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Philip Starts for Aetolia

King Philip started from Macedonia with his army for
The History of the Social war resumed from ch. 37. Philip starts for Aetolia, B.C. 219. Night surprise of Aegira.
Thessaly and Epirus, being bent on taking that route in his invasion of Aetolia. And at the same time Alexander and Dorimachus, having succeeded in establishing an intrigue for the betrayal of Aegira, had collected about twelve hundred Aetolians into Oeanthe, which is in Aetolia, exactly opposite the above-named town; and, having prepared vessels to convey them across the gulf, were waiting for favourable weather for making the voyage in fulfilment of their design. For a deserter from Aetolia, who had spent a long time at Aegira, and had had full opportunity of observing that the guards of the gate towards Aegium were in the habit of getting drunk, and keeping their watch with great slackness, had again and again crossed over to Dorimachus; and, laying this fact before him, had invited him to make the attempt, well knowing that he was thoroughly accustomed to such practices. The city of Aegira lies on the Peloponnesian coast of the Corinthian gulf, between the cities of Aegium and Sicyon, upon some strong and inaccessible heights, facing towards Parnassus and that district of the opposite coast, and standing about seven stades back from the sea. At the mouth of the river which flows past this town Dorimachus dropped anchor under cover of night, having at length obtained favourable weather for crossing. He and Alexander, accompanied by Archidamus the son of Pantaleon and the main body of the Aetolians, then advanced towards the city along the road leading from Aegium. But the deserter, with twenty of the most active men, having made his way by a shorter cut than the others over the cliffs where there was no road, owing to his knowledge of the locality, got into the city through a certain water-course and found the guards of the gate still asleep. Having killed them while actually in their beds, and cut the bolts of the gates with their axes, they opened them to the Aetolians. Having thus surprised the town, they behaved with a conspicuous want of caution, which eventually saved the people of Aegira, and proved the destruction of the Aetolians themselves. They seemed to imagine that to get within the gates was all there was to do in occupying an enemy's town; and accordingly acted as I shall now describe.

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219 BC (1)
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