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Book II

Sextus1 Julius Frontinus:
Stratagems

p3 Book I

Since I alone of those interested in military science have undertaken to reduce its rules to system,2 and since I seem to have fulfilled that purpose, so far as pains on my part could accomplish it, I still feel under obligation, in order to complete the task I have begun, to summarize in convenient sketches the adroit operations of generals, which the Greeks embrace under the one name strategemata. For in this way commanders will be furnished with specimens of wisdom and foresight, which will serve to foster their own power of conceiving and executing like deeds. There will result the added advantage that a general will not fear the issue of his own stratagem, if he compares it with experiments already successfully made.

I neither ignore nor deny the fact that historians have included in the compass of their works this feature also, nor that authors have already recorded in some fashion all famous examples. But I ought, I think, out of consideration for busy men, to have regard to brevity. For it is a tedious business to hunt out separate examples scattered over the vast p5body of history; and those who have made selections of notable deeds have overwhelmed the reader by the very mass of material. My effort will be devoted to the task of setting forth, as if in response to questions, and as occasion shall demand, the illustration applicable to the case in point. For having examined the categories, I have in advance mapped out my campaign, so to speak, for the presentation of illustrative examples. Moreover, in order that these may be sifted and properly classified according to the variety of subject-matter, I have divided them into three books. In the first are illustrations of stratagems for use before the battle begins; in the second, those that relate to the battle itself and tend to effect the complete subjugation of the enemy; the third contains stratagems connected with sieges and the raising of sieges. Under these successive classes I have grouped the illustrations appropriate to each.

It is not without justice that I shall claim indulgence for this work, and I beg that no one will charge me with negligence, if he finds that I have passed over some illustration. For who could prove equal to the task of examining all the records which have come down to us in both languages! And so I have purposely allowed myself to skip many things. That I have not done this without reason, those will realize who read the books of others treating of the same subjects; but it will be easy for the reader to supply those examples under each category. For since this work, like my preceding ones, has been undertaken for the benefit of others, rather than for the sake of my own renown, I shall feel that I am being aided, rather than criticized, by those who will make additions to it.

p7 If there prove to be any persons who take an interest in these books, let them remember to discriminate between "strategy" and "stratagems," which are by nature extremely similar. For everything achieved by a commander, be it characterized by foresight, advantage, enterprise, or resolution, will belong under the head of "strategy," while those things which fall under some special type of these will be "stratagems." The essential characteristic of the latter, resting, as it does, on skill and cleverness, is effective quite as much when the enemy is to be evaded as when he is to be crushed. Since in this field certain striking results have been produced by speeches, I have set down examples of these also, as well as of deeds.

Types of stratagems for the guidance of a commander in matters to be attended to before battle:

I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

p9 I. On Concealing One's Plans

1 Marcus Porcius Cato believed that, when opportunity offered, the Spanish cities which he had subdued would revolt, relying upon the protection of their walls. He therefore wrote to each of the cities, ordering them to destroy their fortifications, and threatening war unless they obeyed forthwith. He ordered these letters to be delivered to all cities on the same day. Each city supposed that it alone had received the commands; had they known that the same orders had been sent to all, they could have joined forces and refused obedience.3

2 Himilco, the Carthaginian general, desiring to land in Sicily by surprise, made no public announcement as to the destination of his voyage, but gave all the captains sealed letters, in which were instructions what port to make, with further directions that no one should read these, unless separated from the flag-ship by a violent storm.4

3 When Gaius Laelius went as envoy to Syphax, he took with him as spies certain tribunes and centurions whom he represented to be slaves and attendants. One of these, Lucius Statorius, who had been rather frequently in the same camp, and whom certain of the enemy seemed to recognize, Laelius caned as a slave, in order to conceal the man's rank.5

4 Tarquin the Proud,6 having decided that the leading citizens of Gabii should be put to death, and not wishing to confide this purpose to anyone, gave no response to the messenger sent to him by his son, but merely cut off the tallest poppy heads with his cane, as he happened to walk about in the garden. The messenger, returning without an p11answer, reported to the young Tarquin what he had seen his father doing. The son thereupon understood that the same thing was to be done to the prominent citizens of Gabii.7

5 Gaius Caesar, distrusting the loyalty of the Egyptians, and wishing to give the appearance of indifference, indulged in riotous banqueting, while devoting himself to an inspection of the city8 and its defences, pretending to be captivated by the charm of the place and to be succumbing to the customs and life of the Egyptians. Having made ready his reserves while he thus dissembled, he seized Egypt.9

6 When Ventidius was waging war against the Parthian king Pacorus, knowing that a certain Pharnaeus from the province of Cyrrhestica, one of those pretending to be allies, was revealing to the Parthians all the preparations of his own army, he turned the treachery of the barbarian to his own advantage; for he pretended to be afraid that those things would happen which he was particularly desirous should happen, and pretended to desire those things to happen which he really dreaded. And so, fearful that the Parthians would cross the Euphrates before he could be reinforced by the legions which were stationed beyond the Taurus Mountains in Cappadocia, he earnestly endeavoured to make this traitor, according to his usual perfidy, advise the Parthians to lead their army across through Zeugma, where the route is shortest, and where the Euphrates flows in a deep channel; for he declared that, if the Parthians came by that road, he could avail himself of the protection of the hills for eluding their archers; but that he p13feared disaster if they should advance by the lower road through the open plains.10 Influenced by this information, the barbarians led their army by a circuitous route over the lower road, and spent above forty days in preparing materials and in constructing a bridge11 across the river at a point where the banks were quite widely separated and where the building of the bridge, therefore, involved more work. Ventidius utilized this interval for reuniting his forces, and having assembled these, three days before the Parthians arrived, he opened battle, conquered Pacorus, and killed him.12

7 Mithridates, when he was blockaded by Pompey and planned to retreat the next day, wishing to conceal his purpose, made foraging expeditions over a wide territory, and even to the valleys adjacent to the enemy. For the purpose of further averting suspicion, he also arranged conferences for a subsequent date with several of his foes; and ordered numerous fires to be lighted throughout the camp. Then, in the second watch, he led out his forces directly past the camp of the enemy.13

8 When the Emperor Caesar Domitianus Augustus Germanicus wished to crush the Germans, who were in arms, realizing that they would make greater preparations for war if they foresaw the arrival of so eminent a commander as himself, he concealed the reason for his departure from Rome under the pretext of taking a census of the Gallic provinces. Under cover of this he plunged into sudden warfare, crushed the ferocity of these savage tribes, and thus acted for the good of the provinces.14

p15 9 When it was essential that Hasdrubal and his troops should be destroyed before they joined Hannibal, the brother of Hasdrubal, Claudius Nero, lacking confidence in the troops under his own command, was therefore eager to unite his forces with those of his colleague, Livius Salinator, to whom the direction of the campaign had been committed. Desiring, however, that his departure should be unobserved by Hannibal, whose camp was opposite his, he chose ten thousand of his bravest soldiers, and gave orders to the lieutenants whom he left that the usual number of patrols and sentries be posted, the same number of fires lighted, and the usual appearance of the camp be maintained, in order that Hannibal might not become suspicious and venture to attack the few troops left behind. Then, when he joined his colleague in Umbria after secret marches, he forbade the enlargement of the camp, lest he give some sign of his arrival to the Carthaginian commander, who would be likely to refuse battle if he knew the forces of the consuls had been united. Accordingly, attacking the enemy unawares with his reinforced troops, he won the day and returned to Hannibal in advance of any news of his exploit. Thus by the same plan he stole a march on one of the two shrewdest Carthaginian generals and crushed the other.15

10 Themistocles, urging upon his fellow-citizens the speedy construction of the walls which, at the command of the Lacedaemonians, they had demolished, informed the envoys sent from Sparta to remonstrate about this matter, that he himself would come, to put an end to this suspicion. Accordingly he came to Sparta. There, by feigning illness, he secured p17a considerable delay. But after he realized that his subterfuge was suspected, he declared that the rumour which had come to the Spartans was false, and asked them to send some of their leading men, whose word they would take about the building operations of the Athenians. Then he wrote secretly to the Athenians, telling them to detain those who had come to them, until, upon the restoration of the walls, he could admit to the Spartans that Athens was fortified, and could inform them that their leaders could not return until he himself had been sent back. These terms the Spartans readily fulfilled, that they might not atone for the death of one by that of many.16

11 Lucius Furius, having led his army into an unfavourable position, determined to conceal his anxiety, lest the others take alarm. By gradually changing his course, as though planning to attack the enemy after a wider circuit, he finally reversed his line of march, and led his army safely back, without its knowing what was going on.

