A morning mist, which as the day advanced rose up in clouds, spread a general darkness; and the moisture issuing from it, and coming from the southward, wetted every thing. This circumstance, which was scarcely any inconvenience to [p. 1698]
the Romans, was very disadvantageous to the king's troops.
For the indistinctness of the light did not take away from the Romans the view of all parts of their line, since it was of moderate length; and the moisture tended but little to blunt their swords and javelins, as they were almost all heavy-armed troops.
The king's soldiers, as the line was so extensive, could not even see their wings from the centre, much less could those at the extremities see one another; and then, the moisture relaxed the strings of their bows, their slings, and the thongs of their javelins. Besides, the armed chariots, by means of which Antiochus had trusted utterly to disorder the enemy's line, turned the terror of their operations on their owners.
The manner in which they were armed was this: from the yoke, on both sides of the pole, they had lances1
long, projecting like horns, to transfix any thing that came in their way. At each extremity of the yoke, two scytheblades projected, one on a line with the yoke, the other on its lower side, pointing to the ground; the former to cut through any thing that might come within its reach on
the side, the other to catch such as fell, or endeavoured to go under it. At each extremity of the axle of the wheels, two scythe-blades were fastened in the same manner. The king, as we mentioned before, had placed the chariots so armed in the front, because if they were placed in the rear, or between the ranks, they must be driven through their own soldiers.
Which when Eumenes saw, not being ignorant of the method of op- [p. 1699]
posing them, and knowing that aid of that sort might be rendered as dangerous to one side as the other, if an opponent should cast terror into the horses, rather than attack them in a regular battle, ordered the Cretan bowmen, and slingers, and javelin-bearers, with some troops of horse, not in a body, but scattering themselves as widely as possible, to rush forwards, and pour weapons on them from all sides at once. This storm, as it were, partly by the wounds made by the missile
weapons thrown from every quarter, and partly by the discordant shouts raised, so terrified the horses, that immediately, as if unbridled, they galloped about at random. The light infantry, the lightly-accoutred slingers, and the active Cretans, quickly evaded their encounter. The horsemen, following them, increased the tumult and the terror of the horses and camels, which were likewise affrighted, the clamour being multiplied and increased by the rest of the crowd of bystanders. By these means, the chariots were driven
out of the ground between the two lines. When this fruitless mimicry of war was over, both parties gave the signal, and advanced to a regular engagement.