B.C. 369. In the following year636 plenipotentiary ambassadors637 from the Lacedaemonians and their allies arrived at Athens to consider and take counsel in what way the alliance between Athens and Lacedaemon might be best cemented. It was urged by many speakers, foreigners and Athenians also, that the alliance ought to be based on the principle of absolute equality,638 “share and share alike,” when Procles of Phlius put forward the following argument:
“Since you have already decided, men of Athens, that it is good to secure the friendship of Lacedaemon, the point, as it appears to me, which you ought now to consider is, by what means this friendship may be made to last as long as possible. The probability is, that we shall hold together best by making a treaty which shall suit the best interests of both parties. On most points we have, I believe, a tolerable unanimity, but there remains the question of leadership. The preliminary decree of your senate anticipates a division of the hegemony, crediting you with the chief maritime power, Lacedaemon with the chief power on land; and to me, personally, I confess, that seems a division not more established by human invention than preordained by some divine naturalness or happy fortune. For, in the first place, you have a geographical position pre-eminently adapted for naval supremacy; most of the states to whom the sea is important are massed round your own, and all of these are inferior to you in strength. Besides, you have harbours and roadsteads, without which it is not possible to turn a naval power to account. Again, you have many ships of war. To extend your naval empire is a traditional policy; all the arts and sciences connected with these matters you possess as home products, and, what is more, in skill and experience of nautical affairs you are far ahead of the rest of the world. The majority of you derive your livelihood from the sea, or things connected with it; so that in the very act of minding your own affairs you are training yourselves to enter the lists of naval combat.639 Again, no other power in the world can send out a larger collective fleet, and that is no insignificant point in reference to the question of leadership. The nucleus of strength first gained becomes a rallying-point, round which the rest of the world will gladly congregate. Furthermore, your good fortune in this department must be looked upon as a definite gift of God: for, consider among the numberless great sea-fights which you have fought how few you have lost, how many you have won. It is only rational, then, that your allies should much prefer to share this particular risk with you. Indeed, to show you how natural and vital to you is this maritime study, the following reflection may serve. For several years the Lacedaemonians, when at war with you in old days, dominated your territory, but they made no progress towards destroying you. At last God granted them one day to push forward their dominion on the sea, and then in an instant you completely succumbed to them.640 Is it not self-evident that your safety altogether depends upon the sea? The sea is your natural element — your birthright; it would be base indeed to entrust the hegemony of it to the Lacedaemonians, and the more so, since, as they themselves admit, they are far less acquained with this business than yourselves; and, secondly, your risk in naval battles would not be for equal stakes — theirs involving only the loss of the men on board their ships, but yours, that of your children and your wives and the entire state.
“And if this is a fair statement of your position, turn, now, and consider that of the Lacedaemonians. The first point to notice is, that they are an inland power; as long as they are dominant on land it does not matter how much they are cut off from the sea — they can carry on existence happily enough. This they so fully recognise, that from boyhood they devote themselves to training for a soldier’s life. The keystone of this training is obedience to command,641 and in this they hold the same pre-eminence on land which you hold on the sea. Just as you with your fleets, so they on land can, at a moment’s notice, put the largest army in the field; and with the like consequence, that their allies, as is only rational, attach themselves to them with undying courage.642 Further, God has granted them to enjoy on land a like good fortune to that vouchsafed to you on sea. Among all the many contests they have entered into, it is surprising in how few they have failed, in how many they have been successful. The same unflagging attention which you pay to maritime affairs is required from them on land, and, as the facts of history reveal, it is no less indispensable to them. Thus, although you were at war with them for several years and gained many a naval victory over them, you never advanced a step nearer to reducing them. But once worsted on land, in an instant they were confronted with a danger affecting the very lives of child and wife, and vital to the interests of the entire state. We may very well understand, then, the strangeness, not to say monstrosity, in their eyes, of surrendering to others the military leadership on land, in matters which they have made their special study for so long and with such eminent success. I end where I began. I agree absolutely with the preliminary decrees of your own senate, which I consider the solution most advantageous to both parties. My prayer643 is that you may be guided in your deliberations to that conclusion which is best for each and all of us.”
Such were the words of the orator, and the sentiments of his speech were vehemently applauded by the Athenians no less than by the Lacedaemonians who were present. Then Cephisodotus644 stepped forward and addressed the assembly. He said, “Men of Athens, do you not see how you are being deluded? Lend me your ears, and I will prove it to you in a moment. There is no doubt about your leadership by sea: it is already secured. But suppose the Lacedaemonians in alliance with you: it is plain they will send you admirals and captains, and possibly marines, of Laconian breed; but who will the sailors be? Helots obviously, or mercenaries of some sort. These are the folk over whom you will exercise your leadership. Reverse the case. The Lacedaemonians have issued a general order summoning you to join them in the field; it is plain again, you will be sending your heavy infantry and your cavalry. You see what follows. You have invented a pretty machine, by which they become leders of your very selves, and you become the leaders either of their slaves or of the dregs of their state. I should like to put a question to the Lacedaemonian Timocrates seated yonder. Did you not say just now, Sir, that you came to make an alliance on terms of absolute equality, ‘share and share alike’? Answer me.” “I did say so.” “Well, then, here is a plan by which you get the perfection of equality. I cannot conceive of anything more fair and impartial than that ‘turn and turn about’ each of us should command the navy, each the army; whereby whatever advantage there may be in maritime or military command we may each of us share.”
These arguments were successful. The Athenians were converted, and passed a decree vesting the command in either state645 for periods of five days alternately.
B.C. 369.646 The campaign was commenced by both Athenians and Lacedaemonians with their allies, marching upon Corinth, where it was resolved to keep watch and ward over Oneion jointly. On the advance of the Thebans and their allies the troops were drawn out to defend the pass. They were posted in detachments at different points, the most assailable of which was assigned to the Lacedaemonians and the men of Pellene.647
The Thebans and their allies, finding themselves within three or four miles648 of the troops guarding the pass, encamped in the flat ground below; but presently, after a careful calculation of the time it would take to start and reach the goal in the gloaming, they advanced against the Lacedaemonian outposts. In spite of the difficulty they timed their movements to a nicety, and fell upon the Lacedaemonians and Pellenians just at the interval when the night pickets were turning in and the men were leaving their shakedowns and retiring for necessary purposes.649 This was the instant for the Thebans to fling themselves upon them; they plied their weapons with good effect, blow upon blow. Order was pitted against disorder, preparation against disarray. When, however, those who escaped from the thick of the business had retired to the nearest rising ground, the Lacedaemonian polemarch, who might have taken as many heavy, or light, infantry of the allies as he wanted, and thus have held the position (no bad one, since it enabled him to get his supplies safely enough from Cenchreae), failed to do so. On the contrary, and in spite of the great perplexity of the Thebans as to how they were to get down from the high level facing Sicyon or else retire the way they came, the Spartan general made a truce, which in the opinion of the majority, seemed more in favour of the Thebans than himself, and so he withdrew his division and fell back.
The Thebans were now free to descend without hindrance, which they did; and, effecting a junction with their allies the Arcadians, Argives, and Eleians, at once attacked650 Sicyon and Pellene, and, marching on Epidaurus, laid waste the whole territory of that people. Returning from that exploit with a consummate disdain for all their opponents, when they found themselves near the city of Corinth they advanced at the double against the gate facing towards Phlius; intending if they found it open to rush in. However, a body of light troops sallied out of the city to the rescue, and met the advance of the Theban picked corps651 not one hundred and fifty yards652 from the walls. Mounting on the monuments and commanding eminences, with volleys of sling stones and arrows they laid low a pretty large number in the van of the attack, and routing them, gave chase for three or four furlongs’653 distance. After this incident the Corinthians dragged the corpses of the slain to the wall, and finally gave them up under a flag of truce, erecting a trophy to record the victory. As a result of this occurrence the allies of the Lacedaemonians took fresh heart.
At the date of the above transactions the Lacedeamonians were cheered by the arrival of a naval reinforcement from Dionysius, consisting of more than twenty warships, which conveyed a body of Celts and Iberians and about fifty cavalry. The day following, the Thebans and the rest of the allies, posted, at intervals, in battle order, and completely filling the flat land down to the sea on one side, and up to the knolls on the other which form the buttresses of the city, proceeded to destroy everything precious they could lay their hands on in the plain. The Athenian and Corinthian cavalry, eyeing the strength, physical and numerical, of their antagonists, kept at a safe distance from their armament. But the little body of cavalry lately arrived from Dionysius spread out in a long thin line, and one at one point and one at another galloped along the front, discharging their missiles as they dashed forward, and when the enemy rushed against them, retired, and again wheeling about, showered another volley. Even while so engaged they would dismount from their horses and take breath; and if their foemen galloped up while they were so dismounted, in an instant they had leapt on their horses’ backs and were in full retreat. Or if, again, a party pursued them some distance from the main body, as soon as they turned to retire, they would press upon them, and discharging volleys of missiles, made terrible work, forcing the whole army to advance and retire, merely to keep pace with the movements of fifty horsemen.
B.C. 369-368. After this the Thebans remained only a few more days and then turned back homewards; and the rest likewise to their several homes. Thereupon the troops sent by Dionysius attacked Sicyon. Engaging the Sicyonians in the flat country, they defeated them, killing about seventy men and capturing by assault the fortres of Derae.654 After these achievements this first reinforcement from Dionysius re-embarked and set sail for Syracuse.
Up to this time the Thebans and all the states which had revolted from Lacedaemon had acted together in perfect harmony, and were content to campaign under the leadership of Thebes; but now a certain Lycomedes,655 a Mantinean, broke the spell. Inferior in birth and position to none, while in wealth superior, he was for the rest a man of high ambition. This man was able to inspire the Arcadians with high thoughts by reminding them that to Arcadians alone the Peloponnese was in a literal sense a fatherland; since they and they alone were the indigenous inhabitants of its sacred soil, and the Arcadian stock the largest among the Hellenic tribes — a good stock, moreover, and of incomparable physique. And then he set himself to panegyrise them as the bravest of the brave, adducing as evidence, if evidence were needed, the patent fact, that every one in need of help invariably turned to the Arcadians.656 Never in old days had the Lacedaemonians yet invaded Athens without the Arcadians. “If then,” he added, “you are wise, you will be somewhat chary of following at the beck and call of anybody, or it will be the old story again. As when you marched in the train of Sparta you only enhanced her power, so today, if you follow Theban guidance without thought or purpose instead of claiming a division of the headship, you will speedily find, perhaps, in her only a second edition of Lacedaemon.”657
These words uttered in the ears of the Arcadians were sufficient to puff them up with pride. They were lavish in their love of Lycomedes, and thought there was no one his equal. He became their hero; he had only to give his orders, and they appointed their magistrates658 at his bidding. But, indeed, a series of brilliant exploits entitled the Arcadians to magnify themselves. The first of these arose out of an invasion of Epidaurus by the Argives, which seemed likely to end in their finding their escape barred by Chabrias and his foreign brigade with the Athenians and Corinthians. Only, at the critical moment the Arcadians came to the rescue and extricated the Argives, who were closely besieged, and this in spite not only of the enemy, but of the savage nature of the ground itself. Again they marched on Asine659 in Laconian territory, and defeated the Lacedaemonian garrison, putting the polemarch Geranor, who was a Spartan, to the sword, and sacking the suburbs of the town. Indeed, whenever or wherever they had a mind to send an invading force, neither night nor wintry weather, nor length of road nor mountain barrier could stay their march. So that at this date they regarded their prowess as invincible.660 The Thebans, it will be understood, could not but feel a touch of jealousy at these pretensions, and their former friendship to the Arcadians lost its ardour. With the Eleians, indeed, matters were worse. The revelation came to them when they demanded back from the Arcadians certain cities661 of which the Lacedaemonians had deprived them. They discovered that their views were held of no account, but that the Triphylians and the rest who had revolted from them were to be made much of, because they claimed to be Arcadians.662 Hence, as contrasted with the Thebans, the Eleians cherished feelings towards their late friends which were positively hostile.
