previous next

Zeno's Account of the Battle of Panium

The best illustration of what I mean will be the
Zeno's account of the battle of Panium between Antiochus the Great and Scopas, B. C. 201.
following. This same writer, in his account of the siege of Gaza and Antiochus's pitched battle with Scopas in Coele-Syria, at Mount Panium,1 showed such extreme anxiety about ornaments of style, that he made it quite impossible even for professional rhetoricians or mob-orators to outstrip him in theatrical effect; while he showed such a contempt of facts, as once more amounted to unsurpassable carelessness and inaccuracy. For, intending to describe the first position in the field taken up by Scopas, he says that "the right extremity of his line, together with a few cavalry, rested on the slope of the mountain; while its left with all the cavalry belonging to this wing, was in the plains below. That Antiochus, just before the morning watch, despatched his elder son Antiochus with a division of his army to occupy the high ground which commanded the enemy; and that at daybreak he led the rest of his army across the river which flowed between the two camps, and drew them up on the plain: arranging his heavy-armed infantry in one line, facing the enemy's centre, and his cavalry, some on the right and the rest on the left wing of the phalanx, among which were the heavy-armed horsemen, under the sole command of the younger of the king's sons Antiochus. That in advance of this line he stationed the elephants at certain intervals, and the Tarentines2 commanded by Antipater; while he filled up the spaces between the elephants with archers and slingers. And finally, that he took up his own station on the rear of the elephants with a squadron of household cavalry and bodyguards." After this preliminary description he continues: "The younger Antiochus"—whom he had described as being on the level ground with the heavy-armed cavalry—"charged down from the high ground and put to flight and pursued the cavalry under Ptolemy, son of Aeropus, who was in command of the Aetolians in the plain on the left wing; but the two lines, when they met, maintained a stubborn fight." But he fails to observe that, as the elephants, cavalry, and light-armed infantry were in front, the two lines could not possibly meet at all.

1 Called Panion or Paneion. See Josephus B. Jud. 3, 10, 7,Ιορδάνου πήγη τὸ Πάνειον.” The town near it was called Paneas, and afterwards Paneas Caesarea, and later still Caesarea Philippi. Scopas, the Aetolian, was now serving Ptolemy Epiphanes; see 13, 2; 18, 53.

2 See on 4, 77; 13, 1.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
201 BC (1)
hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.43
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 32.8
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 3.10.7
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: