The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of Greece, Volume 10 (of 12)

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Title: History of Greece, Volume 10 (of 12)

Author: George Grote

Release date: February 11, 2016 [eBook #51183]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Adrian Mastronardi, Ramon Pajares Box and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
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Transcriber's note

Table of Contents

Book cover






[p. iii]


The present Volume is already extended to an unusual number of pages; yet I have been compelled to close it at an inconvenient moment, midway in the reign of the Syracusan despot Dionysius. To carry that reign to its close, one more chapter will be required, which must be reserved for the succeeding volume.

The history of the Sicilian and Italian Greeks, forming as it does a stream essentially distinct from that of the Peloponnesians, Athenians, etc., is peculiarly interesting during the interval between 409 B.C. (the date of the second Carthaginian invasion) and the death of Timoleon in 336 B.C. It is, moreover, reported to us by authors (Diodorus and Plutarch), who, though not themselves very judicious as selectors, had before them good contemporary witnesses. And it includes some of the most prominent and impressive characters of the Hellenic world,—Dionysius I., Dion with Plato as instructor, and Timoleon.

[p. iv]

I thought it indispensable to give adequate development to this important period of Grecian history, even at the cost of that inconvenient break which terminates my tenth volume. At one time I had hoped to comprise in that volume not only the full history of Dionysius I., but also that of Dionysius II. and Dion—and that of Timoleon besides. Three new chapters, including all this additional matter, are already composed and ready. But the bulk of the present volume compels me to reserve them for the commencement of my next, which will carry Grecian history down to the battle of Chæroneia and the death of Philip of Macedon—and which will, I trust, appear without any long interval of time.

G. G.

London, Feb. 15, 1852.

[p. v]






Peace or convention of Antalkidas. Its import and character. Separate partnership between Sparta and Persia. — Degradation in the form of the convention — an edict drawn up, issued, and enforced, by Persia upon Greece. — Gradual loss of Pan-hellenic dignity, and increased submission towards Persia as a means of purchasing Persian help — on the part of Sparta. — Her first application before the Peloponnesian war; subsequent applications. — Active partnership between Sparta and Persia against Athens, after the Athenian catastrophe at Syracuse. Athens is ready to follow her example. — The Persian force aids Athens against Sparta, and breaks up her maritime empire. — No excuse for the subservience of Sparta to the Persians. Evidence that Hellenic independence was not destined to last much longer. — Promise of universal autonomy — popular to the Grecian ear — how carried out. — The Spartans never intended to grant, nor ever really granted, general autonomy. — Immediate point made against Corinth and Thebes — isolation of Athens. — Persian affairs — unavailing efforts of the Great King to reconquer Egypt. — Evagoras, despot of Salamis in Cyprus. — Descent of Evagoras — condition of the island of Cyprus. — Greek princes of Salamis are dispossessed by a Phœnician dynasty. — Evagoras dethrones the Phœnician, and becomes despot of Salamis. — Able and beneficent government of Evagoras. — His anxiety to revive Hellenism in Cyprus — he looks to the aid of Athens. — Relations of Evagoras with Athens during the closing years of the Peloponnesian war. — Evagoras at war with the Persians — he receives aid both from Athens and from Egypt — he is at first very successful, so as even to capture Tyre. — Struggle of Evagoras against the whole force of the Persian empire after the peace of Antalkidas. — Evagoras, after a ten years’ war, is reduced, but obtains an honorable peace, mainly owing to the dispute between the two satraps jointly commanding. — Assassination of Evagoras, as well as of his son Pnytagoras, by an eunuch slave of Nikokreon. — Nikoklês, son of Evagoras, becomes despot of Salamis. Great power gained by Sparta through the peace of Antalkidas. She becomes practically mistress of Corinth, and the Corinthian isthmus. Miso-Theban tendencies of Sparta — especially of Agesilaus. — The Spartans restore Platæa. Former conduct of Sparta towards Platæa. — Motives of Sparta in restoring Platæa. A politic step, as likely to sever Thebes from Athens. — Platæa becomes a dependency and outpost of Sparta. Main object of Sparta to prevent the reconstitution of the Bœotiad federation — Spartan policy at this time directed by the partisan spirit of[p. vi] Agesilaus, opposed by his colleague Agesipolis. — Oppressive behavior of the Spartans towards Mantinea. They require the walls of the city to be demolished. — Agesipolis blockades the city, and forces it to surrender, by damming up the river Ophis. The Mantineans are forced to break up their city into villages. — Democratical leaders of Mantinea — owed their lives to the mediation of the exiled king Pausanias. — Mantinea is pulled down and distributed into five villages. — High-handed despotism of Sparta towards Mantinea — signal partiality of Xenophon. Return of the philo-Laconian exiles in the various cities, as partisans for the purposes of Sparta — case of Phlius. — Competition of Athens with Sparta for ascendency at sea. Athens gains ground, and gets together some rudiments of a maritime confederacy. — Ideas entertained by some of the Spartan leaders, of acting against the Persians for the rescue of the Asiatic Greeks. — Panegyrical Discourse of Isokrates. — State of Macedonia and Chalkidikê — growth of Macedonian power during the last years of the Peloponnesian war. — Perdikkas and Archelaus — energy and ability of the latter. — Contrast of Macedonia and Athens. — Succeeding Macedonian kings — Orestes, Æropus, Pausanias, Amyntas. Assassination frequent. — Amyntas is expelled from Macedonia by the Illyrians. — Chalkidians of Olynthus — they take into their protection the Macedonian cities on the coast, when Amyntas runs away before the Illyrians. Commencement of the Olynthian confederacy. — Equal and liberal principles on which the confederacy was framed from the beginning. Accepted willingly by the Macedonian and Greco-Macedonian cities. — The Olynthians extend their confederacy among the Grecian cities in Chalkidic Thrace — their liberal procedure — several cities join. — Akanthus and Apollonia resist the proposition. Olynthus menaces. They then solicit Spartan intervention against her. — Speech of Kleigenes the Akanthian envoy at Sparta. — Envoys from Amyntas at Sparta. — The Spartan Eudamidas is sent against Olynthus at once, with such force as could be got ready. He checks the career of the Olynthians. — Phœbidas, brother of Eudamidas, remains behind to collect fresh force, and march to join his brother in Thrace. He passes through the Theban territory and near Thebes. — Conspiracy of Leontiades and the philo-Laconian party in Thebes, to betray the town and citadel to Phœbidas. — The opposing leaders — Leontiades and Ismenias — were both Polemarchs. — Leontiades overawes the Senate, and arrests Ismenias: Pelopidas and the leading friends of Ismenias go into exile. — Phœbidas in the Kadmeia — terror and submission at Thebes. — Mixed feelings at Sparta — great importance of the acquisition to Spartan interests. — Displeasure at Sparta more pretended than real, against Phœbidas; Agesilaus defends him. — Leontiades at Sparta — his humble protestations and assurances — the ephors decide that they will retain the Kadmeia, but at the same time fine Phœbidas. — The Lacedæmonians cause Ismenias to be tried and put to death. Iniquity of this proceeding. — Vigorous action of the Spartans against Olynthus — Teleutias is sent there with a large force, including a considerable Theban contingent. Derdas coöperates with him. — Teleutias being at first successful, and having become over-confident, sustains a terrible defeat from the Olynthians under the walls of their city. — Agesipolis is sent to Olynthus from Sparta with a reinforcement. He dies of a fever. — Polybiades succeeds Agesipolis as commander — he reduces Olynthus to submission — extinction of the Olynthian federation. Olynthus and the other cities are enrolled as allies of Sparta. — Intervention of Sparta with the government of Phlius. — Agesilaus marches an army against Phlius — reduces the town by blockade, after a long resistance. The Lacedæmonians occupy [p. vii]the acropolis, naming a council of one hundred as governors.




Great ascendency of Sparta on land in 379 B.C. — Sparta is now feared as the great despot of Greece. — Strong complaint of the rhetor Lysias, expressed at the Olympic festival of 384 B.C. — Panegyrical oration of Isokrates. — Censure upon Sparta pronounced by the philo-Laconian Xenophon. — His manner of marking the point of transition in his history — from Spartan glory to Spartan disgrace. — Thebes under Leontiades and the philo-Spartan oligarchy, with the Spartan garrison in the Kadmeia — oppressive and tyrannical government. — Discontent at Thebes, though under compression. Theban exiles at Athens. — The Theban exiles at Athens, after waiting some time in hopes of a rising at Thebes, resolve to begin a movement themselves. — Pelopidas takes the lead — he, with Mellon and five other exiles, undertakes the task of destroying the rulers of Thebes. Coöperation of Phyllidas the secretary, and Charon at Thebes. — Plans of Phyllidas for admitting the conspirators into Thebes and the government-house — he invites the polemarchs to a banquet. — The scheme very nearly frustrated — accident which prevented Chlidon from delivering his message. — Pelopidas and Mellon get secretly into Thebes, and conceal themselves in the house of Charon. — Leontiades and Hypates are slain in their houses. — Phyllidas opens the prison, and sets free the prisoners. Epaminondas and many other citizens appear in arms. — Universal joy among the citizens on the ensuing morning, when the event was known. General assembly in the market-place — Pelopidas, Mellon, and Charon are named the first Bœotarchs. — Aid to the conspirators from private sympathizers in Attica. — Pelopidas and the Thebans prepare to storm the Kadmeia — the Lacedæmonian garrison capitulate and are dismissed — several of the oligarchical Thebans are put to death in trying to go away along with them. The harmost who surrendered the Kadmeia is put to death by the Spartans. — Powerful sensation produced by this incident throughout the Grecian world. — Indignation in Sparta at the revolution of Thebes — a Spartan army sent forth at once under king Kleombrotus. He retires from Bœotia without achieving anything. — Kleombrotus passes by the Athenian frontier — alarm at Athens — condemnation of the two Athenian generals who had favored the enterprise of Pelopidas. — Attempt of Sphodrias from Thespiæ to surprise the Peiræus by a night-march. He fails. — Different constructions put upon this attempt and upon the character of Sphodrias. — The Lacedæmonian envoys at Athens seized, but dismissed. — Trial of Sphodrias at Sparta; acquitted through the private favor and sympathies of Agesilaus. — Comparison of Spartan with Athenian procedure. — The Athenians declare war against Sparta, and contract alliance with Thebes. — Exertions of Athens to form a new maritime confederacy, like the Confederacy of Delos. Thebes enrolls herself as a member. — Athens sends round envoys to the islands in the Ægean. Liberal principles on which the new confederacy is formed. — Envoys sent round by Athens — Chabrias, Timotheus, Kallistratus. — Service of Iphikrates in Thrace after the peace of Antalkidas. He marries the daughter of the Thracian prince Kotys, and acquires possession of a Thracian seaport, Drys. — Timotheus and Kallistratus. — Synod of the new confederates assembled at Athens — votes for war on a large scale. — Members of the confederacy were at first willing and harmonious — a fleet is equipped. — New property-tax imposed at Athens. The Solonian[p. viii] census. — The Solonian census retained in the main, though with modifications, at the restoration under the archonship of Eukleides in 403 B.C. — Archonship of Nausinikus in 378 B.C. — New census and schedule then introduced, of all citizens worth twenty minæ and upwards, distributed into classes, and entered for a fraction of their total property; each class for a different fraction. — All metics, worth more than twenty-five minæ, were registered in the schedule; all in one class, each man for one-sixth of his property. Aggregate schedule. — The Symmories — containing the twelve hundred wealthiest citizens — the three hundred wealthiest leaders of the Symmories. — Citizens not wealthy enough to be included in the Symmories, yet still entered in the schedule, and liable to property-tax. Purpose of the Symmories — extension of the principle to the trierarchy. — Enthusiasm at Thebes in defence of the new government and against Sparta. Military training — the Sacred Band. — Epaminondas. — His previous character and training — musical and intellectual, as well as gymnastic. Conversation with philosophers, Sokratic as well as Pythagorean. — His eloquence — his unambitious disposition — gentleness of his political resentments. — Conduct of Epaminondas at the Theban revolution of 379 B.C. — he acquires influence, through Pelopidas, in the military organization of the city. — Agesilaus marches to attack Thebes with the full force of the Spartan confederacy — good system of defence adopted by Thebes — aid from Athens under Chabrias. Increase of the Theban strength in Bœotia, against the philo-Spartan oligarchies in the Bœotian cities. — Second expedition of Agesilaus into Bœotia — he gains no decisive advantage. The Thebans acquire greater and greater strength. Agesilaus retires — he is disabled by a hurt in the leg. — Kleombrotus conducts the Spartan force to invade Bœotia. — He retires without reaching Bœotia. — Resolution of Sparta to equip a large fleet, under the admiral Pollis. The Athenians send out a fleet under Chabrias — Victory of Chabrias at sea near Naxos. Recollections of the battle of Arginusæ. — Extension of the Athenian maritime confederacy, in consequence of the victory at Naxos. — Circumnavigation of Peloponnesus by Timotheus with an Athenian fleet — his victory over the Lacedæmonian fleet — his success in extending the Athenian confederacy — his just dealing. — Financial difficulties of Athens. — She becomes jealous of the growing strength of Thebes — steady and victorious progress of Thebes in Bœotia. — Victory of Pelopidas at Tegyra over the Lacedæmonians. — The Thebans expel the Lacedæmonians out of all Bœotia, except Orchomenus — they reorganize the Bœotian federation. — They invade Phokis — Kleombrotus is sent thither with an army for defence — Athens makes a separate peace with the Lacedæmonians. — Jason of Pheræ — his energetic character and formidable power. — His prudent dealing with Polydamas. — The Lacedæmonians find themselves unable to spare any aid for Thessaly — they dismiss Polydamas with a refusal. He comes to terms with Jason, who becomes Tagus of Thessaly. — Peace between Athens and Sparta — broken off almost immediately. The Lacedæmonians declare war again, and resume their plans upon Zakynthus and Korkyra. — Lacedæmonian armament under Mnasippus, collected from all the confederates, invades Korkyra. — Mnasippus besieges the city — high cultivation of the adjoining lands. — The Korkyræans blocked up in the city — supplies intercepted — want begins — no hope of safety except in aid from Athens. Reinforcement arrives from Athens — large Athenian fleet preparing under Timotheus. Mnasippus is defeated and slain — the city supplied with provisions. — Approach of the Athenian reinforcement — Hypermenês, successor of Mnasippus, conveys away the armament, leaving his sick and much property behind. — Tardy arrival of the Athenian fleet — it is commanded[p. ix] not by Timotheus, but by Iphikrates — causes of the delay — preliminary voyage of Timotheus, very long protracted. — Discontent at Athens, in consequence of the absence of Timotheus — distress of the armament assembled at Kalauria — Iphikrates and Kallistratus accuse Timotheus. Iphikrates named admiral in his place. — Return of Timotheus — an accusation is entered against him, but trial is postponed until the return of Iphikrates from Korkyra. — Rapid and energetic movements of Iphikrates towards Korkyra — his excellent management of the voyage. On reaching Kephallenia, he learns the flight of the Lacedæmonians from Korkyra. — He goes on to Korkyra, and captures by surprise the ten Syracusan triremes sent by Dionysius to the aid of Sparta. — Iphikrates in want of money — he sends home Kallistratus to Athens — he finds work for his seamen at Korkyra — he obtains funds by service in Akarnania. — Favorable tone of public opinion at Athens, in consequence of the success at Korkyra — the trial of Timotheus went off easily — Jason and Alketas come to support him — his quæstor is condemned to death. — Timotheus had been guilty of delay, not justifiable under the circumstances — though acquitted, his reputation suffered — he accepts command under Persia. — Discouragement of Sparta in consequence of her defeat at Korkyra, and of the triumphant position of Iphikrates. — Helikê and Bura are destroyed by an earthquake. — The Spartans again send Antalkidas to Persia, to sue for a fresh intervention — the Persian satraps send down an order that the Grecian belligerents shall make up their differences. — Athens disposed towards peace. — Athens had ceased to be afraid of Sparta, and had become again jealous of Thebes. — Equivocal position of the restored Platæa now that the Lacedæmonians had been expelled from Bœotia. — The Thebans forestall a negotiation by seizing Platæa, and expelling the inhabitants, who again take refuge at Athens. — Strong feeling excited in Athens against the Thebans, on account of their dealings with Platæa and Thespiæ. The Plataic discourse of Isokrates. — Increased tendency of the Athenians towards peace with Sparta — Athens and the Athenian confederacy give notice to Thebes. General congress for peace at Sparta. — Speeches of the Athenian envoys Kallias, Autokles, Kallistratus. — Kallistratus and his policy. — He proposes that Sparta and Athens shall divide between them the headship of Greece — Sparta on land, Athens at sea — recognizing general autonomy. — Peace is concluded. Autonomy of each city to be recognized: Sparta to withdraw her harmosts and garrisons. — Oaths exchanged. Sparta takes the oath for herself and her allies. Athens takes it for herself: her allies take it after her, successively. — The oath proposed to the Thebans. Epaminondas, the Theban envoy, insists upon taking the oath in the name of the Bœotian federation. Agesilaus and the Spartans require that he shall take it for Thebes alone. — Daring and emphatic speeches delivered by Epaminondas in the congress — protesting against the overweening pretensions of Sparta. He claims recognition of the ancient institutions of Bœotia, with Thebes as president of the federation. — Indignation of the Spartans, and especially of Agesilaus — brief questions exchanged — Thebes is excluded from the treaty. — General peace sworn, including Athens, Sparta, and the rest — Thebes alone is excluded. — Terms of peace — compulsory and indefeasible confederacies are renounced — voluntary alliances alone maintained. — Real point in debate [p. x]between Agesilaus and Epaminondas.




Measures for executing the stipulations made at the congress of Sparta. — Violent impulse of the Spartans against Thebes. — King Kleombrotus is ordered to march into Bœotia, and encamps at Leuktra. — New order of battle adopted by Epaminondas. — Confidence of the Spartans and of Kleombrotus. — Battle of Leuktra. — Defeat of the Spartans and death of Kleombrotus. — Faint adherence of the Spartan allies. — Spartan camp after the defeat — confession of defeat by sending to solicit the burial-truce. — Great surprise, and immense alteration of feeling, produced throughout Greece by the Theban victory. — Effect of the news at Sparta — heroic self-command. — Reinforcements sent from Sparta. — Proceedings in Bœotia after the battle of Leuktra. The Theban victory not well received at Athens. — Jason of Pheræ arrives at Leuktra — the Spartan army retires from Bœotia under capitulation. — Treatment of the defeated citizens on reaching Sparta — suspension of the law. — Lowered estimation of Sparta in Greece — prestige of military superiority lost. — Extension of the power of Thebes. Treatment of Orchomenus and Thespiæ. — Power and ambition of Jason. — Plans of Jason — Pythian festival. — Assassination of Jason at Pheræ. — Relief to Thebes by the death of Jason — satisfaction in Greece. — Proceedings in Peloponnesus after the defeat of Leuktra. Expulsion of the Spartan harmosts and dekarchies. — Skytalism at Argos — violent intestine feud. — Discouragement and helplessness of Sparta. — Athens places herself at the head of a new Peloponnesian land-confederacy. — Accusation preferred in the Amphyctionic assembly, by Thebes against Sparta. — The Spartans are condemned to a fine — importance of this fact as an indication. — Proceedings in Arcadia. — Reëstablishment of the city of Mantinea by its own citizens. — Humiliating refusal experienced by Agesilaus from the Mantineans — keenly painful to a Spartan. — Feeling against Agesilaus at Sparta. — Impulse among the Arcadians towards Pan-Arcadian union. Opposition from Orchomenus and Tegea. — Revolution at Tegea — the philo-Spartan party are put down or expelled. — Tegea becomes anti-Spartan, and favorable to the Pan-Arcadian union. — Pan-Arcadian union is formed. — March of Agesilaus against Mantinea. Evidence of lowered sentiment in Sparta. — Application by the Arcadians to Athens for aid against Sparta; it is refused: they then apply to the Thebans. — Proceedings and views of Epaminondas since the battle of Leuktra. — Plans of Epaminondas for restoring the Messenians in Peloponnesus. — Also, for consolidating the Arcadians against Sparta. — Epaminondas and the Theban army arrive in Arcadia. Great allied force assembled there. The allies entreat him to invade Laconia. — Reluctance of Epaminondas to invade Laconia — reasonable grounds for it. — He marches into Laconia — four lines of invasion. — He crosses the Eurotas and approaches close to Sparta. — Alarm at Sparta — arrival of various allies to her aid by sea. — Discontent in Laconia among the Periœki and Helots — danger to Sparta from that cause. — Vigilant defence of Sparta by Agesilaus. — Violent emotion of the Spartans, especially the women. Partial attack upon Sparta by Epaminondas. — He retires without attempting to storm Sparta: ravages Laconia down to Gythium. He returns into Arcadia. — Great effect of this invasion upon Grecian opinion — Epaminondas is exalted, and Sparta farther lowered. — Foundation of the Arcadian Megalopolis. — Foundation of Messênê. — Abstraction of Western Laconia from Sparta. — Periœki and Helots established as freemen along with the Messenians on the Lacedæmonian border. — The details of this reorganiz[p. xi]ing process unhappily unknown. — Megalopolis — the Pan-Arcadian Ten Thousand. — Epaminondas and his army evacuate Peloponnesus. — The Spartans solicit aid from Athens — language of their envoys, as well as those from Corinth and Phlius, at Athens. — Reception of the envoys — the Athenians grant the prayer. — Vote passed to aid Sparta — Iphikrates is named general. — March of Iphikrates and his army to the Isthmus. — Trial of Epaminondas at Thebes for retaining his command beyond the legal time — his honorable and easy acquittal.




Changes in Peloponnesus since the battle of Leuktra. — Changes out of Peloponnesus. — Amyntas prince of Macedonia. — Ambitious views of Athens after the battle of Leuktra. — Her aspirations to maritime empire, and to the partial recovery of kleruchies. — She wishes to recover Amphipolis — Amyntas recognizes her right to the place. — Athens and Amphipolis. — Death of Jason and Amyntas — state of Thessaly and Macedonia. — Alexander of Pheræ — he is opposed by Pelopidas — influence of Thebes in Thessaly. — State of Macedonia — Alexander son of Amyntas — Euridikê — Ptolemy. — Assistance rendered by the Athenian Iphikrates to the family of Amyntas. — Iphikrates and Timotheus. — The Spartan allied army defends the line of Mount Oneium — Epaminondas breaks through it, and marches into Peloponnesus. — Sikyon joins the Thebans — Phlius remains faithful to Sparta. — Reinforcement from Syracuse to Peloponnesus, in aid of Sparta. — Forbearance and mildness of Epaminondas. — Energetic action and insolence of the Arcadians — Lykomedes animates and leads them on. — Great influence of Lykomedes. — Elis tries to recover her supremacy over the Triphylian towns, which are admitted into the Arcadian union, to the great offence of Elis. — Mission of Philiskus to Greece by Ariobarzanes. — Political importance of the reconstitution of Messênê, which now becomes the great subject of discord. Messenian victor proclaimed at Olympia. — Expedition of Pelopidas into Thessaly. — The Tearless Battle — victory of the Spartan Archidamus over the Arcadians. — Third expedition of Epaminondas into Peloponnesus — his treatment of the Achæan cities. — The Thebans reverse the policy of Epaminondas, on complaint of the Arcadians and others. They do not reëlect him Bœotarch. — Disturbed state of Sikyon. Euphron makes himself despot — his rapacious and sanguinary conduct. — Sufferings of the Phliasians — their steady adherence to Sparta. — Assistance rendered to Phlius by the Athenian Chares — surprise of the fort of Thyamia. — Euphron is expelled from Sikyon by the Arcadians and Thebans — he retires to the harbor, which he surrenders to the Spartans. — Euphron returns to Sikyon — he goes to Thebes, and is there assassinated. — The assassins are put upon their trial at Thebes — their defence. — They are acquitted by the Theban Senate. — Sentiment among the Many of Sikyon, favorable to Euphron — honors shown to his body and memory. — The Sikyonians recapture their harbor from the Spartans. — Application of Thebes for Persian countenance to her headship — mission of Pelopidas and other envoys to Susa. — Pelopidas obtains from Persia a favorable rescript. — Protest of the Athenians and Arcadians against the rescript. — Pelopidas brings back the rescript. It is read publicly before the Greek states convoked at Thebes. — The states convoked at Thebes refuse to receive the rescript. The Arcadian deputies protest against the headship of Thebes. — The Thebans send the re[p. xii]script to be received at Corinth; the Corinthians refuse: failure of the Theban object. — Mission of Pelopidas to Thessaly. He is seized and detained prisoner by Alexander of Pheræ. — The Thebans despatch an army to rescue Pelopidas. The army, defeated and retreating, is only saved by Epaminondas, then a private man. — Triumph of Alexander in Thessaly and discredit of Thebes. Harsh treatment of Pelopidas. — Second Theban army sent into Thessaly, under Epaminondas, for the rescue of Pelopidas, who is at length released by Alexander under a truce. — Oropus is taken from Athens and placed in the hands of the Thebans. The Athenians recall Chares from Corinth. — Athens discontented with her Peloponnesian allies; she enters into alliance with Lykomedes and the Arcadians. Death of Lykomedes. — Epaminondas is sent as envoy into Arcadia; he speaks against Kallistratus. — Project of the Athenians to seize Corinth; they are disappointed. — They apply to Sparta. — Refusal of the Spartans to acknowledge the independence of Messênê; they reproach their allies with consenting. — Corinth, Epidaurus, Phlius, etc., conclude peace with Thebes, but without Sparta — recognizing the independence of Messênê. — Athens sends a fresh embassy to the Persian king — altered rescript from him, pronouncing Amphipolis to be an Athenian possession. — Timotheus sent with a fleet to Asia — Agesilaus — revolt of Ariobarzanes. — Conquest of Samos by Timotheus. — Partial readmission to the Chersonese obtained by Timotheus. — Athenian kleruchs or settlers sent thither as proprietors. — Difficulties of Athens in establishing kleruchs in the Chersonese. — Kotys of Thrace. — Timotheus supersedes Iphikrates. — Timotheus acts with success on the coast of Macedonia and Chalkidikê. He fails at Amphipolis. — Timotheus acts against Kotys and near the Chersonese. — Measures of the Thebans in Thessaly — Pelopidas is sent with an army against Alexander of Pheræ. — Epaminondas exhorts the Thebans to equip a fleet against Athens. — Discussion between him and Menekleidas in the Theban assembly. — Menekleidas seemingly right in dissuading naval preparations. — Epaminondas in command of a Theban fleet in the Hellespont and Bosphorus. Pelopidas attacks Alexander of Pheræ — his success in battle — his rashness — he is slain. — Excessive grief of the Thebans and Thessalians for his death. — The Thebans completely subdue Alexander of Pheræ.




Conspiracy of the knights of Orchomenus against Thebes — destruction of Orchomenus by the Thebans. — Repugnance excited against the Thebans — regret and displeasure of Epaminondas. — Return of Epaminondas from his cruise — renewed complications in Peloponnesus. — State of Peloponnesus — Eleians and Achæans in alliance with Sparta. — The Eleians aim at recovering Triphylia — the Spartans, at recovering Messênê. — War between the Eleians and Arcadians; the latter occupy Olympia. — Second invasion of Elis by the Arcadians. Distress of the Eleians. Archidamus and the Spartans invade Arcadia. — Archidamus establishes a Spartan garrison at Kromnus. The Arcadians gain advantages over him — armistice. — The Arcadians blockade Kromnus, and capture the Spartan garrison. — The Arcadians celebrate the Olympic festival along with the Pisatans — excluding the Eleians. — The Eleians invade the festival by arms — conflict on the plain of Olympia — bravery of the Eleians. — Feelings of the spectators at Olympia. — The Arcadians take the treasures of Olympia to pay their militia. — Violent dissensions arising among the members of the Arcadian communion, in[p. xiii] consequence of this appropriation. The Arcadian assembly pronounces against it. — Farther dissensions in Arcadia — invitation sent to the Thebans — peace concluded with Elis. — The peace generally popular — celebrated at Tegea — seizure of many oligarchical members at Tegea by the Theban harmost. — Conduct of the Theban harmost. — View taken by Epaminondas. — His view is more consistent with the facts recounted by Xenophon, than the view of Xenophon himself. — Policy of Epaminondas and the Thebans. — Epaminondas marches with a Theban army into Peloponnesus, to muster at Tegea. — Agesilaus and the Spartans are sent for. — Night-march of Epaminondas to surprise Sparta. Agesilaus is informed in time to prevent surprise. — Epaminondas comes up to Sparta, but finds it defended. — He marches back to Tegea — despatches his cavalry from thence to surprise Mantinea. — The surprise is baffled, by the accidental arrival of the Athenian cavalry — battle of cavalry near Mantinea, in which the Athenians have the advantage. — Epaminondas resolves to attack the enemy near Mantinea. — View of Xenophon — that this resolution was forced upon him by despair — examined. — Alacrity of the army of Epaminondas, when the order for fighting is given. — Mantinico-Tegeatic plain — position of the Lacedæmonians and Mantineans. — March of Epaminondas from Tegea. — False impression produced upon the enemy by his manœuvres. — Theban order of battle — plans of the commander. — Disposition of the cavalry on both sides. — Unprepared state of the Lacedæmonian army. — Battle of Mantinea — complete success of the dispositions of Epaminondas. — Victory of the Thebans — Epaminondas is mortally wounded. — Extreme discouragement caused by his death among the troops, even when in full victory and pursuit. — Victory claimed by both sides — nevertheless the Lacedæmonians are obliged to solicit the burial-truce. — Dying moments of Epaminondas. — The two other best Theban officers are slain also in the battle. — Who slew Epaminondas? Different persons honored for it. — Peace concluded — statu quo recognized, including the independence of Messênê — Sparta alone stands out — the Thebans return home. — Results of the battle of Mantinea, as appreciated by Xenophon — unfair to the Thebans. — Character of Epaminondas. — Disputes among the inhabitants of Megalopolis. The Thebans send thither a force under Pammenes, which maintains the incorporation. — Agesilaus and Archidamus. — State of Persia — revolted satraps and provinces — Datames. — Formidable revolt of the satraps in Asia Minor — it is suppressed by the Persian court, through treachery. — Agesilaus goes as commander to Egypt — Chabrias is there also. — Death and character of Agesilaus. — State of Egypt and Persia. — Death of Artaxerxes Mnemon. Murders in the royal family. — Athenian maritime operations — Timotheus makes war against Amphipolis and against Kotys. — Ergophilus succeeds Timotheus at the Chersonese — Kallisthenes succeeds him against Amphipolis — war at sea against Alexander of Pheræ. — Ergophilus and Kallisthenes both unsuccessful — both tried. — Autokles in the Hellespont and Bosphorus — convoy for the corn-ships out of the Euxine. — Miltokythes revolts from Kotys in Thrace — ill-success of the Athenians. — Menon — Timomachus — as commanders in the Chersonese. The Athenians lose Sestos. — Kephisodotus in the Chersonese. Charidemus crosses thither from Abydos. — Assassination of Kotys. — Kersobleptes succeeds Kotys. Berisades and Amadokus, his rivals — ill-success of Athens — Kephisodotus. — Improved prospects of Athens in the Chersonese — Athenodorus — Charidemus. — Charidemus is forced to accept the convention of Athenodorus — his evasions — the Chersonese with Sestos is restored to Athens. — The transmarine empire of Athens now at its maximum. Mischievous effects of her conquests[p. xiv] made against Olynthus. — Maximum of second Athenian empire — accession of Philip of Macedon.




Syracuse after the destruction of the Athenian armament. — Anticipation of the impending ruin of Athens — revolution at Thurii. — Syracusan squadron under Hermokrates goes to act against Athens in the Ægean. — Disappointed hopes — defeat at Kynossema — second ruinous defeat at Kyzikus. — Sufferings of the Syracusan seamen — disappointment and displeasure at Syracuse. — Banishment of Hermokrates and his colleagues. Sentence communicated by Hermokrates to the armament. — Internal state of Syracuse — constitution of Diokles. — Difficulty of determining what that constitution was. — Invasion from Carthage. — State of the Carthaginians. — Extent of Carthaginian empire — power, and population — Liby-Phœnicians. — Harsh dealing of Carthage towards her subjects. Colonies sent out from Carthage. — Military force of Carthage. — Political constitution of Carthage. — Oligarchical system and sentiment at Carthage. — Powerful families at Carthage — Mago, Hamilkar, Hasdrubal. — Quarrel between Egesta and Selinus in Sicily. — Application of Egesta to Carthage for aid — application granted — eagerness of Hannibal. — Carthaginian envoys sent to Sicily. — Hannibal crosses over to Sicily with a very large armament. He lays siege to Selinus. — Vigorous assault on Selinus — gallant resistance — the town is at length stormed. — Selinus is sacked and plundered — merciless slaughter. — Delay of the Syracusans and others in sending aid. Answer of Hannibal to their embassy. — Hannibal marches to Himera and besieges it. Aid from Syracuse under Diokles — sally from Himera. Hannibal destroys Himera, and slaughters three thousand prisoners, as an expiation to the memory of his grandfather. — Alarm throughout the Greeks of Sicily — Hannibal dismisses his army, and returns to Carthage. — New intestine discord in Syracuse — Hermokrates comes to Sicily. — He levies troops to effect his return by force. — He is obliged to retire — he establishes himself in the ruins of Selinus, and acts against the Carthaginians. — His father attempts to reënter Syracuse, with the bones of the Syracusans slain near Himera. Banishment of Diokles. — Hermokrates tries again to penetrate into Syracuse with an armed force. — He is defeated and slain. — First appearance of Dionysius at Syracuse. — Weakness of Syracuse, arising out of this political discord — party of Hermokrates. Danger from Carthage. — Fresh invasion of Sicily, by the Carthaginians. Immense host under Hannibal and Imilkon. — Great alarm in Sicily — active preparations for defence at Agrigentum. — Grandeur, wealth, and population of Agrigentum. — The Carthaginians attack Agrigentum. They demolish the tombs near its walls. Distemper among their army. Religious terrors — sacrifice. — Syracusan reinforcement to Agrigentum, under Daphnæus. His victory over the Iberians. He declines to pursue them. — Daphnæus enters Agrigentum. Discontent against the Agrigentine generals, for having been backward in attack. They are put to death. — Privations in both armies — Hamilkar captures the provision-ships of the Syracusans — Agrigentum is evacuated. — Agrigentum taken and plundered by the Carthagians. — Terror throughout Sicily. — Bitter complaints against the Syracusan generals. — The Hermokratean party at Syracuse comes forward to subvert the government and elevate Dionysius. — Harangue of Diony[p. xv]sius in the Syracusan assembly against the generals, who are deposed by vote of the people, and Dionysius with others appointed in their room. — Ambitious arts of Dionysius — he intrigues against his colleagues, and frustrates all their proceedings. He procures a vote for restoring the Hermokratean exiles. — Dionysius is sent with a Syracusan reinforcement to Gela. He procures the execution or banishment of the Geloan oligarchy. — He returns to Syracuse with an increased force — he accuses his colleagues of gross treason. — Dionysius is named general, single-handed, with full powers. — Apparent repentance of the people after the vote. Stratagem of Dionysius to obtain a vote ensuring to him a body of paid guards. — March of Dionysius to Leontini. — Dionysius establishes himself at Syracuse as despot. — Dionysius as despot — the means whereby he attained the power.




Imilkon with the Carthaginian army marches from Agrigentum to attack Gela. — Brave defence of the Geloans — Dionysius arrives with an army to relieve them. — Plan of Dionysius for a general attack on the Carthaginian army. — He is defeated and obliged to retreat. — He evacuates Gela and Kamarina — flight of the population of both places, which are taken and sacked by the Carthaginians. — Indignation and charges of treachery against Dionysius. — Mutiny of the Syracusan horsemen — they ride off to Syracuse, and declare against Dionysius. — Their imprudence. Dionysius master of Syracuse. — Propositions of peace come from Imilkon. Terms of peace. — Collusion of Dionysius with the Carthaginians, who confirm his dominion over Syracuse. Pestilence in the Carthaginian army. — Near coincidence, in time, of this peace, with the victory of Lysander at Ægospotami — sympathy of Sparta with Dionysius. — Depressed condition of the towns of Southern Sicily, from Cape Pachynus to Lilybæum. — Strong position of Dionysius. — Strong fortifications and other buildings erected by Dionysius, in and about Ortygia. — He assigns houses in Ortygia to his soldiers and partisans — he distributes the lands of Syracuse anew. — Exorbitant exactions of Dionysius — discontent at Syracuse. — Dionysius marches out of Syracuse against the Sikels — mutiny of the Syracusan soldiers at Herbesa — Dorikus the commander is slain. — The Syracusan insurgents, with assistance from Rhegium and Messênê, besiege Dionysius in Ortygia. — Despair of Dionysius — he applies to a body of Campanians in the Carthaginian service, for aid. — He amuses the assailants with feigned submission — arrival of the Campanians — victory of Dionysius. — Dionysius strengthens his despotism more than before — assistance lent to him by the Spartan Aristus — Nikoteles the Corinthian is put to death. — He disarms the Syracusan citizens — strengthens the fortifications of Ortygia — augments his mercenary force. — Dionysius conquers Naxus, Katana, and Leontini. — Great power of Dionysius. Foundation of Alæsa by Archonides. — Resolution of Dionysius to make war upon Carthage. — Locality of Syracuse — danger to which the town had been exposed, in the Athenian siege. — Additional fortifications made by Dionysius along the northern ridge of the cliffs of Epipolæ, up the Euryalus. — Popularity of the work — efforts made by all the Syracusans as well as by Dionysius himself. — Preparations of Dionysius for aggressive war against the Carthaginians. — Improvement in the behavior of Dionysius towards the Syracusans. — His conciliatory offers to other Grecian cities in Sicily. Hostile sentiment of[p. xvi] the Rhegines towards him. Their application to Messênê. — He makes peace with Messênê and Rhegium. — He desires to marry a Rhegine wife. His proposition is declined by the city. He is greatly incensed. — He makes a proposition to marry a wife from Lokri — his wish is granted — he marries a Lokrian maiden named Doris. — Immense warlike equipment of Dionysius at Syracuse — arms, engines, etc. — Naval preparations in the harbor of Syracuse. Enlargement of the bulk of ships of war — quadriremes and quinqueremes. — General sympathy of the Syracusans in his projects against Carthage. — He hires soldiers from all quarters. — He celebrates his nuptials with two wives on the same day — Doris and Aristomachê. Temporary good feeling at Syracuse towards him. — He convokes the Syracusan assembly, and exhorts them to war against Carthage. — He desires to arrest the emigration of those who were less afraid of the Carthaginian dominion than of his. — He grants permission to plunder the Carthaginian residents and ships at Syracuse. Alarm at Carthage — suffering in Africa from the pestilence. — Dionysius marches out from Syracuse with a prodigious army against the Carthaginians in Sicily. — Insurrection against Carthage, among the Sicilian Greeks subject to her. Terrible tortures inflicted on the Carthaginians. — Dionysius besieges the Carthaginian seaport Motyê. — Situation of Motyê — operations of the siege — vigorous defence. — Dionysius overruns the neighboring dependencies of Carthage — doubtful result of the siege of Motyê — appearance of Imilkon with a Carthaginian fleet — he is obliged to return. — Desperate defence of Motyê. It is at length taken by a nocturnal attack. — Plunder of Motyê — the inhabitants either slaughtered or sold for slaves. — Farther operations of Dionysius. — Arrival of Imilkon with a Carthaginian armament — his successful operations — he retakes Motyê. — Dionysius retires to Syracuse. — Imilkon captures Messênê. — Revolt of the Sikels from Dionysius. Commencement of Tauromenium. — Provisions of Dionysius for the defence of Syracuse — he strengthens Leontini — he advances to Katana with his land-army as well as his fleet. — Naval battle off Katana — great victory of the Carthaginian fleet under Magon. — Arrival of Imilkon to join the fleet of Magon near Katana — fruitless invitation to the Campanians of Ætna. — Dionysius retreats to Syracuse — discontent of his army. — Imilkon marches close up to Syracuse — the Carthaginian fleet come up to occupy the Great Harbor — their imposing entry. Fortified position of Imilkon near the Harbor. — Imilkon plunders the suburb of Achradina — blockades Syracuse by sea. — Naval victory gained by the Syracusan fleet during the absence of Dionysius. — Effect of this victory in exalting the spirits of the Syracusans. — Public meeting convened by Dionysius — mutinous spirit against him — vehement speech by Thedorus. — Sympathy excited by the speech in the Syracusan assembly. — The Spartan Pharakidas upholds Dionysius — who finally dismisses the assembly, and silences the adverse movement. — Alliance of Sparta with Dionysius — suitable to her general policy at the time. The emancipation of Syracuse depended upon Pharakidas. — Dionysius tries to gain popularity. — Terrific pestilence among the Carthaginian army before Syracuse. — Dionysius attacks the Carthaginian camp. He deliberately sacrifices a detachment of his mercenaries. — Success of Dionysius, both by sea and by land, against the Syracusan position. — Conflagration of the Carthaginian camp — exultation at Syracuse. — Imilkon concludes a secret treaty with Dionysius, to be allowed to escape with the Carthaginians, on condition of abandoning his remaining army. Destruction of the remaining Carthaginian army, except Sikels and Iberians. — Distress at Carthage — miserable end of Imilkon. — Danger of Carthage — anger and revolt of her African subjects — at length put down.


[p. 1]




The peace or convention[1] which bears the name of Antalkidas, was an incident of serious and mournful import in Grecian history. Its true character cannot be better described than in a brief remark and reply which we find cited in Plutarch. “Alas for Hellas (observed some one to Agesilaus) when we see our Laconians medising!”—“Nay (replied the Spartan king), say rather the Medes (Persians) laconising.”[2]

These two propositions do not exclude each other. Both were perfectly true. The convention emanated from a separate partnership between Spartan and Persian interests. It was solicited by the Spartan Antalkidas, and propounded by him to Tiribazus[p. 2] on the express ground, that it was exactly calculated to meet the Persian king’s purposes and wishes,—as we learn even from the philo-Laconian Xenophon.[3] While Sparta and Persia were both great gainers, no other Grecian state gained anything, as the convention was originally framed. But after the first rejection, Antalkidas saw the necessity of conciliating Athens by the addition of a special article providing that Lemnos, Imbros, and Skyros should be restored to her.[4] This addition seems to have been first made in the abortive negotiations which form the subject of the discourse already mentioned, pronounced by Andokides. It was continued afterwards and inserted in the final decree which Antalkidas and Tiribazus brought down in the king’s name from Susa; and it doubtless somewhat contributed to facilitate the adherence of Athens, though the united forces of Sparta and Persia had become so overwhelming, that she could hardly have had the means of standing out, even if the supplementary article had been omitted. Nevertheless, this condition undoubtedly did secure to Athens a certain share in the gain, conjointly with the far larger shares both of Sparta and Persia. It is, however, not less true, that Athens, as well as Thebes,[5] assented to the peace only under fear and compulsion. As to the other states of Greece, they were interested merely in the melancholy capacity of partners in the general loss and degradation.

That degradation stood evidently marked in the form, origin, and transmission, of the convention, even apart from its substance. It was a fiat issued from the court of Susa; as such it was ostentatiously proclaimed and “sent down” from thence to Greece. Its authority was derived from the king’s seal, and its sanction from his concluding threat, that he would make war against all recusants. It was brought down by the satrap Tiribazus (along[p. 3] with Antalkidas), read by him aloud, and heard with submission by the assembled Grecian envoys, after he had called their special attention to the regal seal.[6] Such was the convention which Sparta, the ancient president of the Grecian world had been the first to solicit at the hands of the Persian king, and which she now not only set the example of sanctioning by her own spontaneous obedience, but even avouched as guarantee and champion against all opponents; preparing to enforce it at the point of the sword against any recusant state, whether party to it or not. Such was the convention which was now inscribed on stone, and placed as a permanent record in the temples of the Grecian cities;[7] nay, even in the common sanctuaries,—the Olympic, Pythian, and others,—the great foci and rallying points of Pan-hellenic sentiment. Though called by the name of a convention, it was on the very face of it a peremptory mandate proceeding from the ancient enemy of Greece, an acceptance of which was nothing less than an act of obedience. While to him it was a glorious trophy, to all[p. 4] Pan-hellenic patriots it was the deepest disgrace and insult.[8] Effacing altogether the idea of an independent Hellenic world, bound together and regulated by the self-acting forces and common sympathies of its own members,—even the words of the convention proclaimed it as an act of intrusive foreign power, and erected the barbarian king into a dictatorial settler of Grecian differences; a guardian[9] who cared for the peace of Greece more than the Greeks themselves. And thus, looking to the form alone, it was tantamount to that symbol of submission—the cession of earth and water—which had been demanded a century before by the ancestor of Artaxerxes from the ancestors of the Spartans and Athenians; a demand, which both Sparta and Athens then not only repudiated, but resented so cruelly, as to put to death the heralds by whom it was brought,—stigmatizing the Æginetans and others as traitors to Hellas for complying with it.[10] Yet nothing more would have been implied in such cession than what stood embodied in the inscription on that “colonna infame,” which[p. 5] placed the peace of Antalkidas side by side with the Pan-hellenic glories and ornaments at Olympia.[11]

Great must have been the change wrought by the intermediate events, when Sparta, the ostensible president of Greece,—in her own estimation even more than in that of others,[12]—had so lost all Pan-hellenic conscience and dignity, as to descend into an obsequious minister, procuring and enforcing a Persian mandate for political objects of her own. How insane would such an anticipation have appeared to Æschylus, or the audience who heard the Persæ! to Herodotus or Thucydides! to Perikles and Archidamus! nay, even to Kallikratidas or Lysander! It was the last consummation of a series of previous political sins, invoking more and more the intervention of Persia to aid her against her Grecian enemies.

