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The Fall of Xenoetas

But the soldiers, filled with confidence, and enriched
Molon returns to his camp.
with every kind of provisions, eagerly turned to feasting and wine and the demoralisation which always accompanies such excesses. But Molon, after marching a considerable distance, caused his army to get their dinner, and then wheeling round reappeared at the camp. He found all the enemy scattered about and drunk, and attacked their palisade just before daybreak. Dismayed by this unexpected danger, and unable to awake his men from their drunken slumber, Xenoetas and his staff rushed furiously upon the enemy and were killed. Of the sleeping soldiers most were killed in their beds, while the rest threw themselves into the river and endeavoured to cross to the opposite camp. The greater part however even of these perished; for in the blind hurry and confusion which prevailed, and in the universal panic and dismay, seeing the camp on the other side divided by so narrow a space, they all forgot the violence of the stream, and the difficulty of crossing it, in their eagerness to reach a place of safety. In wild excitement therefore, and with a blind instinct of self-preservation, they not only hurled themselves into the river, but threw their beasts of burden in also, with their packs, as though they thought that the river by some providential instinct would take their part and convey them safely to the opposite camp. The result was that the stream presented a truly pitiable and extraordinary spectacle,—horses, beasts of burden, arms, corpses, and every kind of baggage being carried down the current along with the swimmers.

Having secured the camp of Xenoetas, Molon crossed the

Molon's successful campaign. B.C. 221.
river in perfect safety and without any resistance, as Zeuxis also now fled at his approach; took possession of the latter's camp, and then advanced with his whole army to Seleucia; carried it at the first assault, Zeuxis and Diomedon the governor of the place both abandoning it and flying; and advancing from this place reduced the upper Satrapies to submission without a blow. That of Babylon fell next, and then the Satrapy which lay along the Persian Gulf. This brought him to Susa, which he also carried without a blow; though his assaults upon the citadel proved unavailing, because Diogenes the general had thrown himself into it before he could get there. He therefore abandoned the idea of carrying it by storm, and leaving a detachment to lay siege to it, hurried back with his main army to Seleucia on the Tigris. There he took great pains to refresh his army, and after addressing his men in encouraging terms he started once more to complete his designs, and occupied Parapotamia as far as the city Europus, and Mesopotamia as far as Dura.

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  • Cross-references to this page (4):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), DURA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SELEUCEIA
    • Smith's Bio, Dio'genes
    • Smith's Bio, Xenoetas
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