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Consternation of Antiochus -- Antiochus sends Proposals to the Scipios -- Both Armies prepare for Battle -- The Roman Formation -- Antiochus draws up his Forces -- The Battle of Magnesia -- The Macedonian Phalanx broken -- Total Defeat of Antiochus

[28] Such was the result of the naval engagement at Myonnesus. Before Antiochus heard of it he was fortifying the Chersonesus and Lysimacheia with the greatest care, thinking, as was the fact, that this was very important as a defence against the Romans, who would have found it very difficult to pass, or to get through the rest of Thrace, if Philip had not conducted them. But Antiochus, who was generally fickle and light-minded, when he heard of his defeat at Myonnesus was completely panic-stricken, and thought that his evil genius had conspired against him. Everything had turned out contrary to his expectations. The Romans had beaten him on the sea, where he thought he was much superior. The Rhodians had shut Hannibal up in Pamphylia. Philip was helping the Romans over the impassable roads, whereas Antiochus supposed that he would have a lively remembrance of what he had suffered from them. Everything unnerved him, and the deity took away his reasoning powers (as is usually the case when misfortunes multiply), so that he abandoned the Chersonesus without cause, even before the enemy came in sight, neither carrying away nor burning the great stores which he had collected there of grain, arms, money, and engines, but leaving all these sinews of war in good condition for the enemy. He paid no attention to the Lysimacheans who, as though after a siege, with lamentations accompanied him in his flight, together with their wives and children. He was intent only upon preventing the enemy from crossing at Abydos, and rested his last hope of success wholly on that. Yet he was so beside himself that he did not even defend the crossing, but hastened to reach the interior in advance of the enemy, not even leaving a guard at the straits.

[29] When the Scipios learned of his flight they took Lysimacheia on their march, possessed themselves of the treasure and arms in the Chersonesus, crossed the unguarded Hellespont in haste in order to arrive at Sardis before Antiochus, who did not yet know that they had crossed. The panic-stricken king, charging his own faults to the score of fortune, sent Heraclides the Byzantine to the Scipios to treat for peace. He offered to give them Smyrna, Alexandria on the Granicus, and Lampsacus, on account of which cities the war had been begun, and to pay them half the cost of the war. He was authorized if necessary to surrender the Ionian and Æolian cities which had sided with the Romans in the fight and whatever else the Scipios might ask. These things Heraclides was to propose publicly. He was authorized to promise Publius Scipio privately a large sum of money and the surrender of his son, whom the king had taken prisoner in Greece as he was sailing from Chalcis to Demetrias. This son was the Scipio who afterwards took and destroyed Carthage, and was the second to bear the name of Scipio Africanus.1 He was the son of Paulus, who conquered Perseus, king of Macedon, and of Scipio's daughter, and had been adopted by Scipio. The Scipios in council gave this answer to Heraclides, "If Antiochus wishes peace he must surrender not only the cities of Ionia and Æolia, but all of Asia this side of Mount Taurus, and pay the whole cost of the war incurred on his account." Privately Publius said to Heraclides, "If Antiochus had offered these conditions while he still held the Chersonesus and Lysimacheia they would have been gladly accepted; perhaps so if he were only still guarding the passage of the Hellespont. But now that we have crossed in safety and have not merely bridled the horse (as the saying is), but mounted him, we cannot consent to such light conditions. I thank the king for his proposal and shall thank him still more after receiving my son. I will repay him now with good advice, that he accept the terms offered instead of waiting for severer ones."

[30] After this conference Publius was taken sick and withdrew to Elæa, leaving Gnæus Domitius as his brother's counsellor. Antiochus thinking, as Philip of Macedon did, that nothing worse than these terms could befall him if he were vanquished in war, drew his forces together near the plain of Thyatira not far from the enemy, and sent Scipio's son to him at Elæa. Scipio advised those who brought his son that Antiochus should not fight until he himself should return to the army. Antiochus, acting on this advice, transferred his camp to Mount Sipylus and fortified it with a strong wall. He also interposed the river Phrygius between himself and the enemy, so that he should not be compelled to fight against his will. Domitius, however, in a spirit of ambition, wanted to decide the war himself. So he boldly crossed the river and established a camp at a distance of twenty stades from Antiochus. Four days in succession they both drew up their forces in front of their own fortifications, but neither of them began a battle. On the fifth day Domitius did the same again and haughtily advanced. As Antiochus did not meet him he moved his camp nearer. After an interval of one day he announced by herald in the hearing of the enemy that he would fight Antiochus on the following day whether he was willing or not. The latter was perplexed and again changed his mind. Although he would have ventured heretofore only to make a stand under the wall or to repel the enemy from the wall, till Scipio should regain his health, he now thought that with superior numbers it would be disgraceful to decline an engagement. So he prepared for battle.

