When Philopoemen saw that the rapidly moving column was being hurriedly led over a narrow and steep road, he sent out all the cavalry and the Cretan auxiliaries against the guard of the enemy which was in front of the camp.
When they saw the enemy approaching and themselves abandoned by their friends, they first tried to withdraw within the camp, then, when the whole battle-line of the Achaeans
was moving forward, fearing that they would be captured camp and all, they decided to follow the column of their troops which was some [p. 87]
Straightway the Achaean caetrati1
assailed the camp and plundered it; the rest proceeded to pursue the enemy. The road was such that it could with difficulty be traversed by a column even if free from fear of an enemy;
but when the battle began in the rear and a dreadful shout from panic-stricken men behind reached those in the van, each for himself threw away his weapons and plunged into the forests which lined the road, and in an instant the way was blocked by piles of arms, especially spears, many of which, falling with their points toward the enemy,2
closed the road as if with a palisade placed in the way.
Philopoemen ordered the auxiliaries to press on and follow wherever they could and —since the flight would not be easy, especially for the cavalry —himself conducted the heavier troops by a more open road toward the Eurotas river.
There he pitched camp at sunset and waited for the lighter troops which he had left to pursue the enemy.
When they arrived during the first watch, reporting that the tyrant with a few men had made their way into the city and the rest of the army was wandering without weapons hither and thither through all the woods, he ordered them to care for their bodies;
he himself, out of the other body of troops who, because they had arrived in camp at an earlier hour, had been refreshed both by the food they had taken and by a brief rest, chose some, taking nothing with them but their swords, led them out at once and posted them at the roads from two gates which they call Pharae and Barnosthenes, where he thought the enemy would [p. 89]
return from the flight.
Nor did his expectation3
deceive him, for the Lacedaemonians, as long as any light remained, kept to the paths invisible in the interior of the forest; when evening came and they saw the lights in the enemy's camp, they kept themselves to paths hidden from their direction; when they had passed the camp, thinking it was now safe, they went down into the open roads. There they were picked up by the enemy waiting all around, and so many were killed or captured that barely a fourth of the whole army escaped.
Philopoemen, having shut up the tyrant in the city, spent about the ensuing thirty days in laying waste the fields of the Laconians, and having weakened and well-nigh broken the tyrant's power, returned home, the Achaeans equalizing him in the glory of- his achievements with the Roman commander and, so far as the Spartan war was concerned, even placing him ahead.4