Philip was then at Demetrias. When the news of the destruction of Chalcis reached him there, although it was too late to send aid, the city having been lost, nevertheless, seeking revenge, as the
next best thing after assistance, he at once set out with five thousand light infantry and three hundred cavalry and made all speed for Chalcis, not doubting that the Romans could be destroyed.
Disappointed in this hope, and finding only the ugly spectacle of the friendly town lying half-ruined, with its embers still smoking, and only a few left to bury those who were slain in the battle, he recrossed the strait by the bridge as rapidly as he had come and hurried through Boeotia toward Athens, thinking that a not dissimilar result would follow a similar course of action.1
And this would have happened, had not a scout-the Greeks call them “all-day runners,” and they cover great distances in a day's run —seen the king's army from a watch-tower, set out at midnight and reached Athens before him.
There was the same sleep and the same carelessness that had betrayed Chalcis a few days earlier.
The Athenian praetor2
and Dioxippus, who commanded an auxiliary force of mercenaries, aroused by the alarming message, assembling the soldiers in the forum, ordered the trumpet sounded from the citadel, to inform all that the enemy was coming. So there was a rush from all sides to the walls and gates.
Some hours later, but still before daybreak, Philip approached the city, [p. 71]
and seeing the numerous lights and hearing the3
shouts of frightened men, usual in such a crisis, halted and ordered his men to pitch camp and rest, intending to employ open force, since stratagem had failed.
He attacked on the side of the Dipylon Gate.4
This gate, placed, so to speak, at the forefront of the city, was somewhat wider and more extensive
than the rest, and inside and outside there were wide avenues, so that the citizens could form their line from the market-place to the gate, and so that the road, about a mile long, outside the city and leading to the gymnasium of the Academy, offered ample space for infantry and cavalry. The Athenians with the garrison of Attalus and the mercenaries of Dioxippus, formed their array within the gate and marched out by this road.
Philip, seeing this, thought that he had the Athenians in his hands and that he was about to sate his rage with long-desired slaughter —r
he hated no other Greek city so much as Athens —and urged his soldiers to take him as their example in the fight and to remember that the standards and the battle-line should be where their king was, and put spurs to his horse, inspired by rage and by the hope of glory
alike, because he thought that his fighting would be a glorious sight, since the walls were lined with a great crowd, as for a show.
Riding with a few companions far in front of the line, and even into the press of the enemy, he inspired both
enthusiasm in his own troops and terror in his foes. Pursuing [p. 73]
many soldiers whom he had wounded, either at long5
range or hand to hand, and driving them inside the gate, when he had done greater damage to the Athenians as they crowded together in the narrow space, yet he escaped safely after his rash venture, since the troops who manned the towers on the walls withheld their weapons, from fear of harming their own men mingled with the enemy.
Afterwards when the Athenians held their men within the walls, Philip, giving the
signal for a retirement, pitched camp at Cynosarges,6
where there was a temple to Hercules and a gymnasium with a grove around it.
But Cynosarges, the Lyceum, and all the sacred and pleasant sites around the city were burned; the buildings and even the tombs were destroyed, and nothing consecrated to divine or human use escaped his uncontrollable passion.