Hellenica, by Xenophon



B.C. 395. With the fall of the year Agesilaus reached Phrygia — the Phrygia of Pharnabazus — and proceeded to burn and harry the district. City after city was taken, some by force and some by voluntary surrender. To a proposal of Spithridates to lead him into Paphlagonia,233 where he would introduce the king of the country to him in conference and obtain his alliance, he readily acceded. It was a long-cherished ambition of Agesilaus to alienate some one of the subject nations from the Persian monarch, and he pushed forward eagerly.

On his arrival in Paphlagonia, King Otys234 came, and an alliance was made. (The fact was, he had been summoned by the king to Susa and had not gone up.) More than that, through the persuasion of Spithridates he left behind as a parting gift to Agesilaus one thousand cavalry and a couple of thousand peltasts. Agesilaus was anxious in some way to show his gratitude to Spithridates for such help, and spoke as follows:—“Tell me,” he said to Spithridates, “would you not like to give your daughter to King Otys?” “Much more would I like to give her,” he answered, “than he to take her — I an outcast wanderer, and he lord of a vast territory and forces.” Nothing more was said at the time about the marriage; but when Otys was on the point of departure and came to bid farewell, Agesilaus, having taken care that Spithridates should be out of the way, in the presence of the Thirty broached the subject:235 “Can you tell me, Otys, to what sort of family Spithridates belongs?” “To one of the noblest in Persia,” replied the king. Agesilaus: “Have you observed how beautiful his son is?” Otys: “To be sure; last evening I was supping with him.” Agesilaus: “And they tell me his daughter is yet more beautiful.” Otys: “That may well be; beautiful she is.” Agesilaus: “For my part, as you have proved so good a friend to us, I should like to advise you to take this girl to wife. Not only is she very beautiful — and what more should a husband ask for? — but her father is of noble family, and has a force at his back large enough to retaliate on Pharnabazus for an injury. He has made the satrap, as you see, a fugitive and a vagabond in his own vast territory. I need not tell you,” he added, “that a man who can so chastise an enemy is well able to benefit a friend; and of this be assured: by such an alliance you will gain not the connection of Spithridates alone, but of myself and the Lacedaemonians, and, as we are the leaders of Hellas, of the rest of Hellas also. And what a wedding yours will be! Were ever nuptials celebrated on so grand a scale before? Was ever bride led home by such an escort of cavalry and light-armed troops and heavy infantry, as shall escort your wife home to your palace?” Otys asked: “Is Spithridates of one mind with you in this proposal?” and Agesilaus answered: “In good sooth he did not bid me make it for him. And for my own part in the matter, though it is, I admit, a rare pleasure to requite an enemy, yet I had far rather at any time discover some good fortune for my friends.” Otys: “Why not ask if your project pleases Spithridates too?” Then Agesilaus, turning to Herippidas and the rest of the Thirty, bade them go to Spithridates; “and give him such good instruction,” he added, “that he shall wish what we wish.” The Thirty rose and retired to administer their lesson. But they seemed to tarry a long time, and Agesilaus asked: “What say you, King Otys — shall we summon him hither ourselves? You, I feel certain, are better able to persuade him than the whole Thirty put together.” Thereupon Agesilaus summoned Spithridates and the others. As they came forward, Herippidas promptly delivered himself thus: “I spare you the details, Agesilaus. To make a long story short, Spithridates says, ‘He will be glad to do whatever pleases you.’” Then Agesilaus, turning first to one and then to the other: “What pleases me,” said he, “is that you should wed a daughter — and you a wife — so happily.236 But,” he added, “I do not see how we can well bring home the bride by land till spring.” “No, not by land,” the suitor answered, “but you might, if you chose, conduct her home at once by sea.” Thereupon they exchanged pledges to ratify the compact; and so sent Otys rejoicing on his way.

Agesilaus, who had not failed to note the king’s impatience, at once fitted out a ship of war and gave orders to Callias, a Lacedaemonian, to escort the maiden to her new home; after which he himself began his march on Dascylium. Here was the palace of Pharnabazus. It lay in the midst of abundant supplies. Here, too, were most fair hunting grounds, offering the hunter choice between enclosed parks237 and a wide expanse of field and fell; and all around there flowed a river full of fish of every sort; and for the sportsman versed in fowling, winged game in abundance.

In these quarters the Spartan king passed the winter, collecting supplies for the army either on the spot or by a system of forage. On one of these occasions the troops, who had grown reckless and scornful of the enemy through long immunity from attack, whilst engaged in collecting supplies were scattered over the flat country, when Pharnabazus fell upon them with two scythe-chariots and about four hundred horse. Seeing him thus advancing, the Hellenes ran together, mustering possibly seven hundred men. The Persian did not hesitate, but placing his chariots in front, supported by himself and the cavalry, he gave the command to charge. The scythe-chariots charged and scattered the compact mass, and speedily the cavalry had laid low in the dust about a hundred men, while the rest retreated hastily, under cover of Agesilaus and his hoplites, who were fortunately near.

It was the third or fourth day after this that Spithridates made a discovery: Pharnabazus lay encamped in Caue, a large village not more than eighteen miles238 away. This news he lost no time in reporting to Herippidas. The latter, who was longing for some brilliant explout, begged Agesilaus to furnish him with two thousand hoplites, an equal number of peltasts, and some cavalry — the latter to consist of the horsemen of Spithridates, the Paphlagonians, and as many Hellene troopers as he might perchance persuade to follow him. Having got the promise of them from Agesilaus, he proceeded to take the auspices. Towards late afternoon he obtained favourable omens and broke off the sacrifice. Thereupon he ordered the troops to get their evening meal, after which they were to present themselves in front of the camp. But by the time darkness had closed in, not one half of them had come out. To abandon the project was to call down the ridicule of the rest of the Thirty. So he set out with the force to hand, and about daylight, falling on the camp of Pharnabazus, put many of his advanced guard of Mysians to the sword. The men themselves made good their escape in different directions, but the camp was taken, and with it divers goblets and other gear such as a man like Pharnabazus would have, not to speak of much baggage and many baggage animals. It was the dread of being surrounded and besieged, if he should establish himself for long at any one spot, which induced Pharnabazus to flee in gipsy fashion from point to point over the country, carefully obliterating his encampments. Now as the Paphlagonians and Spithridates brought back the captured property, they were met by Herippidas with his brigadiers and captains, who stopped them and239 relieved them of all they had; the object being to have as large a list as possible of captures to deliver over to the officers who superintended the sale of booty.240 This treatment the Asiatics found intolerable. They deemed themselves at once injured and insulted, got their kit together in the night, and made off in the direction of Sardis to join Ariaeus without mistrust, seeing that he too had revolted and gone to war with the king. On Agesilaus himself no heavier blow fell during the whole campaign than the desertion of Spithridates and Megabates and the Paphlagonians.

Now there was a certain man of Cyzicus, Apollophanes by name; he was an old friend of Pharnabazus, and at this time had become a friend also of Agesilaus.241 This man informed Agesilaus that he thought he could bring about a meeting between him and Pharnabazus, which might tend to friendship; and having so got ear of him, he obtained pledges of good faith between his two friends, and presented himself with Pharnabazus at the trysting-place, where Agesilaus with the Thirty around him awaited their coming, reclined upon a grassy sward. Pharnabazus presently arrived clad in costliest apparel; but just as his attendants were about to spread at his feet the carpets on which the Persians delicately seat themselves, he was touched with a sense of shame at his own luxury in sight of the simplicity of Agesilaus, and he also without further ceremony seated himself on the bare ground. And first the two bade one another hail, and then Pharnabazus stretched out his right hand and Agesilaus his to meet him, and the conversation began. Pharnabazus, as the elder of the two, spoke first. “Agesilaus,” he said, “and all you Lacedaemonians here present, while you were at war with the Athenians I was your friend and ally; it was I who furnished the wealth that made your navy strong on sea; on land I fought on horseback by your side, and pursued your enemies into the sea.242 As to duplicity like that of Tissaphernes, I challenge you to accuse me of having played you false by word or deed. Such have I ever been; and in return how am I treated by yourselves today? — in such sort that I cannot even sup in my own country unless, like the wild animals, I pick up the scraps you chance to leave. The beautiful palaces which my father left me as an heirloom, the parks243 full of trees and beasts of the chase in which my heart rejoiced, lie before my eyes hacked to pieces, burnt to ashes. Maybe I do not comprehend the first principles of justice and holiness; do you then explain to me how all this resembles the conduct of men who know how to repay a simple debt of gratitude.” He ceased, and the Thirty were ashamed before him and kept silence.244

At length, after some pause, Agesilaus spoke. “I think you are aware,” he said, “Pharnabazus, that within the states of Hellas the folk of one community contract relations of friendship and hospitality with one another;245 but if these states should go to war, then each man will side with his fatherland, and friend will find himself pitted against friend in the field of battle, and, if it so betide, the one may even deal the other his death-blow. So too we today, being at war with your sovereign lord the king, must needs regard as our enemy all that he calls his; not but that with yourself personally we should esteem it our high fortune to be friends. If indeed it were merely an exchange of service — were you asked to give up your lord the king and to take us as your masters in his stead, I could not so advise you; but the fact is, by joining with us it is in your power today to bow your head to no man, to call no man master, to reap the produce of your own domain in freedom — freedom, which to my mind is more precious than all riches. Not that we bid you to become a beggar for the sake of freedom, but rather to use our friendship to increase not the king’s authority, but your own, by subduing those who are your fellow-slaves today, and who tomorrow shall be your willing subjects. Well, then, freedom given and wealth added — what more would you desire to fill the cup of happiness to overflowing?” Pharnabazus replied: “Shall I tell you plainly what I will do?” “That were but kind and courteous on your part,” he answered. “Thus it stands with me, then,” said Pharnabazus. “If the king should send another general, and if he should wish to rank me under this new man’s orders, I, for my part, am willing to accept your friendship and alliance; but if he offers me the supreme command — why, then, I plainly tell you, there is a certain something in the very name ambition which whispers me that I shall war against you to the best of my ability.”246 When he heard that, Agesilaus seized the satrap’s hand, exclaiming: “Ah, best of mortals, may the day arrive which sends us such a friend! Of one thing rest assured. This instant I leave your territory with what haste I may, and for the future — even in case of war — as long as we can find foes elsewhere our hands shall hold aloof from you and yours.”

And with these words he broke up the meeting. Pharnabazus mounted his horse and rode away, but his son by Parapita, who was still in the bloom of youth, lingered behind; then, running up to Agesilaus, he exclaimed: “See, I choose you as my friend.” “And I accept you,” replied the king. “Remember, then,” the lad answered, and with the word presented the beautiful javelin in his hand to Agesilaus, who received it, and unclasping a splendid trapping247 which his secretary, Idaeus, had round the neck of his charger, he gave it in return to the youth; whereupon the boy leapt on his horse’s back and galloped after his father.248 At a later date, during the absence of Pharnabazus abroad, this same youth, the son of Parapita, was deprived of the government by his brother and driven into exile. Then Agesilaus took great interest in him, and as he had a strong attachment to the son of Eualces, an Athenian, Agesilaus did all he could to have this friend of his, who was the tallest of the boys, admitted to the two hundred yards race at Olympia.

B.C. 394. But to return to the actual moment. Agesilaus was as good as his word, and at once marched out of the territory of Pharnabazus. The season verged on spring. Reaching the plain of Thebe,249 he encamped in the neighbourhood of the temple of Artemis of Astyra,250 and there employed himself in collecting troops from every side, in addition to those which he already had, so as to form a complete armament. These preparations were pressed forward with a view to penetrating as far as possible into the interior. He was persuaded that every tribe or nation placed in his rear might be considered as alienated from the king.

233 See Hartman (“An. Xen.” p. 339), who suggests Otun auto for sun auto.

234 See “Ages.” iii. 4, where he is called Cotys.

235 I.e. “Spartan counsellors.”

236 Or, “and may the wedding be blest!”

237 Lit. “paradises.” See “Anab.” I. ii. 7; “Cyrop.” I. iv. 11.

238 Lit. “one hundred and sixty stades.”

239 Or, “captains posted to intercept them, who relieved . . .” See “Anab.” IV. i. 14.

240 See “Pol. Lac.” xiii. 11, for these officers.

241 “Ages.” v. 4; Plut. “Ages.” xi. (Clough, iv. p. 14).

