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Polyaenus: Stratagems

    - BOOK 3

Adapted from the translation by R.Shepherd (1793). See key to translations for an explanation of the format.

The Greek text of Book 3 is available in archive.org.


CONTENTS:   1 Demosthenes ; 2 Paches ; 3 Tolmides ; 4 Phormion ; 5 Cleisthenes ; 6 Phrynichus ; 7 Lachares ; 8 Archinus ; 9 Iphicrates ; 10 Timotheus ; 11 Chabrias ; 12 Phocion ; 13 Chares ; 14 Charidemus ; 15 Demetrius Phalareus ; 16 Philocles


[Preface]   I address this third book of Stratagems to your most sacred majesties, Antoninus and Verus; and I trust that some advantage may be derived from it by statesmen, as well as soldiers. For to know how to negotiate advantageously with an enemy, and to preserve good government at home, are as much a part of generalship, as conduct in the battlefield. The truth of this is illustrated by yourselves, who, vested with imperial power as sovereigns of the world, are ever forming plans for the glory and happiness of your subjects, and in times of peace you make preparations for war. I need not mention your real exploits in the battlefield, because they are known to all the world.

[1]   Demosthenes.

Demosthenes, finding that Pylus was strongly garrisoned by the Laconians, sailed towards the headland. The Lacedaemonians, who supposed that this feint was his real objective, abandoned Pylus and marched as quickly as possible to the headland, in the hope of surprising Demosthenes immediately after he landed. But when they approached there, Demosthenes suddenly returned to Pylus, and easily took possession of the place, which had been evacuated by its garrison.

2   When Demosthenes was commanding the Acarnanians and Amphilochians against the Peloponnesians, he encamped in front of the enemy, with a large torrent parting the camps. He observed that the enemy greatly outnumbered him, and expected that they would try to surround him. He concealed a body of hoplites, along with three hundred of the allies, in a hollow place, which was suitable for ambushes. He ordered them, if the enemy tried to surround him, to sally forth and attack them in the rear. The Peloponnesians, as he expected, extended their line in an attempt to surround him; but the men sallied forth from their ambush, fell upon their rear, and easily obtained the victory. [see also: Thucydides, 3.107]

[2]   Paches.

Paches, when he was besieging Notium, proposed a conference with Hippias, the general of Pissithnus. He promised on oath, that if Hippias would come out and meet him, he would ensure that he was brought back into the city safe and alive. Hippias accordingly went out to meet him, but Paches left him under guards and immediately took the city by storm. He then ordered Hippias to be brought back into the city, safe and alive, just as had been agreed; and afterwards he ordered him to be executed. [see also: Thucydides, 3.34]

[3]   Tolmidas.

In order to enable Tolmidas to man a fleet, the Athenians voted him a complement of a thousand men, with permission to choose them. When he approached each of the youths, he told them that he intended to choose them, but it would look better, if they offered themselves as volunteers. Accordingly three thousand of them gave in their names. Tolmidas therefore chose the thousand, whom the state had allotted to him, from those who had not given in their names; and he was able to man fifty ships, because by adding the volunteers he had gathered four thousand men instead of one thousand. [see also: Diodorus, 11.84]

[4]   Phormion.

Phormion attacked Chalcis, and carried off some booty, with which he afterwards landed at Scyros. The inhabitants of Chalcis sent envoys to him there, demanding that he restore their possessions. He secretly fitted out a light ship, which he pretended had just arrived from Athens, and he said that the people had ordered him to return to the Peiraeus immediately. He restored everything that the envoys asked for, and then set sail, but dropped anchor at an island nearby. The inhabitants of Chalcis, seeing that their property had been restored, and supposing that Phormion had returned to Athens, neglected to place guards either in the city or in the countryside. Therefore when Phormion attacked them again, they were unprepared for defence; he almost captured the city, and took a great amount of booty away from the countryside. [see also: Frontinus, Str_3.11'1]

2   Phormion, with only thirty ships, resolved to face the enemy, whose fleet consisted of fifty ships. He formed his little force into five lines, and sailed away past the enemy fleet at a steady pace. The enemy, who were confident of their superiority and eager to engage, made every effort to catch up with him, and in their pursuit the swiftest ships left the others behind. When Phormion observed that the enemy were in disorder, he kept his lines and vigorously attacked the ships that came into action first; after sinking them, he bore down on those who were next. The captains in the other lines followed the same manoeuvre, which gave the enemy no time to reform, so that their only hope of safety was to turn in flight.

3   Phormion was attacked by two triremes while he was sailing in the Paralus near Naupactus. He took advantage of a heavy merchantman that lay at anchor nearby, fully laden. He doubled round it, directing his beak with full force against the stern of the slowest ship, and sank it before the other could come to its assistance. After that he easily defeated the other ship. [see also: Thucydides, 2.91]

[5]   Cleisthenes.

When Cleisthenes attacked Cirra, the oracle declared, that the city would be invincible until the sea reached the sacred land. The inhabitants of Cirra thought that their safety was assured by this, because the sacred land, which was next to their city, was far distant from the sea. But Cleisthenes, when he was informed of the oracle, immediately devoted both the city and the country to the god, so that everything was made sacred. In this way the oracle was fulfilled, and the land next to the sea became sacred. Cleisthenes then conquered the country, and consecrated it to the god. [see also: Plutarch, Sol_11]

[6]   Phrynichus.

When Phrynichus was commander in Samos, he plotted to betray the city. But he was accused of treachery, before the plot was ready to be carried out. To avoid punishment, he changed sides and betrayed the enemy, informing the Samians of all their movements before they took place. He told the Samians that the enemy would attack in a place, where some of their ships lay unprotected by a wall, and told them to fortify the place before the enemy arrived, which they achieved just in time. Afterwards Alcibiades, the commander of the enemy, who suspected the duplicity of Phrynichus, sent a letter to the Samians, informing them of his intended treason. But Phrynichus had gained the favour of the Samians, because of the good advice which he had given them, and they refused to pay any regard to the letters of the enemy. [see also: Thucydides, 8.51]

[7]   Lachares.