Her first application to the Great King for this purpose dates from[p. 6] the commencement of the Peloponnesian war, and is prefaced by an apology, little less than humiliating, from king Archidamus; who, not unconscious of the sort of treason which he was meditating, pleads that Sparta, when the Athenians are conspiring against her, ought not to be blamed for asking from foreigners as well as from Greeks aid for her own preservation.[13] From the earliest commencement to the seventh year of the war, many separate and successive envoys were despatched by the Spartans to Susa; two of whom were seized in Thrace, brought to Athens, and there put to death. The rest reached their destination, but talked in so confused a way, and contradicted each other so much, that the Persian court, unable to understand what they meant,[14] sent Artaphernes with letters to Sparta (in the seventh year of the war) complaining of such stupidity, and asking for clearer information. Artaphernes fell into the hands of an Athenian squadron at Eion on the Strymon, and was conveyed to Athens; where he was treated with great politeness, and sent back (after the letters which he carried had been examined) to Ephesus. What is more important to note is, that Athenian envoys were sent along with him, with a view of bringing Athens into friendly communication with the Great King; which was only prevented by the fact that Artaxerxes Longimanus just then died. Here we see the fatal practice, generated by intestine war, of invoking Persian aid; begun by Sparta as an importunate solicitor,—and partially imitated by Athens, though we do not know what her envoys were instructed to say, had they been able to reach Susa.

Nothing more is heard about Persian intervention until the year of the great Athenian disasters before Syracuse. Elate with the hopes arising out of that event, the Persians required no solicitation, but were quite as eager to tender interference for their own purposes, as Sparta was to invite them for hers. How ready Sparta was to purchase their aid by the surrender of the Asiatic[p. 7] Greeks, and that too without any stipulations in their favor,—has been recounted in my last volume.[15] She had not now the excuse,—for it stands only as an excuse and not as a justification—of self-defence against aggression from Athens, which Archidamus had produced at the beginning of the war. Even then it was only a colorable excuse, not borne out by the reality of the case; but now, the avowed as well as the real object was something quite different,—not to repel, but to crush, Athens. Yet to accomplish that object, not even of pretended safety, but of pure ambition, Sparta sacrificed unconditionally the liberty of her Asiatic kinsmen; a price which Archidamus at the beginning of the war would certainly never have endured the thoughts of paying, notwithstanding the then formidable power of Athens. Here, too, we find Athens following the example; and consenting, in hopes of procuring Persian aid, to the like sacrifice, though the bargain was never consummated. It is true that she was then contending for her existence. Nevertheless, the facts afford melancholy proof how much the sentiment of Pan-hellenic independence became enfeebled in both the leaders, amidst the fierce intestine conflict terminated by the battle of Ægospotami.[16]

[p. 8]

After that battle, the bargain between Sparta and Persia would doubtless have been fulfilled, and the Asiatic Greeks would have passed at once under the dominion of the latter,—had not an entirely new train of circumstances arisen out of the very peculiar position and designs of Cyrus. That young prince did all in his power to gain the affections of the Greeks, as auxiliaries for his ambitious speculations; in which speculations both Sparta and the Asiatic Greeks took part, compromising themselves irrevocably against Artaxerxes, and still more against Tissaphernes. Sparta thus became unintentionally the enemy of Persia, and found herself compelled to protect the Asiatic Greeks against his hostility, with which they were threatened; a protection easy for her to confer, not merely from the unbounded empire which she then enjoyed over the Grecian world, but from the presence of the renowned Cyreian Ten Thousand, and the contempt for Persian military strength which they brought home from their retreat. She thus finds herself in the exercise of a Pan-hellenic protectorate or presidency, first through the ministry of Derkyllidas, next of Agesilaus, who even sacrifices at Aulis, takes up the sceptre of Agamemnon, and contemplates large schemes of aggression against the Great King. Here, however, the Persians play against her the same game which she had invoked them to assist in playing against Athens. Their fleet, which fifteen years before she had invited for her own purposes, is now brought in against herself, and with far more effect, since her empire was more odious as well as more oppressive than the Athenian. It is now Athens and her allies who call in Persian aid; without any direct engagement, indeed, to surrender the Asiatic Greeks, for we are told that after the battle of Knidus, Konon incurred the displeasure of the Persians by his supposed plans for reuniting them with Athens,[17] and Athenian aid was still continued to Evagoras,—yet, nevertheless, indirectly paving the way for that consummation. If Athens and her allies here render themselves culpable of an abnegation of Pan-hellenic sentiment, we may remark, as before, that they act under the pressure of stronger necessities than could ever be pleaded by Sparta; and that they might employ on their own behalf, with much greater truth, the excuse of self-preservation preferred by king Archidamus.

[p. 9]

But never on any occasion did that excuse find less real place than in regard to the mission of Antalkidas. Sparta was at that time so powerful, even after the loss of her maritime empire, that the allies at the Isthmus of Corinth, jealous of each other and held together only by common terror, could hardly stand on the defensive against her, and would probably have been disunited by reasonable offers on her part; nor would she have needed even to recall Agesilaus from Asia. Nevertheless, the mission was probably dictated in great measure by a groundless panic, arising from the sight of the revived Long Walls and refortified Piræus, and springing at once to the fancy, that a new Athenian empire, such as had existed forty years before, was about to start into life; a fancy little likely to be realized, since the very peculiar circumstances which had created the first Athenian empire were now totally reversed. Debarred from maritime empire herself, the first object with Sparta was, to shut out Athens from the like; the next, to put down all partial federations or political combinations, and to enforce universal autonomy, or the maximum of political isolation; in order that there might nowhere exist a power capable of resisting herself, the strongest of all individual states. As a means to this end, which was no less in the interest of Persia than in hers, she outbid all prior subserviences to the Great King, betrayed to him not only one entire division of her Hellenic kinsmen, but also the general honor of the Hellenic name in the most flagrant manner,—and volunteered to medise in order that the Persians might repay her by laconising.[18] To ensure fully the obedience of all the satraps, who had more than once manifested dissentient views of their own, Antalkidas procured and brought down a formal order signed and sealed at Susa; and Sparta undertook, without shame or scruple, to enforce the same order,—“the convention sent down by the king,”—upon all her countrymen; thus converting them into the subjects, and herself into a sort of viceroy or satrap, of Artaxerxes. Such an act of treason to the Pan-hellenic cause was far more flagrant and destructive than that alleged confederacy with the Persian king, for which the Theban Ismenias was afterwards put to death, and that, too, by[p. 10] the Spartans themselves.[19] Unhappily it formed a precedent for the future, and was closely copied afterwards by Thebes;[20] foreboding but too clearly the short career which Grecian political independence had to run.

That large patriotic sentiment, which dictated the magnanimous answer sent by the Athenians[21] to the offers of Mardonius in 479 B.C., refusing in the midst of ruin present and prospective, all temptation to betray the sanctity of Pan-hellenic fellowship,—that sentiment which had been during the two following generations the predominant inspiration of Athens, and had also been powerful, though always less powerful, at Sparta,—was now, in the former, overlaid by more pressing apprehensions, and in the latter completely extinguished. Now it was to the leading states that Greece had to look, for holding up the great banner of Pan-hellenic independence; from the smaller states nothing more could be required than that they should adhere to and defend it, when upheld.[22] But so soon as Sparta was seen to solicit and enforce, and Athens to accept (even under constraint), the proclamation under the king’s hand and seal brought down by Antalkidas,—that banner was no longer a part of the public emblems of Gre[p. 11]cian political life. The grand idea represented by it,—of collective self-determining Hellenism,—was left to dwell in the bosoms of individual patriots.

If we look at the convention of Antalkidas apart from its form and warranty, and with reference to its substance, we shall find that though its first article was unequivocally disgraceful, its last was at least popular as a promise to the ear. Universal autonomy, to each city, small or great, was dear to Grecian political instinct. I have already remarked more than once that the exaggerated force of this desire was the chief cause of the short duration of Grecian freedom. Absorbing all the powers of life to the separate parts, it left no vital force or integrity to the whole; especially, it robbed both each and all of the power of self-defence against foreign assailants. Though indispensable up to a certain point and under certain modifications, yet beyond these modifications, which Grecian political instinct was far from recognizing, it produced a great preponderance of mischief. Although, therefore, this item of the convention was in its promise acceptable and popular,—and although we shall find it hereafter invoked as a protection in various individual cases of injustice,—we must inquire how it was carried into execution, before we can pronounce whether it was good or evil, the present of a friend or of an enemy.

The succeeding pages will furnish an answer to this inquiry. The Lacedæmonians, as “presidents (guarantees or executors) of the peace, sent down by the king,”[23] undertook the duty of execution; and we shall see that from the beginning they meant nothing sincerely. They did not even attempt any sincere and steady compliance with the honest, though undistinguishing, political instinct of the Greek mind; much less did they seek to grant as much as was really good, and to withhold the remainder. They defined autonomy in such manner, and meted it out in such portions, as suited their own political interests and purposes. The[p. 12] promise made by the convention, except in so far as it enabled them to increase their own power by dismemberment or party intervention, proved altogether false and hollow. For if we look back to the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, when they sent to Athens to require general autonomy throughout Greece, we shall find that the word had then a distinct and serious import; demanding that the cities held in dependence by Athens should be left free, which freedom Sparta might have ensured for them herself at the close of the war, had she not preferred to convert it into a far harsher empire. But in 387 (the date of the peace of Antalkidas) there were no large body of subjects to be emancipated, except the allies of Sparta herself, to whom it was by no means intended to apply. So that in fact, what was promised, as well as what was realized, even by the most specious item of this disgraceful convention, was—“that cities should enjoy autonomy, not for their own comfort and in their own way, but for Lacedæmonian convenience;” a significant phrase (employed by Perikles,[24] in the debates preceding the Peloponnesian war) which forms a sort of running text for Grecian history during the sixteen years between the peace of Antalkidas and the battle of Leuktra.

I have already mentioned that the first two applications of the newly-proclaimed autonomy, made by the Lacedæmonians, were to extort from the Corinthian government the dismissal of its Argeian auxiliaries, and to compel Thebes to renounce her ancient presidency of the Bœotian federation. The latter especially was an object which they had long had at heart;[25] and by both, their ascendency in Greece was much increased. Athens, too, terrified by the new development of Persian force as well as partially bribed by the restoration of her three islands, into an acceptance of the peace,—was thus robbed of her Theban and Corinthian allies, and disabled from opposing the Spartan projects. But before we enter upon these projects, it will be convenient to turn for a short time to the proceedings of the Persians.

[p. 13]

Even before the death of Darius Nothus (father of Artaxerxes and Cyrus) Egypt had revolted from the Persians, under a native prince named Amyrtæus. To the Grecian leaders who accompanied Cyrus in his expedition against his brother, this revolt was well known to have much incensed the Persians; so that Klearchus, in the conversation which took place after the death of Cyrus about accommodation with Artaxerxes, intimated that the Ten Thousand could lend him effectual aid in reconquering Egypt.[26] It was not merely these Greeks who were exposed to danger by the death of Cyrus, but also the various Persians and other subjects who had lent assistance to him; all of whom made submission and tried to conciliate Artaxerxes, except Tamos, who had commanded the fleet of Cyrus on the coasts both of Ionia and Kilikia. Such was the alarm of Tamos when Tissaphernes came down in full power to the coast, that he fled with his fleet and treasures to Egypt, to seek protection from king Psammetichus, to whom he had rendered valuable service. This traitor, however, having so valuable a deposit brought to him, forgot every thing else in his avidity to make it sure, and put to death Tamos with all his children.[27] About 395 B.C., we find Nephereus king of Egypt lending aid to the Lacedæmonian fleet against Artaxerxes.[28] Two years afterwards (392-390 B.C.), during the years immediately succeeding the victory of Knidus, and the voyage of Pharnabazus across the Ægean to Peloponnesus,—we hear of that satrap as employed with Abrokomas and Tithraustes in strenuous but unavailing efforts to reconquer Egypt.[29] Having thus[p. 14] repulsed the Persians, the Egyptian king Akoras is found between 390-380 B.C.,[30] sending aid to Evagoras in Cyprus against the same enemy. And in spite of farther efforts made afterwards by Artaxerxes to reconquer Egypt, the native kings in that country maintained their independence for about sixty years in all, until the reign of his successor Ochus.

But it was a Grecian enemy,—of means inferior, yet of qualities much superior, to any of these Egyptians,—who occupied the chief attention of the Persians immediately after the peace of Antalkidas: Evagoras, despot of Salamis in Cyprus. Respecting that prince we possess a discourse of the most glowing and superabundant eulogy, composed after his death for the satisfaction (and probably paid for with the money) of his son and successor Nikoklês, by the contemporary Isokrates. Allowing as we must do for exaggeration and partiality, even the trustworthy features of the picture are sufficiently interesting.

Evagoras belonged to a Salaminian stock or Gens called the Teukridæ, which numbered among its ancestors the splendid legendary names of Teukrus, Telamon, and Æakus; taking its departure, through them, from the divine name of Zeus. It was believed that the archer Teukrus, after returning from the siege of Troy to (the Athenian) Salamis, had emigrated under a harsh order from his father Telamon, and given commencement to the city of that name on the eastern coast of Cyprus.[31] As in Sicily, so in Cyprus, the Greek and Phœnician elements were found in near contact, though in very different proportions. Of the nine or ten separate city communities, which divided among them the whole sea-coast, the inferior towns being all dependent upon one[p. 15] or other of them,—seven pass for Hellenic, the two most considerable being Salamis and Soli; three for Phœnician,—Paphos, Amathus, and Kitium. Probably, however, there was in each a mixture of Greek and Phœnician population, in different proportions.[32] Each was ruled by its own separate prince or despot, Greek or Phœnician. The Greek immigrations (though their exact date cannot be assigned) appear to have been later in date than the Phœnician. At the time of the Ionic revolt (B.C. 496), the preponderance was on the side of Hellenism; yet with considerable intermixture of Oriental custom. Hellenism was, however, greatly crushed by the Persian reconquest of the revolters, accomplished through the aid of the Phœnicians[33] on the opposite continent. And though doubtless the victories of Kimon and the Athenians (470-450 B.C.) partially revived it, yet Perikles, in his pacification with the Persians, had prudently relinquished Cyprus as well as Egypt;[34] so that the Grecian element in the former,[p. 16] receiving little extraneous encouragement, became more and more subordinate to the Phœnician.

It was somewhere about this time that the reigning princes of Salamis, who at the time of the Ionic revolt had been Greeks of the Teukrid Gens,[35] were supplanted and dethroned by a Phœnician exile who gained their confidence and made himself despot in their place.[36] To insure his own sceptre, this usurper did everything in his power to multiply and strengthen the Phœnician population, as well as to discourage and degrade the Hellenic. The same policy was not only continued by his successor at Salamis, but seems also to have been imitated in several of the other towns; insomuch that during most part of the Peloponnesian war, Cyprus became sensibly dis-hellenized. The Greeks in the island were harshly oppressed; new Greek visitors and merchants were kept off by the most repulsive treatment, as well as by threats of those cruel mutilations of the body which were habitually employed as penalties by the Orientals; while Grecian arts, education, music, poetry, and intelligence, were rapidly on the decline.[37]

[p. 17]

Notwithstanding such untoward circumstances, in which the youth of the Teukrid Evagoras at Salamis was passed, he manifested at an early age so much energy both of mind and body, and so much power of winning popularity, that he became at once a marked man both among Greeks and Phœnicians. It was about this time that the Phœnician despot was slain, through a conspiracy formed by a Kitian or Tyrian named Abdêmon, who got possession of his sceptre.[38] The usurper, mistrustful of his position, and anxious to lay hands upon all conspicuous persons who might be capable of doing him mischief, tried to seize Evagoras; but the latter escaped and passed over to Soli and Kilikia. Though thus to all appearance a helpless exile, he found means to strike a decisive blow, while the new usurpation, stained by its first violences and rapacity, was surrounded by enemies, doubters, or neutrals, without having yet established any firm footing. He crossed over from Soli in Kilikia, with a small but determined band of about fifty followers,—obtained secret admission by a postern gate of Salamis,—and assaulted Abdêmon by night in his palace. In spite of a vastly superior number of guards, this enterprise was conducted with such extraordinary daring and judgment, that Abdêmon perished, and Evagoras became despot in his place.[39]

The splendor of this exploit was quite sufficient to seat Evagoras unopposed on the throne, amidst a population always accustomed to princely government; while among the Salaminian Greeks he was still farther endeared by his Teukrid descent.[40] His conduct fully justified the expectations entertained. Not merely did he refrain from bloodshed, or spoliation, or violence for[p. 18] the gratification of personal appetite; abstinences remarkable enough in any Grecian despot to stamp his reign with letters of gold, and the more remarkable in Evagoras, since he had the susceptible temperament of a Greek, though his great mental force always kept it under due control.[41] But he was also careful in inquiring into, and strict in punishing crime, yet without those demonstrations of cruel infliction by which an Oriental prince displayed his energy.[42] His government was at the same time highly popular and conciliating, as well towards the multitude as towards individuals. Indefatigable in his own personal supervision, he examined everything for himself, shaped out his own line of policy, and kept watch over its execution.[43] He was foremost in all effort and in all danger. Maintaining undisturbed security, he gradually doubled the wealth, commerce, industry, and military force, of the city, while his own popularity and renown went on increasing.

Above all, it was his first wish to renovate, both in Salamis and in Cyprus, that Hellenism which the Phœnician despots of the last fifty years had done so much to extinguish or corrupt. For aid in this scheme, he seems to have turned his thoughts to Athens, with which city he was connected as a Teukrid, by gentile and legendary sympathies,—and which was then only just ceasing to be the great naval power of the Ægean. For though we cannot exactly make out the date at which Evagoras began to reign, we[p. 19] may conclude it to have been about 411 or 410 B.C. It seems to have been shortly after that period that he was visited by Andokides the Athenian;[44] moreover, he must have been a prince not merely established, but powerful, when he ventured to harbor Konon in 405 B.C., after the battle of Ægospotami. He invited to Salamis fresh immigrants from Attica and other parts of Greece, as the prince Philokyprus of Soli had done under the auspices of Solon,[45] a century and a half before. He took especial pains to revive and improve Grecian letters, arts, teaching, music, and intellectual tendencies. Such encouragement was so successfully administered, that in a few years, without constraint or violence, the face of Salamis was changed. The gentleness and sociability, the fashions and pursuits, of Hellenism, became again predominant; with great influence of example over all the other towns of the island.

Had the rise of Evagoras taken place a few years earlier, Athens might perhaps have availed herself of the opening to turn her ambition eastward, in preference to that disastrous impulse which led her westward to Sicily. But coming as he did only at that later moment when she was hard pressed to keep up even a defensive war, he profited rather by her weakness than by her strength. During those closing years of the war, when the Athenian empire was partially broken up, and when the Ægean, instead of the tranquillity which it had enjoyed for fifty years under Athens, became a scene of contest between two rival money-levying fleets,—many out-settlers from Athens, who had acquired property in the islands, the Chersonesus, or elsewhere, under her guarantee, found themselves insecure in every way, and were tempted to change their abodes. Finally, by the defeat of Ægospotami (B.C. 405), all such out-settlers as then remained were expelled, and forced to seek shelter either at Athens (at that moment the least attractive place in Greece), or in some other locality. To such persons, not less than to the Athenian admiral Konon with his small remnant of Athenian triremes saved out of the great defeat, the proclaimed invitations of Evagoras would present a harbor of refuge nowhere else to be found. Accordingly, we learn that numerous settlers of the best character, from[p. 20] different parts of Greece, crowded to Salamis.[46] Many Athenian women, during the years of destitution and suffering which preceded as well as followed the battle of Ægospotami, were well pleased to emigrate and find husbands in that city;[47] while throughout the wide range of the Lacedæmonian empire, the numerous victims exiled by the harmosts and dekarchies had no other retreat on the whole so safe and tempting. The extensive plain of Salamis afforded lands for many colonists. On what conditions, indeed, they were admitted, we do not know; but the conduct of Evagoras as a ruler, gave universal satisfaction.

During the first years of his reign, Evagoras doubtless paid his tribute regularly, and took no steps calculated to offend the Persian king. But as his power increased, his ambition increased also. We find him towards the year 390 B.C., engaged in a struggle not merely with the Persian king, but with Amathus and Kitium in his own island, and with the great Phœnician cities on the mainland. By what steps, or at what precise period, this war began, we cannot determine. At the time of the battle of Knidus (394 B.C.) Evagoras had not only paid his tribute, but was mainly instrumental in getting the Persian fleet placed under Konon to[p. 21] act against the Lacedæmonians, himself serving aboard.[48] It was in fact (if we may believe Isokrates) to the extraordinary energy, ability, and power, displayed by him on that occasion in the service of Artaxerxes himself, that the jealousy and alarm of the latter against him are to be ascribed. Without any provocation, and at the very moment when he was profiting by the zealous services of Evagoras, the Great King treacherously began to manœuvre against him, and forced him into the war in self-defence.[49] Evagoras accepted the challenge, in spite of the disparity of strength, with such courage and efficiency, that he at first gained marked successes. Seconded by his son Pnytagoras, he not only worsted and humbled Amathus, Kitium, and Soli, which cities, under the prince Agyris, adhered to Artaxerxes,—but also equipped a large fleet, attacked the Phœnicians on the mainland with so much vigor as even to take the great city of Tyre; prevailing, moreover, upon some of the Kilikian towns to declare against the Persians.[50] He received powerful aid from Akoris, the native and independent king in Egypt, as well as from Chabrias and the force sent out by the Athenians.[51] Beginning apparently about 390 B.C., the war against Evagoras lasted something more than ten years, costing the Persians great efforts and an immense expenditure of money. Twice did Athens send a squadron to his assistance, from gratitude for his long protection to Konon and his energetic efforts before and in the battle of Knidus,—though she thereby ran every risk of making the Persians her enemies.

The satrap Tiribazus saw that so long as he had on his hands[p. 22] a war in Greece, it was impossible for him to concentrate his force against the prince of Salamis and the Egyptians. Hence, in part, the extraordinary effort made by the Persians to dictate, in conjunction with Sparta, the peace of Antalkidas, and to get together such a fleet in Ionia as should overawe Athens and Thebes into submission. It was one of the conditions of that peace that Evagoras should be abandoned;[52] the whole island of Cyprus being acknowledged as belonging to the Persian king. Though thus cut off from Athens, and reduced to no other Grecian aid than such mercenaries as he could pay, Evagoras was still assisted by Akoris of Egypt, and even by Hekatomnus prince of Karia with a secret present of money.[53] But the peace of Antalkidas being now executed in Asia, the Persian satraps were completely masters of the Grecian cities on the Asiatic sea-board, and were enabled to convey round to Kilikia and Cyprus not only their whole fleet from Ionia, but also additional contingents from these very Grecian cities. A large portion of the Persian force acting against Cyprus was thus Greek, yet seemingly acting by constraint, neither well paid nor well used,[54] and therefore not very efficient.

The satraps Tiribazus and Orontes commanded the land force, a large portion of which was transported across to Cyprus; the admiral Gaos was at the head of the fleet, which held its station at Kitium in the south of the island. It was here that Evagoras, having previously gained a battle on land, attacked them. By extraordinary efforts he had got together a fleet of two hundred triremes, nearly equal in number to theirs; but after a hard-fought[p. 23] contest, in which he at first seemed likely to be victorious, he underwent a complete naval defeat, which disqualified him from keeping the sea, and enabled the Persians to block up Salamis as well by sea as by land.[55] Though thus reduced to his own single city, however, Evagoras defended himself with unshaken resolution, still sustained by aid from Akoris in Egypt; while Tyre and several towns in Kilikia also continued in revolt against Artaxerxes; so that the efforts of the Persians were distracted, and the war was not concluded until ten years after its commencement.[56] It cost them on the whole (if we may believe Isokrates)[57] fifteen thousand talents in money, and such severe losses in men, that Tiribazus acceded to the propositions of Evagoras for peace, consenting to leave him in full possession of Salamis, under payment of a stipulated tribute, “like a slave to his master.” These last words were required by the satrap to be literally inserted in the convention; but Evagoras peremptorily refused his consent, demanding that the tribute should be recognized as paid by “one[p. 24] king to another.” Rather than concede this point of honor, he even broke off the negotiation, and resolved again to defend himself to the uttermost. He was rescued, after the siege had been yet farther prolonged, by a dispute which broke out between the two commanders of the Persian army. Orontes, accusing Tiribazus of projected treason and rebellion against the king, in conjunction with Sparta, caused him to be sent for as prisoner to Susa, and thus became sole commander. But as the besieging army was already wearied out by the obstinate resistance of Salamis, he consented to grant the capitulation, stipulating only for the tribute, and exchanging the offensive phrase enforced by Tiribazus, for the amendment of the other side.[58]

It was thus that Evagoras was relieved from his besieging enemies, and continued for the remainder of his life as tributary prince of Salamis under the Persians. He was no farther engaged in war, nor was his general popularity among the Salaminians diminished by the hardships which they had gone through along with him.[59] His prudence calmed the rankling antipathy of the Great King, who would gladly have found a pretext for breaking the treaty. His children were numerous, and lived in harmony as well with him as with each other. Isokrates specially notices this fact, standing as it did in marked contrast with the family-relations of most of the Grecian despots, usually stained with jealousies, antipathies, and conflict, often with actual bloodshed.[60] But he omits to notice the incident whereby Evagoras perished; an incident not in keeping with that superhuman good fortune and favor from the gods, of which the Panegyrical Oration boasts as having been vouchsafed to the hero throughout his life.[61] It was seemingly not very long after the peace, that a Sa[p. 25]laminian named Nikokreon formed a conspiracy against his life and dominion, but was detected, by a singular accident, before the moment of execution, and forced to seek safety in flight. He left behind him a youthful daughter in his harem, under the care of an eunuch (a Greek, born in Elis) named Thrasydæus; who, full of vindictive sympathy in his master’s cause, made known the beauty of the young lady both to Evagoras himself and to Pnytagoras, the most distinguished of his sons, partner in the gallant defence of Salamis against the Persians. Both of them were tempted, each unknown to the other, to make a secret assignation for being conducted to her chamber by the eunuch; both of them were there assassinated by his hand.[62]

Thus perished a Greek of preëminent vigor and intelligence, remarkably free from the vices usual in Grecian despots, and form[p. 26]ing a strong contrast in this respect with his contemporary Dionysius, whose military energy is so deeply stained by crime and violence. Nikoklês, the son of Evagoras, reigned at Salamis after him, and showed much regard, accompanied by munificent presents, to the Athenian Isokrates; who compliments him as a pacific and well-disposed prince, attached to Greek pursuits and arts, conversant by personal study with Greek philosophy, and above all, copying his father in that just dealing and absence of wrong towards person or property, which had so much promoted the comfort as well as the prosperity of the city.[63]

We now revert from the episode respecting Evagoras,—interesting not less from the eminent qualities of that prince than from the glimpse of Hellenism struggling with the Phœnician element in Cyprus,—to the general consequences of the peace of Antalkidas in Central Greece. For the first time since the battle of Mykalê in 479 B.C., the Persians were now really masters of all the Greeks on the Asiatic coast. The satraps lost no time in confirming their dominion. In all the cities which they suspected, they built citadels and planted permanent garrisons. In some cases, their mistrust or displeasure was carried so far as to raze the town altogether.[64] And thus these cities, having already once changed their position greatly for the worse, by passing from easy subjection under Athens to the harsh rule of Lacedæmonian harmosts and native decemvirs,—were now transferred to masters yet more oppressive and more completely without the pale of Hellenic sympathy. Both in public extortion, and in wrong doing towards individuals, the commandant and his mercenaries, whom the satrap maintained, were probably more rapacious, and certainly more unrestrained, than even the harmosts of Sparta. Moreover, the Persian grandees required beautiful boys as eunuchs for their service, and beautiful women as inmates of their harems.[65] What was taken for their convenience admitted neither[p. 27] of recovery nor redress; and Grecian women, if not more beautiful than many of the native Asiatics, were at least more intelligent, lively, and seductive,—as we may read in the history of that Phokæan lady, the companion of Cyrus, who was taken captive at Kunaxa. Moreover, these Asiatic Greeks, when passing into the hands of Oriental masters, came under the maxims and sentiment of Orientals, respecting the infliction of pain or torture,—maxims not only more cruel than those of the Greeks, but also making little distinction between freemen and slaves.[66] The difference between the Greeks and Phœnicians in Cyprus, on this point, has been just noticed; and doubtless the difference between Greeks and Persians was still more marked. While the Asiatic Greeks were thus made over by Sparta and the Perso-Spartan convention of Antalkidas, to a condition in every respect worse, they were at the same time thrown in, as reluctant auxiliaries, to strengthen the hands of the Great King against other Greeks,—against Evagoras in Cyprus,—and above all, against the islands adjoining the coast of Asia,—Chios, Samos, Rhodes, etc.[67] These islands were now exposed to the same hazard, from their overwhelming Persian neighbors, as that from which they had been rescued nearly a century before by the Confederacy of Delos, and by the Athenian empire into which that Confederacy was transformed. All the tutelary combination that the genius, the energy, and the Pan-hellenic ardor, of Athens had first organized, and so long kept up,—was now broken up; while Sparta, to whom its[p. 28] extinction was owing, in surrendering the Asiatic Greeks, had destroyed the security even of the islanders.

It soon appeared, however, how much Sparta herself had gained by this surrender in respect to dominion nearer home. The government of Corinth,—wrested from the party friendly to Argos, deprived of Argeian auxiliaries, and now in the hands of the restored Corinthian exiles who were the most devoted partisans of Sparta,—looked to her for support, and made her mistress of the Isthmus, either for offence or for defence. She thus gained the means of free action against Thebes, the enemy upon whom her attention was first directed. Thebes was now the object of Spartan antipathy, not less than Athens had formerly been; especially on the part of King Agesilaus, who had to avenge the insult offered to himself at the sacrifice near Aulis, as well as the strenuous resistance on the field of Koroneia. He was at the zenith of his political influence; so that his intense miso-Theban sentiment made Sparta, now becoming aggressive on all sides, doubly aggressive against Thebes. More prudent Spartans, like Antalkidas, warned him[68] that his persevering hostility would ultimately kindle in the Thebans a fatal energy of military resistance and organization. But the warning was despised until it was too fully realized in the development of the great military genius of Epaminondas, and in the defeat of Leuktra.

I have already mentioned that in the solemnity of exchanging oaths to the peace of Antalkidas, the Thebans had hesitated at first to recognize the autonomy of the other Bœotian cities; upon which Agesilaus had manifested a fierce impatience to exclude them from the treaty, and attack them single-handed.[69] Their timely accession balked him in this impulse; but it enabled him to enter upon a series of measures highly humiliating to the dignity as well as to the power of Thebes. All the Bœotian cities were now proclaimed autonomous under the convention. As solicitor, guarantee, and interpreter, of that convention, Sparta either had, or professed to have, the right of guarding their autonomy against dangers, actual or contingent, from their previous Vorort or presiding city. For this purpose she availed herself of this[p. 29] moment of change to organize in each of them a local oligarchy, composed of partisans adverse to Thebes as well as devoted to herself, and upheld in case of need by a Spartan harmost and garrison.[70] Such an internal revolution grew almost naturally out of the situation; since the previous leaders, and the predominant sentiment in most of the towns, seem to have been favorable to Bœotian unity, and to the continued presidency of Thebes. These leaders would therefore find themselves hampered, intimidated, and disqualified, under the new system, while those who had before been an opposition minority would come forward with a bold and decided policy, like Kritias and Theramenes at Athens after the surrender of the city to Lysander. The new leaders doubtless would rather invite than repel the establishment of a Spartan harmost in their town, as a security to themselves against resistance from their own citizens as well as against attacks from[p. 30] Thebes, and as a means of placing them under the assured conditions of a Lysandrian dekarchy. Though most of the Bœotian cities were thus, on the whole, favorable to Thebes,—and though Sparta thrust upon them the boon, which she called autonomy, from motives of her own, and not from their solicitation,—yet, Orchomenus and Thespiæ, over whom the presidency of Thebes appears to have been harshly exercised, were adverse to her, and favorable to the Spartan alliance.[71] These two cities were strongly garrisoned by Sparta, and formed her main stations in Bœotia.[72]

The presence of such garrisons, one on each side of Thebes,—the discontinuance of the Bœotarchs, with the breaking up of all symbols and proceedings of the Bœotian federation,—and the establishment of oligarchies devoted to Sparta in the other cities,—was doubtless a deep wound to the pride of the Thebans. But there was another wound still deeper, and this the Lacedæmonians forthwith proceeded to inflict,—the restoration of Platæa.

A melancholy interest attaches both to the locality of this town, as one of the brightest scenes of Grecian glory,—and to its brave and faithful population, victims of an exposed position combined with numerical feebleness. Especially, we follow with a sort of repugnance the capricious turns of policy which dictated the Spartan behavior towards them. One hundred and twenty years before, the Platæans had thrown themselves upon Sparta, to entreat her protection against Thebes. The Spartan king Kleomenes had then declined the obligation as too distant, and had recommended them to ally themselves with Athens.[73] This recommendation, though dictated chiefly by a wish to raise contention between Athens and Thebes, was complied with; and the alliance, severing Platæa altogether from the Bœotian confederacy, turned out both advantageous and honorable to her until the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. At that time, it suited the policy of the Spartans to uphold and strengthen in every way the supremacy of Thebes over the Bœotian cities; it was altogether by Spartan intervention, indeed, that the power of Thebes was reës[p. 31]tablished, after the great prostration as well as disgrace which she had undergone, as traitor to Hellas and zealous in the service of Mardonius.[74] Athens, on the other hand, was at that time doing her best to break up the Bœotian federation, and to enrol its various cities as her allies; in which project, though doubtless suggested by and conducive to her own ambition, she was at that time (460-445 B.C.) perfectly justifiable on Pan-hellenic grounds; seeing that Thebes as their former chief had so recently enlisted them all in the service of Xerxes, and might be expected to do the same again if a second Persian invasion should be attempted. Though for a time successful, Athens was expelled from Bœotia by the defeat of Korôneia; and at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, the whole Bœotian federation (except Platæa, was united under Thebes, in bitter hostility against her. The first blow of the war, even prior to any declaration, was struck by Thebes in her abortive nocturnal attempt to surprise Platæa. In the third year of the war, king Archidamus, at the head of the full Lacedæmonian force, laid siege to the latter town; which, after an heroic defence and a long blockade, at length surrendered under the extreme pressure of famine; yet not before one half its brave defenders had forced their way out over the blockading wall, and escaped to Athens, where all the Platæan old men, women, and children, had been safely lodged before the siege. By a cruel act which stands among the capital iniquities of Grecian warfare, the Lacedæmonians had put to death all the Platæan captives, two hundred in number, who fell into their hands; the town of Platæa had been razed, and its whole territory, joined to Thebes, had remained ever since cultivated on Theban account.[75] The surviving Platæans had been dealt with kindly and hospitably by the Athenians. A qualified right of citizenship was conceded to them at Athens, and when Skionê was recaptured in 420 B.C., that town (vacant by the slaughter of its captive citizens) was handed over to the Platæans as a residence.[76] Compelled to evacuate Skionê, they were obliged at the close of the Peloponnesian war,[77] to return to[p. 32] Athens, where the remainder of them were residing at the time of the peace of Antalkidas; little dreaming that those who had destroyed their town and their fathers forty years before, would now turn round and restore it.[78]

Such restoration, whatever might be the ostensible grounds on which the Spartans pretended to rest it, was not really undertaken either to carry out the convention of Antalkidas, which guaranteed only the autonomy of existing towns,—or to repair previous injustice, since the prior destruction had been the deliberate act of themselves, and of King Archidamus the father of Agesilaus,—but simply as a step conducive to the present political views of Sparta. And towards this object it was skilfully devised. It weakened the Thebans, not only by wresting from them what had been, for about forty years, a part of their territory and property; but also by establishing upon it a permanent stronghold in the occupation of their bitter enemies, assisted by a Spartan garrison. It furnished an additional station for such a garrison in Bœotia, with the full consent of the newly-established inhabitants. And more than all, it introduced a subject of contention between Athens and Thebes, calculated to prevent the two from hearty coöperation afterwards against Sparta. As the sympathy of the Platæans with Athens was no less ancient and cordial than their antipathy against Thebes, we may probably conclude that the restoration of the town was an act acceptable to the Athenians; at least, at first, until they saw the use made of it, and the position which Sparta came to occupy in reference to Greece generally. Many of the Platæans, during their residence at Athens, had intermarried with Athenian women,[79] who now, probably, accompanied their husbands to the restored little town on the north of Kithæron, near the southern bank of the river Asôpus.

Had the Platæans been restored to a real and honorable autonomy, such as they enjoyed in alliance with Athens before the Peloponnesian war, we should have cordially sympathized with the event. But the sequel will prove—and their own subsequent statement emphatically sets forth—that they were a mere dependency of Sparta, and an outpost of Spartan operations against[p. 33] Thebes.[80] They were a part of the great revolution which the Spartans now brought about in Bœotia; whereby Thebes was degraded from the president of a federation into an isolated autonomous city, while the other Bœotian cities, who had been before members of the federation, were elevated each for itself into the like autonomy; or rather (to substitute the real truth[81] in place of Spartan professions) they became enrolled and sworn in as dependent allies of Sparta, under oligarchical factions devoted to her purposes and resting upon her for support. That the Thebans should submit to such a revolution, and, above all, to the sight of Platæa as an independent neighbor with a territory abstracted from themselves,—proves how much they felt their own weakness, and how irresistible at this moment was the ascendency of their great enemy, in perverting to her own ambition the popular lure of universal autonomy held out by the peace of Antalkidas. Though compelled to acquiesce, the Thebans waited in hopes of some turn of fortune which would enable them to reörganize the Bœotian federation; while their hostile sentiment towards Sparta was not the less bitter for being suppressed. Sparta on her part kept constant watch to prevent the reunion of Bœotia;[82] an object in which she was for a time completely successful, and was even[p. 34] enabled, beyond her hopes, to become possessed of Thebes itself,[83] through a party of traitors within,—as will presently appear.

In these measures regarding Bœotia, we recognize the vigorous hand, and the miso-Theban spirit, of Agesilaus. He was at this time the great director of Spartan foreign policy, though opposed by his more just and moderate colleague king Agesipolis,[84] as well as by a section of the leading Spartans, who reproached Agesilaus with his project of ruling Greece by means of subservient local despots or oligarchies in the various cities,[85] and who contended that the autonomy promised by the peace of Antalkidas ought to be left to develop itself freely, without any coërcive intervention on the part of Sparta.[86]

[p. 35]

Far from any wish thus to realize the terms of peace which they had themselves imposed, the Lacedæmonians took advantage of an early moment after becoming free from their enemies in Bœotia and Corinth, to strain their authority over their allies beyond its previous limits. Passing in review[87] the conduct of each during the war, they resolved to make an example of the city of Mantinea. Some acts, not of positive hostility, but of equivocal fidelity, were imputed to the Mantineans. They were accused of having been slack in performance of their military obligations, sometimes even to the length of withholding their contingent altogether, under pretence of a season of religious truce; of furnishing corn in time of war to the hostile Argeians; and of plainly manifesting their disaffected feeling towards Sparta,—chagrin at every success which she obtained,—satisfaction, when she chanced to experience a reverse.[88] The Spartan ephors now sent an envoy to Mantinea, denouncing all such past behavior, and peremptorily requiring that the walls of the city should be demolished, as the only security for future penitence and amendment. As compliance was refused, they despatched an army, summoning the allied contingents generally for the purpose of enforcing the sentence.[p. 36] They intrusted the command to king Agesipolis, since Agesilaus excused himself from the duty, on the ground that the Mantineans had rendered material service to his father Archidamus in the dangerous Messenian war which had beset Sparta during the early part of his reign.[89]

Having first attempted to intimidate the Mantineans by ravaging their lands, Agesipolis commenced the work of blockade by digging a ditch around the town; half of his soldiers being kept on guard, while the rest worked with the spade. The ditch being completed, he prepared to erect a wall of circumvallation. But being apprised that the preceding harvest had been so good, as to leave a large stock of provision in the town, and to render the process of starving it out tedious both for Sparta and for her allies,—he tried a more rapid method of accomplishing his object. As the river Ophis, of considerable breadth for a Grecian stream, passed through the middle of the town, he dammed up its efflux on the lower side;[90] thus causing it to inundate the interior of the[p. 37] city and threaten the stability of the walls; which seem to have been of no great height, and built of sun-burnt bricks. Disappointed in their application to Athens for aid,[91] and unable to provide extraneous support for their tottering towers, the Mantineans were compelled to solicit a capitulation. But Agesipolis now refused to grant the request, except on condition that not only the fortifications of their city, but the city itself, should be in great part demolished; and that the inhabitants should be re-distributed into those five villages, which had been brought together, many years before, to form the aggregate city of Mantinea. To this also the Mantineans were obliged to submit, and the capitulation was ratified.

Though nothing was said in the terms of it about the chiefs of the Mantinean democratical government, yet these latter, conscious that they were detested both by their own oligarchical opposition and by the Lacedæmonians, accounted themselves certain of being put to death. And such would assuredly have been their fate, had not Pausanias (the late king of Sparta, now in exile at Tegea), whose good opinion they had always enjoyed, obtained as a personal favor from his son Agesipolis the lives of the most obnoxious, sixty in number, on condition that they should depart into exile. Agesipolis had much difficulty in accomplishing the wishes of his father. His Lacedæmonian soldiers were ranged in arms on both sides of the gate by which the obnoxious men went out; and Xenophon notices it as a signal mark of Lacedæmonian discipline, that they could keep their spears unemployed when disarmed enemies were thus within their reach; especially as the oligarchical Mantineans manifested the most murderous propensities, and were exceedingly difficult to control.[92] As at Peiræus before, so[p. 38] here at Mantinea again,—the liberal, but unfortunate, king Pausanias is found interfering in the character of mediator to soften the ferocity of political antipathies.

The city of Mantinea was now broken up, and the inhabitants were distributed again into the five constituent villages. Out of four-fifths of the population, each man pulled down his house in the city, and rebuilt it in the village near to which his property lay. The remaining fifth continued to occupy Mantinea as a village. Each village was placed under oligarchical government, and left unfortified. Though at first (says Xenophon) the change proved troublesome and odious, yet presently, when men found themselves resident upon their landed properties,—and still more, when they felt themselves delivered from the vexatious demagogues,—the new situation became more popular than the old. The Lacedæmonians were still better satisfied. Instead of one city of Mantinea, five distinct Arcadian villages now stood enrolled in their catalogue of allies. They assigned to each a separate xenâgus (Spartan officer destined to the command of each allied contingent), and the military service of all was henceforward performed with the utmost regularity.[93]

Such was the dissection or cutting into parts of the ancient city Mantinea; one of the most odious acts of high-handed Spartan despotism. Its true character is veiled by the partiality of the historian, who recounts it with a confident assurance, that after the trouble of moving was over, the population felt themselves deci[p. 39]dedly bettered by the change. Such an assurance is only to be credited, on the ground that, being captives under the Grecian laws of war, they may have been thankful to escape the more terrible liabilities of death or personal slavery, at the price of forfeiting their civic community. That their feelings towards the change were those of genuine aversion, is shown by their subsequent conduct after the battle of Leuktra. As soon as the fear of Sparta was removed, they flocked together, with unanimous impulse, to reconstitute and refortify their dismantled city.[94] It would have been strange indeed had the fact been otherwise; for attachment to a civic community was the strongest political instinct of the Greek mind. The citizen of a town was averse—often most unhappily averse—to compromise the separate and autonomous working of his community by joining in any larger political combination, however equitably framed, and however it might promise on the whole an increase of Hellenic dignity. But still more vehemently did he shrink from the idea of breaking up his town into separate villages, and exchanging the character of a citizen for that of a villager, which was nothing less than great[p. 40] social degradation, in the eyes of Greeks generally, Spartans not excepted.[95]

In truth the sentence executed by the Spartans against Mantinea was in point of dishonor, as well as of privation, one of the severest which could be inflicted on free Greeks. All the distinctive glory and superiority of Hellenism,—all the intellectual and artistic manifestations,—all that there was of literature and philosophy, or of refined and rational sociality,—depended upon the city-life of the people. And the influence of Sparta, during the period of her empire, was peculiarly mischievous and retrograde, as tending not only to decompose the federations such as Bœotia into isolated towns, but even to decompose suspected towns such as Mantinea into villages; all for the purpose of rendering each of them exclusively dependent upon herself. Athens, during her period of empire, had exercised no such disuniting influence; still less Thebes, whom we shall hereafter find coming forward actively to found the new and great cities of Megalopolis and Messênê. The imperial tendencies of Sparta are worse than those of either Athens or Thebes; including less of improving or Pan-hellenic sympathies, and leaning the most systematically upon subservient factions in each subordinate city. In the very treatment of Mantinea just recounted, it is clear that the attack of Sparta was welcomed at least, if not originally invited, by the oligarchical party of the place, who sought to grasp the power into their own hands and to massacre their political opponents. In the first object they completely succeeded, and their government probably was more assured in the five villages than it would have been in the entire town. In the second, nothing prevented them from succeeding except the accidental intervention of the exile Pausanias; an accident, which alone rescued the Spartan name from the additional disgrace of a political massacre, over and above the lasting odium incurred by the act itself; by breaking up an ancient autonomous city, which had shown no act of overt enmity, and which was so moderate in its democratical manifestations as to receive the fa[p. 41]vorable criticism of judges rather disinclined towards democracy generally.[96] Thirty years before, when Mantinea had conquered certain neighboring Arcadian districts, and had been at actual war with Sparta to preserve them, the victorious Spartans exacted nothing more than the reduction of the city to its original district;[97] now they are satisfied with nothing less than the partition of the city into unfortified villages, though there had been no actual war preceding. So much had Spartan power, as well as Spartan despotic propensity, progressed during this interval.

