B.C. 369. 1In the following year plenipotentiary ambassadors from the Lacedaemonians and their allies arrived at Athens to consider and take counsel in what way the alliance between Athens and Lacedaemon might be best cemented. It was urged by many speakers, foreigners and Athenians also, that the alliance ought to be based on the principle of absolute equality, "share and share alike," when Procles of Phlius put forward the following argument:
2"Since you have already decided, men of Athens, that it is good to secure the friendship of Lacedaemon, the point, as it appears to me, which you ought now to consider is, by what means this friendship may be made to last as long as possible. The probability is, that we shall hold together best by making a treaty which shall suit the best interests of both parties. On most points we have, I believe, a tolerable unanimity, but there remains the question of leadership. The preliminary decree of your senate anticipates a division of the hegemony, crediting you with the chief maritime power, Lacedaemon with the chief power on land; and to me, personally, I confess, that seems a division not more established by human invention than preordained by some divine naturalness or happy fortune. 3For, in the first place, you have a geographical position pre-eminently adapted for naval supremacy; most of the states to whom the sea is important are massed round your own, and all of these are inferior to you in strength. Besides, you have harbours and roadsteads, without which it is not possible to turn a naval power to account. Again, you have many ships of war. To extend your naval empire is a traditional policy; 4all the arts and sciences connected with these matters you possess as home products, and, what is more, in skill and experience of nautical affairs you are far ahead of the rest of the world. The majority of you derive your livelihood from the sea, or things connected with it; so that in the very act of minding your own affairs you are training yourselves to enter the lists of naval combat. Again, no other power in the world can send out a larger collective fleet, and that is no insignificant point in reference to the question of leadership. The nucleus of strength first gained becomes a rallying-point, round which the rest of the world will gladly congregate. 5Furthermore, your good fortune in this department must be looked upon as a definite gift of God: for, consider among the numberless great sea-fights which you have fought how few you have lost, how many you have won. It is only rational, then, that your allies should much prefer to share this particular risk with you. 6Indeed, to show you how natural and vital to you is this maritime study, the following reflection may serve. For several years the Lacedaemonians, when at war with you in old days, dominated your territory, but they made no progress towards destroying you. At last God granted them one day to push forward their dominion on the sea, and then in an instant you completely succumbed to them. Is it not self-evident that your safety altogether depends upon the sea? 7The sea is your natural element--your birthright; it would be base indeed to entrust the hegemony of it to the Lacedaemonians, and the more so, since, as they themselves admit, they are far less acquained with this business than yourselves; and, secondly, your risk in naval battles would not be for equal stakes-- theirs involving only the loss of the men on board their ships, but yours, that of your children and your wives and the entire state.
8"And if this is a fair statement of your position, turn, now, and consider that of the Lacedaemonians. The first point to notice is, that they are an inland power; as long as they are dominant on land it does not matter how much they are cut off from the sea--they can carry on existence happily enough. This they so fully recognise, that from boyhood they devote themselves to training for a soldier's life. The keystone of this training is obedience to command, and in this they hold the same pre-eminence on land which you hold on the sea. 9Just as you with your fleets, so they on land can, at a moment's notice, put the largest army in the field; and with the like consequence, that their allies, as is only rational, attach themselves to them with undying courage. Further, God has granted them to enjoy on land a like good fortune to that vouchsafed to you on sea. Among all the many contests they have entered into, it is surprising in how few they have failed, in how many they have been successful. 10The same unflagging attention which you pay to maritime affairs is required from them on land, and, as the facts of history reveal, it is no less indispensable to them. Thus, although you were at war with them for several years and gained many a naval victory over them, you never advanced a step nearer to reducing them. But once worsted on land, in an instant they were confronted with a danger affecting the very lives of child and wife, and vital to the interests of the entire state. 11We may very well understand, then, the strangeness, not to say monstrosity, in their eyes, of surrendering to others the military leadership on land, in matters which they have made their special study for so long and with such eminent success. I end where I began. I agree absolutely with the preliminary decrees of your own senate, which I consider the solution most advantageous to both parties. My prayer is that you may be guided in your deliberations to that conclusion which is best for each and all of us."
12Such were the words of the orator, and the sentiments of his speech were vehemently applauded by the Athenians no less than by the Lacedaemonians who were present. Then Cephisodotus stepped forward and addressed the assembly. He said, "Men of Athens, do you not see how you are being deluded? Lend me your ears, and I will prove it to you in a moment. There is no doubt about your leadership by sea: it is already secured. But suppose the Lacedaemonians in alliance with you: it is plain they will send you admirals and captains, and possibly marines, of Laconian breed; but who will the sailors be? Helots obviously, or mercenaries of some sort. 13These are the folk over whom you will exercise your leadership. Reverse the case. The Lacedaemonians have issued a general order summoning you to join them in the field; it is plain again, you will be sending your heavy infantry and your cavalry. You see what follows. You have invented a pretty machine, by which they become leders of your very selves, and you become the leaders either of their slaves or of the dregs of their state. I should like to put a question to the Lacedaemonian Timocrates seated yonder. Did you not say just now, Sir, that you came to make an alliance on terms of absolute equality, 'share and share alike'? Answer me." "I did say so." 14"Well, then, here is a plan by which you get the perfection of equality. I cannot conceive of anything more fair and impartial than that 'turn and turn about' each of us should command the navy, each the army; whereby whatever advantage there may be in maritime or military command we may each of us share."
These arguments were successful. The Athenians were converted, and passed a decree vesting the command in either state for periods of five days alternately.
B.C. 369. 15The campaign was commenced by both Athenians and Lacedaemonians with their allies, marching upon Corinth, where it was resolved to keep watch and ward over Oneion jointly. On the advance of the Thebans and their allies the troops were drawn out to defend the pass. They were posted in detachments at different points, the most assailable of which was assigned to the Lacedaemonians and the men of Pellene.
The Thebans and their allies, finding themselves within three or four miles of the troops guarding the pass, encamped in the flat ground below; but presently, after a careful calculation of the time it would take to start and reach the goal in the gloaming, they advanced against the Lacedaemonian outposts. 16In spite of the difficulty they timed their movements to a nicety, and fell upon the Lacedaemonians and Pellenians just at the interval when the night pickets were turning in and the men were leaving their shakedowns and retiring for necessary purposes. This was the instant for the Thebans to fling themselves upon them; they plied their weapons with good effect, blow upon blow. Order was pitted against disorder, preparation against disarray. 17When, however, those who escaped from the thick of the business had retired to the nearest rising ground,the Lacedaemonian polemarch, who might have taken as many heavy, or light, infantry of the allies as he wanted, and thus have held the position (no bad one, since it enabled him to get his supplies safely enough from Cenchreae), failed to do so. On the contrary, and in spite of the great perplexity of the Thebans as to how they were to get down from the high level facing Sicyon or else retire the way they came, the Spartan general made a truce, which in the opinion of the majority, seemed more in favour of the Thebans than himself, and so he withdrew his division and fell back.
18The Thebans were now free to descend without hindrance, which they did; and, effecting a junction with their allies the Arcadians, Argives, and Eleians, at once attacked Sicyon and Pellene, and, marching on Epidaurus, laid waste the whole territory of that people. Returning from that exploit with a consummate disdain for all their opponents, when they found themselves near the city of Corinth they advanced at the double against the gate facing towards Phlius; intending if they found it open to rush in. 19However, a body of light troops sallied out of the city to the rescue, and met the advance of the Theban picked corps not one hundred and fifty yards from the walls. Mounting on the monuments and commanding eminences, with volleys of sling stones and arrows they laid low a pretty large number in the van of the attack, and routing them, gave chase for three or four furlongs' distance. After this incident the Corinthians dragged the corpses of the slain to the wall, and finally gave them up under a flag of truce, erecting a trophy to record the victory. As a result of this occurrence the allies of the Lacedaemonians took fresh heart.