After Athens was captured by Demetrius, Lachares slipped out through a little gate, in a slave's clothes, with his face blackened, and a basket of money covered with dung on his arm. He mounted his horse, and attempted to make his escape as quickly as possible. But a squadron of Tarentine cavalry was dispatched to pursue him; when they were close behind him, Lachares scattered some golden darics on the road. The men dismounted to pick up the money; and the delay in the pursuit, which this caused, gave Lachares time to make his escape into Boeotia.

2   When Thebes was captured, Lachares hid himself in the public sewers. After remaining there for three or four days, he ventured out by night, escaped safely to Delphi, and from there went to Lysimachus.

3   When the enemy had seized control of Sestus, Lachares concealed himself for several days in a pit, with just enough provisions to support himself. By chance, a woman's funeral procession passed close by. He threw a woman's gown around himself, and with a black veil over his head, he mixed among the mourners. In this way he escaped out of the gates, and safely reached Lysimacheia.

[8]   Archinus.

The Argives had ordered new weapons to be made for all the citizens at public expense; and Archinus was appointed to be superintendent of the work. He accordingly gave out new weapons to each of the citizens, and received in return their old weapons, which he pretended that he would dedicate to the gods, as instructed by the decree of the Argives. Instead of this, he used the weapons to arm a mixed band of foreigners, lodgers, the profligate, the poor and the desperate; and with their help he seized control of the city.

[9]   Iphicrates.

After Iphicrates had formed his lines ready for battle, he observed that several of his soldiers were trembling, and pale, and showing every symptom of fear in their expression. He ordered a herald to proclaim that anyone, who had left something behind, might go back and fetch it, and then immediately return and rejoin the army. All the cowards gladly took advantage of the proclamation, and left the battlefield. As soon as they were gone, Iphicrates called out: "Now is the time for battle, as we have got rid of our useless baggage. The rewards of courage and resolution will now belong only to those who deserve them." The army derived new confidence from his speech, and without those who had skulked away, they won a glorious victory.

2   When he had routed the enemy, Iphicrates never allowed his lines to be broken in the heat of the pursuit. He continually called out to his light-armed troops to beware of ambushes. He also had a general rule, never to press the enemy too hard when they had been routed, if there were any narrow passes or rivers behind them; for if they are hemmed in, they are often forced by desperation to rally and fight again. Nor did he think it a mark of good generalship, to pursue the enemy to their walls and battlements; for a sure victory has often been snatched away, when it is rashly followed up within a javelin's throw of the walls; and the victors have been forced, with disgrace and loss, to relinquish their conquests.

3   Iphicrates had taken control of a town by night. When the people assembled in great crowds, and poured into the market-place, he ordered the gates to be thrown open. In that way he gave the inhabitants an opportunity to escape, so that he could more safely keep possession of the place.

4   Iphicrates was making a raid into Thrace. When his troops fled from the enemy as if in panic, he ordered a proclamation to be made, that if anyone informed against another man, who had thrown away his weapons, they should be given his weapons as a reward. The proclamation had the intended effect; the men recovered their courage, and resolutely withstood the enemy's attack. [see also: Xenophon, Anab_2.2'20]

5   Iphicrates, finding it necessary to pass by the enemy at night, directed his trumpets to the end of the enemy's line, and ordered them to sound the charge. When the enemy heard this signal, they advanced the place, where the trumpets sounded. But Iphicrates marched his army unmolested along the opposite side, where the way had been left open.

6   After Iphicrates had sustained a defeat, he halted with the remains of his army on a rough piece of ground, that was covered with trees. As he was being closely pursued by the enemy, he found it necessary to pass by them, in order to secure his retreat. Therefore he ordered his troops to move off noisily in one direction by night; and having drawn the enemy's attention towards that place, he changed his march to the opposite direction, where he met no opposition.

7   When the two armies lay encamped opposite each other, Iphicrates, whose objective was to avoid a battle, gained three days' march ahead of the enemy, before they realised that he had struck camp. He achieved this by ordering fires to be lit with dry wood, and green wood to be continually thrown on them, which gave rise to a thick smoke, and clouded the air so much, that the armies could not see what was happening in each other's camp.

8   Although his army was much more numerous than that of the enemy, and the augurs had foretold success, Iphicrates still declined a battle, to the equal surprise of both armies. "The augury of my own mind," he said, "urges me not to risk a battle. For when an army is very numerous, they can neither charge, nor sing a paean together; and when I order them to charge, I hear more of the chattering of their teeth, than the clang of their weapons.

9   Whenever the augurs declared against fighting, Iphicrates, without openly submitting to their advice, used to change his ground and vary his movements; then he ordered the sacrifices to be repeated. He did this, in order to gain time maturely to consider a matter of such great importance, as the success or failure of a battle.

10   Iphicrates, when once he was commanding against the Lacedaemonians, received a great variety of requests. One man asked for the command of five hundred men, another for the command of one hundred, and another for the command of a company; and all of these requests he rejected. On a later day, after drawing up his army hastily, he secretly ordered his generals to throw it into confusion, and raise a panic among the troops, as if the enemy were advancing in force to attack them. In this general confusion, the timorous fled and the brave advanced against the supposed foe. Iphicrates then smiled, and told them that the panic was of his own making, to test the merit of their various pretensions. He granted commands to those who had stood their ground; and he ordered those, who had retreated, to follow their leaders.

11   After deciding on a camping ground, Iphicrates dispatched a body of troops, before he camped there, to secure a position which was a considerable distance away from the army. His officers were surprised at this action, and asked the reason for taking such a distant position. Iphicrates said it was to avoid thinking afterwards, "Who would ever have conceived that such an action was necessary?" By this he implied, that in war every precaution ought to be taken, and as little as possible left to chance.

12   When Iphicrates had been brought to battle in an open plain, where the enemy were much superior in numbers, he drew up his army and dug a trench in their rear. Thereby he showed them that, because all hope of retreat had been cut off, they had no alternative but to conquer or die.

13   When Iphicrates had to fight against newly-raised troops, he did not attack immediately after confronting them; but he wearied them out by various manoeuvres, before he began the attack. But if he commanded newly-raised troops against an army of veterans, he joined battle immediately, giving all possible efficacy to the first attack.

