But he who first declared that money is the sinews of affairs would seem to have spoken with special reference to the affairs of war. And Demades, when the Athenians once ordered that their triremes should be launched and manned, but had no money, said:
‘Dough must be moistened before it is kneaded.’ it is said also that Archidamus of old, towards the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when the allies ordered their contributions for the war to be fixed, said:
‘War has no fixed rations.’
And indeed, just as athletes who have taken a full course of training, in time bear down and overpower those who are merely graceful and skilful, so also did Antigonus, who engaged in the war with large resources, wear out and prostrate Cleomenes, who could only meagerly and with difficulty provide pay for his mercenaries and sustenance for his citizen-soldiers.
And yet in all other respects, certainly, time was on the side of Cleomenes; for affairs at home demanded the presence of Antigonus. During his absence Barbarians had been overrunning and devastating Macedonia, and at this particular time a large army of Illyrians from the interior had burst in, and in consequence of their ravages the Macedonians summoned Antigonus home. Their letters came within a little of reaching him before the decisive battle. If they had so reached him, he would at once have gone away and left the Achaeans to their own devices.
But Fortune, who decides the most important affairs by a narrow margin, favoured him with so slight a preponderance in the scale of opportunity and power, that no sooner had the battle at Sellasia been fought, where Cleomenes lost his army and his city, than the messengers summoning Antigonus arrived. And this more than anything else made the misfortune of Cleomenes to be greatly pitied.
For if he could have held out only two days, and continued his defensive tactics, he would not have needed to fight a battle, but the Macedonians would have gone away and he could have made his own terms with the Achaeans. But now, as I said before, his lack of resources forced him to stake the whole issue on a battle where, as Polybius says,2
he could oppose only twenty thousand men to thirty thousand.