But Pyrrhus, seeing the stormy sea that surged about him, took off the coronal, with which his helmet was distinguished, and gave it to one of his companions; then, relying on his horse, he plunged in among the enemy who were pursuing him. Here he was wounded by a spear which pierced his breastplate-not a mortal, nor even a severe wound-and turned upon the man who had struck him, who was an Argive, not of illustrious birth, but the son of a poor old woman.
His mother, like the rest of the women, was at this moment watching the battle from the house-top, and when she saw that her son was engaged in conflict with Pyrrhus she was filled with distress in view of the danger to him, and lifting up a tile with both her hands threw it at Pyrrhus. It fell upon his head below his helmet and crushed the vertebrae at the base of his neck, so that his sight was blurred and his hands dropped the reins. Then he sank down from his horse and fell near the tomb of Licymnius,1
unrecognised by most who saw him.
But a certain Zopyrus, who was serving under Antigonus
, and two or three others, ran up to him, saw who he was, and dragged him into a door-way just as he was beginning to recover from the blow. And when Zopyrus drew an Illyrian short-sword with which to cut off his head, Pyrrhus gave him a terrible look, so that Zopyrus was frightened; his hands trembled, and yet he essayed the deed; but being full of alarm and confusion his blow did not fall true, but along the mouth and chin, so that it was only slowly and with difficulty that he severed the head.
Presently what had happened was known to many, and Alcyoneus, running to the spot, asked for the head as if he would see whose it was. But when he had got it he rode away to his father, and cast it down before him as he sat among his friends. Antigonus
, however, when he saw and recognised the head, drove his son away, smiting him with his staff' and calling him impious and barbarous; then, covering his face with his cloak he burst into tears, calling to mind Antigonus
his grandfather and Demetrius his father, who were examples in his own family of a reversal of fortune.
The head and body of Pyrrhus, then, Antigonus
caused to be adorned for burial and burned; and when Alcyoneus found Helenus in an abject state and wearing a paltry cloak, and spoke to him kindly and brought him into the presence of his father, Antigonus
was pleased with his conduct, and said:
‘This is better, my son, than what thou didst before; but not even now hast thou done well in allowing this clothing to remain, which is a disgrace the rather to us who are held to be the victors.’
Then, after showing kindness to Helenus and adorning his person, he sent him back to Epeirus, and he dealt mildly with the friends of Pyrrhus when he became master of their camp and of their whole force.