14   When Iphicrates had forced a fleeing enemy into a narrow pass, he always tried to open a way for them, and give them a chance to escape, without making it necessary for them to force their way out by fighting. He said that there was no reason to compel an enemy to be brave.

15   When Iphicrates was prosecuted on a capital offence, he placed in court some youths, with swords in their hands. They showed the hilts of the swords to the judges, who were so intimidated, that justice shut her eyes, and Iphicrates was absolved.

16   While Iphicrates was in the palace of his father-in-law [Cotys], he went up to him and showed him his armour. "You see," he said, "that I am always in exercise and on my guard."

17   Iphicrates always fortified his camp during truces. He observed, that it was not the habit of a good general to say, "I could not have expected that." [see also: Plutarch, Mor_187'A]

18   When the enemy had encamped against Iphicrates in great force, he found it necessary to attempt a retreat. And as they closely watched his movements, he cut down all the wood that was near him. He fixed it up in his camp, and hung shields, helmets and spears upon it. When the enemy saw this, they supposed that he was still in camp, but he had secretly evacuated the camp and made a safe retreat.

19   When Iphicrates outnumbered the enemy, he tried to conceal his strength from them, in order to make them more ready to engage, because of his supposed weakness. Therefore he used to make two soldiers sleep on one bed, taking it turns to lie down to rest; and alternately to place their armour on top of each other's. On the contrary, if his force was small, he tried to impress the enemy with an idea of his numbers being greater than they really were. He ordered every soldier to make two beds; then he shifted his ground, and encamped in a different place. Thus the enemy, from the number of beds which they observed, were either so confident in their supposed superiority that they advanced rashly to battle, or were so dispirited by the apparent number of this troops, that they were reluctant to commence battle.

20   The Thebans planned to surprise Athens by night. When Iphicrates was informed of this, he summoned the people by a particular signal in the night to assemble in the forum. Then told them, that he had a party at Thebes, who were ready to betray the city to them. "Let us," he said, "therefore march quietly out, so that we may take possession of the city without striking a blow." As soon as the Thebans were advised of this suggestion, through their envoys at Athens, they thought no more of surprising Athens, but directed their attention towards the defence of their own city.

21   When Iphicrates was very inferior to the enemy, and therefore his troops were dispirited, at supper he summoned the captains of companies and leaders of bands. He ordered them to raise from their respective groups whatever gold, silver and valuables they could, on the pretence that he had bribed some men in the enemy's camp, to betray their army to him; and so to make good his promise, he needed every assistance that could be given to him. He said that as soon as he had received the contributions of his army, he would immediately proceed to action. The officers according brought to him whatever they had been able to raise, which he took and dedicated to Hermes of Friendship, as if to acknowledge the agreement between him and the conspirators. Shortly afterwards he drew up his army and advanced to the attack. The troops recovered their spirits, and moved boldly forwards, in their confidence that the enemy's army would be betrayed to them.

22   Iphicrates used to liken an army which was marshalled for battle to the human body. The phalanx he called the breast, the light-armed troops the hands, the cavalry the feet, and the general the head. If any of the lower parts were lacking, he said that the army was defective; but if it lacked a general, it lacked everything.

23   Iphicrates spread a report at Mytilene, that he intended shortly to provide a number of shields, which would be sent to the slaves on Chios. The Chians believed this rumour, which made them afraid of a rebellion among their slaves. They immediately sent presents to Iphicrates, and entered into an alliance with Athens.

24   When the Athenians were making preparations for the siege of Sicyon, the Laconian harmost, who was ordered to relieve it, told the envoys, who came to ask for assistance, to plant an ambush and surprise the enemy. The Sicyonians did as he suggested. Iphicrates, who took the direct way to the city, passed by the ambush. But when some youths boldly called out from the walls, as he appeared before the city, "Now you will meet your punishment," it occurred to him that they must be depending on something in particular. He therefore immediately marched back by a different route; and then explored the country with a select body of his best troops. In a hidden corner, they discovered the men lying in ambush, and cut them to pieces. On this occasion, he acknowledged that he had made an error, by not exploring the country; although he had immediately acted on his suspicions, and thereby thwarted the purpose of the enemy's manoeuvre.

25   When he was preparing for battle with the barbarians, in order to encourage his men, Iphicrates called out, "These barbarians seem not to realise the terror, which the arms of Iphicrates carry with them. But with your assistance, I will now teach them about this terror, and they will pass the message on to the others." When the armies were drawn up, someone observed that the enemy had a formidable appearance. "Therefore," said Iphicrates, "we must be even more formidable." [see also: Plutarch, Mor_187'A]

26   On one occasion Iphicrates implored his men, by all the glorious exploits which they had performed under his command, to obey his one request, to advance quickly and begin the attack. He was sure that, if they did not immediately charge at the enemy, the enemy would charge against them; and that whichever army attacked, the other would find it difficult to withstand them.

27   Iphicrates told his men, that he would ensure that they were victorious, if at a given command, they would encourage each other and advance by only a single pace. At the crisis of the battle, when victory hung in the balance, he gave the signal; the army responded with a shout, after which they advanced a pace and defeated the enemy.

28   When Iphicrates commanded the Athenians at Corinth against the Thebans, his troops frequently urged him to bring the enemy to battle. But he observed that the enemy outnumbered him, and they were confident from their recent victory at Leuctra, and so he refused to risk a battle. "But," he said, "I have formed you to such a height of military valour, that you despise the Thebans; now let some better general take the command, and lead you in the attack." By this mild reprimand, he changed the minds of the Athenians, and curbed their rashness, which would probably have ended in a defeat.

29   At the instigation of Aristophon and Chares, Iphicrates was prosecuted for treason against the state, because he had not brought the enemy to battle at Embata, when he could have destroyed their fleet. When he found that there was strong support for the case against him, instead of proceeding with his defence, he abandoned his speech and showed the judges his sword. The judges were afraid that the court might be surrounded by his fellow soldiers, and acquitted him. Someone suggested afterwards, that he had intimidated the judges by threatening violence. "I should be an idiot indeed," said Iphicrates, "if I could fight for the Athenians, but could not do the same for myself."

