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Battle of Sellasia

Summer having now come, and the Macedonian and Achaean soldiers having assembled from their winter quarters, Antigonus moved his army, along with his allies, into Laconia.
The summer campaign. The army of Antigonus.
The main force consisted of ten thousand Macedonians for the phalanx, three thousand light armed, and three hundred cavalry. With these were a thousand Agraei; the same number of Gauls; three thousand mercenary infantry, and three hundred cavalry; picked troops of the Achaeans, three thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry; and a thousand Megalopolitans armed in the Macedonian manner, under the command of Cercidas of Megalopolis. Of the allies there were two thousand infantry, and two hundred cavalry, from Boeotia; a thousand infantry and fifty cavalry from Epirus; the same number from Acarnania; and sixteen hundred from Illyria, under the command of Demetrius of Pharos. The whole amounted to twenty-eight thousand infantry and twelve hundred cavalry.

Cleomenes had expected the attack, and had secured the

The position of Cleomenes at Sellasia.
passes into the country by posting garrisons, digging trenches, and felling trees; while he took up position at a place called Sellasia, with an army amounting to twenty thousand, having calculated that the invading forces would take that direction: which turned out to be the case. This pass lies between two hills, called respectively Evas and Olympus, and the road to Sparta follows the course of the river Oenus. Cleomenes strengthened both these hills by lines of fortification, consisting of trench and palisade. On Evas he posted the perioeci and allies, under the command of his brother Eucleides; while he himself held Olympus with the Lacedaemonians and mercenaries. On the level ground along the river he stationed his cavalry, with a division of his mercenaries, on both sides of the road. When Antigonus arrived, he saw at once the strength of the position, and the skill with which Cleomenes had selected the different branches of his army to occupy the points of vantage, so that the whole aspect of the position was like that of skilled soldiers drawn up ready for a charge. For no preparation for attack or defence had been omitted; but everything was in order, either for offering battle with effect, or for holding an almost unassailable position.

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Sellasia (Greece) (3)
Olympus (Greece) (2)
Megalopolis (Greece) (1)
Laconia (Greece) (1)
Illyria (1)
Epirus (Greece) (1)
Boeotia (Greece) (1)
Acarnania (Greece) (1)

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.28
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