20At the date of the above transactions the Lacedeamonians were cheered by the arrival of a naval reinforcement from Dionysius, consisting of more than twenty warships, which conveyed a body of Celts and Iberians and about fifty cavalry. The day following, the Thebans and the rest of the allies, posted, at intervals, in battle order, and completely filling the flat land down to the sea on one side, and up to the knolls on the other which form the buttresses of the city, proceeded to destroy everything precious they could lay their hands on in the plain. The Athenian and Corinthian cavalry, eyeing the strength, physical and numerical, of their antagonists, kept at a safe distance from their armament. 21But the little body of cavalry lately arrived from Dionysius spread out in a long thin line, and one at one point and one at another galloped along the front, discharging their missiles as they dashed forward, and when the enemy rushed against them, retired, and again wheeling about, showered another volley. Even while so engaged they would dismount from their horses and take breath; and if their foemen galloped up while they were so dismounted, in an instant they had leapt on their horses' backs and were in full retreat. Or if, again, a party pursued them some distance from the main body, as soon as they turned to retire, they would press upon them, and discharging volleys of missiles, made terrible work, forcing the whole army to advance and retire, merely to keep pace with the movements of fifty horsemen.
B.C. 369-368. 22After this the Thebans remained only a few more days and then turned back homewards; and the rest likewise to their several homes. Thereupon the troops sent by Dionysius attacked Sicyon. Engaging the Sicyonians in the flat country, they defeated them, killing about seventy men and capturing by assault the fortres of Derae. After these achievements this first reinforcement from Dionysius re-embarked and set sail for Syracuse.
Up to this time the Thebans and all the states which had revolted from Lacedaemon had acted together in perfect harmony, and were content to campaign under the leadership of Thebes; 23but now a certain Lycomedes, a Mantinean, broke the spell. Inferior in birth and position to none, while in wealth superior, he was for the rest a man of high ambition. This man was able to inspire the Arcadians with high thoughts by reminding them that to Arcadians alone the Peloponnese was in a literal sense a fatherland; since they and they alone were the indigenous inhabitants of its sacred soil, and the Arcadian stock the largest among the Hellenic tribes--a good stock, moreover, and of incomparable physique. And then he set himself to panegyrise them as the bravest of the brave, adducing as evidence, if evidence were needed, the patent fact, that every one in need of help invariably turned to the Arcadians. Never in old days had the Lacedaemonians yet invaded Athens without the Arcadians. 24"If then," he added, "you are wise, you will be somewhat chary of following at the beck and call of anybody, or it will be the old story again. As when you marched in the train of Sparta you only enhanced her power, so to-day, if you follow Theban guidance without thought or purpose instead of claiming a division of the headship, you will speedily find, perhaps, in her only a second edition of Lacedaemon."
These words uttered in the ears of the Arcadians were sufficient to puff them up with pride. They were lavish in their love of Lycomedes, and thought there was no one his equal. He became their hero; he had only to give his orders, and they appointed their magistrates at his bidding. But, indeed, a series of brilliant exploits entitled the Arcadians to magnify themselves. 25The first of these arose out of an invasion of Epidaurus by the Argives, which seemed likely to end in their finding their escape barred by Chabrias and his foreign brigade with the Athenians and Corinthians. Only, at the critical moment the Arcadians came to the rescue and extricated the Argives, who were closely besieged, and this in spite not only of the enemy, but of the savage nature of the ground itself. Again they marched on Asine in Laconian territory, and defeated the Lacedaemonian garrison, putting the polemarch Geranor, who was a Spartan, to the sword, and sacking the suburbs of the town. Indeed, whenever or wherever they had a mind to send an invading force, neither night nor wintry weather, nor length of road nor mountain barrier could stay their march. So that at this date they regarded their prowess as invincible. 26The Thebans, it will be understood, could not but feel a touch of jealousy at these pretensions, and their former friendship to the Arcadians lost its ardour. With the Eleians, indeed, matters were worse. The revelation came to them when they demanded back from the Arcadians certain cities of which the Lacedaemonians had deprived them. They discovered that their views were held of no account, but that the Triphylians and the rest who had revolted from them were to be made much of, because they claimed to be Arcadians. Hence, as contrasted with the Thebans, the Eleians cherished feelings towards their late friends which were positively hostile.