B.C. 368. Self-esteem amounting to arrogance — such was the spirit which animated each section of the allies, when a new phase was introduced by the arrival of Philiscus663 of Abydos on an embassy from Ariobarzanes664 with large sums of money. This agent’s first step was to assemble a congress of Thebans, allies, and Lacedaemonians at Delphi to treat of peace. On their arrival, without attempting to communicate or take counsel with the god as to how peace might be re-established, they fell to deliberating unassisted; and when the Thebans refused to acquiesce in the dependency of Messene665 upon Lacedaemon, Philiscus set about collecting a large foreign brigade to side with Lacedaemon and to prosecute the war.
Whilst these matters were still pending, the second reinforcements from Dionysius666 arrived. There was a difference of opinion as to where the troops should be employed, the Athenians insisting that they ought to march into Thessaly to oppose the Thebans, the Lacedaemonians being in favour of Laconia; and among the allies this latter opinion carried the day. The reinforcement from Dionysius accordingly sailed round to Laconia, where Archidamus incorporated them with the state troops and opened the campaign. Caryae he took by storm, and put every one captured to the sword, and from this point marching straight upon the Parrhasians of Arcadia, he set about ravaging the country along with his Syracusan supporters.
Presently when the Arcadians and Argives arrived with succours, he retreated and encamped on the knolls above Medea.667 While he was there, Cissidas, the officer in charge of the reinforcement from Dionysius, made the announcement that the period for his stay abroad had elapsed; and the words were no sooner out of his lips than off he set on the road to Sparta. The march itself, however, was not effected without delays, for he was met and cut off by a body of Messenians at a narrow pass, and was forced in these straits to send to Archidamus and beg for assistance, which the latter tendered. When they had got as far as the bend668 on the road to Eutresia, there were the Arcadians and Argives advancing upon Laconia and apparently intending, like the Messenians, to shut the Spartan off from the homeward road.
Archidamus, debouching upon a flat space of ground where the roads to Eutresia and Medea converge, drew up his troops and offered battle. When happened then is thus told:— He passed in front of the regiments and addressed them in terms of encouragement thus: “Fellow-citizens, the day has come which calls upon us to prove ourselves brave men and look the world in the face with level eyes.669 Now are we to deliver to those who come after us our fatherland intact as we received it from our fathers; now will we cease hanging our heads in shame before our children and wives, our old men and our foreign friends, in sight of whom in days of old we shone forth conspicuous beyond all other Hellenes.”
The words were scarcely uttered (so runs the tale), when out of the clear sky came lightnings and thunderings,670 with propitious manifestation to him; and it so happened that on his right wing there stood a sacred enclosure and a statue of Heracles, his great ancestor. As the result of all these things, so deep a strength and courage came into the hearts of his soldiers, as they tell, that the generals had hard work to restrain their men as they pushed forward to the front. Presently, when Archidamus led the advance, a few only of the enemy cared to await them at the spear’s point, and were slain; the mass of them fled, and fleeing fell. Many were cut down by the cavalry, many by the Celts. When the battle ceased and a trophy had been erected, the Spartan at once despatched home Demoteles, the herald, with the news. He had to announce not only the greatness of the victory, but the startling fact that, while the enemy’s dead were numerous, not one single Lacedaemonian had been slain.671 Those in Sparta to whom the news was brought, as says the story, when they heard it, one and all, beginning with Agesilaus, and, after him, the elders and the ephors, wept for joy — so close akin are tears to joy and pain alike. There were others hardly less pleased than the Lacedaemonians themselves at the misfortune which had overtaken the Arcadians: these were the Thebans and Eleians — so offensive to them had the boastful behaviour of these men become.
The problem perpetually working in the minds of the Thebans was how they were to compass the headship of Hellas; and they persuaded themselves that, if they sent an embassy to the King of Persia, they could not but gain some advantage by his help. Accordingly they did not delay, but called together the allies, on the plea that Euthycles the Lacedaemonian was already at the Persian court. The commissioners sent up were, on the part of the Thebans, Pelopidas;672 on the part of the Arcadians, Antiochus, the pancratiast; and on that of the Eleians, Archidamus. There was also an Argive in attendance. The Athenians on their side, getting wind of the matter, sent up two commissioners, Timagoras and Leon.
When they arrived at the Persian court the influence of Pelopidas was preponderant with the Persian. He could point out that, besides the fact that the Thebans alone among all the Hellenes had fought on the king’s side at Plataeae,673 they had never subsequently engaged in military service against the Persians; nay, the very ground of Lacedaemonian hostility to them was that they had refused to march against the Persian king with Agesilaus,674 and would not even suffer him to sacrifice to Artemis at Aulis (where Agamemnon sacrificed before he set sail for Asia and captured Troy). In addition, there were two things which contributed to raise the prestige of Thebes, and redounded to the honour of Pelopidas. These were the victory of the Thebans at Leuctra, and the indisputable fact that they had invaded and laid waste the territory of Laconia. Pelopidas went on to point out that the Argives and Arcadians had lately been defeated in battle by the Lacedaemonians, when his own countrymen were not there to assist. The Athenian Timagoras supported all these statements of the Theban by independent testimony, and stood second in honour after Pelopidas.
At this point of the proceedings Pelopidas was asked by the king, what special clause he desired inserted in the royal rescript. He replied as follows: “Messene to be independent of Lacedaemon, and the Athenians to lay up their ships of war. Should either power refuse compliance in these respects, such refusal to be a casus belli; and any state refusing to take part in the military proceedings consequent, to be herself the first object of attack.” These clauses were drawn up and read to the ambassadors, when Leon, in the hearing of the king, exclaimed: “Upon my word! Athenians, it strikes me it is high time you looked for some other friend than the great king.” The secretary reported the comment of the Athenian envoy, and produced presently an altered copy of the document, with a clause inserted: “If the Athenians have any better and juster views to propound, let them come to the Persian court and explain them.”675
Thus the ambassadors returned each to his own home and were variously received. Timagoras, on the indictment of Leon, who proved that his fellow-commissioner not only refused to lodge with him at the king’s court, but in every way played into the hands of Pelopidas, was put to death. Of the other joint commissioners, the Eleian, Archidamus, was loud in his praises of the king and his policy, because he had shown a preference to Elis over the Arcadians; while for a converse reason, because the Arcadian league was slighted, Antiochus not only refused to accept any gift, but brought back as his report to the general assembly of the Ten Thousand,676 that the king appeared to have a large army of confectioners and pastry-cooks, butlers and doorkeepers; but as for men capable of doing battle with Hellenes, he had looked carefully, and could not discover any. Besides all which, even the report of his wealth seemed to him, he said, bombastic nonsense. “Why, the golden plane-tree that is so belauded is not big enough to furnish shade to a single grasshopper.”677
At Thebes a conference of the states had been convened to listen to the great king’s letter. The Persian who bore the missive merely pointed to the royal seal, and read the document; whereupon the Thebans invited all, who wished to be their friends, to take an oath to what they had just heard, as binding on the king and on themselves. To which the ambassadors from the states replied that they had been sent to listen to a report, not to take oaths; if oaths were wanted, they recommended the Thebans to send ambassadors to the several states. The Arcadian Lycomedes, moreover, added that the congress ought not to be held at Thebes at all, but at the seat of war, wherever that might be. This remark brought down the wrath of the Thebans on the speaker; they exclaimed that he was bent on breaking up the alliance. Whereupon the Arcadian refused to take a seat in the congress at all, and got up and betook himself off there and then, accompanied by all the Arcadian envoys. Since, therefore, the assembled representatives refused to take the oaths at Thebes, the Thebans sent to the different states, one by one in turn, urging each to undertake solemnly to act in accordance with the great king’s rescript. They were persuaded that no individual state would venture to quarrel with themselves and the Persian monarch at once. As a matter of fact, however, when they arrived at Corinth — which was the first stated visted — the Corinthians stood out and gave as their answer, that they had no desire for any common oath or undertaking with the king. The rest of the states followed suit, giving answers of a similar tenor, so that this striving after empire on the part of Pelopidas and the Thebans melted like a cloud-castle into air.
B.C. 367.678 But Epaminondas was bent on one more effort. With a view to forcing the Arcadians and the rest of the allies to pay better heed to Thebes, he desired first to secure the adhesion of the Achaeans, and decided to march an army into Achaea. Accordingly, he persuaded the Argive Peisias, who was at the head of military affairs in Argos, to seize and occupy Oneion in advance. Persias, having ascertained that only a sorry guard was maintained over Oneion by Naucles, the general commanding the Lacedaemonian foreign brigade, and by Timomachus the Athenian, under cover of night seized and occupied with two thousand heavy infantry the rising ground above Cenchreae, taking with him provisions for seven days. Within the interval the Thebans arrived and surmounted the pass of Oneion; whereupon the allied troops with Epaminondas at their head, advanced into Achaea. The result of the campaign was that the better classes of Achaea gave in their adhesion to him; and on his personal authority Epaminondas insisted that there should be no driving of the aristocrats into exile, nor any modification of the constitution. He was content to take a pledge of fealty from the Achaeans to this effect: “Verily and indeed we will be your allies, and follow whithersoever the Thebans lead.”679
So he departed home. The Arcadians, however, and the partisans of the opposite faction in Thebes were ready with an indictment against him: “Epaminondas,” they said, “had merely swept and garnished Achaea for the Lacedaemonians, and then gone off.” The Thebans accordingly resolved to send governors680 into the states of Achaea; and those officers on arrival joined with the commonalty and drove out the better folk, and set up democracies throughout Achaea. On their side, these exiles coalesced, and, marching upon each separate state in turn, for they were pretty numerous, speedily won their restoration and dominated the states. As the party thus reinstated no longer steered a middle course, but went heart and soul into an alliance with Lacedaemon, the Arcadians found themselves between the upper and the nether millstone — that is to say, the Lacedaemonians and the Achaeans.
At Sicyon, hitherto,681 the constitution was based on the ancient laws; but at this date Euphron (who during the Lacedaemonian days had been the greatest man in Sicyon, and whose ambition it was to hold a like pre-eminence under their opponents) addressed himself to the Argives and Arcadians as follows: “If the wealthiest classes should ever come into power in Sicyon, without a doubt the city would take the first opportunity of readopting a Laconian policy; whereas, if a democracy be set up,” he added, “you may rest assured Sicyon will hold fast by you. All I ask you is to stand by me; I will do the rest. It is I who will call a meeting of the people; and by that selfsame act I shall give you a pledge of my good faith and present you with a state firm in its alliance. All this, be assured,” he added, “I do because, like yourselves, I have long ill brooked the pride of Lacedaemon, and shall be glad to escape the yoke of bondage.”