12 When Metellus Pius was in Spain and was asked what he was going to do the next day, he replied: "If my tunic could tell, I would burn it."17

13 When Marcus Licinius Crassus was asked at what time he was going to break camp, he replied: "Are you afraid you'll not hear the trumpet?"18

II. On Finding Out the Enemy's Plans

1 Scipio Africanus, seizing the opportunity of sending an embassy to Syphax, commanded specially chosen tribunes and centurions to go with Laelius, p19disguised as slaves and entrusted with the task of spying out the strength of the king. These men, in order to examine more freely the situation of the camp, purposely let loose a horse and chased it around the greatest part of the fortifications, pretending it was running away. After they had reported the results of their observations, the destruction of the camp by fire19 brought the war to a close.20

2 During the war with Etruria, when shrewd methods of reconnoitering were still unknown to Roman leaders, Quintus Fabius Maximus commanded his brother, Fabius Caeso, who spoke the Etruscan language fluently, to put on Etruscan dress and to penetrate into the Ciminian Forest, where our soldiers had never before ventured. He showed such discretion and energy in executing these commands, that after traversing the forest and observing that the Umbrians of Camerium were not hostile to the Romans, he brought them into an alliance.21

3 When the Carthaginians saw that the power of Alexander was so great that it menaced even Africa, they ordered one of their citizens, a resolute man named Hamilcar Rhodinus, to go to the king, pretending to be an exile, and to make every effort to gain his friendship. When Rhodinus had succeeded in this, he disclosed to his fellow-citizens the king's plans.22

4 The same Carthaginian sent men to tarry a long time at Rome, in the rôle of ambassadors, and thus to secure information of our plans.

5 When Marcus Cato was in Spain, being unable otherwise to arrive at a knowledge of the enemy's p21plans, he ordered three hundred soldiers to make a simultaneous attack on an enemy post, to seize one of their men, and to bring him unharmed to camp. The prisoner, under torture, revealed all the secrets of his side.23

6 During the war with the Cimbrians and Teutons, the consul Gaius Marius, wishing to test the loyalty of the Gauls and Ligurians, sent them a letter, commanding them in the first part of the letter not to open the inner part,24 which was specially sealed, before a certain date. Afterwards, before the appointed time had arrived, he demanded the same letter back, and finding all seals broken, he knew that acts of hostility were afoot.25

[There is also another method of securing intelligence, by which the generals themselves, without calling in any outside help, by their own unaided efforts take precautions, as, for instance:]

7 In the Etruscan war, the consul Aemilius Paulus was on the point of sending his army down into the plain near the town of Vetulonia, when he saw afar off a flock of birds rise in somewhat startled flight from a forest, and realized that some treachery was lurking there, both because the birds had risen in alarm and at the same time in great numbers. He therefore sent some scouts ahead and discovered that ten thousand Boii were lying in wait at that point to meet the Roman army. These he overwhelmed by sending his legions against them at a different point from that at which they were expected.26

p23 8 In like manner, Tisamenus, the son of Orestes, hearing that a ridge, a natural stronghold, was held by the enemy, sent men ahead to ascertain the facts; and upon their reporting that his impression was without foundation, he began his march. But when he saw a large number of birds all at once fly from the suspected ridge and not settle down at all, he came to the conclusion that the enemy's troops were hiding there; and so, leading his army by a detour, he escaped those lying in wait for him.27

9 Hasdrubal, brother of Hannibal, knew that the armies of Livius and Nero had united (although by avoiding two separate camps they strove to conceal this fact), because he observed horses rather lean from travel and men somewhat sunburned, as naturally results from marching.28

On Determining the Character of the War

1 Whenever Alexander of Macedon had a strong army, he chose the sort of warfare in which he could fight in open battle.

2 Gaius Caesar, in the Civil War, having an army of veterans and knowing that the enemy had only raw recruits, always strove to fight in open battle.

3 Fabius Maximus, when engaged in war with Hannibal, who was inflated by his success in battle, decided to avoid any dangerous hazards and to devote himself solely to the protection of Italy. By this policy he earned the name of Cunctator ("The Delayer") and the reputation of a consummate general.29

4 The Byzantines in their war with Philip, avoiding p25all risks of battle, and abandoning even the defence of their territory, retired within the walls of their city and succeeded in causing Philip to withdraw, since he could not endure the delay of a siege.30

5 Hasdrubal, the son of Gisco, in the Second Punic War, distributed his vanquished army among the cities of Spain when Publius Scipio pressed hard upon him. As a result, Scipio, in order not to scatter his forces by laying siege to several towns, withdrew his army into winter quarters.31

6 Themistocles, when Xerxes was approaching, thinking the strength of the Athenians unequal to a land battle, to the defence of their territory, or to the support of a siege, advised them to remove their wives and children to Troezen and other towns, to abandon the city, and to transfer the scene of the war to the water.32

7 Pericles did the same thing in the same state, in the war with the Spartans.33

8 While Hannibal was lingering in Italy, Scipio sent an army into Africa, and so forced the Carthaginians to recall Hannibal. In this way he transferred the war from his own country to that of the enemy.34

9 When the Spartans had fortified Decelea, a stronghold of the Athenians, and were making frequent raids there, the Athenians sent a fleet to harass the Peloponnesus, and thus secured the recall of the army of Spartans stationed at Decelea.35

10 When the Germans, in accordance with their usual custom, kept emerging from woodland-pastures and unsuspected hiding-places to attack our men, and then finding a safe refuge in the depths of the p27forest, the Emperor Caesar Domitianus Augustus, by advancing the frontier of the empire along a stretch of one hundred and twenty miles, not only changed the nature of the war, but brought his enemies beneath his sway, by uncovering their hiding-places.36

IV. On Leading an Army through Places Infested by the Enemy

1 When the consul Aemilius Paulus was leading his army along a narrow road near the coast in Lucania, and the fleet of the Tarentines, lying in wait for him, had attacked his troops by means of scorpions,37 he placed prisoners as a screen to his line of march. Not wishing to harm these, the enemy ceased their attacks.38

2 Agesilaus, the Spartan, when returning from Phrygia laden with booty, was hard pressed by the enemy, who took advantage of their position to harass his line of march. He therefore placed a file of captives on each flank of his army. Since these were spared by the enemy, the Spartans found time to pass.39

3 The same Agesilaus, when the Thebans held a pass through which he had to march, turned his course, as if he were hastening to Thebes. Then, when the Thebans withdrew in alarm to protect their walls, Agesilaus resumed his march and arrived at his goal without opposition.40

4 When Nicostratus, king of the Aetolians, was at war with the Epirotes, and could enter their territory only by narrow defiles, he appeared at one p29point, as if intending to break through at that place. Then, when the whole body of Epirotes rushed thither to prevent this, he left a few of his men to produce the impression that his army was still there, while he himself, with the rest of his troops, entered at another place, where he was not expected.

5 Autophradates, the Persian, upon leading his army into Pisidia, and finding certain passes occupied by the Pisidians, pretended to be thwarted in his plan for crossing, and began to retreat. When the Pisidians were convinced of this, under cover of night he sent a very strong force ahead to seize the same place, and on the following day sent his whole army across.41

6 When Philip of Macedon was aiming at the conquest of Greece, he heard that the Pass of Thermopylae was occupied by Greek troops. Accordingly, when envoys of the Aetolians came to sue for peace, he detained them, while he himself hastened by forced marches to the Pass, and since the guards had relaxed their vigilance while awaiting the return of the envoys, by his unexpected coming he succeeded in marching through the Pass.42

7 When the Athenian general Iphicrates was engaged in a campaign against the Spartan Anaxibius on the Hellespont near Abydus, he had to lead his army on one occasion through places occupied by enemy patrols, hemmed in on the one side by precipitous mountains, and on the other washed by the sea. For some time he delayed, and then on an unusually cold day, when no one suspected such a move, he selected his most rugged men, rubbed them down with oil and warmed them up with wine, and then ordered them to skirt the very edge of the p31sea, swimming across the places that were too precipitous to pass. Thus by an unexpected attack from the rear he overwhelmed the guards of the defile.43

8 When Gnaeus Pompey on one occasion was prevented from crossing a river because the enemy's troops were stationed on the opposite bank, he adopted the device of repeatedly leading his troops out of camp and back again. Then, when the enemy were at last tricked into relaxing their watch on the roads in front of the Roman advance, he made a sudden dash and effected a crossing.44

9 When Porus, a king of the Indians, was keeping Alexander of Macedon from leading his troops across the river Hydaspes, the latter commanded his men to make a practice of running toward the water. When by that sort of manoeuvre he had led Porus to guard the opposite bank, he suddenly led his army across at a higher point of the stream.45

9aThe same Alexander, prevented by the enemy from crossing the river Indus, began to send horsemen into the water at different points and to threaten to effect a crossing. Then, when he had the barbarians keyed up with expectation, he seized an island a little further off, and from there sent troops to the further bank. When the entire force of the enemy rushed away to overwhelm this band, he himself crossed safely by fords left unguarded and reunited all his troops.45

10 Xenophon once ordered his men to attempt a crossing in two places, in the face of Armenians who had possession of the opposite bank. Being repulsed p33at the lower point, he passed to the upper; and when driven back from there also by the enemy's attack, he returned to the lower crossing, but only after ordering a part of his soldiers to remain behind and to cross by the upper passage, so soon as the Armenians should return to protect the lower. The Armenians, supposing that all were proceeding to the lower point, overlooked those remaining above, who, crossing the upper ford without molestation, defended their comrades as they also passed over.46

11 When Appius Claudius, consul in the first Punic War, was unable to transport his soldiers from the neighbourhood of Regium to Messina, because the Carthaginians were guarding the Straits, he caused the rumour to be spread that he could not continue a war which had been undertaken without the endorsement of the people, and turning about he pretended to set sail for Italy. Then, when the Carthaginians dispersed, believing he had gone, Appius turned back and landed in Sicily.47

12 When certain Spartan generals had planned to sail to Syracuse, but were afraid of the Carthaginian fleet anchored along the shore, they commanded that the ten Carthaginian ships which they had captured should go ahead as though victors, with their own vessels either lashed to their side or towed behind. Having deceived the Carthaginians by these appearances, the Spartans succeeded in passing by.48

13 When Philip was unable to sail through the straits called Stena,49 because the Athenian fleet kept guard at a strategic point, he wrote to Antipater that Thrace was in revolt, and that the garrisons which he had left there had been cut off, directing Antipater to leave all other matters and follow him. p35This letter Philip arranged to have fall into the hands of the enemy. The Athenians, imagining they had secured secret intelligence of the Macedonians, withdrew their fleet, while Philip now passed through the straits with no one to hinder him.50

9aThe Chersonese happened at one time to be controlled by the Athenians, and Philip was prevented from capturing it, owing to the fact that the strait was commanded by vessels not only of the Byzantines but also of the Rhodians and Chians; but Philip won the confidence of these peoples by returning their captured ships, as pledges of the peace to be arranged between himself and the Byzantines, who were the cause of the war. While the negotiations dragged on for some time and Philip purposely kept changing the details of the terms, in the interval he got ready a fleet, and eluding the enemy while they were off their guard, he suddenly sailed into the straits.51

14 When Chabrias, the Athenian, was unable to secure access to the harbour of the Samians on account of the enemy blockade, he sent a few of his own ships with orders to cross the mouth of the harbour, thinking that the enemy on guard would give chase. When the enemy were drawn away by this ruse, and no one now hindered, he secured possession of the harbour with the remainder of his fleet.52

V. On Escaping from Difficult Situations

1 When Quintus Sertorius, in the Spanish campaign, desired to cross a river while the enemy were harassing him from the rear, he had his men construct p37a crescent-shaped rampart on the bank, pile it high with timber, and set fire to it. When the enemy were thus cut off, he crossed the stream without hindrance.53

2 In like manner Pelopidas, the Theban, in the Thessalian war, sought to cross a certain stream. Choosing a site above the bank larger than was necessary for his camp, he constructed a rampart of chevaux-de‑frise and other materials, and set fire to it. Then, while the enemy were kept off by the fire, he crossed the stream.54

3 When Quintus Lutatius Catulus had been repulsed by the Cimbrians, and his only hope of safety lay in passing a stream the banks of which were held by the enemy, he displayed his troops on the nearest mountain, as though intending to camp there. Then he commanded his men not to loose their packs, or put down their loads, and not to quit the ranks or standards. In order the more effectively to strengthen the impression made upon the enemy, he ordered a few tents to be erected in open view, and fires to be built, while some built a rampart and others went forth in plain sight to collect wood. The Cimbrians, deeming these performances genuine, themselves also chose a place for a camp, scattering through the nearest fields to gather the supplies necessary for their stay. In this way they afforded Catulus opportunity not merely to cross the stream, but also to attack their camp.55

4 When Croesus could not ford the Halys, and had neither boats nor the means of building a bridge, he began up stream and constructed a ditch behind his camp, thus bringing the channel of the river in the rear of his army.56

p39 5 When Gnaeus Pompey at Brundisium had planned to leave Italy and to transfer the war to another field, since Caesar was heavy on his heels, just as he was on the point of embarking, he placed obstacles in some roads; others he blocked by constructing walls across them; others he intersected with trenches, setting sharp stakes in the latter, and laying hurdles covered with earth across the openings. Some of the roads leading to the harbour he guarded by throwing beams across and piling them one upon another in a huge heap. After consummating these arrangements, wishing to produce the appearance of intending to retain possession of the city, he left a few archers as a guard on the walls; the remainder of his troops he led out in good order to the ships. Then, when he was under way, the archers also withdrew by familiar roads, and overtook him in small boats.57

6 When the consul Gaius Duellius was caught by a chain stretched across the entrance to the harbour of Syracuse, which he had rashly entered, he assembled all his soldiers in the sterns of the boats, and when the boats were thus tilted up, he propelled them forward with the full force of his oarsmen. Thus lifted up over the chain, the prows moved forward. When this part of the boats had been carried over, the soldiers, returning to the prows, depressed these, and the weight thus transferred to them permitted the boats to pass over the chain.58

7 When Lysander, the Spartan, was blockaded in the harbour59 of the Athenians with his entire fleet, since the ships of the enemy were sunk at the point where the sea flows in through a very narrow p41entrance, he commanded his men to disembark secretly. Then, placing his ships on wheels, he transported them to the neighbouring harbour of Munychia.60

8 When Hirtuleius, lieutenant of Quintus Sertorius, was leading a few cohorts up a long narrow road in Spain between two precipitous mountains, and had learned that a large detachment of the enemy was approaching, he had a ditch dug across between the mountains, fenced it with a wooden rampart, set fire to this, and made his escape, while the enemy were thus cut off from attacking him.61

9 When Gaius Caesar led out his forces against Afranius in the Civil War, and had no means of retreating without danger, he had the first and second lines of battle remain in arms, just as they were drawn up, while the third secretly applied itself to work in the rear, and dug a ditch fifteen feet deep, within the line of which the soldiers under arms withdrew at sunset.62

10 Pericles the Athenian, being driven by the Peloponnesians into a place surrounded on all sides by precipitous cliffs and provided with only two outlets, dug a ditch of great breadth on one side, as if to shut out the enemy; on the other side he began to build a road, as if intending to make a sally by this. The besiegers, not supposing that Pericles' army would make its escape by the ditch which he had constructed, massed to oppose him on the side where the road was. But Pericles, spanning the ditch by bridges which he had made ready, extricated his men without interference.63

11 Lysimachus, one of the heirs to Alexander's power, having determined on one occasion to pitch p43his camp on a high hill, was conducted by the inadvertence of his men to a lower one. Fearing that the enemy would attack from above, he dug a triple line of trenches and encircled these with a rampart. Then, running a single trench around all the tents, he thus fortified the entire camp. Having thus shut off the advance of the enemy, he filled in the ditches with earth and leaves, and made his way across them to higher ground.64

12 Gaius Fonteius Crassus, when in Spain, having set out with three thousand men on a foraging expedition, was caught in an awkward position by Hasdrubal. At nightfall, when such a movement was least expected, communicating his plan only to the centurions of the first rank, he burst through the enemy's patrols.

13 Lucius Furius, having led his army into an unfavourable position, determined to conceal his anxiety, lest the others take alarm. By gradually changing his course, as though planning to attack the enemy after a wider circuit, he finally reversed his line of march, and led his army safely back, without their knowing what was going on.