B.C. 368. 27Self-esteem amounting to arrogance--such was the spirit which animated each section of the allies, when a new phase was introduced by the arrival of Philiscus of Abydos on an embassy from Ariobarzanes with large sums of money. This agent's first step was to assemble a congress of Thebans, allies, and Lacedaemonians at Delphi to treat of peace. On their arrival, without attempting to communicate or take counsel with the god as to how peace might be re- established, they fell to deliberating unassisted; and when the Thebans refused to acquiesce in the dependency of Messene upon Lacedaemon, Philiscus set about collecting a large foreign brigade to side with Lacedaemon and to prosecute the war.
28Whilst these matters were still pending, the second reinforcements from Dionysius arrived. There was a difference of opinion as to where the troops should be employed, the Athenians insisting that they ought to march into Thessaly to oppose the Thebans, the Lacedaemonians being in favour of Laconia; and among the allies this latter opinion carried the day. The reinforcement from Dionysius accordingly sailed round to Laconia, where Archidamus incorporated them with the state troops and opened the campaign. Caryae he took by storm, and put every one captured to the sword, and from this point marching straight upon the Parrhasians of Arcadia, he set about ravaging the country along with his Syracusan supporters.
Presently when the Arcadians and Argives arrived with succours, he retreated and encamped on the knolls above Medea. While he was there, Cissidas, the officer in charge of the reinforcement from Dionysius, made the announcement that the period for his stay abroad had elapsed; and the words were no sooner out of his lips than off he set on the road to Sparta. 29The march itself, however, was not effected without delays, for he was met and cut off by a body of Messenians at a narrow pass, and was forced in these straits to send to Archidamus and beg for assistance, which the latter tendered. When they had got as far as the bend on the road to Eutresia, there were the Arcadians and Argives advancing upon Laconia and apparently intending, like the Messenians, to shut the Spartan off from the homeward road.
Archidamus, debouching upon a flat space of ground where the roads to Eutresia and Medea converge, drew up his troops and offered battle. 30What happened then is thus told:--He passed in front of the regiments and addressed them in terms of encouragement thus: "Fellow-citizens, the day has come which calls upon us to prove ourselves brave men and look the world in the face with level eyes. Now are we to deliver to those who come after us our fatherland intact as we received it from our fathers; now will we cease hanging our heads in shame before our children and wives, our old men and our foreign friends, in sight of whom in days of old we shone forth conspicuous beyond all other Hellenes."
31The words were scarcely uttered (so runs the tale), when out of the clear sky came lightnings and thunderings, with propitious manifestation to him; and it so happened that on his right wing there stood a sacred enclosure and a statue of Heracles, his great ancestor. As the result of all these things, so deep a strength and courage came into the hearts of his soldiers, as they tell, that the generals had hard work to restrain their men as they pushed forward to the front. Presently, when Archidamus led the advance, a few only of the enemy cared to await them at the spear's point, and were slain; the mass of them fled, and fleeing fell. Many were cut down by the cavalry, many by the Celts. 32When the battle ceased and a trophy had been erected, the Spartan at once despatched home Demoteles, the herald, with the news. He had to announce not only the greatness of the victory, but the startling fact that, while the enemy's dead were numerous, not one single Lacedaemonian had been slain. Those in Sparta to whom the news was brought, as says the story, when they heard it, one and all, beginning with Agesilaus, and, after him, the elders and the ephors, wept for joy--so close akin are tears to joy and pain alike. There were others hardly less pleased than the Lacedaemonians themselves at the misfortune which had overtaken the Arcadians: these were the Thebans and Eleians--so offensive to them had the boastful behaviour of these men become.