[31] Both marched out about the last watch, just before daylight. The ordering of the troops on either side was as follows. The Roman legionaries, to the number of 10,000, formed the left wing resting on the river. Behind these were 10,000 Italian allies, and both these divisions were in files in triple line of battle. Behind the Italians came the army of Eumenes and about 3000 Achæan peltasts. Thus stood the left, while on the right wing were the Roman and Italian cavalry and those of Eumenes, not more than 3000 in all. Mingled with all these were light-armed troops and bowmen, and around Domitius himself were four troops of horse. Altogether they were about 30,000 strong. Domitius took his station on the right wing and placed the consul in the centre. He gave the command of the left wing to Eumenes. Considering his African elephants of no use, being few in number and of small size, as those of Africa usually are (and the small ones are afraid of the larger), he placed them in the rear of all. Such was the Roman line of battle.

[32] The total force of Antiochus was 70,000 and the strongest of these was the Macedonian phalanx of 16,000 men, still arrayed after the fashion of Alexander and Philip. These were placed in the centre, divided into ten sections of 1600 men each, with fifty men in the front line of each section and thirty-two deep. On the flanks of each section were twenty-two elephants.2 The appearance of the phalanx was like that of a wall, of which the elephants were the towers. Such was the arrangement of the infantry of Antiochus. His horse were stationed on either wing, consisting of the mail-clad Galatians and the Macedonian corps called the Agema, so named because they were picked horsemen. An equal number of these were stationed on either side of the phalanx. Besides these the right wing had certain light-armed troops, and other horsemen with silver shields, and 200 mounted archers. On the left were the Galatian bands of the Tectosagi, the Trocmi, the Tolistoboii, and certain Cappadocians furnished by King Ariarthes, and a mingling of other tribes. There was another body of horse, mail-clad but light-armed, called the Companion cavalry. In this way Antiochus drew up his forces. He seems to have placed most reliance on his cavalry, whom he stationed in large numbers on his front. The serried phalanx, in which he should have placed most confidence, on account of its high state of discipline, was crowded together unskilfully in a narrow space. Besides the forces enumerated there was a great multitude of slingers, archers, javelin throwers, and peltasts from Phrygia, Lycia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Crete, Tralles, and Cilicia, armed after the Cretan fashion. There were also other mounted archers from the Dahæ, Mysia, Elymaïs, and Arabia, riding on swift camels, who shot arrows with dexterity from their high position, and used very long thin knives when they came to close combat. Antiochus also placed scythe-bearing chariots in the space between the armies to begin the battle, with orders to retire after the first onset.

[33] The appearance of his formation was like that of two armies, one to begin the fight, the other held in reserve. Each was arranged in a way to strike terror into the enemy both by numbers and equipment. Antiochus commanded the horse on the right wing in person; his son Seleucus commanded the left. Philip, the master of the elephants, commanded the phalanx, and Mendis and Zeuxis the skirmishers. The day was dark and gloomy so that the sight of the display was obscured and the aim of the missiles of all kinds impaired by the misty and murky atmosphere. When Eumenes perceived this he disregarded the remainder of the enemy's force, and fearing only the onset of the scythe-bearing chariots, which were mostly ranged against him, he ordered the slingers, archers, and other light-armed under his command to circle around the chariots and aim at the horses, instead of the drivers, for when a horse becomes unmanageable in a chariot all the chariot becomes useless. He often breaks the ranks of his own friends, who are afraid of the scythes. So it turned out. The horses being wounded in great numbers charged with their chariots upon their own ranks. The camels were thrown into disorder first, as they were next in line to the chariots, and after them the mail-clad horse who could not easily dodge the scythes on account of the weight of their armor. Great was the tumult and various the disorder started chiefly by these runaways and spreading along the whole front, the apprehension being even worse than the fact. For, as by reason of distance and multitude, discordant cries and manifold fears, the truth was not clearly grasped even by those near the danger, so these transmitted the alarm constantly magnified to those beyond.

