Perseus Loses His Resolve
The consul Lucius Aemilius had never seen a phalanx
The phalanx at the battle of Pydna, B. C. 168.
until he saw it in the army of Perseus on this
occasion; and he often confessed to some of his
friends at Rome subsequently, that he had never
beheld anything more alarming and terrible than
the Macedonian phalanx: and yet he had been, if any one ever
had, not only a spectator but an actor in many battles. . . .
Many plans which look plausible and feasible, when
brought to the test of actual experience, like base coins
when brought to the furnace, cease to answer in any way to
their original conceptions. . . .
When Perseus came to the hour of trial his courage all left
him, like that of an athlete in bad training. For when the
danger was approaching, and it became necessary to fight a
decisive battle, his resolution gave way. . . .
As soon as the battle began, the Macedonian king played
the coward and rode off to the town, under the pretext of
sacrificing to Hercules,—who certainly does not accept craven
gifts from cravens, nor fulfil unworthy prayers. . . .