33The problem perpetually working in the minds of the Thebans was how they were to compass the headship of Hellas; and they persuaded themselves that, if they sent an embassy to the King of Persia, they could not but gain some advantage by his help. Accordingly they did not delay, but called together the allies, on the plea that Euthycles the Lacedaemonian was already at the Persian court. The commissioners sent up were, on the part of the Thebans, Pelopidas; on the part of the Arcadians, Antiochus, the pancratiast; and on that of the Eleians, Archidamus. There was also an Argive in attendance. The Athenians on their side, getting wind of the matter, sent up two commissioners, Timagoras and Leon.
34When they arrived at the Persian court the influence of Pelopidas was preponderant with the Persian. He could point out that, besides the fact that the Thebans alone among all the Hellenes had fought on the king's side at Plataeae, they had never subsequently engaged in military service against the Persians; nay, the very ground of Lacedaemonian hostility to them was that they had refused to march against the Persian king with Agesilaus, and would not even suffer him to sacrifice to Artemis at Aulis (where Agamemnon sacrificed before he set sail for Asia and captured Troy). 35In addition, there were two things which contributed to raise the prestige of Thebes, and redounded to the honour of Pelopidas. These were the victory of the Thebans at Leuctra, and the indisputable fact that they had invaded and laid waste the territory of Laconia. Pelopidas went on to point out that the Argives and Arcadians had lately been defeated in battle by the Lacedaemonians, when his own countrymen were not there to assist. The Athenian Timagoras supported all these statements of the Theban by independent testimony, and stood second in honour after Pelopidas.
36At this point of the proceedings Pelopidas was asked by the king, what special clause he desired inserted in the royal rescript. He replied as follows: "Messene to be independent of Lacedaemon, and the Athenians to lay up their ships of war. Should either power refuse compliance in these respects, such refusal to be a casus belli; and any state refusing to take part in the military proceedings consequent, to be herself the first object of attack." 37These clauses were drawn up and read to the ambassadors, when Leon, in the hearing of the king, exclaimed: "Upon my word! Athenians, it strikes me it is high time you looked for some other friend than the great king." The secretary reported the comment of the Athenian envoy, and produced presently an altered copy of the document, with a clause inserted: "If the Athenians have any better and juster views to propound, let them come to the Persian court and explain them."
38Thus the ambassadors returned each to his own home and were variously received. Timagoras, on the indictment of Leon, who proved that his fellow-commissioner not only refused to lodge with him at the king's court, but in every way played into the hands of Pelopidas, was put to death. Of the other joint commissioners, the Eleian, Archidamus, was loud in his praises of the king and his policy, because he had shown a preference to Elis over the Arcadians; while for a converse reason, because the Arcadian league was slighted, Antiochus not only refused to accept any gift, but brought back as his report to the general assembly of the Ten Thousand, that the king appeared to have a large army of confectioners and pastry-cooks, butlers and doorkeepers; but as for men capable of doing battle with Hellenes, he had looked carefully, and could not discover any. Besides all which, even the report of his wealth seemed to him, he said, bombastic nonsense. "Why, the golden plane-tree that is so belauded is not big enough to furnish shade to a single grasshopper."
39At Thebes a conference of the states had been convened to listen to the great king's letter. The Persian who bore the missive merely pointed to the royal seal, and read the document; whereupon the Thebans invited all, who wished to be their friends, to take an oath to what they had just heard, as binding on the king and on themselves. To which the ambassadors from the states replied that they had been sent to listen to a report, not to take oaths; if oaths were wanted, they recommended the Thebans to send ambassadors to the several states. The Arcadian Lycomedes, moreover, added that the congress ought not to be held at Thebes at all, but at the seat of war, wherever that might be. This remark brought down the wrath of the Thebans on the speaker; they exclaimed that he was bent on breaking up the alliance. Whereupon the Arcadian refused to take a seat in the congress at all, and got up and betook himself off there and then, accompanied by all the Arcadian envoys. 40Since, therefore, the assembled representatives refused to take the oaths at Thebes, the Thebans sent to the different states, one by one in turn, urging each to undertake solemnly to act in accordance with the great king's rescript. They were persuaded that no individual state would venture to quarrel with themselves and the Persian monarch at once. As a matter of fact, however, when they arrived at Corinth--which was the first stated visted--the Corinthians stood out and gave as their answer, that they had no desire for any common oath or undertaking with the king. The rest of the states followed suit, giving answers of a similar tenor, so that this striving after empire on the part of Pelopidas and the Thebans melted like a cloud-castle into air.