These proposals found favour with the Arcadians and the Argives, who gladly gave the assistance demanded. Euphron straightway, in the market-place, in the presence of the two powers concerned,682 proceeded to convene the Demos, as if there were to be a new constitution, based on the principle of equality.683 When the convention met, he bade them appoint generals: they might choose whom they liked. Whereupon they elected Euphron himself, Hippodamus, Cleander, Acrisius, and Lysander. When these matters were arranged he appointed Adeas, his own son, over the foreign brigade, in place of the former commander, Lysimenes, whom he removed. His next step was promptly to secure the fidelity of the foreign mercenaries by various acts of kindness, and to attach others; and he spared neither the public nor the sacred moneys for this object. He had, to aid him, further, the property of all the citizens whom he exiled on the ground of Laconism, and of this without scruple he in every case availed himself. As for his colleagues in office, some he treacherously put to death, others he exiled, by which means he got everything under his own power, and was now a tyrant without disguise. The method by which he got the allies to connive at his doings was twofold. Partly he worked on them by pecuniary aid, partly by the readiness with which he lent the support of his foreign troops on any campaign to which they might invite him.
636 I.e. the official year from spring to spring. See Peter, “Chron. Table” 95, note 215; see Grote, “H. G.” x. 346, note 1.
637 See Hicks, 89.
638 For the phrase epi toi isois kai omoiois, implying “share and share alike,” see Thuc. i. 145, etc.
639 See “Pol. Ath.” i. 19 foll.
640 See “Hell.” II. i.
641 Or, “the spirit of discipline.” See “Mem.” III. v. 16; IV. iv. 15; Thuc. ii. 39; “Pol. Lac.” viii.
642 Or, “with unlimited confidence.”
643 See above, “Hell.” VI. i. 13, kai su prattois ta kratista, “and so may the best fortune attend you!”— if that reading and rendering be adopted.
644 See above, “Hell.” VI. iii. 2; Hicks, 87.
645 See “Revenues,” v. 7.
646 See Grote, “H. G.” x. 349 foll.; al. B.C. 368.
647 “During the wars of Epameinondas Pellene adhered firmly to her Spartan policy, at a time when other cities were, to say the least, less strenuous in the Spartan cause.”— Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” p. 241. Afterwards Pellene is found temporarily on the Theban side (“Hell.” VII. ii. 11).
648 Lit. “thirty stades.”
649 Or, “intent on their personal concerns.” See “Hell.” II. iv. 6; “Hipparch.” vii. 12.
650 And took (apparently); see below; Diod. xv. 69.
651 See “Anab.” III. iv. 43; and above, “Hell.” V. iii. 23.
652 Lit. “four plethra.”
653 LIt. “three or four stades.”
654 “East of Sicyon was Epieiceia (see above, “Hell.” IV. ii. 14, iv. 13) on the river Nemea. In the same direction was the fortress Derae.” (“Dict. Anct. Geog.” “Topography of Sicyonia”), al. Gerae. So Leake (“Morea,” iii. 376), who conjectures that this fortress was in the maritime plain.
655 For the plan of an Arcadian Federation and the part played by Lycomedes, its true author, “who certainly merits thereby a high place among the statesmen of Greece,” see Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” ch. iv. p. 199 foll.
656 For this claim on the part of the Arcadians, see “Anab.” VI. ii. 10 foll.
657 Or, “Lacedaemonians under another name.”
658 arkhontas, see below, “Hell.” VII. iv. 33. The formal title of these Federal magistrates may or may not have been arkhontes; Freeman, “H. F. G.” 203, note 6.
659 See Grote, “H. G.” x. 356.
660 Or, “regarded themselves as the very perfection of soldiery.”
661 In reference to “Hell.” III. ii. 25 foll., see Freeman, op. cit. p. 201, and below, “Hell.” VII. iv. 12 (B.C. 365); Busolt, op. cit. p. 186 foll., in reference to Lasion.
662 Busolt, p. 150.
663 See Hicks, 84, p. 152; Kohler, “C. I. A.” ii. 51; Grote, “H. G.” x. 357; Curtius, “H. G.” (Eng. tr.) iv. 458; Diod. xv. 90.
664 See above, V. i. 28; “Ages.” ii. 26.
665 See Hicks, 86.
666 See above, SS. 20, 22, p. 191 foll. The date is B.C. 368 according to Grote, “H. G.” x. 362 foll.; al. B.C. 367.
667 Or, “Melea,” or “Malea.” E. Curtius conjectures Meleas for Medeas of the MSS., and probably the place referred to is the township of Malea in the Aegytis (Pausan. VIII. xxvii. 4); see above, “Hell.” VI. v. 24, “the Maleatid.” See Dind. “Hist. Gr.,” Ox. MDCCCLIII., note ad loc.; Curtius, “H. G.” iv. 459; Grote, “H. G.” x. 362.
668 Or, “the resting-place”; cf. mod. “Khan.” L. and S. cf. Arist. “Frogs,” 113. “Medea,” below, is probably “Malea,” (see last note).
669 See Plut. “Ages.” 53 (Clough, vol. iv. p. 41).
670 See Xen. “Apolog.” 12; Homer, “Il.” ii. 353; “Od.” xx. 113 foll.
671 According to Diod. xv. 72, ten thousand of the enemy fell.
672 See Plut. “Pelop.” 30 (Clough, vol. ii. p. 230). For the date see Grote, “H. G.” x. 365, 379; Curtius, “H. G.” iv. 460.
673 See Thuc. iii. 58, 59, 60.
674 See above, “Hell.” III. iv. 3; Lincke, “Zur. Xen. Krit.” p. 315.
675 See Grote, “H. G.” x. 402; and “Ages.” viii. 3.
676 See above, VI. v. 6; Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” 202; Demosth. “F. L.” 220, etc.
677 Or, “the golden plane-tree they romance about would not suffice to,” etc.
678 B.C. 367, according to Grote, “H. G.” x. 365, note 1; al. B.C. 366.
679 See Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” p. 241: “We read of local oligarchies (in the several cities of Achaia) which Epameinondas found and left in possession, but which the home government of Thebes thought good to expel, and to substitute democracies under the protection of Theban harmosts. This policy did not answer, as the large bodies of exiles thus formed contrived to recover the cities, and to bring them to a far more decided Spartan partisanship than before.”
680 Lit. “harmosts.”
681 See Grote, “H. G.” x. 379.
682 Lit. “the Argives and the Arcadians.”
683 Lit. “on fair and equal terms.” See Thuc. v. 79.
B.C. 366. Matters had so far progressed that the Argives had already fortified the Trikaranon above the Heraion as an outpost to threaten Phlius, while the Sicyonians were engaged in fortifying Thyamia684 on their frontier; and between the two the Phliasians were severely pinched. They began to suffer from dearth of necessaries; but, in spite of all, remained unshaken in their alliance. It is the habit of historians, I know, to record with admiration each noble achievement of the larger powers, but to me it seems a still more worthy task to bring to light the great exploits of even a little state found faithful in the performance of fair deeds.
B.C. 370-369. Now these Phliasians were friends of Lacedaemon while at the zenith of her power. After her disaster on the field of Leuctra, when many of the Perioeci, and the helots to a man, revolted; when, more than that, the allies, save only quite a few, forsook her;685 and when united Hellas, so to speak, was marching on her — these Phliasians remained stanch in their allegiance; and, in spite of the hostility of the most powerful states of the Peloponnese, to wit the Arcardians and the Argives, they insisted on coming to her aid. It fell to their lot to cross into Prasiae as the rearguard of the reinforcements, which consisted of the men of Corinth, of Epidaurus and of Troezen, of Hermione, Halieis, and Sicyon and Pellene, in the days before any of these had revolted.686 Not even when the commander of the foreign brigade, picking up the divisions already across, left them behind and was gone — not even so did they flinch or turn back, but hired a guide from Prasiae, and though the enemy was massed round Amyclae, slipped through his ranks, as best they could, and so reached Sparta. It was then that the Lacedaemonians, besides other honours conferred upon them, sent them an ox as a gift of hospitality.
B.C. 369. Later on, when the enemy had retired from Laconia, the Argives, ill brooking so much zeal for Lacedaemon on the part of Phlius, marched in full force against the little state, and fell to ravaging their territory. Even then they remained undaunted; and when the enemy turned to retire, destroying all that he could lay hands upon, out dashed the cavalry of the Phliasians and dogged his retreat. And notwithstanding that the Argive’s rear consisted of the whole of his cavalry, with some companies of infantry to support them, they attacked him, sixty in number, and routed his whole rearguard. They slew, indeed, but a few of them; but, having so slain that handful, they paused and erected a trophy in full sight of the Argive army with as little concern as if they had cut down their enemies to a man.
Once again the Lacedaemonians and their allies were guarding Oneion,687 and the Thebans were threatening to scale the pass. The Arcadians and Eleians688 were moving forwards through Nemea to effect a junction with the Thebans, when a hint was conveyed to them by some Phliasian exiles, “Only show yourselves before Phlius and the town is yours.” An agreement was made, and in the dead of night a party consisting of the exiles themselves and others with them, about six hundred in number, planted themselves close under the walls with scaling-ladders. Presently the scouts from the Trikaranon signalled to the city that the enemy was advancing. The citizens were all attention; their eyes fixed upon their scouts. Meanwhile the traitors within were likewise signalling to those seated under lee of the walls “to scale”; and these, scaling up, seized the arms of the guards, which they found abandoned, and fell to pursuing the day sentinels, ten in number (one out of each squad of five being always left on day duty).689 One of these was put to the sword as he lay asleep, and a second as he was escaping to the Heraion; but the other eight day-pickets leapt down the wall on the side towards the city, one after another. The scaling party now found themselves in undisputed possession of the citadel. But the shouting had reached the city below: the citizens rallied to the rescue; and the enemy began by sallying forth from the citadel, and did battle in the forefront of the gate leading down to the city. By and by, being strongly beleaguered by the ever-increasing reinforcements of the citizens, they retired, falling back upon the citadel; and the citizens along with the enemy forced their way in. The centre of the citadel was speedily deserted; for the enemy scaled the walls and towers, and showered blows and missiles upon the citizens below. These defended themselves from the ground, or pressed the encounter home by climbing the ladders which led to the walls. Once masters of certain towers on this side and the other of the invaders, the citizens came to close quarters with them with reckless desperation. The invaders, pushed and pommelled by dint of such audacity and hard hitting, were cooped up like sheep into narrower and narrower space. But at that critical moment the Arcadians and the Argives were circling round the city, and had begun to dig through the walls of the citadel from its upper side.690 Of the citizens inside some were beating down their assailants on the wall;691 others, those of them who were climbing up from outside and were still on the scaling-ladders, whilst a third set were delivering battle against those who had mounted the towers. These last had found fire in the men’s quarters, and were engaged in setting the towers and all ablaze, bringing up sheaves of corn and grass — an ample harvesting, as luck would have it, garnered off the citadel itself. Thereupon the occupants of the towers, in terror of the flames, leapt down one by one, while those on the walls, under the blows of the defenders, tumbled off with similar expedition; and as soon as they had once begun to yield, the whole citadel, in almost less time than it takes to tell, was cleared of the enemy. In an instant out dashed the cavalry, and the enemy, seeing them, beat a hasty retreat, leaving behind scaling-ladders and dead, besides some comrades hopelessly maimed. In fact, the enemy, what between those who were slain inside and those who leapt from the walls, lost not less than eighty men. And now it was a goodly sight to see the brave men grasp one another by the hand and pledge each other on their preservation, whilst the women brought them drink and cried for joy. Not one there present but in very sooth was overcome by laughter mixed with tears.692
Next year also693 Phlius was invaded by the Argives and all the Arcadians. The reason of this perpetually-renewed attack on Phlius is not far to seek: partly it was the result of spleen, partly the little township stood midway between them, and they cherished the hope that through want of the necessaries of life they would bring it over. During this invasion the cavalry and the picked troop of the Phliasians, assisted by some Athenian knights, made another famous charge at the crossing of the river.694 They made it so hot for the enemy that for the rest of that day he was forced to retire under the mountain ridges, and to hold aloof as if afraid to trample down the corn-crops of a friendly people on the flat below.
