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Zeno's Description Implausible

Next he says that "the phalanx, outmatched in agility and forced backwards by the Aetolians, retired step by step, while the elephants received the retreating line, and did great service in charging the enemy." But how the elephants got on the rear of the phalanx it is not easy to understand, or how, if they had got there, they could have done good service. For as soon as the two lines were once at close quarters, the animals would no longer have been able to distinguish friend from foe among those that came in their way. Again, he says that "the Aetolian cavalry were thrown into a panic during the engagement, because they were unaccustomed to the look of the elephants." But, by his own account, the cavalry which was originally stationed on the right wing remained unbroken; while the other division of the cavalry, that on the right wing, had all fled before the successful attack of Antiochus. What portion of the cavalry was it, then, that was on the centre of the phalanx, and was terrified by the elephants? And where was the king, or what part did he take in the battle, seeing that he had with him the very flower of the infantry and cavalry? For not a word has been told us about these. And where was the elder of the young Antiochi, who, with a division of the troops, occupied the high ground? For this prince is not represented even as returning to his quarters after the battle. And very naturally so. For Zeno started by assuming two sons of the king named Antiochus, whereas there was only one in the army on that occasion. How comes it, again, that according to him, Scopas returned first and also last from the field? For he says: "when he saw the younger Antiochus, after returning from the pursuit, on the rear of his phalanx, and accordingly gave up all hopes of victory, he retired." But afterwards he says that "he sustained the most imminent peril when his phalanx got surrounded by the elephants and cavalry, and was the last man to retire from the field."

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