He showed himself an admirable general in the hour of peril, his fellow countrymen gave him spirited support, and even his mercenaries fought ill a praiseworthy manner, but he was overwhelmed by the superior character of his enemies' armour and the weight of their heavy-armed phalanx. Phylarchus, however, says that there was treachery also, and that this was chiefly what ruined Cleomenes.
For Antigonus ordered his Illyrians and Acarnanians to go round by a secret way and envelope the other wing, which Eucleidas, the brother of Cleomenes, commanded, and then led out the rest of his forces to battle; and when Cleomenes, from his post of observation, could nowhere see the arms of the Illyrians and Acarnanians, he was afraid that Antigonus was using them for some such purpose.
He therefore called Damoteles, the commander of the secret service contingent,1
and ordered him to observe and find out how matters stood in the rear and on the flanks of his array. But Damoteles (who had previously been bribed, as we are told, by Antigonus) told him to have no concern about flanks and rear, for all was well there, but to give his attention to those who assailed him in front, and repulse them. So Cleomenes, putting faith in what he was told, advanced upon Antigonus,
and by the sweeping onset of his Spartans drove back the phalanx of the Macedonians for about five furlongs, and followed after them victoriously. Then, after Eucleidas with the other wing had been encircled, he came to a stop, and seeing their peril, said;
‘I have lost thee, my dearest brother, I have lost thee, thou noble heart, thou great example to Spartan boys, thou theme for a song to Spartan wives!’
After Eucleidas and his forces had in this way been cut to pieces, and the enemy, after their victory there, were coming on against the other wing, Cleomenes, seeing that his soldiers were in disorder and no longer had courage to stand their ground, took measures for his own safety. Many of his mercenaries fell, as we are told, and all the Spartans, six thousand in number, except two hundred.