B.C. 367. 41But Epaminondas was bent on one more effort. With a view to forcing the Arcadians and the rest of the allies to pay better heed to Thebes, he desired first to secure the adhesion of the Achaeans, and decided to march an army into Achaea. Accordingly, he persuaded the Argive Peisias, who was at the head of military affairs in Argos, to seize and occupy Oneion in advance. Persias, having ascertained that only a sorry guard was maintained over Oneion by Naucles, the general commanding the Lacedaemonian foreign brigade, and by Timomachus the Athenian, under cover of night seized and occupied with two thousand heavy infantry the rising ground above Cenchreae, taking with him provisions for seven days. 42Within the interval the Thebans arrived and surmounted the pass of Oneion; whereupon the allied troops with Epaminondas at their head, advanced into Achaea. The result of the campaign was that the better classes of Achaea gave in their adhesion to him; and on his personal authority Epaminondas insisted that there should be no driving of the aristocrats into exile, nor any modification of the constitution. He was content to take a pledge of fealty from the Achaeans to this effect: "Verily and indeed we will be your allies, and follow whithersoever the Thebans lead."
So he departed home. 43The Arcadians, however, and the partisans of the opposite faction in Thebes were ready with an indictment against him: "Epaminondas," they said, "had merely swept and garnished Achaea for the Lacedaemonians, and then gone off." The Thebans accordingly resolved to send governors into the states of Achaea; and those officers on arrival joined with the commonalty and drove out the better folk, and set up democracies throughout Achaea. On their side, these exiles coalesced, and, marching upon each separate state in turn, for they were pretty numerous, speedily won their restoration and dominated the states. As the party thus reinstated no longer steered a middle course, but went heart and soul into an alliance with Lacedaemon, the Arcadians found themselves between the upper and the nether millstone--that is to say, the Lacedaemonians and the Achaeans.
44At Sicyon, hitherto, the constitution was based on the ancient laws; but at this date Euphron (who during the Lacedaemonian days had been the greatest man in Sicyon, and whose ambition it was to hold a like pre-eminence under their opponents) addressed himself to the Argives and Arcadians as follows: "If the wealthiest classes should ever come into power in Sicyon, without a doubt the city would take the first opportunity of readopting a Laconian policy; whereas, if a democracy be set up," he added, "you may rest assured Sicyon will hold fast by you. All I ask you is to stand by me; I will do the rest. It is I who will call a meeting of the people; and by that selfsame act I shall give you a pledge of my good faith and present you with a state firm in its alliance. All this, be assured," he added, "I do because, like yourselves, I have long ill brooked the pride of Lacedaemon, and shall be glad to escape the yoke of bondage."
45These proposals found favour with the Arcadians and the Argives, who gladly gave the assistance demanded. Euphron straightway, in the market-place, in the presence of the two powers concerned, proceeded to convene the Demos, as if there were to be a new constitution, based on the principle of equality. When the convention met, he bade them appoint generals: they might choose whom they liked. Whereupon they elected Euphron himself, Hippodamus, Cleander, Acrisius, and Lysander. When these matters were arranged he appointed Adeas, his own son, over the foreign brigade, in place of the former commander, Lysimenes, whom he removed. 46His next step was promptly to secure the fidelity of the foreign mercenaries by various acts of kindness, and to attach others; and he spared neither the public nor the sacred moneys for this object. He had, to aid him, further, the property of all the citizens whom he exiled on the ground of Laconism, and of this without scruple he in every case availed himself. As for his colleagues in office, some he treacherously put to death, others he exiled, by which means he got everything under his own power, and was now a tyrant without disguise. The method by which he got the allies to connive at his doings was twofold. Partly he worked on them by pecuniary aid, partly by the readiness with which he lent the support of his foreign troops on any campaign to which they might invite him.
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