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35. which event greatly raised the spirits of the Romans, and struck no small degree of terror into the Macedonians and their king. [2] At first, Perseus endeavoured to suppress the intelligence, and sent messengers to Pantauchus, who was on his way from that country, forbidding him to come near the camp; but some of his people had already [p. 2097]seen certain boys, carried away among the Illyrian hostages; and it is certain that the more pains there are used to conceal any circumstances the more readily they are divulged, through the gossiping disposition of the attendants of kings. [3] About this time, ambassadors came to the camp from Rhodes, with the same message which had excited so much resentment in the Roman senate. They were now heard by the council in the camp with much greater indignation than at Rome; some even advised that they should be instantly driven out of the camp without any reply; but the consul said, that he would give them an answer in fifteen days. [4] Meanwhile, to show how far the influence of the Rhodians as mediators extended, he began to consult on the plan of carrying forward the war. Some, particularly the older officers, advised to force their way across the Enipeus, and through the enemy's works. “When they should advance in close order and make an assault, the Macedonians,” they said, “would never be able to withstand them. They had been, last year, beaten out of many fortresses much higher and better fortified, which they had occupied with much stronger garrisons.” [5] Others recommended, that Octavius, with the fleet, should sail to Thessalonica; and, by committing depredations on the seacoast, to divide the king's forces; so that when, on the appearance of another enemy behind him, he should turn about to protect the interior part of the kingdom, he would be forced to leave a passage over the Enipeus open in some place or other. [6] The consul himself was of opinion, that the nature of the bank, and the works erected on it, presented insuperable difficulties; and, besides its being every where furnished with engines, he had been informed, that the enemy were remarkable for using missile weapons with uncommon skill, and with a very certain aim. The consul's full conviction leaned quite another way; as soon, therefore, as the council broke up, he sent for Schœnus and Menophilus, Perrhaebian merchants, whom he knew to be men of probity and good sense, and examined them in private about the nature of the passes leading into Perrhaebia. [7] They told him, that the places themselves were not difficult; but that they were occupied by parties of the king's troops; from which he conceived hopes of being able to beat off those parties, by making a sudden attack with a strong force in the night, when they were off their guard. [8] [p. 2098]For he considered that “javelins, and arrows, and other missile weapons, were useless in the dark, when one cannot see at a distance what to aim at; but that, when combatants closed together in a throng, the business must depend on the sword, in which the Roman soldier was superior.” He resolved to employ those two men as guides; and, sending for the praetor Octavius, explained to him what he intended, ordering him to sail directly with the fleet to Heracleum, and to have in readiness, there, ten days' provisions for one thousand men. He then sent Publius Scipio Nasica, and Quintus Fabius Maximus, his own son, with five thousand chosen men, to Heracleum, as if they were to embark in the fleet, to ravage the coast of the interior parts of Macedonia, as had been proposed in the council. He told them, in private, that there were provisions prepared for them on board, so that they should have no delay. [9] He then ordered the guides to divide the road in such a manner that they might attack Pythium at the fourth watch on the third day. He himself, on the day following, in order to withdraw the king from the observation of other matters, attacked his advanced guards as soon as it was light in the middle of the channel of the river, where the fight was maintained by the light infantry on both sides, for the bottom was so uneven, that heavy arms could not be used. [10] The slope of each bank was three hundred paces long, and the breadth of the channel, which was of various depths, somewhat more than a mile. In this middle space the fight was carried on, while the king on one side, and the consul with his legions on the other, stood spectators on the ramparts of their camps. [11] At a distance, the king's troops had the advantage in fighting with missile weapons; but in close fight the Roman soldier was more steady, and was better defended, either with a target or a Ligurian buckler. About noon, the consul ordered the signal of retreat to be given, and thus the battle ended for that day, after considerable numbers had fallen on both sides. [12] Next morning at sun-rise, the fight was renewed with greater fury, as their passions had been irritated by the former contest; but the Romans were wounded, not only by those with whom they were immediately engaged, but much more by the multitudes that stood posted in the towers, with missiles of every sort, particularly stones; so that whenever they advanced towards the enemy's bank, the weapons thrown [p. 2099]from the engines reached even the hindmost of their men. The consul, having lost far more men on that day, somewhat later called off his men. [13] On the third day he declined fighting, and moved down to the lowest side of the camp, as if intending to attempt a passage through an intrenchment which stretched down to the sea. Perseus, who did not extend his cares beyond the objects that lay before his eyes,1