30   When the Athenians needed a great deal of money for a particular enterprise, Iphicrates advised them to pull down the public buildings, which fronted onto the streets, and sell them. The demolition of those buildings would have seriously damaged the houses which were built up against them. The owners of these houses, as Iphicrates expected, paid the sums which were needed, in order to have the buildings preserved.

31   After a battle, Iphicrates distributed the booty among his troops, as each individual deserved. But when contributions had been raised from cities, without a battle, he did not distribute the money to each individual, but gave it to their tribes, and companies, and bands. And when his troops were arming themselves, he used to order silence, and then promise that in the distribution of booty he would reward every man in the different divisions of cavalry, hoplites, and light-armed troops, who particularly distinguished themselves. At all festivals, and public meetings, he always awarded the seats of honour to the men, who had displayed the most courage. By these methods he prompted his men to be more courageous in the face of danger.

32   Iphicrates used to exercise his troops in all the various events, that might occur in warfare: sham sallies, ambushes, betrayals, revolts, surprises and panics; so that if any of these were really practised by the enemy, or required from his own troops, they would in either case be experienced and ready.

33   The enemy took up position, about five stades away from the Athenian army, on a hill near the Sacred mountain, with the sea in their rear, and a single pass in front of them, which was so narrow that there was not even room for two men abreast, while the approach towards the sea was steep and craggy. Iphicrates and a group of resolute, strong men, after they had oiled and properly equipped themselves, took advantage of a still night. Skirting around the mountain, and swimming over particular places where the sea was deepest, they arrived in the rear of the enemy, cut the sentinels to pieces, and secured the way for the rest of his army through the defile. Then, while it was still night, he attacked the enemy who were unprepared to resist him. He obtained a complete victory with little loss; those of the enemy who escaped the sword were taken prisoner. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.4'7]

34   In a winter campaign, when his army was poorly clothed and fed, Iphicrates saw that there was a favourable opportunity for a battle; but his troops, because of the hardships they had suffered, were ill-disposed towards fighting. Therefore he dressed in mean clothes, more pitiable than the rest, and went round the camp, exhorting his troops to set out and attack the enemy. When they saw their general in such thin clothes, without any shoes, they sacrificed their own comfort and convenience to the public good, and readily followed him in the attack.

35   When his war chest was depleted, Iphicrates used to march his army to sea coasts and deserted places, where their expenses would be small. But when his finances were in good shape, he gave them quarters in cities and rich countries; where after quickly squandering away their money, their poverty might encourage them to greater achievements. But he never suffered them to be idle. When they were not engaged in actual service, he always found some employment for them. He ordered them to pile up earth, or dig trenches, or cut down wood, or shift their camp, or repair their baggage; because he considered that idleness was the parent of plots and mutiny.

36   After ravaging Samos, Iphicrates sailed off to Delos. There Samian envoys came to him, to purchase the property which he had taken from them, and he promised to restore all of it to them. But he secretly fitted out a light ship, which he pretended had just arrived from Athens, with instructions for his recall. He took a friendly leave of the Samians, and ordered the captains of his fleet to weigh anchor and get under sail. Then he steered to an uninhabited island, and anchored there for a day and a night. The Samians, as soon as they heard that Iphicrates had received their envoys courteously, before leaving Delos because he was recalled home, relaxed with a false sense of security both in the city and in the countryside. But while they were scattered about, Iphicrates landed again in Samos; and he carried off a greater quantity of booty, than he had before. Phormion had previously practised a similar stratagem against the inhabitants of Chalcis.

37   When Iphicrates was arbitrating between the Lacedaemonians and the Thebans, who were then at war with each other, he found that the Argive and Arcadian allies of the Thebans were preventing a reconciliation. He ordered a body of troops to ravage Argolis, and when the Argives complained of this incursion, he said the ravages were committed by their own rebels. He pretended that he had marched against the rebels, in order to punish them; and, as if he had been successful in his expedition, he restored to the Argives the property of which they had been plundered. The Argives were won over by this generous retribution. They looked on Iphicrates as their benefactor and friend, and persuaded the Thebans to agree to the proposed conditions of peace.

38   When Iphicrates was in the service of Persia, he made war against Egypt with Pharnabazus. Because there were no ports in that region, he ordered the captains of the ships each to take with him forty sacks. And when they approached land, he ordered all the sacks to be filled with sand, and to be suspended from the sides of the ships into the water. By using this counterbalance they were able to halt safely, without needing a harbour.

39   At Epidaurus Iphicrates drew up his army near the sea; but because he was not ready for a battle, he advanced to a thick, shady wood, where he called aloud for the men to emerge from their ambush. The enemy feared that there was a large ambush, and so they wheeled around and retreated to their ships.

40   When Iphicrates and the tyrant Jason were encamped against each other by a river's side in Thessaly, they agreed to end the war by a treaty. Accordingly after they had been searched by each other's officers, they met unarmed under a bridge, to settle the terms of the treaty. After they had formally bound themselves by oath to keep to the conditions which should be agreed, Iphicrates mounted the bridge; and Jason began a sacrifice to the river, with a sheep which he had taken from a neighbouring flock. Iphicrates then leapt down and seized the knife, and although he did not murder Jason with it, he frightened him into making the treaty on terms which were favourable to Iphicrates.

41   In the Thracian war, when the enemy were encamped near Iphicrates, he ordered a wood, which lay between the two camps, to be set on fire in the night. Leaving behind his baggage, and a great store of cattle, he retreated during the night, which was made even more dark by the smoke, to a place which was hidden and shady, and covered with undergrowth. As soon as day appeared, the Thracians advanced to plunder the baggage and the cattle. While they doing this in scattered groups, Iphicrates advanced in good order, and suddenly fell upon them. After defeating them, he recovered his baggage. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.5'24]

42   When he was attacking a particular place by night, Iphicrates ordered the trumpets, which were scattered in various places, to sound the charge. The enemy were intimidated by the sound of trumpets around them, and tried to escape, some in one direction and some in another. Meanwhile Iphicrates, cutting down the few who opposed him, easily took possession of the place.