14 When the consul Cornelius Cossus had been caught in a disadvantageous position by the enemy in the Samnite War, Publius Decius, tribune of the soldiers, urged him to send a small force to occupy a hill near by, and volunteered as leader of those who should be sent. The enemy, thus diverted to a different quarter, allowed the consul to escape, but surrounded Decius and besieged him. But Decius, extricating himself from this predicament by making a sortie at night, escaped with his men unharmed, and rejoined the consul.65

p45 15 Under the consul Atilius Calatinus the same thing was done by a man whose name is variously reported. Some say he was called Laberius, and some Quintus Caedicius, but most give it as Calpurnius Flamma. This man, seeing that the army had entered a valley, the sides and all commanding parts of which the enemy had occupied, asked and received from the consul three hundred soldiers. After exhorting these to save the army by their valour, he hastened to the centre of the valley. To crush him and his followers, the enemy descended from all quarters, but, being held in check in a long and fierce battle, they thus afforded the consul an opportunity to extricate his army.66

16 When the army of the consul Quintus Minucius had marched down into a defile of Liguria, and the memory of the disaster of the Caudine Forks occurred to the minds of all, Minucius ordered the Numidian auxiliaries, who seemed of small account because of their own wild appearance and the ungainliness of their steeds, to ride up to the mouth of the defile which the enemy held. The enemy were at first on the alert against attack, and threw out patrols. But when the Numidians, in order to inspire still more contempt for themselves, purposely affected to fall from their horses and to engage in ridiculous antics, the barbarians, breaking ranks at the novel sight, gave themselves up completely to the enjoyment of the show. When the Numidians noticed this, they gradually grew nearer, and putting spurs to their horses, dashed through the lightly held line of the enemy. Then they set fire to the fields near by, so that it became necessary for the Ligurians to withdraw to defend their own territory, thereby releasing the Romans shut up at the pass.67

p47 17 In the Social War, Lucius Sulla, surprised in a defile near Aesernia by the army of the enemy under the command of Duillius, asked for a conference, but was unsuccessful in negotiating terms of peace. Noting, however, that the enemy were careless and off their guard as a result of the truce, he marched forth at night, leaving only a trumpeter, with instructions to create the impression of the army's presence by sounding the watches, and to rejoin him when the fourth watch began. In this way he conducted his troops unharmed to a place of safety, with all their baggage and engines of war.68

18 The same Sulla, when fighting in Cappadocia against Archelaus, general of Mithridates, embarrassed by the difficulties of the terrain and the large numbers of the enemy, proposed peace. Then, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the truce, which served to divert the watchfulness of his adversary, he slipped out of his hands.69

19 Hasdrubal, brother of Hannibal, when unable to make his way out of a defile the entrance of which was held by the enemy, entered into negotiations with Claudius Nero and promised to withdraw from Spain if allowed to depart. Then, by quibbling over the terms, he dragged out negotiations for several days, during all of which time he was busy sending out his troops in detachments by way of paths so narrow that they were overlooked by the Romans. Finally he himself easily made his escape with the remainder, who were light-armed.70

20 When Marcus Crassus had constructed a ditch around the forces of Spartacus, the latter at night filled it with the bodies of prisoners and cattle that he had slain, and thus marched across it.71

p49 21 The same Spartacus, when besieged on the slopes of Vesuvius at the point where the mountain was steepest and on that account unguarded, plaited ropes of osiers from the woods. Letting himself down by these, he not only made his escape, but by appearing in another quarter struck such terror into Clodius that several cohorts gave way before a force of only seventy-four gladiators.72

22 This Spartacus, when enveloped by the troops of the proconsul Publius Varinius, placed stakes at short intervals before the gate of the camp; then setting up corpses, dressed in clothes and furnished with weapons, he tied these to the stakes to give the appearance of sentries when viewed from a distance. He also lighted fires throughout the whole camp. Deceiving the enemy by this empty show, Spartacus by night silently led out his troops.73

23 When Brasidas, a general of the Spartans, was surprised near Amphipolis by a host of Athenians who outnumbered him, he allowed himself to be enveloped, in order to diminish the density of the enemy's ranks by lengthening the line of besiegers. Then he broke through at the point where the line was most lightly held.74

24 Iphicrates, when campaigning in Thrace, having on one occasion pitched his camp on low ground, discovered through scouts that the neighbouring hill was held by the enemy, and that from it came down a single road which might be utilized to overwhelm him and his men. Accordingly he left a few men in camp at night, and commanded them to light a number of fires. Then leading forth his troops and ranging them along the sides of the p51road just mentioned, he suffered the barbarians to pass by. When in this way the disadvantage of terrain from which he himself suffered had been turned against them, with part of his army he overwhelmed their rear, while with another part he captured their camp.75

25 Darius, in order to deceive the Scythians, left dogs and asses in camp at his departure. When the enemy heard these barking and braying, they imagined that Darius was still there.76

26 To produce a like misconception in the minds of our men, the Ligurians, in various places, tied bullocks to trees with halters. The animals, being thus separated, bellowed incessantly and produced the impression that the Ligurians were still there.

27 Hanno, when enveloped by the enemy, selected the point in the line best suited for a sortie, and, piling up light stuff, set fire to it. Then, when the enemy withdrew to guard the other exits, he marched his men straight through the fire, directing them to protect their faces with their shields, and their legs with their clothing.

28 Hannibal on one occasion was embarrassed by difficulties of terrain, by lack of supplies, and by the circumstance that Fabius Maximus was heavy on his heels. Accordingly he tied bundles of lighted fagots to the horns of oxen, and turned the animals loose at night. When the flames spread, fanned by the motion, the panic-stricken oxen ran wildly hither and thither over the mountains to which they had been driven, illuminating the whole scene. The Romans, who had gathered to witness the sight, at first thought a prodigy had occurred. Then, when scouts reported the facts, Fabius, fearing an ambush, p53kept his men in camp. Meanwhile the barbarians marched away, as no one prevented them.77

VI. On Laying and Meeting Ambushes while on the March

1 When Fulvius Nobilior was leading his army from Samnium against the Lucanians, and had learned from deserters that the enemy intended to attack his rearguard, he ordered his bravest legion to go in advance, and the baggage train to follow in the rear. The enemy, regarding this circumstance as a favourable opportunity, began to plunder the baggage. Fulvius then marshalled five cohorts of the legion I have mentioned above on the right side of the road, and five on the left. Then, when the enemy were intent on plundering, Fulvius, deploying his troops on both flanks, enveloped the foe and cut them to pieces.

2 The same Nobilior on one occasion was hard pressed from the rear by the enemy, as he was on the march. Across his route ran a stream, not so large as to prevent passage, but large enough to cause delay by the swiftness of the current.78 On the nearer side of this, Nobilior placed one legion in hiding, in order that the enemy, despising his small numbers, might follow more boldly. When this expectation was realized, the legion which had been posted for the purpose attacked the enemy from ambush and destroyed them.

3 When Iphicrates was leading his army in Thrace in a long file on account of the nature of the terrain, and the report was brought to him that the enemy planned to attack his rearguard, he ordered some p55cohorts to withdraw to both flanks and halt, while the rest were to quicken their pace and flee.79 But from the complete line as it passed by, he kept back all the choicest soldiers. Thus, when the enemy were busy with promiscuous pillaging, and in fact were already exhausted, while his own men were refreshed and drawn up in order, he attacked and routed the foe and stripped them of their booty.80

4 When our army was about to pass through the Litana Forest, the Boii cut into the trees at the base, leaving them only a slender support by which to stand, until they should be pushed over. Then the Boii hid at the further edge of the woods and by toppling over the nearest trees caused the fall of those more distant, as soon as our men entered the forest. In that way they spread general disaster among the Romans, and destroyed a large force.81

VII. How to conceal the Absence of the Things we lack, or to supply Substitutes for Them

1 Lucius Caecilius Metellus, lacking ships with which to transport his elephants, fastened together large earthen jars, covered them with planking, and then, loading the elephants on these, ferried them across the Sicilian Straits.82

2 When Hannibal on one occasion could not force his elephants to ford an especially deep stream, having neither boats nor material of which to construct them, he ordered one of his men to wound the most savage elephant under the ear, and then straightway to swim across the stream and take to his heels. The infuriated elephant, eager to pursue p57the author of his suffering, swam the stream, and thus set an example for the rest to make the same venture.83

3 When the Carthaginian admirals were about to equip their fleet, but lacked broom,84 they cut off the hair of their women and employed it for making cordage.85

4 The Massilians and Rhodians did the same.

5 Marcus Antonius, when a refugee from Mutina, gave his soldiers bark to use as shields.86

6 Spartacus and his troops had shields made of osiers and covered with hides.87

7 This place, I think, is not inappropriate for recounting that famous deed of Alexander of Macedon. Marching along the desert roads of Africa, and suffering in common with his men from most distressing thirst, when some water was brought him in a helmet by a soldier, he poured it out upon the ground in the sight of all, in this way serving his soldiers better by his example of restraint than if he had been able to share the water with the rest.88

VIII. On Distracting the Attention of the Enemy

1 When Coriolanus was seeking to avenge by war the shame of his own condemnation, he prevented the ravaging of the lands of the patricians, while burning and harrying those of the plebeians, in order to arouse discord whereby to destroy the harmony of the Romans.89

p59 2 When Hannibal had proved no match for Fabius either in character or in generalship, in order to smirch him with dishonour, he spared his lands, when he ravaged all others. To meet this assault, Fabius transferred the title to his property to the State, thus, by his loftiness of character, preventing his honour from falling under the suspicion of his fellow-citizens.90

3 In the fifth consulship of Fabius Maximus, the Gauls, Umbrians, Etruscans, and Samnites had formed an alliance against the Roman people. Against these tribes Fabius first constructed a fortified camp beyond the Apennines in the region of Sentinum. Then he wrote to Fulvius and Postumius, who were guarding the City, directing them to move on Clusium with their forces. When these commanders complied, the Etruscans and Umbrians withdrew to defend their own possessions, while Fabius and his colleague Decius attacked and defeated the remaining forces of Samnites and Gauls.91

4 When the Sabines levied a large army, left their own territory, and invaded ours, Manius Curius by secret routes sent against them a force which ravaged their lands and villages and set fire to them in divers places. In order to avert this destruction of their country, the Sabines thereupon withdrew. But Curius succeeded in devastating their country while it was unguarded, in repelling their army without an engagement, and then in slaughtering it piecemeal.92

5 Titus Didius at one time lacked confidence because of the small number of his troops, but continued the war in hope of the arrival of certain legions which he was awaiting. On hearing that the p61enemy planned to attack these legions, he called an assembly of the soldiers and ordered them to get ready for battle, and purposely to exercise a careless supervision over their prisoners. As a result, a few of the latter escaped and reported to their people that battle was imminent. The enemy, to avoid dividing their strength when expecting battle, abandoned their plan of attacking those for whom they were lying in wait, so that the legions arrived without hindrance and in perfect safety at the camp of Didius.93

6 In the Punic War certain cities had resolved to revolt from the Romans to the Carthaginians, but wishing, before they revolted, to recover the hostages they had given, they pretended that an uprising had broken out among their neighbours which Roman commissioners ought to come and suppress. When the Romans sent these envoys, the cities detained them as counter-pledges, and refused to restore them until they themselves recovered their own hostages.

7 After defeat of the Carthaginians, King Antiochus sheltered Hannibal and utilized his counsel against the Romans. When Roman envoys were sent to Antiochus, they held frequent conferences with Hannibal, and thus caused him to become an object of suspicion to the king, to whom he was otherwise most agreeable and useful, in consequence of his cleverness and experience in war.94

8 When Quintus Metellus was waging war against Jugurtha, he bribed the envoys sent him to betray the king into his hands. When other envoys came, he did the same; and with a third embassy he adopted the same policy. But his efforts to take p63Jugurtha prisoner met with small success, for Metellus wished the king to be delivered into his hands alive. And yet he accomplished a great deal, for when his letters addressed to the friends of the king were intercepted, the king punished all these men, and, being thus deprived of advisers, was unable to secure any friends for the future.95

9 Gaius Caesar on one occasion caught a soldier who had gone to procure water, and learned from him that Afranius and Petreius planned to break camp that night. In order to hamper the plans of the enemy, and yet not cause alarm to his own troops, Caesar early in the evening gave orders to sound the signal for breaking camp, and commanded mules to be driven past the camp of the enemy with noise and shouting. Thinking that Caesar was breaking camp, his adversaries stayed where they were, precisely as Caesar desired.96

10 When, on one occasion, reinforcements and provisions were on the way to Hannibal, Scipio, wishing to intercept these, sent ahead Minucius Thermus, and arranged to come himself to lend his support.97

11 When the Africans were planning to cross over to Sicily in vast numbers in order to attack Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, the latter constructed strongholds in many places and commanded their defenders to surrender them at the coming of the enemy, and then, when they retired, to return secretly to Syracuse. The Africans were forced to occupy the captured strongholds with garrisons, whereupon Dionysius, having reduced the army of his opponents to the scanty number which he desired, and being now approximately on an equality, attacked and p65defeated them, since he had concentrated his own forces, and had separated those of his adversaries.98

12 When Agesilaus, the Spartan, was waging war against Tissaphernes, he pretended to make for Caria, as though likely to fight more advantageously in mountainous districts against an enemy strong in cavalry. When he had advertised to this purpose, and had thus drawn Tissaphernes off to Caria, he himself invaded Lydia, where the capital the enemy's kingdom was situated, and having crushed those in command at that place, he obtained possession of the king's treasure.99

IX. On Quelling a Mutiny of Soldiers

1 When the consul, Aulus Manlius, had learned that the soldiers had formed a plot in their winter-quarters in Campania to murder their hosts and seize their property, he disseminated the report that they would winter next season in the same place. Having thus postponed the plans of the conspirators, he rescued Campania from peril, and, so soon as occasion offered, inflicted punishment on the guilty.100

2 When on one occasion legions of Roman soldiers had broken out in a dangerous mutiny, Lucius Sulla shrewdly restored sanity to the frenzied troops; for he ordered a sudden announcement to be made that the enemy were at hand, bidding a shout to be raised by those summoning the men to arms, and the trumpets to be sounded. Thus the mutiny was broken up by the union of all forces against the foe.

3 When the senate of Milan had been massacred by Pompey's troops, Pompey, fearing that he might p67cause a mutiny if he should call out the guilty alone, ordered certain ones who were innocent to come interspersed among the others. In this way the guilty came with less fear, because they had not been singled out, and so did not seem to be sent for in consequence of any wrong-doing; while those whose conscience was clear kept watch on the guilty, lest by the escape of these the innocent should be disgraced.

4 When certain legions of Gaius Caesar mutinied, and in such a way as to seem to threaten even the life of their commander, he concealed his fear, and, advancing straight to the soldiers, with grim visage, readily granted discharge to those asking it. But these men were no sooner discharged than penitence forced them to apologize to their commander and to pledge themselves to greater loyalty in future enterprises.101

X. How to Check an Unseasonable Demand for Battle

1 After Quintus Sertorius had learned by experience that he was by no means a match for the whole Roman army, in order to prove this to the barbarians also, who were rashly demanding battle, he brought into their presence two horses, one very strong, the other very feeble. Then he brought up two youths of corresponding physique, one robust, the other slight. The stronger youth was commanded to pull out the entire tail of the feeble horse, while the slight youth was commanded to pull out the hairs of the strong horse one by one. Then, when the slight youth had succeeded in his p69task, while the strong one was still vainly struggling with the tail of the weak horse, Sertorius observed: "By this illustration I have exhibited to you, my men, the nature of the Roman cohorts. They are invincible to him who attacks them in a body; yet he who assails them by groups will tear and rend them."102

2 When the same Sertorius saw his men rashly demanding the signal for battle and thought them in danger of disobeying orders unless they should engage the enemy, he permitted a squadron of cavalry to advance to harass the foe. When these troops became involved in difficulties, he sent others to their relief, and thus rescued all, showing more safely, and without injury, what would have been the outcome of the battle they had demanded. After that he found his men most amenable.103

3 When Agesilaus, the Spartan, was fighting against the Thebans and had encamped on the bank of a stream, being aware that the forces of the enemy far outnumbered his own, and wishing therefore to keep his men from the desire of fighting, he announced that he had been bidden by a response of the gods to fight on high ground. Accordingly, posting a small guard on the bank, he withdrew to the hills. The Thebans, interpreting this as a mark of fear, crossed the stream, easily dislodged the defending troops, and, following the rest too eagerly, were defeated by a smaller force, owing to the difficulties of the terrain.104

4 Scorylo, a chieftain of the Dacians, though he knew that the Romans were torn with the dissensions of the civil wars, yet did not think he ought to venture on any enterprise against them, inasmuch p71as a foreign war might be the means of uniting the citizens in harmony. Accordingly he pitted two dogs in combat before the populace, and when they became engaged in a desperate encounter, exhibited a wolf to them. The dogs straightway abandoned their fury against each other and attacked the wolf. By this illustration, Scorylo kept the barbarians from a movement which could only have benefited the Romans.

