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Battle of Mantinea

As soon as the enemy were well in sight, Philopoemen went down the ranks of the phalanx, and addressed to them an exhortation which, though short, clearly pointed out to them the nature of the battle in which they were engaged. But most of what he said was rendered inaudible by the answering shouts of the troops. The affection and confidence of the men rose to such a pitch of enthusiasm and zeal that they seemed to be almost acting under a divine inspiration, as they cried out to him to lead them on and fear nothing. However he tried, when he could get the opportunity, to make this much clear to them, that the battle on the one side was to establish a shameful and ignominious servitude, on the other to vindicate an ever-memorable and glorious liberty.

Machanidas at first looked as though he meant to attack the

The attack of Machanidas.
enemy's right wing in column; but when he got within moderate distance he deployed into line by the right, and by this extension movement made his right wing cover the same amount of ground as the left wing of the Achaeans, and fixed his catapults in front of the whole force at intervals. Philopoemen understood that the enemy's plan was, by pouring volleys from the catapults into his phalanx, to throw the ranks into confusion: he therefore gave him no time or interval of repose, but opened the engagement by a vigorous charge of his Tarentines1 close to the temple of Poseidon, where the ground was flat and suitable for cavalry.
The battle begun by light-cavalry charges.
Whereupon Machanidas was constrained to follow suit by sending his Tarentines forward also.

1 The "Tarentines" were horsemen armed with light skirmishing javelins. See 4, 77; 16, 18; and cp. Arrian, Tact. 4, § 5; 18, § 2. Livy, 35, 28; 37, 40.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 40
    • Arrian, Tactica, 18.2
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