The consul, after perceiving that he declined the contest, called a council next day, and asked their opinion, “how he ought to act if Antiochus would not give him an opportunity of engaging.
For the winter was at hand, and he must either keep the soldiers in camp; or, if they chose to retire to winter quarters, defer the business of the war until summer.”
The Romans never despised any enemy so much. The assembly on every side called on him to lead on immediately, and make use of the present ardour of the troops;
who, as if the business were not to fight against so many thousands, but to slaughter an equal number of cattle, were ready to force their way, through trenches and ramparts, into the camp, if the enemy would not come out to battle.
Cneius Domitius was sent to discover the nature of the ground, and on what side the enemies' rampart could be approached; after he returned with a full account of every particular, it was resolved that the camp should next day be moved nearer to the enemy. On the third day, the standards were carried forward into the middle of the plain, and the soldiers began to form line.
Antiochus, thinking that he could hesitate no longer, lest, by declining a battle, he should damp the courage of his men, and add to the confidence of the enemy, drew out his forces in person, advancing only so far from the enemy's camp as to make it apparent that he was willing to come to an engagement.
The Roman line was nearly uniform throughout with respect to both men and armour. There were two Roman legions, and two brigades of allies and Latins, each containing five thousand four hundred men.
The Romans formed the centre, the Latins the wings. The spearmen com- posed the first line, the first-rank men the second, and the veterans closed the rear.
Beyond this, which formed as it were the regular line of battle, the consul formed on the [p. 1696]
right of it, and in one continued line, the auxiliary troops of Eumenes, intermixed with Achaean targeteers, making about three thousand foot; beyond these he posted somewhat less than three thousand horse, of which, eight hundred belonged to Eumenes; all the rest of the cavalry were Roman:
and in the extremity of the line he placed bodies of Trallians and Cretans, equal in number, who were composed of five hundred men each.
His left wing did not appear to require such supports, because a river and steep banks flanked it.
However, four troops of horse were posted there. This was the whole amount of the Roman force, besides two thousand Macedonians and Thracians, who had, as volunteers, accompanied the army. These were left to guard the camp. They placed sixteen elephants behind the veterans, in reserve.
For besides that they were not supposed capable of withstanding the great number of the king's elephants, which were no less than fifty-four, the African elephants are not able to cope with an equal number of Indians, either because they are inferior to them in size, (in which the Indian have much the advantage,) or in unyielding courage.