IAXS Research Project #08
By Clayton J. Powers (
Copyright © 1997 held by author
2323 words


[146] The second night of the battle was one of more skirmishing and competition over the caltrop fields. Xena had ordered that as quietly as stealthily as possible, several new corridors be created in the fields and the old ones filled. In Xena's headquarters, the lack of reinforcements was beginning to hurt, yet there had been serious difficulties in forming the supply lines. Several of the administrators Xena had left behind were becoming fractious and The Warrior Princess could not spare any more men to enforce discipline. Xena also knew that the second day of battle had nearly been a disaster. Casualties had been immense on both sides and her Army's morale had begun to sag. Xena saw little hope that her primary grand tactical aim of this campaign could be achieved. However if she could hold at Corinth, she could possibly keep her army together, take the city, and resume offensive operations to the south.

[147] Strategically she had achieved what she wanted. She had Athens now isolated, but could she find a way to spare the troops and time to finish the job against that city?

[148] Tyldus, Sisyphus, and Orestes had worse problems. Tyldus was in a battle of attrition that could only be sustained if he had allies, but his allies had been reluctant to provide what he needed. It seemed to the Centaur king that the only way to win the conflict was on a gigantic last throw of the dice. But his 11,000 centaurs was not enough to do much more than watch Xena dig in. Again both Tyldus and Sisyphus tried to work on the Spartan commander, this time the King of Corinth offered a huge bribe to the Spartan, who to everyone's surprise, took it. The man's reasoning was clear. He was a relative of Menaleus and no friend to the temporary regent, who was a paranoid as well as senile, and he had seen the gallant sacrifice of the Centaurs the previous day. If the Centaurs were truly against Spartan interests in this affair, they would not have paid so heavily. Finally Tyldus was going to be able to make the truly combined arms attack that he had wanted. Xena's army had wavered badly the day before, one more gigantic push should collapse the Warrior Princess' force for good and all.

[149] "I was convinced that Tydus thought that he had me where he wanted me. He may have been right., but Tyldus was tenacious in battle. He wouldn't attempt a turning movement by going for Megara by sea. He was going to try to bull through me. He knew that he had sent a fright through my army and he wasn't about to let that advantage go. I was certain that it was going to be a head on charge tomorrow. All I could do was to assure my men that things were going to be fine if they just obeyed orders." Xena's uncanny reading of Tyldus is very reminiscent of that of Robert E. Lee. She used her ability to read opponents brilliantly throughout her career. This canny assessment led her to prepare for a direct assault upon the strongest part of her position. The hill on its right flank.

[150] That night Xena toured her troops. This tour demonstrated her leadership methods to their greatest advantage. Xena was famous for using all of her power and femininity to forward her ends. She went from unit to unit checking on their state. She helped with the wounded performing many battlefield operations. She chided some warriors, mothered others, played the vamp with still others. She seemed again to be everywhere at once. The night was highlighted by Xena stopping in at one of her units that was famous for its chorus and joining in with her own distinctive singing voice. She then called for Marcus and the word was passed, as it always was, that one of the troops was to receive the ultimate accolade. Xena showed without a doubt that she was lover wife and mother to an entire army. Morale soared once again.

[151] Xena awoke after about an hour's sleep to a horrifying message. Tyldus army was gathered directly across from the hill on her right flank. There were only very small screening forces to his left and right. Everything the Centaur King had was aimed at Draco. The Spartan infantry who did absolutely nothing had redeployed into three battalions two directly across from Draco and a third on her far left flank facing what was left of Darfus wing.. The battalions were clearly meant to be a screen to sweep the caltrop fields and absorb javelins and arrows and then allow the Centaurs to pass through them to hit the corner division. Immediately climbing a tree, Xena saw that her only chance to blunt this charge was to again draw from the troops guarding most of the most of the far left and right flanks and to make a centralized infantry reserve. This Xena immediately ordered much to the bitter opposition of Darfus who saw the far left flank as the key. He wished to pivot his two formations around Corinth and hit the Centaurs in the flank. Xena considered his judgment of distance to be faulty and refused. Darfus had forgotten the Centaur's extreme mobility. Xena feared that all that Tyldus would do was right face, run over Darfus, and loop around Corinth right into Xena's rear. Her cavalry unsupported. had no chance to stop such a sally. "That realization" the copper scroll continued, "made me wonder why Tyldus seemed to be seriously preparing an attack on my right center rather than feinting there and doing the right hook!" From the tree however, she saw the Centaur king on the left (His right, the position of honor) of the font rank of the large block of Centaurs opposite Draco. He was going to try to force the hill. She felt it.

Phase three

[152] At about mid morning three flights of fire arrows could be seen and the Spartans in front of the hill moved out. The human battalion on the far right stayed where it was. It was out numbered at least two to one. Just before the infantry came into javelin range they lifted their large shields over their heads into a formation that the Romans would later call "The Turtle". Just as the Spartans made contact with the Caltrops, the Centaurs in the front and the flank of the hill moved out at the slow walk. The direst threat came to from what seemed to be about 3,000 man horses on the right flank of her army. By either luck or good reconnaissance they had deployed in front of one of the new corridors through the caltrops and would probably discover the hole quickly and charge punching a hole in Xena's position. She was just about to jump down from the tree to take over the defense when, on his own initiative Draco started his two right flank battalions in a sweeping charge into the Centaurs flank. It was a dangerous maneuver but it was his only hope of survival. The regiment of infantry reserves across from this attack could not have held it and these troops were going to be desperately needed elsewhere to stem the tide of the 8,000 Centaurs to Xena's front.