The general language of Isokrates, Xenophon, and Diodorus,[98] indicates that this severity towards Mantinea was only the most stringent among a series of severities, extended by the Lacedæmonians through their whole confederacy, and operating upon all such of its members as gave them ground for dissatisfaction or mistrust. During the ten years after the surrender of Athens, they had been lords of the Grecian world both by land and sea, with a power never before possessed by any Grecian state; until the battle of Knidus, and the combination of Athens, Thebes, Argos, and Corinth, seconded by Persia, had broken up their empire at sea, and much endangered it on land. At length the peace of Antalkidas, enlisting Persia on their side (at the price of the liberty of the Asiatic Greeks), had enabled them to dissolve the hostile combination against them. The general autonomy, of which they were the authorized interpreters, meant nothing more than a separation of the Bœotian cities from Thebes,[99] and of Corinth from Argos,—being noway intended to apply to the relation between Sparta and her allies. Having thus their hands free, the Lacedæmonians applied themselves to raise their ascendency on land to the point where it had stood before the battle of Knidus, and even to regain as much as possible of their empire at sea. To bring back a dominion such as that of the Lysandrian harmosts and dekarchies, and to reconstitute a local oligarchy of their most devoted partisans, in each of those cities where the government had been somewhat liberalized during the recent period of war,—was their systematic policy.

[p. 42]

Those exiles who had incurred the condemnation of their fellow-citizens for subservience to Sparta, now found the season convenient for soliciting Spartan intervention to procure their return. It was in this manner that a body of exiled political leaders from Phlius,—whose great merit it was that the city when under their government had been zealous in service to Sparta, but had now become lukewarm or even disaffected in the hands of their opponents,—obtained from the ephors a message, polite in form but authoritative in substance, addressed to the Phliasians, requiring that the exiles should be restored, as friends of Sparta banished without just cause.[100]

While the Spartan power, for the few years succeeding the peace of Antalkidas, was thus decidedly in ascending movement on land, efforts were also made to reëstablish it at sea. Several of the Cyclades and other smaller islands were again rendered tributary. In this latter sphere, however, Athens became her competitor. Since the peace, and the restoration of Lemnos, Imbros and Skyros, combined with the refortified Peiræus and its Long Walls,—Athenian commerce and naval power had been reviving, though by slow and humble steps. Like the naval force of England compared with France, the warlike marine of Athens rested upon a considerable commercial marine, which latter hardly existed at all in Laconia. Sparta had no seamen except constrained Helots or paid foreigners;[101] while the commerce of Peiræus had both required and maintained a numerous population of this character. The harbor of Peiræus was convenient in respect of accommodation, and well-stocked with artisans,—while Laconia had few artisans, and was notoriously destitute of harbors.[102] Accordingly, in this maritime competition, Athens, though but the shadow of her former self, started at an advantage as compared with Sparta, and in spite of the superiority of the latter on land, was enabled to compete with her in acquiring tributary dependencies among the smaller islands of the Ægean. To these latter, who had no marine of their own, and who (like Athens herself) required habitual supplies of imported corn, it was important to[p. 43] obtain both access to Peiræus and protection from the Athenian triremes against that swarm of pirates, who showed themselves after the peace of Antalkidas, when there was no predominant maritime state; besides which, the market of Peiræus was often supplied with foreign corn from the Crimea, through the preference shown by the princes of Bosphorus to Athens, at a time when vessels from other places could obtain no cargo.[103] A moderate tribute paid to Athens would secure to the tributary island greater advantages than if paid to Sparta,—with at least equal protection. Probably, the influence of Athens over these islanders was farther aided by the fact, that she administered the festivals, and lent out the funds, of the holy temple at Delos. We know by inscriptions remaining, that large sums were borrowed at interest from the temple-treasure, not merely by individual islanders, but also by the island-cities collectively,—Naxos, Andros, Tenos, Siphnos, Seriphos. The Amphiktyonic council who dispensed these loans (or at least the presiding members) were Athenians named annually at Athens.[104] Moreover, these islanders rendered religious homage and attendance at the Delian festivals, and were thus brought within the range of a central Athenian influence, capable, under favorable circumstances, of being strengthened and rendered even politically important.

By such helps, Athens was slowly acquiring to herself a second maritime confederacy, which we shall presently find to be of considerable moment, though never approaching the grandeur of her former empire; so that in the year 380 B.C., when Isokrates published his Panegyrical Discourse (seven years after the peace of Antalkidas), though her general power was still slender compared with the overruling might of Sparta,[105] yet her navy had already[p. 44] made such progress, that he claims for her the right of taking the command by sea, in that crusade which he strenuously enforces, of Athens and Sparta in harmonious unity at the head of all Greece, against the Asiatic barbarians.[106]

It would seem that a few years after the peace of Antalkidas, Sparta became somewhat ashamed of having surrendered the Asiatic Greeks to Persia; and that king Agesipolis and other leading Spartans encouraged the scheme of a fresh Grecian expedition against Asia, in compliance with propositions from some disaffected subjects of Artaxerxes.[107] Upon some such project, currently discussed though never realized, Isokrates probably built his Panegyrical Oration, composed in a lofty strain of patriotic eloquence (380 B.C.) to stimulate both Sparta and Athens in the cause, and calling on both, as joint chiefs of Greece, to suspend dissensions at home for a great Pan-hellenic manifestation against the common enemy abroad. But whatever ideas of this kind the Spartan leaders may have entertained, their attention was taken off, about 382 B.C. by movements in a more remote region of the Grecian world, which led to important consequences.

Since the year 414 B.C. (when the Athenians were engaged in[p. 45] the siege of Syracuse), we have heard nothing either of the kings of Macedonia, or of the Chalkidic Grecian cities in the peninsula of Thrace adjoining Macedonia. Down to that year, Athens still retained a portion of her maritime empire in those regions. The Platæans were still in possession of Skiônê (on the isthmus of Pallênê) which she had assigned to them; while the Athenian admiral Euetion, seconded by many hired Thracians, and even by Perdikkas king of Macedonia, undertook a fruitless siege to reconquer Amphipolis on the Strymon.[108] But the fatal disaster at Syracuse having disabled Athens from maintaining such distant interests, they were lost to her along with her remaining empire,—perhaps earlier; though we do not know how. At the same time, during the last years of the Peloponnesian war, the kingdom of Macedonia greatly increased in power; partly, we may conceive, from the helpless condition of Athens,—but still more from the abilities and energy of Archelaus, son and successor of Perdikkas.

The course of succession among the Macedonian princes seems not to have been settled, so that disputes and bloodshed took place at the death of several of them. Moreover, there were distinct tribes of Macedonians, who, though forming part, really or nominally, of the dominion of the Temenid princes, nevertheless were immediately subject to separate but subordinate princes of their own. The reign of Perdikkas had been troubled in this manner. In the first instance, he had stripped his own brother Alketas of the crown,[109] who appears (so far as we can make out) to have had[p. 46] the better right to it; next he had also expelled his younger brother Philippus from his subordinate principality. To restore Amyntas the son of Philippus, was one of the purposes of the Thrakian prince Sitalkês, in the expedition undertaken conjointly with Athens, during the second year of the Peloponnesian war.[110] On the death of Perdikkas (about 413 B.C.), his eldest or only legitimate son was a child of seven years old; but his natural son[111] Archelaus was of mature age and unscrupulous ambition. The dethroned Alketas was yet alive, and had now considerable chance of reëstablishing himself on the throne; Archelaus, inviting him and his son under pretence that he would himself bring about their reëstablishment, slew them both amidst the intoxication of a banquet. He next despatched the boy, his legitimate brother, by suffocating him in a well; and through these crimes made himself king. His government, however, was so energetic and able, that Macedonia reached a degree of military power such as none of his predecessors had ever possessed. His troops, military equipments, and fortified places, were much increased in numbers; while he also cut straight roads of communication between the various portions of his territory,—a novelty seemingly everywhere, at that time.[112] Besides such improved organization (which unfortunately we are not permitted to know in detail), Archelaus founded a splendid periodical Olympic festival, in honor of the Olympian Zeus and the Muses,[113] and maintained correspondence with the poets and philosophers of Athens. He prevailed upon the tragic poets Euripides and Agathon, as well as the epic poet Chœrilus, to visit him in Macedonia, where Euripides especially was treated with distinguished favor and munificence,[114] remaining[p. 47] there until his death in 406 or 405 B.C. Archelaus also invited Sokrates, who declined the invitation,—and appears to have shown some favor to Plato.[115] He perished in the same year as Sokrates (399 B.C.), by a violent death; two Thessalian youths, Krateuas and Hellanokrates, together with a Macedonian named Dekamnichus, being his assassins during a hunting-party. The first two were youths to whom he was strongly attached, but whose dignity he had wounded by insulting treatment and non-performance of promises; the third was a Macedonian, who, for having made an offensive remark upon the bad breath of Euripides, had been given up by the order of Archelaus to the poet, in order that he might be flogged for it. Euripides actually caused the sentence to be inflicted; but it was not till six years after his death that Dekamnichus, who had neither forgotten nor forgiven the affront, found the opportunity of taking revenge by instigating and aiding the assassins of Archelaus.[116]

These incidents, recounted on the authority of Aristotle, and relating as well to the Macedonian king Archelaus as to the Athenian citizen and poet Euripides, illustrate the political contrast between Macedonia and Athens. The government of the former is one wholly personal,—dependent on the passions, tastes, appetites, and capacities, of the king. The ambition of Archelaus leads both to his crimes for acquiring the throne, and to his improved organization of the military force of the state afterwards; his admiration for the poets and philosophers of Athens makes[p. 48] him sympathize warmly with Euripides, and ensure to the latter personal satisfaction for an offensive remark; his appetites, mingling license with insult, end by drawing upon him personal enemies of a formidable character. L’Etat, c’est moi—stands marked in the whole series of proceedings; the personality of the monarch is the determining element. Now at Athens, no such element exists. There is, on the one hand, no easy way of bringing to bear the ascendency of an energetic chief to improve the military organization,—as Athens found to her cost, when she was afterwards assailed by Philip, the successor after some interval, and in many respects the parallel, of Archelaus. But on the other hand, neither the personal tastes nor the appetites, of any individual Athenian, count as active causes in the march of public affairs, which is determined by the established law and by the pronounced sentiments of the body of citizens. However gross an insult might have been offered to Euripides at Athens, the dikasts would never have sentenced that the offender should be handed over to him to be flogged. They would have inflicted such measure of punishment as the nature of the wrong, and the preëxisting law appeared to them to require. Political measures, or judicial sentences, at Athens, might be well or ill-judged; but at any rate, they were always dictated by regard to a known law and to the public conceptions entertained of state-interests, state-dignity, and state-obligations, without the avowed intrusion of any man’s personality. To Euripides,—who had throughout his whole life been the butt of Aristophanes and other comic writers, and who had been compelled to hear, in the crowded theatre, taunts far more galling than what is ascribed to Dekamnichus,—the contrast must have been indeed striking, to have the offender made over to him, and the whip placed at his disposal, by order of his new patron. And it is little to his honor, that he should have availed himself of the privilege, by causing the punishment to be really administered; a punishment which he could never have seen inflicted, during the fifty years of his past life, upon any free Athenian citizen.

Krateuas did not survive the deed more than three or four days, after which Orestes, son of Archelaus, a child, was placed on the throne, under the guardianship of Æropus. The latter, however, after about four years, made away with his ward, and reigned in[p. 49] his stead for two years. He then died of sickness, and was succeeded by his son Pausanias; who, after a reign of only one year, was assassinated and succeeded by Amyntas.[117] This Amyntas (chiefly celebrated as the father of Philip and the grandfather of Alexander the Great), though akin to the royal family, had been nothing more than an attendant of Æropus,[118] until he made himself king by putting to death Pausanias.[119] He reigned, though with interruptions, twenty-four years (393-369 B.C.); years, for the most part, of trouble and humiliation for Macedonia, and of occasional exile for himself. The vigorous military organization introduced by Archelaus appears to have declined; while the frequent dethronements and assassinations of kings, beginning even with Perdikkas the father of Archelaus, and continued down to Amyntas, unhinged the central authority and disunited the various portions of the Macedonian name; which naturally tended to separation, and could only be held together by a firm hand.

The interior regions of Macedonia were bordered, to the north, north-east, and north-west, by warlike barbarian tribes, Thracian and Illyrian, whose invasions were not unfrequent and often formidable. Tempted, probably, by the unsettled position of the government, the Illyrians poured in upon Amyntas during the first year of his reign; perhaps they may have been invited by other princes of the interior,[120] and at all events their coming would operate as a signal for malcontents to declare themselves. Amyntas,—having only acquired the sceptre a few months before by assassinating his predecessor, and having little hold on the people,—was not only unable to repel them, but found himself obliged to evacuate Pella, and even to retire from Macedonia altogether. Despairing of his position, he made over to the Olynthians a large[p. 50] portion of the neighboring territory,—Lower Macedonia or the coast and cities round the Thermaic Gulf.[121] As this cession is represented to have been made at the moment of his distress and expatriation, we may fairly suspect that it was made for some reciprocal benefit or valuable equivalent; of which Amyntas might well stand in need, at a moment of so much exigency.

It is upon this occasion that we begin to hear again of the Chalkidians of Olynthus, and the confederacy which they gradually aggregated around their city as a centre. The confederacy seems to have taken its start from this cession of Amyntas,—or rather, to speak more properly, from his abdication; for the cession of what he could not keep was of comparatively little moment, and we shall see that he tried to resume it as soon as he acquired strength. The effect of his flight was, to break up the government of Lower or maritime Macedonia, and to leave the cities therein situated defenceless against the Illyrians or other invaders from the interior. To these cities, the only chance of security, was to throw themselves upon the Greek cities on the coast, and to organize in conjunction with the latter a confederacy for mutual support. Among all the Greeks on that coast, the most strenuous and persevering (so they had proved themselves in their former contentions against Athens when at the summit of her power) as well as the nearest, were the Chalkidians of Olynthus. These Olynthians now put themselves forward,—took into their alliance and under their protection the smaller towns of maritime Macedonia immediately near them,—and soon extended their confederacy so as to comprehend all the larger towns in this region,—including even Pella, the most considerable city of the country.[122] As they began[p. 51] this enterprise at a time when the Illyrians were masters of the country so as to drive Amyntas to despair and flight, we may be sure that it must have cost them serious efforts, not without great danger if they failed. We may also be sure that the cities themselves must have been willing, not to say eager, coadjutors; just as the islanders and Asiatic Greeks clung to Athens at the first formation of the confederacy of Delos. The Olynthians could have had no means of conquering even the less considerable Macedonian cities, much less Pella, by force and against the will of the inhabitants.

How the Illyrians were compelled to retire, and by what steps the confederacy was got together, we are not permitted to know. Our information (unhappily very brief) comes from the Akanthian envoy Kleigenês, speaking at Sparta about ten years afterwards (B.C. 383), and describing in a few words the confederacy as it then stood. But there is one circumstance which this witness,—himself hostile to Olynthus and coming to solicit Spartan aid against her,—attests emphatically; the equal, generous, and brotherly principles, upon which the Olynthians framed their scheme from the beginning. They did not present themselves as an imperial city enrolling a body of dependent allies, but invited each separate city to adopt common laws and reciprocal citizenship with Olynthus, with full liberty of intermarriage, commercial dealing, and landed proprietorship. That the Macedonian cities near the sea should welcome so liberal a proposition as this, coming from the most powerful of their Grecian neighbors, cannot at all surprise us; especially at a time when they were exposed to the Illyrian invaders, and when Amyntas had fled the country. They had hitherto always been subjects;[123] their cities had not[p. 52] (like the Greek cities) enjoyed each its own separate autonomy within its own walls; the offer, now made to them by the Olynthians, was one of freedom in exchange for their past subjection under the Macedonian kings, combined with a force adequate to protect them against Illyrian and other invaders. Perhaps also these various cities,—Anthemus, Therma, Chalastra, Pella, Alôrus, Pydna, etc.,—may have contained, among the indigenous population, a certain proportion of domiciliated Grecian inhabitants, to whom the proposition of the Olynthians would be especially acceptable.

We may thus understand why the offer of Olynthus was gladly welcomed by the Macedonian maritime cities. They were the first who fraternized as voluntary partners in the confederacy; which the Olynthians, having established this basis, proceeded to enlarge farther, by making the like liberal propositions to the Greek cities in their neighborhood. Several of these latter joined voluntarily; others were afraid to refuse; insomuch that the confederacy came to include a considerable number of Greeks,—especially, Potidæa, situated on the Isthmus of Pallênê, and commanding the road of communication between the cities within Pallênê and the continent. The Olynthians carried out with scrupulous sincerity their professed principles of equal and intimate partnership, avoiding all encroachment or offensive preëminence in favor of their own city. But in spite of this liberal procedure, they found among their Grecian neighbors obstructions which they had not experienced from the Macedonian. Each of the Grecian cities had been accustomed to its own town-autonomy and separate citizenship, with its peculiar laws and customs. All of them were attached to this kind of distinct political life, by one of the most tenacious and universal instincts of the Greek mind; all of them would renounce it with reluctance, even on consenting to enter the Olynthian confederacy, with its generous promise, its enlarged security, and its manifest advantages; and there were even some who, disdaining every prospective consideration, refused to change their condition at all except at the point of the sword.

Among these last were Akanthus and Apollonia, the largest cities (next to Olynthus) in the Chalkidic peninsula, and, therefore, the least unable to stand alone. To these the Olynthians[p. 53] did not make application, until they had already attracted within their confederacy a considerable number of other Grecian as well as Macedonian cities. They then invited Akanthus and Apollonia to come in, upon the same terms of equal union and fellow-citizenship. The proposition being declined, they sent a second message intimating that, unless it were accepted within a certain time, they would enforce it by compulsory measures. So powerful already was the military force of the Olynthian confederacy, that Akanthus and Apollonia, incompetent to resist without foreign aid, despatched envoys to Sparta to set forth the position of affairs in the Chalkidic peninsula, and to solicit intervention against Olynthus.

Their embassy reached Sparta about B.C. 383, when the Spartans, having broken up the city of Mantinea into villages, and coërced Phlius, were in the full swing of power over Peloponnesus,—and when they had also dissolved the Bœotian federation, placing harmosts in Platæa and Thespiæ as checks upon any movement of Thebes. The Akanthian Kleigenês, addressing himself to the Assembly of Spartans and their allies, drew an alarming picture of the recent growth and prospective tendencies of Olynthus, invoking the interference of Sparta against that city. The Olynthian confederacy (he said) already comprised many cities, small and great, Greek as well as Macedonian,—Amyntas having lost his kingdom. Its military power, even at present great, was growing every day.[124] The territory, comprising a large breadth of fertile corn-land, could sustain a numerous population. Wood for ship-building was close at hand, while the numerous[p. 54] harbors of the confederate cities ensured a thriving trade as well as a steady revenue from custom-duties. The neighboring Thracian tribes would be easily kept in willing dependence, and would thus augment the military force of Olynthus; even the gold mines of Mount Pangæus would speedily come within her assured reach. “All that I now tell you (such was the substance of his speech) is matter of public talk among the Olynthian people, who are full of hope and confidence. How can you Spartans, who are taking anxious pains to prevent the union of the Bœotian cities,[125] permit the aggregation of so much more formidable a power, both by land and by sea, as this of Olynthus? Envoys have already been sent thither from Athens and Thebes,—and the Olynthians have decreed to send an embassy in return for contracting alliance with those cities; hence, your enemies will derive a large additional force. We of Akanthus and Apollonia, having declined the proposition to join the confederacy voluntarily, have received notice that, if we persist, they will constrain us. Now we are anxious to retain our paternal laws and customs, continuing as a city by ourselves.[126] But if we cannot obtain aid from you, we shall be under the necessity of joining them,—as several other cities have already done, from not daring to refuse; cities, who would have sent envoys along with us, had they not been afraid of offending the Olynthians. These cities, if you interfere forthwith, and with a powerful force, will now revolt from the new confederacy. But if you postpone your interference, and allow time for the confederacy to work, their sentiments will soon alter. They will come to be knit together in attached unity, by the co-burgership, the intermarriage, and the reciprocity of landed possessions, which have already been enacted prospectively. All of them will become convinced that they have a common interest both in belonging to, and in strengthening the confederacy,—just as the Arcadians, when they follow you, Spartans, as allies, are not only enabled to[p. 55] preserve their own property, but also to plunder others. If, by your delay, the attractive tendencies of the confederacy should come into real operation, you will presently find it not so much within your power to dissolve.[127]

This speech of the Akanthian envoy is remarkable in more than one respect. Coming from the lips of an enemy, it is the best of all testimonies to the liberal and comprehensive spirit in which the Olynthians were acting. They are accused,—not of injustice, nor of selfish ambition, nor of degrading those around them,—but literally, of organizing a new partnership on principles too generous and too seductive; of gently superseding, instead of violently breaking down, the barriers between the various cities, by reciprocal ties of property and family among the citizens of each; of uniting them all into a new political aggregate, in which not only all would enjoy equal rights, but all without exception would be gainers. The advantage, both in security and in power, accruing prospectively to all, is not only admitted by the orator, but stands in the front of his argument. “Make haste and break up the confederacy (he impresses upon Sparta) before its fruit is ripe, so that the confederates may never taste it nor find out how good it is; for if they do, you will not prevail on them to forego it.” By implication, he also admits,—and he says nothing tending even to raise a doubt,—that the cities which he represents, Akanthus and Apollonia, would share along with the rest in this same benefit. But the Grecian political instinct was nevertheless predominant,—“We wish to preserve our paternal laws, and to be a city by ourselves.” Thus nakedly is the objection stated; when the question was, not whether Akanthus should lose its freedom and become subject to an imperial city like Athens,—but whether it should become a free and equal member of a larger political aggregate, cemented by every tie which could make union[p. 56] secure, profitable, and dignified. It is curious to observe how perfectly the orator is conscious that this repugnance, though at the moment preponderant, was nevertheless essentially transitory, and would give place to attachment when the union came to be felt as a reality; and how eagerly he appeals to Sparta to lose no time in clenching the repugnance, while it lasted. He appeals to her, not for any beneficial or Pan-hellenic objects, but in the interests of her own dominion, which required that the Grecian world should be as it were pulverized into minute, self-acting, atoms without cohesion,—so that each city, or each village, while protected against subjection to any other, should farther be prevented from equal political union or fusion with any other; being thus more completely helpless and dependent in reference to Sparta.

It was not merely from Akanthus and Apollonia, but also from the dispossessed Macedonian king Amyntas, that envoys reached Sparta to ask for aid against Olynthus. It seems that Amyntas, after having abandoned the kingdom and made his cession to the Olynthians, had obtained some aid from Thessaly and tried to reinstate himself by force. In this scheme he had failed, being defeated by the Olynthians. Indeed we find another person named Argæus, mentioned as competitor for the Macedonian sceptre, and possessing it for two years.[128]

After hearing these petitioners, the Lacedæmonians first declared their own readiness to comply with the prayer, and to put down Olynthus; next, they submitted the same point to the vote of the assembled allies.[129] Among these latter, there was no genuine antipathy against the Olynthians, such as that which had prevailed against Athens before the Peloponnesian war, in the synod then held at Sparta. But the power of Sparta over her allies was now far greater than it had been then. Most of their cities were under oligarchies, dependent upon her support for authority over their fellow-citizens; moreover, the recent events in Bœotia and at[p. 57] Mantinea had operated as a serious intimidation. Anxiety to keep the favor of Sparta was accordingly paramount, so that most of the speakers as well as most of the votes, declared for war,[130] and a combined army of ten thousand men was voted to be raised. To make up such total, a proportional contingent was assessed upon each confederate; combined with the proviso now added for the first time, that each might furnish money instead of men, at the rate of three Æginæan oboli (half an Æginæan drachma) for each hoplite. A cavalry-soldier, to those cities which furnished such, was reckoned as equivalent to four hoplites; a hoplite, as equivalent to two peltasts; or pecuniary contribution on the same scale. All cities in default were made liable to a forfeit of one stater (four drachmæ) per day, for every soldier not sent; the forfeit to be enforced by Sparta.[131] Such licensed substitution of pecuniary payment for personal service, is the same as I have already described to have taken place nearly a century before in the confederacy of Delos under the presidency of Athens.[132] It was a system not likely to be extensively acted upon among the Spartan allies, who were at once poorer and more warlike than those of Athens. But in both cases it was favorable to the ambition of the leading state; and the tendency becomes here manifest, to sanction, by the formality of a public resolution, that increased Lacedæmonian ascendency which had already grown up in practice.

The Akanthian envoys, while expressing their satisfaction with the vote just passed, intimated that the muster of these numerous contingents would occupy some time, and again insisted on the necessity of instant intervention, even with a small force; before the Olynthians could find time to get their plans actually in work or appreciated by the surrounding cities. A moderate Lacedæmonian force (they said), if despatched forthwith, would not only[p. 58] keep those who had refused to join Olynthus, steady to their refusal, but also induce others, who had joined reluctantly, to revolt. Accordingly the ephors appointed Eudamidas at once, assigning to him two thousand hoplites,—Neodamodes (or enfranchised Helots), Periœki, and Skiritæ or Arcadian borderers. Such was the anxiety of the Akanthians for haste, that they would not let him delay even to get together the whole of this moderate force. He was put in march immediately, with such as were ready; while his brother Phœbidas was left behind to collect the remainder and follow him. And it seems that the Akanthians judged correctly. For Eudamidas, arriving in Thrace after a rapid march, though he was unable to contend against the Olynthians in the field, yet induced Potidæa to revolt from them, and was able to defend those cities, such as Akanthus and Apollonia, which resolutely stood aloof.[133] Amyntas brought a force to coöperate with him.

The delay in the march of Phœbidas was productive of consequences no less momentous than unexpected. The direct line from Peloponnesus to Olynthus lay through the Theban territory; a passage which the Thebans, whatever might have been their wishes, were not powerful enough to refuse, though they had contracted an alliance with Olynthus,[134] and though proclamation was made that no Theban citizens should join the Lacedæmonian force. Eudamidas, having departed at a moment’s notice, passed through Bœotia without a halt, in his way to Thrace. But it was known that his brother Phœbidas was presently to follow; and upon this fact the philo-Laconian party in Thebes organized a conspiracy.

They obtained from the ephors, and from the miso-Theban feelings of Agesilaus, secret orders to Phœbidas, that he should coöperate with them in any party movement which they might find opportunity of executing;[135] and when he halted with his[p. 59] detachment near the gymnasium a little way without the walls, they concerted matters as well with him as among themselves. Leontiades, Hypatês, and Archias, were the chiefs of the party in Thebes favorable to Sparta; a party decidedly in minority, yet still powerful, and at this moment so strengthened by the unbounded ascendency of the Spartan name, that Leontiades himself was one of the polemarchs of the city. Of the anti-Spartan, or predominant sentiment in Thebes,—which included most of the wealthy and active citizens, those who came successively into office as hipparchs or generals of the cavalry,[136]—the leaders were Ismenias and Androkleides. The former, especially, the foremost as well as ablest conductor of the late war against Sparta, was now in office as Polemarch, conjointly with his rival Leontiades.

While Ismenias, detesting the Spartans, kept aloof from Phœbidas, Leontiades assiduously courted him and gained his confidence. On the day of the Thesmophoria,[137] a religious festival[p. 60] celebrated by the women apart from the men, during which the acropolis or Kadmeia was consecrated to their exclusive use,—Phœbidas, affecting to have concluded his halt, put himself in march to proceed as if towards Thrace; seemingly rounding the walls of Thebes, but not going into it. The Senate was actually assembled in the portico of the agora, and the heat of a summer’s noon had driven every one out of the streets, when Leontiades, stealing away from the Senate, hastened on horseback to overtake Phœbidas, caused him to face about, and conducted the Lacedæmonians straight up to the Kadmeia; the gates of which, as well as those of the town, were opened by his order as polemarch. There were not only no citizens in the streets, but none even in the Kadmeia; no male person being permitted to be present at the feminine Thesmophoria; so that Phœbidas and his army became possessed of the Kadmeia without the smallest opposition. At the same time they became possessed of an acquisition of hardly less importance,—the persons of all the assembled Theban women; who served as hostages for the quiet submission, however reluctant, of the citizens in the town below. Leontiades handed to Phœbidas the key of the gates, and then descended into the town, giving orders that no man should go up without his order.[138]

The assembled Senate heard with consternation the occupation of the acropolis by Phœbidas. Before any deliberation could be taken among the senators, Leontiades came down to resume his seat. The lochages and armed citizens of his party, to whom he had previously given orders, stood close at hand. “Senators (said he), be not intimidated by the news that the Spartans are in the Kadmeia; for they assure us that they have no hostile purpose against any one who does not court war against them. But I, as polemarch, am empowered by law to seize any one whose behavior is manifestly and capitally criminal. Accordingly, I seize this man Ismenias, as the great inflamer of war. Come forward, captains and soldiers, lay hold of him, and carry him off where your orders direct.” Ismenias was accordingly seized and hurried off[p. 61] as a prisoner to the Kadmeia; while the senators, thunderstruck and overawed, offered no resistance. Such of them as were partisans of the arrested polemarch, and many even of the more neutral members, left the Senate and went home, thankful to escape with their lives. Three hundred of them, including Androkleidas, Pelopidas, Mellon, and others, sought safety by voluntary exile to Athens; after which, the remainder of the Senate, now composed of few or none except philo-Spartan partisans, passed a vote formally dismissing Ismenias, and appointing a new polemarch in his place.[139]

This blow of high-handed violence against Ismenias forms a worthy counterpart to the seizure of Theramenes by Kritias,[140] twenty-two years before, in the Senate of Athens under the Thirty. Terror-striking in itself, it was probably accompanied by similar deeds of force against others of the same party. The sudden explosion and complete success of the conspiracy, plotted by the Executive Chief himself, the most irresistible of all conspirators,—the presence of Phœbidas in the Kadmeia, and of a compliant Senate in the town,—the seizure or flight of Ismenias and all his leading partisans,—were more than sufficient to crush all spirit of resistance on the part of the citizens; whose first anxiety probably was, to extricate their wives and daughters from the custody of the Lacedæmonians in the Kadmeia. Having such a price to offer, Leontiades would extort submission the more easily, and would probably procure a vote of the people ratifying the new régime, the Spartan alliance, and the continued occupation of the acropolis. Having accomplished the first settlement of his authority, he proceeded without delay to Sparta, to make known the fact that “order reigned” at Thebes.

The news of the seizure of the Kadmeia and of the revolution at Thebes had been received at Sparta with the greatest surprise, as well as with a mixed feeling of shame and satisfaction. Everywhere throughout Greece, probably, it excited a greater sensation than any event since the battle of Ægospotami. Tried by the recognized public law of Greece, it was a flagitious iniquity, for which Sparta had not the shadow of a pretence. It was even[p. 62] worse than the surprise of Platæa by the Thebans before the Peloponnesian war, which admitted of the partial excuse that war was at any rate impending; whereas in this case, the Thebans had neither done nor threatened anything to violate the peace of Antalkidas. It stood condemned by the indignant sentiment of all Greece, unwillingly testified even by the philo-Laconian Xenophon[141] himself. But it was at the same time an immense accession to Spartan power. It had been achieved with preëminent skill and success; and Phœbidas might well claim to have struck for Sparta the most important blow since Ægospotami, relieving her from one of her two really formidable enemies.[142]

Nevertheless, far from receiving thanks at Sparta, he became the object of wrath and condemnation, both with the ephors and the citizens generally. Every one was glad to throw upon him the odium of the proceeding, and to denounce him as having acted without orders. Even the ephors, who had secretly authorized him beforehand to coöperate generally with the faction at Thebes, having doubtless never given any specific instructions, now indignantly disavowed him. Agesilaus alone stood forward in his defence, contending that the only question was, whether his proceeding at Thebes had been injurious or beneficial to Sparta. If the former, he merited punishment; if the latter, it was always lawful to render service, even impromptu and without previous orders.

Tried by this standard, the verdict was not doubtful. For every man at Sparta felt how advantageous the act was in itself; and felt it still more, when Leontiades reached the city, humble in solicitation as well as profuse in promise. In his speech addressed[p. 63] to the assembled ephors and Senate, he first reminded them how hostile Thebes had hitherto been to them, under Ismenias and the party just put down,—and how constantly they had been in jealous alarm, lest Thebes should reconstitute by force the Bœotian federation. “Now (added he) your fears may be at an end; only take as good care to uphold our government, as we shall take to obey your orders. For the future, you will have nothing to do but to send us a short despatch, to get every service which you require.[143]” It was resolved by the Lacedæmonians, at the instance of Agesilaus, to retain their garrison now in the Kadmeia, to uphold Leontiades with his colleagues in the government of Thebes, and to put Ismenias upon his trial. Yet they at the same time, as a sort of atonement to the opinion of Greece, passed a vote of censure on Phœbidas, dismissed him from his command, and even condemned him to a fine. The fine, however, most probably was never exacted; for we shall see by the conduct of Sphodrias afterwards that the displeasure against Phœbidas, if at first genuine, was certainly of no long continuance.

That the Lacedæmonians should at the same time condemn Phœbidas and retain the Kadmeia—has been noted as a gross contradiction. Nevertheless, we ought not to forget, that had they evacuated the Kadmeia, the party of Leontiades at Thebes, which had compromised itself for Sparta as well as for its own aggrandizement, would have been irretrievably sacrificed. The like excuse, if excuse it be, cannot be urged in respect to their treatment of Ismenias; whom they put upon his trial at Thebes, before a court consisting of three Lacedæmonian commissioners, and one from each allied city. He was accused, probably by Leontiades and his other enemies, of having entered into friendship and con[p. 64]spiracy with the Persian king to the detriment of Greece,[144]—of having partaken in the Persian funds brought into Greece by Timokrates the Rhodian,—and of being the real author of that war which had disturbed Greece from 395 B.C. down to the peace of Antalkidas. After an unavailing defence, he was condemned and executed. Had this doom been inflicted upon him by his political antagonists as a consequence of their intestine victory, it would have been too much in the analogy of Grecian party-warfare to call for any special remark. But there is something peculiarly revolting in the prostitution of judicial solemnity and Pan-hellenic pretence, which the Lacedæmonians here committed. They could have no possible right to try Ismenias as a criminal at all; still less to try him as a criminal on the charge of confederacy with the Persian king,—when they had themselves, only five years before, acted not merely as allies, but even as instruments, of that monarch, in enforcing the peace of Antalkidas. If Ismenias had received money from one Persian satrap, the Spartan Antalkidas had profited in like manner by another,—and for the like purpose too of carrying on Grecian war. The real motive of the Spartans was doubtless to revenge themselves upon this distinguished Theban for having raised against them the war which began in 395 B.C. But the mockery of justice by which that revenge was masked, and the impudence of punishing in him as treason that same foreign alliance with which they had ostentatiously identified themselves, lends a deeper enormity to the whole proceeding.

Leontiades and his partisans were now established as rulers in Thebes, with a Lacedæmonian garrison in the Kadmeia to sustain them and execute their orders. The once-haughty Thebes was enrolled as a member of Lacedæmonian confederacy. Sparta was now enabled to prosecute her Olynthian expedition with redoubled vigor. Eudamidas and Amyntas, though they repressed the growth of the Olynthian confederacy, had not been strong enough to put it down; so that a larger force was necessary, and the aggregate of ten thousand men, which had been previously decreed, was put into instant requisition, to be commanded by[p. 65] Teleutias, brother of Agesilaus. The new general, a man of very popular manners, was soon on his march at the head of this large army, which comprised many Theban hoplites as well as horsemen, furnished by the new rulers in their unqualified devotion to Sparta. He sent forward envoys to Amyntas in Macedonia, urging upon him the most strenuous efforts for the purpose of recovering the Macedonian cities which had joined the Olynthians,—and also to Derdas, prince of the district of Upper Macedonia called Elimeia, inviting his coöperation against that insolent city, which would speedily extend her dominion (he contended) from the maritime region to the interior, unless she were put down.[145]

Though the Lacedæmonians were masters everywhere and had their hands free,—though Teleutias was a competent officer with powerful forces,—and though Derdas joined with four hundred excellent Macedonian horse,—yet the conquest of Olynthus was found no easy enterprise.[146] The Olynthian cavalry, in particular, was numerous and efficient. Unable as they were to make head against Teleutias in the field or repress his advance, nevertheless in a desultory engagement which took place near the city gates, they defeated the Lacedæmonian and Theban cavalry, threw even the infantry into confusion, and were on the point of gaining a complete victory, had not Derdas with his cavalry on the other wing, made a diversion which forced them to come back for the protection of the city. Teleutias, remaining master of the field, continued to ravage the Olynthian territory during the summer, for which, however, the Olynthians retaliated by frequent marauding expeditions against the cities in alliance with him.[147]

In the ensuing spring, the Olynthians sustained various partial defeats, especially one near Apollonia, from Derdas. They were more and more confined to their walls; insomuch that Teleutias became confident and began to despise them. Under these dispo[p. 66]sitions on his part, a body of Olynthian cavalry showed themselves one morning, passed the river near their city, and advanced in calm array towards the Lacedæmonian camp. Indignant at such an appearance of daring, Teleutias directed Tlemonidas with the peltasts to disperse them; upon which the Olynthians slowly retreated, while the peltasts rushed impatiently to pursue them, even when they recrossed the river. No sooner did the Olynthians see that half the peltasts had crossed it, than they suddenly turned, charged them vigorously, and put them to flight with the loss of their commander Tlemonidas and a hundred others. All this passed in sight of Teleutias, who completely lost his temper. Seizing his arms, he hurried forward to cover the fugitives with the hoplites around him, sending orders to all his troops, hoplites, peltasts, and horsemen, to advance also. But the Olynthians, again retreating, drew him on towards the city, with such inconsiderate forwardness, that many of his soldiers ascending the eminence on which the city was situated, rushed close up to the walls.[148] Here, however, they were received by a shower of missiles which forced them to recede in disorder; upon which the Olynthians again sallied forth, probably, from more than one gate at once, and charged them first with cavalry and peltasts, next with hoplites. The Lacedæmonians and their allies, disturbed and distressed by the first, were unable to stand against the compact charge of the last; Teleutias himself, fighting in the foremost ranks, was slain, and his death was a signal for the flight of all around. The whole besieging force dispersed and fled in different directions,—to Akanthus, to Spartôlus, to Potidæa, to Apollonia. So vigorous and effective was the pursuit of the Olynthians, that the loss of the fugitives was immense. The whole army was in fact ruined;[149] for probably many of the allies who escaped became discouraged and went home.

At another time, probably, a victory so decisive might have deterred the Lacedæmonians from farther proceedings, and saved Olynthus. But now, they were so completely masters everywhere else, that they thought only of repairing the dishonor by a still[p. 67] more imposing demonstration. Their king Agesipolis was placed at the head of an expedition on the largest scale; and his name called forth eager coöperation, both in men and money, from the allies. He marched with thirty Spartan counsellors, as Agesilaus had gone to Asia; besides a select body of energetic youth as volunteers, from the Periœki, from the illegitimate sons of Spartans, and from strangers or citizens who had lost their franchise through poverty, introduced as friends of richer Spartan citizens to go through the arduous Lykurgean training.[150] Amyntas and Derdas also were instigated to greater exertions than before, so that Agesipolis was enabled, after receiving their reinforcements in his march through Macedonia, to present himself before Olynthus with an overwhelming force, and to confine the citizens within their walls. He then completed the ravage of their territory, which had been begun by Teleutias; and even took Torônê by storm. But the extreme heat of the summer weather presently brought upon him a fever, which proved fatal in a week’s time; although he had caused himself to be carried for repose to the shady grove, and clear waters, near the temple of Dionysus at Aphytis. His body was immersed in honey and transported to Sparta, where it was buried with the customary solemnities.[151]

Polybiades, who succeeded Agesipolis in the command, prosecuted the war with undiminished vigor; and the Olynthians, debarred from their home produce as well as from importation, were[p. 68] speedily reduced to such straits as to be compelled to solicit peace. They were obliged to break up their own federation, and to enrol themselves as sworn members of the Lacedæmonian confederacy, with its obligations of service to Sparta.[152] The Olynthian union being dissolved, the component Grecian cities were enrolled severally as allies of Sparta, while the maritime cities of Macedonia were deprived of their neighboring Grecian protector, and passed again under the dominion of Amyntas.

Both the dissolution of this growing confederacy, and the reconstitution of maritime Macedonia, were signal misfortunes to the Grecian world. Never were the arms of Sparta more mischievously or more unwarrantably employed. That a powerful Grecian confederacy should be formed in the Chalkidic peninsula, in the border region where Hellas joined the non-Hellenic tribes,—was an incident of signal benefit to the Hellenic world generally. It would have served as a bulwark to Greece against the neighboring Macedonians and Thracians, at whose expense its conquests, if it made any, would have been achieved. That Olynthus did not oppress her Grecian neighbors—that the principles of her confederacy were of the most equal, generous, and seducing character,—that she employed no greater compulsion than was requisite to surmount an unreflecting instinct of town-autonomy,—and that the very towns who obeyed this instinct would have become sensible themselves, in a very short time, of the benefits conferred by the confederacy on each and every one,—these are facts certified by the urgency of the reluctant Akanthians, when they entreat Sparta to leave no interval for the confederacy to make its workings felt. Nothing but the intervention of Sparta could have crushed this liberal and beneficent promise; nothing but the accident, that during the three years from 382 to 379 B.C., she was at the maximum of her power and had her hands quite free, with Thebes and its Kadmeia under her garrison. Such prosperity did not long continue unabated. Only a few months after the submission of Olynthus, the Kadmeia was retaken by the Theban exiles, who raised so vigorous a war against Sparta, that she would have been disabled from meddling with Olynthus,—as we shall find illustrated by the fact (hereafter to be recounted), that she declined interfering in Thessaly to pro[p. 69]tect the Thessalian cities against Jason of Pheræ. Had the Olynthian confederacy been left to its natural working, it might well have united all the Hellenic cities around it in harmonious action, so as to keep the sea coast in possession of a confederacy of free and self-determining communities, confining the Macedonian princes to the interior. But Sparta threw in her extraneous force, alike irresistible and inauspicious, to defeat these tendencies; and to frustrate that salutary change,—from fractional autonomy and isolated action into integral and equal autonomy with collective action,—which Olynthus was laboring to bring about. She gave the victory to Amyntas, and prepared the indispensable basis upon which his son Philip afterwards rose, to reduce not only Olynthus, but Akanthus, Apollonia, and the major part of the Grecian world, to one common level of subjection. Many of those Akanthians, who spurned the boon of equal partnership and free communion with Greeks and neighbors, lived to discover how impotent were their own separate walls as a bulwark against Macedonian neighbors; and to see themselves confounded in that common servitude which the imprudence of their fathers had entailed upon them. By the peace of Antalkidas, Sparta had surrendered the Asiatic Greeks to Persia; by crushing the Olynthian confederacy, she virtually surrendered the Thracian Greeks to the Macedonian princes. Never again did the opportunity occur of placing Hellenism on a firm, consolidated, and self-supporting basis, round the coast of the Thermaic Gulf.

While the Olynthian expedition was going on, the Lacedæmonians were carrying on, under Agesilaus, another intervention within Peloponnesus, against the city of Phlius. It has already been mentioned that certain exiles of this city had recently been recalled, at the express command of Sparta. The ruling party in Phlius had at the same time passed a vote to restore the confiscated property of these exiles; reimbursing out of the public treasury, to those who had purchased it, the price which they had paid,—and reserving all disputed points for judicial decision.[153] The returned exiles now again came to Sparta, to prefer complaint that they could obtain no just restitution of their property; that the tribunals of the city were in the hands of their opponents,[p. 70] many of them directly interested as purchasers, who refused them the right of appealing to any extraneous and impartial authority; and that there were even in the city itself many who thought them wronged. Such allegations were, probably, more or less founded in truth. At the same time, the appeal to Sparta, abrogating the independence of Phlius, so incensed the ruling Phliasians that they passed a sentence of fine against all the appellants. The latter insisted on this sentence as a fresh count for strengthening their complaints at Sparta; and as a farther proof of anti-Spartan feeling, as well as of high-handed injustice, in the Phliasian rulers.[154] Their cause was warmly espoused by Agesilaus, who had personal relations of hospitality with some of the exiles; while it appears that his colleague, King Agesipolis, was on good terms with the ruling party at Phlius,—had received from them zealous aid, both in men and money, for his Olynthian expedition,—and had publicly thanked them for their devotion to Sparta.[155] The Phliasian government, emboldened by the proclaimed testimonial of Agesipolis, certifying their fidelity, had fancied that they stood upon firm ground, and that no Spartan coërcion would be enforced against them. But the marked favor of Agesipolis, now absent in Thrace, told rather against them in the mind of Agesilaus; pursuant to that jealousy which usually prevailed between the two Spartan kings. In spite of much remonstrance at Sparta, from many who deprecated hostilities against a city of five thousand citizens, for the profit of a handful of exiles,—he not only seconded the proclamation of war against Phlius by the ephors, but also took the command of the army.[156]

The army being mustered, and the border sacrifices favorable, Agesilaus marched with his usual rapidity towards Phlius; dismissing those Phliasian envoys, who met him on the road and bribed or entreated him to desist, with the harsh reply that the government had already deceived Sparta once, and that he would be satisfied with nothing less than the surrender of the acropolis. This being refused, he marched to the city, and blocked it up by a wall of circumvallation. The besieged defended themselves[p. 71] with resolute bravery and endurance, under a citizen named Delphion; who, with a select troop of three hundred, maintained constant guard at every point, and even annoyed the besiegers by frequent sallies. By public decree, every citizen was put upon half-allowance of bread, so that the siege was prolonged to double the time which Agesilaus, from the information of the exiles as to the existing stock of provisions, had supposed to be possible. Gradually, however, famine made itself felt; desertions from within increased, among those who were favorable, or not decidedly averse, to the exiles; desertions, which Agesilaus took care to encourage by an ample supply of food, and by enrolment as Phliasian emigrants on the Spartan side. At length, after about a year’s blockade,[157] the provisions within were exhausted, so that the besieged were forced to entreat permission from Agesilaus to despatch envoys to Sparta and beg for terms. Agesilaus granted their request. But being at the same time indignant that they submitted to Sparta rather than to him, he sent to ask the ephors that the terms might be referred to his dictation. Meanwhile he redoubled his watch over the city; in spite of which, Delphion, with one of his most active subordinates, contrived to escape at this last hour. Phlius was now compelled to surrender at discretion to Agesilaus, who named a Council of One Hundred (half from the exiles, half from those within the city) vested with absolute powers of life and death over all the citizens, and authorized to frame a constitution for the future government of the city. Until this should be done, he left a garrison in the acropolis, with assured pay for six months.[158]

Had Agesipolis been alive, perhaps the Phliasians might have obtained better terms. How the omnipotent Hekatontarchy named by the partisan feelings of Agesilaus,[159] conducted themselves, we[p. 72] do not know. But the presumptions are all unfavorable, seeing that their situation as well as their power was analogous to that of the Thirty at Athens and the Lysandrian Dekarchies elsewhere.

The surrender of Olynthus to Polybiades, and of Phlius to Agesilaus, seem to have taken place nearly at the same time.


At the beginning of 379 B.C., the empire of the Lacedæmonians on land had reached a pitch never before paralleled. On the sea, their fleet was but moderately powerful, and they seem to have held divided empire with Athens over the smaller islands; while the larger islands (so far as we can make out) were independent of both. But the whole of inland Greece, both within and without Peloponnesus,—except Argos, Attica, and perhaps the more powerful Thessalian cities,—was now enrolled in the confederacy dependent on Sparta. Her occupation of Thebes, by a Spartan garrison and an oligarchy of local partisans, appeared to place her empire beyond all chance of successful attack; while the victorious close of the war against Olynthus carried everywhere an intimidating sense of her far-reaching power. Her allies, too,—governed as they were in many cases by Spartan harmosts, and by oligarchies whose power rested on Sparta,—were much more dependent upon her than they had been during the time of the Peloponnesian war.

Such a position of affairs rendered Sparta an object of the same mingled fear and hatred (the first preponderant) as had been felt towards imperial Athens fifty years before, when she was designated as the “despot city.[160]” And this sentiment was farther[p. 73] aggravated by the recent peace of Antalkidas, in every sense the work of Sparta; which she had first procured, and afterwards carried into execution. That peace was disgraceful enough, as being dictated by the king of Persia, enforced in his name, and surrendering to him all the Asiatic Greeks. But it became yet more disgraceful when the universal autonomy which it promised was seen to be so executed, as to mean nothing better than subjection to Sparta. Of all the acts yet committed by Sparta, not only in perversion of the autonomy promised to every city, but in violation of all the acknowledged canons of right dealing between city and city,—the most flagrant was, her recent seizure and occupation of the Kadmeia at Thebes. Her subversion (in alliance with, and partly for the benefit of, Amyntas king of Macedonia) of the free Olynthian confederacy was hardly less offensive to every Greek of large or Pan-hellenic patriotism. She appeared as the confederate of the Persian king on one side, of Amyntas the Macedonian, on another, of the Syracusan despot Dionysius on a third,—as betraying the independence of Greece to the foreigner, and seeking to put down, everywhere within it, that free spirit which stood in the way of her own harmosts and partisan oligarchies.

Unpopular as Sparta was, however, she stood out incontestably as the head of Greece. No man dared to call into question her headship, or to provoke resistance against it. The tone of patriotic and free-spoken Greeks at this moment is manifested in two eminent residents at Athens,—Lysias and Isokrates. Of these two rhetors, the former composed an oration which he publicly read at Olympia during the celebration of the 99th Olympiad, B.C. 384, three years after the peace of Antalkidas. In this oration (of which unhappily only a fragment remains, preserved by Dionysius of Halikarnassus), Lysias raises the cry of danger to Greece, partly from the Persian king, partly from the despot Dionysius of Syracuse.[161] He calls upon all Greeks to lay aside hos[p. 74]tility and jealousies one with the other, and to unite in making head against these two really formidable enemies, as their ancestors had previously done, with equal zeal for putting down despots and for repelling the foreigner. He notes the number of Greeks (in Asia) handed over to the Persian king, whose great wealth would enable him to hire an indefinite number of Grecian soldiers, and whose naval force was superior to anything which the Greeks could muster; while the strongest naval force in Greece was that of the Syracusan Dionysius. Recognizing the Lacedæmonians as chiefs of Greece, Lysias expresses his astonishment that they should quietly permit the fire to extend itself from one city to another. They ought to look upon the misfortunes of those cities which had been destroyed, both by the Persians and by Dionysius, as coming home to themselves; not to wait patiently, until the two hostile powers had united their forces to attack the centre of Greece, which yet remained independent.

[p. 75]

Of the two common enemies,—Artaxerxes and Dionysius,—whom Lysias thus denounces, the latter had sent to this very Olympic festival a splendid Theôry, or legation to offer solemn sacrifice in his name; together with several chariots to contend in the race, and some excellent rhapsodes to recite poems composed by himself. The Syracusan legation, headed by Thearides, brother of Dionysius, were clothed with rich vestments, and lodged in a tent of extraordinary magnificence, decorated with gold and purple; such, probably, as had not been seen since the ostentatious display made by Alkibiades[162] in the ninetieth Olympiad (B.C. 420). While instigating the spectators present to exert themselves as Greeks for the liberation of their fellow-Greeks enslaved by Dionysius, Lysias exhorted them to begin forthwith their hostile demonstration against the latter, by plundering the splendid tent before them, which insulted the sacred plain of Olympia with the spectacle of wealth extorted from Grecian sufferers. It appears that this exhortation was partially, but only partially, acted upon.[163] Some persons assailed the tents, but were, probably, re[p. 76]strained by the Eleian superintendents without difficulty. Yet the incident, taken in conjunction with the speech of Lysias, helps us to understand the apprehensions and sympathies which agitated the Olympic crowd in B.C. 384. This was the first Olympic festival after the peace of Antalkidas; a festival memorable, not only because it again brought thither Athenians, Bœotians, Corinthians, and Argeians, who must have been prevented by the preceding war from coming either in B.C. 388 or in B.C. 392,—but also as it exhibited the visitors and Theôries from the Asiatic Greeks, for the first time since they had been handed over by Sparta to the Persians,—and the like also from those numerous Italians and Sicilian Greeks whom Dionysius had enslaved. All these sufferers, especially the Asiatics, would doubtless be full of complaints respecting the hardships of their new lot, and against Sparta as having betrayed them; complaints, which would call forth genuine sympathy in the Athenians, Thebans, and all others who had submitted reluctantly to the peace of Antalkidas. There was thus a large body of sentiment prepared to respond to the declamations of Lysias. And many a Grecian patriot, who would be ashamed to lay hands on the Syracusan tents or envoys, would yet yield a mournful assent to the orator’s remark, that the free Grecian world was on fire[164] at both sides; that Asiatics, Italians, and Sicilians, had already passed into the hands of Artaxerxes and Dionysius; and that, if these two formidable enemies should coalesce, the liberties even of central Greece would be in great danger.

It is easy to see how much such feeling of grief and shame would[p. 77] tend to raise antipathy against Sparta. Lysias, in that portion of his speech which we possess, disguises his censure against her under the forms of surprise. But Isokrates, who composed an analogous discourse four years afterwards (which may perhaps have been read at the next Olympic festival of B.C. 380), speaks out more plainly. He denounces the Lacedæmonians as traitors to the general security and freedom of Greece, and as seconding foreign kings as well as Grecian despots to aggrandize themselves at the cost of autonomous Grecian cities,—all in the interest of their own selfish ambition. No wonder (he says) that the free and self-acting Hellenic world was every day becoming contracted into a narrower space, when the presiding city Sparta assisted Artaxerxes, Amyntas, and Dionysius to absorb it,—and herself undertook unjust aggressions against Thebes, Olynthus, Phlius, and Mantinea.[165]

The preceding citations, from Lysias and Isokrates, would be sufficient to show the measure which intelligent contemporaries took, both of the state of Greece and of the conduct of Sparta, during the eight years succeeding the peace of Antalkidas (387-379 B.C.). But the philo-Laconian Xenophon is still more emphatic in his condemnation of Sparta. Having described her triumphant and seemingly unassailable position after the subjugation of Olynthus and Phlius, he proceeds to say,[166]—“I could produce numerous oth[p. 78]er incidents, both in and out of Greece, to prove that the gods take careful note of impious men and of evil-doers; but the events which I am now about to relate are quite sufficient. The Lacedæmonians, who had sworn to leave each city autonomous, having violated their oaths by seizing the citadel of Thebes, were punished by the very men whom they had wronged,—though no one on earth had ever before triumphed over them. And the Theban faction who had introduced them into the citadel, with the deliberate purpose that their city should be enslaved to Sparta in order that they might rule despotically themselves,—were put down by no more than seven assailants, among the exiles whom they had banished.”

What must have been the hatred, and sense of abused ascendency, entertained towards Sparta by neutral or unfriendly Greeks, when Xenophon, alike conspicuous for his partiality to her and for his dislike of Thebes, could employ these decisive words in ushering in the coming phase of Spartan humiliation, representing it as a well-merited judgment from the gods? The sentence which I have just translated marks, in the commonplace manner of the Xenophontic Hellenica, the same moment of pointed contrast and transition,—past glory suddenly and unexpectedly darkened by supervening misfortune,—which is foreshadowed in the narrative of Thucydides by the dialogue between the Athenian envoys and the Melian[167] council; or in the Œdipus and Antigonê of Sophokles,[168] by the warnings of the prophet Teiresias.

The government of Thebes had now been for three years (since the blow struck by Phœbidas) in the hands of Leontiades and his oligarchical partisans, upheld by the Spartan garrison in the Kadmeia. Respecting the details of its proceedings we have scarce any information. We can only (as above remarked) judge of it by the analogy of the Thirty tyrants at Athens, and of the Lysandrian Dekarchies, to which it was exactly similar in origin, position, and interests. That the general spirit of it must have been cruel, oppressive, and rapacious,—we cannot doubt; though in what degree we have no means of knowing. The appetites[p. 79] of uncontrolled rulers, as well as those of a large foreign garrison, would ensure such a result; besides which, those rulers must have been in constant fear of risings or conspiracies amidst a body of high-spirited citizens who saw their city degraded, from being the chief of the Bœotian federation, into nothing better than a captive dependency of Sparta. Such fear was aggravated by the vicinity of a numerous body of Theban exiles, belonging to the opposite or anti-Spartan party; three or four hundred of whom had fled to Athens at the first seizure of their leader Ismenias, and had been doubtless joined subsequently by others. So strongly did the Theban rulers apprehend mischief from these exiles, that they hired assassins to take them off by private murder at Athens; and actually succeeded in thus killing Androkleidas, chief of the band and chief successor of the deceased Ismenias,—though they missed their blows at the rest.[169] And we may be sure that they made the prison in Thebes subservient to multiplied enormities and executions, when we read not only that one hundred and fifty prisoners were found in it when the government was put down,[170] but also that in the fervor of that revolutionary movement, the slain gaoler was an object of such fierce antipathy, that his corpse was trodden and spit upon by a crowd of Theban women.[171] In Thebes, as in other Grecian cities, the women not only took no part in political disputes, but rarely even showed themselves in public;[172] so that this furious demonstration of vin[p. 80]dictive sentiment must have been generated by the loss or maltreatment of sons, husbands, and brothers.

The Theban exiles found at Athens not only secure shelter, but genuine sympathy with their complaints against Lacedæmonian injustice. The generous countenance which had been shown by the Thebans, twenty-four years before, to Thrasybulus and the other Athenian refugees, during the omnipotence of the Thirty, was now gratefully requited under this reversal of fortune to both cities;[173] and requited too in defiance of the menaces of Sparta, who demanded that the exiles should be expelled,—as she had in the earlier occasion demanded that the Athenian refugees should be dismissed from Thebes. To protect these Theban exiles, however, was all that Athens could do. Their restoration was a task beyond her power,—and seemingly yet more beyond their own. For the existing government of Thebes was firmly seated, and had the citizens completely under control. Administered by a small faction, Archias, Philippus, Hypatês, and Leontiades (among whom the first two were at this moment polemarchs, though the last was the most energetic and resolute)—it was at the same time sustained by the large garrison of fifteen hundred Lacedæmonians and allies,[174] under Lysanoridas and two other harmosts, in the Kadmeia,—as well as by the Lacedæmonian posts in the other Bœotian cities around,—Orchomenus, Thespiæ, Platæa, Tanagra, etc. Though the general body of Theban senti[p. 81]ment in the city was decidedly adverse to the government, and though the young men while exercising in the palæstra (gymnastic exercises being more strenuously prosecuted at Thebes than anywhere else except at Sparta) kept up by private communication the ardor of an earnest, but compressed, patriotism,—yet all manifestation or assemblage was forcibly kept down, and the commanding posts of the lower town, as well as the citadel, were held in vigilant occupation by the ruling minority.[175]

For a certain time the Theban exiles at Athens waited in hopes of some rising at home, or some positive aid from the Athenians. At length, in the third winter after their flight, they began to despair of encouragement from either quarter, and resolved to take the initiative upon themselves. Among them were numbered several men of the richest and highest families at Thebes, proprietors of chariots, jockeys, and training establishments, for contending at the various festivals: Pelopidas, Mellon, Damokleidas, Theopompus, Pherenikus, and others.[176]

Of these the most forward in originating aggressive measures, though almost the youngest, was Pelopidas; whose daring and self-devotion, in an enterprise which seemed utterly desperate, soon communicated itself to a handful of his comrades. The exiles, keeping up constant private correspondence with their friends in Thebes, felt assured of the sympathy of the citizens generally, if they could once strike a blow. Yet nothing less would be sufficient than the destruction of the four rulers, Leontiades and his colleagues,—nor would any one within the city devote himself to so hopeless a danger. It was this conspiracy which Pelopidas, Mellon, and five or ten other exiles (the entire band is differently numbered, by some as seven, by others, twelve[177]) un[p. 82]dertook to execute. Many of their friends in Thebes came in as auxiliaries to them, who would not have embarked in the design as primary actors. Of all auxiliaries, the most effective and indispensable was Phyllidas, the secretary of the polemarchs; next to him, Charon, an eminent and earnest patriot. Phyllidas, having been despatched to Athens on official business, entered into secret conference with the conspirators, concerted with them the day for their coming to Thebes, and even engaged to provide for them access to the persons of the polemarchs. Charon not only promised them concealment in his house, from their first coming within the gates until the moment of striking their blow should have arrived,—but also entered his name to share in the armed attack. Nevertheless, in spite of such partial encouragements, the plan still appeared desperate to many who wished heartily for its success. Epaminondas, for example,—who now for the first time comes before us,—resident at Thebes, and not merely sympathizing with the political views of Pelopidas, but also bound to him by intimate friendship,—dissuaded others from the attempt, and declined participating in it. He announced distinctly that he would not become an accomplice in civil bloodshed. It appears that there were men among the exiles whose violence made him fear that they would not, like Pelopidas, draw the sword exclusively against Leontiades and his colleagues, but would avail themselves of success to perpetrate unmeasured violence against other political enemies.[178]

The day for the enterprise was determined by Phyllidas the secretary, who had prepared an evening banquet for Archias and Philippus, in celebration of the period when they were going out of office as polemarchs,—and who had promised on that occasion to bring into their company some women remarkable for beauty, as well as of the best families in Thebes.[179] In concert with the general body of Theban exiles at Athens, who held themselves ready on the borders of Attica, together with some Athenian sympathizers, to march to Thebes the instant that they should receive[p. 83] intimation,—and in concert also with two out of the ten Stratêgi of Athens, who took on themselves privately to countenance the enterprise, without any public vote,—Pelopidas and Mellon, and their five companions,[180] crossed Kithæron from Athens to Thebes. It was wet weather, about December B.C. 379; they were disguised as rustics or hunters, with no other arms than a concealed dagger; and they got within the gates of Thebes one by one at nightfall, just when the latest farming men were coming home from their fields. All of them arrived safe at the house of Charon, the appointed rendezvous.

It was, however, by mere accident that they had not been turned back, and the whole scheme frustrated. For a Theban named Hipposthenidas, friendly to the conspiracy, but faint-hearted, who had been let into the secret against the will of Phyllidas,—became so frightened as the moment of execution approached, that he took upon himself, without the knowledge of the rest, to despatch Chlidon, a faithful slave of Mellon, ordering him to go forth on horseback from Thebes, to meet his master on the road, and to desire that he and his comrades would go back to Attica, since circumstances had happened to render the project for the moment impracticable. Chlidon, going home to fetch his bridle, but not finding it in its usual place, asked his wife where it was. The woman, at first pretending to look for it, at last confessed that she had lent it to a neighbor. Chlidon became so irritated with this delay, that he got into a loud altercation with his wife, who on her part wished him ill luck with his journey. He at last beat her, until neighbors ran in to interpose. His departure was thus accidentally frustrated, so that the intended message of countermand never reached the conspirators on their way.[181]

In the house of Charon they remained concealed all the ensuing day, on the evening of which the banquet of Archias and Philippus was to take place. Phyllidas had laid his plan for introducing them at that banquet, at the moment when the two polemarchs had become full of wine, in female attire, as being the[p. 84] women whose visit was expected. The hour had nearly arrived, and they were preparing to play their parts, when an unexpected messenger knocked at the door, summoning Charon instantly into the presence of the polemarchs. All within were thunderstruck with the summons, which seemed to imply that the plot had been divulged, perhaps by the timid Hipposthenidas. It was agreed among them that Charon must obey at once. Nevertheless, he himself, even in the perilous uncertainty which beset him, was most of all apprehensive lest the friends whom he had sheltered should suspect him of treachery towards themselves and their cause. Before departing, therefore, he sent for his only son, a youth of fifteen, and of conspicuous promise in every way. This youth he placed in the hands of Pelopidas, as a hostage for his own fidelity. But Pelopidas and the rest, vehemently disclaiming all suspicion, entreated Charon to put his son away, out of the reach of that danger in which all were now involved. Charon, however, could not be prevailed on to comply, and left his son among them to share the fate of the rest. He went into the presence of Archias and Philippus; whom he found already half-intoxicated, but informed, by intelligence from Athens, that some plot, they knew not by whom, was afloat. They had sent for him to question him, as a known friend of the exiles; but he had little difficulty, aided by the collusion of Phyllidas, in blinding the vague suspicions of drunken men, anxious only to resume their conviviality.[182] He was allowed to retire and rejoin his friends. Nevertheless, soon after his departure,—so many were the favorable chances which befel these improvident men,—a fresh message was delivered to Archias the polemarch, from his namesake Archias the Athenian Hierophant, giving an exact account of the names and scheme of the conspirators, which had become known[p. 85] to the philo-Laconian party at Athens. The messenger who bore this despatch delivered it to Archias with an intimation, that it related to very serious matters. “Serious matters for to-morrow,” said the polemarch, as he put the despatch, unopened and unread, under the pillow of the couch on which he was reclining.[183]

Returning to their carousal, Archias and Philippus impatiently called upon Phyllidas to introduce the women according to his promise. Upon this the secretary retired, and brought the conspirators, clothed in female attire, into an adjoining chamber; then going back to the polemarchs, he informed them that the women would not come in unless all the domestics were first dismissed. An order was forthwith given that these latter should depart, while Phyllidas took care that they should be well provided with wine at the lodging of one among their number. The polemarchs were thus left only with one or two friends at table, half-intoxicated as well as themselves; among them Kabeirichus, the archon of the year, who always throughout his term kept the consecrated spear of office in actual possession, and had it at that moment close to his person. Phyllidas now conducted the pretended women into the banqueting-room; three of them attired as ladies of distinction, the four others following as female attendants. Their long veils, and ample folds of clothing, were quite sufficient as disguise,—even had the guests at table been sober,—until they sat down by the side of the polemarchs; and the instant of lifting their veils was the signal for using their daggers. Archias and Philippus were slain at once and with little resistance; but Kabeirichus with his spear tried to defend himself, and thus perished with the others, though the conspirators had not originally intended to take his life.[184]

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Having been thus far successful, Phyllidas conducted three of the conspirators,—Pelopidas, Kephisodôrus, and Damokleidas,—to the house of Leontiades, into which he obtained admittance by announcing himself as the bearer of an order from the polemarchs. Leontiades was reclining after supper, with his wife sitting spinning wool by his side, when they entered his chamber. Being a brave and powerful man, he started up, seized his sword, and mortally wounded Kephisodôrus in the throat; a desperate struggle then ensued between him and Pelopidas in the narrow doorway, where there was no room for a third to approach. At length, however, Pelopidas overthrew and killed him, after which they retired, enjoining the wife with threats to remain silent, and closing the door after them with peremptory commands that it should not be again opened. They then went to the house of Hypatês, whom they slew while he attempted to escape over the roof.[185]

[p. 87]

The four great rulers of the philo-Laconian party in Thebes having been now put to death, Phyllidas proceeded with the conspirators to the prison. Here the gaoler, a confidential agent in the oppressions of the deceased governors, hesitated to admit him; but was slain by a sudden thrust with his spear, so as to ensure free admission to all. To liberate the prisoners, probably, for the most part men of kindred politics with the conspirators,—to furnish them with arms taken from the battle-spoils hanging up in the neighboring porticos,—and to range them in battle order near the temple of Amphion,—were the next proceedings; after which they began to feel some assurance of safety and triumph.[186] Epaminondas and Gorgidas, apprised of what had occurred, were the first who appeared in arms with a few friends to sustain the cause; while proclamation was everywhere made aloud, through heralds, that the despots were slain,—that Thebes was free,—and that all Thebans who valued freedom should muster in arms in the market-place. There were at that moment in Thebes many trumpeters who had come to contend for the prize at the approaching festival of the Herakleia. Hipposthenidas engaged these men to blow their trumpets in different parts of the city, and thus everywhere to excite the citizens to arms.[187]

Although during the darkness surprise was the prevalent feeling, and no one knew what to do,—yet so soon as day dawned, and the truth became known, there was but one feeling of joy and patriotic enthusiasm among the majority of the citizens.[188] Both[p. 88] horsemen and hoplites hastened in arms to the agora. Here for the first time since the seizure of the Kadmeia by Phœbidas, a formal assembly of the Theban people was convened, before which Pelopidas and his fellow-conspirators presented themselves. The priests of the city crowned them with wreaths, and thanked them in the name of the local gods; while the assembly hailed them with acclamations of delight and gratitude, nominating with one voice Pelopidas, Mellon, and Charon, as the first renewed Bœotarchs.[189] The revival of this title, which had been dropped since the peace of Antalkidas, was in itself an event of no mean significance; implying not merely that Thebes had waked up again into freedom, but that the Bœotian confederacy also had been, or would be, restored.

Messengers had been forthwith despatched by the conspirators to Attica to communicate their success; upon which all the remaining exiles, with the two Athenian generals privy to the plot, and a body of Athenian volunteers, or corps francs, all of whom were ready on the borders awaiting the summons,—flocked to Thebes to complete the work. The Spartan generals, on their side also, sent to Platæa and Thespiæ for aid. During the whole night, they had been distracted and alarmed by the disturbance in the city; lights showing themselves here and there, with trumpets sounding and shouts for the recent success.[190] Apprised speedily of the slaughter of the polemarchs, from whom they had been accustomed to receive orders, they knew not whom to trust or to consult, while they were doubtless beset by affrighted fugitives of the now defeated party, who would hurry up the Kadmeia for safety. They reckoned at first on a diversion in their favor from the forces at Platæa and Thespiæ. But these forces were not permitted even to approach the city gate; being vigorously charged, as soon as they came in sight, by the newly-mustered Theban cavalry, and forced to retreat with loss. The Lacedæmonians in the citadel were thus not only left without support, but saw their enemies in[p. 89] the city reinforced by the other exiles, and by the auxiliary volunteers.[191]

Meanwhile, Pelopidas and the other new Bœotarchs found themselves at the head of a body of armed citizens, full of devoted patriotism and unanimous in hailing the recent revolution. They availed themselves of this first burst of fervor to prepare for storming the Kadmeia without delay, knowing the importance of forestalling all aid from Sparta. And the citizens were already rushing up to the assault,—proclamation being made of large rewards to those who should first force their way in,—when the Lacedæmonian commander sent proposals for a capitulation.[192] Undisturbed egress from Thebes, with the honors of war, being readily guaranteed to him by oath, the Kadmeia was then surrendered. As the Spartans were marching out of the gates, many Thebans of the defeated party came forth also. But against these latter the exasperation of the victors was so ungovernable, that several of the most odious were seized as they passed, and put to death; in some cases, even their children along with them. And more of them would have been thus despatched, had not the Athenian auxiliaries, with generous anxiety, exerted every effort to get them out of sight and put them into safety.[193] We are not told,—nor is it certain,—that these Thebans were protected under the capitulation. Even had they been so, however, the wrathful impulse might still have prevailed against them. Of the three harmosts who thus evacuated the Kadmeia without a blow, two were put to death, the third was heavily fined and banished, by the authorities at Sparta.[194] We do not know what the fortifi[p. 90]cations of the Kadmeia were, nor how far it was provisioned. But we can hardly wonder that these officers were considered to have dishonored the Lacedæmonian arms, by making no attempt to defend it; when we recollect that hardly more than four or five days would be required to procure adequate relief from home,—and that forty-three years afterwards, the Macedonian garrison in the same place maintained itself against the Thebans in the city for more than fourteen days, until the return of Alexander from Illyria.[195] The first messenger who brought news to Sparta of the conspiracy and revolution at Thebes, appears to have communicated at the same time that the garrison had evacuated the Kadmeia and was in full retreat, with a train of Theban exiles from the defeated party.[196]

[p. 91]

This revolution at Thebes came like an electric shock upon the Grecian world. With a modern reader, the assassination of the[p. 92] four leaders, in their houses and at the banquet, raises a sentiment of repugnance which withdraws his attention from the other fea[p. 93]tures of this memorable deed. Now an ancient Greek not only had no such repugnance, but sympathized with the complete revenge for the seizure of the Kadmeia and the death of Ismenias; while he admired, besides, the extraordinary personal daring of Pelopidas and Mellon,—the skilful forecast of the plot,—and the sudden overthrow, by a force so contemptibly small, of a government which the day before seemed unassailable.[197] It deserves note that we here see the richest men in Thebes undertaking a risk, single-handed and with their own persons, which must have appeared on a reasonable estimate little less than desperate. From the Homeric Odysseus and Achilles down to the end of free Hellenism, the rich Greek strips in the Palæstra,[198] and exposes his person in the ranks as a soldier like the poorest citizens; being generally superior to them in strength and bodily efficiency.

As the revolution in Thebes acted forcibly on the Grecian mind from the manner in which it was accomplished, so by its positive effects it altered forthwith the balance of power in Greece. The empire of Sparta, far from being undisputed and nearly universal[p. 94] over Greece, is from henceforward only maintained by more or less effort, until at length it is completely overthrown.[199]

The exiles from Thebes, arriving at Sparta, inflamed both the ephors, and the miso-Theban Agesilaus, to the highest pitch. Though it was then the depth of winter,[200] an expedition was decreed forthwith against Thebes, and the allied contingents were summoned. Agesilaus declined to take the command of it, on the ground that he was above sixty years of age, and therefore no longer liable to compulsory foreign service. But this (says Xenophon[201]) was not his real reason. He was afraid that his enemies at Sparta would say,—“Here is Agesilaus again putting us to expense, in order that he may uphold despots in other cities,”—as he had just done, and had been reproached with doing, at Phlius; a second proof that the reproaches against Sparta (which I have cited a few pages above from Lysias and Isokrates) of allying herself with Greek despots as well as with foreigners to put down Grecian freedom, found an echo even in Sparta herself. Accordingly Kleombrotus, the other king of Sparta, took the command. He had recently succeeded his brother Agesipolis, and had never commanded before.

[p. 95]

Kleombrotus conducted his army along the Isthmus of Corinth through Megara to Platæa, cutting to pieces an outpost of Thebans, composed chiefly of the prisoners set free by the recent revolution, who had been placed for the defence of the intervening mountain-pass. From Platæa he went forward to Thespiæ, and from thence to Kynoskephalæ in the Theban territory, where he lay encamped for sixteen days; after which he retreated to Thespiæ. It appears that he did nothing, and that his inaction was the subject of much wonder in his army, who are said to have even doubted whether he was really and earnestly hostile to Thebes. Perhaps the exiles, with customary exaggeration, may have led him to hope that they could provoke a rising in Thebes, if he would only come near. At any rate the bad weather must have been a serious impediment to action; since in his march back to Peloponnesus through Kreusis and Ægosthenæ the wind blew a hurricane, so that his soldiers could not proceed without leaving their shields and coming back afterwards to fetch them. Kleombrotus did not quit Bœotia, however, without leaving Sphodrias as harmost at Thespiæ, with one third of the entire army, and with a considerable sum of money to employ in hiring mercenaries and acting vigorously against the Thebans.[202]

The army of Kleombrotus, in its march from Megara to Platæa, had passed by the skirts of Attica; causing so much alarm to the Athenians, that they placed Chabrias with a body of peltasts, to guard their frontier and the neighboring road through Eleutheræ into Bœotia. This was the first time that a Lacedæmonian army had touched Attica (now no longer guarded by the lines of Corinth, as in the war between 394 and 388 B.C.) since the retirement of king Pausanias in 404 B.C.; furnishing a proof of the exposure of the country, such as to revive in the Athenian mind all the terrible recollections of Dekeleia and the Peloponnesian war. It was during the first prevalence of this alarm,—and seemingly while Kleombrotus was still with his army at Thespiæ or Kynoskephalæ, close on the Athenian frontier,—that three Lacedæmonian envoys, Etymoklês and two others, arrived at Athens to demand satisfaction for the part taken by the two Athenian generals and the Athenian volunteers, in concerting and aid[p. 96]ing the enterprise of Pelopidas and his comrades. So overpowering was the anxiety in the public mind to avoid giving offence to Sparta, that these two generals were both of them accused before the dikastery. The first of them was condemned and executed; the second, profiting by this warning (since, pursuant to the psephism of Kannônus,[203] the two would be put on trial separately), escaped, and a sentence of banishment was passed against him.[204] These two generals had been unquestionably guilty of a grave abuse of their official functions. They had brought the state into public hazard, not merely without consulting the senate or assembly, but even without taking the sense of their own board of Ten. Nevertheless the severity of the sentence pronounced indicates the alarm, as well as the displeasure, of the general body of Athenians; while it served as a disclaimer in fact, if not in form, of all political connection with Thebes.[205]

[p. 97]

Even before the Lacedæmonian envoys had quitted Athens, however, an incident, alike sudden and memorable, completely[p. 98] altered the Athenian temper. The Lacedæmonian harmost Sphodrias (whom Kleombrotus had left at Thespiæ to prosecute the war against Thebes), being informed that Peiræus on its land side was without gates or night watch,—since there was no suspicion of attack,—conceived the idea of surprising it by a night-march from Thespiæ, and thus of mastering at one stroke the commerce, the wealth, and the naval resources of Athens. Putting his troops under march one evening after an early supper, he calculated on reaching the Peiræus the next morning before daylight. But his reckoning proved erroneous. Morning overtook him when he had advanced no farther than the Thriasian plain near Eleusis; from whence, as it was useless to proceed farther, he turned back and retreated to Thespiæ; not, however, without committing various acts of plunder against the neighboring Athenian residents.

This plan against Peiræus appears to have been not ill conceived. Had Sphodrias been a man competent to organize and execute movements as rapid as those of Brasidas, there is no reason why it might not have succeeded; in which case the whole face of the war would have been changed, since the Lacedæmonians, if once masters of Peiræus, both could and would have maintained the place. But it was one of those injustices, which no one ever commends until it has been successfully consummated,—“consilium quod non potest laudari nisi peractum.[206]” As it[p. 99] failed, it has been considered, by critics as well as by contemporaries, not merely as a crime but as a fault, and its author Sphodrias as a brave man, but singularly weak and hot-headed.[207] Without admitting the full extent of this censure, we may see that his present aggression grew out of an untoward emulation of the glory which Phœbidas, in spite of the simulated or transient displeasure of his countrymen, had acquired by seizing the Kadmeia. That Sphodrias received private instructions from Kleombrotus (as Diodorus states) is not sufficiently proved; while the suspicion, intimated by Xenophon as being abroad, that he was wrought upon by secret emissaries and bribes from his enemies the Thebans, for the purpose of plunging Athens into war with Sparta, is altogether improbable;[208] and seems merely an hypothesis suggested by the consequences of the act,—which were such, that if his enemies had bribed him, he could not have served them better.

[p. 100]

The presence of Sphodrias and his army in the Thriasian plain was communicated shortly after daybreak at Athens, where it excited no less terror than surprise. Every man instantly put himself under arms for defence; but news soon arrived that the invader had retired. When thus reassured, the Athenians passed from fear to indignation. The Lacedæmonian envoys, who were lodging at the house of Kallias the proxenus of Sparta, were immediately put under arrest and interrogated. But all three affirmed that they were not less astonished, and not less exasperated, by the march of Sphodrias, than the Athenians themselves; adding, by way of confirmation, that had they been really privy to any design of seizing the Peiræus, they would have taken care not to let themselves be found in the city, and in their ordinary lodging at the house of the proxenus, where of course their persons would be at once seized. They concluded by assuring the Athenians, that Sphodrias would not only be indignantly disavowed, but punished capitally, at Sparta. And their reply was deemed so satisfactory, that they were allowed to depart; while an Athenian embassy was sent to Sparta, to demand the punishment of the offending general.[209]

The Ephors immediately summoned Sphodrias home to Sparta, to take his trial on a capital charge. So much did he himself despair of his case, that he durst not make his appearance; while the general impression was, both at Sparta and elsewhere, that he would certainly be condemned. Nevertheless, though thus absent and undefended, he was acquitted, purely through private favor and esteem for his general character. He was of the party of Kleombrotus, so that all the friends of that prince espoused his cause, as a matter of course. But as he was of the party opposed to Agesilaus, his friends dreaded that the latter would declare[p. 101] against him, and bring about his condemnation. Nothing saved Sphodrias except the peculiar intimacy between his son Kleonymus and Archidamus son of Agesilaus. The mournful importunity of Archidamus induced Agesilaus, when this important cause was brought before the Senate of Sparta, to put aside his judicial conviction, and give his vote in the following manner: “To be sure, Sphodrias is guilty; upon that there cannot be two opinions. Nevertheless, we cannot put to death a man like him, who, as boy, youth, and man, has stood unblemished in all Spartan honor. Sparta cannot part with soldiers like Sphodrias.[210]” The friends of Agesilaus, following this opinion and coinciding with those of Kleombrotus, ensured a favorable verdict. And it is remarkable, that Etymoklês himself, who as envoy at Athens had announced as a certainty that Sphodrias would be put to death,—as senator and friend of Agesilaus voted for his acquittal.[211]

This remarkable incident (which comes to us from a witness not merely philo-Laconian, but also personally intimate with Agesilaus) shows how powerfully the course of justice at Sparta was overruled by private sympathy and interests,—especially, those of the two kings. It especially illustrates what has been stated in a former chapter respecting the oppressions exercised by the Spartan harmosts and the dekadarchies, for which no redress was attainable at Sparta. Here was a case where not only the guilt of Sphodrias stood confessed, but in which also his acquittal was sure to be followed by a war with Athens. If, under such circumstances, the Athenian demand for redress was overruled by the favor of the two kings, what chance was there of any justice to the complaint of a dependent city, or an injured individual,[p. 102] against the harmost? The contrast between Spartan and Athenian proceeding is also instructive. Only a few days before, the Athenians condemned, at the instance of Sparta, their two generals who had without authority lent aid to the Theban exiles. In so doing, the Athenian dikastery enforced the law against clear official misconduct,—and that, too, in a case where their sympathies went along with the act, though their fear of a war with Sparta was stronger. But the most important circumstance to note is, that at Athens there is neither private influence, nor kingly influence, capable of overruling the sincere judicial conscience of a numerous and independent dikastery.

The result of the acquittal of Sphodrias must have been well known beforehand to all parties at Sparta. Even by the general voice of Greece, the sentence was denounced as iniquitous.[212] But the Athenians, who had so recently given strenuous effect to the remonstrances of Sparta against their own generals, were stung by it to the quick; and only the more stung, in consequence of the extraordinary compliments to Sphodrias on which the acquittal was made to turn. They immediately contracted hearty alliance with Thebes, and made vigorous preparations for war against Sparta both by land and sea. After completing the fortifications of Peiræus, so as to place it beyond the reach of any future attempt, they applied themselves to the building of new ships of war, and to the extension of their naval ascendency, at the expense of Sparta.[213]

From this moment, a new combination began in Grecian politics. The Athenians thought the moment favorable to attempt the construction of a new confederacy, analogous to the Confederacy of Delos, formed a century before; the basis on which had been reared the formidable Athenian empire, lost at the close of the Peloponnesian war. Towards such construction there was so far a tendency, that Athens had already a small body of maritime allies; while rhetors like Isokrates (in his Panegyrical Discourse, published two years before) had been familiarizing the public mind with larger ideas. But the enterprise was now pressed with the determination and vehemence of men smarting under recent insult. The Athenians had good ground to build upon; since,[p. 103] while the discontent against the ascendency of Sparta was widely spread, the late revolution in Thebes had done much to lessen that sentiment of fear upon which such ascendency chiefly rested. To Thebes, the junction with Athens was preëminently welcome, and her leaders gladly enrolled their city as a constituent member of the new confederacy.[214] They cheerfully acknowledged the presidency of Athens,—reserving, however, tacitly or expressly, their own rights as presidents of the Bœotian federation, as soon as that could be reconstituted; which reconstitution was at this moment desirable even for Athens, seeing that the Bœotian towns were now dependent allies of Sparta under harmosts and oligarchies.

The Athenians next sent envoys round to the principal islands and maritime cities in the Ægean, inviting all of them to an alliance on equal and honorable terms. The principles were in the main the same as those upon which the confederacy of Delos had been formed against the Persians, almost a century before. It was proposed that a congress of deputies should meet at Athens, one from each city, small as well as great, each with one vote; that Athens should be president, yet each individual city autonomous; that a common fund should be raised, with a common naval force, through assessment imposed by this congress upon each, and applied as the same authority might prescribe; the general purpose being defined to be, maintenance of freedom and security from foreign aggression, to each confederate, by the common force of all. Care was taken to banish as much as possible those associations of tribute and subjection which rendered the recollection of the former Athenian empire unpopular.[215] And as there were many Athenian citizens, who, during those times of supremacy, had been planted out as kleruchs or out-settlers in various dependencies, but had been deprived of their properties at the close of the war,—it was thought necessary to pass a formal decree,[216] re[p. 104]nouncing and barring all revival of these suspended rights. It was farther decreed that henceforward no Athenian should on any[p. 105] pretence hold property, either in house or land, in the territory of any one of the confederates; neither by purchase, nor as security for money lent, nor by any other mode of acquisition. Any Athenian infringing this law, was rendered liable to be informed against before the synod; who, on proof of the fact, were to deprive him of the property,—half of it going to the informer, half to the general purposes of the confederacy.

Such were the liberal principles of confederacy now proposed by Athens,—who, as a candidate for power, was straightforward and just, like the Herodotean Deiokês,[217]—and formally ratified, as well by the Athenians as by the general voice of the confederate deputies assembled within their walls. The formal decree and compact of alliance was inscribed on a stone column and placed by the side of the statue of Zeus Eleutherius or the Liberator; a symbol, of enfranchisement from Sparta accomplished, as well as of freedom to be maintained against Persia and other enemies.[218] Periodical meetings of the confederate deputies were provided to be held (how often, we do not know) at Athens, and the synod was recognized as competent judge of all persons, even Athenian citizens, charged with treason against the confederacy. To give fuller security to the confederates generally, it was provided in the original compact, that if any Athenian citizen should either speak, or put any question to the vote, in the Athenian assembly, contrary to the tenor of that document,—he should be[p. 106] tried before the synod for treason; and that, if found guilty, he might be condemned by them to the severest punishment.

Three Athenian leaders stood prominent as commissioners in the first organization of the confederacy, and in the dealings with those numerous cities whose junction was to be won by amicable inducement,—Chabrias, Timotheus son of Konon, and Kallistratus.[219]

The first of the three is already known to the reader. He and Iphikrates were the most distinguished warriors whom Athens numbered among her citizens. But not having been engaged in any war, since the peace of Antalkidas in 387 B.C., she had had no need of their services; hence both of them had been absent from the city during much of the last nine years, and Iphikrates seems still to have been absent. At the time when that peace was concluded, Iphikrates was serving in the Hellespont and Thrace, Chabrias with Evagoras in Cyprus; each having been sent thither by Athens at the head of a body of mercenary peltasts. Instead of dismissing their troops, and returning to Athens as peaceful citizens, it was not less agreeable to the military tastes of these generals, than conducive to their importance and their profit, to keep together their bands, and to take foreign service. Accordingly, Chabrias had continued in service first in Cyprus, next with the native Egyptian king Akoris. The Persians, against whom he served, found his hostility so inconvenient, that Pharnabazus demanded of the Athenians to recall him, on pain of the Great King’s displeasure; and requested at the same time that Iphikrates might be sent to aid the Persian satraps in organizing a great expedition against Egypt. The Athenians, to whom the goodwill of Persia was now of peculiar importance, complied on both points; recalled Chabrias, who thus became disposable for the Athenian service,[220] and despatched Iphikrates to take command along with the Persians.

Iphikrates, since the peace of Antalkidas, had employed his peltasts in the service of the kings of Thrace: first of Seuthes, near the shores of the Propontis, whom he aided in the recovery of certain lost dominions,—next of Kotys, whose favor he acquired, and whose daughter he presently married.[221] Not only did he enjoy great scope for warlike operations and plunder, among the[p. 107] “butter-eating Thracians,”[222]—but he also acquired, as dowry, a large stock of such produce as Thracian princes had at their disposal, together with a boon even more important,—a seaport village not far from the mouth of the Hebrus, called Drys, where he established a fortified post, and got together a Grecian colony dependent on himself.[223] Miltiades, Alkibiades, and other eminent Athenians had done the same thing before him; though Xenophon had refused a similar proposition when made to him by the earlier Seuthes.[224] Iphikrates thus became a great man in Thrace, yet by no means abandoning his connection with Athens, but making his position in each subservient to his importance in the other. While he was in a situation to favor the projects of Athenian citizens for mercantile and territorial acquisitions in the Chersonese and other parts[p. 108] of Thrace,—he could also lend the aid of Athenian naval and military art, not merely to princes in Thrace, but to others even beyond those limits,—since we learn that Amyntas king of Macedonia became so attached or indebted to him as to adopt him for his son.[225] When sent by the Athenians to Persia, at the request of Pharnabazus (about 378 B.C. apparently), Iphikrates had fair ground for anticipating that a career yet more lucrative was opening before him.[226]

[p. 109]

Iphikrates being thus abroad, the Athenians joined with Chabrias, in the mission and measures for organizing their new confed[p. 110]eracy, two other colleagues, of whom we now hear for the first time—Timotheus son of Konon, and Kallistratus the most celebrated orator of his time.[227] The abilities of Kallistratus were not military at all; while Timotheus and Chabrias were men of distinguished military merit. But in acquiring new allies and attracting deputies to her proposed congress, Athens stood in need of persuasive appeal, conciliatory dealing, and substantial fairness in all her propositions, not less than of generalship. We are told that Timotheus, doubtless as son of the liberator Konon, from the recollections of the battle of Knidus—was especially successful in procuring new adhesions; and probably Kallistratus,[228] going round with him to the different islands, contributed by his eloquence not a little to the same result. On their invitation, many cities entered as con[p. 111]federates.[229] At this time (as in the earlier confederacy of Delos) all who joined must have been unconstrained members. And we may understand the motives of their junction, when we read the picture drawn by Isokrates (in 380 B.C.) of the tyranny of the Persians on the Asiatic mainland, threatening, to absorb the neighboring islands. Not only was there now a new basis of imposing force, presented by Athens and Thebes in union—but there was also a wide-spread hatred of imperial Sparta, aggravated since her perversion of the pretended boon of autonomy, promised by the peace of Antalkidas; and the conjunction of these sentiments caused the Athenian mission of invitation to be extremely successful. All the cities in Eubœa (except Histiæa, at the north of the island)—as well as Chios, Mitylênê, Byzantium, and Rhodes—the three former of whom had continued favorably inclined to Athens ever since the peace of Antalkidas,[230]—all entered into the confederacy. An Athenian fleet under Chabrias, sailing among the Cyclades and the other islands of the Ægean, aided in the expulsion of the Lacedæmonian harmosts,[231] together with their devoted local oligarchies, wherever they still subsisted; and all the cities thus liberated became equal members of the newly-constituted congress at Athens. After a certain interval, there came to be not less than[p. 112] seventy cities, many of them separately powerful, which sent deputies to it;[232] an aggregate sufficient to intimidate Sparta, and even to flatter Athens with the hope of restoration to something like her former lustre.

The first votes both of Athens herself, and of the newly-assembled congress, threatened war upon the largest scale. A resolution was passed to equip twenty thousand hoplites, five hundred horsemen, and two hundred triremes.[233] Probably the insular and Ionic deputies promised each a certain contribution of money, but nothing beyond. We do not, however, know how much,—nor how far the engagements, large or small, were realized,—nor whether Athens was authorized to enforce execution against defaulters,—or was in circumstances to act upon such authority, if granted to her by the congress. It was in this way (as the reader will recollect from my fifth volume) that Athens had first rendered herself unpopular in the confederacy of Delos,—by enforcing the resolutions of the confederate synod against evasive or seceding members. It was in this way that what was at first a voluntary association had ultimately slid into an empire by constraint. Under the new circumstances of 378 B.C., we may presume that the confederates, though ardent and full of promises on first assembling at Athens, were even at the outset not exact, and became afterwards still less exact, in performance; yet that Athens was forced to be reserved in claiming, or in exercising, the right of enforcement. To obtain a vote of contribution by the majority of deputies present, was only the first step in the process; to obtain punctual payment, when the Athenian fleet was sent round for the purpose of collecting,—yet without incurring dangerous unpopularity,—was the second step, but by far the most doubtful and difficult.

It must, however, be borne in mind that at this moment, when the confederacy was first formed, both Athens and the other cities[p. 113] came together from a spontaneous impulse of hearty mutuality and coöperation. A few years afterwards, we shall find this changed; Athens selfish, and the confederates reluctant.[234] Inflamed, as well by their position of renovated headship, as by fresh animosity against Sparta, the Athenians made important efforts of their own, both financial and military. Equipping a fleet, which for the time was superior in the Ægean, they ravaged the hostile territory of Histiæa in Eubœa, and annexed to their confederacy the islands of Peparêthus and Skiathus. They imposed upon themselves also a direct property-tax; to what amount, however, we do not know.