Again another time695 the Theban commander in Sicyon marched out against Phlius, taking with him the garrison under his personal command, with the Sicyonians and Pellenians (for at the date of the incident these states followed in the wake of Thebes). Euphron was there also with his mercenaries, about two thousand in number, to share the fortunes of the field. The mass of the troops began their descent on the Heraion by the Trikaranon, intending to ravage the flat bottom below. At the gate leading to Corinth the Theban general left his Sicyonians and Pellenians on the height, to prevent the Phliasians getting behind him at this point and so over the heads of his troops as they lay at the Heraion beneath.696 As soon as the citizens of Phlius found that hostile troops were advancing on their corn-land, out dashed the cavalry with the chosen band of the Phliasians and gave battle, not suffering the enemy to penetrate into the plain. The best part of the day was spent in taking long shots at one another on that field; Euphron pushing his attack down to the point where cavalry could operate, the citizens retaliating as far as the Heraion. Presently the time to withdraw had come, and the enemy began to retire, following the circle of the Trikaranon; the short cut to reach the Pellenians being barred by the ravine which runs in front of the walls. The Phliasians escorted their retreating foes a little way up the steep, and then turning off dashed along the road beside the walls, making for the Pellenians and those with them; whereupon the Theban, perceiving the haste of the Phliasians, began racing with his infantry to outspeed them and bring succour to the Pellenians. The cavalry, however, arrived first and fell to attacking the Pellenians, who received and withstood the shock, and the cavalry drew back. A second time they charged, and were supported by some infantry detachments, which had now come up. It ended in a hand-to-hand fight; and eventually the enemy gave way. On the field lay dead some Sicyonians, and of the Pellenians many a good man. In record of the feat the Phliasians began to raise a trophy, as well they might; and loud and clear the paean rang. As to the Theban and Euphron, they and all their men stood by and stared at the proceedings, like men who had raced to see a sight. After all was over the one party retired to Sicyon and the other withdrew into their city.
That too was another noble exploit of the Phliasians, when they took the Pellenian Proxenus prisoner and, although suffering from scarcity at the time, sent him back without a ransom. “As generous as brave,” such is their well-earned title who were capable of such performance.
The heroic resolution with which these men maintained their loyalty to their friends is manifest. When excluded from the fruits of their own soil, they contrived to live, partly by helping themselves from the enemy’s territory, partly by purchasing from Corinth, though to reach that market they must run the gauntlet of a thousand risks; and having reached it their troubles began afresh. There were difficulties in providing the requisite sum, difficulties in arranging with the purveyors, and it was barely possible to find sureties for the very beasts which should carry home their marketing. They had reached the depth of despair, and were absolutely at a loss what to do, when they arranged with Chares to escort their convoy. Once safe inside Phlius, they begged him to help them to convey their useless and sick folk to Pellene.697 These they left at that place; and after making purchases and packing as many beasts of burthen as they could, they set off to return in the night, not in ignorance that they would be laid in wait for by the enemy, but persuaded that the want of provisions was a worse evil than mere fighting.
The men of Phlius pushed forward with Chares; presently they stumbled on the enemy and at once grappled to their work. Pressing hard on the foe, they called cheerily to one another, and shouted at the same time to Chares to bring up his aid. In short, the victory was theirs; and the enemy was driven off the road; and so they got themselves and their supplies safely home. The long night-watching superinduced sleep which lasted well into the next day. But Chares was no sooner out of bed then he was accosted by the cavalry and the pick of the heavy infantry with the following appeal: “Chares, today you have it in your power to perform the noblest deed of arms. The Sicyonians are fortifying an outpost on our borders, they have plenty of stone-masons but a mere handful of hoplites. We the knights of Phlius and we the flower of our infantry force will lead the way; and you shall follow after with your mercenaries. Perhaps when you appear on the scene you will find the whole thing finished, or perhaps your coming will send the enemy flying, as happened at Pellene. If you do not like the sound of these proposals, sacrifice and take counsel of the gods. Our belief is that the gods will bid you yet more emphatically than we to take this step. Only this, Chares, you must well consider, that if you do take it you will have established an outpost on the enemy’s frontier; you will have saved from perdition a friendly city; you will win eternal glory in your own fatherland; and among friends and foes alike no name will be heralded with louder praise than that of Chares.”
Chares was persuaded, and proceeded to offer sacrifice. Meanwhile the Phliasian cavalry were donning their breastplates and bridling their horses, and the heavy infantry made every preparation for the march. Then they took their arms, fell into line, and tramped off to the place of sacrifice. Chares with the soothsayer stepped forward to meet them, announcing that the victims were favourable. “Only wait for us,” they exclaimed; “we will sally forth with you at once.” The heralds’ cry “To arms!” was sounded, and with a zeal which was almost miraculous the mercenaries themselves rushed out. As soon as Chares began the march, the Phliasian cavalry and infantry got in front of him. At first they led off at a smart pace; presently they began to bowl698 along more quickly, and finally the cavalry were tearing over the ground might and main, whilst the infantry, at the greatest pace compatible with keeping their ranks, tore after them; and behind them, again, came Chares zealously following up in their rear. There only remained a brief interval of daylight before the sun went down, and they came upon the enemy in the fortress, some washing, some cooking a savoury meal, others kneading their bread, others making their beds. These, when they saw the vehemence of the attack, at once, in utter panic, took to flight, leaving behind all their provisions for the brave fellows who took their place. They, as their reward, made a fine supper off these stores and others which had come from home, pouring out libations for their good fortune and chanting the battle-hymn; after which they posted pickets for the night and slumbered well. The messenger with the news of their success at Thyamia arrived at Corinth in the night. The citizens of that state with hearty friendship at once ordered out by herald all the oxen and beasts of burthen, which they loaded with food and brought to Phlius; and all the while the fortress was building day by day these convoys of food were duly despatched.
684 “Thyamia is placed by Ross on the lofty hill of Spiria, the northern prolongation of Tricaranum, between the villages Stimanga and Skrapani.”—“Dict. Anct. Geog.” “Phlius.”
685 See above, “VI.” v. 29.
686 See “Hell.” VII. i. 18.
687 B.C. 369? al. B.C. 368. See above, “Hell.” VII. i. 15; Grote, “H. G.” x. 346.
688 See above, “Hell.” VII. i. 18, and below, S. 8.
689 Or, “one member of both the squads of five was left behind”— i.e. two out of the ten could not keep up with the rest in their flight, and were taken and killed; one indeed had not started, but was killed in sleep.
690 Or, “downwards” (L. and S.); or, “in front,” “von vorn” (Buchs).
691 Reading, tous eti toi teikhous. See Otto Keller for various emendations of the passage.
692 In true Homeric fashion, as Pollux (ii. 64) observes. See Homer, “Il.” vi. 484. See above, VII. i. 32; “Cyrop.” VII. v. 32; “Hiero,” iii. 5; “Sym.” ii. 24; “Antony and Cleopatra,” III. ii. 43.
693 B.C. 368 (or 367).
694 The Asopus.
695 B.C. 367 (or 366).
696 Lit. “above the Heraion” (where his main body lay).
697 What is the date of this incident? See above, “Hell.” VII. ii. 3; below VII. iv. 17.
698 See “Anab.” VII. iii. 46.
But on this topic enough, perhaps, has been said to demonstrate the loyalty of the men of Phlius to their friends, their bravery in war, and, lastly, their steadfastness in maintaining their alliance in spite of famine.
B.C. 367-366. It seems to have been somewhere about this date that Aeneas the Stymphalian,699 who had become general of the Arcadians, finding that the state of affairs in Sicyon was intolerable, marched up with his army into the acropolis. Here he summoned a meeting of the Sicyonian aristocrats already within the walls, and sent to fetch those others who had been banished without a decree of the people.700 Euphron, taking fright at these proceedings, fled for safety to the harbour-town of Sicyon. Hither he summoned Pasimelus from Corinth, and by his instrumentality handed over the harbour to the Lacedaemonians. Once more reappearing in his old character, he began to pose as an ally of Sparta. He asserted that his fidelity to Lacedaemon had never been interrupted; for when the votes were given in the city whether Sicyon should give up her allegiance to Lacedaemon, “I, with one or two others,” said he, “voted against the measure; but afterwards these people betrayed me, and in my desire to avenge myself on them I set up a democracy. At present all traitors to yourselves are banished — I have seen to that. If only I could get the power into my own hands, I would go over to you, city and all, at once. All that I can do at present, I have done; I have surrendered to you this harbour.” That was what Euphron said to his audience there, but of the many who heard his words, how many really believed his words is by no means evident. However, since I have begun the story of Euphron, I desire to bring it to its close.
Faction and party strife ran high in Sicyon between the better classes and the people, when Euphron, getting a body of foreign troops from Athens, once more obtained his restoration. The city, with the help of the commons, he was master of, but the Theban governor held the citadel. Euphron, perceiving that he would never be able to dominate the state whilst the Thebans held the acropolis, collected money and set off to Thebes, intending to persuade the Thebans to expel the aristocrats and once again to hand over the city to himself. But the former exiles, having got wind of this journey of his, and of the whole intrigue, set off themselves to Thebes in front of him.701 When, however, they saw the terms of intimacy on which he associated with the Theban authorities, in terror of his succeeding in his mission some of them staked their lives on the attempt and stabbed Euphron in the Cadmeia, where the magistrates and senate were seated. The magistrates, indeed, could not but indict the perpetrators of the deed before the senate, and spoke as follows:
“Fellow-citizens, it is our duty to arraign these murderers of Euphron, the men before you, on the capital charge. Mankind may be said to fall into two classes: there are the wise and temperate,702 who are incapable of any wrong and unhallowed deed; and there are the base, the bad, who do indeed such things, but try to escape the notice of their fellows. The men before you are exceptional. They have so far exceeded all the rest of men in audacity and foul villiany that, in the very presence of the magistrates and of yourselves, who alone have the power of life and death, they have taken the law into their own hands,703 and have slain this man. But they stand now before the bar of justice, and they must needs pay the extreme penalty; for, if you spare them, what visitor will have courage to approach the city? Nay, what will become of the city itself, if license is to be given to any one who chooses to murder those who come here, before they have even explained the object of their visit? It is our part, then, to prosecute these men as arch-villains and miscreants, whose contempt for law and justice is only matched by the supreme indifference with which they treat this city. It is your part, now that you have heard the charges, to impose upon them that penalty which seems to be the measure of their guilt.”