1 Crevier supplement: [14] “bent all his thoughts and exertions to stop the progress of the enemy in the quarter where he lay, careful of nought beside. In the mean time, Publius Nasica, with the detachment assigned to him, having departed towards the sea to Heracleum, when he arrived there, waited for nightfall, ordering his soldiers to refresh them- selves. He then explained to the principal of his officers the real directions of the consul, and when first the darkness spread itself, bending his course to the mountain, he led his troops in silence to Pythium, as he had been commanded. When they had arrived at the very summit, which rises to a height of more than ten stadia, some repose was given to the wearied soldiers. This height, as [15??] has been already stated, Medon, Histiaeus, and Theogenes, who were sent by Perseus, were oc- cupying with five thousand Macedonians, but so great was the negligence of the king's generals, that no one perceived that the Romans were approaching. If we are to believe Polybius, Nasica, having attacked them while asleep, easily dislodged them from the height. Nasica himself, however, narrates the affair very differently in a letter to one of the kings. He says, that the mountain was of steep ascent, but so unguarded that he could [16??] have taken possession of the pass with no trouble, had not a deserter from those Cretans, whom he was taking with him, fled to Perseus, and informed him what was being done. That the king himself remained in his camp, but sent two thousand Macedonians and ten thousand auxiliaries, with Medon as their leader, to take possession of the pass. That with these a most fierce engagement took place on the top of the hill, and, among other things, that he himself was thrust at with a sword by a Thracian soldier, whom he transfixed by driving his spear through his breast. That at length the [17??] Ma- cedonians, being conquered, gave way, and that their leader himself, throwing away his arms, sought safety in a disgrace- ful flight. The Romans pursuing the fugitives had an easy descent, without any danger, to the plain. In this state of [p. 2100]things Perseus was in perplexity as to what was necessary to be done, as he feared lest, now that a way through the pass had been opened, he should [18??] be hemmed in by the Romans. It was absolutely necessary that he should either retire to Pydna, and await the enemy there, so as to fight with less danger under the walls of a fortified city; or that, dispersing his forces through the cities of Macedonia, conveying the corn and cattle into more [19??] fortified places, and devastating the fields, he should leave the bare soil to the enemy. The mind of the king fluc- tuated irresolute between these two propositions: his friends. thinking that that which was the most honourable would also be the safer, advised him to try the fortune of a battle, alleging both [20??] that he was superior in the number of his soldiers, and that he ought surely to trust to that valour which, while it was natural to their minds, would be inflamed by the most power- ful and sacred incitements to a valiant opposition which could act upon men; —their altars, their hearths, and their reli- gious institutions, amidst which and for which they had to fight; their parents and their [21??] wives, and, lastly, their king himself observing them, and exposing himself to a share of the danger. Influenced by these suggestions, the king prepared himself for a battle, and when he had retired to Pydna, at once pitched his camp, drew up his army, and assigned to each of his leaders his position and duty, as if about to fight immediately after the march. The locality was of this kind; the plain was suited for the ranging of the phalanx, which requires an open and even space, not, however, such as that it could be easily moved forward; then there were continuous hills which afforded to the light-armed troops the means of retreating at one time, and at another of wheeling round. Two [22??] streams, the one of which the inhabitants called Œson, the other Leucus, though they flowed with but a scanty supply of water, yet seemed likely to occasion some trouble to the Romans. Aemilius, hav- ing united his forces with Nasica, set out directly against the enemy, but at the sight of their army, which was most effective both as to the number and the strength of the soldiers, and admirably drawn [23??] up and ranged for battle, he stopped, struck with awe, and revolving many considerations within himself.

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  • Commentary references to this page (11):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.11
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.9
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 35.18
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 37.38
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 37.41
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.42
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.10
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.3
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.33
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.40
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.41
  • Cross-references to this page (12):
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (17):
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