Position of Sparta and Disposition of Troops
These then are the features of the country in question.
The position of Sparta and the neighbouring heights.
, as a whole, is in the shape of a circle;
and is situated on level ground, broken at
certain points by irregularities and hills. The
river Eurotas flows past it on the east, and for
the greater part of the year is too large to be forded; and the
hills on which the Menelaïum stands are on the other side of
the river, to the south-east of the town, rugged and difficult of
access and exceedingly lofty; they exactly command the space
between the town and the Eurotas, which flows at the very
foot of the hill, the whole valley being at this point no more
than a stade and a half wide.
The dispositions of Lycurgus.
Through this Philip was
obliged to pass on his return march, with the
city, and the Lacedaemonians ready and
drawn up for battle, on his left hand, and on
his right the river, and the division of Lycurgus posted upon
the hills. In addition to these arrangements the Lacedaemonians had had recourse to the following device: They
had dammed up the river above the town, and turned the
stream upon the space between the town and the hills; with the
result that the ground became so wet that men could not
keep their feet, to say nothing of horses. The only course,
therefore, left to the king was to lead his men close under the
skirts of the hills, thus presenting to the attack of the enemy
a long line of march, in which it was difficult for one part to
Philip perceived these difficulties, and after consultation
Philip succeeds in baffling Lycurgus.
with his friends decided that the matter of most
urgent necessity was to dislodge the division of
Lycurgus, first of all, from the position near the
Menelaïum. He took therefore his mercenaries, peltasts,
and Illyrians, and advanced across the river in the direction of
the hills. Perceiving Philip's design, Lycurgus began getting
his men ready, and exhorted them to face the battle, and
at the same time displayed the signal to the forces in the
town: whereupon those whose duty it was immediately led
out the troops from the town, as had been arranged, and
drew them up outside the wall, with the cavalry on their right