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Aemilius Chapter 18: Perseus leaves the battle-field[168 BC]
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The battle being begun, Aemilius came in and found that the foremost of the Macedonians had already fixed the ends of their spears into the shields of hisRomans, so that it was impossible to come near them with their swords. When he saw this, and observed that the rest of the Macedonians took the targets that hung on their left shoulders, and brought them round before them, and all at once stooped their pikes against their enemies' shields, and considered the great strength of this wall of shields, and the formidable appearance of a front thus bristling with arms, he was seized with amazement and alarm; nothing he had ever seen before had been equal to it; and in after times he frequently used to speak both of the sight and of his own sensations. These, however, he dissembled, and rode through his army without either breastplate or helmet, with a serene and cheerful countenance. On the contrary, as Polybius relates, no sooner was the battle begun, but the Macedonian king basely withdrew to the city Pydna,under a pretence of sacrificing to Hercules: a God that is not wont to regard the faint offerings of cowards, or to fulfill unsanctioned vows. For truly it can hardly be a thing that heaven would sanction, that he that never shoots should carry away the prize; he triumph that slinks from the battle; he that takes no pains meet with success, or the wicked man prosper. But to Aemilius's petitions the god listened; he prayed for victory with his sword in his hand, and fought while entreating divine assistance. A certain Posidonius, who has at some length written a history of Perseus, and professes to have lived at the time, and to have been himself engaged in these events, denies that Perseus left the field either through fear or pretence of sacrificing, but that, the very day before the fight, he received a kick from a horse on his thigh; that though very much disabled, and dissuaded by all his friends, he commanded one of his riding-horses to be brought, and entered the field unarmed; that amongst an infinite number of darts that flew about on all sides, one of iron lighted on him, and though not with the point, yet by a glance struck him with such force on his left side, that it tore his clothes and so bruised his flesh that the mark remained a long time after. This is what Posidonius says in defense of Perseus. |
Event: Battle of Pydna
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Triumph:The highest honour to a general: clad like Jupiter he drove in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Before him walked the prisoners taken in the war, and the spoils of the captured cities, and in later times pictures of the conquered territories were carried before the general's chariot. He was followed by his troops, who sung songs, often extempore effusions, in honour of their commander.
Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.