XI. How to arouse an Army's Enthusiasm for battle

1 When the consuls Marcus Fabius and Gnaeus Manlius were warring against the Etruscans, and the soldiers mutinied against fighting, the consuls on their side feigned a policy of delay, until soldiers, wrought upon by the taunts of the enemy, demanded battle and swore to return from it victorious.105

2 Fulvius Nobilior, deeming it necessary to fight with a small force against a large army of the Samnites who were flushed with success, pretended that one legion of the enemy had been bribed by him to turn traitor; and to strengthen belief in this story, he commanded the tribunes, the "first rank,"106 and the centurions to contribute all the ready money they had, or any gold and silver, in order that the price might be paid the traitors at once. He promised that, when victory was achieved, he would give generous presents besides to those who contributed for this purpose. This assurance brought such ardour and confidence to the Romans that they straightway opened battle and won a glorious victory.

p73 3 Gaius Caesar, when about to fight the Germans and their king, Ariovistus, at a time when his own men had been thrown into panic, called his soldiers together and declared to the assembly that on that day he proposed to employ the services of the tenth legion alone. In this way he caused the soldiers of this legion to be stirred by his tribute to their unique heroism, while the rest were overwhelmed with mortification to think that reputation for courage should rest with others.107

4 Quintus Fabius Maximus, since he knew full well that the Romans possessed a spirit of independence which was roused by insult, and since he expected nothing just or reasonable from the Carthaginians, sent envoys to Carthage to inquire about terms of peace. When the envoys brought back proposals full of injustice and arrogance, the army of the Romans was stirred to combat.108

5 When Agesilaus, general of the Spartans, had his camp near the allied city of Orchomenos and learned that very many of his soldiers were depositing their valuables within the fortifications, he commanded the townspeople to receive nothing belonging to his troops, in order that his soldiers might fight with more spirit, when they realised that they must fight for all their possessions.109

6 Epaminondas, general of the Thebans, on one occasion, when about to engage in battle with the Spartans, acted as follows. In order that his soldiers might not only exercise their strength, but also be stirred by their feelings, he announced in an assembly of his men that the Spartans had resolved, in case of victory, to massacre all males, to lead the wives and children of those executed into bondage, p75and to raze Thebes to the ground. By this announcement the Thebans were so roused that they overwhelmed the Spartans at the first onset.110

7 When Leotychides, the Spartan admiral, was on the point of fighting a naval battle on the very day when the allies had been victorious, although he was ignorant of the fact, he nevertheless announced that he had received news of the victory of their side, in order that in this way he might find his men more resolute for the encounter.111

8 When two youths, mounted on horseback, appeared in the battle which Aulus Postumius fought with the Latins, Postumius roused the drooping spirits of his men by declaring that the strangers were Castor and Pollux. In this way he inspired them to fresh combat.112

9 Archidamus, the Spartan, when waging war against the Arcadians, set up weapons in camp, and ordered horses to be led around them secretly at night. In the morning, pointing to their tracks and claiming that Castor and Pollux had ridden through the camp, he convinced his men that the same gods would also lend them aid in the battle itself.113

10 On one occasion when Pericles, general of the Athenians, was about to engage in battle, noticing a grove from which both armies were visible, very dense and dark, but unoccupied and consecrated to Father Pluto, he took a man of enormous stature, made imposing by high buskins, purple robes, and flowing hair, and placed him in the grove, mounted high on a chariot drawn by gleaming white horses. This man was instructed to drive forth, when the signal for battle should be given, to call Pericles by name, and to encourage him by declaring that the p77gods were lending their aid to the Athenians. As a result, the enemy turned and fled almost before a dart was hurled.

11 Lucius Sulla, in order to make his soldiers readier for combat, pretended that the future was foretold him by the gods. His last act, before engaging in battle, was to pray, in the sight of his army, to a small image which he had taken from Delphi, entreating it to speed the promised victory.114

12 Gaius Marius had a certain wisewoman from Syria, from whom he pretended to learn in advance the outcome of battles.115

13 Quintus Sertorius, employing barbarian troops who were not amenable to reason, used to take with him through Lusitania a beautiful white deer, and claimed that from it he knew in advance what ought to be done, and what avoided. In this way he aimed to induce the barbarians to obey all his commands as though divinely inspired.116

[This sort of stratagem is to be used not merely in cases when we deem those to whom we apply it simple-minded, but much more when the ruse invented is such as might be thought to have been suggested by the gods.]

14 Alexander of Macedon on one occasion, when about to make sacrifice, used a preparation to inscribe certain letters on the hand which the priest was about to place beneath the vitals. These letters indicated that victory was vouchsafed to Alexander. When the steaming liver had received the impress of these characters and had been displayed by the king to the soldiers, the circumstances raised their spirits, since they thought that the god gave them assurance of victory.117

p79 15 The soothsayer Sudines did the same thing when Eumenes was about to engage in battle with the Gauls.118

16 Epaminondas, the Theban in his contest against the Spartans, thinking that the confidence of his troops needed strengthening by an appeal to religious sentiment, removed by night the weapons which were attached to the decorations of the temples, and convinced his soldiers that the gods were attending his march, in order to lend their aid in the battle itself.119

17 Agesilaus, the Spartan, on one occasion captured certain Persians. The appearance of these people, when dressed in uniform, inspired great terror. But Agesilaus stripped his prisoners and exhibited them to his soldiers, in order that their delicate white bodies might excite contempt.120

18 Gelo, tyrant of Syracuse, having undertaken war against the Carthaginians, after taking many prisoners, stripped all the feeblest, especially from among the auxiliaries, who were very swarthy, and exhibited them nude before the eyes of his troops, in order to convince his men that their foes were contemptible.121

19 Cyrus, king of the Persians, wishing to rouse the ambition of his men, employed them an entire day in the fatiguing labour of cutting down a certain forest. Then on the following day he gave them a most generous feast, and asked them which they liked better. When they had expressed their preference for the feast, he said: "And yet it is only through the former that we can arrive at the latter; for unless you conquer the Medes, you cannot be free and happy." In this way he roused them to the desire for combat.122

p81 20 Lucius Sulla, in the campaign against Archelaus, general of Mithridates, found his troops somewhat disinclined for battle at the Piraeus. But by imposing tiresome tasks upon his men he brought them to the point where they demanded the signal for battle of their own accord.123

21 Fabius Maximus, fearing that his troops would fight less resolutely in consequence of their reliance on their ships, to which it was possible to retreat, ordered the ships to be set on fire before the battle began.124

XII. On Dispelling the Fears Inspired in Soldiers by Adverse Omens

1 Scipio, having transported his army from Italy to Africa, stumbled as he was disembarking. When he saw the soldiers struck aghast at this, by his steadiness and loftiness of spirit he converted their cause of concern into one of encouragement, by saying: "Congratulate me, my men! I have hit Africa hard."125

2 Gaius Caesar, having slipped as he was about to embark on ship, exclaimed: "I hold thee fast, Mother Earth." By this interpretation of the incident he made it seem that he was destined to come back to the lands from which he was setting out.126

3 When the consul Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was engaged in battle with the Picentines, a sudden earthquake threw both sides into panic. Thereupon Gracchus put new strength and courage into his men by urging them to attack the enemy while the latter were overwhelmed with superstitious awe. Thus he fell upon them and defeated them.127

p83 4 Sertorius, when by a sudden prodigy the outsides of the shields of his cavalrymen and the breasts of their horses showed marks of blood, interpreted this as a mark of victory, since those were the parts which were wont to be spattered with the blood of the enemy.

5 Epaminondas, the Theban, when his soldiers were depressed because the decoration hanging from his spear like a fillet had been torn away by the wind and carried to the tomb of a certain Spartan, said: "Do not be concerned, comrades! Destruction is foretold for the Spartans. Tombs are not decorated except for funerals."128

5 The same Epaminondas, when a meteor fell from the sky by night and struck terror to the hearts of those who noticed it, exclaimed: "It is a light sent us from the powers above."

