Pyrrhus himself, then, with his men-at-arms, tried to force his way directly against the many shields of the Spartans which confronted him, and over a trench which was impassable and afforded his soldiers no firm footing owing to the freshly turned earth. But his son Ptolemy, with two thousand Gauls and picked Chaonians, went round the trench and tried to force a passage where the waggons were. These, however, being so deeply planted in the earth and so close together, made not only his onset, but also the counter-efforts of the Lacedaemonians, a difficult matter.
The Gauls pulled the wheels up and were dragging the waggons down into the river; but the young Acrotatus saw the danger, and running through the city with three hundred men got round behind Ptolemy without being seen by him, owing to some depressions in the ground, and at last fell upon his rear ranks and forced them to turn about and fight with him. And now the Barbarians crowded one another into the trench and fell among the waggons, and finally, after great slaughter, were successfully driven back.
The elderly men and the host of women watched the brilliant exploit of Acrotatus. And when he went back again through the city to his allotted post, covered with blood and triumphant, elated with his victory, the Spartan women thought that he had become taller and more beautiful than ever, and envied Chilonis her lover. Moreover, some of the elderly men accompanied him on his way, crying:
‘Go, Acrotatus, and take to thyself Chilonis; only, see that thou begettest brave sons for Sparta.’
A fierce battle was also waged where Pyrrhus himself led, and many Spartans made a splendid fight, but particularly Phyllius, who surpassed all in the tenacity of his resistance and the numbers of the on-rushing enemy whom he slew; and when he perceived that his powers were failing from the multitude of the wounds he had received, he made way for one of his comrades in the line, and fell inside the ranks, that his dead body might not come into the hands of the enemy.