There were some, therefore, who tried to have Titus lead his forces by a roundabout way through Dassaretis towards Lycus, a safe and easy road. But he was afraid that if he went far away from the sea and got into regions that were poorly tilled and barren, while Philip avoided a battle, lack of provisions would compel him to come back again to the sea with his task undone, like the general who had preceded him. He therefore determined to attack with all his might, and force his passage through the heights.
But Philip was occupying the mountains with his phalanx, and on the flanks of the Romans javelins and arrows came flying from all directions against them. Sharp encounters took place, men were wounded and men fell dead on both sides, and no end of the war was in sight. But at last some herdsmen of the vicinity came to Titus and told him of a roundabout path which the enemy was neglecting to guard; over this they promised to lead his army and bring it, in three days at the farthest, to a position on the heights.
As surety and voucher for their good faith they brought Charops the son of Machatas, a leading man in Epirus, who was well-disposed to the Romans and was secretly cooperating with them through fear of Philip. In him Titus put confidence, and sent out a military tribune with four thousand foot-soldiers and three hundred horsemen. They were conducted by the herdsmen, who were in bonds. By day they rested under cover of caves or woody places, and they travelled in the night, by the light of the moon, which was at the full.
After sending off this detachment, Titus kept his army quiet for two days, except so far as he drew off the enemy's attention by skirmishes; but when the day came on which the enveloping party were expected to show themselves on the heights, at daybreak he put all his heavy-armed and all his light-armed troops in motion. Dividing his forces into three parts, he himself led his cohorts in column formation up into the narrowest part of the ravine along the stream, pelted with missiles by the Macedonians and engaging at close quarters with those who confronted him at each difficult spot;
the other divisions, one on either side, strove to keep pace with him, and grappled eagerly with the difficulties presented by the rough ground. Meanwhile the sun rose, and a smoke-not clearly defined, but resembling a mountain mist-lifted itself and came into view from afar. The enemy did not notice it, for it was behind them, where the heights were already occupied, and the Romans were of doubtful mind about it, but as they struggled and laboured on, they let their wishes determine their hopes.
But when the smoke increased in size and darkened the air, and ascending in great volume was clearly seen to be a fire-signal from their friends, then the Romans below raised shouts of triumph and dashed upon their foes and crowded them together into the roughest places, while the Romans behind the enemy sent down answering shouts from the heights.