43   While Iphicrates was at Corinth, the Lacedaemonians advanced against the city. He did not risk a battle immediately, but because he learned that there were strong positions around the city, he secretly took possession of them, and then ordered those who were within the walls to join him. The whole body of the people, advancing in one firm compact band, so intimidated the Lacedaemonians by their numbers, and by the favourable positions of their allies, that they raised the siege and retreated, without striking a blow.

44   While Iphicrates was at war with Abydus, he halted at Cherronesus. After choosing a suitable spot, he pretended to be afraid of Axibius, the Laconian general, and constructed a wall around his camp. When the inhabitants of Abydus saw him raise a wall, they assumed that his force must be weak. Therefore they ventured out of the city, and made expeditions into the countryside, whenever they needed. Iphicrates observed that they had relaxed their guard, and sent part of his army into the territory of Abydus by night; they ravaged the countryside, made many prisoners, and carried off a considerable amount of booty. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.5'42]

45   When Iphicrates was at Corinth, he learned that the supporters of the opposite faction had decided to let mercenaries from Lacedaemon into the city. After mustering his troops, and leaving part of them in the city as a garrison, he marched the rest out, and drew them up outside the gates. Then he hurried to the gate, which the Lacedaemonian faction had opened to admit the mercenaries. He rushed inside at the rear of the mercenaries, and in the confused battle which followed, he killed many of the mercenaries, who were caught off their guard. The following morning he slaughtered many others, who had taken refuge in the temples.

46   When Iphicrates was encamped with eight thousand men, during an expedition into Thrace, he heard that the Thracians intended to attack his camp in the night. He evacuated the camp in the evening, and took up a position in a valley about three stades away, where he lay unobserved by the enemy. They accordingly attacked his camp, which they found empty, and plundered it, mocking the Greeks, as an enemy who had invaded their country, and had then run away again. But Iphicrates advanced from his hiding place, and suddenly attacked them; many of them were killed, and a large number of the others were captured.

47   When Iphicrates had to make a two days' march through a sandy country, destitute of water, he ordered his army after supper to fill their water casks. Then as soon as the sun was down, he began his march, which he continued all night. The next morning he encamped, and ordered the troops to rest themselves. After resting all day, and taking their meal in the evening, when the night came on, they packed up their baggage and renewed their march. Thus instead of a two days' march, he had only one day, and that a day of rest, in which to endure the heat of the climate, and the scarcity of water.

48   After acquiring a large quantity of spoils at Epidaurus, Iphicrates retreated to his ships, but he was pursued by the Laconian governor of the region, who took up a position on a hill, in order to intercept him. Iphicrates drew up his hoplites before his baggage, and attached to them in various places the light-armed troops and other weaker forces, to increase their numbers; then he concealed himself with the rest of his army, a small distance away. When the hoplites advanced against the Laconian governor, he left the hill to attack them. Iphicrates, with the other part of his army, wheeled about and took possession of the hill; then he fell on the rear of the enemy and completely defeated them.

49   When Iphicrates had to pass through some narrow defiles near Phlius, while the enemy were pressing on his rear, he ordered his troops to march through the pass as quickly as possible. Meanwhile he took a body of his best troops and fell back to the rear, to cover the others. With these troops he attacked the enemy, who were scattered and disordered in the eagerness of their pursuit, and killed many of them.

50   During a raid into Thrace, Iphicrates encamped on an open plain, which was almost surrounded by a ridge of mountains, and accessible only in one place by a bridge. The Thracians crossed this bridge in the night, with the intention of attacking his camp. But Iphicrates evacuated his camp, after lighting a number of fires in it. The he skirted around the mountains, and concealed himself in a patch of shrubby ground near the bridge. While the Thracians advanced against his camp, assuming because of the fires that he was still in there, he left his hiding place, crossed the bridge and made a safe retreat. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.12'4]

51   When Iphicrates was in command of a large army, consisting of both naval and land forces, he kept in hand a quarter of their monthly pay, as a security against their desertion. By this means he kept his army complete, and his troops had plenty of money, because they received a quarter of their pay in arrears.

52   After encamping opposite the allies of the Lacedaemonians, Iphicrates made his army exchange their clothes during the night; the soldiers dressed themselves in the clothes of their servants, while the servants put on the clothes of the soldiers. The servants walked around openly in their military attire, as if they were free men, leaving the care of the weapons in the hands of the soldiers, who prepared their weapons while dressed as servants. When the enemy saw this, they did the same; their soldiers walked around in a leisurely fashion outside the camp, while their servants were engaged in their normal employments inside. At a given signal, the troops of Iphicrates took up their weapons and immediately advanced against the enemy's camp. The servants fled from the camp, and the soldiers, who were caught unprepared and without their weapons, were either killed or taken prisoner. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.1'6]

53   On another occasion, when Iphicrates was encamped directly opposite the enemy, he observed that they took their meal regularly at a certain time. He made his men eat early in the morning, and immediately afterwards he attacked the enemy; but instead of closing with the enemy, he fought them from a distance with missiles throughout the day. In the evening both armies withdrew; but while the enemy sat down to their meal, Iphicrates led out his troops, who had eaten heartily earlier in the day, and attacked them with much slaughter. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.1'5]

54   The narrowness of the roads at Phlius forced Iphicrates to march with a narrow front, and his lines extended to the rear. While his rear was being severely harassed by the enemy, Iphicrates ordered his army to march more quickly. Meanwhile he took a select body of troops, and fell back to the rear, where the vigorously attacked the enemy, who were disordered and worn out by the pursuit. He killed many of them, and made prisoners of the rest. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.6'3]

55   While Iphicrates was staying at Corcyra, his signallers informed him that Crinippus, who was sailing from Sicily with eleven store ships, had halted at a deserted island. Iphicrates instructed them to light a friendly beacon. Then during the night he sailed over and captured all of the ships except one. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_6.2'33]

56   While Iphicrates was in Acē, he learned that a conspiracy had been formed by two of his generals. He selected a group of his best and most reliable troops, and ordered them, as soon as he had charged the generals with treason, to seize the weapons of the generals and of the troops whom they commanded. When the conspiracy had been clearly proved, Iphicrates ordered the generals to be taken to execution; their soldiers were stripped and driven naked out of the camp.

