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29. Night put an end to the battle; and Pyrrhus, as he slept, had the following vision. He dreamed that Sparta was smitten with thunderbolts from his hand and was all ablaze, and that he was filled with joy. His joy waked him from sleep, and he commanded his officers to get the army ready for action, and narrated his dream to his friends, convinced that he was going to take the city by storm. [2] Most of them, then, were fully persuaded that he was right, but Lysimachus was not pleased with the vision; he said he was afraid lest, as places smitten by thunderbolts are kept free from the tread of men, the Deity might be indicating in advance to Pyrrhus also that the city was not to be entered by him. But Pyrrhus declared that this was nonsense intended for the crowd, and great folly, and calling upon his hearers to take their arms in their hands and act upon the belief that
One is the best of all omens, to fight in defence of
1 rose up, and at day-break led forth his army.

[3] But the Lacedaemonians defended themselves with an alacrity and bravery beyond their strength; the women, too, were at hand, proffering missiles, distributing food and drink to those who needed them, and taking up the wounded. The Macedonians tried to fill up the trench, collecting and throwing into it great quantities of materials, beneath which the arms and dead bodies were hidden away. [4] And when the Lacedaemonians tried to put a stop to this, Pyrrhus was seen forcing his way on horseback past the trench and the waggons into the city. But the men stationed at this point raised a shout, and there was a concourse and shrieking of the women, and just as Pyrrhus was riding through the waggons and attacking the men in front of him, his horse was wounded in the belly by a Cretan javelin and leaped to one side, and in his death agony threw Pyrrhus upon steep and slippery ground. [5] His companions were thrown into confusion around him, and the Spartans, running upon them and making good use of their missiles, drove them all off. After this, Pyrrhus brought the fighting to a stop at other points also, thinking that the Spartans would make some concessions, now that almost all of them were wounded and many had fallen. But now the good fortune of the city, either because she was satisfied with the bravery of its men, or because she would show forth the great power which she herself has in desperate crises, [6] brought to their aid from Corinth, when the hopes of the Spartans were already sorry, Ameinias the Phocian, one of the generals of Antigonus, with mercenary troops; and no sooner had he been received into the city than Areus the Spartan king came from Crete, bringing with him two thousand soldiers. So the women at once dispersed to their homes, since they no longer thought it meet to busy themselves with the work of war, and the men, after dismissing from their ranks those of unmilitary age whom necessity had brought there, arrayed themselves for battle.

1 An adaptation of Iliad, xii. 243, by substituting ‘Pyrrhus’ for ‘one's country’ (Πύρρου for πάτρης).

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