Consequently he assembled the soldiers and wishing to test their feelings, said, “We must not let our courage flag by contemplating the number of Scythians, but put our trust in God and go to battle with them, and if only we are all of one mind, I am convinced we shall beat them utterly.” But they all refused absolutely and dissented from his proposal. Then he aroused greater fear in them and awoke them to a sense of danger by saying: ” If the foraging party returns and rejoins those who are here, our peril is clear and manifest. For they will either rush this fort and we shall be massacred, or maybe they will hold us of no account and march up to the walls of the capital and prevent us from re-entering the Queen-City by bivouacking before its gates.
Dash into the midst of the Scythians
Consequently it behoves us to take the risk and not die like cowards. So I shall go out at once and whoever likes can follow me for I will lead the way and dash into the midst of the Scythians. As for you who cannot, or will not, do this, do not venture even outside the gates.” With these words he immediately put on his armour and sallied out by the gate opposite the marsh. After skirting the walls and turning aside a little, he mounted the ridge from the back. For he had realized that his men would not follow him into a regular engagement with the Scythians.
He was the first to seize a spear and push his way into the middle of the Scythians, and then he struck down the first man he encountered. And the soldiers, too, who were with him shewed themselves no less keen fighters, and the result was that the greater number of Scythians were killed and the rest taken prisoners. Then with his usual cunning he clothed his soldiers in the Scythians’ garments and bade them mount the Scythian horses, whilst he entrusted their own horses and standards, and the heads of the Scythians that had been cut off to a few of the most reliable men and ordered them to get back inside the fort and await him.
When he had completed these arrangements he marched down with the Scythian standards and his soldiers clad in the Scythians’ dress to the river flowing past Choerobacchi, where he judged that the Scythians would pass on their return from foraging. And the foragers seeing the men standing there, and thinking they too were Scythians, lighted upon them unguardedly and were cut to pieces or taken prisoners.
Read More about Domestic Conflicts part 12