57   After two thousand mercenaries revolted to the Lacedaemonians, Iphicrates sent secret letters to the generals of the rebels. He reminded them of the appointed time, and assured them that they could depend on assistance from Athens. When, as he anticipated, the letters were intercepted by the guards of the roads, the letters were shown to the Lacedaemonians, who sent a body of troops to arrest the rebels. The mercenaries, who were real traitors to the Athenians and suspected of treachery by the Lacedaemonians, were forced to flee away from both of them.

58   When Iphicrates was commander at Chios, he suspected that a group of the Chians were supporting the Lacedaemonians. In order to prove their guilt, he ordered the captains of some ships to weigh anchor secretly during the night, and then to return into the harbour the next morning, dressed in Lacedaemonian clothes. As soon as those, who favoured the Lacedaemonian cause, saw the ships, they ran with joy to the harbour to greet them. Then Iphicrates advanced with a body of troops from the city, arrested them, and sent them to Athens to be punished. [see also: Frontinus, Str_4.7'23]

59   On one occasion, when Iphicrates was particularly short of money, the soldiers mutinied, and insisted on a general meeting being called. Iphicrates dressed some men, who were familiar with the Persian language, in Persian clothes, and ordered them to be introduced to the assembly when everyone was present. These men spoke in a barbarian fashion, and stated that they were part of a group who were marching there to bring money for the payment of the soldiers' arrears; and they had been sent on ahead to announce this. When they heard this news, the soldiers immediately put an end to the assembly.

60   After Iphicrates had ravaged the territory of the Odrysians, and had carried away a great quantity of booty, the Odrysians pursued him in great force. Iphicrates had only a small number of cavalry, but he ordered them to attack with flaming torches in their hands. The flames so frightened the horses of the enemy, who were unaccustomed to the sight of fire, that they did not withstand the attack, but turned around and fled.

61   Iphicrates once advanced against a city, which was built on the banks of a river. He needed to cross the river above the city, before he could begin to attack it. Therefore he crossed the river by night, so that the colour of the water, made muddy by the passage of so many men, would not reveal his approach to the enemy. The next morning he appeared before their gates, and began his attack, before they realised that he had crossed the river.

62   Iphicrates captured many of the Odrysians in Thrace. When he was being harassed by the enemy's slings and arrows, he stripped his prisoners naked, and with their hands tied behind their backs placed them in front of his army. The Odrysians saw that their friends had been put in the place of danger, and stopped attacking from a distance with slings and arrows.

63   Iphicrates was sent to Phoenicia with a fleet of a hundred thirty-oared ships. As soon as he approached the Phoenician coast, which was flat and muddy, he found that the enemy were drawn up to confront him. He ordered the captains of the ships to form a line and approach the coast, and to drop their anchors when the signal was given; after that, the soldiers were instructed to take up their weapons, and jump into the sea next to their respective oar. As soon as Iphicrates supposed that the sea was shallow enough for his purpose, he gave the signal. The ships immediately dropped anchor; the soldiers moved out of them in perfect order, and advanced to the shore under cover of their shields. The enemy, who were intimidated by the order and boldness of their attack, turned to flight. In the pursuit, Iphicrates' men killed some of the enemy, and captured others. They also took much booty, which they loaded onto their ships while they established a camp on the shore.

[10]   Timotheus.

When there was a great shortage of money in the Attic camp, Timotheus persuaded the merchants to treat his documents as coinage. He assured them that the documents would all be redeemed with money. The merchants trusted in the general's honour, and supplied the army with provisions on the credit of his documents. The money was afterwards punctually paid, and Timotheus by this stratagem not only supplied the needs of his army, but strengthened his credit amongst the merchants.

2   Just as the fleet which Timotheus commanded was about to sail, one of the men was seized with a fit of sneezing. The helmsmen ordered them to halt; and the sailors refuse to embark on the triremes. Timotheus smiled, and with great composure remarked, "What kind of omen is this, that among so many men, one of them should happen to sneeze?" The sailors laughed when he said this, and proceeded to set sail. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.12'11]

3   Timotheus ordered his army to charge immediately, although some of the men had not yet arrived; one of his officers asked, whether it would be better to wait, until the others had caught up with them. "By no means," replied Timotheus: "all the men who will fight bravely are here, and those, who will not fight, are not worth waiting for."

4   In a naval battle between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians at Leucas, Timotheus commanded the Athenians, and Nicolochus the Lacedaemonians. The battle was fought during the festival of Scira. In the morning Timotheus decorated his ships with myrtle, and then gave the signal for attack. His soldiers exerted themselves with uncommon courage, because they were confident that they were fighting under the direct protection of the goddess; and so he obtained a victory.

5   When Timotheus was besieging a city, he assigned to his soldiers a particular district, in which they might go out for foraging. But in the rest of the country, he told them to pay for what they took. He did not allow them to destroy any house or cottage, or even to cut down a growing tree, but merely to supply themselves with the produce of the countryside. By this conduct, he knew that if was successful he would be able to demand a larger tribute, and if the war was protracted, his army would not be lacking in either provisions or accommodation. And what was of still greater consequence, by this means he gained the goodwill of his enemies.

6   When Timotheus was about to fight at sea against the Lacedaemonians, he rested, having the crews of twenty triremes by his stern; and ordered the captains of twenty light vessels to advance against the enemy, whom they harassed with various movements and manoeuvres. As soon as he saw that the enemy appeared to be tired, and were handling their oars weakly, he advanced into action with the rest of the fleet. Being fresh and in full strength, he obtained an easy victory over an enemy who was exhausted after the long and laborious manoeuvres. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.5'47]

7   When Timotheus was passing by Olynthus, in order to avoid being harassed by the Olynthian cavalry, he marched in a rectangular formation; he placed his baggage and cavalry in the centre, with the carriages fastened to each other in continuous lines, and around the outside he placed his hoplites. As a result, the Olynthian cavalry were unable to make any impression on him.

8   While he was encamped at Amphipolis, Timotheus was informed in the evening that the enemy were marching in force against him, and would arrive the next day. To avoid discouraging his troops, he concealed from them the true strength of the enemy; and as if he was advancing against an undisciplined enemy, he ordered the baggage and camp attendants to march first, directing their route along a rugged and unfrequented road, where it was probable that the enemy might not have placed a guard. Timotheus himself marched at the head of the phalanx; and he placed the light infantry in the rear. In this order he reached the river Strymon, where he embarked his army. He burnt all the others ships, which he did not need. After achieving all this in a single night, he made a safe retreat.