242 See “Hell.” I. i. 6.

243 Lit. “paradises.”

244 Theopompus of Chios, the historian (b. B.C. 378, fl. B.C. 333), “in the eleventh book [of his Suntazis Ellenikon] borrowed Xenophon’s lively account of the interview between Agesilaus and Pharnabazus (Apollonius apud Euseb. B, “Praep. Evang.” p. 465).” See “Hist. Lit. of Anc. Gr.,” Muller and Donaldson, ii. p. 380.

245 Or, add, “we call them guest friends.”

246 Or, “so subtle a force, it seems, is the love of honour that.” Grote, “H. G.” ix. 386; cf. Herod. iii. 57 for “ambition,” philotimia.

247 phalara, bosses of gold, silver, or other metals, cast or chased, with some appropriate device in relief, which were worn as an ornamental trapping for horses, affixed to the head-stall or to a throat-collar, or to a martingale over the chest. — Rich’s “Companion to Lat. Dict. and Greek Lex.,” s.v.

248 See Grote, ix. 387; Plut. “Ages.” xiv. (Clough, iv. 15); “Ages.” iii. 5. The incident is idealised in the “Cyrop.” I. iv. 26 foll. See “Lyra Heroica”: CXXV. A Ballad of East and West — the incident of the “turqoise-studded rein.”

249 “Anab.” VII. viii. 7.

250 Vide Strab. xiii. 606, 613. Seventy stades from Thebe.


Such were the concerns and projects of Agesilaus. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians at home were quite alive to the fact that moneys had been sent into Hellas, and that the bigger states were leagued together to declare war against them. It was hard to avoid the conclusion that Sparta herself was in actual danger, and that a campaign was inevitable. While busy, therefore, with preparations themselves, they lost no time in despatching Epicydidas to fetch Agesilaus. That officer, on his arrival, explained the position of affairs, and concluded by delivering a peremptory summons of the state recalling him to the assistance of the fatherland without delay. The announcement could not but come as a grievous blow to Agesilaus, as he reflected on the vanished hopes, and the honours plucked from his grasp. Still, he summoned the allies and announced to them the contents of the despatch from home. “To aid our fatherland,” he added, “is an imperative duty. If, however, matters turn out well on the other side, rely upon it, friends and allies, I will not forget you, but I shall be back anon to carry out your wishes.” When they heard the announcement many wept, and they passed a resolution, one and all, to assist Agesilaus in assisting Lacedaemon; if matters turned out well there, they undertook to take him as their leader and come back again to Asia; and so they fell to making preparations to follow him.

Agesilaus, on his side, determined to leave behind him in Asia Euxenus as governor, and with him a garrison numbering no less than four thousand troops, which would enable him to protect the states in Asia. But for himself, as on the one hand he could see that the majority of the soldiers would far rather stay behind than undertake service against fellow-Hellenes, and on the other hand he wished to take as fine and large an army with him as he could, he offered prizes first to that state or city which should continue the best corps of troops, and secondly to that captain of mercenaries who should join the expedition with the best equipped battalion of heavy infantry, archers, and light infantry. On the same principle he informed the chief cavalry officers that the general who succeeded in presenting the best accoutred and best mounted regiment would receive from himself some victorious distinction. “The final adjudication,” he said, “would not be made until they had crossed from Asia into Europe and had reached the Chersonese; and this with a view to impress upon them that the prizes were not for show but for real campaigners.”251 These consisted for the most part of infantry or cavalry arms and accoutrements tastefully furnished, besides which there were chaplets of gold. The whole, useful and ornamental alike, must have cost nearly a thousand pounds,252 but as the result of this outlay, no doubt, arms of great value were procured for the expedition.253 When the Hellespont was crossed the judges were appointed. The Lacedaemonians were represented by Menascus, Herippidas, and Orsippus, and the allies by one member from each state. As soon as the adjudication was complete, the army commenced its march with Agesilaus at its head, following the very route taken by the great king when he invaded Hellas.

Meanwhile the ephors had called out the ban, and as Agesipolis was still a boy, the state called upon Aristodemus, who was of the royal family and guardian of the young king, to lead the expedition; and now that the Lacedaemonians were ready to take the field and the forces of their opponents were duly mustered, the latter met254 to consider the most advantageous method of doing battle.

Timolaus of Corinth spoke: “Soldiers of the allied forces,” he said, “the growth of Lacedaemon seems to me just like that of some mighty river — at its sources small and easily crossed, but as it farther and farther advances, other rivers discharge themelves into its channel, and its stream grows ever more formidable. So is it with the Lacedaemonians. Take them at the starting-point and they are but a single community, but as they advance and attach city after city they grow more numerous and more resistless. I observe that when people wish to take wasps’ nests — if they try to capture the creatures on the wing, they are liable to be attacked by half the hive; whereas, if they apply fire to them ere they leave their homes, they will master them without scathe themselves. On this principle I think it best to bring about the battle within the hive itself, or, short of that, as close to Lacedaemon as possible.”255

The arguments of the speaker were deemed sound, and a resolution was passed in that sense; but before it could be carried out there were various arrangements to be made. There was the question of headship. Then, again, what was the proper depth of line to be given to the different army corps? for if any particular state or states gave too great a depth to their battle line they would enable the enemy to turn their flank. Whilst they were debating these points, the Lacedaemonians had incorporated the men of Tegea and the men of Mantinea, and were ready to debouch into the bimarine region.256 And as the two armies advanced almost at the same time, the Corinthians and the rest reached the Nemea,257 and the Lacedaemonians and their allies occupied Sicyon. The Lacedaemonians entered by Epieiceia, and at first were severely handled by the light-armed troops of the enemy, who discharged stones and arrows from the vantage-ground on their right; but as they dropped down upon the Gulf of Corinth they advanced steadily onwards through the flat country, felling timber and burning the fair land. Their rivals, on their side, after a certain forward movement,258 paused and encamped, placing the ravine in front of them; but still the Lacedaemonians advanced, and it was only when they were within ten furlongs259 of the hostile position that they followed suit and encamped, and then they remained quiet.

And here I may state the numbers on either side. The Lacedaemonian heavy-armed infantry levies amounted to six thousand men. Of Eleians, Triphylians, Acroreians, and Lasionians, there must have been nearly three thousand, with fifteen hundred Sicyonians, while Epidaurus, Troezen, Hermione, and Halieis260 contributed at least another three thousand. To these heavy infantry troops must be added six hundred Lacedaemonian cavalry, a body of Cretan archers about three hundred strong, besides another force of slingers, at least four hundred in all, consisting of Marganians, Letrinians, and Amphidolians. The men of Phlius were not represented. Their plea was they were keeping “holy truce.” That was the total of the forces on the Lacedaemonian side. There was collected on the enemy’s side six thousand Athenian heavy infantry, with about, as was stated, seven thousand Argives, and in the absence of the men of Orchomenus something like five thousand Boeotians. There were besides three thousand Corinthians, and again from the whole of Euboea at least three thousand. These formed the heavy infantry. Of cavalry the Boeotians, again in the absence of the Orchomenians, furnished eight hundred, the Athenians261 six hundred, the Chalcidians of Euboea one hundred, the Opuntian Locrians262 fifty. Their light troops, including those of the Corinthians, were more numerous, as the Ozolian Locrians, the Melians, and Arcarnanians263 helped to swell their numbers.

Such was the strength of the two armies. The Boeotians, as long as they occupied the left wing, showed no anxiety to join battle, but after a rearrangement which gave them the right, placing the Athenians opposite the Lacedaemonians, and themselves opposite the Achaeans, at once, we are told,264 the victims proved favourable, and the order was passed along the lines to prepare for immediate action. The Boeotians, in the first place, abandoning the rule of sixteen deep, chose to give their division the fullest possible depth, and, moreover, kept veering more and more to their right, with the intention of overlapping their opponent’s flank. The consequence was that the Athenians, to avoid being absolutely severed, were forced to follow suit, and edged towards the right, though they recognised the risk they ran of having their flank turned. For a while the Lacedaemonians had no idea of the advance of the enemy, owing to the rough nature of the ground,265 but the notes of the paean at length announced to them the fact, and without an instant’s delay the answering order “prepare for battle” ran along the different sections of their army. As soon as their troops were drawn up, according to the tactical disposition of the various generals of foreign brigades, the order was passed to “follow the lead,” and then the Lacedaemonians on their side also began edging to their right, and eventually stretched out their wing so far that only six out of the ten regimental divisions of the Athenians confronted the Lacedaemonians, the other four finding themselves face to face with the men of Tegea. And now when they were less than a furlong266 apart, the Lacedaemonians sacrificed in customary fashion a kid to the huntress goddess,267 and advanced upon their opponents, wheeling round their overlapping columns to outflank his left. As the two armies closed, the allies of Lacedaemon were as a rule fairly borne down by their opponents. The men of Pellene alone, steadily confronting the Thespiaeans, held their ground, and the dead of either side strewed the position.268 As to the Lacedaemonians themselves: crushing that portion of the Athenian troops which lay immediately in front of them, and at the same time encircling them with their overlapping right, they slew man after man of them; and, absolutely unscathed themselves, their unbroken columns continued their march, and so passed behind the four remaining divisions269 of the Athenians before these latter had returned from their own victorious pursuit. Whereby the four divisions in question also emerged from battle intact, except for the casualties inflicted by the Tegeans in the first clash of the engagement. The troops next encountered by the Lacedaemonians were the Argives retiring. These they fell foul of, and the senior polemarch was just on the point of closing with them “breast to breast” when some one, it is said, shouted, “Let their front ranks pass.” This was done, and as the Argives raced past, their enemies thrust at their unprotected270 sides and killed many of them. The Corinthians were caught in the same way as they retired, and when their turn had passed, once more the Lacedaemonians lit upon a portion of the Theban division retiring from the pursuit, and strewed the field with their dead. The end of it all was that the defeated troops in the first instance made for safety to the walls of their city, but the Corinthians within closed the gates, whereupon the troops took up quarters once again in their old encampment. The Lacedaemonians on their side withdrew to the point at which they first closed with the enemy, and there set up a trophy of victory. So the battle ended.

251 Or, “that the perfection of equipment was regarded as anticipative of actual service in the field.” Cobet suggests for eukrinein dieukrinein; cf. “Oecon.” viii. 6.

252 Lit. “at least four talents” = 975 pounds.

253 Or, “beyond which, the arms and material to equip the expedition were no doubt highly costly.”

254 At Corinth. See above, III. iv. 11; below, V. iv. 61, where the victory of Nixos is described but not localised.

255 Or, “if not actually at Lacedaemon, then at least as near as possible to the hornet’s nest.”

256 I.e. “the shores of the Corinthian Gulf.” Or, “upon the strand or coast road or coast land of Achaia” [aliter ten aigialon(?) the Strand of the Corinthian Gulf, the old name of this part of Achaia].

257 Or, “the district of Nemea.”

258 epelthontes, but see Grote (“H. G.” ix. 425 note), who prefers apelthontes = retreated and encamped.

259 Lit. “ten stades.” For the numbers below, see Grote, “H. G.” ix. 422, note 1.

260 Halieis, a seafaring people (Strabo, viii. 373) and town on the coast of Hermionis; Herod. vii. 137; Thuc. i. 105, ii. 56, iv. 45; Diod. xi. 78; “Hell.” VI. ii. 3.

261 For a treaty between Athens and Eretria, B.C. 395, see Hicks, 66; and below, “Hell.” IV. iii. 15; Hicks, 68, 69; Diod. xiv. 82.

262 See above, “Hell.” III. v. 3.

263 See below, “Hell.” IV. vi. 1; ib. vii. 1; VI. v. 23.

264 Or, “then they lost no time in discovering that the victims proved favourable.”

265 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 428; cf. Lys. “pro Mant.” 20.

266 Lit. “a stade.”

267 Lit. “our Lady of the Chase.” See “Pol. Lac.” xiii. 8.

268 Lit. “men on either side kept dropping at their post.”

269 Lit. “tribes.”

270 I.e. “right.”


Meanwhile Agesilaus was rapidly hastening with his reinforcements from Asia. He had reached Amphipolis when Dercylidas brought the news of this fresh victory of the Lacedaemonians; their own loss had been eight men, that of the enemy considerable. It was his business at the same time to explain that not a few of the allies had fallen also. Agesilaus asked, “Would it not be opportune, Dercylidas, if the cities that have furnished us with contingents could hear of this victory as soon as possible?” And Dercylidas replied: “The news at any rate is likely to put them in better heart.” Then said the king: “As you were an eye-witness there could hardly be a better bearer of the news than yourself.” To this proposal Dercylidas lent a willing ear — to travel abroad271 was his special delight — and he replied, “Yes, under your orders.” “Then you have my orders,” the king said. “And you may further inform the states from myself that we have not forgotten our promise; if all goes well over here we shall be with them again ere long.” So Dercylidas set off on his travels, in the first instance to the Hellespont;272 while Agesilaus crossed Macedonia, and arrived in Thessaly. And now the men of Larissa, Crannon, Scotussa, and Pharsalus, who were allies of the Boeotians — and in fact all the Thessalians except the exiles for the time being — hung on his heels273 and did him damage.

For some while he marched his troops in a hollow square,274 posting half his cavalry in front and half on his rear; but finding that the Thessalians checked his passage by repeated charges from behind, he strengthened his rearguard by sending round the cavalry from his van, with the exception of his own personal escort.275 The two armies stood confronted in battle order; but the Thessalians, not liking the notion of a cavalry engagement with heavy infantry, turned, and step by step retreated, while the others followed them with considerable caution. Agesilaus, perceiving the error under which both alike laboured, now sent his own personal guard of stalwart troopers with orders that both they and the rest of the horsemen should charge at full gallop,276 and not give the enemy the chance to recoil. The Thessalians were taken aback by this unexpected onslaught, and half of them never thought of wheeling about, whilst those who did essay to do so presented the flanks of their horses to the charge,277 and were made prisoners. Still Polymarchus of Pharsalus, the general in command of their cavalry, rallied his men for an instant, and fell, sword in hand, with his immediate followers. This was the signal for a flight so precipitate on the part of the Thessalians, that their dead and dying lined the road, and prisoners were taken; nor was any halt made until they reached Mount Narthacius. Here, then, midway between Pras and Narthacius, Agesilaus set up a trophy, halting for the moment, in unfeigned satisfaction at the exploit. It was from antagonists who prided themselves on their cavalry beyond everything that he had wrested victory, with a body of cavalry of his own mustering. Next day he crossed the mountains of Achaea Phthiotis, and for the future continued his march through friendly territory until he reached the confines of Boeotia.

Here, at the entrance of that territory, the sun (in partial eclipse)278 seemed to appear in a crescent shape, and the news reached him of the defeat of the Lacedaemonians in a naval engagement, and the death of the admiral Peisander. Details of the disaster were not wanting. The engagement of the hostile fleets took place off Cnidus. Pharnabazus, the Persian admiral, was present with the Phoenician fleet, and in front of him were ranged the ships of the Hellenic squadron under Conon. Peisander had ventured to draw out his squadron to meet the combined fleets, though the numerical inferiority of his fleet to that of the Hellenic navy under Conon was conspicuous, and he had the mortification of seeing the allies who formed his left wing take to flight immediately. He himself came to close quarters with the enemy, and was driven on shore, on board his trireme, under pressure of the hostile rams. The rest, as many as were driven to shore, deserted their ships and sought safety as best they could in the territory of Cnidus. The admiral alone stuck to his ship, and fell sword in hand.

It was impossible for Agesilaus not to feel depressed by those tidings at first; on further reflection, however, it seemed to him that the moral quality of more than half his troops well entitled them to share in the sunshine of success, but in the day of trouble, when things looked black, he was not bound to take them into his confidence. Accordingly he turned round and gave out that he had received news that Peisander was dead, but that he had fallen in the arms of victory in a sea-fight; and suiting his action to the word, he proceeded to offer sacrifice in return for good tidings,279 distributing portions of the victims to a large number of recipients. So it befell that in the first skirmish with the enemy the troops of Agesilaus gained the upper hand, in consequence of the report that the Lacedaemonians had won a victory by sea.

To confront Agesilaus stood an army composed of the Boeotians, Athenians, Argives, Corinthians, Aenianians, Euboeans, and both divisions of the Locrians. Agesilaus on his side had with him a division280 of Lacedaemonians, which had crossed from Corinth, also half the division from Orchomenus; besides which there were the neodamodes281 from Lacedaemon, on service with him already; and in addition to these the foreign contingent under Herippidas;282 and again the quota furnished by the Hellenic cities in Asia, with others from the cities in Europe which he had brought over during his progress; and lastly, there were additional levies from the spot — Orchomenian and Phocian heavy infantry. In light-armed troops, it must be admitted, the numbers told heavily in favour of Agesilaus, but the cavalry283 on both sides were fairly balanced.

Such were the forces of either party. I will describe the battle itself, if only on account of certain features which distinguish it from the battles of our time. The two armies met on the plain of Coronea — the troops of Agesilaus advancing from the Cephisus, the Thebans and their allies from the slopes of Helicon. Agesilaus commanded his own right in person, with the men of Orchomenus on his extreme left. The Thebans formed their own right, while the Argives held their left. As they drew together, for a while deep silence reigned on either side; but when they were not more than a furlong284 apart, with the loud hurrah285 the Thebans, quickening to a run, rushed furiously286 to close quarters; and now there was barely a hundred yards287 breadth between the two armies, when Herippidas with his foreign brigade, and with them the Ionians, Aeolians, and Hellespontines, darted out from the Spartans’ battle-lines to greet their onset. One and all of the above played their part in the first rush forward; in another instant they were288 within spear-thrust of the enemy, and had routed the section immediately before them. As to the Argives, they actually declined to receive the attack of Agesilaus, and betook themselves in flight to Helicon. At this moment some of the foreign division were already in the act of crowning Agesilaus with the wreath of victory, when some one brought him word that the Thebans had cut through the Orchomenians and were in among the baggage train. At this the Spartan general immediately turned his army right about and advanced against them. The Thebans, on their side, catching sight of their allies withdrawn in flight to the base of the Helicon, and anxious to get across to their own friends, formed in close order and tramped forward stoutly.

At this point no one will dispute the valour of Agesilaus, but he certainly did not choose the safest course. It was open to him to make way for the enemy to pass, which done, he might have hung upon his heels and mastered his rear. This, however, he refused to do, preferring to crash full front against the Thebans. Thereupon, with close interlock of shield wedged in with shield, they shoved, they fought, they dealt death,289 they breathed out life, till at last a portion of the Thebans broke their way through towards Helicon, but paid for that departure by the loss of many lives. And now the victory of Agesilaus was fairly won, and he himself, wounded, had been carried back to the main line, when a party of horse came galloping up to tell him that something like eighty of the enemy, under arms, were sheltering under the temple, and they asked what they ought to do. Agesilaus, though he was covered with wounds, did not, for all that, forget his duty to God. He gave orders to let them retire unscathed, and would not suffer any injury to be done to them. And now, seeing it was already late, they took their suppers and retired to rest.

But with the morning Gylis the polemarch received orders to draw up the troops in battle order, and to set up a trophy, every man crowned with a wreath in honour of the god, and all the pipers piping. Thus they busied themselves in the Spartan camp. On their side the Thebans sent heralds asking to bury their dead, under a truce; and in this wise a truce was made. Agesilaus withdrew to Delphi, where on arrival he offered to the god a tithe of the produce of his spoils — no less than a hundred talents.290 Gylis the polemarch meanwhile withdrew into Phocis at the head of his troops, and from that district made a hostile advance into Locris. Here nearly a whole day was spent by the men in freely helping themselves to goods and chattels out of the villages and pillaging the corn;291 but as it drew towards evening the troops began to retire, with the Lacedaemonians in the rear. The Locrians hung upon their heels with a heavy pelt of stones and javelins. Thereupon the Lacedaemonians turned short round and gave chase, laying some of their assailants low. Then the Locrians ceased clinging to their rear, but continued their volleys from the vantage-ground above. The Lacedaemonians again made efforts to pursue their persistent foes even up the slope. At last darkness descended on them, and as they retired man after man dropped, succumbing to the sheer difficulty of the ground; some in their inability to see what lay in front, or else shot down by the enemy’s missiles. It was then that Gylis the polemarch met his end, as also Pelles, who was on his personal staff, and the whole of the Spartans present without exception — eighteen or thereabouts — perished, either crushed by stones or succumbing to other wounds. Indeed, except for timely aid brought from the camp where the men were supping, the chances are that not a man would have escaped to tell the tale.

271 See “Pol. Lac.” xiv. 4.

272 See below, “Hell.” IV. viii. 3.

273 See “Ages.” ii. 2; Grote, “H. G.” ix. 420, note 2.

274 See Rustow and Kochly, S. 187 foll.

275 See Thuc. v. 72; Herod. vi. 56, viii. 124.

276 Lit. “and bids them pass the order to the others and themselves to charge,” etc.

277 See “Horsemanship,” vii. 16; Polyb. iv. 8.

278 B.C. 394, August 14.

279 “Splendide mendax.” For the ethics of the matter, see “Mem.” IV. ii. 17; “Cyrop.” I. vi. 31.

280 Lit. “a mora”; for the numbers, see “Ages.” ii. 6; Plut. “Ages.” 17; Grote, “H. G.” ix. 433.

281 I.e. “enfranchised helots.”

282 See “Ages.” ii. 10, 11; and above, “Hell.” III. iv. 20.

283 See Hicks, op. cit. 68.

284 Lit. “a stade.”

285 Lit. “Alalah.”

286 Like a tornado.

287 Lit. “about three plethra.”

288 Or, “All these made up the attacking columns . . . and coming within . . . routed . . .”

289 Or, “they slew, they were slain.” In illustration of this famous passage, twice again worked up in “Ages.” ii. 12, and “Cyrop.” VII. i. 38, commented on by Longinus, peri upsous, 19, and copied by Dio Cassius, 47, 45, I venture to quote a passage from Mr. Rudyard Kipling, “With the Main Guard,” p. 57, Mulvaney loquitur: “The Tyrone was pushin’ an’ pushin’ in, an’ our men was sweerin’ at thim, an’ Crook was workin’ away in front av us all, his sword-arm swingin’ like a pump-handle an’ his revolver spittin’ like a cat. But the strange thing av ut was the quiet that lay upon. ’Twas like a fight in a dhrame — excipt for thim that wus dead.”

290 = 25,000 pounds nearly.

291 Or, “not to speak of provisions.”


This incident ended the campaign. The army as a whole was disbanded, the contingents retiring to their several cities, and Agesilaus home across the Gulf by sea.

B.C. 393. Subsequently292 the war between the two parties recommenced. The Athenians, Boeotians, Argives, and the other allies made Corinth the base of their operations; the Lacedaemonians and their allies held Sicyon as theirs. As to the Corinthians, they had to face the fact that, owing to their proximity to the seat of war, it was their territory which was ravaged and their people who perished, while the rest of the allies abode in peace and reaped the fruits of their lands in due season. Hence the majority of them, including the better class, desired peace, and gathering into knots they indoctrinated one another with these views.

B.C. 392.293 On the other hand, it could hardly escape the notice of the allied powers, the Argives, Athenians, and Boeotians, as also those of the Corinthians themselves who had received a share of the king’s moneys, or for whatever reason were most directly interested in the war, that if they did not promptly put the peace party out of the way, ten chances to one the old laconising policy would again hold the field. It seemed there was nothing for it but the remedy of the knife. There was a refinement of wickedness in the plan adopted. With most people the life even of a legally condemned criminal is held sacred during a solemn season, but these men deliberately selected the last day of the Eucleia,294 when they might reckon on capturing more victims in the crowded market-place, for their murderous purposes. Their agents were supplied with the names of those to be gotten rid of, the signal was given, and then, drawing their daggers, they fell to work. Here a man was struck down standing in the centre of a group of talkers, and there another seated; a third while peacably enjoying himself at the play; a fourth actually whilst officiating as a judge at some dramatic contest.295 When what was taking place became known, there was a general flight on the part of the better classes. Some fled to the images of the gods in the market-place, others to the altars; and here these unhallowed miscreants, ringleaders and followers alike, utterly regardless of duty and law, fell to butchering their victims even within the sacred precincts of the gods; so that even some of those against whom no hand was lifted — honest, law-abiding folk — were filled with sore amazement at sight of such impiety. In this way many of the elder citizens, as mustering more thickly in the market-place, were done to death. The younger men, acting on a suspicion conceived by one of their number, Pasimelus, as to what was going to take place, kept quiet in the Kraneion;296 but hearing screams and shouting and being joined anon by some who had escaped from the affair, they took the hint, and, running up along the slope of the Acrocorinthus, succeeded in repelling an attack of the Argives and the rest. While they were still deliberating what they ought to do, down fell a capital from its column — without assignable cause, whether of earthquake or wind. Also, when they sacrificed, the aspect of the victims was such that the soothsayers said it was better to descend from that position.

