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A Muster of Achaeans Against Nabis

Philopoemen calculated the distances of all the cities
Philopoemen's device for collecting all the Achaean levies at Tegea simultaneously, B. C. 200.
of the Achaean league, and from which of them men could arrive at Tegea along the same roads. He then wrote despatches to each of them, and sent them to the most distant cities, so dividing them that each city that was farthest on a particular road should get, not only the one addressed to itself, but those also of the other cities on the same road. The contents of these first despatches addressed to the chief magistrate were as follows: "As soon as ye receive this despatch, forthwith cause all the men of military age, with arms, and provisions, and money for five days, to assemble immediately in the market-place. And as soon as they are thus collected, march them out and lead them to the next city. As soon as ye have arrived there, deliver the despatch addressed to its chief magistrate and follow the instructions therein contained." Now, this second despatch contained exactly the same words as the former, except of course that the name of the next town was changed to which they were to march. By this arrangement being repeated right along the road, in the first place no one knew for what purpose or undertaking the expedition was directed; and in the next place, every one was absolutely ignorant where he was going, beyond the name of the next town, but all marched forward in a state of complete mystification, taking on the successive contingents as they went. But as of course the most remote towns were not equally distant from Tegea, the letters were not delivered to them all at the same time, but to each in proportion to its distance. By which arrangement, without either the Tegeans or the new arrivals knowing what was going to happen, all the Achaeans marched into Tegea under arms by all the gates simultaneously.

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    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.25
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