Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Romans, was very disadvantageous to the king's troops. For the indistinctness of the light did not take away from the Romans the view of all parts of their line, since it was of moderate length ; and the moisture tended but little to blunt their swords and javelins, as they were almost all heavyarmed troops. The king's soldiers, as the line was so extensive, could not even see their wings from the centre, much less could those at the extremities see one another; and then, the moisture relaxed the strings of their bows, their slings, and the thongs of their javelins. Besides, the armed chariots, by means of which Antiochus had trusted utterly to disorder the enemy's line, turned the terror of their operations on their owners. The manner in which they were armed was this: from the yoke, on both sides of the pole, they had lances? ten cubits long, projecting like horns, to transfix any thing that came in their way. At each extremity of the yoke, two scytheblades projected, one on a line with the yoke, the other on its lower side, pointing to the ground; the former to cut through any thing that might come within its reach on the side, the other to catch such as fell, or endeavoured to go under it. At each extremity of the axle of the wheels, two scythe-blades were fastened in the same manner. The king, as we mentioned before, had placed the chariots so armed in the front, because if they were placed in the rear, or between the ranks, they must be driven through their own soldiers. Which when Eumenes saw, not being ignorant of the method of op

1 The difficulty, which Scheffer, Crevier, and Drakenborch apparently had, in interpreting this passage with the reading (decem cubita), seems to me to have arisen principally from their misinterpretation of the word cuspis; which in the classics is no where used as the edge of a cutting, but the point of a piercing instrument-differt a mucrone, quæ est acies gladii.- Facciolati. That the cuspides, here spoken of, must have been piercing, not cutting instruments, is likewise proved from the meaning of the word “transfigerent,” which is never used in reference to a cutting instrument. Taking it for granted, then, that the "cuspitibus decem cubita”

were spears ten feet long, fastened to the pole and extended from the yoke, I can easily understand how they, being so long, were likely to clear the way far in front of the horses, while the falces

on either side were intended to cut down those that escaped the cuspides; and this being the case, I see no necessity for Scheffer's reading, “cubito," which Crevier also seems to favour, and Drakenborch's “duo" for “decem; ”? both of which seem to have been adopted, owing to the seeming improbability of cutting weapons so long, and proportionably heavy, being attached to the poles of chariots.

[ocr errors]

posing them, and knowing that aid of that sort might be rendered as dangerous to one side as the other, if an opponent should cast terror into the horses, rather than attack them in a regular battle, ordered the Cretan bowmen, and slingers, and javelin-bearers, with some troops of horse, not in a body, but scattering themselves as widely as possible, to rush forwards, and pour weapons on them from all sides at once. This storm, as it were, partly by the wounds made by the missile weapons thrown from every quarter, and partly by the discordant shouts raised, so terrified the horses, that immediately, as if unbridled, they galloped about at random. The light infantry, the lightly-accoutred slingers, and the active Cretans, quickly evaded their encounter. The horsemen, following

. them, increased the tumult and the terror of the horses and camels, which were likewise affrighted, the clamour being multiplied and increased by the rest of the crowd of bystanders. By these means, the chariots were driven out of the ground between the two lines. When this fruitless mimicry of war was over, both parties gave the signal, and advanced to a regular engagement.

42. But that futile affair was soon the cause of real loss. For the auxiliaries in reserve, which were posted next, being terrified at the turn and disorder of the chariots, betook themselves to flight, leaving all exposed as far as the post of the mailed horsemen; to whom when the Roman cavalry, after dispersing the reserves, approached, they did not sustain their first onset. Some fled, and others, being delayed by the weight of their coverings and armour, were put to the sword. The whole left wing then gave way, and the auxiliaries, posted between the cavalry and the phalanx, being thrown into confusion, the terror spread even to the centre. Here the ranks were broken, and by the flying soldiers rushing in between them, the use of their long spears, called by the Macedonians sarissas, was hindered. The Roman legions advanced and discharged their javelins among them in disorder. Even the elephants, standing in the way, did not deter the Roman soldiers, who had learned by experience in the African wars, both to evade the onset of the animal, and, getting at one side of it, either to ply it with darts, or, if they could come near enough, to wound its sinews with their swords. The front of the centre was now almost crushed, and the reserve, being surrounded,

men.

was attacked on the rear, when the Romans perceived their troops in another quarter flying, and heard shouts of dismay almost close to their camp. For Antiochus, who commanded the right wing, having observed that the enemy, through confidence in the river, had placed no reserve there, except four troops of horse, and that these, keeping close to the infantry, left an open space on the bank of the river, made a charge on them, with a body of auxiliaries and mailed horse

He not only attacked them in front, but having surrounded the wing in the direction of the river, pressed them in flank also; until the routed cavalry first, and then the infantry that were next them, fled with precipitation to the camp.