So they retired, in the first instance prepared to go into exile beyond the territory of Corinth. It was only upon the persuasion of their friends and the earnest entreaties of their mothers and sisters who came out to them, supported by the solemn assurance of the men in power themselves, who swore to guarantee them against evil consequences, that some of them finally consented to return home. Presented to their eyes was the spectacle of a tyranny in full exercise, and to their minds the consciousness of the obliteration of their city, seeing that boundaries were plucked up and the land of their fathers had come to be re-entitled by the name of Argos instead of Corinth; and furthermore, compulsion was put upon them to share in the constitution in vogue at Argos, for which they had ltitle appetite, while in their own city they wielded less power than the resident aliens. So that a party sprang up among them whose creed was, that life was not worth living on such terms: their endeavour must be to make their fatherland once more the Corinth of old days — to restore freedom to their city, purified from the murderer and his pollution and fairly rooted in good order and legality.297 It was a design worth the venture: if they succeeded they would become the saviours of their country; if not — why, in the effort to grasp the fairest flower of happiness, they would but overreach, and find instead a glorious termination to existence.

It was in furtherance of this design that two men — Pasimelus and Alcimenes — undertook to creep through a watercourse and effect a meeting with Praxitas the polemarch of the Lacedaemonians, who was on garrison duty with his own division in Sicyon. They told him they could give him ingress at a point in the long walls leading to Lechaeum. Praxitas, knowing from previous experience that the two men might be relied upon, believed their statement; and having arranged for the further detention in Sicyon of the division which was on the point of departure, he busied himself with plans for the enterprise. When the two men, partly by chance and partly by contrivance, came to be on guard at the gate where the tophy now stands, without further ado Praxitas presented himself with his division, taking with him also the men of Sicyon and the whole of the Corinthian exiles. Having reached the gate, he had a qualm of misgiving, and hesitated to step inside until he had first sent in a man on whom he could rely to take a look at things within. The two Corinthians introduced him, and made so simple and straightforward a representation298 that the visitor was convinced, and reported everything as free of pitfalls as the two had asserted. Then the polemarch entered, but owing to the wide space between the double walls, as soon as they came to form in line within, the intruders were impressed by the paucity of their numbers. They therefore erected a stockade, and dug as good a trench as they could in front of them, pending the arrival of reinforcements from the allies. In their rear, moreover, lay the guard of the Boeotians in the harbour. Thus they passed the whole day which followed the night of ingress without striking a blow.

On the next day, however, the Argive troops arrived in all haste, hurrying to the rescue, and found the enemy duly drawn up. The Lacedaemonians were on their own right, the men of Sicyon next, and leaning against the eastern wall the Corinthian exiles, one hundred and fifty strong.299 Their opponents marshalled their lines face to face in correspondence: Iphicrates with his mercenaries abutting on the eastern wall; next to them the Argives, whilst the Corinthians of the city held their left. In the pride inspired by numbers they began advancing at once. They overpowered the Sicyonians, and tearing asunder the stockade, pursued them to the sea and here slew numbers of them. At that instant Pasimachus, the cavalry general, at the head of a handful of troopers, seeing the Sicyonians sore presed, made fast the horses of his troops to the trees, and relieving the Sicyonians of their heavy infantry shields, advanced with his volunteers against the Argives. The latter, seeing the Sigmas on the shields and taking them to be “Sicyonians,” had not the slightest fear. Whereupon, as the story goes, Pasimachus, exclaiming in his broad Doric, “By the twin gods! these Sigmas will cheat you, you Argives,” came to close quarters, and in that battle of a handful against a host, was slain himself with all his followers. In another quarter of the field, however, the Corinthian exiles had got the better of their opponents and worked their way up, so that they were now touching the city circumvallation walls.

The Lacedaemonians, on their side, perceiving the discomfiture of the Sicyonians, sprang out with timely aid, keeping the palisade-work on their left. But the Argives, discovering that the Lacedaemonians were behind them, wheeled round and came racing back, pouring out of the palisade at full speed. Their extreme right, with unprotected flanks exposed, fell victims to the Lacedaemonians; the rest, hugging the wall, made good their retreat in dense masses towards the city. Here they encountered the Corinthian exiles, and discovering that they had fallen upon foes, swerved aside in the reverse direction. In this predicament some mounted by the ladders of the city wall, and, leaping down from its summit, were destroyed;300 others yielded up their lives, thrust through, as they jostled at the foot of the steps; others again were literally trampled under one another’s feet and suffocated.

The Lacedaemonians had no difficulty in the choice of victims; for at that instant a work was assigned to them to do,301 such as they could hardly have hoped or prayed for. To find delivered into their hands a mob of helpless enemies, in an ecstasy of terror, presenting their unarmed sides in such sort that none turned to defend himself, but each victim rather seemed to contribute what he could towards his own destruction — if that was not divine interposition, I know now what to call it. Miracle or not, in that little space so many fell, and the corpses lay piled so thick, that eyes familiar with the stacking of corn or wood or piles of stones were called upon to gaze at layers of human bodies. Nor did the guard of the Boeotians in the port itself302 escape death; some were slain upon the ramparts, others on the roofs of the dock-houses, which they had scaled for refuge. Nothing remained but for the Corinthians and Argives to carry away their dead under cover of a truce; whilst the allies of Lacedaemon poured in their reinforcements. When these were collected, Praxitas decided in the first place to raze enough of the walls to allow a free broadway for an army on march. This done, he put himself at the head of his troops and advanced on the road to Megara, taking by assault, first Sidus and next Crommyon. Leaving garrisons in these two fortresses, he retraced his steps, and finally fortifying Epieiceia as a garrison outpost to protect the territory of the allies, he at once disbanded his troops and himself withdrew to Lacedaemon.

B.C. 392-391.303 After this the great armaments of both belligerents had ceased to exist. The states merely furnished garrisons — the one set at Corinth, the other set at Sicyon — and were content to guard the walls. Though even so, a vigorous war was carried on by dint of the mercenary troops with which both sides were furnished.

A signal incident in the period was the invasion of Phlius by Iphicrates. He laid an ambuscade, and with a small body of troops adopting a system of guerilla war, took occasion of an unguarded sally of the citizens of Phlius to inflict such losses on them, that though they had never previously received the Lacedaemonians within their walls, they received them now. They had hitherto feared to do so lest it might lead to the restoration of the banished members of their community, who gave out that they owed their exile to their Lacedaemonian sympathies;304 but they were now in such abject fear of the Corinthian party that they sent to fetch the Lacedaemonians, and delivered the city and citadel to their safe keeping. These latter, however, well disposed to the exiles of Phlius, did not, at the time they held the city, so much as breathe the thought of bringing back the exiles; on the contrary, as soon as the city seemed to have recovered its confidence, they took their departure, leaving city and laws precisely as they had found them on their entry.

To return to Iphicrates and his men: they frequently extended their incursions even into Arcadia in many directions,305 following their usual guerilla tactics, but also making assaults on fortified posts. The heavy infantry of the Arcadians positively refused to face them in the field, so profound was the terror in which they held these light troops. In compensation, the light troops themselves entertained a wholesome dread of the Lacedaemonians, and did not venture to approach even within javelin-range of their heavy infantry. They had been taught a lesson when, within that distance, some of the younger hoplites had made a dash at them, catching and putting some of them to the sword. But however profound the contempt of the Lacedaemonians for these light troops, their contempt for their own allies was deeper. (On one occasion306 a reinforcement of Mantineans had sallied from the walls between Corinth and Lechaeum to engage the peltasts, and had no sooner come under attack than they swerved, losing some of their men as they made good their retreat. The Lacedaemonians were unkind enough to poke fun at these unfortunates. “Our allies,” they said, “stand in as much awe of these peltasts as children of the bogies and hobgoblins of their nurses.” For themselves, starting from Lechaeum, they found no difficulty in marching right round the city of Corinth with a single Lacedaemonian division and the Corinthian exiles.)307

The Athenians, on their side, who felt the power of the Lacedaemonians to be dangerously close, now that the walls of Corinth had been laid open, and even apprehended a direct attack upon themselves, determined to rebuild the portion of the wall severed by Praxitas. Accordingly they set out with their whole force, including a suite of stonelayers, masons, and carpenters, and within a few days erected a quite splendid wall on the side facing Sicyon towards the west,308 and then proceeded with more leisure to the completion of the eastern portion.

To turn once more to the other side: the Lacedaemonians, indignant at the notion that the Argives should be gathering the produce of their lands in peace at home, as if war were a pastime, marched against them. Agesilaus commanded the expedition, and after ravaging their territory from one end to the other, crossed their frontier at Tenea309 and swooped down upon Corinth, taking the walls which had been lately rebuilt by the Athenians. He was supported on the sea side by his brother Teleutias310 with a naval force of about twelve triremes, and the mother of both was able to congratulate herself on the joint success of both her sons; one having captured the enemy’s walls by land and the other his ships and naval arsenal by sea, on the same day. These achievements sufficed Agesilaus for the present; he disbanded the army of the allies and led the state troops home.

292 B.C. 393. See Grote, ix. p. 455, note 2 foll.; “Hell.” IV. viii. 7.

293 Others assign the incidents of this whole chapter iv. to B.C. 393.

294 The festival of Artemis Eucleia.

295 See Diod. xiv. 86.

296 See Paus. II. ii. 4.

297 eunomia. See “Pol. Ath.” i. 8; Arist. “Pol.” iv. 8, 6; iii. 9, 8; v. 7, 4.

298 Or, “showed him the place in so straightforward a manner.”

299 See Grote, ix. p. 333 foll.

300 Or, “plunged from its summit into perdition.” See Thuc. ii. 4.

301 Or, “Heaven assigned to them a work . . .” Lit. “The God . . .”

302 I.e. “of Lechaeum.”

303 So Grote and Curtius; al. B.C. 393.

304 Lit. “laconism.”

305 See Thuc. ii. 4.

306 See Grote, ix. 472 note. Lechaeum was not taken by the Lacedaemonians until the Corinthian long walls had been rebuilt by the Athenians. Possibly the incidents in this section (S. 17) occurred after the capture of Lechaeum. The historian introduces them parenthetically, as it were, in illustration of his main topic — the success of the peltasts.

307 Or, adopting Schneider’s conjecture, estratopedeuonto, add “and encamping.”

308 See Thuc. vi. 98.

309 Reading Tenean, Koppen’s emendation for tegean. In the parallel passage (“Ages.” ii. 17) the text has kata ta stena. See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 471.

310 See below, IV. viii. 11.


B.C. 390.311 Subsequently the Lacedaemonians made a second expedition against Corinth. They heard from the exiles that the citizens contrived to preserve all their cattle in Peiraeum; indeed, large numbers derived their subsistence from the place. Agesilaus was again in command of the expedition. In the first instance he advanced upon the Isthmus. It was the month of the Isthmian games,312 and here he found the Argives engaged in conducting the sacrifice to Poseidon, as if Corinth were Argos. So when they perceived the approach of Agesilaus, the Argives and their friends left the offerings as they lay, including the preparations for the breakfast, and retired with undisguised alarm into the city by the Cenchrean road.313 Agesilaus, though he observed the movement, refrained from giving chase, but taking up his quarters in the temple, there proceeded to offer victims to the god himself, and waited until the Corinthian exiles had celebrated the sacrifice to Poseidon, along with the games. But no sooner had Agesilaus turned his back and retired, than the Argives returned and celebrated the Isthmian games afresh; so that in this particular year there were cases in which the same competitors were twice defeated in this or that contest, or conversely, the same man was proclaimed victor twice over.

