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In the mean time the Messapians, on whose coast the waves had cast him, hastened to him with the utmost speed, to tender him all the assistance in their power. They also went to meet some of his ships that escaped the storm; but the cavalry they found on board were very inconsiderable in number; the infantry, however, amounted to two thousand men, and had two elephants with them. Pyrrhus, after he had drawn them up in a body, led them directly to Tarentum.
Cineas as soon as he received intelligence of his approach, advanced to him with his troops. Pyrrhus, when he arrived at Tarentum, was extremely surprised to find the inhabitants solely employed in pleasures, which it was their usual custom to indulge, without the least prudence or interruption. And they now took it for granted, that whilst Pyrrhus fought for them, they might quietly continue in their own houses, solely employed in bathing, using exquisite perfumes, feasting, and recreations. Pyrrhus did not intend to lay them under any constiaint, till he had received intelligence that his ships were safe, and till the greatest part of his army had joined him. He then treated them like one determined to be their master. He began with shutting up all the public gardens, and places of exercise, where the inhabitants usually entertained themselves with news, and regulated military affairs as they walked together. He also suspended their feasts and public shows, and was altogether as severe upon the assemblies of newsmongers. In a word, he compelled them to take arms, and behaved at all musters and reviews with very inexorable severity to those who failed in their duty. In consequence of which several, who had never been accustomed to so rigorous a discipline, withdrew from the city; thinking it an insupportable servitude, to be debarred from the full enjoyment of their effeminate pleasures.
Pyrrhus, about this time, received information that Levinus the consul was advancing against him with a powerful army, and that he was then in Lucania, where he burnt and destroyed all the country around him. Though the allies of Pyrrhus had not sent him any succours at that time, yet as he thought it very dishonourable to permit the enemy to approach nearer him, and commit their ravages in his view, he took the field with the few troops he had. But before he entered upon any hostilities, he dispatched a herald to demand of the Romans, whether they would consent, before the commencement of the war, to an amicable accommodation of the differences between them and the Greeks of Italy, by referring the whole affair to his judgment and decision?. To which Levinus the consul made this reply, “ That the Romans neither took Pyrrhus for an arbiter, nor feared him as an enemy.
Pyrrhus, upon receiving this answer, advanced with his troops, and encamped in a plain between the cities of Pandosia and Heraclea; and when he heard that the Romans were very near him, and encamped on the other side of the river Siris, he mounted his horse, and approached the bank, to take a view of their situation. When he saw the appearance of their troops, their advanced guards, the fine order observed universally, and the commodious situation of their camp, he was astonished at what he saw; and addressing himself to one of his friends who was then near him—“ Megacles," said he, “ the dispositions of these Barbarians is by no means barbarous; we shall see whether the rest will correspond with this appearance*.” And already anxious for the success of the future, he resolved to wait the arrival of his allies; thinking it sufficient at that time, to post a body of troops on the bank of the river, to oppose the Romans, if they should
* The Greeks considered all other nations as Barbarians, and treated them accordingly.
attempt to pass; but this precaution was then too late, for the Roman infantry had already forded the stream, and the cavalry passed it where they found it practicable. The advanced troops of Pyrrhus, therefore, not finding themselves sufficiently strong, and fearing to be surrounded by their enemies, were obliged to join the main army with great precipitation; so that Pyrrhus, who arrived there a few moments before, with the rest of his troops, had not time to dispute the passage with the enemy.
As soon as he saw a great number of Roman bucklers glittering on this side of the river, and their cavalry advancing toward him in fine order, he closed his rank, and began the attack. The lustre and beauty of his arms, which were very magnifi. cent, distinguished bim in a conspicuous manner ; and his actions made it evident, that the reputation he had acquired did not exceed his merit. For while he engaged in the battle, without sparing his own person, and bore down all before him, he was attentive to the functions of a general; and amidst the greatest dangers was perfectly cool, dispatched his commands with as much tranquillity as if he had been in his palace; and sprung from place to place, to re-instate what was amiss, and sustain those who
During the heat of the engagement, one of the Italian horse, with a lance in his hand, singled out Pyrrhus from all the rest of his troops, and followed him with the utmost ardour wherever he went, directing all his own motions by those of the king. And having at last found a favourable opportunity, he aimed a furious stroke at him, but wounded only his horse. At the same time Leonatus of Macedon killed the Italian's horse. Both horses being down, Pyrrhus was iminediately surrounded by a troop of his friends, who carried him off, and killed the Italian, who fought with great bravery.
This adventure taught Pyrrhus more precaution than he had practised before, and obliged him to be
more careful of himself: which is an indispensable duty in a general, on whose welfare that of a whole army depends. When he beheld his cavalry give way, he ordered his infantry' to advance, and immediately drew it up. Then giving his mantle and arms to Megacles, one of his friends, he put on those of the latter, and vigorously charged the Romans, who received himn with great intrepidity. The battle was obstinately disputed on both sides, and the victory long continued doubtful. Authors
say, that each army gave way seven times, and as often returned to the charge.
Pyrrhus, by changing his arms, took a proper method for the prescrvation of his life; though, in the event, it almost proved fatal to him, and was on the point of wresting the victory out of his hands. The enemies threw themselves in throngs about Megacles, whom they took to be the king; and he was at last wounded by an horseman, who left him upon the spot, after he had torn off his arms and mantle, which he carried full speed to Levinus the consul; and as he showed them to him, cried out aloud, That he had slain Pyrrhus. These spoils being borne in triumph through all the ranks, filled the whole Roman army with inexpressible joy. All the field resounded with acclamations of victory, while the Grecian troops were struck with universal consternation and discouragement.
Pyrrhus who perceived the terrible effect of this mistake, flew bare-headed through all the lines, holding out at the same time his hand to the soldiers, and making hiinself known to them by his voice and gestures. The battle was then renewed, and the elephants were chiefly instrumental in deciding the victory. For when Pyrrhus saw the Ro. mans broken by those animals, and that the horses, instead of approaching them, were so terrified, that they ran away with their riders, he immediately led up the Thessalian cavalry against them, while they
were in confusion, and put them to flight, after having made a great slaughter of them.
Dionysius Halicarnassus writes, that near fifteen thousand Romans were killed in this battle, and that Pyrrhus lost thirteen thousand of his men. But other historians make the loss less on both sides,
Pyrrhus immediately made himself master of the enemies' camp, which they had abandoned, brought over several cities from their alliance, ravaged all the country around him, and advanced within fifteen leagues of Rome.
The Lucanians and Samnites having joined him, after the battle, he severely reproached them for their delay. But his air and aspect made it evident, that he was exceedingly delighted at bottom, that his troops, in conjunction with the Tarentines, alone, had defeated so well disciplined and numerous an army of the Romans, without the assistance of his allies.
The Romans, however, were not dejected at the great loss they had sustained; and instead of recalling Levinus, were solely intent on preparations for a second battle. This exalted turn of soul, which manifested so much steadiness and intrepidity, surprised, and even terrified Pyrrhus. He, therefore, thought it prudent to dispatch a second embassy, in order to sound their dispositions, and to see if they would not incline to some expedient for an amicable accomınodation; and in the mean timne returned to Tarentum. Cineas, therefore being sent to Rome, had several conferences with the principal citizens, and sent presents in the name of the king, to them and their wives: but not one Roman would receive them. They all replied, and even their wives, That when Rome had made a public treaty with the king, it would be time enough to express his satisfaction with regard to them.
When Cineas was introduced to the senate, he acquainted them with the proposals of his master, who offered to deliver up his prisoners to the Romans