It was on the occasion of this tax that they introduced a great change in the financial arrangements and constitution of the city; a change conferring note upon the archonship of Nausinikus, (B.C. 378-377). The great body of substantial Athenian citizens as well as metics were now classified anew for purposes of taxation. It will be remembered that even from the time of Solon[235] the citizens of Athens had been distributed into four classes,—Pentakosiomedimni, Hippeis, Zeugitæ, Thêtes,—distinguished from each other by the amount of their respective properties. Of these Solonian classes, the fourth, or poorest, paid no direct taxes; while the three former were taxed according to assessments representing a certain proportion of their actual property. The taxable property of the richest (or Pentakosiomedimni, including all at or above the minimum income of five hundred medimni of corn per annum) was entered in the tax-book at a sum equal to twelve times their income; that of the Hippeis (comprising all who possessed between three hundred and five hundred medimni of annual income) at ten times their income; that of the Zeugitæ (or possessors of an annual income between two hundred and three[p. 114] hundred medimni) at five times their income. A medimnus of corn was counted as equivalent to a drachma; which permitted the application of this same class-system to movable property as well as to land. So that, when an actual property-tax (or eisphora) was imposed, it operated as an equal or proportional tax, so far as regarded all the members of the same class; but as a graduated or progressive tax, upon all the members of the richer class as compared with those of the poorer.

The three Solonian property-classes above named appear to have lasted, though probably not without modifications, down to the close of the Peloponnesian war; and to have been in great part preserved, after the renovation of the democracy in B.C. 403, during the archonship of Eukleides.[236] Though eligibility to the great offices of state had before that time ceased to be dependent on pecuniary qualification, it was still necessary to possess some means of distinguishing the wealthier citizens, not merely in case of direct taxation being imposed, but also because the liability to serve in liturgies or burdensome offices was consequent on a man’s enrolment as possessor of more than a given minimum of property. It seems, therefore, that the Solonian census, in its main principles of classification and graduation, was retained. Each man’s property being valued, he was ranged in one of three or more classes according to its amount. For each of the classes, a fixed proportion of taxable capital to each man’s property was assumed, and each was entered in the schedule, not for his whole property, but for the sum of taxable capital corresponding to his property, according to the proportion assumed. In the first or richest class, the taxable capital bore a greater ratio to the actual property than in the less rich; in the second, a greater ratio than in the third. The sum of all these items of taxable capital, in all the different classes, set opposite to each man’s name in the schedule, constituted the aggregate census of Attica; upon which all direct property-tax was imposed, in equal proportion upon every man.

Respecting the previous modifications in the register of taxable property, or the particulars of its distribution into classes, which[p. 115] had been introduced in 403 B.C. at the archonship of Eukleides, we have no information. Nor can we make out how large or how numerous were the assessments of direct property-tax, imposed at Athens between that archonship and the archonship of Nausinikus in 378 B.C. But at this latter epoch the register was again considerably modified, at the moment when Athens was bracing herself up for increased exertions. A new valuation was made of the property of every man possessing property to the amount of twenty-five minæ (or twenty-five hundred drachmæ) and upwards. Proceeding upon this valuation, every one was entered in the schedule for a sum of taxable capital equal to a given fraction of what he possessed. But this fraction was different in each of the different classes. How many classes there were, we do not certainly know; nor can we tell, except in reference to the lowest class taxed, what sum was taken as the minimum for any one of them. There could hardly have been less, however, than three classes, and there may probably have been four. But respecting the first or richest class, we know that each man was entered in the schedule for a taxable capital equal to one-fifth of his estimated property; and that possessors of fifteen talents were included in it. The father of Demosthenes died in this year, and the boy Demosthenes was returned by his guardians to the first class, as possessor of fifteen talents; upon which his name was entered on the schedule with a taxable capital of three talents set against him; being one-fifth of his actual property. The taxable capital of the second class was entered at a fraction less than one-fifth of their actual property (probably enough, one-sixth, the same as all the registered metics); that of the third, at a fraction still smaller; of the fourth (if there was a fourth), even smaller than the third. This last class descended down to the minimum of twenty-five minæ, or twenty-five hundred drachmæ; below which no account was taken.[237]

[p. 116]

Besides the taxable capitals of the citizens, thus graduated, the schedule also included those of the metics or resident aliens; who were each enrolled (without any difference of greater or smaller property, above twenty-five minæ) at a taxable capital equal to one-sixth of his actual property;[238] being a proportion less than the richest class of citizens, and probably equal to the second class in order of wealth. All these items summed up amounted to five thousand seven hundred and fifty or six thousand talents,[239] forming the aggregate schedule of taxable property; that is, something near about six thousand talents. A property-tax was no part of the regular ways and means of the state. It was imposed only on special occasions; and whenever it was imposed, it was assessed upon this schedule,—every man, rich or poor, being rated equally according to his taxable capital as there entered. A property-tax of one per cent. would thus produce sixty talents; two per cent., one hundred and twenty talents, etc. It is highly probable that the exertions of Athens during the archonship of Nausinikus, when this new schedule was first prepared, may have caused a property-tax to be then imposed, but we do not know to what amount.[240]

[p. 117]

Along with this new schedule of taxable capital, a new distribution of the citizens now took place into certain bodies called Symmories. As far as we can make out, on a very obscure subject, it seems that these Symmories were twenty in number, two to each tribe; that each contained sixty citizens, thus making one thousand two hundred in all; that these one thousand two hundred were the wealthiest citizens of the schedule,—containing, perhaps, the two first out of the four classes enrolled. Among these one thousand two hundred, however, the three hundred wealthiest stood out as a separate body; thirty from each tribe. These three hundred were the wealthiest men in the city, and were called “the leaders or chiefs of the Symmories.” The three hundred and the twelve hundred corresponded, speaking roughly, to the old Solonian classes of Pentakosiomedimni and Hippeis; of which[p. 118] latter class there had also been twelve hundred, at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war.[241] The liturgies, or burdensome and costly offices, were discharged principally by the Three Hundred, but partly also by the Twelve Hundred. It would seem that the former was a body essentially fluctuating, and that after a man had been in it for some time, discharging the burdens belonging to it, the Stratêgi or Generals suffered him to be mingled with the Twelve Hundred, and promoted one of the latter body to take his place in the Three Hundred. As between man and man, too, the Attic law always admitted the process called Antidosis, or Exchange of Property. Any citizen who believed himself to have been overcharged with costly liturgies, and that another citizen, as rich or richer than himself, had not borne his fair share,—might, if saddled with a new liturgy, require the other to undertake it in his place; and in case of refusal, might tender to him an exchange of properties, under an engagement that he would undertake the new charge, if the property of the other were made over to him.

It is to be observed, that besides the twelve hundred wealthiest citizens who composed the Symmories, there were a more considerable number of less wealthy citizens not included in them, yet still liable to the property-tax; persons who possessed property from the minimum of twenty-five minæ, up to some maximum that we do not know, at which point the Symmories began,—and who corresponded, speaking loosely, to the third class or Zeugitæ of the Solonian census. The two Symmories of each tribe (comprising its one hundred and twenty richest members) superintended the property-register of each tribe, and collected the contributions due from its less wealthy registered members. Occasionally, when the state required immediate payment, the thirty richest men in each tribe (making up altogether the three hundred) advanced the whole sum of tax chargeable upon the tribe, having their legal remedy of enforcement against the other members for the recovery of the sum chargeable upon each. The richest citizens were thus both armed with rights and charged with duties,[p. 119] such as had not belonged to them before the archonship of Nausinikus. By their intervention (it was supposed) the schedule would be kept nearer to the truth as respects the assessment on each individual, while the sums actually imposed would be more immediately forthcoming, than if the state directly interfered by officers of its own. Soon after, the system of the Symmories was extended to the trierarchy; a change which had not at first been contemplated. Each Symmory had its chiefs, its curators, its assessors, acting under the general presidency of the Stratêgi. Twenty-five years afterwards, we also find Demosthenes (then about thirty years of age) recommending a still more comprehensive application of the same principle, so that men, money, ships, and all the means and forces of the state, might thus be parcelled into distinct fractions, and consigned to distinct Symmories, each with known duties of limited extent for the component persons to perform, and each exposed not merely to legal process, but also to loss of esteem, in the event of non-performance. It will rather appear, however, that, in practice, the system of Symmories came to be greatly abused, and to produce pernicious effects never anticipated.

At present, however, I only notice this new financial and political classification introduced in 378 B.C., as one evidence of the ardor with which Athens embarked in her projected war against Sparta. The feeling among her allies, the Thebans, was no less determined. The government of Leontiades and the Spartan garrison had left behind it so strong an antipathy, that the large majority of citizens, embarking heartily in the revolution against them, lent themselves to all the orders of Pelopidas and his colleagues; who, on their part, had no other thought but to repel the common enemy. The Theban government now became probably democratical in form; and still more democratical in spirit, from the unanimous ardor pervading the whole mass. Its military force was put under the best training; the most fertile portion of the plain north of Thebes, from which the chief subsistence of the city came, was surrounded by a ditch and a palisade,[242] to repel the expected Spartan invasion; and the memorable Sacred Band was now for the first time organized. This was a brigade of three[p. 120] hundred hoplites, called the Lochus, or regiment of the city, as being consecrated to the defence of the Kadmeia, or acropolis.[243] It was put under constant arms and training, at the public expense, like the Thousand at Argos, of whom mention was made in my seventh volume.[244] It consisted of youthful citizens from the best families, distinguished for their strength and courage amidst the severe trials of the palæstra in Thebes, and was marshalled in such manner, that each pair of neighboring soldiers were at the same time intimate friends; so that the whole band were thus kept together by ties which no dangers could sever. At first its destination, under Gorgidas its commander (as we see by the select Three Hundred who fought in 424 B.C. at the battle of Delium),[245] was to serve as front rank men, for the general body of hoplites to follow. But from a circumstance to be mentioned presently, it came to be employed by Pelopidas and Epaminondas as a regiment by itself, and in a charge was then found irresistible.[246]

We must remark that the Thebans had always been good soldiers, both as hoplites and as cavalry. The existing enthusiasm, therefore, with the more sustained training, only raised good soldiers into much better. But Thebes was now blessed with another good fortune, such as had never yet befallen her. She found among her citizens a leader of the rarest excellence. It is now for the first time that Epaminondas, the son of Polymnis, begins to stand out in the public life of Greece. His family, poor rather than rich, was among the most ancient in Thebes, belonging to[p. 121] those Gentes called Sparti, whose heroic progenitors were said to have sprung from the dragon’s teeth sown by Kadmus.[247] He seems to have been now of middle age; Pelopidas was younger, and of a very rich family; yet the relations between the two were those of equal and intimate friendship, tested in a day of battle, wherein the two were ranged side by side as hoplites, and where Epaminondas had saved the life of his wounded friend, at the cost of several wounds, and the greatest possible danger, to himself.[248]

Epaminondas had discharged, with punctuality, those military and gymnastic duties which were incumbent on every Theban citizen. But we are told that in the gymnasia he studied to acquire the maximum of activity rather than of strength; the nimble movements of a runner and wrestler,—not the heavy muscularity, purchased in part by excessive nutriment, of the Bœotian pugilist.[249] He also learned music, vocal and instrumental, and[p. 122] dancing; by which, in those days, was meant, not simply the power of striking the lyre or blowing the flute, but all that belonged to the graceful, expressive, and emphatic management, either of the voice or of the body; rhythmical pronunciation, exercised by repetition of the poets,—and disciplined movements, for taking part in a choric festival with becoming consonance amidst a crowd of citizen performers. Of such gymnastic and musical training, the combination of which constituted an accomplished Grecian citizen, the former predominated at Thebes, the latter at Athens. Moreover, at Thebes the musical training was based more upon the flute (for the construction of which, excellent reeds grew near the Lake Kopaïs); at Athens more upon the lyre, which admitted of vocal accompaniment by the player. The Athenian Alkibiades[250] was heard to remark, when he threw away his flute in disgust, that flute-playing was a fit occupation for the Thebans, since they did not know how to speak; and in regard to the countrymen of Pindar[251] generally, the remark was hardly less true than contemptuous. On this capital point, Epaminondas formed a splendid exception. Not only had he learnt the lyre[252] as well as the flute from the best masters, but also, dissenting from his brother Kapheisias and his friend Pelopidas, he manifested from his earliest years an ardent intellectual impulse, which would have been remarkable even in an Athenian. He sought with eagerness the conversation of the philosophers within his reach, among whom were the Theban Simmias and the Tarentine Spintharus, both of them once companions of Sokrates; so that the stirring influence of the Sokratic method would thus find its way, partially and at second-hand, to the bosom of Epaminondas. As the relations between Thebes and Athens, ever since the close of the Peloponnesian war, had become more and more[p. 123] friendly, growing at length into alliance and joint war against the Spartans,—we may reasonably presume that he profited by teachers at the latter city as well as at the former. But the person to whom he particularly devoted himself, and whom he not only heard as a pupil, but tended almost as a son, during the close of an aged life,—was a Tarentine exile, named Lysis; a member of the Pythagorean brotherhood, who, from causes which we cannot make out, had sought shelter at Thebes, and dwelt there until his death.[253] With him, as well as with other philosophers, Epaminondas discussed all the subjects of study and inquiry then afloat. By perseverance in this course for some years, he not only acquired considerable positive instruction, but also became practised in new and enlarged intellectual combinations; and was, like Perikles,[254] emancipated from that timorous interpretation of nature, which rendered so many Grecian commanders the slaves of signs and omens. His patience as a listener, and his indifference to showy talk on his own account, were so remarkable, that Spintharus (the father of Aristoxenus), after numerous conversations with him, affirmed that he had never met with any one who understood more, or talked less.[255]

[p. 124]

Nor did such reserve proceed from any want of ready powers of expression. On the contrary, the eloquence of Epaminondas, when he entered upon his public career, was shown to be not merely preëminent among Thebans, but effective even against the best Athenian opponents.[256] But his disposition was essentially modest and unambitious, combined with a strong intellectual curiosity and a great capacity; a rare combination amidst a race usually erring on the side of forwardness and self-esteem. Little moved by personal ambition, and never cultivating popularity by unworthy means, Epaminondas was still more indifferent on the score of money. He remained in contented poverty to the end of his life, not leaving enough to pay his funeral expenses, yet repudiating not merely the corrupting propositions of foreigners, but also the solicitous tenders of personal friends;[257] though we are told that, when once serving the costly office of choregus, he permitted his friend Pelopidas to bear a portion of the expense.[258] As he thus stood exempt from two of the besetting infirmities which most frequently misguided eminent Greek statesmen, so there was a third characteristic not less estimable in his moral character; the gentleness of his political antipathies,—his repugnance to harsh treatment of conquered enemies,—and his refusal to mingle in intestine bloodshed. If ever there were men whose conduct seemed to justify unmeasured retaliation, it was Leontiades and his fellow-traitors. They had opened the doors of the Kadmeia to the Spartan Phœbidas, and had put to death the Theban leader Ismenias. Yet Epaminondas disapproved of the scheme of Pelopidas and the other exiles to assassinate them, and declined to take part in it; partly on prudential grounds, but partly, also,[p. 125] on conscientious scruples.[259] None of his virtues was found so difficult to imitate by his subsequent admirers, as this mastery over the resentful and vindictive passions.[260]

Before Epaminondas could have full credit for these virtues, however, it was necessary that he should give proof of the extraordinary capacities for action with which they were combined, and that he should achieve something to earn that exclamation of praise which we shall find his enemy Agesilaus afterwards pronouncing, on seeing him at the head of the invading Theban army near Sparta,—“Oh! thou man of great deeds!”[261] In the year B.C. 379, when the Kadmeia was emancipated, he was as yet undistinguished in public life, and known only to Pelopidas with his other friends; among whom, too, his unambitious and inquisitive disposition was a subject of complaint as keeping him unduly in the background.[262] But the unparalleled phenomena of that year supplied a spur which overruled all backwardness, and smothered all rival inclinations. The Thebans, having just recovered their city by an incredible turn of fortune, found themselves exposed single-handed to the full[p. 126] attack of Sparta and her extensive confederacy. Not even Athens had yet declared in their favor, nor had they a single other ally. Under such circumstances, Thebes could only be saved by the energy of all her citizens,—the unambitious and philosophical as well as the rest. As the necessities of the case required such simultaneous devotion, so the electric shock of the recent revolution was sufficient to awaken enthusiasm in minds much less patriotic than that of Epaminondas. He was among the first to join the victorious exiles in arms, after the contest had been transferred from the houses of Archias and Leontiades to the open market-place; and he would probably have been among the first to mount the walls of the Kadmeia, had the Spartan harmost awaited an assault. Pelopidas being named Bœotarch, his friend Epaminondas was naturally placed among the earliest and most forward organizers of the necessary military resistance against the common enemy; in which employment his capacities speedily became manifest. Though at this moment almost an unknown man, he had acquired, in B.C. 371, seven years afterwards, so much reputation both as speaker and as general, that he was chosen as the expositor of Theban policy at Sparta, and trusted with the conduct of the battle of Leuktra, upon which the fate of Thebes hinged. Hence we may fairly conclude, that the well-planned and successful system of defence, together with the steady advance of Thebes against Sparta, during the intermediate years, was felt to have been in the main his work.[263]

The turn of politics at Athens which followed the acquittal of Sphodrias was an unspeakable benefit to the Thebans, in second[p. 127]ing as well as encouraging their defence; and the Spartans, not unmoved at the new enemies raised up by their treatment of Sphodrias, thought it necessary to make some efforts on their side. They organized on a more systematic scale the military force of their confederacy, and even took some conciliatory steps with the view of effacing the odium of their past misrule.[264] The full force of their confederacy,—including, as a striking mark of present Spartan power, even the distant Olynthians,[265]—was placed in motion against Thebes in the course of the summer under Agesilaus; who contrived, by putting in sudden requisition a body of mercenaries acting in the service of the Arcadian town Kleitor against its neighbor the Arcadian Orchomenus, to make himself master of the passes of Kithæron, before the Thebans and Athenians could have notice of his passing the Lacedæmonian border.[266] Then crossing Kithæron into Bœotia, he established his head-quarters at Thespiæ, a post already under Spartan occupation. From thence he commenced his attacks upon the Theban territory, which he found defended partly by a considerable length of ditch and palisade—partly by the main force of Thebes, assisted by a division of mixed Athenians and mercenaries, sent from Athens under Chabrias. Keeping on their own side of the palisade, the Thebans suddenly sent out their cavalry, and attacked Agesilaus by surprise, occasioning some loss. Such sallies were frequently repeated, until, by a rapid march at break of day, he forced his way through an opening in the breastwork into their inner country, which he laid waste nearly to the city walls.[267] The Thebans and Athenians, though not offering him battle on equal terms, nevertheless kept the field against him, taking care to hold positions advantageous for defence. Agesilaus on his side did not feel confident enough to attack them against such odds. Yet on one occasion he had made up his mind to do so; and was marching up to the charge, when he was daunted by the firm attitude and excellent array of the troops of Chabrias. They had received orders to await his approach, on a high and advantageous ground, without moving until signal should be given; with their shields resting on the[p. 128] knee, and their spears protended. So imposing was their appearance, that Agesilaus called off his troops without daring to complete the charge.[268] After a month or more of devastations on the lands of Thebes, and a string of desultory skirmishes in which he seems to have lost rather than gained, Agesilaus withdrew to Thespiæ; the fortifications of which he strengthened, leaving Phœbidas with a considerable force in occupation, and then leading back his army to Peloponnesus.

Phœbidas,—the former captor of the Kadmeia,—thus stationed at Thespiæ, carried on vigorous warfare against Thebes; partly with his own Spartan division, partly with the Thespian hoplites, who promised him unshrinking support. His incursions soon brought on reprisals from the Thebans; who invaded Thespiæ, but were repulsed by Phœbidas with the loss of all their plunder. In the pursuit, however, hurrying incautiously forward, he was slain by a sudden turn of the Theban cavalry;[269] upon which all his troops fled, chased by the Thebans to the very gates of Thespiæ. Though the Spartans, in consequence of this misfortune, despatched by sea another general and division to replace Phœbidas, the cause of the Thebans was greatly strengthened by their recent victory. They pushed their success not only against Thespiæ, but against the other Bœotian cities, still held by local oligarchies in dependence on Sparta. At the same time, these oligarchies were threatened by the growing strength of their own popular or philo-Theban citizens, who crowded in considerable numbers as exiles to Thebes.[270]

A second expedition against Thebes, undertaken by Agesilaus in the ensuing summer with the main army of the confederacy, was neither more decisive nor more profitable than the preceding. Though he contrived, by a well-planned stratagem, to surprize the[p. 129] Theban palisade, and lay waste the plain, he gained no serious victory; and even showed, more clearly than before, his reluctance to engage except upon perfectly equal terms.[271] It became evident that the Thebans were not only strengthening their position in Bœotia, but also acquiring practice in warfare and confidence against the Spartans; insomuch that Antalkidas and some other companions remonstrated with Agesilaus, against carrying on the war so as only to give improving lessons to his enemies in military practice,—and called upon him to strike some decisive blow. He quitted Bœotia, however, after the summer’s campaign, without any such step.[272] In his way he appeased an intestine conflict which was about to break out in Thespiæ. Afterwards, on passing to Megara, he experienced a strain or hurt, which grievously injured his sound leg, (it has been mentioned already that he was lame of one leg,) and induced his surgeon to open a vein in the limb for reducing the inflammation. When this was done, however, the blood could not be stopped until he swooned. Having been conveyed home to Sparta in great suffering, he was confined to his couch for several months; and he remained during a much longer time unfit for active command.[273]

The functions of general now devolved upon the other king Kleombrotus, who in the next spring conducted the army of the confederacy to invade Bœotia anew. But on this occasion, the Athenians and Thebans had occupied the passes of Kithæron, so that he was unable even to enter the country, and was obliged to dismiss his troops without achieving anything.[274]

His inglorious retreat excited such murmurs among the allies when they met at Sparta, that they resolved to fit out a large naval force, sufficient both to intercept the supplies of imported corn to Athens, and to forward an invading army by sea against Thebes, to the Bœotian port of Kreusis in the Krissæan Gulf. The former object was attempted first. Towards midsummer, a fleet of sixty triremes, fitted out under the Spartan admiral Pollis,[p. 130] was cruising in the Ægean; especially round the coast of Attica, near Ægina, Keos, and Andros. The Athenians, who, since their recently renewed confederacy, had been undisturbed by any enemies at sea, found themselves thus threatened, not merely with loss of power, but also with loss of trade and even famine; since their corn-ships from the Euxine, though safely reaching Geræstus (the southern extremity of Eubœa), were prevented from doubling Cape Sunium. Feeling severely this interruption, they fitted out at Peiræus a fleet of eighty triremes,[275] with crews mainly composed of citizens; who, under the admiral Chabrias, in a sharply contested action near Naxos, completely defeated the fleet of Pollis, and regained for Athens the mastery of the sea. Forty-nine Lacedæmonian triremes were disabled or captured, eight with their entire crews.[276] Moreover, Chabrias might have destroyed all or most of the rest, had he not suspended his attack, having eighteen of his own ships disabled, to pick up both the living men and the dead bodies on board, as well as all Athenians who were swimming for their lives. He did this (we are told[277]), from distinct[p. 131] recollection of the fierce displeasure of the people against the victorious generals after the battle of Arginusæ. And we may thus see, that though the proceedings on that memorable occasion were stained both by illegality and by violence, they produced a salutary effect upon the public conduct of subsequent commanders. Many a brave Athenian (the crews consisting principally of citizens) owed his life, after the battle of Naxos, to the terrible lesson administered by the people to their generals in 406 B.C., thirty years before.

This was the first great victory (in September, 376 B.C.[278]) which the Athenians had gained at sea since the Peloponnesian war; and while it thus filled them with joy and confidence, it led to a material enlargement of their maritime confederacy. The fleet of Chabrias,—of which a squadron was detached under the orders of Phokion, a young Athenian now distinguishing himself for the first time and often hereafter to be mentioned,—sailed victorious round the Ægean, made prize of twenty other triremes in single ships, brought in three thousand prisoners with one hundred and ten talents in money, and annexed seventeen new cities to the confederacy, as sending deputies to the synod and furnishing contributions. The discreet and conciliatory behavior of Phokion, especially obtained much favor among the islanders, and determined several new adhesions to Athens.[279] To the inhabitants[p. 132] of Abdêra in Thrace, Chabrias rendered an inestimable service, by aiding them to repulse a barbarous horde of Triballi, who quitting their abode from famine, had poured upon the sea-coast, defeating the Abderites and plundering their territory. The citizens, grateful for a force left to defend their town, willingly allied themselves with Athens, whose confederacy thus extended itself to the coast of Thrace.[280]

Having prosperously enlarged their confederacy to the east of Peloponnesus, the Athenians began to aim at the acquisition of new allies in the west. The fleet of sixty triremes, which had recently served under Chabrias, was sent, under the command of Timotheus, the son of Konon, to circumnavigate Peloponnesus and alarm the coast of Laconia; partly at the instance of the Thebans, who were eager to keep the naval force of Sparta occupied, so as to prevent her from conveying troops across the Krissæan Gulf from Corinth to the Bœotian port of Kreusis.[281] This Periplus of Peloponnesus,—the first which the fleet of Athens had attempted since her humiliation at Ægospotami,—coupled with the ensuing successes, was long remembered by the countrymen of Timotheus. His large force, just dealing, and conciliatory professions, won new and valuable allies. Not only Kephallenia, but the still more important island of Korkyra, voluntarily accepted his propositions; and as he took care to avoid all violence or interference with the political constitution, his popularity all around augmented every day. Alketas, prince of the Molossi,—the Chaonians with other Epirotic tribes,—and the Akarnanians on the coast,—all embraced his alliance.[282] While near Alyzia and Leukas on this coast, he was assailed by the Peloponnesian ships under Nikolochus, rather inferior in number to his fleet. He defeated them, and being shortly afterwards reinforced by other triremes from Korkyra, he became so superior in those waters, that the hostile fleet did not dare to show itself. Having received only thirteen talents on quitting Athens, we are told that he had great difficulty in paying his fleet; that he procured an advance of money, from each of the sixty trierarchs in his fleet, of seven minæ towards the pay of their respective ships;[p. 133] and that he also sent home requests for large remittances from the public treasury;[283] measures which go to bear out that honorable repugnance to the plunder of friends or neutrals, and care to avoid even the suspicion of plunder, which his panegyrist Isokrates ascribes to him.[284] This was a feature unhappily rare among the Grecian generals on both sides, and tending to become still rarer, from the increased employment of mercenary bands.

The demands of Timotheus on the treasury of Athens were not favorably received. Though her naval position was now more brilliant and commanding than it had been since the battle of Ægospotami,—though no Lacedæmonian fleet showed itself to disturb her in the Ægean,[285]—yet the cost of the war began to be seriously felt. Privateers from the neighboring island of Ægina annoyed her commerce, requiring a perpetual coast-guard; while the contributions from the deputies to the confederate synod were not sufficient to dispense with the necessity of a heavy direct property tax at home.[286]

In this synod the Thebans, as members of the confederacy, were represented.[287] Application was made to them to contribute towards the cost of the naval war; the rather, as it was partly at their instance that the fleet had been sent round to the Ionian Sea. But the Thebans declined compliance,[288] nor were they[p. 134] probably in any condition to furnish pecuniary aid. Their refusal occasioned much displeasure at Athens, embittered by jealousy at the strides which they had been making during the two last years, partly through the indirect effect of the naval successes of Athens. At the end of the year 377 B.C., after the two successive invasions of Agesilaus, the ruin of two home crops had so straitened the Thebans, that they were forced to import corn from Pagasæ in Thessaly; in which enterprise their ships and seamen were at first captured by the Lacedæmonian harmost at Oreus in Eubœa, Alketas. His negligence, however, soon led not only to an outbreak of their seamen who had been taken prisoners, but also to the revolt of the town from Sparta, so that the communication of Thebes with Pagasæ became quite unimpeded. For the two succeeding years, there had been no Spartan invasion of Bœotia; since, in 376 B.C., Kleombrotus could not surmount the heights of Kithæron,—while in 375 B.C., the attention of Sparta had been occupied by the naval operations of Timotheus in the Ionian Sea. During these two years, the Thebans had exerted themselves vigorously against the neighboring cities of Bœotia, in most of which a strong party, if not the majority of the population, was favorable to them, though the government was in the hands of the philo-Spartan oligarchy, seconded by Spartan harmosts and garrison.[289] We hear of one victory gained by the Theban cavalry near Platæa, under Charon; and of another near Tanagra, in which Panthöides, the Lacedæmonian harmost in that town, was slain.[290]

But the most important of all their successes was that of Pelopidas near Tegyra. That commander, hearing that the Spartan harmost, with his two (moræ or) divisions in garrison at Orchomenus, had gone away on an excursion into the Lokrian territory, made a dash from Thebes with the Sacred Band and a few cavalry, to surprise the place. It was the season in which the waters of the Lake Kopaïs were at the fullest, so that he was obliged to take a wide circuit to the north-west, and to pass by Tegyra, on the road between Orchomenus and the Opuntian Lokris. On arriving[p. 135] near Orchomenus, he ascertained that there were still some Lacedæmonians in the town, and that no surprise could be effected; upon which he retraced his steps. But on reaching Tegyra, he fell in with the Lacedæmonian commanders, Gorgoleon and Theopompus, returning with their troops from the Lokrian excursion. As his numbers were inferior to theirs by half, they rejoiced in the encounter; while the troops of Pelopidas were at first dismayed, and required all his encouragement to work them up. But in the fight that ensued, closely and obstinately contested in a narrow pass, the strength, valor, and compact charge of the Sacred Band proved irresistible. The two Lacedæmonian commanders were both slain; their troops opened, to allow the Thebans an undisturbed retreat; but Pelopidas, disdaining this opportunity, persisted in the combat until all his enemies dispersed and fled. The neighborhood of Orchomenus forbade any long pursuit, so that Pelopidas could only erect his trophy, and strip the dead, before returning to Thebes.[291]

This combat, in which the Lacedæmonians were for the first time beaten in fair field by numbers inferior to their own, produced a strong sensation in the minds of both the contending parties. The confidence of the Thebans, as well as their exertion, was redoubled; so that by the year 374 B.C., they had cleared Bœotia of the Lacedæmonians, as well as of the local oligarchies which sustained them; persuading or constraining the cities again to come into union with Thebes, and reviving the Bœotian confederacy. Haliartus, Korôneia, Lebadeia, Tanagra, Thespiæ, Platæa, and the rest, thus became again Bœotian;[292] leaving out Orchomenus alone, (with its dependency Chæroneia,) which was on the borders of Phokis, and still continued under Lacedæmonian occupation. In most of these cities, the party friendly to Thebes was[p. 136] numerous, and the change, on the whole, popular; though in some the prevailing sentiment was such, that adherence was only obtained by intimidation. The change here made by Thebes, was not to absorb these cities into herself, but to bring them back to the old federative system of Bœotia; a policy which she had publicly proclaimed on surprising Platæa in 431 B.C.[293] While resuming her own ancient rights and privileges as head of the Bœotian federation, she at the same time guaranteed to the other cities,—by convention, probably express, but certainly implied,—their ancient rights, their security, and their qualified autonomy, as members; the system which had existed down to the peace of Antalkidas.

The position of the Thebans was materially improved by this reconquest or reconfederation of Bœotia. Becoming masters of Kreusis, the port of Thespiæ,[294] they fortified it, and built some triremes to repel any invasion from Peloponnesus by sea across the Krissæan Gulf. Feeling thus secure against invasion, they began to retaliate upon their neighbors and enemies the Phokians, allies of Sparta, and auxiliaries in the recent attacks on Thebes,—yet also, from ancient times, on friendly terms with Athens.[295] So hard pressed were the Phokians,—especially as Jason of Pheræ in Thessaly was at the same time their bitter enemy,[296]—that unless assisted, they would have been compelled to submit to the Thebans, and along with them Orchomenus, including the Lacedæmonian garrison then occupying it; while the treasures of the Delphian Temple would also have been laid open, in case the Thebans should think fit to seize them. Intimation being sent by[p. 137] the Phokians to Sparta, King Kleombrotus was sent to their aid, by sea across the Gulf, with four Lacedæmonian divisions of troops, and an auxiliary body of allies.[297] This reinforcement, compelling the Thebans to retire, placed both Phokis and Orchomenus in safety. While Sparta thus sustained them, even Athens looked upon the Phokian cause with sympathy. When she saw that the Thebans had passed from the defensive to the offensive,—partly by her help, yet nevertheless refusing to contribute to the cost of her navy,—her ancient jealousy of them became again so powerful, that she sent envoys to Sparta, to propose terms of peace. What these terms were, we are not told; nor does it appear that the Thebans even received notice of the proceeding. But the peace was accepted at Sparta, and two of the Athenian envoys were despatched at once from thence, without even going home, to Korkyra, for the purpose of notifying the peace to Timotheus, and ordering him forthwith to conduct his fleet back to Athens.[298]

This proposition of the Athenians, made seemingly in a moment of impetuous dissatisfaction, was made to the advantage of Sparta,[p. 138] and served somewhat to countervail a mortifying revelation which had reached the Spartans a little before from a different quarter.

Polydamas, an eminent citizen of Pharsalus in Thessaly, came to Sparta to ask for aid. He had long been on terms of hospitality with the Lacedæmonians; while Pharsalus had not merely been in alliance with them, but was for some time occupied by one of their garrisons.[299] In the usual state of Thessaly, the great cities Larissa, Pheræ, Pharsalus, and others, each holding some smaller cities in a state of dependent alliance, were in disagreement with each other,—often even in actual war. It was rare that they could be brought to concur in a common vote for the election of a supreme chief or Tagus. At his own city of Pharsalus, Polydamas was now in the ascendant, enjoying the confidence of all the great family factions who usually contended for predominance; to such a degree, indeed, that he was entrusted with the custody of the citadel and the entire management of the revenues, receipts as well as disbursements. Being a wealthy man, “hospitable and ostentatious in the Thessalian fashion,” he advanced money from his own purse to the treasury whenever it was low, and repaid himself when public funds came in.[300]

But a greater man than Polydamas had now arisen in Thessaly,—Jason, despot of Pheræ; whose formidable power, threatening the independence of Pharsalus, he now came to Sparta to denounce. Though the force of Jason can hardly have been very considerable when the Spartans passed through Thessaly, six years before, in their repeated expeditions against Olynthus, he was now not only despot of Pheræ, but master of nearly all the Thessalian cities (as Lykophron of Pheræ had partially succeeded in becoming thirty years before),[301] as well as of a large area of[p. 139] tributary circumjacent territory. The great instrument of his dominion was, a standing and well-appointed force of six thousand mercenary troops, from all parts of Greece. He possessed all the personal qualities requisite for conducting soldiers with the greatest effect. His bodily strength was great; his activity indefatigable; his self-command, both as to hardship and as to temptation, alike conspicuous. Always personally sharing both in the drill and in the gymnastics of the soldiers, and encouraging military merits with the utmost munificence, he had not only disciplined them, but inspired them with extreme warlike ardor and devotion to his person. Several of the neighboring tribes, together with Alketas, prince of the Molossi in Epirus, had been reduced to the footing of his dependent allies. Moreover, he had already defeated the Pharsalians, and stripped them of many of the towns which had once been connected with them, so that it only remained for him now to carry his arms against their city. But Jason was prudent, as well as daring. Though certain of success, he wished to avoid the odium of employing force, and the danger of having malcontents for subjects. He therefore proposed to Polydamas, in a private interview, that he (Polydamas) should bring Pharsalus under Jason’s dominion, accepting for himself the second place in Thessaly, under Jason installed as Tagus or president. The whole force of Thessaly thus united, with its array of tributary nations around, would be decidedly the first power in Greece, superior on land either to Sparta or Thebes, and at sea to Athens. And as to the Persian king, with his multitudes of unwarlike slaves, Jason regarded him as an enemy yet easier to overthrow; considering what had been achieved first by the Cyreians, and afterwards by Agesilaus.

Such were the propositions, and such the ambitious hopes, which the energetic despot of Pheræ had laid before Polydamas; who replied, that he himself had long been allied with Sparta, and that he could take no resolution hostile to her interests. “Go to[p. 140] Sparta, then (rejoined Jason), and give notice there, that I intend to attack Pharsalus, and that it is for them to afford you protection. If they cannot comply with the demand, you will be unfaithful to the interests of your city if you do not embrace my offers.” It was on this mission that Polydamas was now come to Sparta, to announce that unless aid could be sent to him, he should be compelled unwillingly to sever himself from her. “Recollect (he concluded) that the enemy against whom you will have to contend is formidable in every way, both from personal qualities and from power; so that nothing short of a first-rate force and commander will suffice. Consider, and tell me what you can do.”

The Spartans, having deliberated on the point, returned a reply in the negative. Already a large force had been sent under Kleombrotus as essential to the defence of Phokis; moreover, the Athenians were now the stronger power at sea. Lastly, Jason had hitherto lent no active assistance to Thebes and Athens—which he would assuredly be provoked to do, if a Spartan army interfered against him in Thessaly. Accordingly the ephors told Polydamas plainly, that they were unable to satisfy his demands, recommending him to make the best terms that he could, both for Pharsalus and for himself. Returning to Thessaly, he resumed his negotiation with Jason, and promised substantial compliance with what was required. But he entreated to be spared the dishonor of admitting a foreign garrison into the citadel which had been confidentially entrusted to his care; engaging at the same time to bring his fellow-citizens into voluntary union with Jason, and tendering his two sons as hostages for faithful performance. All this was actually brought to pass. The politics of the Pharsalians were gently brought round, so that Jason, by their votes as well as the rest, was unanimously elected Tagus of Thessaly.[302]

The dismissal of Polydamas implied a mortifying confession of weakness on the part of Sparta. It marks, too, an important stage in the real decline of her power. Eight years before, at the instance of the Akanthian envoys, backed by the Macedonian Amyntas, she had sent three powerful armies in succession to[p. 141] crush the liberal and promising confederacy of Olynthus, and to re-transfer the Grecian cities on the sea-coast to the Macedonian crown. The region to which her armies had been sent, was the extreme verge of Hellas. The parties in whose favor she acted, had scarcely the shadow of a claim, as friends or allies; while those against whom she acted, had neither done nor threatened any wrong to her: moreover, the main ground on which her interference was invoked, was to hinder the free and equal confederation of Grecian cities. Now, a claim, and a strong claim, is made upon her by Polydamas of Pharsalus, an old friend and ally. It comes from a region much less distant; lastly, her political interest would naturally bid her arrest the menacing increase of an aggressive power already so formidable as that of Jason. Yet so seriously has the position of Sparta altered in the last eight years (382-374 B.C.), that she is now compelled to decline a demand which justice, sympathy, and political policy alike prompted her to grant. So unfortunate was it for the Olynthian confederacy, that their honorable and well-combined aspirations fell exactly during those few years in which Sparta was at her maximum of power! So unfortunate was such coincidence of time, not only for Olynthus, but for Greece generally:—since nothing but Spartan interference restored the Macedonian kings to the sea-coast, while the Olynthian confederacy, had it been allowed to expand, might probably have confined them to the interior, and averted the death-blow which came upon Grecian freedom in the next generation from their hands.

The Lacedæmonians found some compensation for their reluctant abandonment of Polydamas, in the pacific propositions from Athens which liberated them from one of their chief enemies. But the peace thus concluded was scarcely even brought to execution. Timotheus, being ordered home from Korkyra, obeyed and set sail with his fleet. He had serving along with him some exiles from Zakynthus; and as he passed by that island in his homeward voyage, he disembarked these exiles upon it, aiding them in establishing a fortified post. Against this proceeding the Zakynthian government laid complaints at Sparta, where it was so deeply resented, that redress having been in vain demanded at Athens, the peace was at once broken off, and war again declared. A Lacedæmonian squadron of twenty-five sail was despatched to[p. 142] assist the Zakynthians,[303] while plans were formed for the acquisition of the more important island of Korkyra. The fleet of Timotheus having now been removed home, a malcontent Korkyræan party formed a conspiracy to introduce the Lacedæmonians as friends, and betray the island to them. A Lacedæmonian fleet of twenty-two triremes accordingly sailed thither, under color of a voyage to Sicily. But the Korkyræan government, having detected the plot, refused to receive them, took precautions for defence, and sent envoys to Athens to entreat assistance.

The Lacedæmonians now resolved to attack Korkyra openly, with the full naval force of their confederacy. By the joint efforts of Sparta, Corinth, Leukas, Ambrakia, Elis, Zakynthus, Achaia, Epidaurus, Trœzen, Hermionê, and Halieis,—strengthened by[p. 143] pecuniary payments from other confederates, who preferred commuting their obligation to serve beyond sea,—a fleet of sixty triremes and a body of one thousand five hundred mercenary hoplites were assembled; besides some Lacedæmonians, probably Helots or Neodamodes.[304] At the same time, application was sent to Dionysius the Syracusan despot, for his coöperation against Korkyra, on the ground that the connection of that island with Athens had proved once, and might prove again, dangerous to his city.

It was in the spring of 373 B.C. that this force proceeded against Korkyra, under the command of the Lacedæmonian Mnasippus; who, having driven in the Korkyræan fleet with the loss of four triremes, landed on the island, gained a victory, and confined the inhabitants within the walls of the city. He next carried his ravages round the adjacent lands, which were found in the highest state of cultivation, and full of the richest produce; fields admirably tilled,—vineyards in surpassing condition,—with splendid farm-buildings, well-appointed wine-cellars, and abundance of cattle as well as laboring-slaves. The invading soldiers, while enriching themselves by depredations on cattle and slaves, became so pampered with the plentiful stock around, that they refused to drink any wine that was not of the first quality.[305] Such is the picture given by Xenophon, an unfriendly witness, of the democratical Korkyra, in respect of its lauded economy, at the time when it was invaded by Mnasippus; a picture not less memorable than that presented by Thucydides (in the speech of Archidamus), of the flourishing agriculture surrounding democratical Athens, at[p. 144] the moment when the hand of the Peloponnesian devastator was first felt there in 431 B.C.[306]

With such plentiful quarters for his soldiers, Mnasippus encamped on a hill near the city walls, cutting off those within from supplies out of the country, while he at the same time blocked up the harbor with his fleet. The Korkyræans soon began to be in want. Yet they seemed to have no chance of safety except through aid from the Athenians; to whom they had sent envoys with pressing entreaties,[307] and who had now reason to regret their hasty consent (in the preceding year) to summon home the fleet of Timotheus from the island. However, Timotheus was again appointed admiral of a new fleet to be sent thither; while a division of six hundred peltasts, under Stesiklês, was directed to be despatched by the quickest route, to meet the immediate necessities of the Korkyræans, during the delays unavoidable in the preparation of the main fleet and its circumnavigation of Peloponnesus. These peltasts were conveyed by land across Thessaly and Epirus, to the coast opposite Korkyra; upon which island they were enabled to land through the intervention of Alketas solicited by the Athenians. They were fortunate enough to get into the town; where they not only brought the news that a large Athenian fleet might be speedily expected, but also contributed much to the defence. Without such encouragement and aid, the Korkyræans would hardly have held out; for the famine within the walls increased daily; and at length became so severe, that[p. 145] many of the citizens deserted, and numbers of slaves were thrust out. Mnasippus refused to receive them, making public proclamation that every one who deserted should be sold into slavery; and since deserters nevertheless continued to come, he caused them to be scourged back to the city-gates. As for the unfortunate slaves, being neither received by him, nor re-admitted within, many perished outside of the gates from sheer hunger.[308]

Such spectacles of misery portended so visibly the approaching hour of surrender, that the besieging army became careless, and the general insolent. Though his military chest was well-filled, through the numerous pecuniary payments which he had received from allies in commutation of personal service,—yet he had dismissed several of his mercenaries without pay, and had kept all of them unpaid for the last two months. His present temper made him not only more harsh towards his own soldiers,[309] but also less vigilant in the conduct of the siege. Accordingly the besieged, detecting from their watch-towers the negligence of the guards, chose a favorable opportunity and made a vigorous sally. Mnasippus, on seeing his outposts driven in, armed himself and hastened forward with the Lacedæmonians around him to sustain them; giving orders to the officers of the mercenaries to bring their men forward also. But these officers replied, that they could not answer for the obedience of soldiers without pay; upon which Mnasippus was so incensed, that he struck them with his stick and with the shaft of his spear. Such an insult inflamed still farther the existing discontent. Both officers and soldiers came to the combat discouraged and heartless, while the Athenian peltasts and the Korkyræan hoplites, rushing out of several gates at once, pressed their attack with desperate energy. Mnasippus, after displaying great personal valor, was at length slain, and all his troops, being completely routed, fled back to the fortified camp in which their stores were preserved. Even this too might have been taken, and the whole armament destroyed, had the besieged attacked it[p. 146] at once. But they were astonished at their own success. Mistaking the numerous camp-followers for soldiers in reserve, they retired back to the city.