On the fourth day Agesilaus led his troops against Peiraeum, but finding it strongly defended, he made a sudden retrograde march after the morning meal in the direction of the capital, as though he calculated on the betrayal of the city. The Corinthians, in apprehension of some such possible catastrophe, sent to summon Iphicrates with the larger portion of his light infantry. These passed by duly in the night, not unobserved, however, by Agesilaus, who at once turned round at break of day and advanced on Piraeum. He himself kept to the low ground by the hot springs,314 sending a division to scale the top of the pass. That night he encamped at the hot springs, while the division bivouacked in the open, in possession of the pass. Here Agesilaus distinguished himself by an invention as seasonable as it was simple. Among those who carried provisions for the division not one had thought of bringing fire. The altitude was considerable; there had been a fall of rain and hail towards evening and the temperature was low; besides which, the scaling party were clad in thin garments suited to the summer season. There they sat shivering in the dark, with scarcely heart to attack their suppers, when Agesilaus sent up to them as many as ten porters carrying fire in earthen pots. One found his way up one way, one another, and presently there were many bonfires blazing — magnificently enough, since there was plenty of wood to hand; so that all fell to oiling themselves and many supped over again. The same night the sky was lit up by the blaze of the temple of Poseidon — set on fire no one knows how.

When the men in Piraeum perceived that the pass was occupied, they at once abandoned all thought of self-defence and fled for refuge to the Heraion315 — men and women, slaves and free-born, with the greater part of their flocks and herds. Agesilaus, with the main body, meanwhile pursued his march by the sea-shore, and the division, simultaneously descending from the heights, captured the fortified position of Oenoe, appropriating its contents. Indeed, all the troops on that day reaped a rich harvest in the supplies they brought in from various farmsteads. Presently those who had escaped into the Heraion came out, offering to leave it to Agesilaus to decide what he would do with them. He decided to deliver up to the exiles all those concerned with the late butchery, and that all else should be sold. And so from the Heraion streamed out a long line of prisoners, whilst from other sides embassies arrived in numbers; and amongst these a deputation from the Boeotians, anxious to learn what they should do to obtain peace. These latter Agesilaus, with a certain loftiness of manner, affected not even to see, although Pharax,316 their proxenus, stood by their side to introduce them. Seated in a circular edifice on the margin of the lake,317 he surveyed the host of captives and valuables as they were brought out. Beside the prisoners, to guard them, stepped the Lacedaemonian warriors from the camp, carrying their spears — and themselves plucked all gaze their way, so readily will success and the transient fortune of the moment rivet attention. But even while Agesilaus was still thus seated, wearing a look betokening satisfaction at some great achievement, a horseman came galloping up; the flanks of his charger streamed with sweat. To the many inquiries what news he brought, the rider responded never a word; but being now close beside Agesilaus, he leaped from his horse, and running up to him with lowering visage narrated the disaster of the Spartan division318 at Lechaeum. At these tidings the king sprang instantly from his seat, clutching his spear, and bade his herald summon to a meeting the generals, captains of fifties, and commanders of foreign brigades.319 When these had rapidly assembled he bade them, seeing that the morning meal had not yet been tasted, to swallow hastily what they could, and with all possible speed to overtake him. But for himself, he, with the officers of the royal staff,320 set off at once without breakfast. His bodyguard, with their heavy arms, accompanied him with all speed — himself in advance, the officers following behind. In this fashion he had already passed beyond the warm springs, and was well within the plateau of Lechaeum, when three horsemen rode up with further news: the dead bodies had been picked up. On receipt of these tidings he commanded the troops to order arms, and having rested them a little space, led them back again to the Heraion. The next day he spent in disposing of the captured property.321

The ambassadors of the Boeotians were then summoned, and, being asked to explain the object of their coming, made no further mention of the word “peace,” but replied that, if there was nothing to hinder it, they wished to have a pass to their own soldiers within the capital. The king answered with a smile: “I know your desire is not so much to see your soldiers as to feast your eyes on the good fortune of your friends, and to measure its magnitude. Wait then, I will conduct you myself; with me you will be better able to discover the true value of what has taken place.” And he was as good as his word. Next day he sacrificed, and led his army up to the gates of Corinth. The trophy he respected, but not one tree did he leave standing — chopping and burning, as proof positive that no one dared to face him in the field. And having so done, he encamped about Lechaeum; and as to the Theban ambassadors, in lieu of letting them pass into the city, he sent them off by sea across to Creusis.

But in proportion to the unwontedness of such a calamity befalling Lacedaemonians, a widespread mourning fell upon the whole Laconian army, those alone excepted whose sons or fathers or brothers had died at their post. The bearing of these resembled that of conquerors,322 as with bright faces they moved freely to and fro, glorying in their domestic sorrow. Now the tragic fate which befell the division was on this wise: It was the unvaried custom of the men of Amyclae to return home at the Hyacinthia,323 to join in the sacred paean, a custom not to be interrupted by active service or absence from home or for any other reason. So, too, on this occasion, Agesilaus had left behind all the Amyclaeans serving in any part of his army at Lechaeum. At the right moment the general in command of the garrison at that place had posted the garrison troops of the allies to guard the walls during his absence, and put himself at the head of his division of heavy infantry with that of the cavalry,324 and led the Amyclaeans past the walls of Corinth. Arrived at a point within three miles or so325 of Sicyon, the polemarch turned back himself in the direction of Lechaeum with his heavy infantry regiment, six hundred strong, giving orders to the cavalry commandant to escort the Amyclaeans with his division as far as they required, and then to turn and overtake him. It cannot be said that the Lacedaemonians were ignorant of the large number of light troops and heavy infantry inside Corinth, but owing to their former successes they arrogantly presumed that no one would attack them. Within the capital of the Corinthians, however, their scant numbers — a thin line of heavy infantry unsupported by light infantry or cavalry — had been noted; and Callias, the son of Hipponicus,326 who was in command of the Athenian hoplites, and Iphicrates at the head of his peltasts, saw no risk in attacking with the light brigade. Since if the enemy continued his march by the high road, he would be cut up by showers of javelins on his exposed right flank; or if he were tempted to take the offensive, they with their peltasts, the nimblest of all light troops, would easily slip out of the grasp of his hoplites.

With this clearly-conceived idea they led out their troops; and while Callias drew up his heavy infantry in line at no great distance from the city, Iphicrates and his peltasts made a dash at the returning division.

The Lacedaemonians were presently within range of the javelins.327 Here a man was wounded, and there another dropped, not to rise again. Each time orders were given to the attendant shield-bearers328 to pick up the men and bear them into Lechaeum; and these indeed were the only members of the mora who were, strictly speaking, saved. Then the polemarch ordered the ten-years-service men329 to charge and drive off their assailants. Charge, however, as they might, they took nothing by their pains — not a man could they come at within javelin range. Being heavy infantry opposed to light troops, before they could get to close quarters the enemy’s word of command sounded “Retire!” whilst as soon as their own ranks fell back, scattered as they were in consequence of a charge where each man’s individual speed had told, Iphicrates and his men turned right about and renewed the javelin attack, while others, running alongside, harassed their exposed flank. At the very first charge the assailants had shot down nine or ten, and, encouraged by this success, pressed on with increasing audacity. These attacks told so severely that the polemarch a second time gave the order (and this time for the fifteen-years-service men) to charge. The order was promptly obeyed, but on retiring they lost more men than on the first occasion, and it was not until the pick and flower of the division had succumbed that they were joined by their returning cavalry, in whose company they once again attempted a charge. The light infantry gave way, but the attack of the cavalry was feebly enforced. Instead of pressing home the charge until at least they had sabred some of the enemy, they kept their horses abreast of their infantry skirmishers,330 charging and wheeling side by side.

Again and again the monotonous tale of doing and suffering repeated itself, except that as their own ranks grew thinner and their courage ebbed, the courage of their assailants grew bolder and their numbers increased. In desperation they massed compactly upon the narrow slope of a hillock, distant a couple of furlongs331 or so from the sea, and a couple of miles332 perhaps from Lechaeum. Their friends in Lechaeum, perceiving them, embarked in boats and sailed round until they were immediately under the hillock. And now, in the very slough of despair, being so sorely troubled as man after man dropped dead, and unable to strike a blow, to crown their distress they saw the enemy’s heavy infantry advancing. Then they took to flight; some of them threw themselves into the sea; others — a mere handful — escaped with the cavalry into Lechaeum. The death-roll, including those who fell in the second fight and the final flight, must have numbered two hundred and fifty slain, or thereabouts.333 Such is the tale of the destruction of the Lacedaemonian mora.

Subsequently, with the mutilated fragment of the division, Agesilaus turned his back upon Lechaeum, leaving another division behind to garrison that port. On his passage homewards, as he wound his way through the various cities, he made a point of arriving at each as late in the day as possible, renewing his march as early as possible next morning. Leaving Orchomenus at the first streak of dawn, he passed Mantinea still under cover of darkness. The spectacle of the Mantineans rejoicing at their misfortune would have been too severe an ordeal for his soldiers.

But Iphicrates had not yet reached the summit of his good fortune. Success followed upon success. Lacedaemonian garrisons had been placed in Sidus and Crommyon by Praxitas when he took these fortresses, and again in Oenoe, when Peiraeum was taken quite lately by Agesilaus. One and all of these now fell into the hands of Iphicrates. Lechaeum still held out, garrisoned as it was by the Lacedaemonians and their allies; while the Corinthian exiles, unable since334 the disaster of the mora any longer to pass freely by land from Sicyon, had the sea passage still open to them, and using Lechaeum as their base,335 kept up a game of mutual annoyance with the party in the capital.

311 Al. B.C. 392. The historian omits the overtures for peace, B.C. 391 (or 391-390) referred to in Andoc. “De Pace.” See Jebb, “Att. Or.” i. 83, 108; Grote, “H. G.” ix. 474; Curtius, “H. G.” Eng. tr. iv. 261.

312 Grote and Curtius believe these to be the Isthmian games of 390 B.C., not of 392 B.C., as Sauppe and others suppose. See Peter, “Chron. Table,” p. 89, note 183; Jowett, “Thuc.” ii. 468, note on VIII. 9, 1.

313 Lit. “road to Cenchreae.”

314 Near mod. Lutraki.

315 Or, “Heraeum,” i.e. sanctuary of Hera, on a promontory so called. See Leake, “Morea,” iii. 317.

316 See “Hell.” III. ii. 12, if the same.

317 Or, “on the round pavilion by the lake” (mod. Vuliasmeni).

318 Technically “mora.”

319 Lit. the polemarchs, penteconters, and xenagoi.

320 See “Pol. Lac.” xiii. 1.

321 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 480, in reference to “Ages.” vii. 6.

322 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 488.

323 Observed on three days of the month Hecatombaeus (= July). See Muller’s “Dorians,” ii. 360. For Amyclae, see Leake, “Morea,” i. ch. iv. p. 145 foll.; Baedeker’s “Greece,” p. 279.

324 See below, “Hell.” VI. iv. 12; and “Pol. Lac.” xi. 4, xiii. 4.

325 Lit. “twenty or thirty stades.”

326 See Cobet, “Prosop. Xen.” p. 67 foll.

327 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 467, note on the improvements of Iphicrates.

328 Grote, “H. G.” ix. 484; cf. “Hell.” IV. viii. 39; “Anab.” IV. ii. 20; Herod. ix. 10-29.

329 Youngest rank and file, between eighteen and twenty-eight years of age, who formed the first line. The Spartan was liable to service at the age of eighteen. From twenty-eight to thirty-three he would belong to the fifteen-years-service division (the second line); and so on. See below, IV. vi. 10.

330 See Thuc. iv. 125.

331 Lit. “two stades.”

332 Lit. “sixteen or seventeen stades.”

333 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. 486.

334 Lit. “owing to.”

335 The illustrative incidents narrated in chapter iv. 17 may belong to this period.


B.C. 390-389.336 At a later date the Achaeans, being in possession of Calydon, a town from old times belonging to Aetolia, and having further incorporated the Calydonians as citizens,337 were under the necessity of garrisoning their new possession. The reason was, that the Arcarnanians were threatening the place with an army, and were aided by contingents from Athens and Boeotia, who were anxious to help their allies.338 Under the strain of this combined attack the Achaeans despatched ambassadors to Lacedaemon, who on arrival complained of the unfair conduct of Lacedaemon towards themselves. “We, sirs,” they said, “are ever ready to serve in your armies, in obedience to whatever orders you choose to issue; we follow you whithersoever you think fit to lead; but when it comes to our being beleaguered by the Acarnanians, with their allies the Athenians and Boeotians, you show not the slightest concern. Understand, then, that if things go on thus we cannot hold out; but either we must give up all part in the war in Peloponnesus and cross over in full force to engage the Arcarnanians, or we must make peace with them on whatever terms we can.” This language was a tacit threat that if they failed to obtain the assistance they felt entitled to from Lacedaemon they would quit the alliance.