Such were the words of the magistrates. Among the men thus accused, all save one denied immediate participation in the act. It was not their hands that had dealt the blow. This one not only confessed the deed, but made a defence in words somewhat as follows:
“As to treating you with indifference, men of Thebes, that is not possible for a man who knows that with you lies the power to deal with him as you list. Ask rather on what I based my confidence when I slew the man; and be well assured that, in the first place, I based it on the conviction that I was doing right; next, that your verdict will also be right and just. I knew assuredly how you dealt with Archias704 and Hypates and that company whom you detected in conduct similar to that of Euphron: you did not stay for formal voting, but at the first opportunity within your reach you guided the sword of vengeance, believing that by the verdict of mankind a sentence of death had already been passed against the conspicuously profane person, the manifest traitor, and him who lays to his hand to become a tyrant. See, then, what follows. Euphron was liable on each of these several counts: he was a conspicuously profane person, who took into his keeping temples rich in votive offerings of gold and silver, and swept them bare of their sacred treasures; he was an arrant traitor — for what treason could be more manifest than Euphron’s? First he was the bosom friend of Lacedaemon, but presently chose you in their stead; and, after exchange of solemn pledges between yourselves and him, once more turned round and played the traitor to you, and delivered up the harbour to your enemies. Lastly, he was most undisguisedly a tyrant, who made not free men only, but free fellow-citizens his slaves; who put to death, or drove into exile, or robbed of their wealth and property, not malefactors, note you, but the mere victims of his whim and fancy; and these were ever the better folk. Once again restored by the help of your sworn foes and antagonists, the Athenians, to his native town of Sicyon, the first thing he did was to take up arms against the governor from Thebes; but, finding himself powerless to drive him from the acropolis, he collected money and betook himself hither. Now, if it were proved that he had mustered armed bands to attack you, I venture to say, you would have thanked me that I slew him. What then, when he came furnished with vile moneys, to corrupt you therewith, to bribe you to make him once more lord and master of the state? How shall I, who dealt justice upon him, justly suffer death at your hands? For to be worsted in arms implies injury certainly, but of the body only: the defeated man is not proved to be dishonest by his loss of victory. But he who is corrupted by filthy lucre, contrary to the standard of what is best,705 is at once injured and involved in shame.
“Now if he had been your friend, however much he was my national foe, I do confess it had been scarce honourable of me to have stabbed him to death in your presence: but why, I should like to ask, should the man who betrayed you be less your enemy than mine? ‘Ah, but,’ I hear some one retort, ‘he came of his own accord.’ I presume, sir, you mean that had he chanced to be slain by somebody at a distance from your state, that somebody would have won your praise; but now, on the ground that he came back here to work mischief on the top of mischief, ‘he had the right to live’!706 In what part of Hellas, tell me, sir, do Hellenes keep a truce with traitors, double-dyed deserters, and tyrants? Moreover, I must remind you that you passed a resolution — if I mistake not, it stands recorded in your parliamentary minutes — that ‘renegades are liable to be apprehended707 in any of the allied cities.’ Now, here is a renegade restoring himself without any common decree of the allied states: will any one tell me on what ground this person did not deserve to die? What I maintain, sirs, is that if you put me to death, by so doing you will be aiding and abetting your bitterest foe; while, by a verdict sanctioning the justice of my conduct, you will prove your willingness to protect the interests not of yourselves only, but of the whole body of your allies.”
The Thebans on hearing these pleadings decided that Euphron had only suffered the fate which he deserved. His own countrymen, however, conveyed away the body with the honours due to a brave and good man, and buried him in the market-place, where they still pay pious reverence to his memory as “a founder of the state.” So strictly, it would seem, do the mass of mankind confine the term brave and good to those who are the benefactors of themselves.
699 Is this man the famous writer o taktikos, a portion of whose works, the “Treatise on Siege Operations,” has been preserved [recently re-edited by Arnold Hug —“Commentarius Poliorceticus,” Lips. Trubner, 1884]? So Casaubon supposed. Cf. “Com. Pol.” 27, where the writer mentions paneia as the Arcadian term for “panics.” Readers of the “Anabasis” will recollect the tragic end of another Aeneas, also of Stymphalus, an Arcadian officer. On the official title strategos (general), Freeman (“Hist. Fed. Gov.” 204) notes that “at the head of the whole League there seems to have been, as in so many other cases, a single Federal general.” Cf. Diod. xv. 62.
700 See above, VII. i. 46.
701 Or, “on an opposition journey.”
702 Lit. “the sound of soul.”
703 Or, “they have been judge and jury both, and executioners to boot.”
704 See above, V. iv. 2.
705 Or, as we should say, “in violation of conscience.”
706 Or, “he was wrongfully slain.”
707 For this right of extradition see Plut. “Lys.” xxvii.
B.C. 366. And so ends the history of Euphron. I return to the point reached at the commencement of this digression.708 The Phliasians were still fortifying Thyamia, and Chares was still with them, when Oropus709 was seized by the banished citizens of that place. The Athenians in consequence despatched an expedition in full force to the point of danger, and recalled Chares from Thyamia; whereupon the Sicyonians and the Arcadians seized the opportunity to recapture the harbour of Sicyon. Meanwhile the Athenians, forced to act single-handed, with none of their allies to assist them, retired from Oropus, leaving that town in the hands of the Thebans as a deposit till the case at issue could be formally adjudicated.
Now Lycomedes710 had discovered that the Athenians were harbouring a grievance against her allies, as follows:— They felt it hard that, while Athens was put to vast trouble on their account, yet in her need not a man among them stepped forward to render help. Accordingly he persuaded the assembly of Ten Thousand to open negotiations with Athens for the purpose of forming an alliance.711 At first some of the Athenians were vexed that they, being friends of Lacedaemon, should become allied to her opponents; but on further reflection they discovered it was no less desirable for the Lacedaemonians than for themselves that the Arcadians should become independent of Thebes. That being so, they were quite ready to accept an Arcadian alliance. Lycomedes himself was still engaged on this transaction when, taking his departure from Athens, he died, in a manner which looked like divine intervention.
Out of the many vessels at his service he had chosen the one he liked best, and by the terms of contract was entitled to land at any point he might desire; but for some reason, selected the exact spot where a body of Mantinean exiles lay. Thus he died; but the alliance on which he had set his heart was already consummated.
Now an argument was advanced by Demotion712 in the Assembly of Athens, approving highly of the friendship with the Arcadians, which to his mind was an excellent thing, but arguing that the generals should be instructed to see that Corinth was kept safe for the Athenian people. The Corinthians, hearing this, lost no time in despatching garrisons of their own large enough to take the place of the Athenian garrisons at any point where they might have them, with orders to these latter to retire: “We have no further need of foreign garrisons,” they said. The garrisons did as they were bid.
As soon as the Athenian garrison troops were met together in the city of Corinth, the Corinthian authorities caused proclamation to be made inviting all Athenians who felt themselves wronged to enter their names and cases upon a list, and they would recover their dues. While things were in this state, Chares arrived at Cenchreae with a fleet. Learning what had been done, he told them that he had heard there were designs against the state of Corinth, and had come to render assistance. The authorities, while thanking him politely for his zeal, were not any the more ready to admit the vessels into the harbour, but bade him sail away; and after rendering justice to the infantry troops, they sent them away likewise. Thus the Athenians were quit of Corinth. To the Arcadians, to be sure, they were forced by the terms of their alliance to send an auxiliary force of cavalry, “in case of any foreign attack upon Arcadia.” At the same time they were careful not to set foot on Laconian soil for the purposes of war.
The Corinthians had begun to realise on how slender a thread their political existence hung. They were overmastered by land still as ever, with the further difficulty of Athenian hostility, or quasi-hostility, now added. They resolved to collect bodies of mercenary troops, both infantry and horse. At the head of these they were able at once to guard their state and to inflict much injury on their neighbouring foes. To Thebes, indeed, they sent ambassadors to ascertain whether they would have any prospect of peace if they came to seek it. The Thebans bade them come: “Peace they should have.” Whereupon the Corinthians asked that they might be allowed to visit their allies; in making peace they would like to share it with those who cared for it, and would leave those who preferred war to war. This course also the Thebans sanctioned; and so the Corinthians came to Lacedaemon and said:
“Men of Lacedaemon, we, your friends, are here to present a petition, and on this wise. If you can discover any safety for us whilst we persist in warlike courses, we beg that you will show it us; but if you recognise the hopelessness of our affairs, we would, in that case, proffer this alternative: if peace is alike conducive to your interests, we beg that you would join us in making peace, since there is no one with whom we would more gladly share our safety than with you; if, on the other hand, you are persuaded that war is more to your interest, permit us at any rate to make peace for ourselves. So saved today, perhaps we may live to help you in days to come; whereas, if today we be destroyed, plainly we shall never at any time be serviceable again.”
The Lacedaemonians, on hearing these proposals, counselled the Corinthians to arrange a peace on their own account; and as for the rest of their allies, they permitted any who did not care to continue the war along with them to take a respite and recruit themselves. “As for ourselves,” they said, “we will go on fighting and accept whatever Heaven has in store for us,”— adding, “never will we submit to be deprived of our territory of Messene, which we received as an heirloom from our fathers.”713
Satisfied with this answer, the Corinthians set off to Thebes in quest of peace. The Thebans, indeed, asked them to agree on oath, not to peace only but an alliance; to which they answered: “An alliance meant, not peace, but merely an exchange of war. If they liked, they were ready there and then,” they repeated, “to establish a just and equitable peace.” And the Thebans, admiring the manner in which, albeit in danger, they refused to undertake war against their benefactors, conceded to them and the Phliasians and the rest who came with them to Thebes, peace on the principle that each should hold their own territory. On these terms the oaths were taken.
Thereupon the Phliasians, in obedience to the compact, at once retired from Thyamia; but the Argives, who had taken the oath of peace on precisely the same terms, finding that they were unable to procure the continuance of the Phliasian exiles in the Trikaranon as a point held within the limits of Argos,714 took over and garrisoned the place, asserting now that this land was theirs — land which only a little while before they were ravaging as hostile territory. Further, they refused to submit the case to arbitration in answer to the challenge of the Phliasians.
It was nearly at the same date that the son of Dionysius715 (his father, Dionysius the first, being already dead) sent a reinforcement to Lacedaemon of twelve triremes under Timocrates, who on his arrival helped the Lacedaemonians to recover Sellasia, and after that exploit sailed away home.
B.C. 366-365. Not long after this the Eleians seized Lasion,716 a place which in old days was theirs, but at present was attached to the Arcadian league. The Arcadians did not make light of the matter, but immediately summoned their troops and rallied to the rescue. Counter-reliefs came also on the side of Elis — their Three Hundred, and again their Four Hundred.717 The Eleians lay encamped during the day face to face with the invader, but on a somewhat more level position. The Arcadians were thereby induced under cover of night to mount on to the summit of the hill overhanging the Eleians, and at day-dawn they began their descent upon the enemy. The Eleians soon caught sight of the enemy advancing from the vantage ground above them, many times their number; but a sense of shame forbade retreat at such a distance. Presently they came to close quarters; there was a hand-to-hand encounter; the Eleians turned and fled; and in retiring down the difficult ground lost many men and many arms.
Flushed with this achievement the Arcadians began marching on the cities of the Acroreia,718 which, with the exception of Thraustus, they captured, and so reached Olympia. There they made an entrenched camp on the hill of Kronos, established a garrison, and held control over the Olympian hill-country. Margana also, by help of a party inside who gave it up, next fell into their hands.
These successive advantages gained by their opponents reacted on the Eleians, and threw them altogether into despair. Meanwhile the Arcadians were steadily advancing upon their capital.719 At length they arrived, and penetrated into the market-place. Here, however, the cavalry and the rest of the Eleians made a stand, drove the enemy out with some loss, and set up a trophy.
It should be mentioned that the city of Elis had previously been in a state of disruption. The party of Charopus, Thrasonidas and Argeius were for converting the state into a democracy; the party of Eualcas, Hippias, and Stratolas720 were for oligarchy. When the Arcadians, backed by a large force, appeared as allies of those who favoured a democratic constitution, the party of Charopus were at once emboldened; and, having obtained the promise of assistance from the Arcadians, they seized the acropolis. The Knights and the Three Hundred did not hesitate, but at once marched up and dislodged them; with the result that about four hundred citizens, with Argeius and Charopus, were banished. Not long afterwards these exiles, with the help of some Arcadians, seized and occupied Pylus;721 where many of the commons withdrew from the capital to join them, attracted not only by the beauty of the position, but by the great power of the Arcadians, in alliance with them.
There was subsequently another invasion of the territory of the Eleians on the part of the Arcadians, who were influenced by the representations of the exiles that the city would come over to them. But the attempt proved abortive. The Achaeans, who had now become friends with the Eleians, kept firm guard on the capital, so that the Arcadians had to retire without further exploit than that of ravaging the country. Immediately, however, on marching out of Eleian territory they were informed that the men of Pellene were in Elis; whereupon they executed a marvellously long night march and seized the Pellenian township of Olurus722 (the Pellenians at the date in question having already reverted to their old alliance with Lacedaemon). And now the men of Pellene, in their turn getting wind of what had happened at Olurus, made their way round as best they could, and got into their own city of Pellene; after which there was nothing for it but to carry on war with the Arcadians in Olurus and the whole body of their own commons; and in spite of their small numbers they did not cease till they had reduced Olurus by siege.
B.C. 365.723 The Arcadians were presently engaged on another campaign against Elis. While they were encamped between Cyllene724 and the capital the Eleians attacked them, but the Arcadians made a stand and won the battle. Andromachus, the Eleian cavalry general, who was regarded as responsible for the engagement, made an end of himself; and the rest withdrew into the city. This battle cost the life also of another there present — the Spartan Socleides; since, it will be understood, the Lacedaemonians had by this time become allies of the Eleians. Consequently the Eleians, being sore pressed on their own territory, sent an embassy and begged the Lacedaemonians to organise an expedition against the Arcadians. They were persuaded that in this way they would best arrest the progress of the Arcadians, who would thus be placed between the two foes. In accordance with this suggestion Archidamus marched out with a body of the city troops and seized Cromnus.725 Here he left a garrison — three out of the twelve regiments726 — and so withdrew homewards. The Arcadians had just ended their Eleian campaign, and, without disbanding their levies, hastened to the rescue, surrounded Cromnus with a double line of trenches, and having so secured their position, proceeded to lay seige to those inside the place. The city of Lacedaemon, annoyed at the siege of their citizens, sent out an army, again under Archidamus, who, when he had come, set about ravaging Arcadia to the best of his power, as also the Sciritid, and did all he could to draw off, if possible, the besieging army. The Arcadians, for all that, were not one whit the more to be stirred: they seemed callous to all his proceedings.
Presently espying a certain rising ground, across which the Arcadians had drawn their outer line of circumvallation, Archidamus proposed to himself to take it. If he were once in command of that knoll, the besiegers at its foot would be forced to retire. Accordingly he set about leading a body of troops round to the point in question, and during this movement the light infantry in advance of Archidamus, advancing at the double, caught sight of the Arcadian Eparitoi727 outside the stockade and attacked them, while the cavalry made an attempt to enforce their attack simultaneously. The Arcadians did not swerve: in compact order they waited impassively. The Lacedaemonians charged a second time: a second time they swerved not, but on the contrary began advancing. Then, as the hoarse roar and shouting deepened, Archidamus himself advanced in support of his troops. To do so he turned aside along the carriage-road leading to Cromnus, and moved onward in column two abreast,728 which was his natural order. When they came into close proximity to one another — Archidamus’s troops in column, seeing they were marching along a road; the Arcadians in compact order with shields interlinked — at this conjuncture the Lacedaemonians were not able to hold out for any length of time against the numbers of the Arcadians. Before long Archidamus had received a wound which pierced through his thigh, whilst death was busy with those who fought in front of him, Polyaenidas and Chilon, who was wedded to the sister of Archidamus, included. The whole of these, numbering no less than thirty, perished in this action. Presently, falling back along the road, they emerged into the open ground, and now with a sense of relief the Lacedaemonians got themselves into battle order, facing the foe. The Arcadians, without altering their position, stood in compact line, and though falling short in actual numbers, were in far better heart — the moral result of an attack on a retreating enemy and the severe loss inflicted on him. The Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, were sorely down-hearted: Archidamus lay wounded before their eyes; in their ears rang the names of those who had died, the fallen being not only brave men, but, one may say, the flower of Spartan chivalry. The two armies were now close together, when one of the older men lifted up his voice and cried: “Why need we fight, sirs? Why not rather make truce and part friends?” Joyously the words fell on the ears of either host, and they made a truce. The Lacedaemonians picked up their dead and retired; the Arcadians withdrew to the point where their advance originally began, and set up a trophy of victory.
Now, as the Arcadians lay at Cromnus, the Eleians from the capital, advancing in the first instance upon Pylus, fell in with the men of that place, who had been beaten back from Thalamae.729 Galloping along the road, the cavalry of the Eleians, when they caught sight of them, did not hesitate, but dashed at them at once, and put some to the sword, while others of them fled for safety to a rising knoll. Ere long the Eleian infantry arrived, and succeeded in dislodging this remnant on the hillock also; some they slew, and others, nearly two hundred in number, they took alive, all of whom where either sold, if foreigners, or, if Eleian exiles, put to death. After this the Eleians captured the men of Pylus and the place itself, as no one came to their rescue, and recovered the Marganians.
The Lacedaemonians presently made a second attempt on Cromnus by a night attack, got possession of the part of the palisading facing the Argives, and at once began summoning their besieged fellow-citizens to come out. Out accordingly came all who happened to be within easy distance, and who took time by the forelock. The rest were not quick enough; a strong Arcadian reinforcement cut them off, and they remained shut up inside, and were eventually taken prisoners and distributed. One portion of them fell to the lot of the Argives, one to the Thebans,730 one to the Arcadians, and one to the Messenians. The whole number taken, whether true-born Spartans or Perioeci, amounted to more than one hundred.
B.C. 364. And now that the Arcadians had leisure on the side of Cromnus, they were again able to occupy themselves with the Eleians, and to keep Olympia still more strongly garrisoned. In anticipation of the approaching Olympic year,731 they began preparations to celebrate the Olympian games in conjunction with the men of Pisa, who claim to be the original presidents of the Temple.732 Now, when the month of the Olympic Festival — and not the month only, but the very days, during which the solemn assembly is wont to meet, were come, the Eleians, in pursuance of preparations and invitations to the Achaeans, of which they made no secret, at length proceeded to march along the road to Olympia. The Arcadians had never imagined that they would really attack them; and they were themselves just now engaged with the men of Pisa in carrying out the details of the solemn assembly. They had already completed the chariot-race, and the foot-race of the pentathlon.733 The competitors entitled to enter for the wrestling match had left the racecourse, and were getting through their bouts in the space between the racecourse and the great altar.
It must be understood that the Eleians under arms were already close at hand within the sacred enclosure.734 The Arcadians, without advancing farther to meet them, drew up their troops on the river Cladaus, which flows past the Altis and discharges itself into the Alpheus. Their allies, consisting of two hundred Argive hoplites and about four hundred Athenian cavalry, were there to support them. Presently the Eleians formed into line on the opposite side of the stream, and, having sacrificed, at once began advancing. Though heretofore in matters of war despised by Arcadians and Argives, by Achaeans and Athenians alike, still on this day they led the van of the allied force like the bravest of the brave. Coming into collision with the Arcadians first, they at once put them to flight, and next receiving the attack of the Argive supports, mastered these also. Then having pursued them into the space between the senate-house, the temple of Hestia, and the theatre thereto adjoining, they still kept up the fighting as fiercely as ever, pushing the retreating foe towards the great altar. But now being exposed to missiles from the porticoes and the senate-house and the great temple,735 while battling with their opponents on the level, some of the Eleians were slain, and amongst others the commander of the Three Hundred himself, Stratolas. At this state of the proceedings they retired to their camp.
The Arcadians and those with them were so terrified at the thought of the coming day that they gave themselves neither respite nor repose that night, but fell to chopping up the carefully-compacted booths and constructing them into palisades; so that when the Eleians did again advance the next day and saw the strength of the barriers and the number mounted on the temples, they withdrew to their city. They had proved themselves to be warriors of such mettle as a god indeed by the breath of his spirit may raise up and bring to perfection in a single day, but into which it were impossible for mortal men to convert a coward even in a lifetime.
B.C. 363. The employment of the sacred treasures of the temple by the Arcadian magistrates736 as a means of maintaining the Eparitoi737 aroused protest. The Mantineans were the first to pass a resolution forbidding such use of the sacred property. They set the example themselves of providing the necessary quota for the Troop in question from their state exchequer, and this sum they sent to the federal government. The latter, affirming that the Mantineans were undermining the Arcadian league, retaliated by citing their leading statesmen to appear before the assembly of Ten Thousand; and on their refusal to obey the summons, passed sentence upon them, and sent the Eparitoi to apprehend them as convicted persons. The Mantineans, however, closed their gates, and would not admit the Troop within their walls. Their example was speedily followed: others among the Ten Thousand began to protest against the enormity of so applying the sacred treasures; it was doubly wrong to leave as a perpetual heirloom to their children the imputation of a crime so heinous against the gods. But no sooner was a resolution passed in the general assembly738 forbidding the use of the sacred moneys for profane purposes than those (members of the league) who could not have afforded to serve as Eparitoi without pay began speedily to melt away; while those of more independent means, with mutual encouragement, began to enrol themselves in the ranks of the Eparitoi — the feeling being that they ought not to be a mere tool in the hands of the corps, but rather that the corps itself should be their instrument. Those members of the government who had manipulated the sacred money soon saw that when they came to render an account of their stewardship, in all likelihood they would lose their heads. They therefore sent an embassy to Thebes, with instructions to the Theban authorities warning them that, if they did not open a campaign, the Arcadians would in all probability again veer round to Lacedaemon.
The Thebans, therefore, began making preparations for opening a campaign, but the party who consulted the best interests of Peloponnese739 persuaded the general assembly of the Arcadians to send an embassy and tell the Thebans not to advance with an army into Arcadia, unless they sent for them; and whilst this was the language they addressed to Thebes, they reasoned among themselves that they could dispense with war altogether. The presidency over the temple of Zeus, they were persuaded, they might easily dispense with; indeed, it would at once be a more upright and a holier proceeding on their parts to give it back, and with such conduct the god, they thought, might be better pleased. As these were also the views and wishes of the Eleians, both parties agreed to make peace, and a truce was established.