[153] The Warrior Princess rode over to Draco and ordered him to advance the pivot division behind the hill and she herself rode to the center battalions and started a flanking movement similar to Draco's. Looking down from the sky the position looked very much like a man with outstretched arms walking forward slowly while slapping his hands together while holding his arms stiffly. According to the inscription on the walls of the tomb in Potidaea, Xena knew that this movement was incredibly risky but had to be done.

[154] The collision of the armies occurred in the caltrop field. Flight after flight of Xena's arrows from her reserve regiment flew over head of her attacking infantry but this fire was not all that effective. The fighting grew massively in tempo and in ferocity until the front rank of Centaurs began to clear the caltrop fields when, again according to the inscriptions on the tomb in Potidaea. "The horrible sounds of the battlefield seem to stop for a moment, for a terrifying ripping sound cut though the air like a broadsword. It was Xena's ululation. This hellish sound was followed by such a terrible roar of aroused manhood that it is said that Zeus himself was awakened from his godly slumber on Olympus!"

[155] The cavalry charge was in two parts. Marcus threw most of his Cavalry division into Tyldus' right center. Xena's Immortals, under the Warrior Princess' personal command charged due south and overwhelmed a small company of centaurs, then, without reorganization, the Immortals turned west and slammed directly into Tyldus's right flank. The discipline of the Centaurs was desperately magnificent. The melee was possibly the worst in human history up until that time. There is nothing to show how long this part of the battle went on, but one remarkable incident is supported by the inscriptions on the tombs in both Amphipolis and Potidaea. Apparently in the hell of the maelstrom, Xena and Tyldus found each other. For the first time a battle that Xena had a part in turned into a traditional Heroic Greek battle. The men and Centaurs around them stopped fighting and watched as two masters of the combat arts laid into each other. Eventually Xena's war horse was killed by Tyldus and the Warrior Princess continued afoot. Sadly, a detailed description of this fight is lost. Both protagonists survived. Tyldus may have been wounded. The flanking movements did have effect. The Spartans started to retire through the melee of Centaurs. The Centaur regiment that found the corridor in the Caltrops were driven into disorder and began to retire. After horrendous casualties both armies broke contact and returned to their starting positions. Xena's army was still in possession of the field but Tyldus did not break and retire. Exact casualty figures have not been found. The section of the copper scrolls that would logically contain the information has been corroded away.


[156] Sadly much of the story of the end of the Corinth campaign is lost. What can be safely inferred from other sources a "Phony War", a period of no-peace or no war, started that lasted for months. Xena's army began to starve and she could no longer hold the siege of Corinth. No sign of negotiations between Tyldus, Sisyphus and Xena can be determined from the known record, but there are some new sites that have been discovered near Corinth and more rooms to be explored in the Amphipolis tombs. It appears that Draco, for unknown reasons, resigned his position as a wing commander after an argument with Xena. Much of his wing went with him and these troops retired into the Isthmus. Many of Xena's troops in her rear, especially in Megara and in Thesally, began to rise. Boetia revolted and threw out Xena's occupying army, perhaps with the assistance of Hercules. Xena could no longer deliver on victory, and she had no forces with which to suppress the rebellions. Replacements dried up totally. Tyldus had drawn the battle but won the war, and Xena's army simply began to dissolve despite the Warrior Princess's best efforts to maintain it.

[157] Eventually, Xena abandoned her position around Corinth but could not retreat through the Isthmus. Tyldus and Sisyphus had exhausted their resources and could do little to punish her despite Xena's vulnerability. Eventually Xena's army, which could once field nearly 60,000 troops, shrunk to nearly nothing. Desperate to replenish her army, Xena launched into a series of raids into Alesia, a province southwest of Corinth. These raids were brutal and terrifying and then suddenly they stop. Apparently, Hercules had returned from some long voyage and intervened. This incident is described in the unattributed scroll called "The Warrior Princess."


[158] Xena exhibited extreme strategic brilliance in this campaign as well as tactical expertise. Repeatedly she was able to best a force, which numerically was inferior to hers, but was far more powerful than any army she could muster. However, like may empire builders her plans were a hair's breath too ambitious. The campaign would have been successful if the breaks had gone more her way. Xena was also overly loyal to some subordinates. A leading question is: Why was Xena so willing to continue with Darfus considering his incompetence and untrustworthiness. This is very much like Napoleon's undying loyalty to Marshall Michel Ney, who, because of his impetuousness, nearly lost many battles for Napoleon. Napoleon, like Xena, should have sacked the offender before he did great harm.

[159] If Tyldus had started with 18,000 Centaurs at the start of the campaign rather than 22,000 Xena would have gotten the three hills south of Corinth and won the war. In reading the scrolls one wonders what she would have been like as a leader if she had wise political counsel superior to her. The problems in supply and administration in her conquered territories could possibly have been avoided and the new empire could have revolutionized Western civilization. As it is, Xena leaves a legacy that is incalculable in its value towards a number of issues regarding women's role in international affairs. Her leadership was overwhelming in its power demonstrating that the phrase "The Weaker Sex" is an absolute canard. Strategy is not only a man's or Centaur's game, it is a woman's game as well.

The End.

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