The ephors and the assembly concluded that there was no alternative but to assist the Achaeans in their campaign against the Acarnanians. Accordingly they sent out Agesilaus with two divisions and the proper complement of allies. The Achaeans none the less marched out in full force themselves. No sooner had Agesilaus crossed the gulf than there was a general flight of the population from the country districts into the towns, whilst the flocks and herds were driven into remote districts that they might not be captured by the troops. Being now arrived on the frontier of the enemy’s territory, Agesilaus sent to the general assembly of the Acarnanians at Stratus,339 warning them that unless they chose to give up their alliance with the Boeotians and Athenians, and to take instead themselves and their allies, he would ravage their territory through its length and breadth, and not spare a single thing. When they turned a deaf ear to this summons, the other proceeded to do what he threatened, systematically laying the district waste, felling the timber and cutting down the fruit-trees, while slowly moving on at the rate of ten or twelve furlongs a day. The Acarnanians, owing to the snail-like progress of the enemy, were lulled into a sense of security. They even began bringing down their cattle from their alps, and devoted themselves to the tillage of far the greater portion of their fields. But Agesilaus only waited till their rash confidence reached its climax; then on the fifteenth or sixteenth day after he head first entered the country he sacrificed at early dawn, and before evening had traversed eighteen miles340 or so of country to the lake341 round which were collected nearly all the flocks and herds of the Acarnanians, and so captured a vast quantity of cattle, horses, and grazing stock of all kinds, besides numerous slaves.

Having secured this prize, he stayed on the spot the whole of the following day, and devoted himself to disposing of the captured property by public sale. While he was thus engaged, a large body of Arcarnanian light infantry appeared, and availing themselves of the position in which Agesilaus was encamped against the mountain side, assailed him with volleys of sling-stones and rocks from the razor-edge of the mountain, without suffering any scathe themselves. By this means they succeeded in dislodging and forcing his troops down into the level plain, and that too at an hour when the whole camp was engaged in preparations for the evening meal. As night drew on, the Acarnanians retired; sentinels were posted, and the troops slept in peace.

Next day Agesilaus led off his army. The exit from the plain and meadow-land round the lake was a narrow aperture through a close encircling range of hills. In occupation of this mountain barrier the Acarnanians, from the vantage-ground above, poured down a continuous pelt of stones and other missiles, or, creeping down to the fringes, dogged and annoyed them so much that the army was no longer able to proceed. If the heavy infantry or cavalry made sallies from the main line they did no harm to their assailants, for the Acarnanians had only to retire and they had quickly gained their strongholds. It was too severe a task, Agesilaus thought, to force his way through the narrow pass so sorely beset. He made up his mind, therefore, to charge that portion of the enemy who dogged his left, though these were pretty numerous. The range of hills on this side was more accessible to heavy infantry and horse alike. During the interval needed for the inspection of victims, the Acarnanians kept plying them with javelins and bullets, and, coming into close proximity, wounded man after man. But presently came the word of command, “Advance!” and the fifteen-years-service men of the heavy infantry342 ran forward, accompanied by the cavalry, at a round pace, the general himself steadily following with the rest of the column. Those of the Acarnanians who had crept down the mountain side at that instant in the midst of their sharpshooting turned and fled, and as they climbed the steep, man after man was slain. When, however, the top of the pass was reached, there stood the hoplites of the Acarnanians drawn up in battle line, and supported by the mass of their light infantry. There they steadily waited, keeping up a continuous discharge of missiles the while, or launching their long spears; whereby they dealt wounds to the cavalry troopers and death in some cases to the horses. But when they were all but within the clutches of the advancing heavy infantry343 of the Lacedaemonians their firmness forsook them; they swerved and fled, and there died of them on that day about three hundred. So ended the affair.

Agesilaus set up a trophy of victory, and afterwards making a tour of the country, he visited it with fire and sword.344 Occasionally, in obedience to pressure put upon him by the Achaeans, he would assault some city, but did not capture a single one. And now, as the season of autumn rapidly approached, he prepared to leave the country; whereupon the Achaeans, who looked upon his exploits as abortive, seeing that not a single city, willingly or unwillingly, had as yet been detached from their opponents, begged him, as the smallest service he could render them, at any rate to stay long enough in the country to prevent the Acarnanians from sowing their corn. He answered that the course they suggested ran counter to expediency. “You forget,” he said, “that I mean to invade your enemies again next summer; and therefore the larger their sowing now, the stronger will be their appetite for peace hereafter.” With this retort he withdrew overland through Aetolia, and by roads, moreover, which no army, small or great, could possibly have traversed without the consent of the inhabitants. The Aetolians, however, were only too glad to yield the Spartan king a free passage, cherishing hopes as they did that he would aid them to recover Naupactus. On reaching Rhium345 he crossed the gulf at that point and returned homewards, the more direct passage from Calydon to Peloponnesus being effectually barred by an Athenian squadron stationed at Oeniadae.

336 According to others (who suppose that the Isthmia and the events recorded in chapter v. 1-19 above belong to B.C. 392), we have now reached B.C. 391.

337 Or, “having conferred a city organisation on the Calydonians.”

338 See Thuc. ii. 68.

339 “The Akarnanians had, in early times, occupied the hill of Olpai as a place for judicial proceedings common to the whole nation” (see Thuc. iii. 105). “But in Thucydides’ own time Stratos had attained its position as the greatest city of Akarnania, and probably the Federal Assemblies were already held there” (Thuc. ii. 80). “In the days of Agesilaos we find Stratos still more distinctly marked as the place of Federal meeting.”— Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” ch. iv. p. 148 foll., “On the constitution of the League.”

340 Lit. “one hundred and sixty stades.”

341 See Thuc. ii. 80; vi. 106.

342 I.e. “the first two ranks.” See above, IV. v. 14.

343 See “Ages.” ii. 20, for an extraordinary discrepancy.

344 Or lit. “burning and felling.”

345 Or Antirrhium (as more commonly called).


B.C. 389-388.346 On the expiration of winter, and in fulfilment of his promise to the Achaeans, Agesilaus called out the ban once more with early spring to invade the Acarnanians. The latter were apprised of his intention, and, being persuaded that owing to the midland situation of their cities they would just as truly be blockaded by an enemy who chose to destroy their corn as they would be if besieged with entrenchments in regular form, they sent ambassadors to Lacedaemon, and made peace with the Achaeans and alliance with the Lacedaemonians. Thus closes this page of history concerning the affairs of Arcarnania.

To turn to the next. There was a feeling on the part of the Lacedaemonians347 that no expedition against Athens or Boeotia would be safe so long as a state so important and so close to their own frontier as Argos remained in open hostility behind them. Accordingly they called out the ban against Argos. Now when Agesipolis learnt that the duty of leadership devolved on him, and, moreover, that the sacrifices before crossing the frontier were favourable, he went to Olympia and consulted the will of the god. “Would it be lawful to him,” he inquired, “not to accept the holy truce, on the ground that the Argives made the season for it348 depend not on a fixed date, but on the prospect of a Lacedaemonian invasion?” The god indicated to the inquirer that he might lawfully repudiate any holy truce which was fraudulently antedated.349 Not content with this, the young king, on leaving Olympia, went at once to Delphi, and at that shrine put the same question to Apollo: “Were his views in accordance with his Father’s as touching the holy truce?”— to which the son of Zeus made answer: “Yea, altogether in accordance.”350

Then without further hesitation, picking up his army at Phlius (where, during his absence to visit the temples, the troops had been collecting), he advanced by Nemea into the enemy’s territory. The Argives, on their side, perceiving that they would be unable to hinder his advance, in accordance with their custom sent a couple of heralds, garlanded, and presented their usual plea of a holy truce. Agesipolis answered them curtly that the gods were not satisfied with the justice of their plea, and, refusing to accept the truce, pushed forward, causing thereby great perplexity and consternation throughout the rural districts and the capital itself.

But while he was getting his evening meal that first evening in the Argive territory — just at the moment when the after-dinner libation had been poured out — the god sent an earthquake; and with one consent the Lacedaemonians, beginning with the officers of the royal quarters, sang the sacred hymn of Poseidon. The soldiers, in general, expected to retreat, arguing that, on the occurrence of an earthquake once before, Agis had retired from Elis. But Agesipolis held another view: if the god had sent his earthquake at the moment when he was meditating invasion, he should have understood that the god forbade his entrance; but now, when the invasion was a thing effected, he must needs take it as a signal of his approval.351 Accordingly next morning he sacrificed to Poseidon, and advanced a short distance further into the country.

The late expedition of Agesilaus into Argos352 was still fresh in men’s minds, and Agesipolis was eager to ascertain from the soldiers how close his predecessor had advanced to the fortification walls; or again, how far he had gone in ravaging the open country — not unlike a competitor in the pentathlon,353 eager to cap the performance of his rival in each event. On one occasion it was only the discharge of missiles from the towers which forced him to recross the trenches round the walls; on another, profiting by the absence of the majority of the Argives in Laconian territory, he came so close to the gates that their officers actually shut out their own Boeotian cavalry on the point of entering, in terror lest the Lacedaemonians might pour into the town in company, and these Boeotian troopers were forced to cling, like bats to a wall, under each coign of vantage beneath the battlements. Had it not been for the accidental absence of the Cretans,354 who had gone off on a raid to Nauplia, without a doubt numbers of men and horses would have been shot down. At a later date, while encamping in the neighbourhood of the Enclosures,355 a thunder-bolt fell into his camp. One or two men were struck, while others died from the effect of the concussion on their brains. At a still later period he was anxious to fortify some sort of garrison outpost in the pass of Celusa,356 but upon offering sacrifice the victims proved lobeless,357 and he was constrained to lead back and disband his army — not without serious injury inflicted on the Argives, as the result of an invasion which had taken them wholly by surprise.

346 According to others, B.C. 390.

347 Or, “It was agreed by the Lacedaemonians.”

348 I.e. “the season of the Carneia.”

349 Or, “wrongfully put forward.” See below, V. i. 29; iii. 28; Paus. III. v. 8; Jebb. “Att. Or.” i. p. 131; Grote, “H. G.” ix. 494 foll.; Jowett, “Thuc.” ii. 315; note to Thuc. V. liv. 3.

350 Grote; cf. Aristot. “Rhet.” ii. 33.

351 Or, “interpret the signal as a summons to advance.”

352 See above, “Hell.” IV. iv. 19.

353 The pentathlon of Olympia and the other great games consisted of five contests, in the following order —(1) leaping, (2) discus-throwing, (3) javelin-throwing, (4) running, (5) wrestling. Cf. Simonides, alma podokeien diskon akonta palen, where, “metri gratia,” the order is inverted. The competitors were drawn in pairs. The odd man who drew a bye in any particular round or heat was called the “ephedros.” The successful athletes of the pairs, that is, those who had won any three events out of five, would then again be drawn against each other, and so on until only two were left, between whom the final heat took place. See, for an exhaustive discussion of the subject, Prof. Percy Gardner, “The Pentathlon of the Greeks” (“Journal of Hellenic Studies,” vol. i. 9, p. 210 foll. pl. viii.), from whom this note is taken.

354 See Thuc. vii. 57.

355 peri tas eirktas — what these were no one knows, possibly a stone quarry used as a prison. Cf. “Cyrop.” III. i. 19; “Mem.” II. i. 5; see Grote, “H. G.” ix. 497; Paus. III. v.. 8.

356 Or Celossa. See Strabo, viii. 382.

357 I.e. “hopeless.” See above, III. iv. 15.


394 B.C. Such were the land operations in the war. Meanwhile another series of events was being enacted on the sea and within the seaboard cities; and these I will now narrate in detail. But I shall confine my pen to the more memorable incidents, and others of less account I shall pass over.

In the first place, then, Pharnabazus and Conon, after defeating the Lacedaemonians in the naval engagement of Cnidus, commenced a tour of inspection round the islands and the maritime states, expelling from them, as they visited them, one after another the Spartan governors.358 Everywhere they gave consolatory assurances to the citizens that they had no intention of establishing fortress citadels within their walls, or in any way interfering with their self-government.359 Such words fell soothingly upon the ears of those to whom they were addressed; the proposals were courteously accepted; all were eager to present Pharnabazus with gifts of friendship and hospitality. The satrap, indeed, was only applying the instructions of his master Conon on these matters — who had taught him that if he acted thus all the states would be friendly to him, whereas, if he showed any intention to enslave them, the smallest of them would, as Conon insisted, be capable of causing a world of trouble, and the chances were, if apprehensions were once excited, he would find himself face to face with a coalition of united Hellas. To these admonitions Pharnabazus lent a willing ear.