B.C. 362. The oaths were ratified; and amongst those who swore to them were included not only the parties immediately concerned, but the men of Tegea, and the Theban general himself, who was inside Tegea with three hundred heavy infantry of the Boeotians. Under these circumstances the Arcadians in Tegea remained behind feasting and keeping holy day, with outpouring of libations and songs of victory, to celebrate the establishment of peace. Here was an opportunity for the Theban and those of the government who regarded the forthcoming inquiry with apprehension. Aided by the Boeotians and those of the Eparitoi who shared their sentiments, they first closed the gates of the fortress of Tegea, and then set about sending to the various quarters to apprehend those of the better class. But, inasmuch as there were Arcadians present from all the cities, and there was a general desire for peace, those apprehended must needs be many. So much so, that the prison-house was eventually full to overflowing, and the town-hall was full also. Besides the number lodged in prison, a number had escaped by leaping down the walls, and there were others who were suffered to pass through the gates (a laxity easily explained, since no one, excepting those who were anticipating their own downfall, cherished any wrathful feeling against anybody). But what was a source of still graver perplexity to the Theban commander and those acting with him — of the Mantineans, the very people whom they had set their hearts on catching, they had got but very few. Nearly all of them, owing to the proximity of their city, had, in fact, betaken themselves home. Now, when day came and the Mantineans learned what had happened, they immediately sent and forewarned the other Arcadian states to be ready in arms, and to guard the passes; and they set the example themselves by so doing. They sent at the same time to Tegea and demanded the release of all Mantineans there detained. With regard to the rest of the Arcadians they further claimed that no one should be imprisoned or put to death without trial. If any one had any accusation to bring against any, than by the mouth of their messengers there present they gave notice that the state of Mantinea was ready to offer bail, “Verily and indeed to produce before the general assembly of the Arcadians all who might be summoned into court.” The Theban accordingly, on hearing this, was at a loss what to make of the affair, and released his prisoners. Next day, summoning a congress of all the Arcadians who chose to come, he explained, with some show of apology, that he had been altogether deceived; he had heard, he said, that “the Lacedaemonians were under arms on the frontier, and that some of the Arcadians were about to betray Tegea into their hands.” His auditors acquitted him for the moment, albeit they knew that as touching themselves he was lying. They sent, however, an embassy to Thebes and there accused him as deserving of death. Epaminondas (who was at that time the general at the head of the war department) is reported to have maintained that the Theban commander had acted far more rightly when he seized than when he let go the prisoners. “Thanks to you,” he argued, “we have been brought into a state of war, and then you, without our advice or opinion asked, make peace on your own account; would it not be reasonable to retort upon you the charge of treason in such conduct? Anyhow, be assured,” he added, “we shall bring an army into Arcadia, and along with those who share our views carry on the war which we have undertaken.”
708 See above, VII. ii. 23; iii. 3; Diod. xv. 76.
709 See Thuc. viii. 60.
710 See above, VII. i. 23.
711 This proves that “the Ten Thousand made war and peace in the name of all Arkadia”; cf. “Hell.” VII. i. 38; Diod. xv. 59. “They received and listened to the ambassadors of other Greek states”; Demosth. “F. L.” 220. “They regulated and paid the standing army of the Federation”; “Hell.” VII. iv. 22, 23; Diod. xv. 62. “They sat in judgment on political offenders against the collective majority of the Arkadian League”; “Hell.” VII. iv. 33; Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” 203, note 1.
712 Of Demotion nothing more, I think, is known. Grote (“H. G.” x. 397) says: “The public debates of the Athenian assembly were not favourable to the success of a scheme like that proposed by Demotion, to which secrecy was indispensable. Compare another scheme” (the attempted surprise of Mitylene, B.C. 428), “divulged in like manner, in Thuc. iii. 3.”
713 See Isocr. “Or.” vi. “Archidamos,” S. 70; Jebb, “Att. Or.” ii. 193.
714 Or, “as a post held by them within the territory of the state.” The passage is perhaps corrupt.
715 Concerning Dionysius the first, see above, VII. i. 20 foll. 28.
716 See above, VII. i. 26; Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” p. 201.
717 From the sequel it would appear that the former were a picked corps of infantry and the latter of cavalry. See Thuc. ii. 25; Busolt, op. cit. p. 175 foll.
718 The mountainous district of Elis on the borders of Arcadia, in which the rivers Peneius and Ladon take their rise; see “Dict. of Anct. Geog.” s.v.; above, III. ii. 30, IV. ii. 16. Thraustus was one of the four chief townships of the district. For Margana, see above, III. ii. 25, 30, IV. ii. 16, VI. v. 2.
719 I.e. Elis.
720 See below, VII. iv. 31; Busolt, op. cit. p. 175.
721 Pylus, a town in “hollow” Elis, upon the mountain road from Elis to Olympia, at the place where the Ladon flows into the Peneius (Paus. VI. xxii. 5), near the modern village of Agrapidokhori. — Baedeker, “Greece,” p. 320. See Busolt, p. 179.
722 This fortress (placed by Leake at modern Xylokastro) lay at the entrance of the gorge of the Sys, leading from the Aigialos or coast-land into the territory of Pellene, which itself lay about sixty stades from the sea at modern Zougra. For the part played by Pellene as one of the twelve Achaean states at this period, see above.
723 See Grote, “H. G.” x. 429 foll.; al. B.C. 364.
724 The port town of Elis.
725 Cromnus, a township near Megalopolis. See Callisthenes, ap. Athen. 10, p. 452 A. See Schneider’s note ad loc.
726 Lit. “lochi.” See Arnold’s note to Thuc. v. 68; below, VII. v. 10.
727 So the troops of the Arcadian Federation were named. Diodorus (xv. 62) calls them “the select troops,” tous kaloumenous epilektous.
728 See above, III. i. 22.
729 A strong fortress in an unfrequented situation, defended by narrow passes (Leake, “Morea,” ii. 204); it lay probably in the rocky recesses of Mount Scollis (modern Santameri), on the frontier of Achaea, near the modern village of Santameri. See Polyb. iv. 75. See Busolt, op. cit. p. 179.
730 “The Thebans must have been soldiers in garrison at Tegea, Megalopolis, or Messene.”— Grote, “H. G.” x. 433.
731 I.e. “Ol. 104. 1” (July B.C. 364).
732 For this claim on the part of the Pisatans (as the old inhabitants), see above, III. ii. 31; Paus. VI. xxii. 2; Diod. xv. 78; Busolt, op. cit. p. 154.
733 As to the pentathlon, see above, IV. vii. 5. Whether the preceding ippodromia was, at this date, a horse or chariot race, or both, I am unable to say.
734 “The temenos must here be distinguished from the Altis, as meaning the entire breadth of consecrated ground at Olympia, of which the Altis formed a smaller interior portion enclosed with a wall. The Eleians entered into a temenos before they crossed the river Kladeus, which flowed through the temenos, but alongside the Altis. The tomb of Oenomaus, which was doubtless included in the temenos, was on the right bank of the Kladeus (Paus. VI. xxi. 3); while the Altis was on the left bank of the river.”— Grote, “H. G.” x. 438, note 1. For the position of the Altis (Paus. V. x. 1) and several of the buildings here mentioned, and the topography of Olympia in general, see Baedeker’s “Greece,” p. 322 foll.; and Dorpfeld’s Plan (“Olympia und Umgegend,” Berlin, 1882), there reproduced.
735 Or, “from the porticoes of the senate-house and the great temple.”
736 See above, VII. i. 24. “Were these magistrates, or merely popular leaders?”— Freeman, “Hist. Fed. Gov.” p. 203, note 3.
737 Or, “Select Troop.” See above.
738 “The common formula for a Greek confederation, to koinon ton ‘Arkadon, is used as an equivalent of oi mupioi” (here and below, SS. 35, 38)— Freeman, op. cit. 202, note 4.
739 See below, VII. v. 1, oi kedouenoi tes Peloponnesou. I regard these phrases as self-laudatory political catchwords.
B.C. 362. This answer was duly reported to the general assembly of the Arcadians, and throughout the several states of the league. Consequently the Mantineans, along with those of the Arcadians who had the interests of Peloponnesus at heart, as also the Eleians and the Achaeans, came to the conclusion that the policy of the Thebans was plain. They wished Peloponnesus to be reduced to such an extremity of weakness that it might fall an easy prey into their hands who were minded to enslave it. “Why else,” they asked, “should they wish us to fight, except that we may tear each other to pieces, and both sides be driven to look to them for support? or why, when we tell them that we have no need of them at present, do they insist on preparing for a foreign campaign? Is it not plain that these preparations are for an expedition which will do us some mischief?”
In this mood they sent to Athens,740 calling on the Athenians for military aid. Ambassadors also went to Lacedaemon on behalf of the Eparitoi, summoning the Lacedaemonians, if they wished to give a helping hand, to put a stop to the proceedings of any power approaching to enslave Peloponnesus. As regards the headship, they came to an arrangement at once, on the principle that each of the allied states should exercise the generalship within its own territory.
While these matters were in progress, Epaminondas was prosecuting his march at the head of all the Boeotians, with the Euboeans, and a large body of Thessalians, furnished both by Alexander741 and by his opponents. The Phocians were not represented. Their special agreement only required them to render assistance in case of an attack on Thebes; to assist in a hostile expedition against others was not in the bond. Epaminondas, however, reflected that inside Peloponnesus itself they might count upon the Argives and the Messenians, with that section of the Arcadians which shared their views. These latter were the men of Tegea and Megalopolis, of Asea and Pallantium, with any townships which owing to their small size or their position in the midst of these larger cities were forced to follow their lead.
Epaminondas advanced with rapid strides; but on reaching Nemea he slackened speed, hoping to catch the Athenians as they passed, and reflecting on the magnitude of such an achievement, whether in stimulating the courage of his own allies, or in plunging his foes into despondency; since, to state the matter concisely, any blow to Athens would be a gain to Thebes. But during his pause at Nemea those who shared the opposite policy had time to converge on Mantinea. Presently the news reached Epaminondas that the Athenians had abandoned the idea of marching by land, and were preparing to bring their supports to Arcadia by sea through Lacedaemon. This being so, he abandoned his base of Nemea and pushed on to Tegea.
That the strategy of the Theban general was fortunate I will not pretend to assert, but in the particular combination of prudence and daring which stamps these exploits, I look upon him as consummate. In the first place, I cannot but admire the sagacity which led him to form his camp within the walls of Tegea, where he was in greater security that he would have been if entrenched outside, and where his future movements were more completely concealed from the enemy. Again, the means to collect material and furnish himself with other necessaries were readier to his hand inside the city; while, thirdly, he was able to keep an eye on the movements of his opponents marching outside, and to watch their successful dispositions as well as their mistakes. More than this: in spite of his sense of superiority to his antagonists, over and over again, when he saw them gaining some advantage in position, he refused to be drawn out to attack them. It was only when he saw plainly that no city was going to give him its adhesion, and that time was slipping by, that he made up his mind that a blow must be struck, failing which, he had nothing to expect save a vast ingloriousness, in place of his former fame.742 He had ascertained that his antagonists held a strong position round Mantinea, and that they had sent to fetch Agesilaus and the whole Lacedaemonian army. He was further aware that Agesilaus had commenced his advance and was already at Pellene.743 Accordingly he passed the word of command744 to his troops to take their evening meal, put himself at their head and advanced straight upon Sparta. Had it not been for the arrival (by some providential chance) of a Cretan, who brought the news to Agesilaus of the enemy’s advance, he would have captured the city of Sparta like a nest of young birds absolutely bereft of its natural defenders. As it was, Agesilaus, being forewarned, had time to return to the city before the Thebans came, and here the Spartans made distribution of their scanty force and maintained watch and ward, albeit few enough in numbers, since the whole of their cavalry were away in Arcadia, and so was their foreign brigade, and so were three out of their twelve regiments.745
Arrived within the city of Sparta,746 Epaminondas abstained from gaining an entry at a point where his troops would have to fight on level ground and under attack from the houses above; where also their large numbers would give them no superiority over the small numbers of the foemen. But, singling out a position which he conceived would give him the advantage, he occupied it and began his advance against the city upon a downward instead of an upward incline.
With regard to what subsequently took place, two possible explanations suggest themselves: either it was miraculous, or it may be maintained that there is no resisting the fury of desperation. Archidamus, advancing at the head of but a hundred men, and crossing the one thing which might have been expected to form an obstacle to the enemy,747 began marching uphill against his antagonists. At this crisis these fire-breathing warriors, these victorious heroes of Leuctra,748 with their superiority at every point, aided, moreover, by the advantage of their position, did not withstand the attack of Archidamus and those with him, but swerved in flight.