43. Marcus Æmilius, a military tribune, son of Marcus Lepidus, who, in a few years after, became chief pontiff, had the charge of the camp. He, when he saw the troops flying, went out, with his whole guard, to meet them. He ordered them, first, to halt, and then to return to the fight; at the same time upbraiding them with cowardice and disgraceful flight. He then proceeded to threats,—that if they did not obey his orders, they would rush blindly on their own destruction. At last he gave orders to his own men to kill the foremost of the runaways, and with sword-wounds to drive the crowd of fugitives back against the enemy. The greater fear now overcame the less. Compelled by the danger on either side, they first halted, and then returned to the encounter, and Æmilius, with his guard, consisting of two thousand men of distinguished valour, gave a vigorous check to the furious pursuit of Antiochus. At the same time, Attalus, the brother of Eumenes, came up in good time with two hundred horse from the right wing, by which the left of the enemy had been routed, at the beginning of the engagement, as soon as he observed the flight of his friends on the left, and the tumult near the camp.

When Antiochus saw those men renewing the fight, whom, but just before, he had seen running away, and another large body advancing from the camp, with a third from the line, he turned his horse to flight. The Romans, thus victorious in both wings, advanced over heaps of slain, (which had been raised principally in the centre, where the strength of the bravest men and the armour by its weight had prevented flight,) to plunder the camp. The horsemen of Eumenes first, and then the rest of the cavalry, pursued the enemy through all parts of the plain, and killed the hindmost as they overtook them. But the fugitives suffered more severe loss by the chariots, elephants, and camels intermixed, and by their own disorderly crowd ; for, after they once broke their ranks, they rushed, as if blind, one upon another, and were trodden to death by the trampling of the beasts. In the camp also there was great slaughter committed, rather greater than even in the field; for the flight of the first generally tended to the camp. The guard, through confidence in the great number of these, defended their works with the more obstinacy. The Romans having been stopped at the gates and rampart, which they had expected to take at the first rush, when they did at length break through, actuated by rage, made the more dreadful carnage.

44. Up to fifty thousand foot and three thousand horse are said to have been killed that day; one thousand four hundred taken, with fifteen elephants and their drivers. Of the Romans, many were wounded, but no more than three hundred foot and twenty-four horsemen killed ; and of the troops of Eumenes, twenty-five. That day the victors, after plundering the enemy's camp, returned with great store of booty to their own.

On the day following, they stripped the bodies of the slain, and collected the prisoners. Ambassadors came from Thyatira and Magnesia, near Sipylus, with a surrender of those cities. Antiochus fled, with very few attendants ; but greater numbers collecting about him on the road, he arrived at Sardis, with a tolerable body of soldiers, about the middle of the night. Then when he heard that his son Seleucus and several of his friends had gone on to Apamea, he likewise at the fourth watch set out for Apamea with his wife and daughter, having committed to Zeno the command of the city, and having placed Timon over Lydia; which being disregarded, ambassadors are sent to the consul, by the unanimous voice of the citizens and soldiers who were in the garrison.

45. About this time deputies came from Tralles, from Magnesia on the Mæander, and from Ephesus, to surrender those cities. Polyxenidas had quitted Ephesus, as soon as he heard of the battle ; and, sailing with the fleet as far as Patara, in Lycia, where, through fear of the Rhodian fleet stationed at

a

Megiste, he landed, and, with a small retinue, pursued his journey, by land, into Syria. The several states of Asia placed themselves under the protection of the consul and the dominion of the Roman people. He was now at Sardis, whither Publius Scipio came from Elæa, as soon as he was able to endure the fatigue of travelling. Shortly after, a herald from Antiochus solicited through Publius Scipio, and obtained from the consul, permission for the king to send ambassadors. In a few days' time, Zeuxis, who had been governor of Lydia, and Antipater, the king's nephew, arrived. These, having first had a meeting with Eumenes, whom they expected to find most averse to peace, on account of old disputes, and seeing him better disposed than they or the king could have hoped, addressed themselves then to Publius Scipio, and through him to the consul: and a numerously attended council being granted to them at their request to declare their commission, Zeuxis said, “we have not any thing to propose ourselves, but rather to inquire from you, Romans, by what atonements we can expiate the error of our king, and obtain pardon and peace from our conquerors. You have ever pardoned, with the greatest magnanimity, vanquished kings and nations. With how much greater and more placable spirit ought you to act now, after your late victory, which has made you masters of the whole world! You ought now, like deities laying aside all disputes with mortal beings, to protect and spare the human race. It had been determined, before the ambassadors came, what answer should be given them; and it was agreed that Africanus should deliver it. He is said to have spoken thus: “Of those things that are in the gift of the immortal gods, we, Romans, possess as much as the gods have been pleased to bestow. In every state of fortune we have had, and have, the same spirit for this, under the sway of our reason : prosperity has never elated, nor adversity depressed it. Of the truth of this, (to omit other instances,) I might produce your friend Hannibal as a convincing proof: but I can appeal to yourselves. We now conquerors offer to you conquered the same conditions which we offered to you when on an equal footing, at the time that you made proposals of peace, after we crossed the Hellespont, before we beheld the king's camp or army, when the chance of war was equal and the issue uncertain. Resign all pretensions in Europe, and cede that part of Asia which

2

« PreviousContinue »