Accordingly, when disembarking at Ephesus, he presented Conon with a fleet of forty sail,360 and having further instructed him to meet him at Sestos,361 set off himself by land along the coast to visit his own provinces. For here it should be mentioned that his old enemy Dercylidas happened to be in Abydos at the time of the sea-fight;362 nor had he at a later date suffered eclipse with the other governors,363 but on the contrary, had kept tight hold of Abydos and still preserved it in attachment to Lacedaemon. The course he had adopted was to summon a meeting of the Abydenians, when he made them a speech as follows: “Sirs, today it is possible for you, who have before been friends to my city, to appear as benefactors of the Lacedaemonians. For a man to prove faithful to his friends in the heyday of their good fortune is no great marvel; but to prove steadfast when his friends are in misfortune — that is a service monumental for all time. But do not mistake me. It does not follow that, because we have been defeated in a great sea-fight, we are therefore annihilated.364 Certainly not. Even in old days, you will admit, when Athens was mistress of the sea, our state was not powerless to benefit friends or chastise enemies. Moreover, in proportion as the rest of the cities have joined hands with fortune to turn their backs upon us, so much the more certainly will the grandeur of your fidelity shine forth. Or, is any one haunted by the fear that we may find ourselves blockaded by land and sea? — let him consider that at present there is no Hellenic navy whatever on the seas, and if the barbarian attempts to clutch the empire of the sea, Hellas will not sit by and suffer it; so that, if only in self-defence, she must inevitably take your side.”

To this the Abydenians lent no deaf ears, but rather responded with willingness approaching enthusiasm — extending the hand of fellowship to the ex-governors, some of whom were already flocking to Abydos as a harbour of refuge, whilst others they sent to summon from a distance.

So when a number of efficient and serviceable men had been collected, Dercylidas ventured to cross over to Sestos — lying, as it does, not more than a mile365 distant, directly facing Abydos. There he not only set about collecting those who held lands in the Chersonese through Lacedaemonian influence, but extended his welcome also to the governors366 who had been driven out of European states.367 He insisted that, if they came to think of it, not even was their case desperate, reminding them that even in Asia, which originally belonged to the Persian monarch, places were to be found — such as the little state of Temnos, or Aegae, and others, capable of administering their affairs, unsubjected to the king of Persia. “But,” he added, “if you want a strong impregnable position, I cannot conceive what better you can find than Sestos. Why, it would need a combined naval and military force to invest that port.” By these and such like arguments he rescued them from the lethargy of despair.

Now when Pharnabazus found Abydos and Sestos so conditioned, he gave them to understand that unless they chose to eject the Lacedaemonians, he would bring war to bear upon them; and when they refused to obey, having first assigned to Conon as his business to keep the sea closed against them, he proceeded in person to ravage the territory of the men of Abydos. Presently, finding himself no nearer the fulfilment of his object — which was their reduction — he set off home himself and left it to Conon the while so to conciliate the Hellespontine states that as large a naval power as possible might be mustered against the coming spring. In his wrath against the Lacedaemonians, in return for the treatment he had received from them, his paramount object was to invade their territory and exact what vengeance he could.

B.C. 393. The winter was thus fully taken up with preparations; but with the approach of spring, Pharnabazus and Conon, with a large fleet fully manned, and a foreign mercenary brigade to boot, threaded their way through the islands to Melos.368 This island was to serve as a base of operations against Lacedaemon. And in the first instance he sailed down to Pherae369 and ravaged that district, after which he made successive descents at various other points on the seaboard, and did what injury he could. But in apprehension of the harbourless character of the coast, coupled with the enemy’s facility of reinforcement and his own scarcity of supplies, he very soon turned back and sailed away, until finally he came to moorings in the harbour of Phoenicus in Cythera. The occupants of the city of the Cytherians, in terror of being taken by storm, evacuated the walls. To dismiss these under a flag of truce across to Laconia was his first step; his second was to repair the fortress in question and to leave a garrison in the island under an Athenian governor — Nicophemus. After this he set sail to the Isthmus of Corinth, where he delivered an exhortation to the allies begging them to prosecute the war vigorously, and to show themselves faithful to the Great King; and so, having left them all the moneys he had with him, set off on his voyage home.

But Conon had a proposal to make:— If Pharnabazus would allow him to keep the fleet, he would undertake, in the first place, to support it free of expense from the islands; besides which, he would sail to his own country and help his fellow-citizens the Athenians to rebuild their long walls and the fortifications round Piraeus. No heavier blow, he insisted, could well be inflicted on Lacedaemon. “In this way, I can assure you,” he added, “you will win the eternal gratitude of the Athenians and wreak consummate vengeance on the Lacedaemonians, since at one stroke you will render null and void that on which they have bestowed their utmost labour.” These arguments so far weighed with Pharnabazus that he despatched Conon to Athens with alacrity, and further supplied him with funds for the restoration of the walls. Thus it was that Conon, on his arrival at Athens, was able to rebuild a large portion of the walls — partly by lending his own crews, and partly by giving pay to carpenters and stone-masons, and meeting all the necessary expenses. There were other portions of the walls which the Athenians and Boeotians and other states raised as a joint voluntary undertaking.

Nor must it be forgotten that the Corinthians, with the funds left them by Pharnabazus, manned a fleet — the command of which they entrusted to their admiral Agathinus — and so were undisputed masters of the sea within the gulf round Achaia and Lechaeum.

B.C. 393-391. The Lacedaemonians, in opposition, fitted out a fleet under the command of Podanemus. That officer, in an attack of no great moment, lost his life, and Pollis,370 his second in command, was presently in his turn obliged to retire, being wounded, whereupon Herippidas took command of the vessels. On the other hand, Proaenus the Corinthian, who had relieved Agathinus, evacuated Rhium, and the Lacedaemonians recovered that post. Subsequently Teleutias succeeded to Herippidas’s fleet, and it was then the turn of that admiral to dominate the gulf.371

B.C. 392. The Lacedaemonians were well informed of the proceedings of Conon. They knew that he was not only restoring the fortifications of Athens by help of the king’s gold, but maintaining a fleet at his expense besides, and conciliating the islands and seaboard cities towards Athens. If, therefore, they could indoctrinate Tiribazus — who was a general of the king — with their sentiments, they believed they could not fail either to draw him aside to their own interests, or, at any rate, to put a stop to his feeding Conon’s navy. With this intention they sent Antalcidas to Tiribazus:372 his orders were to carry out this policy and, if possible, to arrange a peace between Lacedaemon and the king. The Athenians, getting wind of this, sent a counter-embassy, consisting of Hermogenes, Dion, Callisthenes, and Callimedon, with Conon himself. They at the same time invited the attendance of ambassadors from the allies, and there were also present representatives of the Boeotians, of Corinth, and of Argos. When they had arrived at their destination, Antalcidas explained to Tiribazus the object of his visit: he wished, if possible, to cement a peace between the state he represented and the king — a peace, moreover, exactly suited to the aspirations of the king himself; in other words, the Lacedaemonians gave up all claim to the Hellenic cities in Asia as against the king, while for their own part they were content that all the islands and other cities should be independent. “Such being our unbiassed wishes,” he continued, “for what earthly reason should [the Hellenes or] the king go to war with us? or why should he expend his money? The king is guaranteed against attack on the part of Hellas, since the Athenians are powerless apart from our hegemony, and we are powerless so long as the separate states are independent.” The proposals of Antalcidas sounded very pleasantly in the ears of Tiribazus, but to the opponents of Sparta they were the merest talk. The Athenians were apprehensive of an agreement which provided for the independence of the cities in the islands, whereby they might be deprived of Lemnos, Imbros, and Scyros. The Thebans, again, were afraid of being compelled to let the Boeotian states go free. The Argives did not see how such treaty contracts and covenants were compatible with the realisation of their own great object — the absorption of Corinth by Argos. And so it came to pass that this peace373 proved abortive, and the representatives departed each to his own home.

Tiribazus, on his side, thought it hardly consistent with his own safety to adopt the cause of the Lacedaemonians without the concurrence of the king — a scruple which did not prevent him from privately presenting Antalcidas with a sum of money, in hopes that when the Athenians and their allies discovered that the Lacedaemonians had the wherewithal to furnish a fleet, they might perhaps be more disposed to desire peace. Further, accepting the statements of the Lacedaemonians as true, he took on himself to secure the person of Conon, as guilty of wrongdoing towards the king, and shut him up.374 That done, he set off up country to the king to recount the proposals of Lacedaemon, with his own subsequent capture of Conon as a mischievous man, and to ask for further guidance on all these matters.

On the arrival of Tiribazus at the palace, the king sent down Struthas to take charge of the seaboard district. The latter, however, was a strong partisan of Athens and her allies, since he found it impossible to forget the long list of evils which the king’s country had suffered at the hands of Agesilaus; so that the Lacedaemonians, contrasting the hostile disposition of the new satrap towards themselves with his friendliness to the Athenians, sent Thibron to deal with him by force of arms.

B.C. 391.375 That general crossed over and established his base of operations in Ephesus and the towns in the plain of the Maeander — Priene, Leucophrys, and Achilleum — and proceeded to harry the king’s territory, sparing neither live nor dead chattels. But as time went on, Struthas, who could not but note the disorderly, and indeed recklessly scornful manner in which the Lacedaemonian brought up his supports on each occasion, despatched a body of cavalry into the plain. Their orders were to gallop down and scour the plain, making a clean sweep376 of all they could lay their hands on. Thibron, as it befell, had just finished breakfast, and was returning to the mess with Thersander the flute-player. The latter was not only a good flute-player, but, as affecting Lacedaemonian manners, laid claim to personal prowess. Struthas, then, seeing the disorderly advance of the supports and the paucity of the vanguard, appeared suddenly at the head of a large body of cavalry, all in orderly array. Thibron and Thersander were the first to be cut down, and when these had fallen the rest of the troops were easily turned. A mere chase ensued, in which man after man was felled to earth, though a remnant contrived to escape into the friendly cities; still larger numbers owed their safety to their late discovery of the business on hand. Nor, indeed, was this the first time the Spartan commander had rushed to the field, without even issuing a general order. So ends the history of these events.

B.C. 390.377 We pass on to the arrival at Lacedaemon of a party of Rhodian exiles expelled by the popular party. They insisted that it was not equitable to allow the Athenians to subjugate Rhodes and thus build up so vast a power. The Lacedaemonians were alive to the fact that the fate of Rhodes depended on which party in the state prevailed: if the democracy were to dominate, the whole island must fall into the hands of Athens; if the wealthier classes,378 into their own. Accordingly they fitted out for them a fleet of eight vessels, and put Ecdicus in command of it as admiral.

At the same time they despatched another officer on board these vessels named Diphridas, on a separate mission. His orders were to cross over into Asia and to secure the states which had received Thibron. He was also to pick up the survivors of Thibron’s army, and with these troops, aided by a second army which he would collect from any other quarter open to him, he was to prosecute the war against Struthas. Diphridas followed out his instructions, and amongst other achievements was fortunate enough to capture Tigranes,379 the son-inlaw of Struthas, with his wife, on their road to Sardis. The sum paid for their ransom was so large that he at once had the wherewithal to pay his mercenaries. Diphridas was no less attractive than his predecessor Thibron; but he was of a more orderly temperament, steadier, and incomparably more enterprising as a general; the secret of this superiority being that he was a man over whom the pleasures of the body exercised no sway. He became readily absorbed in the business before him — whatever he had to do he did it with a will.

Ecdicus having reached Cnidus, there learned that the democracy in Rhones were entirely masters of the situation. They were dominant by land and sea; indeed they possessed a fleet twice the size of his own. He was therefore content to keep quiet in Cnidus until the Lacedaemonians, perceiving that his force was too small to allow him to benefit their friends, determined to relieve him. With this view they ordered Teleutias to take the twelve ships which formed his squadron (at present in the gulf adjoining Achaia and Lechaeum),380 and to feel his way round to Ecdicus: that officer he was to send home. For himself, he was to undertake personally to protect the interests of all who cared to be their friends, whilst injuring the enemy by every possible means.

