In the first confrontation of legion and phalanx King Pyrrhus of Epirus faced the Romans at Heracleia in 280 BC. The Epirote initiated contact by personally leading a cavalry charge. His gleaming, highly decorated armor immediately marked the king in a display of valor equal to his reputation. ‘Most of all,’ Plutarch says,

while offering his prowess and physical presence to the contest and stoutly fending off opponents, he did not blur his power of calculation nor even lose his presence of mind. Rather he managed the battle, as though viewing it from afar, running from one spot to another and bolstering those seeming to be overpowered.1