Their victory was however so complete, as to reopen easy communication with the country, to procure sufficient temporary supplies, and to afford a certainty of holding out until reinforcement from Athens should arrive. Such reinforcement, indeed, was already on its way, and had been announced as approaching to Hypermenês (second under the deceased Mnasippus), who had now succeeded to the command. Terrified at the news, he hastened to sail round from his station,—which he had occupied with the fleet to block up the harbor,—to the fortified camp. Here he first put the slaves, as well as the property, aboard of his transports, and sent them away; remaining himself to defend the camp with the soldiers and marines,—but remaining only a short time, and then taking these latter also aboard the triremes. He thus completely evacuated the island, making off for Leukas. But such had been the hurry,—and so great the terror lest the Athenian fleet should arrive,—that much corn and wine, many slaves, and even many sick and wounded soldiers, were left behind. To the victorious Korkyræans, these acquisitions were not needed to enhance the value of a triumph which rescued them from capture, slavery, or starvation.[310]

The Athenian fleet had not only been tardy in arriving, so as to incur much risk of finding the island already taken,—but when it did come, it was commanded by Iphikrates, Chabrias, and the orator Kallistratus,[311]—not by Timotheus, whom the original vote of the people had nominated. It appears that Timotheus,—who (in April 373 B.C.), when the Athenians first learned that the formidable Lacedæmonian fleet had begun to attack Korkyra, had been directed to proceed thither forthwith with a fleet of sixty triremes,—found a difficulty in manning his ships at Athens, and therefore undertook a preliminary cruise to procure both seamen and contributory funds, from the maritime allies. His first act was to transport the six hundred peltasts under Stesiklês to Thessaly, where he entered into relations with Jason of Pheræ. He persuaded the latter to become the ally of Athens, and to further[p. 147] the march of Stesiklês with his division by land across Thessaly over the passes of Pindus, to Epirus; where Alketas, who was at once the ally of Athens, and the dependent of Jason, conveyed them by night across the strait from Epirus to Korkyra. Having thus opened important connection with the powerful Thessalian despot, and obtained from him a very seasonable service, together (perhaps) with some seamen from Pagasæ to man his fleet,—Timotheus proceeded onward to the ports of Macedonia, where he also entered into relations with Amyntas, receiving from him signal marks of private favor,—and then to Thrace as well as the neighboring islands. His voyage procured for him valuable subsidies in money and supplies of seamen, besides some new adhesions and deputies to the Athenian confederacy.

This preliminary cruise of Timotheus, undertaken with the general purpose of collecting means for the expedition to Korkyra, began in the month of April or commencement of May 373 B.C.[312][p. 148] On departing, it appears, he had given orders to such of the allies as were intended to form part of the expedition, to assemble at Kalauria (an island off Trœzen, consecrated to Poseidon) where he would himself come and take them up to proceed onward. Pursuant to such order, several contingents mustered at this island,—among them the Bœotians, who sent several triremes, though in the preceding year it had been alleged against them that they contributed nothing to sustain the naval exertions of Athens. But Timotheus stayed out a long time. Reliance was placed upon him, and upon the money which he was to bring home, for the pay of the fleet; and the unpaid triremes accordingly fell into distress and disorganization at Kalauria, awaiting his return.[313] In the[p. 149] mean time fresh news reached Athens that Korkyra was much pressed; so that great indignation was felt against the absent admiral, for employing in his present cruise a precious interval essential to enable him to reach the island in time. Iphikrates (who had recently come back from serving with Pharnabazus, in an unavailing attempt to reconquer Egypt for the Persian king) and the orator Kallistratus, were especially loud in their accusations against him. And as the very salvation of Korkyra required pressing haste, the Athenians cancelled the appointment of Timotheus even during his absence,—naming Iphikrates, Kallistratus, and Chabrias, to equip a fleet and go round to Korkyra without delay.[314]

Before they could get ready, Timotheus returned; bringing several new adhesions to the confederacy, with a flourishing account of general success.[315] He went down to Kalauria to supply the deficiencies of funds, and make up for the embarrassments which his absence had occasioned. But he could not pay the Bœotian trierarchs without borrowing money for the purpose on his own credit; for though the sum brought home from his voyage was considerable, it would appear that the demands upon him had been greater still. At first an accusation, called for in consequence of the pronounced displeasure of the public, was entered against him by Iphikrates and Kallistratus. But as these two had been named joint admirals for the expedition to Korkyra, which admitted of no delay,—his trial was postponed until the autumn; a postponement advantageous to the accused, and doubtless seconded by his friends.[316]

[p. 150]

Meanwhile Iphikrates adopted the most strenuous measures for accelerating the equipment of his fleet. In the present temper of the public, and in the known danger of Korkyra, he was allowed (though perhaps Timotheus, a few weeks earlier, would not have been allowed) not only to impress seamen in the port, but even to coërce the trierarchs with severity,[317] and to employ all the triremes reserved for the coast-guard of Attica, as well as the two sacred triremes called Paralus and Salaminia. He thus completed a fleet of seventy sail, promising to send back a large portion of it directly, if matters took a favorable turn at Korkyra. Expecting to find on the watch for him a Lacedæmonian fleet fully equal to his own, he arranged his voyage so as to combine the maximum of speed with training to his seamen, and with preparation for naval combat. The larger sails of an ancient trireme were habitually taken out of the ship previous to a battle, as being inconvenient aboard: Iphikrates left such sails at Athens,—employed even the smaller sails sparingly,—and kept his seamen constantly at the oar; which greatly accelerated his progress, at the same time that it kept the men in excellent training. Every day he had to stop, for meals and rest, on an enemy’s shore; and these halts were conducted with such extreme dexterity as well as precision, that the least possible time was consumed, not enough for any local hostile force to get together. On reaching Sphakteria, Iphikrates learnt for the first time the defeat and death of Mnasippus. Yet not fully trusting the correctness of his information, he still persevered both in his celerity and his precautions, until he reached Kephallenia, where he first fully satisfied himself that the danger of Korkyra was past. The excellent management of Iphikrates throughout this expedition is spoken of in terms of admiration by Xenophon.[318]

Having no longer any fear of the Lacedæmonian fleet, the Athenian commander probably now sent back the home-squadron of Attica which he had been allowed to take, but which could ill be spared from the defence of the coast.[319] After making himself master of some of the Kephallenian cities, he then proceeded[p. 151] onward to Korkyra; where the squadron of ten triremes from Syracuse was now on the point of arriving; sent by Dionysius to aid the Lacedæmonians, but as yet uninformed of their flight. Iphikrates, posting scouts on the hills to give notice of their approach, set apart twenty triremes to be ready for moving at the first signal. So excellent was his discipline, (says Xenophon,) that “the moment the signal was made, the ardor of all the crews was a fine thing to see; there was not a man who did not hasten at a run to take his place aboard.”[320] The ten Syracusan triremes, after their voyage across from the Iapygian cape, had halted to rest their men on one of the northern points of Korkyra; where they were found by Iphikrates and captured, with all their crews and the admiral Anippus; one alone escaping, through the strenuous efforts of her captain, the Rhodian Melanôpus. Iphikrates returned in triumph, towing his nine prizes into the harbor of Korkyra. The crews, being sold or ransomed, yielded to him a sum of sixty talents; the admiral Anippus was retained in expectation of a higher ransom, but slew himself shortly afterwards from mortification.[321]

Though the sum thus realized enabled Iphikrates for the time to pay his men, yet the suicide of Anippus was a pecuniary disappointment to him, and he soon began to need money. This consideration induced him to consent to the return of his colleague Kallistratus; who,—an orator by profession, and not on friendly terms with Iphikrates,—had come out against his own consent. Iphikrates had himself singled out both Kallistratus and Chabrias as his colleagues. He was not indifferent to the value of their advice, nor did he fear the criticisms, even of rivals, on what they[p. 152] really saw in his proceedings. But he had accepted the command under hazardous circumstances; not only from the insulting displacement of Timotheus, and the provocation consequently given to a powerful party attached to the son of Konon,—but also in great doubts whether he could succeed in relieving Korkyra, in spite of the rigorous coërcion which he applied to man his fleet. Had the island been taken and had Iphikrates failed, he would have found himself exposed to severe crimination, and multiplied enemies, at Athens. Perhaps Kallistratus and Chabrias, if left at home, might in that case have been among his assailants,—so that it was important to him to identify both of them with his good or ill success, and to profit by the military ability of the latter, as well as by the oratorical talent of the former.[322] As the result of the expedition, however, was altogether favorable, all such anxieties were removed. Iphikrates could well afford to part with both his colleagues; and Kallistratus engaged, that if permitted to go home, he would employ all his efforts to keep the fleet well paid from the public treasury; or if this were impracticable, that he would labor to procure peace.[323] So terrible are the difficulties which the Grecian generals now experience in procuring money from Athens, (or from other cities in whose service they are acting,) for payment of their troops! Iphikrates suffered the same embarrassment which Timotheus had experienced the year before,—and which will be found yet more painfully felt as we advance forward in the history. For the present, he subsisted his seamen by find[p. 153]ing work for them on the farms of the Korkyræans, where there must doubtless have been ample necessity for repairs after the devastations of Mnasippus, while he crossed over to Akarnania with his peltasts and hoplites, and there obtained service with the townships friendly to Athens against such others as were friendly to Sparta; especially against the warlike inhabitants of the strong town called Thyrieis.[324]

The happy result of the Korkyræan expedition, imparting universal satisfaction at Athens, was not less beneficial to Timotheus than to Iphikrates. It was in November, 373 B.C., that the former, as well as his quæstor or military treasurer Antimachus, underwent each his trial. Kallistratus, having returned home, pleaded against the quæstor, perhaps against Timotheus also, as one of the accusers;[325] though probably in a spirit of greater gentleness and moderation, in consequence of his recent joint success and of the general good temper prevalent in the city. And while the edge of the accusation against Timotheus was thus blunted, the defence was strengthened not merely by numerous citizen friends speaking in his favor with increased confidence, but also by the unusual phenomenon of two powerful foreign supporters. At the request of Timotheus, both Alketas of Epirus, and Jason of Pheræ, came to Athens a little before the trial, to appear as witnesses in his favor. They were received and lodged by him in his house in the Hippodamian Agora, the principal square of the Peiræus. And as he was then in some embarrassment for want of money, he found it necessary to borrow various articles of finery in order to do them honor,—clothes, bedding, and two silver drinking bowls,—from Pasion, a wealthy banker near at hand. These two important witnesses would depose to the zealous service and estimable qualities of Timotheus; who had inspired them with warm interest, and had been the means of bringing them into alliance with Athens; an alliance, which they had sealed at once by conveying Stesikles and his division across Thessaly and Epirus to Korkyra. The minds of the dikastery would be powerfully affected by seeing before them such a man as Jason of Pheræ, at that moment the most powerful individual in Greece; and we are[p. 154] not surprised to learn that Timotheus was acquitted. His treasurer Antimachus, not tried by the same dikastery, and doubtless not so powerfully befriended, was less fortunate. He was condemned to death, and his property confiscated; the dikastery doubtless believing (on what evidence we do not know) that he had been guilty of fraud in dealing with the public money, which had caused serious injury at a most important crisis. Under the circumstances of the case, he was held responsible as treasurer, for the pecuniary department of the money-levying command confided to Timotheus by the people.

As to the military conduct, for which Timotheus himself would be personally accountable, we can only remark that having been invested with the command for the special purpose of relieving the besieged Korkyra, he appears to have devoted an unreasonable length of time to his own self-originated cruise elsewhere; though such cruise was in itself beneficial to Athens; insomuch that if Korkyra had really been taken, the people would have had good reason for imputing the misfortune to his delay.[326] And although[p. 155] he was now acquitted, his reputation suffered so much by the whole affair, that in the ensuing spring he was glad to accept an[p. 156] invitation of the Persian satraps, who offered him the command of the Grecian mercenaries in their service for the Egyptian war;[p. 157] the same command from which Iphikrates had retired a little time before.[327]

That admiral, whose naval force had been reinforced by a large number of Korkyræan triremes, was committing without opposition incursions against Akarnania, and the western coast of Peloponnesus; insomuch that the expelled Messenians, in their distant exile at Hesperides in Libya, began to conceive hopes of being restored by Athens to Naupaktus, which they had occupied under her protection during the Peloponnesian war.[328] And while the Athenians were thus masters at sea both east and west of Peloponnesus,[329] Sparta and her confederates, discouraged by the ruinous failure of their expedition against Korkyra in the preceding year, appear to have remained inactive. With such mental predispositions, they were powerfully affected by religious alarm arising from certain frightful earthquakes and inundations with which Peloponnesus was visited during this year, and which were regarded as marks of the wrath of the god Poseidon. More of these formidable visitations occurred this year in Peloponnesus than had ever before been known; especially one, the worst of all, whereby the two towns of Helikê and Bura in Achaia were destroyed, together with a large portion of their population. Ten Lacedæmonian triremes, which happened to be moored on this shore on the night when the calamity occurred, were destroyed by the rush of the waters.[330]

Under these depressing circumstances, the Lacedæmonians had recourse to the same manœuvre which had so well served their purpose fifteen years before, in 388-387 B.C. They sent Antal[p. 158]kidas again as envoy to Persia, to entreat both pecuniary aid,[331] and a fresh Persian intervention enforcing anew the peace which bore his name; which peace had now been infringed (according to Lacedæmonian construction) by the reconstitution of the Bœotian confederacy under Thebes as president. And it appears that in the course of the autumn or winter, Persian envoys actually did come to Greece, requiring that the belligerents should all desist from war, and wind up their dissensions on the principles of the peace of Antalkidas.[332] The Persian satraps, at this time renewing their efforts against Egypt, were anxious for the cessation of hostilities in Greece, as a means of enlarging their numbers of Grecian mercenaries; of which troops Timotheus had left Athens a few months before to take the command.

Apart, however, from this prospect of Persian intervention, which doubtless was not without effect,—Athens herself was becoming more and more disposed towards peace. That common fear and hatred of the Lacedæmonians, which had brought her into alliance with Thebes in 378 B.C., was now no longer predominant. She was actually at the head of a considerable maritime confederacy; and this she could hardly hope to increase by continuing the war, since the Lacedæmonian naval power had already been humbled. Moreover, she found the expense of warlike operations very burdensome, nowise defrayed either by the contributions of her allies or by the results of victory. The orator Kallistratus,—who had promised either to procure remittances from Athens to[p. 159] Iphikrates, or to recommend the conclusion of peace,—was obliged to confine himself to the latter alternative, and contributed much to promote the pacific dispositions of his countrymen.[333]

Moreover, the Athenians had become more and more alienated from Thebes. The ancient antipathy between these two neighbors had for a time been overlaid by common fear of Sparta. But as soon as Thebes had reëstablished her authority in Bœotia, the jealousies of Athens again began to arise. In 374 B.C., she had concluded a peace with the Spartans, without the concurrence of Thebes; which peace was broken almost as soon as made, by the Spartans themselves, in consequence of the proceedings of Timotheus at Zakynthus. The Phokians,—against whom, as having been active allies of Sparta in her invasions of Bœotia, Thebes was now making war,—had also been ancient friends of Athens, who sympathized with their sufferings.[334] Moreover, the Thebans on their side probably resented the unpaid and destitute condition in which their seamen had been left by Timotheus at Kalauria, during the expedition for the relief of Korkyra in the preceding year;[335] an expedition of which Athens alone reaped both the glory and the advantage. Though they remained members of the confederacy, sending deputies to the congress at Athens, the unfriendly spirit on both sides continued on the increase, and was farther exasperated by their violent proceeding against Platæa in the first half of 372 B.C.

During the last three or four years, Platæa, like the other towns of Bœotia, had been again brought into the confederacy under Thebes. Reëstablished by Sparta after the peace of Antalkidas as a so-called autonomous town, it had been garrisoned by her as a post against Thebes, and was no longer able to maintain a real autonomy after the Spartans had been excluded from Bœotia in 376 B.C. While other Bœotian cities were glad to find themselves emancipated from their philo-Laconian oligarchies and rejoined to the federation under Thebes, Platæa,—as well as Thespiæ,—submitted to the union only by constraint; awaiting any favorable opportunity for breaking off, either by means of Sparta or of Athens. Aware probably of the growing coldness[p. 160] between the Athenians and Thebans, the Platæans were secretly trying to persuade Athens to accept and occupy their town, annexing Platæa to Attica;[336] a project hazardous both to Thebes and Athens, since it would place them at open war with each other, while neither was yet at peace with Sparta.

This intrigue, coming to the knowledge of the Thebans, determined them to strike a decisive blow. Their presidency, over more than one of the minor Bœotian cities, had always been ungentle, suitable to the roughness of their dispositions. Towards Platæa, especially, they not only bore an ancient antipathy, but regarded the reëstablished town as little better than a Lacedæmonian encroachment, abstracting from themselves a portion of territory which had become Theban, by prescriptive enjoyment lasting for forty years from the surrender of Platæa in 427 B.C. As it would have been to them a loss as well as embarrassment, if Athens should resolve to close with the tender of Platæa,—they forestalled the contingency by seizing the town for themselves. Since the reconquest of Bœotia by Thebes, the Platæans had come again, though reluctantly, under the ancient constitution of Bœotia; they were living at peace with Thebes, acknowledging her rights as president of the federation, and having their own rights as members guaranteed in return by her, probably under positive engagement,—that is, their security, their territory, and their qualified autonomy, subject to the federal restrictions and obligations. But though thus at peace with Thebes,[337] the Platæans knew[p. 161] well what was her real sentiment towards them, and their own towards her. If we are to believe, what seems very probable, that they were secretly negotiating with Athens to help them in breaking off from the federation,—the consciousness of such an intrigue tended still farther to keep them in anxiety and suspicion. Accordingly, being apprehensive of some aggression from Thebes, they kept themselves habitually on their guard. But their vigilance was somewhat relaxed and most of them went out of the city to their farms in the country, on the days, well known beforehand, when the public assemblies in Thebes were held. Of this relaxation the Bœotarch Neokles took advantage.[338] He conducted a Theban armed force, immediately from the assembly, by a circuitous route through Hysiæ to Platæa; which town he found deserted by most of its male adults, and unable to make resistance. The Platæans,—dispersed in the fields, finding their walls, their wives, and their families, all in possession of the victor,—were under the necessity of accepting the terms proposed to them. They were allowed to depart in safety, and to carry away all their mov[p. 162]able property; but their town was destroyed, and its territory again annexed to Thebes. The unhappy fugitives were constrained for the second time to seek refuge at Athens, where they were again kindly received, and restored to the same qualified right of citizenship as they had enjoyed prior to the peace of Antalkidas.[339]

It was not merely with Platæa, but also with Thespiæ, that Thebes was now meddling. Mistrusting the dispositions of the Thespians, she constrained them to demolish the fortifications of their town;[340] as she had caused to be done fifty-two years before, after the victory of Delium,[341] on suspicion of leanings favorable to Athens.

Such proceedings on the part of the Thebans in Bœotia excited strong emotion at Athens; where the Platæans not only appeared[p. 163] as suppliants, with the tokens of misery conspicuously displayed, but also laid their case pathetically before the assembly, and invoked aid to regain their town, of which they had been just bereft. On a question at once so touching and so full of political consequences, many speeches were doubtless composed and delivered, one of which has fortunately reached us; composed by Isokrates, and perhaps actually delivered by a Platæan speaker before the public assembly. The hard fate of this interesting little community is here impressively set forth; including the bitterest reproaches, stated with not a little of rhetorical exaggeration, against the multiplied wrongs done by Thebes, as well towards Athens as towards Platæa. Much of his invective is more vehement than conclusive. Thus when the orator repeatedly claims for Platæa her title to autonomous existence, under the guarantee of universal autonomy sworn at the peace of Antalkidas,[342]—the Thebans would doubtless reply, that at the time of that peace, Platæa was no longer in existence; but had been extinct for forty years, and was only renovated afterwards by the Lacedæmonians for their own political purposes. And the orator intimates plainly, that the Thebans were noway ashamed of their proceeding, but came to Athens to justify it, openly and avowedly; moreover, several of the most distinguished Athenian speakers espoused the same side.[343] That the Platæans had coöperated with Sparta in her recent operations in Bœotia against both Athens and Thebes, was an undeniable fact; which the orator himself can only extenuate by saying that they acted under constraint from a present Spartan force,—but which was cited on the opposite side as a proof of their philo-Spartan dispositions, and of their readiness again to join the common enemy as soon as he presented himself.[344] The Thebans would accuse Platæa of subsequent treason to the[p. 164] confederacy; and they even seem to have contended, that they had rendered a positive service to the general Athenian confederacy of which they were members,[345] by expelling the inhabitants of Platæa and dismantling Thespiæ; both towns being not merely devoted to Sparta, but also adjoining Kithæron, the frontier line whereby a Spartan army would invade Bœotia. Both in the public assembly of Athens, and in the general congress of the confederates at that city, animated discussions were raised upon the whole subject;[346] discussions, wherein, as it appears, Epaminondas, as the orator and representative of Thebes, was found a competent advocate against Kallistratus, the most distinguished speaker in Athens; sustaining the Theban cause with an ability which greatly enhanced his growing reputation.[347]

But though the Thebans and their Athenian supporters, having all the prudential arguments on their side, carried the point so that no step was taken to restore the Platæans, nor any hostile declaration made against those to whom they owed their expulsion,—yet the general result of the debates, animated by keen sympathy with the Platæan sufferers, tended decidedly to poison the good feeling, and loosen the ties, between Athens and Thebes. This change showed itself by an increased gravitation towards peace with Sparta; strongly advocated by the orator Kallistratus, and now promoted not merely by the announced Persian inter[p. 165]vention, but by the heavy cost of war, and the absence of all prospective gain from its continuance. The resolution was at length taken,—first by Athens, and next, probably, by the majority of the confederates assembled at Athens,—to make propositions of peace to Sparta, where it was well known that similar dispositions prevailed towards peace. Notice of this intention was given to the Thebans, who were invited to send envoys thither also, if they chose to become parties. In the spring of 371 B.C., at the time when the members of the Lacedæmonian confederacy were assembled at Sparta, both the Athenian and Theban envoys, and those from the various members of the Athenian confederacy, arrived there. Among the Athenian envoys, two at least,—Kallias (the hereditary daduch or torchbearer of the Eleusinian ceremonies) and Autoklês,—were men of great family at Athens; and they were accompanied by Kallistratus the orator.[348] From the Thebans, the only man of note was Epaminondas, then one of the Bœotarchs.

Of the debates which took place at this important congress, we have very imperfect knowledge; and of the more private diplomatic conversations, not less important than the debates, we have no knowledge at all. Xenophon gives us a speech from each of the three Athenians, and from no one else. That of Kallias, who announces himself as hereditary proxenus of Sparta at Athens, is boastful and empty, but eminently philo-Laconian in spirit;[349] that of Autoklês is in the opposite tone, full of severe censure on the past conduct of Sparta; that of Kallistratus, delivered after the other two,—while the enemies of Sparta were elate, her friends humiliated, and both parties silent from the fresh effect of the reproaches of Autoklês,[350]—is framed in a spirit of conciliation; admitting faults on both sides, but deprecating the continuance of war, as injurious to both, and showing how much the joint interests of both pointed towards peace.[351]

[p. 166]

This orator, representing the Athenian diplomacy of the time, recognizes distinctly the peace of Antalkidas as the basis upon which Athens was prepared to treat,—autonomy to each city, small as well as great; and in this way, coinciding with the views of the Persian king, he dismisses with indifference the menace that Antalkidas was on his way back from Persia with money to aid the Lacedæmonians in the war. It was not from fear of the Persian treasures (he urged),—as the enemies of peace asserted,—that Athens sought peace.[352] Her affairs were now so prosperous, both by sea and land, as to prove that she only did so on consideration of the general evils of prolonged war, and on a prudent abnegation of that rash confidence which was always ready to contend for extreme stakes,[353] like a gamester playing double or quits. The time had come for both Sparta and Athens now to desist from hostilities. The former had the strength on land, the latter was predominant at sea; so that each could guard the other; while the reconciliation of the two would produce peace throughout the Hellenic world, since in each separate city, one of the two opposing local parties rested on Athens, the other on Sparta.[354] But it was indispensably necessary that Sparta should renounce that system of aggression (already pointedly denounced by the Athenian, Autoklês) on which she had acted since the peace of Antalkidas; a system, from which she had at last reaped bitter fruits, since her unjust seizure of the Kadmeia had ended by throwing into the arms of the Thebans all those Bœotian cities, whose separate autonomy she had bent her whole policy to ensure.[355]

Two points stand out in this remarkable speech, which takes a judicious measure of the actual position of affairs;—first, autonomy to every city; and autonomy in the genuine sense, not construed and enforced by the separate interests of Sparta, as it[p. 167] had been at the peace of Antalkidas; next, the distribution of such preëminence or headship, as was consistent with this universal autonomy, between Sparta and Athens; the former on land, the latter at sea,—as the means of ensuring tranquillity in Greece. That “autonomy perverted to Lacedæmonian purposes,”—which Perikles had denounced before the Peloponnesian war as the condition of Peloponnesus, and which had been made the political canon of Greece by the peace of Antalkidas,—was now at an end. On the other hand, Athens and Sparta were to become mutual partners and guarantees; dividing the headship of Greece by an ascertained line of demarcation, yet neither of them interfering with the principle of universal autonomy. Thebes, and her claim to the presidency of Bœotia, were thus to be set aside by mutual consent.

It was upon this basis that the peace was concluded. The armaments on both sides were to be disbanded; the harmosts and garrisons everywhere withdrawn, in order that each city might enjoy full autonomy. If any city should fail in observance of these conditions, and continue in a career of force against any other, all were at liberty to take arms for the support of the injured party; but no one who did not feel disposed, was bound so to take arms. This last stipulation exonerated the Lacedæmonian allies from one of their most vexatious chains.

To the conditions here mentioned, all parties agreed; and on the ensuing day the oaths were exchanged. Sparta took the oath for herself and her allies; Athens took the oath for herself only; her allies afterwards took it severally, each city for itself. Why such difference was made, we are not told; for it would seem that the principle of severance applied to both confederacies alike.

Next came the turn of the Thebans to swear; and here the fatal hitch was disclosed. Epaminondas, the Theban envoy, insisted on taking the oath, not for Thebes separately, but for Thebes as president of the Bœotian federation, including all the Bœotian cities. The Spartan authorities on the other hand, and Agesilaus as the foremost of all, strenuously opposed him. They required that he should swear for Thebes alone, leaving the Bœotian cities to take the oath each for itself.

Already in the course of the preliminary debates, Epaminondas had spoken out boldly against the ascendency of Sparta.[p. 168] While most of the deputies stood overawed by her dignity, represented by the energetic Agesilaus as spokesman,—he, like the Athenian Autoklês, and with strong sympathy from many of the deputies present, had proclaimed that nothing kept alive the war except her unjust pretensions, and that no peace could be durable unless such pretensions were put aside.[356] Accepting the conditions of peace as finally determined, he presented himself to swear to them in the name of the Bœotian federation. But Agesilaus, requiring that each of the Bœotian cities should take the oath for itself, appealed to those same principles of liberty which Epaminondas himself had just invoked, and asked him whether each of the Bœotian cities had not as good a title to autonomy as Thebes. Epaminondas might have replied by asking, why Sparta had just been permitted to take the oath for her allies as well as for herself. But he took a higher ground. He contended that the presidency of Bœotia was held by Thebes on as good a title as the sovereignty of Laconia by Sparta.[357] He would remind the assembly that when Bœotia was first conquered and settled by its present inhabitants, the other towns had all been planted out from Thebes as their chief and mother-city; that the federal union of all, administered by Bœotarchs chosen by and from all, with Thebes as president, was coeval with the first settlement of the country; that the separate autonomy of each was qualified by an established institution, devolving on the Bœotarchs and councils sitting at Thebes the management of the foreign relations of all jointly. All this had been already pleaded by the Theban orator fifty-six years earlier, before the five Spartan commissioners, assembled to determine the fate of the captives after the surrender of Platæa; when he required the condemnation of the Platæans as guilty of treason to the ancestral institutions of Bœotia;[358] and the Spartan commis[p. 169]sioners had recognized the legitimacy of these institutions by a sweeping sentence of death against the transgressors. Moreover, at a time when the ascendency of Thebes over the Bœotian cities had been greatly impaired by her anti-Hellenic coöperation with the invading Persians, the Spartans themselves had assisted her with all their power to reëstablish it, as a countervailing force against Athens.[359] Epaminondas could show, that the presidency of Thebes over the Bœotian cities was the keystone of the federation; a right not only of immemorial antiquity, but pointedly recognized and strenuously vindicated by the Spartans themselves. He could show farther that it was as old, and as good, as their own right to govern the Laconian townships; which latter was acquired and held (as one of the best among their own warriors had boastfully proclaimed)[360] by nothing but Spartan valor and the sharpness of the Spartan sword.

An emphatic speech of this tenor, delivered amidst the deputies assembled at Sparta, and arraigning the Spartans not merely in their supremacy over Greece, but even in their dominion at home,—was as it were the shadow cast before, by coming events. It opened a question such as no Greek had ever ventured to raise. It was a novelty startling to all,—extravagant probably in the eyes of Kallistratus and the Athenians,—but to the Spartans themselves, intolerably poignant and insulting.[361] They had already a long[p. 170] account of antipathy to clear off with Thebes; their own wrong-doing in seizing the Kadmeia,—their subsequent humiliation in losing it and being unable to recover it,—their recent short-comings and failures, in the last seven years of war against Athens and Thebes jointly. To aggravate this deep-seated train of hostile associations, their pride was now wounded in an unforeseen point, the tenderest of all. Agesilaus, full to overflowing of the national sentiment, which in the mind of a Spartan passed for the first of virtues, was stung to the quick. Had he been an Athenian orator like Kallistratus, his wrath would have found vent in an animated harangue. But a king of Sparta was anxious only to close these offensive discussions with scornful abruptness, thus leaving to the presumptuous Theban no middle ground between humble retraction and acknowledged hostility. Indignantly starting from his seat, he said to Epaminondas,—“Speak plainly,—will you, or will you not, leave to each of the Bœotian cities its separate autonomy?” To which the other replied—“Will you leave each of the Laconian towns autonomous?” Without saying another word, Agesilaus immediately caused the name of the Thebans to be struck out of the roll, and proclaimed them excluded from the treaty.[362]

[p. 171]

Such was the close of this memorable congress at Sparta in June, 371 B.C. Between the Spartans and Athenians, and their respective allies, peace was sworn. But the Thebans were excluded, and their deputies returned home (if we may believe Xenophon[363]) discouraged and mournful. Yet such a man as Epaminondas must have been well aware that neither his claims nor his arguments would be admitted by Sparta. If therefore he was disappointed with the result, this must be because he had counted upon, but did not obtain, support from the Athenians or others.

The leaning of the Athenian deputies had been adverse rather than favorable to Thebes throughout the congress. They were disinclined, from their sympathies with the Platæans, to advocate the presidential claims of Thebes, though on the whole it was the political interest of Athens that the Bœotian federation should be[p. 172] maintained, as a bulwark to herself against Sparta. Yet the relations of Athens with Thebes, after the congress as before it, were still those of friendship, nominal rather than sincere. It was only with Sparta, and her allies, that Thebes was at war, without a single ally attached to her. On the whole, Kallistratus and his colleagues had managed the interests of Athens in this congress with great prudence and success. They had disengaged her from the alliance with Thebes, which had been dictated seven years before by common fear and dislike of Sparta, but which had no longer any adequate motive to countervail the cost of continuing the war; at the same time, the disengagement had been accomplished without bad faith. The gains of Athens, during the last seven years of war, had been considerable. She had acquired a great naval power, and a body of maritime confederates; while her enemies the Spartans had lost their naval power in the like proportion. Athens was now the ascendent leader of maritime and insular Greece,—while Sparta still continued to be the leading power on land, but only on land; and a tacit partnership was now established between the two, each recognizing the other in their respective halves of the Hellenic hegemony.[364] Moreover, Athens had the prudence to draw her stake, and quit the game, when at the maximum of her acquisitions, without taking the risk of future contingencies.

On both sides, the system of compulsory and indefeasable confederacies was renounced; a renunciation which had already been once sworn to, sixteen years before, at the peace of Antalkidas, but treacherously perverted by Sparta in the execution. Under this new engagement, the allies of Sparta or Athens ceased to constitute an organized permanent body, voting by its majority, passing resolutions permanently binding upon dissentients, arming the chief state with more or less power of enforcement against all, and forbidding voluntary secessions of individual members. They became a mere uncemented aggregate of individuals, each acting for himself; taking counsel together as long as they chose, and coöperating so far as all were in harmony; but no one being bound by any decision of the others, nor recognizing any right in the others to compel him even to performance of what he had specially[p. 173] promised, if it became irksome. By such change, therefore, both Athens and Sparta were losers in power; yet the latter to a much greater extent than the former, inasmuch as her reach of power over her allies had been more comprehensive and stringent.

We here see the exact point upon which the requisition addressed by Sparta to Thebes, and the controversy between Epaminondas and Agesilaus, really turned. Agesilaus contended that the relation between Thebes and the other Bœotian cities was the same as what subsisted between Sparta and her allies; that accordingly, when Sparta renounced the indefeasible and compulsory character of her confederacy, and agreed to deal with each of its members as a self-acting and independent unit, she was entitled to demand that Thebes should do the same in reference to the Bœotian towns. Epaminondas, on the contrary, denied the justice of this parallel. He maintained that the proper subject of comparison to be taken, was the relation of Sparta, not to her extra-Laconian allies, but to the Laconian townships; that the federal union of the Bœotian towns under Thebes was coeval with the Bœotian settlement, and among the most ancient phenomena of Greece; that in reference to other states, Bœotia, like Laconia or Attica, was the compound and organized whole, of which each separate city was only a fraction; that other Greeks had no more right to meddle with the internal constitution of these fractions, and convert each of them into an integer,—than to insist on separate independence for each of the townships of Laconia. Epaminondas did not mean to contend that the power of Thebes over the Bœotian cities was as complete and absolute in degree, as that of Sparta over the Laconian townships; but merely that her presidential power, and the federal system of which it formed a part, were established, indefeasible, and beyond the interference of any Hellenic convention,—quite as much as the internal government of Sparta in Laconia.

Once already this question had been disputed between Sparta and Thebes at the peace of Antalkidas; and already decided once by the superior power of the former, extorting submission from the latter. The last sixteen years had reversed the previous decision, and enabled the Thebans to reconquer those presidential rights of which the former peace had deprived them. Again, therefore, the question stood for decision, with keener antipathy[p. 174] on both sides,—with diminished power in Sparta,—but with increased force, increased confidence, and a new leader whose inestimable worth was even yet but half-known,—in Thebes. The Athenians,—friendly with both, yet allies of neither,—suffered the dispute to be fought out without interfering. How it was settled will appear in the next chapter.


Immediately after the congress at Sparta in June 371 B.C., the Athenians and Lacedæmonians both took steps to perform the covenants sworn respectively to each other as well as to the allies generally. The Athenians despatched orders to Iphikrates, who was still at Korkyra or in the Ionian Sea, engaged in incursions against the Lacedæmonian or Peloponnesian coasts,—that he should forthwith conduct his fleet home, and that if he had made any captures subsequent to the exchange of oaths at Sparta, they should all be restored;[365] so as to prevent the misunderstanding which had occurred fifty-two years before with Brasidas,[366] in the peninsula of Pallênê. The Lacedæmonians on their side sent to withdraw their harmosts and their garrisons from every city still under occupation. Since they had already made such promise once before, at the peace of Antalkidas, but had never performed it,—commissioners,[367] not Spartans, were now named from the general congress, to enforce the execution of the agreement.

[p. 175]

No great haste, however, was probably shown in executing this part of the conditions; for the whole soul and sentiment of the Spartans were absorbed by their quarrel with Thebes. The miso-Theban impulse now drove them on with a fury which overcame all other thoughts; and which, though doubtless Agesilaus and others considered it at the time as legitimate patriotic resentment for the recent insult, appeared to the philo-Laconian Xenophon, when he looked back upon it from the subsequent season of Spartan humiliation, to be a misguiding inspiration sent by the gods,[368]—like that of the Homeric Atê. Now that Thebes stood isolated from Athens and all other allies out of Bœotia, Agesilaus had full confidence of being able to subdue her thoroughly. The same impression of the superiority of Spartan force was also entertained both by the Athenians and by other Greeks; to a great degree even by the Thebans themselves. It was anticipated that the Spartans would break up the city of Thebes into villages (as they had done at Mantinea) or perhaps retaliate upon her the fate which she had inflicted upon Platæa—or even decimate her citizens and her property to the profit of the Delphian god, pursuant to the vow that had been taken more than a century before, in consequence of the assistance lent by the Thebans to Xerxes.[369] Few persons out of Bœotia doubted of the success of Sparta.

To attack Thebes, however, an army was wanted; and as Sparta, by the peace just sworn, had renounced everything like imperial ascendency over her allies, leaving each of them free to send or withhold assistance as they chose,—to raise an army was no easy task; for the allies, generally speaking, being not at all inflamed with the Spartan antipathy against Thebes, desired only to be left to enjoy their newly-acquired liberty. But it so happened, that at the moment when peace was sworn, the Spartan king Kleombrotus was actually at the head of an army, of Lacedæmonians and allies, in Phokis, on the north-western frontier of Bœotia. Immediately on hearing of the peace, Kleombrotus sent home to ask for instructions as to his future proceedings. By the unanimous voice of the Spartan authorities and assembly, with Agesilaus as[p. 176] the most vehement of all,[370] he was directed to march against the Thebans, unless they should flinch at the last moment (as they had done at the peace of Antalkidas), and relinquish their presidency over the other Bœotian cities. One citizen alone, named Prothöus, interrupted this unanimity. He protested against the order, first, as a violation of their oaths, which required them to disband the army and reconstitute it on the voluntary principle,—next, as imprudent in regard to the allies, who now looked upon such liberty as their right, and would never serve with cordiality unless it were granted to them. But Prothöus was treated with disdain as a silly alarmist,[371] and the peremptory order was despatched to Kleombrotus; accompanied, probably, by a reinforcement of Spartans and Lacedæmonians, the number of whom, in the ensuing battle, seems to have been greater than can reasonably be imagined to have been before serving in Phokis.

Meanwhile no symptoms of concession were manifested at Thebes.[372] Epaminondas, on his return, had found cordial sympathy with the resolute tone which he had adopted both in defence of the Bœotian federation and against Sparta. Though every one felt the magnitude of the danger, it was still hoped that the enemy might be prevented from penetrating out of Phokis into Bœotia. Epaminondas accordingly occupied with a strong force the narrow pass near Koroneia, lying between a spur of Mount Helikon on one side and the Lake Kopaïs on the other; the same position as had been taken by the Bœotians, and forced by the army returning from Asia under Agesilaus, twenty-three years before. Orchomenus lay northward (that is, on the Phokian side) of this position; and its citizens, as well as its Lacedæmonian garrison, now doubtless formed part of the invading army of Kleombrotus. That prince, with a degree of military skill rare in the Spartan commanders, baffled all the Theban calculations. Instead of march[p. 177]ing by the regular road from Phokis into Bœotia, he turned southward by a mountain-road scarcely deemed practicable, defeated the Theban division under Chæreas which guarded it, and crossed the ridge of Helikon to the Bœotian port of Kreusis on the Crissæan Gulf. Coming upon this place by surprise, he stormed it, capturing twelve Theban triremes which lay in the harbor. He then left a garrison to occupy the port, and marched without delay over the mountainous ground into the territory of Thespiæ on the eastern declivity of Helikon; where he encamped on the high ground, at a place of ever-memorable name, called Leuktra.[373]

Here was an important success, skilfully gained; not only placing Kleombrotus within an easy march of Thebes, but also opening a sure communication by sea with Sparta, through the port of Kreusis, and thus eluding the difficulties of Mount Kithæron. Both the king and the Lacedæmonians around him were full of joy and confidence; while the Thebans on their side were struck with dismay as well as surprise. It required all the ability of Epaminondas, and all the daring of Pelopidas, to uphold the resolution of their countrymen, and to explain away or neutralize the terrific signs and portents, which a dispirited Greek was sure to see in every accident of the road. At length, however, they succeeded in this, and the Thebans with their allied Bœotians were marched out from Thebes to Leuktra, where they were posted on a declivity opposite to the Spartan camp. They were commanded by the seven Bœotarchs, of whom Epaminondas was one. But such was the prevalent apprehension of joining battle with the Spartans on equal terms, that even when actually on the ground, three of these Bœotarchs refused to concur in the order for fighting, and proposed to shut themselves up in Thebes for a siege, sending their wives and families away to Athens. Epaminondas was vainly combatting their determination, when the seventh Bœotarch, Branchylides, arrived from the passes of Kithæron, where he had been on guard, and was prevailed upon to vote in favor of the bolder course. Though a majority was thus secured for fighting, yet the feeling throughout the Theban camp was more that of brave despair than of cheering hope; a conviction that it was better to perish in the field, than to live in exile with the Lacedæmonians[p. 178] masters of the Kadmeia. Some encouraging omens, however, were transmitted to the camp, from the temples in Thebes as well as from that of Trophonius at Lebadeia:[374] and a Spartan exile named Leandrias, serving in the Theban ranks, ventured to assure them that they were now on the very spot foredoomed for the overthrow of the Lacedæmonian empire. Here stood the tomb of two females (daughters of a Leuktrian named Skedasus) who had been violated by two Lacedæmonians and had afterwards slain themselves. Skedasus, after having in vain attempted to obtain justice from the Spartans for this outrage, came back, imprecating curses on them, and slew himself also. The vengeance of these departed sufferers would now be sure to pour itself out on Sparta, when her army was in their own district and near their own tomb. And the Theban leaders, to whom the tale was full of opportune encouragement, crowned the tomb with wreaths, invoking the aid of its inmates against the common enemy now present.[375]

While others were thus comforted by the hope of superhuman aid, Epaminondas, to whom the order of the coming battle had been confided, took care that no human precautions should be wanting. His task was arduous; for not only were his troops dispirited, while those of the enemy were confident,—but their numbers were inferior, and some of the Bœotians present were hardly even[p. 179] trustworthy. What the exact numbers were on either side, we are not permitted to know. Diodorus assigns about six thousand men to the Thebans; Plutarch states the numbers of Kleombrotus at eleven thousand.[376] Without placing faith in these figures, we see good reason for believing that the Theban total was decidedly inferior. For such inferiority Epaminondas strove to make up by skilful tactics, and by a combination at that time novel as well as ingenious. In all former Grecian battles, the opposite armies had been drawn up in line, and had fought along the whole line; or at least such had been the intention of the generals,—and if it was not realized, the cause was to be sought in accidents of the ground, or backwardness or disorder on the part of some division of the soldiers. Departing from this habit, Epaminondas now arrayed his troops so as to bring his own left to bear with irresistible force upon the Spartan right, and to keep back the rest of his army comparatively out of action. Knowing that Kleombrotus, with the Spartans and all the official persons, would be on the right of their own line, he calculated that, if successful on this point against the best troops, he should find little resistance from the remainder. Accordingly he placed on his own left wing chosen Theban hoplites, to the prodigious depth of fifty shields, with Pelopidas and the Sacred Band in front. His order of advance was disposed obliquely or in echelon, so that the deep column on the left should join battle first, while the centre and right kept comparatively back and held themselves more in a defensive attitude.

In 371 B.C., such a combination was absolutely new, and betokened high military genius. It is therefore no disgrace to Kleombrotus that he was not prepared for it, and that he adhered to the ordinary Grecian tactics of joining battle at once along the whole line. But so unbounded was the confidence reigning among the Spartans, that there never was any occasion on which peculiar precautions were less thought of. When, from their entrenched camp on the Leuktrian eminence, they saw the Thebans encamped on an opposite eminence, separated from them by a small breadth of low ground and moderate declivities,—their only impatience was to hurry on the decisive moment, so as to prevent the enemy from escaping. Both the partisans and the opponents of Kleom[p. 180]brotus united in provoking the order for battle, each in their own language. The former urged him, since he had never yet done anything against the Thebans, to strike a blow, and clear himself from the disparaging comparisons which rumor instituted between him and Agesilaus; the latter gave it to be understood, that if Kleombrotus were now backward, their suspicions would be confirmed that he leaned in his heart towards the Thebans.[377] Probably the king was himself sufficiently eager to fight, and so would any other Spartan general have been, under the same circumstances, before the battle of Leuktra. But even had he been otherwise, the impatience, prevalent among the Lacedæmonian portion of his army, left him no option. Accordingly, the decided resolution to fight was taken. The last council was held, and the final orders issued by Kleombrotus, after his morning meal, where copious libations of wine both attested and increased the confident temper of every man. The army was marched out of the camp, and arrayed on the lower portion of the declivity; Kleombrotus with the Spartans and most of the Lacedæmonians being on the right, in an order of twelve deep. Some Lacedæmonians were also on the left, but respecting the order of the other parts of the line, we have no information. The cavalry was chiefly posted along the front.

Meanwhile, Epaminondas also marched down his declivity, in his own chosen order of battle: his left wing being both forward, and strengthened into very deep order, for desperate attack. His cavalry too were posted in front of his line. But before he commenced his march, he sent away his baggage and attendants home to Thebes; while at the same time he made proclamation that any of his Bœotian hoplites, who were not hearty in the cause, might also retire, if they chose. Of such permission the Thespians immediately availed themselves;[378] so many were there, in the Theban camp, who estimated the chances to be all in favor of Lacedæmonian victory. But when these men, a large portion of them unarmed, were seen retiring, a considerable detachment from the army of Kleombrotus, either with or without orders, ran after to prevent their escape, and forced them to return for safety to the[p. 181] main Theban army. The most zealous among the allies of Sparta present,—the Phokians, the Phliasians, and the Herakleots, together with a body of mercenaries,—executed this movement; which seems to have weakened the Lacedæmonians in the main battle, without doing any mischief to the Thebans.

The cavalry first engaged, in front of both lines; and here the superiority of the Thebans soon became manifest. The Lacedæmonian cavalry,—at no time very good, but at this moment unusually bad, composed of raw and feeble novices, mounted on horses provided by the rich,—was soon broken and driven back upon the infantry, whose ranks were disturbed by the fugitives. To reëstablish the battle, Kleombrotus gave the word for the infantry to advance, himself personally leading the right. The victorious Theban cavalry probably hung upon the Lacedæmonian infantry of the centre and left, and prevented them from making much forward movement; while Epaminondas and Pelopidas with their left, advanced according to their intention to bear down Kleombrotus and his right wing. The shock here was terrible; on both sides victory was resolutely and desperately disputed, in a close hand-combat, with pushing of opposite shields and opposite masses. But such was the overwhelming force of the Theban charge,—with the sacred band or chosen warriors in front, composed of men highly trained in the palæstra,[379] and the deep column of fifty shields propelling behind,—that even the Spartans, with all their courage, obstinacy, and discipline, were unable to stand up against it. Kleombrotus, himself either in or near the front, was mortally wounded, apparently early in the battle; and it was only by heroic and unexampled efforts, on the part of his comrades around, that he was carried off yet alive, so as to preserve him from falling into the hands of the enemy. Around him also fell the most eminent members of the Spartan official staff; Deinon the polemarch, Sphodrias, with his son Kleonymus, and several others. After an obstinate resistance and a fearful slaughter, the right wing of the Spartans was completely beaten, and driven back to their camp on the higher ground.