9   Timotheus hired seven thousand mercenaries for the siege of Samos. Because he was unable to give them their full pay, and observed that the island was rich and well cultivated, he allowed them to forage freely in a designated part of the island. He sold the produce of the rest of the island, but protected those who were employed in gathering it. From this sale he raised a considerable sum of money, with which he paid part of their arrears to his troops. In this way he persuaded them to persevere in the siege, and eventually he took the city by storm.

10   When Timotheus was besieging Samos, the continual influx of foreigners cause such a high consumption of provisions, that it created a shortage. Timotheus ordered no flour to be sold, nor a cotyla of oil or wine; no corn less than a medimnus could be sold, and no liquids less than one measure. He prohibited all corn-mills, except on the hills. As a result of these regulations, when the foreigners found that they could not buy in Samos what they needed for their daily use, they brought their own provisions with them. In this way, the whole produce of the island was kept for the use of the army.

11   Timotheus needed to send five ships, out of his fleet of forty ships, on a secret expedition with provisions for many days, but he had no money to pay for their expenses. He therefore ordered the whole fleet to set off, each ship taking on board three days' provisions, and to anchor at a certain island. He then ordered every captain to unload onto the island two days' provisions, which he secretly put on board the five ships, which were destined for the distant expedition. With the thirty-five remaining ships, he returned to his former station.

12   When Timotheus was about to fight against the Spartan admiral Nicolochus at Leucas, he ordered the crews of several ships to be landed, and to rest on the shore until they were summoned. Then he bore down on the enemy with twenty of his fastest ships. He ordered the captains not to come within range of the enemy's missiles, but to pass by them, advance and retreat, and by every possible manoeuvre to harass and weary them. After this kind of running fight, as soon as he saw that enemy were almost exhausted by heat and fatigue, he gave the signal for a retreat. He picked up the men, who had been left behind to rest on the shore during the distant fighting, and then renewed the fight with his weary foe. He captured many of their triremes, and disabled others. [see also: 3.10'6]

13   When Timotheus was lying opposite the Lacedaemonian fleet, he was afraid that his store ships would be intercepted by ten of the enemy's ships, which their admiral had sent out for this purpose. He decided to retreat and protect them. At the same time, he was afraid that the enemy would attack him during his retreat, and if they caught up with him while the small vessels were still trying to form, they would force a battle with him while his fleet was in a disordered state. Therefore he ordered the captains of the triremes not to form again, but to head for the first land they could reach. Then, having cleared the decks and put the prisoners in the holds, he gently sailed away with the rest of his fleet in the shape of a crescent; their sterns were foremost, and their beaks remained pointing towards the enemy.

14   While Timotheus, assisted by Perdiccas, was commanding in a war against Chalcis, he mixed the Macedonian money with Cyprian copper, and from this alloy he struck a new coin, which had the value of five drachmas. A quarter of the content of these coins was silver, and the rest consisted of copper. After increasing his supply of money in this way, he persuaded the merchants and inhabitants of the country to accept it as normal currency, which he then received in payment back from them. Thus this money passed between the army and their suppliers, instead of more valuable coins.

15   When Timotheus was besieging Torone, the inhabitants of the city constructed moles of great height, consisting of bags of sand; but he contrived a means, by long machines with sharp metal points, which were fixed to the top of masts, to cut the bags and let out the sand. After this he forced the inhabitants of Torone to agree to the terms which he imposed on them.

16   Timotheus was the commander in a naval battle against the Lacedaemonians, in which he was assisted by the Corcyraeans and other allies. He placed his best ships in the first line; directing the rest of the fleet to lie on their oars, and keep still. As soon as he saw that the enemy's strength was weakened by the first attack, he gave the signal for the rest of the fleet to advance. The other ships, being quite fresh, easily completed the victory over an enemy who was already exhausted by the earlier manoeuvres. [see also: 3.10'6]

17   Timotheus had defeated the Lacedaemonian fleet at Leucas, and destroyed several of their ships, but he was afraid of ten of them, which still remained undamaged and ready for action. Therefore he drew up his fleet in the form of a crescent; he placed his small ships in the centre of the curve, which projected towards the enemy; and in this formation he retreated, with the sterns foremost, and the beaks pointing towards the enemy. The enemy did not dare to attack him, and he made a safe retreat.

[11]   Chabrias.

To stop his men inflicting unnecessary carnage, Chabrias reminded them that the victims of their swords, though enemies, were still men of flesh and blood, and of the same nature as themselves.

2   Chabrias won a naval victory at Naxos, on the sixteenth day of the month of Boedromion. He considered this date auspicious, because it is one of the days on which the Eleusinian mysteries are celebrated. It was on one of these days that Themistocles defeated the Persians at Salamis; but the day, on which the battle of Salamis was fought, was particularly dedicated to Iacchus, so that we may suppose that Themistocles was under the direct protection of the god; but Chabrias had on his side the support of the "seawards initiates".

3   Twelve Laconian ships, which had been sent out to observe Chabrias, escaped from him and made for land. To decoy them out to sea again, he detached twelve ships, fastened together in pairs, with their sails also joined together. The enemy, supposing them to be only six ships, weighed anchor and advanced against them. As soon as Chabrias thought that they were too far from the shore to escape, he separated the sails and set the individual ships free. They bore down on the enemy, and captured half of them, together with their crews.

4   When Chabrias was obliged to retreat before a superior force, he posted his best troops in the rear, while he himself led the van. As he pursued his march in this order, no-one in the rear dared to desert his ranks, or to pass by their general against his orders, and so he achieved his retreat with little loss.

5   The treasury of Thamus, king of Egypt, was exhausted, and he needed more money. Chabrias advised him to command his wealthier subjects to contribute whatever gold and silver they could, towards his immediate needs; and their annual taxes would be remitted, in proportion to their contributions. By this means, he collected a great sum without harming anyone; and later the subjects all recovered the money which they had paid.

