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Philopoemen's Reforms

Now the movements which he undertook to teach the horsemen as being universally applicable to cavalry warfare
The cavalry tactics of Philopoemen, B.C. 210-209.
were these.1 In the first place each separate horse was to be practised in wheeling first to the left and then to the right, and also to face right-about; and in the next place they were to be taught to wheel in squadrons, face-about, and by a treble movement to face-about right-turn. Next they were to learn to throw out flying columns of single or double companies at full speed from both wings or from the centre; and then to pull up and fall in again into troops, or squadrons, or regiments: next to deploy into line on both wings, either by filling up the intervals in the line or by a lateral movement on the rear. Simply to form an oblique line, he said, required no practice, for it was exactly the same order as that taken up on a march. After this they were to practice charging the enemy and retreating by every kind of movement, until they were able to advance at an alarming pace; provided only that they kept together, both line and column, and preserved the proper intervals between the squadrons: for nothing is more dangerous and unserviceable than cavalry that have broken up their squadrons, and attempt to engage in this state.

After giving these instructions both to the people and their magistrates, he went on a round of inspection through the towns, and inquired, first, whether the men obeyed the words of command; and, secondly, whether the officers in the several towns knew how to give them clearly and properly: for he held that the first thing requisite was technical knowledge on the part of the commanders of each company.

1 This and the following chapter were formerly assigned to the description of Scipio's proceedings in Spain and followed, ch. 20. Hultsch, however, seems right in placing them thus, and assigning them to the account of the tactics of Philopoemen.

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