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Worst Misstatement of Callisthenes

But the greatest blunder is still to come. "As soon as Alexander," he says, "was within distance of the enemy he caused his men to take up order eight deep," which would have necessitated ground forty stades wide for the length of the line; and even had they, to use the poet's expression, "laid shield to shield and on each other leaned," still ground twenty stades wide would have been wanted, while he himself says that it was less than fourteen. [We have also to deduct from these fourteen stades the space occupied by the two divisions of the cavalry, one on the left next the sea, the other on the right];1 and to allow for the fact that the whole force was kept a considerable distance from the hills, to avoid being exposed to the enemy occupying the skirts of the mountains; for we know that Callisthenes represents the wing to have been facing these, at an angle with the centre. We are also leaving out of account the ten thousand foot, whom we showed to be too many according to his own calculation.

The upshot is that eleven stades at most is left for the whole length of the phalanx, even taking Callisthenes's own account, in which thirty-two thousand men standing shield to shield must necessarily be drawn up thirty deep; while he asserts that they fought eight deep. Such blunders admit of no defence: for the facts at once demonstrate the impossibility of the assertion. We have only to compare the space occupied by each man, the width of the whole ground, and the number of the men, to prove its falsity.

1 The text here is in hopeless confusion.

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