6   Chabrias made a raid on Sellasia in Laconia, and seized a great quantity of booty. When he needed to cross a river by night, he secured the booty by sending it over the river and lodging it in the territory of his allies. Then he halted with the rest of his army until mid-day, and ordered them to refresh themselves. As he expected, the Lacedaemonians, after they heard about the raid, marched out to intercept him at the river, and recover their possessions. After a long and laborious march of two hundred stades, they caught up with him, but they were exhausted, disordered, and in no way prepared for action. Chabrias on the other hand, with his troops well refreshed and in good order, attacked them and gained an easy victory.

7   Chabrias was sent as commander to Egypt, as an ally to the Egyptian king against the Persians, who had invaded his country with a numerous army and a powerful fleet. When he found that the Egyptians possessed many ships, but lacked sailors to man them, he selected a sufficient number of the strongest of the Egyptian youths, to provide crews for two hundred ships. He took the oars out of the ships, and told the Egyptians to sit in order on some benches, which he had placed on the shore. Then he gave them the oars, and send among them some sailors, who understood both the Egyptian and the Greek languages. These sailors taught them how to handle the oars, and in a short time the king possessed a fleet of two hundred ships, completely manned.

8   Chabrias, whenever his army consisted of new recruits, before he went into battle used to made a proclamation, that whoever was indisposed, could leave the ranks. The cowards took advantage of this order; they pretended illness and laid down their weapons. Therefore he never led those men into battle, but used them to secure strong points, where their number at least might make them formidable to the enemy. And as soon as he conveniently could, he reduced their pay.

9   When Chabrias was advancing against a hostile city, he landed a body of peltasts by night; and at the break of day he entered the harbour, and pretended to disembark his troops at some distance from the city. The citizens sallied out, to contest his landing; but then the peltasts emerged from their ambush and fell upon the enemy's rear. After killing some of them, they re-embarked with a considerable number of prisoners.

10   Chabrias landed ten of the strongest and bravest of the peltasts from each of his ships by night in the enemy's territory, with orders to ravage the countryside. The citizens sallied out of their city to protect their property, and advanced against the raiders. As soon as he observed this, Chabrias sailed with his fleet directly against the city. His attack drew the troops, who were advancing against the raiders, back to protect the city. Meanwhile he sent a squadron to land on the shore above the city, where the peltasts were able to re-embark. Then he sailed away with all the booty which his men had captured. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.4'14]

11   When Chabrias was about to fight a naval battle against Pollis at Naxos, he ordered the captains of his triremes, if they were ready to face the danger, secretly to lower the flags of their own ships, so that they would know how that any ships with flags belonged to the enemy. After they had done this, whenever the captains of Pollis' fleet encountered Athenian ships, they were confused because they were not showing an Attic flag, and sailed on by. But the Athenian captains, as they had been instructed, proceeded to make a double ramming attack against any ships with flags. This stratagem gained the victory for the Athenians.

  * * *

[12]   Phocion.

Phocion urged the Athenians not to march against the Boeotians; but they eagerly voted for war, and appointed Phocion as their general. He told the herald to proclaim: "All adult Athenians, under sixty years old, should take provisions for five days and follow me immediately from the assembly." There was a great uproar; the old citizens in particular cried out, jumped up, and protested loudly. Then Phocion said, "You are not being asked to do anything unreasonable; because I will be there with you as your general, even though I am eighty years old." When the Athenians heard this, they changed their minds and ceased to be so eager to go to war.

[13]   Chares.

Chares, who suspected that the enemy had spies in his camp, placed a strong guard outside the trenches, and ordered every man to question his neighbour, and not to part till each had told the other, who he was, and to what company, and band, he belonged. By this device the spies were revealed and caught: because they were unable to tell either their company, band, comrade, or the password.

2   When he was in Thrace, and the weather was very severe, Chares observed that his men were reluctant to use all their clothes and, benumbed with cold, did not show their usual alertness in carrying out his orders. He therefore ordered them to change clothes with each other. The soldiers were then no longer concerned to spare another's clothes, as they had done their own. They wrapped themselves up warm; and became ready, and alert as usual, in executing their general's commands.

3   While Chares was retreating from Thrace, the Thracians pursued him closely, and harassed his rear. In order to retard the enemy's pursuit, when he had some dangerous ground to cross, he mounted his trumpeters and detached some horsemen to accompany them. He ordered them to take a circuitous route, and as soon as they had got upon the enemy's rear, to sound the charge. On hearing this, the Thracians halted: and, supposing themselves surrounded by an ambush, they left their ranks, and fled. Then Chares was able to make good his retreat without further loss or danger.

[14]   Charidemus.

When the inhabitants of Ilium were ravaging the territory of his city, Charidemus seized one of their servants, who was loaded with booty; and by promise of great rewards prevailed on him to betray the city into his hands. To help the traitor gain the trust of the guards, Charidemus supplied him with sheep and other booty, on his nocturnal expeditions. He shared these amongst the watch; and thereby obtained leave to go out and return as he wished. On a night agreed on between them, he went out of the gates, with a group of men whom he had engaged, on the pretext of assisting him in bringing back a greater spoil. Charidemus seized his companions, and kept them as prisoners; he dressed some of his own troops in their clothes, and furnished them with a quantity of plunder, including a horse. In order to admit the horse, the sentinel opened the whole gate; then the soldiers, together with the horse, rushed in, slew the guards, and opened the gates to the rest of the army. In this way they gained control of the city; and it could be said, in jest, that Ilium was captured for a second time by the stratagem of a horse. [see also: Plutarch, Sert_1'3]

[15]   Demetrius Phalereus.

When Demetrius Phalereus was close to being captured by the king of Thrace, he hid himself in a load of straw; and in this way he escaped into a neighbouring country.

[16]   Philocles.

Philocles, a general of Ptolemaeus, who was besieging Caunus, bribed the superintendents of the corn supply to help him. Accordingly, they announced in the city, that they intended to give out the corn to the soldiers on that day. The soldiers immediately left the walls, to see the corn measured out. Philocles took advantage of the absence of the soldiers from their posts, and, while the walls were left undefended, he made his attack, and captured the town.


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