It was upon this Spartan right wing, where the Theban left was irresistibly strong, that all the stress of the battle fell,—as[p. 182] Epaminondas had intended that it should. In no other part of the line does there appear to have been any serious fighting; partly through his deliberate scheme of not pushing forward either his centre or his right,—partly through the preliminary victory of the Theban cavalry, which probably checked a part of the forward march of the enemy’s line,—and partly also through the lukewarm adherence, or even suppressed hostility, of the allies marshalled under the command of Kleombrotus.[380] The Phokians and Herakleots,—zealous in the cause from hatred of Thebes,—had quitted the line to strike a blow at the retiring baggage and attendants; while the remaining allies, after mere nominal fighting and little or no loss, retired to the camp as soon as they saw the Spartan right defeated and driven back to it. Moreover, even some Lacedæmonians on the left wing, probably astounded by the lukewarmness of those around them, and by the unexpected calamity on their own right, fell back in the same manner. The whole Lacedæmonian force, with the dying king, was thus again assembled and formed behind the entrenchment on the higher ground, where the victorious Thebans did not attempt to molest them.[381]

But very different were their feelings as they now stood arrayed in the camp, from that exulting boastfulness with which they had quitted it an hour or two before; and fearful was the loss when it came to be verified. Of seven hundred Spartans who had marched forth from the camp, only three hundred returned to it.[382] One thousand Lacedæmonians, besides, had been left on the field, even by the admission of Xenophon; probably the real number was[p. 183] even larger. Apart from this, the death of Kleombrotus was of itself an event impressive to every one, the like of which had never occurred since the fatal day of Thermopylæ. But this was not all. The allies who stood alongside of them in arms were now altered men. All were sick of their cause, and averse to farther exertion; some scarcely concealed a positive satisfaction at the defeat. And when the surviving polemarchs, now commanders, took counsel with the principal officers as to the steps proper in the emergency, there were a few, but very few, Spartans who pressed for renewal of the battle, and for recovering by force their slain brethren in the field, or perishing in the attempt. All the rest felt like beaten men; so that the polemarchs, giving effect to the general sentiment, sent a herald to solicit the regular truce for burial of their dead. This the Thebans granted, after erecting their own trophy.[383] But Epaminondas, aware that the Spartans would practise every stratagem to conceal the magnitude of their losses, coupled the grant with a condition that the allies should bury their dead first. It was found that the allies had scarce any dead to pick up, and that nearly every slain warrior on the field was a Lacedæmonian.[384] And thus the Theban general, while he placed the loss beyond possibility of concealment, proclaimed at the same time such public evidence of Spartan courage, as to rescue the misfortune of Leuktra from all aggravation on the score of dishonor. What the Theban loss was, Xenophon does not tell us. Pausanias states it at forty-seven men,[385] Diodorus at three hundred. The former number is preposterously small, and even the latter is doubtless under the truth; for a victory in close fight, over soldiers like the Spartans, must have been dearly purchased. Though the bodies of the Spartans were given up to burial, their arms were retained; and the shields of the principal officers were seen by the traveller Pausanias at Thebes five hundred years afterwards.[386]

Twenty days only had elapsed, from the time when Epaminondas quitted Sparta after Thebes had been excluded from the general peace, to the day when he stood victorious on the field of[p. 184] Leuktra.[387] The event came like a thunderclap upon every one in Greece, upon victors as well as vanquished,—upon allies and neutrals, near and distant, alike. The general expectation had been that Thebes would be speedily overthrown and dismantled; instead of which, not only she had escaped, but had inflicted a crushing blow on the military majesty of Sparta. It is in vain that Xenophon,—whose account of the battle is obscure, partial, and imprinted with that chagrin which the event occasioned to him,[388]—ascribes the defeat to untoward accidents,[389] or to the rashness and convivial carelessness of Kleombrotus; upon whose generalship Agesilaus and his party at Sparta did not scruple to cast ungenerous reproach,[390] while others faintly exculpated him by saying that he had fought contrary to his better judgment, under[p. 185] fear of unpopularity. Such criticisms, coming from men wise after the fact, and consoling themselves for the public calamity by censuring the unfortunate commander, will not stand examination. Kleombrotus represented on this occasion the feeling universal among his countrymen. He was ordered to march against Thebes with the full belief, entertained by Agesilaus and all the Spartan leaders, that her unassisted force could not resist him. To fight the Thebans on open ground was exactly what he and every other Spartan desired. While his manner of forcing the entrance of Bœotia, and his capture of Kreusis, was a creditable manœuvre, he seems to have arranged his order of battle in the manner usual with Grecian generals at the time. There appears no reason to censure his generalship, except in so far as he was unable to divine,—what no one else divined,—the superior combinations of his adversary, then for the first time applied to practice. To the discredit of Xenophon, Epaminondas is never named in his narrative of the battle, though he recognizes in substance that the battle was decided by the irresistible Theban force brought to bear upon one point of the enemy’s phalanx; a fact which both Plutarch and Diodorus[391] expressly refer to the genius of the general. All the calculations of Epaminondas turned out successful. The bravery of the Thebans, cavalry as well as infantry, seconded by the training which they had received during the last few years, was found sufficient to carry his plans into full execution. To this circumstance, principally, was owing the great revolution of opinion throughout Greece which followed the battle. Every one felt that a new military power had arisen, and that the Theban training, under the generalship of Epaminondas, had proved itself more than a match on a fair field, with shield and spear, and with numbers on the whole inferior,—for the ancient Lykurgean discipline; which last had hitherto stood without a parallel as turning out artists and craftsmen in war, against mere citizens in the opposite ranks, armed but without the like training.[392] Essentially stationary and old-fashioned, the Lykurgean discipline was now[p. 186] overborne by the progressive military improvement of other states, handled by a preëminent tactician; a misfortune predicted by the Corinthians[393] at Sparta sixty years before, and now realised, to the conviction of all Greece, on the field of Leuktra.

But if the Spartan system was thus invaded and overpassed in its privilege of training soldiers, there was another species of teaching wherein it neither was nor could be overpassed,—the hard lesson of enduring pain and suppressing emotion. Memorable indeed was the manner in which the news of this fatal catastrophe was received at Sparta. To prepare the reader by an appropriate contrast, we may turn to the manifestation at Athens twenty-seven years before, when the trireme called Paralus arrived from Ægospotami, bearing tidings of the capture of the entire Athenian fleet. “The moan of distress (says the historian)[394] reached all up the Long Walls from Peiræus to Athens, as each man communicated the news to his neighbor: on that night, not a man slept, from bewailing for his lost fellow-citizens and for his own impending ruin.” Not such was the scene at Sparta, when the messenger arrived from the field of Leuktra, although there was everything calculated to render the shock violent. For not only was the defeat calamitous and humiliating beyond all former parallel, but it came at a moment when every man reckoned on victory. As soon as Kleombrotus, having forced his way into Bœotia, saw the unassisted Thebans on plain ground before him, no Spartan entertained any doubt of the result. Under this state of feeling, a messenger arrived with the astounding revelation, that the army was totally defeated, with the loss of the king, of four hundred Spartans, and more than a thousand Lacedæmonians; and that defeat stood confessed by having solicited the truce for interment of the slain. At the moment when he arrived, the festival called the Gymnopædia[p. 187] was actually being celebrated, on its last day; and the chorus of grown men was going through its usual solemnity in the theatre. In spite of all the poignancy of the intelligence, the ephors would not permit the solemnity to be either interrupted or abridged. “Of necessity, I suppose, they were grieved,—but they went through the whole as if nothing had happened, only communicating the names of the slain to their relations, and issuing a general order to the women, to make no noise or wailing, but to bear the misfortune in silence.” That such an order should be issued, is sufficiently remarkable; that it should be issued and obeyed, is what could not be expected; that it should not only be issued and obeyed, but overpassed, is what no man could believe, if it were not expressly attested by the contemporary historian. “On the morrow (says he) you might see those whose relations had been slain, walking about in public with bright and cheerful countenances; but of those whose relatives survived, scarce one showed himself; and the few who were abroad, looked mournful and humbled.”[395]

In comparing this extraordinary self-constraint and obedience to orders, at Sparta, under the most trying circumstances,—with the sensitive and demonstrative temper, and spontaneous outburst of feeling at Athens, so much more nearly approaching to the Homeric type of Greeks,—we must at the same time remark, that in reference to active and heroic efforts for the purpose of repairing past calamities and making head against preponderant odds, the Athenians were decidedly the better of the two. I have al[p. 188]ready recounted the prodigious and unexpected energy displayed by Athens, after the ruinous loss of her two armaments before Syracuse, when no one expected that she could have held out for six months: I am now about to recount the proceedings of Sparta, after the calamity at Leuktra,—a calamity great and serious indeed, yet in positive amount inferior to what had befallen the Athenians at Syracuse. The reader will find that, looking to the intensity of active effort in both cases, the comparison is all to the advantage of Athens; excusing at least, if not justifying, the boast of Perikles[396] in his memorable funeral harangue,—that his countrymen, without the rigorous drill of Spartans, were yet found noway inferior to Spartans in daring exertion, when the hour of actual trial arrived.

It was the first obligation of the ephors to provide for the safety of their defeated army in Bœotia; for which purpose they put in march nearly the whole remaining force of Sparta. Of the Lacedæmonian moræ, or military divisions (seemingly six in the aggregate), two or three had been sent with Kleombrotus; all the remainder were now despatched, even including elderly citizens up to near sixty years of age, and all who had been left behind in consequence of other public offices. Archidamus took the command (Agesilaus still continuing to be disabled), and employed himself in getting together the aid promised from Tegea,—from the villages representing the disintegrated Mantinea,—from Corinth, Sikyon, Phlius, and Achaia; all these places being still under the same oligarchies which had held them under Lacedæmonian patronage, and still adhering to Sparta. Triremes were equipped at Corinth, as a means of transporting the new army across to Kreusis, and thus joining the defeated troops at Leuktra; the port of Kreusis, the recent acquisition of Kleombrotus, being now found inestimable, as the only means of access into Bœotia.[397]

Meanwhile the defeated army still continued in its entrenched camp at Leuktra, where the Thebans were at first in no hurry to disturb it. Besides that this was a very arduous enterprise, even after the recent victory,—we must recollect the actual feeling of the Thebans themselves, upon whom their own victory had come by surprise, at a moment when they were animated more by [p. 189]despair than by hope. They were doubtless absorbed in the intoxicating triumph and exultation of the moment, with the embraces and felicitations of their families in Thebes, rescued from impending destruction by their valor. Like the Syracusans after their last great victory[398] over the Athenian fleet in the Great Harbor, they probably required an interval to give loose to their feelings of ecstasy, before they would resume action. Epaminondas and the other leaders, aware how much the value of Theban alliance was now enhanced, endeavored to obtain reinforcement from without, before they proceeded to follow up the blow. To Athens they sent a herald, crowned with wreaths of triumph, proclaiming their recent victory. They invited the Athenians to employ the present opportunity for taking full revenge on Sparta, by joining their hands with those of Thebes. But the sympathies of the Athenians were now rather hostile than friendly to Thebes, besides that they had sworn peace with Sparta, not a month before. The Senate, who were assembled in the acropolis when the herald arrived, heard his news with evident chagrin, and dismissed him without even a word of courtesy; while the unfortunate Platæans, who were doubtless waiting in the city in expectation of the victory of Kleombrotus, and of their own speedy reëstablishment, found themselves again struck down and doomed to indefinite exile.

To Jason of Pheræ in Thessaly, another Theban herald was sent for the same purpose, and very differently received. The despot sent back word that he would come forthwith by sea, and ordered triremes to be equipped for the purpose. But this was a mere deception; for at the same time, he collected the mercenaries and cavalry immediately near to him, and began his march by land. So rapid were his movements, that he forestalled all opposition,—though he had to traverse the territory of the Herakleots and Phokians, who were his bitter enemies,—and joined the Thebans safely in Bœotia.[399] But when the Theban leaders proposed that he should attack the Lacedæmonian camp in flank, from the high ground, while they would march straight up the hill and[p. 190] attack it in front,—Jason strongly dissuaded the enterprise as too perilous; recommending that they should permit the enemy’s departure under capitulation. “Be content (said he) with the great victory which you have already gained. Do not compromise it by attempting something yet more hazardous, against Lacedæmonians driven to despair in their camp. Recollect that a few days ago, you yourselves were in despair, and that your recent victory is the fruit of that very feeling. Remember that the gods take pleasure in bringing about these sudden changes of fortune.”[400] Having by such representations convinced the Thebans, he addressed a friendly message to the Lacedæmonians, reminding them of their dangerous position, as well as of the little trust to be reposed in their allies,—and offering himself as mediator to negotiate for their safe retreat. Their acquiescence was readily given; and at his instance, a truce was agreed to by both parties, assuring to the Lacedæmonians the liberty of quitting Bœotia. In spite of the agreement, however, the Lacedæmonian commander placed little faith either in the Thebans or in Jason, apprehending a fraud for the purpose of inducing him to quit the camp and of attacking him on the march. Accordingly, he issued public orders in the camp for every man to be ready for departure after the evening meal, and to march in the night to Kithæron, with a view of passing that mountain on the next morning. Having put the enemy on this false scent, he directed his real night-march by a different and not very easy way, first to Kreusis, next to Ægosthena in the Megarian territory.[401] The Thebans offered no opposition; nor is[p. 191] it at all probable that they intended any fraud, considering that Jason was here the guarantee, and that he had at least no motive to break his word.

It was at Ægosthena that the retreating Lacedæmonians met Archidamus, who had advanced to that point with the Laconian forces, and was awaiting the junction of his Peloponnesian allies. The purpose of his march being now completed, he advanced no farther. The armament was disbanded, and Lacedæmonians as well as allies returned home.[402]

[p. 192]

In all communities, the return of so many defeated soldiers, liberated under a capitulation by the enemy, would have been a scene of mourning. But in Sparta it was pregnant with grave and dangerous consequences. So terrible was the scorn and ignominy heaped upon the Spartan citizen who survived a defeat, that life became utterly intolerable to him. The mere fact sufficed for his condemnation, without any inquiry into justifying or extenuating circumstances. No citizen at home would speak to him, or be seen consorting with him in tent, game, or chorus; no other family would intermarry with his; if he was seen walking about with an air of cheerfulness, he was struck and ill-used by the passers-by, until he assumed that visible humility which was supposed to become his degraded position. Such rigorous treatment (which we learn from the panegyrist Xenophon)[403] helps to explain the satisfaction of the Spartan father and mother, when they learned that their son was among the slain and not among the survivors. Defeat of Spartan troops had hitherto been rare. But in the case of the prisoners at Sphakteria, when released from captivity and brought back to a degraded existence at Sparta, some uneasiness had been felt, and some precautions deemed necessary to prevent them from becoming dangerous malcontents.[404] Here was another[p. 193] case yet more formidable. The vanquished returning from Leuktra were numerous, while the severe loss sustained in the battle amply attested their bravery. Aware of the danger of enforcing against them the established custom, the ephors referred the case to Agesilaus; who proposed that for that time and case the customary penalties should be allowed to sleep; but should be revived afterwards and come into force as before. Such was the step accordingly taken;[405] so that the survivors from this fatal battle-field were enabled to mingle with the remaining citizens without dishonor or degradation. The step was indeed doubly necessary, considering the small aggregate number of fully qualified citizens; which number always tended to decline,—from the nature of the Spartan political franchise combined with the exigencies of Spartan training,[406]—and could not bear even so great a diminution as that of the four hundred slain at Leuktra. “Sparta (says Aristotle) could not stand up against a single defeat, but was ruined through the small number of her citizens.”[407]

The cause here adverted to by Aristotle, as explaining the utter loss of ascendency abroad, and the capital diminution both of power and of inviolability at home, which will now be found to come thick upon Sparta, was undoubtedly real and important. But a fact still more important was, the alteration of opinion produced everywhere in Greece with regard to Sparta, by the sudden shock of the battle of Leuktra. All the prestige and old associations connected with her long-established power vanished; while the hostility and fears, inspired both by herself and by her partisans, but hitherto reluctantly held back in silence,—now burst forth into open manifestation.

[p. 194]

The ascendency, exercised down to this time by Sparta north of the Corinthian Gulf, in Phokis and elsewhere, passed away from her, and became divided between the victorious Thebans and Jason of Pheræ. The Thebans, and the Bœotian confederates who were now in cordial sympathy with them, excited to enthusiasm by their recent success, were eager for fresh glories, and readily submitted to the full exigencies of military training; while under a leader like Epaminondas, their ardor was turned to such good account, that they became better soldiers every month.[408] The Phokians, unable to defend themselves single-handed, were glad to come under the protection of the Thebans, as less bitterly hostile to them than the Thessalian Jason,—and concluded with them obligations of mutual defence and alliance.[409] The cities of Eubœa, together with the Lokrians (both Epiknemidian and Opuntian,) the Malians and the town of Heraklea, followed the example. The latter town was now defenceless; for Jason, in returning from Bœotia to Thessaly, had assaulted it and destroyed its fortifications; since by its important site near the pass of Thermopylæ, it might easily be held as a position to bar his entrance into Southern Greece.[410] The Bœotian town of Orchomenus, which had held with the Lacedæmonians even until the late battle, was now quite defenceless; and the Thebans, highly exasperated against its inhabitants, were disposed to destroy the city, reducing the inhabitants to slavery. Severe as this proposition was, it would not have exceeded the customary rigors of war, nor even what might have befallen Thebes herself, had Kleombrotus been victorious at Leuktra. But the strenuous remonstrance of Epaminondas prevented it from being carried into execution. Alike distinguished for mild temper and for long-sighted views, he reminded his countrymen that in their present aspiring hopes towards ascendency in Greece, it was essential to establish a character for moderation of dealing[411] not inferior to their military courage, as attested by the recent victory. Accordingly, the Orchomenians were par[p. 195]doned upon submission, and re-admitted as members of the Bœotian confederacy. To the Thespians, however, the same lenity was not extended. They were expelled from Bœotia, and their territory annexed to Thebes. It will be recollected, that immediately before the battle of Leuktra, when Epaminondas caused proclamation to be made that such of the Bœotians as were disaffected to the Theban cause might march away, the Thespians had availed themselves of the permission and departed.[412] The fugitive Thespians found shelter, like the Platæans, at Athens.[413]

While Thebes was commemorating her recent victory by the erection of a treasury chamber,[414] and the dedication of pious offerings at Delphi,—while the military organization of Bœotia was receiving such marked improvement, and the cluster of dependent states attached to Thebes was thus becoming larger, under the able management of Epaminondas,—Jason in Thessaly was also growing more powerful every day. He was tagus of all Thessaly; with its tributary neighbors under complete obedience,—with Macedonia partly dependent on him,—and with a mercenary force, well paid and trained, greater than had ever been assembled in Greece. By dismantling Heraklea, in his return home from Bœotia, he had laid open the strait of Thermopylæ, so as to be sure of access into southern Greece whenever he chose. His personal ability and ambition, combined with his great power, inspired universal alarm; for no man knew whither he would direct his arms; whether to Asia, against the Persian king, as he was fond of boasting,[415]—or northward against the cities in Chalkidikê—or southward against Greece.

The last-mentioned plan seemed the most probable, at the beginning of 370 B.C., half a year after the battle of Leuktra: for Jason proclaimed distinctly his intention of being present at the Pythian festival (the season for which was about August 1, 370 B.C., near Delphi), not only with splendid presents and sacrifices to Apollo, but also at the head of a numerous army. Orders had[p. 196] been given that his troops should hold themselves ready for military service,[416]—about the time when the festival was to be celebrated; and requisitions had been sent round, demanding from all his tributaries victims for the Pythian sacrifice, to a total of not less than one thousand bulls, and ten thousand sheep, goats, and swine; besides a prize-bull to take the lead in the procession, for which a wreath of gold was to be given. Never before had such honor been done to the god; for those who came to offer sacrifice were usually content with one or more beasts bred on the neighboring plain of Kirrha.[417] We must recollect, however, that this Pythian festival of 370 B.C. occurred under peculiar circumstances; for the two previous festivals in 374 B.C. and 378 B.C. must have been comparatively unfrequented; in consequence of the war between Sparta and her allies on one side, and Athens and Thebes on the other,—and also of the occupation of Phokis by Kleombrotus. Hence the festival of 370 B.C., following immediately after the peace, appeared to justify an extraordinary burst of pious magnificence, to make up for the niggardly tributes to the god during the two former; while the hostile dispositions of the Phokians would be alleged as an excuse for the military force intended to accompany Jason.

But there were other intentions, generally believed though not formally announced, which no Greek could imagine without uneasiness. It was affirmed that Jason was about to arrogate to himself the presidency and celebration of the festival, which belonged[p. 197] of right to the Amphiktyonic assembly. It was feared, moreover, that he would lay hands on the rich treasures of the Delphian temple; a scheme said to have been conceived by the Syracusan despot Dionysius fifteen years before, in conjunction with the epirot Alketas, who was now dependent upon Jason.[418] As there were no visible means of warding off this blow, the Delphians consulted the god to know what they were to do if Jason approached the treasury; upon which the god replied, that he would himself take care of it,—and he kept his word. This enterprising despot, in the flower of his age and at the summit of his power, perished most unexpectedly before the day of the festival arrived.[419] He had been reviewing his cavalry near Pheræ, and was sitting to receive and answer petitioners, when seven young men approached, apparently in hot dispute with each other, and appealing to him for a settlement. As soon as they got near, they set upon him and slew him.[420] One was killed on the spot by the guards, and another also as he was mounting on horseback; but the remaining five contrived to reach horses ready prepared for them and to gallop away out of the reach of pursuit. In most of the Grecian cities which these fugitives visited, they were received with distinguished honor, as having relieved the Grecian world from one who inspired universal alarm,[421] now that Sparta was unable to resist him, while no other power had as yet taken her place.

Jason was succeeded in his dignity, but neither in his power,[p. 198] nor ability, by two brothers,—Polyphron and Polydorus. Had he lived longer, he would have influenced most seriously the subsequent destinies of Greece. What else he would have done, we cannot say; but he would have interfered materially with the development of Theban power. Thebes was a great gainer by his death, though perfectly innocent of it, and though in alliance with him to the last; insomuch that his widow went to reside there for security.[422] Epaminondas was relieved from a most formidable rival, while the body of Theban allies north of Bœotia became much more dependent than they would have remained, if there had been a competing power like that of Jason in Thessaly. The treasures of the god were preserved a few years longer, to be rifled by another hand.

While these proceedings were going on in Northern Greece, during the months immediately succeeding the battle of Leuktra, events not less serious and stirring had occurred in Peloponnesus. The treaty sworn at Sparta twenty days before that battle, bound the Lacedæmonians to disband their forces, remove all their harmosts and garrisons, and leave every subordinate city to its own liberty of action. As they did not scruple to violate the treaty by the orders sent to Kleombrotus, so they probably were not zealous in executing the remaining conditions; though officers were named, for the express purpose of going round to see that the evacuation of the cities was really carried into effect.[423] But it probably was not accomplished in twenty days; nor would it perhaps have been ever more than nominally accomplished, if Kleombrotus had been successful in Bœotia. But after these twenty days came the portentous intelligence of the fate of that prince and his army. The invincible arm of Sparta was broken; she had not a man to spare for the maintenance of foreign ascendency. Her harmosts disappeared at once, (as they had disappeared from the Asiatic and insular cities twenty-three years before, immediately after the battle of Knidus,[424]) and returned home. Nor was this all. The Lacedæmonian ascendency had been maintained everywhere by local oligarchies or dekarchies, which had been for the most part violent and oppressive. Against these governments, now deprived[p. 199] of their foreign support, the long-accumulated flood of internal discontent burst with irresistible force, stimulated probably by returning exiles. Their past misgovernment was avenged by severe sentences and proscription, to the length of great reactionary injustice; and the parties banished by this anti-Spartan revolution became so numerous, as to harass and alarm seriously the newly-established governments. Such were the commotions which, during the latter half of 371 B.C., disturbed many of the Peloponnesian towns,—Phigaleia, Phlius, Corinth, Sikyon, Megara, etc., though with great local difference, both of detail and of result.[425]

But the city where intestine commotion took place in its most violent form was Argos. We do not know how this fact was con[p. 200]nected with the general state of Grecian politics at the time, for Argos had not been in any way subject to Sparta, nor a member of the Spartan confederacy, nor (so far as we know) concerned in the recent war, since the peace of Antalkidas in 387 B.C. The Argeian government was a democracy, and the popular leaders were vehement in their denunciations against the oligarchical opposition party—who were men of wealth and great family position. These last, thus denounced, formed a conspiracy for the forcible overthrow of the government. But the conspiracy was discovered prior to execution, and some of the suspected conspirators were interrogated under the torture, to make them reveal their accomplices; under which interrogation one of them deposed against thirty conspicuous citizens. The people, after a hasty trial, put these thirty men to death, and confiscated their property, while others slew themselves to escape the same fate. So furious did the fear and wrath of the people become, exasperated by the popular leaders, that they continued their executions until they had put to death twelve hundred (or, as some say, fifteen hundred) of the principal citizens. At length the popular leaders became themselves tired and afraid of what they had done; upon which the people were animated to fury against them, and put them to death also.[426]

This gloomy series of events was termed the Skytalism, or Cudgelling, from the instrument (as we are told) by which these multiplied executions were consummated; though the name seems more to indicate an impetuous popular insurrection than deliberate executions. We know the facts too imperfectly to be able to infer anything more than the brutal working of angry political passion amidst a population like that of Argos or Korkyra, where there was not (as at Athens) either a taste for speech, or the habit of being guided by speech, and of hearing both sides of every question fully discussed. Cicero remarks that he had never heard of an Argeian orator. The acrimony of Demosthenes and Æschines was discharged by mutual eloquence of vituperation, while the assembly or the dikastery afterwards decided between them. We are told that the assembled Athenian people, when they heard the news of the Skytalism at Argos, were so shocked at it, that they[p. 201] caused the solemnity of purification to be performed round the assembly.[427]

Though Sparta thus saw her confidential partisans deposed, expelled, or maltreated, throughout so many of the Peloponnesian cities,—and though as yet there was no Theban interference within the isthmus, either actual or prospective,—yet she was profoundly discouraged, and incapable of any effort either to afford protection or to uphold ascendency. One single defeat had driven her to the necessity of contending for home and family;[428] probably too the dispositions of her own Periœki and Helots in Laconia, were such as to require all her force as well as all her watchfulness. At any rate, her empire and her influence over the sentiments of Greeks out of Laconia, became suddenly extinct, to a degree which astonishes us, when we recollect that it had become a sort of tradition in the Greek mind, and that, only nine years before, it had reached as far as Olynthus. How completely her ascendency had passed away, is shown in a remarkable step taken by Athens, seemingly towards the close of 371 B.C., about four months after the battle of Leuktra. Many of the Peloponnesian cities, though they had lost both their fear and their reverence for Sparta, were still anxious to continue members of a voluntary alliance under the presidency of some considerable city. Of this feeling the Athenians took advantage, to send envoys and invite them to enter into a common league at Athens, on the basis of the peace of Antalkidas, and of the peace recently sworn at Sparta.[429] Many[p. 202] of them, obeying the summons, entered into an engagement to the following effect: “I will adhere to the peace sent down by the Persian king, and to the resolutions of the Athenians and the allies generally. If any of the cities who have sworn this oath shall be attacked, I will assist her with all my might.” What cities, or how many, swore to this engagement, we are not told; we make out indirectly that Corinth was one;[430] but the Eleians refused it, on the ground that their right of sovereignty over the Marganeis, the Triphylians, and the Skilluntians, was not recognized. The formation of the league itself, however, with Athens as president, is a striking fact, as evidence of the sudden dethronement of Sparta, and as a warning that she would henceforward have to move in her own separate orbit, like Athens after the Peloponnesian war. Athens stepped into the place of Sparta, as president of the Peloponnesian confederacy, and guarantee of the sworn peace; though the cities which entered into this new compact were not for that reason understood to break with their ancient president.[431]

Another incident too, apparently occurring about the present time, though we cannot mark its exact date,—serves to mark the altered position of Sparta. The Thebans preferred in the assembly of Amphiktyons an accusation against her, for the unlawful capture of their citadel the Kadmeia by Phœbidas, while under a sworn peace; and for the sanction conferred by the Spartan authorities on this act, in detaining and occupying the place. The Amphiktyonic assembly found the Spartans guilty, and condemned them to a fine of five hundred talents. As the fine was not paid, the assembly, after a certain interval, doubled it; but the second sentence remained unexecuted as well as the first, since there were no means of enforcement.[432] Probably neither those who[p. 203] preferred the charge, nor those who passed the vote, expected that the Lacedæmonians would really submit to pay the fine. The utmost which could be done, by way of punishment for such contumacy, would be to exclude them from the Pythian games, which were celebrated under the presidency of the Amphiktyons; and we may perhaps presume that they really were thus excluded.

The incident however deserves peculiar notice, in more than one point of view. First, as indicating the lessened dignity of Sparta. Since the victory of Leuktra and the death of Jason, Thebes had become preponderant, especially in Northern Greece, where the majority of the nations or races voting in the Amphiktyonic assembly were situated. It is plainly through the ascendency of Thebes, that this condemnatory vote was passed. Next, as indicating the incipient tendency, which we shall hereafter observe still farther developed, to extend the functions of the Amphiktyonic assembly beyond its special sphere of religious solemnities, and to make it the instrument of political coërcion or revenge in the hands of the predominant state. In the previous course of this history, an entire century has passed without giving occasion to mention the Amphiktyonic assembly as taking part in political affairs. Neither Thucydides nor Xenophon, though their united histories cover seventy years, chiefly of Hellenic conflict, ever speak of that assembly. The latter, indeed, does not even notice this fine imposed upon the Lacedæmonians, although it falls within the period of his history. We know the fact only from Diodorus and Justin; and unfortunately merely as a naked fact, without any collateral or preliminary details. During the sixty or seventy years preceding the battle of Leuktra, Sparta had always had her regular political confederacy and synod of allies convened by herself: her political ascendency was exercised over them, eo nomine, by a method more direct and easy than that of perverting the religious authority of the Amphiktyonic assembly, even if such a proceeding were open to her.[433] But when Thebes, after the battle of Leuktra, became the more powerful state individually, she had no such established confederacy and synod of allies, to sanction her propositions, and to share or abet her antipathies. The Amphiktyonic assembly,[p. 204] meeting alternately at Delphi and at Thermopylæ, and composed of twelve ancient races, principally belonging to Northern Greece, as well as most of them inconsiderable in power,—presented itself as a convenient instrument for her purposes. There was a certain show of reason for considering the seizure of the Kadmeia by Phœbidas as a religious offence; since it was not only executed during the Pythian festival, but was in itself a glaring violation of the public law and interpolitical obligations recognized between Grecian cities; which, like other obligations, were believed to be under the sanction of the gods; though probably, if the Athenians and Platæans had preferred a similar complaint to the Amphiktyons against Thebes for her equally unjust attempt to surprise Platæa under full peace in the spring of 431 B.C.,—both Spartans and Thebans would have resisted it. In the present case, however, the Thebans had a case against Sparta sufficiently plausible, when combined with their overruling ascendency, to carry a majority in the Amphiktyonic assembly, and to procure the imposition of this enormous fine. In itself the sentence produced no direct effect,—which will explain the silence of Xenophon. But it is the first of a series of proceedings, connected with the Amphiktyons, which will be found hereafter pregnant with serious results for Grecian stability and independence.

Among all the inhabitants of Peloponnesus, none were more powerfully affected, by the recent Spartan overthrow at Leuktra, than the Arcadians. Tegea, their most important city, situated on the border of Laconia, was governed by an oligarchy wholly in the interest of Sparta: Orchomenus was of like sentiment; and Mantinea had been broken up into separate villages (about fifteen years before) by the Lacedæmonians themselves—an act of high-handed injustice committed at the zenith of their power after the peace of Antalkidas. The remaining Arcadian population were in great proportion villagers; rude men, but excellent soldiers, and always ready to follow the Lacedæmonian banners, as well from old habit and military deference, as from the love of plunder.[434]

The defeat of Leuktra effaced this ancient sentiment. The Arcadians not only ceased to count upon victory and plunder in the service of Sparta, but began to fancy that their own military prow[p. 205]ess was not inferior to that of the Spartans; while the disappearance of the harmosts left them free to follow their own inclinations. It was by the Mantineans that the movement was first commenced. Divested of Grecian city-life, and condemned to live in separate villages, each under its own philo-Spartan oligarchy, they had nourished a profound animosity, which manifested itself on the first opportunity of deposing these oligarchies and coming again together. The resolution was unanimously adopted, to re-establish Mantinea with its walls, and resume their political consolidation; while the leaders banished by the Spartans at their former intervention, now doubtless returned to become foremost in the work.[435] As the breaking up of Mantinea had been one of the most obnoxious acts of Spartan omnipotence, so there was now a strong sympathy in favor of its re-establishment. Many Arcadians from other quarters came to lend auxiliary labor, while the Eleians sent three talents as a contribution towards the cost. Deeply mortified by this proceeding, yet too weak to prevent it by force, the Spartans sent Agesilaus with a friendly remonstrance. Having been connected with the city by paternal ties of hospitality, he had declined the command of the army of coërcion previously employed against it; nevertheless, on this occasion, the Mantinean leaders refused to convene their public assembly to hear his communication, desiring that he would make known his purpose to them. Accordingly, he intimated that he had come with no view of hindering the re-establishment of the city, but simply to request that they would defer it until the consent of Sparta could be formally given; which (he promised) should soon be forthcoming, together with a handsome subscription to lighten the cost. But the Mantinean leaders answered, that compliance was impossible, since a public resolution had already been taken to prosecute the work forthwith. Enraged at such a rebuff, yet without power to resent it, Agesilaus was compelled to return home.[436] The Mantineans persevered and com[p. 206]pleted the rebuilding of their city, on a level site, and in an elliptical form, surrounded with elaborate walls and towers.

The affront here offered, probably studiously offered, by Mantinean leaders who had either been exiles themselves, or sympathized with the exiles,—was only the prelude to a series of others (presently to be recounted) yet more galling and intolerable. But it was doubtless felt to the quick both by the ephors and by Agesilaus, as a public symptom of that prostration into which they had so suddenly fallen. To appreciate fully such painful sentiment, we must recollect that an exaggerated pride and sense of dignity, individual as well as collective, founded upon military excellence and earned by incredible rigor of training,—was the chief mental result imbibed by every pupil of Lykurgus, and[p. 207] hitherto ratified as legitimate by the general testimony of Greece. This was his principal recompense for the severe fatigue, the intense self-suppression, the narrow, monotonous, and unlettered routine, wherein he was born and died. As an individual, the Spartan citizen was pointed out by the finger of admiration at the Olympic and other festivals;[437] while he saw his city supplicated from the most distant regions of Greece, and obeyed almost everywhere near her own border, as Pan-hellenic president. On a sudden, with scarce any preparatory series of events, he now felt this proud prerogative sentiment not only robbed of its former tribute, but stung in the most mortifying manner. Agesilaus, especially, was the more open to such humiliation, since he was not only a Spartan to the core, but loaded with the consciousness of having exercised more influence than any other king before him,—of having succeeded to the throne at a moment when Sparta was at the maximum of her power,—and of having now in his old age accompanied her, in part brought her by his misjudgments, into her present degradation.

Agesilaus had, moreover, incurred unpopularity among the Spartans themselves, whose chagrin took the form of religious scruple and uneasiness. It has been already stated that he was, and had been from childhood, lame; which deformity had been vehemently insisted on by his opponents (during the dispute between him and Leotychides in 398 B.C. for the vacant throne) as disqualifying him for the regal dignity, and as being the precise calamity against which an ancient oracle—“Beware of a lame reign”—had given warning. Ingenious interpretation by Lysander, combined with superior personal merit in Agesilaus, and suspicions about the legitimacy of Leotychides, had caused the objection to be then overruled. But there had always been a party, even during the palmy days of Agesilaus, who thought that he had obtained the crown under no good auspices. And when the humiliation of Sparta arrived, every man’s religion suggested to him readily the cause of it,[438]—“See what comes of having set at nought the gracious warning of the gods, and put upon ourselves a lame reign!” In spite of such untoward impression, however, the real energy and bravery of Agesilaus, which had not deserted[p. 208] even an infirm body and an age of seventy years, was more than ever indispensable to his country. He was still the chief leader of her affairs, condemned to the sad necessity of submitting to this Mantinean affront, and much worse that followed it, without the least power of hindrance.

The reëstablishment of Mantinea was probably completed during the autumn and winter of B.C. 371-370. Such coalescence of villages into a town, coupled with the predominance of feelings hostile to Sparta, appears to have suggested the idea of a larger political union among all who bore the Arcadian name. As yet, no such union had ever existed; the fractions of the Arcadian name had nothing in common, apart from other Greeks, except many legendary and religious sympathies, with a belief in the same heroic lineage and indigenous antiquity.[439] But now the idea and aspiration, espoused with peculiar ardor by a leading Mantinean named Lykomedes, spread itself rapidly over the country, to form a “commune Arcadum,” or central Arcadian authority, composed in certain proportions out of all the sections now autonomous,—and invested with peremptory power of determining by the vote of its majority. Such central power, however, was not intended to absorb or set aside the separate governments, but only to be exercised for certain definite purposes; in maintaining unanimity at home, together with concurrent, independent action, as to foreign states.[440] This plan of Pan-Arcadian federation was warmly promoted by the Mantineans, who looked to it as a protec[p. 209]tion to themselves in case the Spartan power should revive; as well as by the Thebans and Argeians, from whom aid was expected in case of need. It found great favor in most parts of Arcadia, especially in the small districts bordering on Laconia, which stood most in need of union to protect themselves against the Spartans,—the Mænalians, Parrhasians, Eutresians, Ægytes,[441] etc. But the jealousies among the more considerable cities made some of them adverse to any scheme emanating from Mantinea. Among these unfriendly opponents were Heræa, on the west of Arcadia bordering on Elis,—Orchomenus,[442] conterminous with Mantinea to the north—and Tegea, conterminous to the south. The hold of the Spartans on Arcadia had been always maintained chiefly through Orchomenus and Tegea. The former was the place where they deposited their hostages taken from other suspected towns; the latter was ruled by Stasippus and an oligarchy devoted to their interests.[443]

Among the population of Tegea, however, a large proportion were ardent partisans of the new Pan-Arcadian movement, and desirous of breaking off their connection with Sparta. At the head of this party were Proxenus and Kallibius; while Stasippus and his friends, supported by a senate composed chiefly of their partisans, vehemently opposed any alteration of the existing system. Proxenus and his partisans resolved to appeal to the assembled people, whom accordingly they convoked in arms; pacific popular assemblies, with free discussion, forming seemingly no part of the constitution of the city. Stasippus and his friends appeared in armed numbers also; and a conflict ensued, in which each party charged the other with bad faith and with striking the first blow.[444] At first Stasippus had the advantage. Proxenus with a few of the[p. 210] opposite party were slain, while Kallibius with the remainder maintained himself near the town-wall, and in possession of the gate on the side towards Mantinea. To that city he had before despatched an express, entreating aid, while he opened a parley with the opponents. Presently the Mantinean force arrived, and was admitted within the gates; upon which Stasippus, seeing that he could no longer maintain himself, escaped by another gate towards Pallantium. He took sanctuary with a few friends in a neighboring temple of Artemis, whither he was pursued by his adversaries, who removed the roof, and began to cast the tiles down upon them. The unfortunate men were obliged to surrender. Fettered and placed on a cart, they were carried back to Tegea, and put on their trial before the united Tegeans and Mantineans, who condemned them and put them to death. Eight hundred Tegeans, of the defeated party, fled as exiles to Sparta.[445]

Such was the important revolution which now took place at Tegea; a struggle of force on both sides, and not of discussion,—as was in the nature of the Greek oligarchical governments, where scarce any serious change of policy in the state could be brought about without violence. It decided the success of the Pan-Arcadian movement, which now proceeded with redoubled enthusiasm. Both Mantinea and Tegea were cordially united in its favor; though Orchomenus, still strenuous in opposing it, hired for that purpose, as well as for her own defence, a body of mercenaries from Corinth under Polytropus. A full assembly of the Arcadian name was convoked at a small town called Asea, in the mountainous district west of Tegea. It appears to have been numerously attended; for we hear of one place, Eutæa (in the district of Mount Mænalus,[446] and near the borders of Laconia), from whence every single male adult went to the assembly. It was here that the consummation of the Pan-Arcadian confederacy was finally determined; though Orchomenus and Heræa still stood aloof.[447]

There could hardly be a more fatal blow to Sparta than this loss to herself, and transfer to her enemies, of Tegea, the most powerful of her remaining allies.[448] To assist the exiles and avenge Stasip[p. 211]pus, as well as to arrest the Arcadian movement, she resolved on a march into the country, in spite of her present dispirited condition; while Heræa and Lepreum, but no other places, sent contingents to her aid. From Elis and Argos, on the other hand, reinforcements came to Mantinea and Tegea. Proclaiming that the Mantineans had violated the recent peace by their entry into Tegea, Agesilaus marched across the border against them. The first Arcadian town which he reached was Eutæa,[449] where he found that all the male adults had gone to the great Arcadian assembly. Though the feebler population, remaining behind, were completely in his power, he took scrupulous care to respect both person and property, and even lent aid to rebuild a decayed portion of the wall. At Eutæa he halted a day or two, thinking it prudent to wait for the junction of the mercenary force and the Bœotian exiles under Polytropus, now at Orchomenus. Against the latter place, however, the Mantineans had marched under Lykomêdes, while Polytropus, coming forth from the walls to meet them, had been defeated with loss, and slain.[450] Hence Agesilaus was compelled to advance onward with his own unassisted forces, through the territory of Tegea up to the neighborhood of Mantinea. His onward march left the way from Asea to Tegea free, upon which the Arcadians assembled at Asea broke up, and marched by night to Tegea; from whence, on the next day, they proceeded to Mantinea, along the mountain range eastward of the Tegeatic plain; so that the whole Arcadian force thus became united. Agesilaus on his[p. 212] side, having ravaged the fields and encamped within little more than two miles from the walls of Mantinea, was agreeably surprised by the junction of his allies from Orchomenus, who had eluded by a night-march the vigilance of the enemy. Both on one side and on the other, the forces were thus concentrated. Agesilaus found himself on the first night, without intending it, embosomed in a recess of the mountains near Mantinea, where the Mantineans gathered on the high ground around, in order to attack him from above, the next morning. By a well-managed retreat, he extricated himself from this inconvenient position, and regained the plain; where he remained three days, prepared to give battle if the enemy came forth, in order that he might “not seem (says Xenophon) to hasten his departure through fear.”[451] As the enemy kept within their walls, he marched homeward, on the fourth day, to his former camp in the Tegean territory. The enemy did not pursue, and he then pushed on his march, though it was late in the evening, to Eutæa; “wishing (says Xenophon) to get his troops off before even the enemies’ fires could be seen, in order that no one might say that his return was a flight. He thought that he had raised the spirit of Sparta out of the previous discouragement, by invading Arcadia and ravaging the country without any enemy coming forth to fight him.”[452] The army was then brought back to Sparta and disbanded.

It had now become a matter of boast for Agesilaus (according to his own friendly historian) to keep the field for three or four days, without showing fear of Arcadians and Eleians! So fatally had Spartan pride broken down, since the day (less than eighteen months before) when the peremptory order had been sent to Kleombrotus, to march out of Phokis straight against Thebes!

Nevertheless it was not from fear of Agesilaus, but from a wise discretion, that the Arcadians and Eleians had kept within the[p. 213] walls of Mantinea. Epaminondas with the Theban army was approaching to their aid, and daily expected; a sum of ten talents having been lent by the Eleians to defray the cost.[453] He had been invited by them and by others of the smaller Peloponnesian states, who felt the necessity of some external protector against Sparta,—and who even before they applied to Thebes for aid, had solicited the like interference from Athens (probably under the general presidency accepted by Athens, and the oaths interchanged by her with various inferior cities, since the battle of Leuktra), but had experienced a refusal.[454]

Epaminondas had been preparing for this contingency ever since the battle of Leuktra. The first use made of his victory had been to establish or confirm the ascendency of Thebes both over the recusant Bœotian cities and over the neighboring Phokians and Lokrians, etc. After this had been accomplished, he must have been occupied (during the early part of 370 B.C.) in anxiously watching the movements of Jason of Pheræ,—who had already announced his design of marching with an imposing force to Delphi for the celebration of the Pythian games (about August 1.) Though this despot was the ally of Thebes, yet as both his power, and his aspirations towards the headship of Greece,[455] were well known, no Theban general, even of prudence inferior to Epaminondas, could venture in the face of such liabilities to conduct away the Theban force into Peloponnesus, leaving Bœotia uncovered. The assassination of Jason relieved Thebes from such apprehensions, and a few weeks sufficed to show that his successors were far less formidable in power as well as in ability. Accordingly, in the autumn of 370 B.C. Epaminondas had his attention free to turn to Peloponnesus, for the purpose both of maintaining the anti-Spartan revolution which had taken place in Tegea, and of seconding the pronounced impulse among the Arcadians towards federative coalition.