7 When the same Epaminondas was about to open battle against the Spartans, the chair on which he had sat down gave way beneath him, whereat all the soldiers, greatly troubled, interpreted this as an unlucky omen. But Epaminondas exclaimed: "Not at all; we are simply forbidden to sit."129

8 Gaius Sulpicius Gallus not only announced an approaching eclipse of the moon, in order to prevent the soldiers from taking it as a prodigy, but also gave the reasons and causes of the eclipse.130

9 When Agathocles, the Syracusan, was fighting against the Carthaginians, and his soldiers on the eve of battle were thrown into panic by a similar eclipse of the moon, which they interpreted as a prodigy, he explained the reason why this happened, and showed them that, whatever it was, it had to do with nature, and not with their own purposes.131

p85 10 Pericles, when a thunderbolt struck his camp and terrified his soldiers, calling an assembly, struck fire by knocking two stones together in the sight of all his men. He thus allayed their panic by explaining that the thunderbolt was similarly produced by the contact of the clouds.

11 When Timotheus, the Athenian, was about to contend against the Corcyreans in a naval battle, his pilot, hearing one of the rowers sneeze, started to give the signal for retreat, just as the fleet was setting out; whereupon Timotheus exclaimed: "Do you think it strange if one out of so many thousands has had a chill?"132

12 As Chabrias, the Athenian, was about to fight a naval battle, a thunderbolt fell directly across the path of his ship. When the soldiers were filled with dismay at such a portent, he said: "Now is the very time to begin battle, when Jupiter, mightiest of the gods, reveals that his power is present with our fleet."133


The Editor's Notes:

1 Sextus Frontinus: The praenomen appears at the beginning of Book II in one MS., P.

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2 I have undertaken to reduce to system the rules of military science: Frontinus alludes to his work on the Art of War. This is now lost.

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3 Cato's memos: 195 B.C. Cf. Appian Hisp. 41.

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4 Himilco's memos: 396 B.C. Cf. Polyaenus V.X.2.

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5 Laelius' slave: 203 B.C. Cf. Liv. XXX.4.

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6 Tarquin the Proud: The surname Superbus, here given to Tarquinius Priscus, the father, is usually applied only to his son, the last Roman king.

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7 Tarquin's poppies: Cf. Liv. I.54; Val. Max. VII.IV.2. Herod. V.92 tells the same story of Periander and Thrasybulus.

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8 the city: Alexandria.

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9 Caesar's riotous living in Egypt: 48 B.C. Cf. Appian C. II.89.

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10 Ventidius' tale of fears: Since Ventidius really wished the Parthians to take his longer route, that his reinforcement might have time to arrive, he led Pharnaeus to believe that he hoped they would cross by the shorter route. For he knew that Pharnaeus would counsel the Parthians to take the course of action not desired by himself.

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11 bridge: The text is very uncertain at this point, though the general meaning is clear.

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12 Ventidius and Pacorus: 38 B.C. Cf. Dio XLIX.19.

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13 Mithridates' foraging and fires: 66 B.C. Cf. Appian Mithr. 98.

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14 Domitian's census: 83 A.D.

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15 Claudius Nero's phantom camp: 207 B.C. Cf. Val. Max. VII.IV.4; Livy XXVII.43 ff.

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16 Themistocles plays sick: 478 B.C. Cf. Thuc. I.90 ff.

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17 Metellus Pius' talking tunic: 79‑72 B.C. Cf. Val. Max. VII.IV.5.

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18 Crassus' deaf soldier: Plut. Demetr. 28 tells the same story of Antigonus and Demetrius.

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19 After they had reported the results of their observations, the destruction of the camp by fire: i.e. the information furnished by the spies enabled Scipio to set fire to the camp of Syphax.

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20 Scipio's loose horse: 203 B.C. Cf. Liv. XXX.4 ff.

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21 Fabius Caeso spies on the Etruscans: 310 B.C. Cf. Liv. IX.36.

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22 Hamilcar Rhodinus, fickle friend: 331 B.C. Cf. Justin. XXI.VI.1.

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23 Cato tortures a soldier: 195 B.C. Plut. Cat. Maj. 13 attributes this stratagem to Cato at Thermopylae four years later.

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24 the inner part: The letter was presumably in codex form, with the second and third leaves fastened together by a special seal.

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25 Marius' "don't read this": 104 B.C.

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26 Aemilius Paulus at Vetulonia: Q. Aemilius Papus, consul in 282 and 278 B.C., waged war on the Etruscans. Pliny N. H. III.138 shows a like confusion of these names.

Thayer's Note: Not only it's not Aemilius Paulus, it's apparently not Vetulonia, either; or at least, there seems to be a definite bit of silent emendation in the Loeb edition, the manuscripts reading Colonia. The battle is now usually referred to as that of Telamon. George Dennis discusses several opinions: see his chapter on Rusellae.

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27 Tisamenus' birds: Cf. Polyaen. II.XXXVII.

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28 Hasdrubal's thin horses: 207 B.C. Cf. I.I.9 and Livy XXVII.47.

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29 Fabius Maximus' delaying: 217 B.C. Cf. Livy XXII.XII.6‑12.

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30 impatient Philip: 339 B.C. Cf. Justin IX.1.

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31 Hasdrubal splits up his forces: 207 B.C. Cf. Livy XXVIII.2‑3.

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32 Themistocles' emergency preparations: 480 B.C. Cf. Herod. VIII.41.

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33 Pericles' emergency preparations: 431 B.C. Cf. Thuc. I.143.

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34 Scipio brings the war home to the Carthaginians: 204 B.C. Cf. Appian Hann. 55; Livy XXVIII.40 ff.

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35 the Athenians bring the war home to the Spartans: 413 B.C. Cf. Thuc. VII.18.

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36 Domitian extends the frontline: 83 A.D.

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37 scorpion: A military engine for throwing darts, stones, and other missiles.

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38 Aemilius Paulus' human shields: 282 B.C. Cf. Zonar. VIII.2. Since no Aemilius Paulus waged war with the Tarentines, this is probably the Papus referred to in the note to I.II.7.

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39 Agesilaus' human shields: 396 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. II.I.30.

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40 Agesilaus' feint towards Thebes: 394 or 377 B.C. Cf. Zen. Hell. V.IV.49 ff.; Polyaen. II.I.24.

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41 Autophradates' false retreat: 359‑330 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. VII.XXVII.1.

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42 Philip's dilatory peace negotiations: 210 B.C.

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43 Iphicrates' Seals: 389‑388 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. III.IX.33.

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44 Pompey's troops march around a lot: Cf. the Spartan trick at Aegospotami, Xen. Hell. II.I.21 ff.

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45 Alexander crosses the Hydaspes: 326 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. IV.III.9; Plut. Alex. 60; Curt. VIII.13.5 ff.º Frontinus, misled by different names given to the river, probably took the same story from two different sources. Cf. Introd. p. xxv.º

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46 Xenophon makes the Armenians run back and forth: 401 B.C. Cf. Xen. Anab. IV.III.20; Polyaen. I.XLIX.4.

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47 Appius Claudius' constitutional war powers rumour: 264 B.C. Cf. Polyb. I.XI.9. Zonar. VIII.VIII.6 gives a somewhat different account of this crossing.

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48 The Spartan navy disguises itself as Carthaginians: 397 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. II.XI.

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49 the straits called Stena: i.e., the Hellespont.

Thayer's Note: Stena isn't really a geographical name here; the word just means "the narrows".

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50 Philip's disinformation: 340‑339 B.C. Polyaen. IV.II.8attributes this stratagem to Philip on the occasion of his march against Amphissa.

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51 Philip's dilatory peace negotiations: 339 B.C.

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52 Chabrias' lure: 388 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. III.XI.10.12.

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53 Quintus Sertorius' firewall: 80‑72 B.C.

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54 Pelopidas' firewall: 369‑364 B.C. cf. Polyaen. II.IV.2.

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55 Lutatius Catulus' phantom camp: 102 B.C.

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56 Croesus diverts a river: 546 B.C. Cf. Herod. I.75.

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57 Pompey fortifies Brundisium: 49 B.C. Cf. Caes. B.C. I.27‑28.

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58 Chained harbor no obstacle to Duilius: 260 B.C. Zonar. VIII.16 makes Hippo, rather than Syracuse, the scene of this stratagem.

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59 harbour: Piraeus.

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60 Lysander's ships on wheels: 404 B.C.

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61 Hirtuleius' firewall: 79‑75 B.C.

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62 Caesar's stealthy retreat: 49 B.C. Cf. Caes. B.C. I.42.

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63 Pericles' backdoor escape: 430 B.C. Cf. III.IX.9. Variations of the same story. Polyaen. V.X.3 attributes this stratagem to Himilco.