[34] Eumenes, having succeeded admirably in his first attempt and cleared the ground held by the camels and chariots, led his own horse and those of the Romans and Italians in his division against the Galatians, the Cappadocians, and the other collection of mercenaries opposed to him, cheering loudly and exhorting them to have no fear of these inexperienced men who had been deprived of their advance supports. They obeyed him and made so heavy a charge that they put to flight not only those, but the adjoining squadrons and the mail-clad horse, who were already thrown into disorder by the chariots. The greater part of these, unable to turn and fly quickly, on account of the weight of their armor, were captured or killed. While this was the state of affairs on the left of the Macedonian phalanx, Antiochus, on the right, broke through the Roman line of battle, dismembered it, and pursued a long distance.

[35] The Macedonian phalanx, which had been stationed between the two bodies of horse in a narrow space in the form of a square, when denuded of cavalry on either side, had opened to receive the light-armed troops, who had been skirmishing in front, and closed again. Thus crowded together, Domitius easily enclosed them with his numerous light cavalry. Having no opportunity to charge or even to deploy their dense mass, they began to suffer severely; and they were indignant that military experience availed them nothing, exposed as they were on all sides to the weapons of the enemy. Nevertheless, they presented their thick-set pikes on all four sides. They challenged the Romans to close combat and preserved at all times the appearance of being about to charge. Yet they did not advance, because they were foot-soldiers and heavily armed, and saw that the enemy were mounted. Most of all they feared to relax their close formation lest they might not readily bring it together again. The Romans did not come to close quarters nor approach them because they feared the discipline, the solidity, and the desperation of this veteran corps ; but circled around them and assailed them with javelins and arrows, none of which missed their mark in the dense mass, who could neither turn the missiles aside nor dodge them. After suffering severely in this way they yielded to necessity and fell back step by step, but with a bold front, in perfect order and still formidable to the Romans. The latter kept their distance and continued to circle around and wound them, until the elephants inside the Macedonian phalanx became excited and unmanageable. Then the phalanx broke into disorderly flight.

[36] After he had gained this success, Domitius hastened to the camp of Antiochus and overpowered the forces guarding it. In the meantime Antiochus, after pursuing for a long distance that part of the Roman legionaries opposed to him, came to the Roman camp, where he found no guard, either of cavalry or light-armed troops (for Domitius, thinking that the river afforded sufficient protection, had not provided any). But a military tribune, the prefect of the camp, hastened to meet him with a body of fresh troops and checked his advance, and the fugitives took new courage from their comrades and rallied. The king returned haughty as one who had gained a victory, knowing nothing of what had taken place elsewhere. When Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, with a large body of horse, threw himself in his way, Antiochus easily cut through them, but he disregarded the enemy, who took to flight before they had received much damage. When he discovered his defeat and saw the field of battle strewn with the bodies of his own men, horses, and elephants, and his camp already captured, he fled precipitately, arriving at Sardis about mid-night. From Sardis he went to the town Ceænæn, which they call Apamea, whither he had been informed that his son had fled. On the following day he retreated to Syria, leaving officers in Celænæ to collect the remains of his army. He also sent ambassadors to the consul to treat for peace. The latter was engaged in burying his own dead, stripping those of the enemy, and collecting prisoners. Of the Roman dead there were found twenty-four knights and 300 foot-soldiers from the city, being mostly those whom Antiochus had slain. Eumenes lost only fifteen of his horse. It is believed that the loss of Antiochus, including prisoners, was 50,000. It was not easy to number them on account of their multitude. Some of his elephants were killed and fifteen were captured.

1 This is an inexcusable blunder. Scipio Africanus the Younger was the son of Ælmilius Paulus and the adopted son of the son of Scipio Africanus the Elder, and was not born till five years after the events here mentioned.

2 ἐς δὲ τὰ πλευρὰ ἐκάστου μέρους ἐλέφαντες δύο καὶ ἐίκοσιν. This arrangement requires 220 elephants, an incredible number, whereas Livy says that there were two for each of the ten divisions. Evidently the words καὶ ἐίκοσιν should be rejected.

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