room to fight them on fair and equal terms. Come, then, be eager to show yourself a brave man; follow with us as we charge, and save yourself and your army too.
For the enemy in our front will not withstand us, and the rest will not harm us because of the trench.’ Nectanabis, then, was filled with admiration for the sagacity of Agesilaüs, and putting himself in the centre of the Greek array, charged forwards and easily routed his opponents. And now that Agesilaüs had won back the confidence of Nectanabis, he brought the same stratagem to bear again upon the enemy, like a trick in wrestling.
By sometimes pretending to retreat and fly, and sometimes attacking them on the flanks, he drove their whole multitude into a tract which had a deep canal full of water on either side. The space between these he occupied and stopped up with the head of his column, and so made his numbers equal to those of the enemy who could fight with him, since they were unable to surround and enclose him. Therefore after a short resistance they were routed; many were slain, and the fugitives were dispersed and melted away.