The vanguard of Epaminondas’s troops were cut down; when, however, flushed with the glory of their victory, the citizens followed up their pursuit beyond the right point, they in turn were cut down — so plainly was the demarking line of victory drawn by the finger of God. So then Archidamus set up a trophy to note the limit of his success, and gave back those who had there fallen of the enemy under a truce. Epaminondas, on his side, reflecting that the Arcadians must already be hastening to the relief of Lacedaemon, and being unwilling to engage them in conjunction with the whole of the Lacedaemonian force, especially now that the star of Sparta’s fortune shone, whilst theirs had suffered some eclipse, turned and marched back the way he came with all speed possible into Tegea. There he gave his heavy infantry pause and refreshment, but his cavalry he sent on to Mantinea; he begged them to “have courage and hold on,” instructing them that in all likelihood they would find the flocks and herds of the Mantineans and the entire population itself outside their walls, especially as it was the moment for carrying the corn. So they set off.
The Athenian cavalry, started from Eleusis, had made their evening meal at the Isthmus, and passing through Cleonae, as chance befell, had arrived at Mantinea and had encamped within the walls in the houses. As soon as the enemy were seen galloping up with evidently hostile intent, the Mantineans fell to praying the Athenian knights to lend them all the succour they could, and they showed them all their cattle outside, and all their labourers, and among them were many children and graybeards who were free-born citizens. The Athenians were touched by this appeal, and, though they had not yet broken fast, neither the men themselves nor their horses, went out eagerly to the rescue. And here we must needs pause to admire the valour of these men also. The enemy whom they had to cope with far outnumbered them, as was plain to see, and the former misadventure of the cavalry in Corinth was not forgotten.749 But none of these things entered into their calculations now — nor yet the fact that they were on the point of engaging Thebans and Thessalians, the finest cavalry in the world by all repute. The only thing they thought of was the shame and the dishonour, if, being there, they did not lend a helping hand to their allies. In this mood, so soon as they caught sight of the enemy, they fell with a crash upon him in passionate longing to recover the old ancestral glory. Nor did they fight in vain — the blows they struck enabled the Mantineans to recover all their property outside, but among those who dealt them died some brave heroes;750 brave heroes also, it is evident, were those whom they slew, since on either side the weapons wielded were not so short but that they could lunge at one another with effect. The dead bodies of their own men they refused to abandon; and there were some of the enemy’s slain whom they restored to him under a flag of truce.
The thoughts now working in the mind of Epaminondas were such as these: that within a few days he would be forced to retire, as the period of the campaign was drawing to a close; if it ended in his leaving in the lurch those allies whom he came out to assist, they would be besieged by their antagonists. What a blow would that be to his own fair fame, already somewhat tarnished! Had he not been defeated in Lacedaemon, with a large body of heavy infantry, by a handful of men? defeated again at Mantinea, in the cavalry engagement, and himself the main cause finally of a coalition between five great powers — that is to say, the Lacedaemonians, the Arcadians, the Achaeans, the Eleians, and the Athenians? On all grounds it seemed to him impossible to steal past without a battle. And the more so as he computed the alternatives of victory or death. If the former were his fortune, it would resolve all his perplexities; if death, his end would be noble. How glorious a thing to die in the endeavour to leave behind him, as his last legacy to his fatherland, the empire of Peloponnesus! That such thoughts should pass through his brain strikes me as by no means wonderful, as these are thoughts distinctive to all men of high ambition. Far more wonderful to my mind was the pitch of perfection to which he had brought his army. There was no labour which his troops would shrink from, either by night or by day; there was no danger they would flinch from; and, with the scantiest provisions, their discipline never failed them.
And so, when he gave his last orders to them to prepare for impending battle, they obeyed with alacrity. He gave the word; the cavalry fell to whitening their helmets, the heavy infantry of the Arcadians began inscribing their clubs as the crest on their shields,751 as though they were Thebans, and all were engaged in sharpening their lances and swords and polishing their heavy shields. When the preparations were complete and he had led them out, his next movement is worthy of attention. First, as was natural, he paid heed to their formation, and in so doing seemed to give clear evidence that he intended battle; but no sooner was the army drawn up in the formation which he preferred, than he advanced, not by the shortest route to meet the enemy, but towards the westward-lying mountains which face Tegea, and by this movement created in the enemy an expectation that he would not do battle on that day. In keeping with this expectation, as soon as he arrived at the mountain-region, he extended his phalanx in long line and piled arms under the high cliffs; and to all appearance he was there encamping. The effect of this manouvre on the enemy in general was to relax the prepared bent of their souls for battle, and to weaken their tactical arrangements. Presently, however, wheeling his regiments (which were marching in column) to the front, with the effect of strengthening the beak-like752 attack which he proposed to lead himself, at the same instant he gave the order, “Shoulder arms, forward,” and led the way, the troops following.
When the enemy saw them so unexpectedly approaching, not one of them was able to maintain tranquility: some began running to their divisions, some fell into line, some might be seen bitting and bridling their horses, some donning their cuirasses, and one and all were like men about to receive rather than to inflict a blow. He, the while, with steady impetus pushed forward his armament, like a ship-of-war prow forward. Wherever he brought his solid wedge to bear, he meant to cleave through the opposing mass, and crumble his adversary’s host to pieces. With this design he prepared to throw the brunt of the fighting on the strongest half of his army, while he kept the weaker portion of it in the background, knowing certainly that if worsted it would only cause discouragement to his own division and add force to the foe. The cavalry on the side of his opponents were disposed like an ordinary phalanx of heavy infantry, regular in depth and unsupported by foot-soldiers interspersed among the horses.753 Epaminondas again differed in strengthening the attacking point of his cavalry, besides which he interspersed footmen between their lines in the belief that, when he had once cut through the cavalry, he would have wrested victory from the antagonist along his whole line; so hard is it to find troops who will care to keep their own ground when once they see any of their own side flying. Lastly, to prevent any attempt on the part of the Athenians, who were on the enemy’s left wing, to bring up their reliefs in support of the portion next them, he posted bodies of cavalry and heavy infantry on certain hillocks in front of them, intending to create in their minds an apprehension that, in case they offered such assistance, they would be attacked on their own rear by these detachments. Such was the plan of encounter which he formed and executed; nor was he cheated in his hopes. He had so much the mastery at his point of attack that he caused the whole of the enemy’s troops to take flight.
But after he himself had fallen, the rest of the Thebans were not able any longer to turn their victory rightly to account. Though the main battle line of their opponents had given way, not a single man afterwards did the victorious hoplites slay, not an inch forward did they advance from the ground on which the collision took place. Though the cavalry had fled before them, there was no pursuit; not a man, horseman or hoplite, did the conquering cavalry cut down; but, like men who have suffered a defeat, as if panic-stricken754 they slipped back through the ranks of the fleeing foemen. Only the footmen fighting amongst the cavalry and the light infantry, who had together shared in the victory of the cavalry, found their way round to the left wing as masters of the field, but it cost them dear; here they encountered the Athenians, and most of them were cut down.
The effective result of these achievements was the very opposite of that which the world at large anticipated. Here, where well-nigh the whole of Hellas was met together in one field, and the combatants stood rank against rank confronted, there was no one doubted that, in the event of battle, the conquerors would this day rule; and that those who lost would be their subjects. But God so ordered it that both belligerents alike set up trophies as claiming victory, and neither interfered with the other in the act. Both parties alike gave back their enemy’s dead under a truce, and in right of victory; both alike, in symbol of defeat, under a truce took back their dead. And though both claimed to have won the day, neither could show that he had thereby gained any accession of territory, or state, or empire, or was better situated than before the battle. Uncertainty and confusion, indeed, had gained ground, being tenfold greater throughout the length and breadth of Hellas after the battle than before.
At this point I lay aside my pen: the sequel of the story may haply commend itself755 to another.
740 For a treaty of alliance between Athens, the Arkadians, Achaeans, Eleians, and Phliasians, immediately before Mantinea, B.C. 362, epi Molonos arkhontos, see Hicks, 94; Kohler, “C. I. A.” ii. p. 405. It is preserved on a stele (“broken at bottom; but the top is surmounted by a relief representing Zeus enthroned, with a thunderbolt; a female figure [= the Summakhia?] approaches lifting her veil, while Athena stands by”) now standing among the sculptures from the Asklepieion on the Acropolis at Athens. See Milchhofer, p. 47, no. 7, “Die Museum,” Athens, 1881. For the date, see Demosth. “c. Polycl.” 1207.
741 For Alexander of Pherae, see above, VI. iv. 34. In B.C. 363 the Thebans had sent an army under Pelopidas into Thessaly to assist their allies among the Thessalians with the Phthiot Achaeans and the Magnetes against Alexander. At Kynos Kephelae Alexander was defeated, but Pelopidas was slain (see Grote, “H. G.” x. 420 foll.). “His death, as it brought grief, so likewise it produced advantage to the allies; for the Thebans, as soon as they heard of his fall, delayed not their revenge, but presently sent seven thousand foot and seven hundred horse, under the command of Malcitas and Diogiton. And they, finding Alexander weak and without forces, compelled him to restore the cities he had taken, to withdraw his garrisons from the Magnesians and Achaeans of Phthiotos and swear to assist the Thebans against whatsoever enemies they should require.”— Plut. “Pelop.” 35 (Clough, ii. 236).
742 Or, “dull obscurity in place of renown.”
743 Pellene (or Pellana), a town of Laconia on the Eurotas, and on the road from Sparta to Arcadia; in fact the frontier fortress on the Eurotas, as Sellasia on the Oenus; “Dict. of Anct. Geog.” s.v.; see Paus. iii. 20, S. 2; Strab. viii. 386; Polyb. iv. 81, xvi. 37; Plut. “Agis,” 8; Leake, “Morea,” iii. 14 foll.
744 Cf. “Hipparch.” iv. 9.
745 Lit. “lochi.” See above, VII. iv. 20; “Pol. Lac.” xi. 4.
746 Grote (“H. G.” x. 455) says: “Though he crossed the Eurotas and actually entered into the city of Sparta,” as the words epei de egeneto en te polei ton Spartiaton certainly seem to me to imply. Others interpret “in the close neighbourhood of.”
747 Or, “to serve as his defence”; or, “the one obstacle to his progress,” i.e. Archidamus’s. It was a miraculous thing that the Thebans did not stop him.
748 See Mahaffy, “Hist. Gk. Lit.” vol. ii. p. 268, 1st ed. See above, “Hell.” VI. iv. 24; Diod. xv. 39, 56.
749 Or, “and in Corinth an untoward incident had been experienced by the cavalry.” See Grote, “H. G.” x. 458, note 2. Possibly in reference to “Hell.” VI. v. 51, 52.
750 Probably Xenophon’s own son Gryllus was among them.
751 Grote (“H. G.” x. 463) has another interpretation.
752 Or, “the wedge-like attack of his own division”; see Grote, “H. G.” x. 469 foll. I do not, however, think that the attacking column was actually wedge-shaped like the “acies cuneata” of the Romans. It was the unusual depth of the column which gave it the force of an ironclad’s ram. Cf. “Cyrop.” II. iv. for eis metopon.
753 See Rustow and Kochly, p. 176; and for the amippoi Harpocration, s.v.; Pollus, i. 131; “Hipparch.” v. 13; Thuc. v. 58; Herod. vii. 158; Caes. “B. G.” i. 48; “B. Civ.” iii. 84.
754 Or, “they timorously slipped back.”
755 Or, “win the attention of some other writer.”
This web edition published by:
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:15