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64 Lysimachus' troops dig trenches and fill them in: 323‑281 B.C.

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65 Publius Decius' diversion: 343 B.C. Cf. Liv. VII.34 ff.

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66 Calpurnius Flamma's diversion: 258 B.C. Cf. Livy XXII.LX.11; Zonar. VIII.12. Gell. III.7 gives a different account of this incident.

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67 Minucius' clumsy Numidians: 193 B.C. Cf. Livy XXXV.11.

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68 Sulla's trumpeter: 90 B.C.

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69 Sulla's truce: 92 B.C.

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70 Hasdrubal's dilatory peace negotiations: 211 B.C. Cf. Livy XXVI.17; Zonar. IX.7.

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71 Spartacus' bridge of corpses: 71 B.C.

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72 Spartacus' wicker ropes: 73 B.C. Cf. Plut. Crassus 9; Flor. III.20.

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73 Spartacus' corpses stand guard: 73 B.C.

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74 Brasidas lets himself be surrounded: 424 or 422 B.C. Cf. Thuc. IV.102, 106 ff.; V.6‑11.

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75 Iphicrates' ambush: 389 B.C. This same story is told in II.XI.4. Cf. also Polyaen. III.IX.41, 46, 50.

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76 Darius' dogs and donkeys: 513 B.C. Cf. Herod. IV.135; Polyaen. VII.XI.4.

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77 Hannibal's flaming oxen: 217 B.C. Cf. Livy XXII.16‑17; Appian Hann. 14‑15.

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78 large enough to cause delay: Thus giving him time to set this ambush.

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79 quicken their pace and flee: i.e. to give the appearance of flight.

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80 Iphicrates' rested troops: 389 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. III.IX.49, 54.

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81 the Boii's falling timber: 216 B.C. Twenty-five thousand, according to Livy XXIII.24.

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82 Metellus' elephant floaters: 250 B.C. Cf. Zonar. VIII.14.

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83 Hannibal's recalcitrant elephants: 218 B.C. Cf. Livy XXI.XXVIII.5‑12.

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84 broom: The Spanish broom, used for making rope.

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85 The Carthaginians make cordage: 146 B.C. Cf. Flor. II.XV.10.

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86 Mark Anthony's bark shields: 43 B.C.

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87 Spartacus' wicker shields: 73 B.C. Cf. Flor. III.XX.6.

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88 Alexander leads his men: 332‑331 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. IV.III.25. Curt. VII.V.9‑12 and Plut Alex. 42 have a slightly different version.

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89 Coriolanus' selective pillage: 489 B.C. Cf. Livy II.XXXIX.5‑8; Plut. Coriol. 27.

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90 Hannibal and Fabius' real estate: 217 B.C. Cf. Livy XXII.XXIII.1‑8; Plut. Fab. 7. Polyaen. I.XXXVI.2 attributes a like act to Pericles.

Thayer's Note: and Plutarch to Coriolanus (Plut. Cor. 27.3).

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91 Fabius Maximus divides the enemy: 295 B.C. Cf. Livy X.27.

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92 Manius Curius' diversionary attacks: 290 B.C.

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93 Titus Didius calls for battle: 98‑93 B.C. In Spain.

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94 The Romans undermine Hannibal's influence: 192 B.C. Cf. Livy XXXV.14; Nep. Hann. 2.

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95 Metellus' letters to Jugurtha's advisers: 108 B.C. Cf. Sall. Jug. 61, 62, 70, 72.

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96 Caesar breaks camp: 49 B.C. Cf. Caes. B.C. I.66.

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97 Scipio intercepts Hannibal's reinforcements: 202 B.C. Cf. Appian Pun. 36.

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98 Dionysius ties his enemies down: 396 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. V.II.9.

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99 Agesilaus' disinformation: 395 B.C. Cf. Xen. Hell. III.IV.20; Plut. Ages. 9‑10; Nep. Ages. 3.

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100 Manlius foils a mutiny: Livy VII.38‑39 attributes this stratagem to C. Marcius Rutilius, consul in 342 B.C.

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101 Caesar forestalls a mutiny: 47 B.C. Cf. Suet. Caes. 70; Appian B. C. II.92.

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102 Sertorius' horsetails: 80‑72 B.C. Cf. Val. Max. VII.III.6; Plut. Sert. 16; Hor. Epist. II.I.45 ff.; Plin. Epist. III.IX.11.

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103 Sertorius gives his men a taste of the battle they want: 80‑72 B.C. Cf. Plut. Sert. 16.

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104 Agesilaus listens to the gods: 369 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. II.1.27.

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105 Fabius and Manlius let their troops sit on the sidelines: 480 B.C. Cf. Livy II.XLIII.11‑xlv; Dionys. IX.7‑10.

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106 first rank: These were a special class of centurions.

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107 Caesar chooses the tenth legion: 58 B.C. Cf. Caes. B.C. I.XXXIX.7, XL.1, 14 ff.

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108 Fabius Maximus goes out and gets a bad treaty offer: 217‑203 B.C.

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109 Agesilaus prohibits safe deposits: Cf. Polyaen. II.I.18.

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110 Epaminondas terrifies his own people: 371 B.C.

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111 Leotychides' victory announcement: 479 B.C. Cf. Diodor. XI.34‑35; Polyaen. I.33. Herod. IX.100‑101 has a different version.

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112 Aulus Postumius recognizes the Dioscuri: 496 B.C. Cf. Val. Max. I.VIII.1; Cic. De Nat. Deor. II.II.6; Dionys. VI.13.

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113 Archidamus and the horses of the Dioscuri: 467 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. I.XLI.1.

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114 Sulla's prayers: Cf. Val. Max. I.II.3; Plut. Sulla 29.

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115 Marius' Syrian wisewoman: Cf. Val. Max. I.II.3a; Plut. Mar. 17; Gell. XV.22.

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116 Sertorius' beautiful white deer: Cf. Val. Max. I.II.4; Plut. Sertor. 11; Gell. XV.22.

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117 Alexander's favorable entrails: Cf. Polyaen. IV.III.14 and IV.XX. Plut. Apophth. Lacon. Ages. Magni 77 attributes this stratagem to Agesilaus.

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118 Sudines' favorable entrails: Cf. Polyaen. IV.XX.

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119 Epaminondas' statues prepare for battle: 371 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. II.III.8 and 12.

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120 Agesilaus' naked prisoners: 395 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. II.I.6; Xen. Hell. III.IV.19; Plut. Ages. 9.

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121 Gelo's naked prisoners, with a racial twist: 480 B.C.

Thayer's Note: This is one of the admittedly rare places in ancient sources that suggest that the Greeks and Romans were not so free of racial prejudices as current revisionism makes them out to be.
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122 Cyrus' object lesson: 558 B.C. Cf. Herod. I.126; Polyaen. VII.VI.7; Justin. I.VI.4‑6.

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123 Sulla's work details: 86 B.C.

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124 Fabius Maximus sets his own ships on fire: 315 B.C. Cf. Livy IX.23.

Thayer's Note: see also Plutarch, On the Bravery of Women, 243F; and again, Pelopidas burning his bridge (Frontinus, Strat. IV.7.28) and Agathocles his ships (Diod. Sic. XX.7); and the Helvetii setting out on a war of conquest (Caesar, Gallic War, I.5)

Many commanders have continued to use the device, as for example General Morgan in the American Revolutionary War at the Battle of Cowpens.

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125 Scipio hits Africa hard: 204 B.C.

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126 Caesar holds Earth: Cf. Suet. Caes. 59.

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127 Tiberius Gracchus makes good use of an earthquake: P. Sempronius Sophus, consul, defeated the Picentines in 268 B.C. Cf. Flor. I.19.

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128 Epaminondas on decorating tombs: 371 B.C. Cf. Diodor. XV.LII.5 ff.

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129 we are forbidden to sit: i.e., "we must be up and doing."

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130 Sulpicius Gallus explains an eclipse: 168 B.C. Cf. Livy XLIV.37; Cic. De Senect. xiv.49; Val. Max. VIII.XI.1.

Thayer's Note: 172 B.C., actually: see my note on Plutarch, Aem. 17.7.

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131 Agathocles explains an eclipse: 310 B.C. Cf. Justin. XXII.VI.1‑5; Diodor. XX.V.5.

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132 Timotheus' sneezing rower: 375 B.C. Cf. Polyaen. III.X.2.

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133 Chabrias' thunderbolt: 391‑357 B.C.


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