So then Teleutias, having reached Samos, where he added some vessels to his fleet, set sail to Cnidus. At this point Ecdicus returned home, and Teleutias, continuing his voyage, reached Rhodes, at the head now of seven-and-twenty vessels. It was during this portion of the voyage that he fell in with Philocrates, the son of Ephialtes, who was sailing from Athens to Cyprus with ten triremes, in aid of their ally Evagoras.381 The whole flotilla fell into the Spartan’s hands — a curious instance, it may be added, of cross purposes on the part of both belligerents. Here were the Athenians, supposed to be on friendly terms with the king, engaged in sending an allied force to support Evagoras, who was at open war with him; and here again was Teleutias, the representative of a people at war with Persia, engaged in crippling a fleet which had been despatched on a mission hostile to their adversary. Teleutias put back into Cnidus to dispose of his captives, and so eventually reached Rhodes, where his arrival brought timely aid to the party in favour of Lacedaemon.

B.C. 389.382 And now the Athenians, fully impressed with the belief that their rivals were laying the basis of a new naval supremacy, despatched Thrasybulus the Steirian to check them, with a fleet of forty sail. That officer set sail, but abstained from bringing aid to Rhodes, and for good reasons. In Rhodes the Lacedaemonian party had hold of the fortress, and would be out of reach of his attack, especially as Teleutias was close at hand to aid them with his fleet. On the other hand, his own friends ran no danger of succumbing to the enemy, as they held the cities and were numerically much stronger, and they had established their superiority in the field. Consequently he made for the Hellespont, where, in the absence of any rival power, he hoped to achieve some stroke of good fortune for his city. Thus, in the first place, having detected the rivalries existing between Medocus,383 the king of the Odrysians, and Seuthes,384 the rival ruler of the seaboard, he reconciled them to each other, and made them friends and allies of Athens; in the belief that if he secured their friendship the Hellenic cities on the Thracian coast would show greater proclivity to Athens. Such being the happy state of affairs not only in Europe but as regards the states in Asia also, thanks to the friendly attitude of the king to his fellow-citizens, he sailed into Byzantium and sold the tithe-duty levied on vessels arriving from the Euxine. By another stroke he converted the oligarchy of Byzantium into a democracy. The result of this was that the Byzantine demos385 were no longer sorry to see as vast a concourse of Athenians in their city as possible. Having so done, and having further won the friendship of the men of Calchedon, he set sail south of the Hellespont. Arrived at Lesbos, he found all the cities devoted to Lacedaemon with the exception of Mytilene. He was therefore loth to attack any of the former until he had organised a force within the latter. This force consisted of four hundred hoplites, furnished from his own vessels, and a corps of exiles from the different cities who had sought shelter in Mytilene; to which he added a stout contingent, the pick of the Mytileneian citizens themselves. He stirred the ardour of the several contingents by suitable appeals: representing to the men of Mytilene that by their capture of the cities they would at once become the chiefs and patrons of Lesbos; to the exiles he made it appear that if they would but unite to attack each several city in turn, they might all reckon on their particular restoration; while he needed only to remind his own warriors that the acquisition of Lesbos meant not only the attachment of a friendly city, but the discovery of a mine of wealth. The exhortations ended and the contingents organised, he advanced against Methymna.

Therimachus, who chanced to be the Lacedaemonian governor at the time, on hearing of the meditated attack of Thrasybulus, had taken a body of marines from his vessels, and, aided by the citizens of Methymna themselves, along with all the Mytileneian exiles to be found in that place, advanced to meet the enemy on their borders. A battle was fought and Therimachus was slain, a fate shared by several of the exiles of his party.

As a result386 of his victory the Athenian general succeeded in winning the adhesion of some of the states; or, where adhesion was refused, he could at least raise supplies for his soldiers by freebooting expeditions, and so hastened to reach his goal, which was the island of Rhodes. His chief concern was to support as powerful an army as possible in those parts, and with this object he proceeded to levy money aids, visiting various cities, until he finally reached Aspendus, and came to moorings in the river Eurymedon. The money was safely collected from the Aspendians, and the work completed, when, taking occasion of some depredations387 of the soldiers on the farmsteads, the people of the place in a fit of irritation burst into the general’s quarters at night and butchered him in his tent.

So perished Thrasybulus,388 a good and great man by all admission. In room of him the Athenians chose Agyrrhius,389 who was despatched to take command of the fleet. And now the Lacedaemonians — alive to the fact that the sale of the Euxine tithe-dues had been negotiated in Byzantium by Athens; aware also that as long as the Athenians kept hold on Calchedon the loyalty of the other Hellespontine cities was secured to them (at any rate while Pharnabazus remained their friend) — felt that the state of affairs demanded their serious attention. They attached no blame indeed to Dercylidas. Anaxibius, however, through the friendship of the ephors, contrived to get himself appointed as governor, on a mission to Abydos. With the requisite funds and ships, he promised to exert such hostile pressure upon Athens that at least her prospects in the Hellespont would cease to be so sunny. His friends the ephors granted him in return for these promises three ships of war and funds to support a thousand mercenaries, and so they despatched him on his mission. Reaching Abydos, he set about improving his naval and military position. First he collected a foreign brigade, by help of which he drew off some of the Aeolid cities from Pharnabazus. Next he set on foot a series of retaliatory expeditions against the states which attacked Abydos, marching upon them and ravaging their territories; and lastly, manning three vessels besides those which he already held in the harbour of Abydos, he intercepted and brought into port all the merchant ships of Athens or of her allies which he could lay hands on.

Getting wind of these proceedings, the Athenians, fearing lest the fair foundation laid for them by Thrasybulus in the Hellespont should be ruined, sent out Iphicrates with eight vessels and twelve hundred peltasts. The majority of them390 consisted of troops which he had commanded at Corinth. In explanation it may be stated that the Argives, when once they had appropriated Corinth and incorporated it with Argos, gave out they had no further need of Iphicrates and his troops; the real fact being that he had put to death some of the partisans of Argos.391 And so it was he turned his back on Corinth and found himself at home in Athens at the present crisis.

B.C. 389-388. When Iphicrates first reached the Chersonese he and Anaxibius carried on war against each other by the despatch of guerilla or piratic bands across the straits. But as time wore on, information reached him of the departure of Anaxibius to Antandrus, accompanied by his mercenaries and his own bodyguard of Laconians and two hundred Abydenian hoplites. Hearing further that Anaxibius had won the friendly adhesion of Antandrus, Iphicrates conjectured that after establishing a garrison in that place he would make the best of his way back, if only to bring the Abydenians home again. He therefore crossed in the night, selecting a desert point on the Abydene coast, from which he scaled the hills above the town and planted himself in ambuscade within their folds. The triremes which brought him across had orders at break of day to coast up northwards along the Chersonese, which would suggest the notion that he was only out on one of his customary voyages to collect money. The sequel more than fulfilled his expectations. Anaxibius began his return march, and if report speaks truly, he did so notwithstanding that the victims were against his marching that day; contemptuously disregarding the warning, and satisfied that his march lay all along through a friendly country and was directed to a friendly city. Besides which, those whom he met assured him that Iphicrates was off on a voyage to Proconnesus: hence the unusual absence of precaution on the march. On his side Iphicrates saw the chance, but, so long as the troops of Anaxibius lingered on the level bottoms, refused to spring from his lair, waiting for the moment when the Abydenian division in the van was safely landed in the plain of Cremaste, at the point where the gold mines stand; the main column following on the downward slope, and Anaxibius with his Laconians just beginning the descent. At that instant Iphicrates set his ambuscade in motion, and dashed against the Spartan at full speed. The latter quickly discerned that there was no hope of escape as he scanned the long straggling line of his attenuated column. The troops in advance, he was persuaded, would never be able to come back to his aid up the face of that acclivity; besides which, he observed the utter bewilderment of the whole body at sight of the ambuscade. He therefore turned to those next him, and spoke as follows: “Sirs, it is good for me to die on this spot, where honour bids me; but for you, sirs, yonder your path lies, haste and save yourselves392 before the enemy can close with us.” As the words died on his lips he took from the hands of his attendant shield-bearer his heavy shield, and there, at his post, unflinchingly fought and fell; not quite alone, for by his side faithfully lingered a favourite youth, and of the Lacedaemonian governors who had rallied to Abydos from their several cities yet other twelve fought and fell beside the pair. The rest fled, dropping down one by one as the army pursued them to the walls of the city. The death-roll amounted to something like fifty hoplites of the Abydenians, and of the rest two hundred. After this exploit Iphicrates returned to the Chersonese.393

358 Lit. “the Laconian harmosts.”

359 See Hicks, 70, “Honours to Konon,” Inscript. found at Erythrae in Ionia. Cf. Diod. xiv. 84.

360 See Diod. xiv. 83.

361 See above, “Hell.” II. i. 27 foll.

362 See above, “Hell.” IV. iii. 3.

363 Lit. “harmosts.”

364 Or, “we are beaten, ergo, it is all over with us.”

365 Lit. “eight stades.”

366 Lit. “harmosts.”

367 See Demos. “de Cor.” 96.

368 See Lys. xix. “de bon. Arist.” 19 foll.; and Hicks, 71, “Honours to Dionysios I. and his court”; Grote, “H. G.” ix. 453.

369 Mod. Kalamata.

370 See “Hell.” I. i. 23.

371 According to Grote (“H. G.” ix. 471, note 2), this section summarises the Lacedaemonian maritime operations in the Corinthian Gulf from the late autumn of 393 B.C. till the appointment of Teleutias in the spring or early summer of 391 B.C., the year of the expedition of Agesilaus recounted above, “Hell.” IV. iv. 19.

372 See Plut. “Ages.” xxiii. (Clough, iv. p. 27); and for the date B.C. 392 (al. B.C. 393) see Grote, “H. G.” ix. 498.

373 See Andoc. “de Pace”; Jebb, “Attic Or.” i. 83, 128 foll. Prof. Jebb assigns this speech to B.C. 390 rather than B.C. 391. See also Grote, “H. G.” ix. 499; Diod. xiv. 110.

374 See Diod. xiv. 85; and Corn. Nep. 5.

375 Al. B.C. 392, al. B.C. 390.

376 See “Hell.” VII. i. 40; “Cyrop.” I. iv. 17; III. iii. 23; “Anab.” VI. iii. 3.

377 Grote, “H. G.” ix. 504; al. B.C. 391.

378 Or, “the Lacedaemonians were not slow to perceive that the whole island of Rhodes was destined to fall either into the hands of Athens or of themselves, according as the democracy or the wealthier classes respectively dominated.”

379 See “Anab.” VII. viii. 9 for a similar exploit.

380 See above, IV. viii. 11.

381 See Diod. xiv. 98; Hicks, 72; Kohler, “C. I. A.” ii. p. 397; Isoc. “Evag.” 54-57; Paus. I. iii. 1; Lys. “de bon. Ar.” 20; Dem. p. 161.

382 Grote, “H. G.” ix. 507.

383 Al. Amedocus.

384 For Seuthes, see above, “Hell.” III. ii. 2, if the same.

385 For the varying fortunes of the democrats at Byzantium in 408 B.C. and 405 B.C., see above, “Hell.” I. iii. 18; II. ii. 2); for the present moment, 390-389 B.C., see Demosth. “c. Lept.” 475; for the admission of Byzantium into the new naval confederacy in 378 B.C., see Hicks, 68; Kohler, “C. I. A.” ii. 19; and for B.C. 363, Isocr. “Phil.” 53; Diod. xv. 79; and for its commercial prosperity, Polyb. iv. 38-47.

386 According to some critics, B.C. 389 is only now reached.

387 See Diod. xiv. 94.

388 “Thus perished the citizen to whom, more than any one else, Athens owed not only her renovated democracy, but its wise, generous, and harmonious working, after renovation.”— Grote, “H. G.” ix. 509.

389 For this statesman, see Demosth. “c. Timocr.” 742; Andoc. “de Myst.” 133; Aristot. “Ath. Pol.” 41, and Mr. Kenyon’s notes ad loc.; Aristoph. “Eccles.” 102, and the Schol. ad loc.; Diod. xiv. 99; Curtius, “H. G.” Eng tr. iv. 280.

390 Or, “The mass of them.”

391 See Grote, “H. G.” ix. p. 491 note. The “Argolising” or philo-Argeian party, as opposed to the philo-Laconian party. See above, “Hell.” IV. iv. 6.

392 Or, “sauve qui peut.”

393 See Hicks, 76; and below, “Hell.” V. i. 31.


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