But the purposes of this distinguished man went farther still; embracing long-sighted and permanent arrangements, such as should forever disable Sparta from recovering her prominent sta[p. 214]tion in the Grecian world. While with one hand he organized Arcadia, with the other he took measures for replacing the exiled Messenians on their ancient territory. To achieve this, it was necessary to dispossess the Spartans of the region once known as independent Messenia, under its own line of kings, but now, for near three centuries, the best portion of Laconia, tilled by Helots for the profit of proprietors at Sparta. While converting these Helots into free Messenians, as their forefathers had once been, Epaminondas proposed to invite back all the wanderers of the same race who were dispersed in various portions of Greece; so as at once to impoverish Sparta by loss of territory, and to plant upon her flank a neighbor bitterly hostile. It has been already mentioned, that during the Peloponnesian war, the exiled Messenians had been among the most active allies of Athens and Sparta,—at Naupaktus, at Sphakteria, at Pylus, in Kephallenia, and elsewhere. Expelled at the close of that war by the triumphant Spartans,[456] not only from Peloponnesus, but also from Naupaktus and Kephallenia, these exiles had since been dispersed among various Hellenic colonies; at Rhegium in Italy, at Messênê in Sicily, at Hesperides in Libya. From 404 B.C. (the close of the war) to 373 B.C., they had remained thus without a home. At length, about the latter year (when the Athenian confederate navy again became equal or superior to the Lacedæmonian on the west coast of Peloponnesus), they began to indulge the hope of being restored to Naupaktus.[457] Probably their request may have been preferred and discussed in the synod of Athenian allies, where the Thebans sat as members. Nothing however had been done towards it by the Athenians,—who soon became fatigued with the war, and at length made peace with Sparta,—when the momentous battle of Leuktra altered, both completely and suddenly, the balance of power in Greece. A chance of protection was now opened to the Messenians from Thebes, far more promising than they had ever had from Athens. Epaminondas, well aware of the loss as well as humiliation that he should inflict upon Sparta by restoring them to their ancient territory, entered into communication with them, and caused them to be invited to Peloponnesus from all their distant places of emigration.[458] By the[p. 215] time of his march into Arcadia, in the late autumn of 370 B.C., many of them had already joined him, burning with all their ancient hatred of Sparta, and contributing to aggravate the same sentiment among Thebans and allies.

With the scheme of restoring the Messenians, was combined in the mind of Epaminondas another, for the political consolidation of the Arcadians; both being intended as parts of one strong and self-supporting organization against Sparta on her own border. Of course he could have accomplished nothing of the kind, if there had not been a powerful spontaneous movement towards consolidation among the Arcadians themselves. But without his guidance and protection, the movement would have proved abortive, through the force of local jealousies within the country, fomented and seconded by Spartan aid from without. Though the general vote for federative coalition had been passed with enthusiasm, yet to carry out such a vote to the satisfaction of all, without quarrelling on points of detail, would have required far more of public-minded sentiment, as well as of intelligence, than what could be reckoned upon among the Arcadians. It was necessary to establish a new city; since the standing jealousy between Mantinea and Tegea, now for the first time embarked in one common cause, would never have permitted that either should be preferred as the centre of the new consolidation.[459] Besides fixing upon the new site required, it was indispensable also to choose between conflicting exigencies, and to break up ancient habits, in a way such as could hardly have been enforced by any majority purely Arcadian. The authority here deficient was precisely supplied by Epaminondas; who brought with him a victorious army and a splendid personal name, combined with impartiality as to the local politics of Arcadia, and single-minded hostility to Sparta.

It was with a view to these two great foundations, as well as to expel Agesilaus, that Epaminondas now marched the Theban army into Arcadia; the command being voluntarily intrusted to him by Pelopidas and the other Bœotarchs present. He arrived shortly after the retirement of Agesilaus, while the Arcadi[p. 216]ans and Eleians were ravaging the lands of the recusant town of Heræa. As they speedily came back to greet his arrival, the aggregate confederate body,—Argeians, Arcadians, and Eleians, united with the Thebans and their accompanying allies,—is said to have amounted to forty thousand, or according to some, even to seventy thousand men.[460] Not merely had Epaminondas brought with him a choice body of auxiliaries,—Phokians, Lokrians, Eubœans, Akarnanians, Herakleots, Malians, and Thessalian cavalry and peltasts,—but the Bœotian bands themselves were so brilliant and imposing, as to excite universal admiration. The victory of Leuktra had awakened among them an enthusiastic military ardor, turned to account by the genius of Epaminondas, and made to produce a finished discipline which even the unwilling Xenophon cannot refuse to acknowledge.[461] Conscious of the might of their assembled force, within a day’s march of Laconia, the Arcadians, Argeians, and Eleians pressed Epaminondas to invade that country, now that no allies could approach the frontier to its aid. At first he was unwilling to comply. He had not come prepared for the enterprise; being well aware, from his own journey to Sparta (when the peace-congress was held there prior to the battle of Leuktra), of the impracticable nature of the intervening country, so easy to be defended, especially during the winter-season, by troops like the Lacedæmonians, whom he believed to be in occupation of all the passes. Nor was his reluctance overcome until the instances of his allies were backed by assurances from the Arcadians on the frontier, that the passes were not all guarded; as well as by invitations from some of the discontented Periœki, in Laconia. These Periœki engaged to revolt openly, if he would only show himself in the country. They told him that there was a general slackness throughout Laconia in obeying the military requisitions from Sparta; and tendered their lives as atonement if they should be found to speak falsely. By such encouragements, as well as by the general impatience of all around him to[p. 217] revenge upon Sparta her long career of pride and abused ascendency, Epaminondas was at length induced to give the order of invasion.[462]

That he should have hesitated in taking this responsibility, will not surprise us, if we recollect, that over and above the real difficulties of the country, invasion of Laconia by land was an unparalleled phenomenon,—that the force of Sparta was most imperfectly known,—that no such thought had been entertained when he left Thebes,—that the legal duration of command, for himself and his colleagues, would not permit it,—and that though his Peloponnesian allies were forward in the scheme, the rest of his troops and his countrymen might well censure him, if the unknown force of resistance turned out as formidable as their associations from old time led them to apprehend.

The invading army was distributed into four portions, all penetrating by different passes. The Eleians had the westernmost and easiest road, the Argeians the easternmost;[463] while the Thebans themselves and the Arcadians formed the two central divisions. The latter alone experienced any serious resistance. More daring even than the Thebans, they encountered Ischolaus the Spartan at Ium or Oeum in the district called Skiritis, attacked him in the village, and overpowered him by vehemence of assault, by superior numbers, and seemingly also by some favor or collusion[464] on the part of the inhabitants. After a desperate resistance, this brave Spartan with nearly all his division perished. At Karyæ, the Thebans also found and surmounted some resistance; but the victory of the Arcadians over Ischolaus operated as an encouragement to all, so that the four divisions reached Sellasia[465] and were again[p. 218] united in safety. Undefended and deserted (seemingly) by the Spartans, Sellasia was now burnt and destroyed by the invaders, who, continuing their march along the plain or valley towards the Eurotas, encamped in the sacred grove of Apollo. On the next day they reached the Eurotas, at the foot of the bridge which crossed that river and led to the city of Sparta.

Epaminondas found the bridge too well-guarded to attempt forcing it; a strong body of Spartan hoplites being also discernible on the other side, in the sacred ground of Athênê Alea. He therefore marched down the left bank of the river, burning and plundering the houses in his way, as far as Amyklæ, between two and three miles below Sparta. Here he found a ford, though the river was full, from the winter season; and accomplished the passage, defeating, after a severe contest, a body of Spartans who tried to oppose it. He was now on the same side of the river as Sparta, to which city he slowly and cautiously made his approach; taking care to keep his Theban troops always in the best battle order, and protecting them, when encamped, by felled trees; while the Arcadians and other Peloponnesian allies dispersed around to plunder the neighboring houses and property.[466]

Great was the consternation which reigned in the city; destitute of fortifications, yet hitherto inviolate in fact and unassailable even in idea. Besides their own native force, the Spartans had no auxiliaries except those mercenaries from Orchomenus who had come back with Agesilaus; nor was it certain beforehand that even these troops would remain with them, if the invasion became formidable.[467] On the first assemblage of the irresistible army on their frontier, they had despatched one of their commanders of foreign contingents (called Xenâgi) to press the instant coming of such Peloponnesian allies as remained faithful to them; and also envoys to Athens, entreating assistance from that city. Auxiliaries were obtained, and rapidly put under march, from Pellênê,[p. 219] Sikyon, Phlius, Corinth, Epidaurus, Trœzen, Hermionê, and Halieis.[468] But the ordinary line of march into Laconia was now impracticable to them; the whole frontier being barred by Argeians and Arcadians. Accordingly they were obliged to proceed first to the Argolic peninsula, and from thence to cross by sea (embarking probably at Halieis on the south-western coast of the peninsula) to Prasiæ on the eastern coast of Laconia; from whence they made their way over the Laconian mountains to Sparta. Being poorly provided with vessels, they were forced to cross in separate detachments, and to draw lots for priority.[469] By this chance the Phliasian contingent did not come over until the last; while the xenagus, eager to reach Sparta, left them behind, and conducted the rest thither, arriving only just before the confederate enemies debouched from Sellasia. The Phliasians, on crossing to Prasiæ, found neither their comrades nor the xenagus, but were obliged to hire a guide to Sparta. Fortunately they arrived there both safely and in time, eluding the vigilance of the enemy, who were then near Amyklæ.

These reinforcements were no less seasonable to Sparta, than creditable to the fidelity of the allies. For the bad feeling which habitually reigned in Laconia, between the Spartan citizens on one side, and the Periœki and Helots on the other, produced in this hour of danger its natural fruits of desertion, alarm, and weakness. Not only were the Periœki and Helots in standing discontent, but even among the Spartan citizens themselves, a privileged fraction called Peers had come to monopolize political honors; while the remainder,—poorer men, yet ambitious and active, and known under the ordinary name of the Inferiors,—were subject to a degrading exclusion, and rendered bitterly hostile. The account given in a previous chapter of the conspiracy of Kinadon, will have disclosed the fearful insecurity of the Spartan citizen, surrounded by so many disaffected companions; Periœki and Helots[p. 220] in Laconia, inferior citizens at Sparta. On the appearance of the invading enemy, indeed, a certain feeling of common interest arose, since even the disaffected might reasonably imagine that a plundering soldiery, if not repelled at the point of the sword, would make their condition worse instead of better. And accordingly, when the ephors made public proclamation, that any Helot who would take heavy armor and serve in the ranks as an hoplite, should be manumitted,—not less than six thousand Helots gave in their names to serve. But a body thus numerous, when seen in arms, became itself the object of mistrust to the Spartans; so that the arrival of their new allies from Prasiæ was welcomed as a security, not less against the armed Helots within the city, than against the Thebans without.[470] Open enmity, however, was not wanting. A considerable number both of Periœki and Helots actually took arms on behalf of the Thebans; others remained inactive, disregarding the urgent summons from the ephors, which could not now be enforced.[471]

[p. 221]

Under such wide-spread feelings of disaffection the defence even of Sparta itself against the assailing enemy was a task requiring all the energy of Agesilaus. After having vainly tried to hinder the Thebans from crossing the Eurotas, he was forced to abandon Amyklæ and to throw himself back upon the city of Sparta, towards which they immediately advanced. More than one conspiracy was on the point of breaking out, had not his vigilance forestalled the projects. Two hundred young soldiers of doubtful fidelity were marching, without orders, to occupy a strong post (sacred to Artemis) called the Issorium. Those around him were about to attack them, but Agesilaus, repressing their zeal, went up alone to the band, addressed them in language betokening no suspicion, yet warning them that they had mistaken his orders: their services were needed, not at the Issorium, but in another part of the city. They obeyed his orders, and moved to the spot indicated; upon which he immediately occupied the Issorium with troops whom he could trust. In the ensuing night, he seized and put to death fifteen of the leaders of the two hundred. Another conspiracy, said to have been on the point of breaking out, was repressed by seizing the conspirators in the house where they were assembled, and putting them to death untried; the first occasion (observes Plutarch) on which any Spartan was ever put to death untried,[472]—a statement which I hesitate to believe without knowing from whom he borrowed it, but which, if true, proves that the Spartan kings and ephors did not apply to Spartan citizens the same measure as to Periœki and Helots.

By such severe proceedings, disaffection was kept under; while the strong posts of the city were effectively occupied, and the wider approaches barricaded by heaps of stones and earth.[473] Though destitute of walls, Sparta was extremely defensible by position. Epaminondas marched slowly up to it from Amyklæ; the Arcadians and others in his army spreading themselves to burn and plunder the neighborhood. On the third or fourth day his cavalry occupied the Hippodrome (probably a space of level ground near the river, under the hilly site of the town), where the Spartan cavalry, though inferior both in number and in goodness, gained[p. 222] an advantage over them, through the help of three hundred chosen hoplites whom Agesilaus had planted in ambush hard by, in a precinct sacred to the Dioskuri. Though this action was probably of little consequence, yet Epaminondas did not dare to attempt the city by storm. Satisfied with having defied the Spartans and manifested his mastery of the field even to their own doors, he marched away southward down to Eurotas. To them, in their present depression, it was matter of consolation and even of boasting,[474] that he had not dared to assail them in their last stronghold. The agony of their feelings,—grief, resentment, and wounded honor,—was intolerable. Many wished to go out and fight, at all hazard; but Agesilaus resisted them with the same firmness as Perikles had shown at Athens, when the Peloponnesians first invaded Attica at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. Especially the Spartan women, who had never before beheld an enemy, are said to have manifested emotions so furious and distressing, as to increase much the difficulty of defence.[475] We are even told that Antalkidas, at that time one of the ephors, sent his children for safety away from Sparta to the island of Kythêra. Epaminondas knew well how desperate the resistance of the Spartans would be if their city were attacked; while to himself, in the midst of a hostile and impracticable country, repulse would be absolute ruin.[476]

[p. 223]

On leaving Sparta, Epaminondas carried his march as far as Helos and Gythium on the sea-coast; burning and plundering the country, and trying for three days to capture Gythium, which contained the Lacedæmonian arsenal and ships. Many of the Laconian Periœki joined and took service in his army; nevertheless his attempt on Gythium did not succeed; upon which he turned back and retraced his steps to the Arcadian frontier. It was the more necessary for him to think of quitting Laconia, since his Peloponnesian allies, the Arcadians and others, were daily stealing home with the rich plunder which they had acquired, while his supplies were also becoming deficient.[477]

Epaminondas had thus accomplished far more than he had projected when quitting Thebes; for the effect of the expedition on Grecian opinion was immense. The reputation of his army, as well as his own, was prodigiously exalted; and even the narrative of Xenophon, unfriendly as well as obscure, bears involuntary testimony both to the excellence of his generalship and to the good discipline of his troops. He made his Thebans keep in rank and hold front against the enemy, even while their Arcadian allies were dispersing around for plunder. Moreover, the insult and humiliation to Sparta were still greater than that inflicted by the battle of Leuktra; which had indeed shown that she was no longer invincible in the field, but had still left her with the admitted supposition of an inviolable territory and an unapproachable city.

The resistance of the Spartans indeed (except in so far as regards their city) had been far less than either friends or enemies expected;[p. 224] the belief in their power was thus proportionally abridged. It now remained for Epaminondas to complete their humiliation by executing those two enterprises which had formed the special purpose of his expedition: the reëstablishment of Messênê, and the consolidation of the Arcadians.

The recent invasion of Laconia, victorious as well as lucrative, had inspired the Arcadians with increased confidence and antipathy against Sparta, and increased disposition to listen to Epaminondas. When that eminent man proclaimed the necessity of establishing a strong frontier against Sparta on the side of Arcadia, and when he announced his intention of farther weakening Sparta by the restoration of the exiled Messenians,—the general feeling of the small Arcadian communities, already tending in the direction of coalescence, became strong enough to overbear all such impediments of detail as the breaking up of ancient abode and habit involves. Respecting early Athenian history, we are told by Thucydides,[478] that the legendary Theseus, “having become powerful, in addition to his great capacity,” had effected the discontinuance of those numerous independent governments which once divided Attica, and had consolidated them all into one common government at Athens. Just such was the revolution now operated by Epaminondas, through the like combination of intelligence and power. A Board of Œkists or Founders was named to carry out the resolution taken by the Arcadian assemblies at Asea and Tegea, for the establishment of a Pan-Arcadian city and centre. Of this Board, two were from Tegea, two from Mantinea, two from Kleitor, two from the district of Menalus, two from that of the Parrhasians. A convenient site being chosen upon the river Helisson (which flowed through and divided the town in two), about twenty miles west of Tegea, well-fitted to block up the marches of Sparta in a north-westerly direction,—the foundation of the new Great City (Megalopolis) was laid by the Œkists jointly with Epaminondas. Forty distinct Arcadian townships,[479] from all sides of this centre, were persuaded to join the new community. Ten were from the Mænalii, eight from the Parrhasii, six from the Eutresii,[p. 225] three great sections of the Arcadian name, each an aggregate of villages. Four little townships, occupying a portion of the area intended for the new territory, yet being averse to the scheme, were constrained to join; but in one of them, Trapezus, the aversion was so strong, that most of the inhabitants preferred to emigrate, and went to join the Trapezuntines in the Euxine Sea (Trebizond), who received them kindly. Some of the leading Trapezuntines were even slain by the violent temper of the Arcadian majority. The walls of the new city enclosed an area of fifty stadia in circumference (more than five miles and a half); while an ample rural territory was also gathered around it, extending northward as much as twenty-four miles from the city, and conterminous on the east with Tegea, Mantinea, Orchomenus, and Kaphyæ,—on the west with Messênê,[480] Phigalia, and Heræa.

The other new city,—Messênê,—was founded under the joint auspices of the Thebans and their allies, Argeians and others; Epitelês being especially chosen by the Argeians for that purpose.[481] The Messenian exiles, though eager and joyful at the thought of regaining their name and nationality, were averse to fix their new city either at Œchalia or Andania, which had been the scenes of their calamities in the early wars with Sparta. Moreover the site of Mount Ithômê is said to have been pointed out by the hero Kaukon, in a dream, to the Ageian general Epitelês. The local circumstances of this mountain (on which the last gallant resistance of the revolted Messenians against Sparta had been carried on, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars) were such, that the indications of dreams, prophets, and religious signs coincided fully with the deliberate choice of a judge like Epaminondas. In after days, this hill Ithômê (then bearing the town and citadel of Messênê), together with the Akrocorinthus, were marked out by De[p. 226]metrius of Pharus as the two horns of Peloponnesus: whoever held these two horns, was master of the bull.[482] Ithômê was near two thousand five hundred feet above the level of the sea, having upon its summit an abundant spring of water, called Klepsydra. Upon this summit the citadel or acropolis of the new town of Messênê was built; while the town itself was situated lower down on the slope, though connected by a continuous wall with its acropolis. First, solemn sacrifices were offered, by Epaminondas, who was recognized as Œkist or Founder,[483] to Dionysius and Apollo Ismenius,—by the Argeians, to the Argeian Hêrê and Zeus Nemeius,—by the Messenians, to Zeus Ithomatês and the Dioskuri. Next, prayer was made to the ancient Heroes and Heroines of the Messenian nation, especially to the invincible warrior Aristomenes, that they would now come back and again take up their residence as inmates in enfranchised Messênê. After this, the ground was marked out and the building was begun, under the sound of Argeian and Bœotian flutes, playing the strains of Pronomus and Sakadas. The best masons and architects were invited from all Greece, to lay out the streets with regularity, as well as to ensure a proper distribution and construction of the sacred edifices.[484] In respect of the fortifications, too, Epaminondas was studiously provident. Such was their excellence and solidity, that they exhibited matter for admiration even in the after-days of the traveller Pausanias.[485]

From their newly-established city on the hill of Ithômê, the Messenians enjoyed a territory extending fifteen miles southward down to the Messenian Gulf, across a plain, then as well as now, the richest and most fertile in Peloponnesus; while to the eastward, their territory was conterminous with that of Arcadia and the contemporary establishment of Megalopolis. All the newly-appropriated space was land cut off from the Spartan dominion. How much was cut off in the direction south-east of Ithômê (along the north-eastern coast of the Messenian Gulf), we cannot exactly say. But it would appear that the Periœki of Thuria, situated in that neighborhood, were converted into an independent community[p. 227] and protected by the vicinity of Messênê.[486] What is of more importance to notice, however, is,—that all the extensive district westward and south-westward of Ithômê,—all the south-western corner of Peloponnesus, from the river Neda southward to Cape Akritas,—was now also subtracted from Sparta. At the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, the Spartan Brasidas had been in garrison near Methônê[487] (not far from Cape Akritas); Pylus,—where the Athenian Demosthenes erected his hostile fort, near which the important capture at Sphakteria was effected,—had been a maritime point belonging to Sparta, about forty-six miles from the city;[488] Aulon (rather farther north, near the river Neda) had been at the time of the conspiracy of Kinadon a township of Spartan Periœki, of very doubtful fidelity.[489] Now all this wide area, from the north-eastern corner of the Messenian Gulf westward, the best half of the Spartan territory, was severed from Sparta to become the property of Periœki and Helots, converted into freemen; not only sending no rent or tribute to Sparta, as before, but bitterly hostile to her from the very nature of their tenure. It was in the ensuing year that the Arcadian army cut to pieces the Lacedæmonian garrison at Asinê,[490] killing the Spartan polemarch Geranor; and probably about the same time the other Lacedæmonian garrisons in the south-western peninsula must have been expelled. Thus liberated, the Periœki of the region welcomed the new Messênê as the guarantee of their independence. Epaminondas, besides confirming the independence of Methônê and Asinê, reconstituted some other towns,[491] which under Lacedæmonian dominion had probably been kept unfortified and had dwindled away.

[p. 228]

In the spring of 425 B.C., when Demosthenes landed at Pylus, Thucydides considers it a valuable acquisition for Athens, and a serious injury to Sparta, to have lodged a small garrison of Messenians in that insignificant post, as plunderers of Spartan territory and instigators of Helots to desertion,[492]—especially as their dialect could not be distinguished from that of the Spartans themselves. How prodigious must have been the impression throughout Greece, when Epaminondas, by planting the Messenian exiles and others on the strong frontier city and position of Ithômê, deprived Sparta in a short time of all the wide space between that mountain and the western sea, enfranchising the Periœki and Helots contained in it! We must recollect that the name Messênê had been from old times applied generally to this region, and that it was never bestowed upon any city before the time of Epaminondas. When therefore the Spartans complained of “the liberation of Messênê,”—“the loss of Messênê,”—they included in the word, not simply the city on Mount Ithômê, but all this territory besides; though it was not all comprised in the domain of the new city.

They complained yet more indignantly, that along with the genuine Messenians, now brought back from exile,—a rabble of their own emancipated Periœki and Helots had been domiciled on their border.[493] Herein were included, not only such of these two classes[p. 229] as, having before dwelt in servitude throughout the territory westward of Ithômê, now remained there in a state of freedom—but also doubtless a number of others who deserted from other parts of Laconia. For as we know that such desertions had been not inconsiderable, even when there was no better shelter than the outlying posts of Pylus and Kythêra—so we may be sure that they became much more numerous, when the neighboring city of Messênê was founded under adequate protection, and when there was a chance of obtaining, westward of the Messenian Gulf, free lands with a new home. Moreover, such Periœki and Helots as had actually joined the invading army of Epaminondas in Laconia, would be forced from simple insecurity to quit the country when he retired, and would be supplied with fresh residences in the newly-enfranchised territory. All these men would pass at once, out of a state of peculiarly harsh servitude, into the dignity of free and equal Hellens,[494] sending again a solemn Messenian legation or Theôry to the Olympic festival, after an interval of more than three centuries,[495]—outdoing their former masters in the magnitude of[p. 230] their offerings from the same soil,—and requiting them for previous ill-usage by words of defiance and insult, instead of that universal deference and admiration which a Spartan had hitherto been accustomed to look upon as his due.

The enfranchisement and reörganization of all Western Laconia, the renovation of the Messenian name, the foundation of the two new cities (Messênê and Megalopolis) in immediate neighborhood and sympathy,—while they completed the degradation of Sparta, constituted in all respects the most interesting political phenomena that Greece had witnessed for many years. To the profound mortification of the historian,—he is able to recount nothing more than the bare facts, with such inferences as these facts themselves warrant. Xenophon, under whose eyes all must have passed, designedly omits to notice them;[496] Pausanias, whom we[p. 231] have to thank for most of what we know, is prompted by his religious imagination to relate many divine signs and warnings, but little matter of actual occurrence. Details are altogether withheld from us. We know neither how long a time was occupied in the building of the two cities, nor who furnished the cost; though both the one and the other must have been considerable. Of the thousand new arrangements, incident to the winding up of many small townships, and the commencement of two large cities, we are unable to render any account. Yet there is no point of time wherein social phenomena are either so interesting or so instructive. In describing societies already established and ancient, we find the force of traditional routine almost omnipotent in its influence both on men’s actions and on their feelings; bad as well as good is preserved in one concrete, since the dead weight of the past stifles all constructive intelligence, and leaves little room even for improving aspirations. But the forty small communities which coalesced into Megalopolis, and the Messenians and other settlers who came for the first time together on the hill of Ithômê, were in a state in which new exigencies of every kind pressed for immediate satisfaction. There was no file to afford a precedent, nor any resource left except to submit all the problems to discussion by those whose character and judgment was most esteemed. Whether the problems were well- or ill-solved, there must have been now a genuine and earnest attempt to strike out as good a solution as the lights of the time and place permitted, with a certain latitude for conflicting views. Arrangements must have been made for the apportionment of houses and lands among the citizens, by purchase, or grant, or both together; for the political and judicial constitution; for religious and recreative ceremonies, for military defence, for markets, for the security and transmission of property, etc. All these and many other social wants of a nascent community must now have been provided for, and it would have been highly interesting to know how. Unhappily the means are denied to us. We can record little more than the bare fact that these two youngest members of the Hellenic brotherhood of cities were born at the same time, and under the auspices of the same presiding genius, Epami[p. 232]nondas; destined to sustain each other in neighborly sympathy and in repelling all common danger from the attacks of Sparta; a purpose, which, even two centuries afterwards, remained engraven on the mind of a Megalopolitan patriot like Polybius.[497]

Megalopolis was intended not merely as a great city in itself, but as the centre of the new confederacy; which appears to have comprised all Arcadia, except Orchomenus and Heræa. It was enacted that a synod or assembly, from all the separate members of the Arcadian name, and in which probably every Arcadian citizen from the constituent communities had the right of attending, should be periodically convoked there. This assembly was called the Ten Thousand, or the Great Number. A body of Arcadian troops, called the Epariti, destined to uphold the federation, and receiving pay when on service, was also provided. Assessments were levied upon each city for their support, and a Pan-Arcadian general (probably also other officers) was named. The Ten Thousand, on behalf of all Arcadia, received foreign envoys,—concluded war, or peace, or alliance,—and tried all officers or other Arcadians brought before them on accusations of public misconduct.[498] The great Athenian orators, Kallistratus, Demosthenes, Æschines, on various occasions pleaded before it.[499] What were its times of meeting, we are unable to say. It contributed seriously, for a certain time, to sustain a Pan-Arcadian communion of action and sentiment which had never before existed;[500] and to prevent, or soften, those dissensions which had always a tendency to break out among the separate Arcadian cities. The patriotic enthusiasm, however, out of which Megalopolis had first arisen, gradually became enfeebled. The city never attained that preëminence or power which its founders contemplated, and which had caused the city to be laid out on a scale too large for the population actually inhabiting it.[501]

[p. 233]

Not only was the portion of Laconia west of the Messenian Gulf now rendered independent of Sparta, but also much of the territory which lies north of Sparta, between that city and Arcadia. Thus the Skiritæ (hardy mountaineers of Arcadian race, heretofore dependent upon Sparta, and constituting a valuable contingent to her armies),[502] with their territory forming the northern frontier of Laconia towards Arcadia, became from this time independent of and hostile to Sparta.[503] The same is the case even with a place much nearer to Sparta,—Sellasia; though this latter was retaken by the Lacedæmonians four or five years afterwards.[504]

Epaminondas remained about four months beyond the legal duration of his command in Arcadia and Laconia.[505] The sufferings of a severe mid-winter were greatly mitigated to his soldiers by the Arcadians, who, full of devoted friendship, pressed upon them an excess of hospitality which he could not permit consistently with his military duties.[506] He stayed long enough to settle all the preliminary debates and difficulties, and to put in train of serious execution the establishment of Messênê and Megalopolis. For the completion of a work thus comprehensive, which changed the face and character of Peloponnesus, much time was of course necessary. Accordingly, a Theban division under Pamenes was left to repel all obstruction from Sparta;[507] while Tegea also, from this time for[p. 234]ward, for some years, was occupied as a post by a Theban harmost and garrison.[508]

Meanwhile the Athenians were profoundly affected by these proceedings of Epaminondas in Peloponnesus. The accumulation of force against Sparta was so powerful, that under a chief like him, it seemed sufficient to crush her; and though the Athenians were now neutral in the contest, such a prospect was not at all agreeable to them,[509] involving the aggrandizement of Thebes to a point inconsistent with their security. It was in the midst of the successes of Epaminondas that envoys came to Athens from Sparta, Corinth, and Phlius, to entreat her aid. The message was one not merely humiliating to the Lacedæmonians, who had never previously sent the like request to any Grecian city,—but also difficult to handle in reference to Athens. History showed abundant acts of jealousy and hostility, little either of good feeling or consentient interest, on the part of the Lacedæmonians towards her. What little was to be found, the envoys dexterously brought forward; going back to the dethronement of the Peisistratids from Athens by Spartan help, the glorious expulsion of Xerxes from Greece by the joint efforts of both cities,—and the auxiliaries sent by Athens into Laconia in 465 B.C., to assist the Spartans against the revolted Messenians[p. 235] on Mount Ithômê. In these times (he reminded the Athenian assembly) Thebes had betrayed the Hellenic cause by joining Xerxes, and had been an object of common hatred to both. Moreover the maritime forces of Greece had been arrayed under Athens in the Confederacy of Delos, with full sanction and recommendation from Sparta; while the headship of the latter by land had in like manner been accepted by the Athenians. He called on the assembly, in the name of these former glories, to concur with Sparta in forgetting all the deplorable hostilities which had since intervened, and to afford to her a generous relief against the old common enemy. The Thebans might even now be decimated (according to the vow said to have been taken after the repulse of Xerxes), in spite of their present menacing ascendency,—if Athens and Sparta could be brought heartily to coöperate; and might be dealt with as Thebes herself had wished to deal with Athens after the Peloponnesian war, when Sparta refused to concur in pronouncing the sentence of utter ruin.[510]

This appeal from Sparta was earnestly seconded by the envoys from Corinth and Phlius. The Corinthian speaker contended, that Epaminondas and his army, passing through the territory of Corinth and inflicting damage upon it in their passage into Peloponnesus, had committed a glaring violation of the general peace, sworn in 371 B.C., first at Sparta and afterwards at Athens, guaranteeing universal autonomy to every Grecian city. The envoy from Phlius,—while complimenting Athens on the proud position which she now held, having the fate of Sparta in her hands,—dwelt on the meed of honor which she would earn in Greece, if she now generously interfered to rescue her ancient rival, forgetting past injuries and remembering only past benefits. In adopting such policy, too, she would act in accordance with her own true interests; since, should Sparta be crushed, the Thebans would become undisputed heads of Greece, and more formidable still to Athens.[511]

It was not among the least marks of the prostration of Sparta, that she should be compelled to send such an embassy to Athens, and to entreat an amnesty for so many untoward realities during the past. The contrast is indeed striking, when we set her present language against that which she had held respecting Athens, before and through the Peloponnesian war.

[p. 236]

At first, her envoys were heard with doubtful favor; the sentiment of the assembly being apparently rather against than for them. “Such language from the Spartans (murmured the assembled citizens) is intelligible enough during their present distress; but so long as they were in good circumstances, we received nothing but ill-usage from them.”[512] Nor was the complaint of the Spartans, that the invasion of Laconia was contrary to the sworn peace guaranteeing universal autonomy, admitted without opposition. Some said that the Lacedæmonians had drawn the invasion upon themselves, by their previous interference with Tegea and in Arcadia; and that the intervention of the Mantineans at Tegea had been justifiable, since Stasippus and the philo-Laconian party in that city had been the first to begin unjust violence. On the other hand, the appeal made by the envoys to the congress of Peloponnesian allies held in 404 B.C., after the surrender of Athens,—when the Theban deputy had proposed that Athens should be totally destroyed, while the Spartans had strenuously protested against so cruel a sentence—made a powerful impression on the assembly, and contributed more than anything else to determine them in favor of the proposition.[513] “As Athens was then, so Sparta is now, on the brink of ruin, from the fiat of the same enemy: Athens was then rescued by Sparta, and shall she now leave the rescue unrequited?” Such was the broad and simple issue which told upon the feelings of the assembled Athenians, disposing them to listen with increasing favor both to the envoys from Corinth and Phlius, and to their own speakers on the same side.

To rescue Sparta, indeed, was prudent as well as generous. A counterpoise would thus be maintained against the excessive aggrandizement of Thebes, which at this moment doubtless caused serious alarm and jealousy to the Athenians. And thus, after the first ebullition of resentment against Sparta, naturally suggested by the history of the past, the philo-Spartan view of the situation gradually became more and more predominant in the assembly. Kallistratus[514] the orator spoke eloquently in support of the Lace[p. 237]dæmonians; while the adverse speakers were badly listened to, as pleading in favor of Thebes, whom no one wished to aggrandize farther. A vote, decisive and enthusiastic, was passed for assisting the Spartans with the full force of Athens; under the command of Iphikrates, then residing as a private citizen[515] at Athens, since the peace of the preceding year, which had caused him to be recalled from Korkyra.

As soon as the sacrifices, offered in contemplation of this enterprise were announced to be favorable, Iphikrates made proclamation that the citizens destined for service should equip themselves and muster in arms in the grove of Akadêmus (outside the gates), there to take their evening meal, and to march the next morning at daybreak. Such was the general ardor, that many citizens went forth from the gates even in advance of Iphikrates himself; and the total force which followed him is said to have been twelve thousand men,—not named under conscription by the general, but volunteers.[516] He first marched to Corinth, where he halted some days; much to the discontent of his soldiers, who were impatient to accomplish their project of carrying rescue to Sparta. But Iphikrates was well aware that all beyond Corinth was hostile ground, and that he had formidable enemies to deal with. After having established his position at Corinth, and obtained information regarding the enemy, he marched into Arcadia, and there made war without any important result. Epaminondas and his army had quitted Laconia, while many of the Arcadians and Eleians had gone home with the plunder acquired; so that Sparta was, for the time, out of danger. Impelled in part by the recent manifestation of Athens,[517] the Theban general himself soon commenced his march of return into Bœotia, in which it was necessary for him to pass the line of Mount Oneium between Corinth and Kenchreæ. This line was composed of difficult ground, and afforded good means of resistance to the passage of an army; nevertheless Iphikrates, though he occupied its two extremities, did not attempt directly to[p. 238] bar the passage of the Thebans. He contented himself with sending out from Corinth all his cavalry, both Athenian and Corinthian, to harass them in their march. But Epaminondas beat them back with some loss, and pursued them to the gates of Corinth. Excited by this spectacle, the Athenian main body within the town were eager to march out and engage in general battle. Their ardor was however repressed by Iphikrates; who, refusing to go forth, suffered the Thebans to continue their retreat unmolested.[518]

[p. 239]

On returning to Thebes, Epaminondas with Pelopidas and the other Bœotarchs, resigned the command. They had already[p. 240] retained it for four months longer than the legal expiration of their term. Although, by the constitutional law of Thebes, any general who retained his functions longer than the period fixed by law was pronounced worthy of death, yet Epaminondas, while employed in his great projects for humiliating Sparta and founding the two hostile cities on her border, had taken upon himself to brave this illegality, persuading all his colleagues to concur with him. On resigning the command, all of them had to undergo that trial of accountability which awaited every retiring magistrate, as a matter of course,—but which, in the present case, was required on special ground, since all had committed an act notoriously punishable as well as of dangerous precedent. Epaminondas undertook the duty of defending his colleagues as well as himself. That he as well as Pelopidas had political enemies, likely to avail themselves of any fair pretext for accusing him,—is not to be doubted. But we may well doubt, whether on the present occasion any of these enemies actually came forward to propose that the penalty legally incurred should be inflicted; not merely because this proposition, in the face of a victorious army, returning elate with their achievements and proud of their commanders, was full of danger to the mover himself,—but also for another reason,—because Epaminondas would hardly be imprudent enough to wait for the case to be stated by his enemies. Knowing that the illegality committed was flagrant and of hazardous example,—having also the reputation of his colleagues as well as his own to protect,—he would forestall accusation by coming forward himself to explain and justify the proceeding. He set forth the glorious results of the expedition just finished; the[p. 241] invasion and devastation of Laconia, hitherto unvisited by any enemy,—the confinement of the Spartans within their walls,—the liberation of all Western Laconia, and the establishment of Messênê as a city,—the constitution of a strong new Arcadian city, forming, with Tegea on one flank and Messênê on the other, a line of defence on the Spartan frontier, so as to ensure the permanent depression of the great enemy of Thebes,—the emancipation of Greece generally, from Spartan ascendency, now consummated.

Such justification,—whether delivered in reply to a substantive accuser, or (which is more probable) tendered spontaneously by Epaminondas himself,—was not merely satisfactory, but triumphant. He and the other generals were acquitted by acclamation; without even going through the formality of collecting the votes.[519] And it appears that both Epaminondas and Pelopidas were immediately re-appointed among the Bœotarchs of the year.[520]

[p. 242]


Prodigious was the change operated throughout the Grecian world during the eighteen months between June 371 B.C. (when the general peace, including all except Thebes, was sworn at Sparta, twenty days before the battle of Leuktra), and the spring of 369 B.C., when the Thebans, after a victorious expedition into Peloponnesus, were reconducted home by Epaminondas.

How that change worked in Peloponnesus, amounting to a partial reconstitution of the peninsula, has been sketched in the preceding chapter. Among most of the cities and districts hitherto dependent allies of Sparta, the local oligarchies, whereby Spartan influence had been maintained, were overthrown, not without harsh and violent reaction. Laconia had been invaded and laid waste, while the Spartans were obliged to content themselves with guarding their central hearth and their families from assault. The western and best half of Laconia had been wrested from them; Messênê had been constituted as a free city on their frontier; a large proportion of their Periœki and Helots had been converted into independent Greeks bitterly hostile to them; moreover the Arcadian population had been emancipated from their dependence, and organized into self-acting jealous neighbors in the new city of Megalopolis, as well as in Tegea and Mantinea. The once philo-Laconian Tegea was now among the chief enemies of Sparta; and the Skiritæ, so long numbered as the bravest of the auxiliary troops of the latter, were now identified in sentiment with Arcadians and Thebans against her.

Out of Peloponnesus, the change wrought had also been considerable; partly, in the circumstances of Thessaly and Macedonia, partly in the position and policy of Athens.

[p. 243]

At the moment of the battle of Leuktra (July, 371 B.C.) Jason was tagus of Thessaly, and Amyntas king of Macedonia. Amyntas was dependent on, if not tributary to, Jason, whose dominion, military force, and revenue, combined with extraordinary personal energy and ability, rendered him decidedly the first potentate in Greece, and whose aspirations were known to be unbounded; so that he inspired more or less alarm everywhere, especially to weaker neighbors like the Macedonian prince. Throughout a reign of twenty-three years, full of trouble and peril, Amyntas had cultivated the friendship both of Sparta and of Athens,[521] especially the former. It was by Spartan aid only that he had been enabled to prevail over the Olynthian confederacy, which would otherwise have proved an overmatch for him. At the time when Sparta aided him to crush that promising and liberal confederacy, she was at the maximum of her power (382-379 B.C.), holding even Thebes under garrison among her subject allies. But the revolution of Thebes, and the war against Thebes and Athens (from 378 B.C. downward) had sensibly diminished her power on land; while the newly-organized naval force and maritime confederacy of the Athenians, had overthrown her empire at sea. Moreover, the great power of Jason in Thessaly had so grown up (combined with the resistance of the Thebans) as to cut off the communication of Sparta with Macedonia, and even to forbid her (in 374 B.C.) from assisting her faithful ally, the Pharsalian Polydamas, against him.[522] To Amyntas, accordingly, the friendship of Athens, now again the greatest maritime potentate in Greece, had become more important than that of Sparta. We know that he tried to conciliate the powerful Athenian generals, Iphikrates and Timotheus. He adopted the former as his son;[523] at what exact period, cannot be discovered; but I have[p. 244] already stated that Iphikrates had married the daughter of Kotys king of Thrace, and had acquired a maritime settlement called Drys, on the Thracian coast. In the years 373-372 B.C., we find Timotheus also in great favor with Amyntas, testified by a valuable present sent to him at Athens; a cargo of timber, the best produce of Macedonia.[524] Amyntas was at this period on the best footing with Athens, sent his deputies as a confederate to the regular synod there assembled, and was treated with considerable favor.[525]

The battle of Leuktra (July 371 B.C.) tended to knit more closely the connection between Amyntas and the Athenians, who were now the auxiliaries most likely to sustain him against the ascendency of Jason. It produced at the same time the more important effect of stimulating the ambition of Athens in every direction. Not only her ancient rival, Sparta, beaten in the field and driven from one humiliation to another, was disabled from opposing her, and even compelled to solicit her aid,—but new rivals, the Thebans, were suddenly lifted into an ascendency inspiring her with mingled jealousy and apprehension. Hence fresh hopes as well as fresh jealousies conspired to push Athens in a career of aspiration such as had never appeared open to her since the disasters of 404 B.C. Such enlargement of her views was manifested conspicuously by the step taken two or three months after the battle of Leuktra (mentioned in my preceding chapter),—of causing the peace, which had already been sworn at Sparta in the preceding month of June, to be resworn under the presidency and guarantee of Athens, by cities binding themselves mutually to each other as defensive allies of Athens;[526] thus silently disenthroning Sparta and taking her place.

On land, however, Athens had never held, and could hardly expect to hold, anything above the second rank, serving as a bulwark against Theban aggrandizement. At sea she already occupied the first place, at the head of an extensive confederacy; and it was to[p. 245] farther maritime aggrandizement that her present chances, as well as her past traditions, pointed. Such is the new path upon which we now find her entering. At the first formation of her new confederacy, in 378 B.C., she had distinctly renounced all idea of resuming the large amount of possessions, public and private, which had been snatched from her along with her empire at the close of the Peloponnesian war; and had formally proclaimed that no Athenian citizen should for the future possess or cultivate land out of Attica—a guarantee against renovation of the previous kleruchies or out-possessions. This prudent self-restraint, which had contributed so much during the last seven years to raise her again into naval preëminence, is now gradually thrown aside, under the tempting circumstances of the moment. Henceforward, the Athenian maritime force becomes employed for the recovery of lost possessions as well as for protection or enlargement of the confederacy. The prohibition against kleruchies out of Attica will soon appear to be forgotten. Offence is given to the prominent members of the maritime confederacy; so that the force of Athens, misemployed and broken into fragments, is found twelve or thirteen years afterwards unable to repel a new aggressor, who starts up, alike able and unexpected, in the Macedonian prince Philip, son of Amyntas.

Very different was the position of Amyntas himself towards Athens, in 371 B.C. He was an unpretending ally, looking for help in case of need against Jason, and sending his envoy to the meeting at Athens about September or October 371 B.C., when the general peace was resworn under Athenian auspices. It was at this meeting that Athens seems to have first put forth her new maritime pretensions. While guaranteeing to every Grecian city, great and small, the enjoyment of autonomy, she made exception of some cities which she claimed as belonging to herself. Among these was certainly Amphipolis; probably also the towns in the Thracian Chersonesus and Potidæa; all which we find, a few years afterwards, occupied by Athenians.[527] How much of their lost possessions the Athenians thought it prudent now to reclaim, we cannot distinctly make out. But we know that their aspirations grasped[p. 246] much more than Amphipolis;[528] and the moment was probably thought propitious for making other demands besides. Amyntas through his envoy, together with the rest of the assembled envoys, recognized without opposition the right of the Athenians to Amphipolis.[529]

Such recognition was not indeed in itself either any loss to Amyntas, or any gain to Athens; for Amphipolis, though bordering on his kingdom, had never belonged to him, nor had he any power of transferring it. Originally an Athenian colony,[530] next taken from[p. 247] Athens in 424-423 B.C. by Brasidas, through the improvidence of the Athenian officers Euklês and Thucydides, then recolonized under Lacedæmonian auspices,—it had ever since remained an independent city; though Sparta had covenanted to restore it by the peace of Nikias (421 B.C.), but had never performed her covenant. Its unparalleled situation, near to both the bridge and mouth of the Strymon, in the midst of a fertile territory, within reach of the mining district of Pangæus,—rendered it a tempting prize; and the right of Athens to it was indisputable; so far as original colonization before the capture by Brasidas, and formal treaty of cession by Sparta after the capture, could confer a right. But this treaty, not fulfilled at the time, was now fifty years old. The repugnance of the Amphipolitan population, which had originally prevented its fulfilment, was strengthened by all the sanction of a long prescription; while the tomb and chapel of Brasidas their second founder, consecrated in the agora, served as an imperishable admonition to repel all pretensions on the part of Athens. Such pretensions, whatever might be the right, were deplorably impolitic unless Athens was prepared to back them by strenuous efforts of men and money; from which we shall find her shrinking now as she had done (under the unwise advice of Nikias) in 421 B.C., and the years immediately succeeding. In fact, the large renovated pretensions of Athens both to Amphipolis and to other places on the Macedonian and Chalkidic coast, combined with her languor and inertness in military action,—will be found henceforward among the greatest mischiefs to the general cause of Hellenic independence, and among the most effective helps to the well-conducted aggressions of Philip of Macedon.

[p. 248]

Though the claim of Athens to the recovery of a portion of her lost transmarine possessions was thus advanced and recognized in the congress of autumn 371 B.C., she does not seem to have been able to take any immediate steps for prosecuting it. Six months afterwards, the state of northern Greece was again completely altered by the death, nearly at the same time, of Jason in Thessaly, and of Amyntas in Macedonia.[531] The former was cut off (as has been mentioned in the preceding chapter) by assassination, while in the plenitude of his vigor; and his great power could not be held together by an inferior hand. His two brothers, Polyphron and Polydorus, succeeded him in the post of tagus of Thessaly. Polyphron, having put to death his brother, enjoyed the dignity for a short time; after which he too was slain by a third brother, Alexander of Pheræ; but not before he had committed gross enormities by killing and banishing many of the most eminent citizens of Larissa and Pharsalus; among them the estimable Polydamas.[532] The Larissæan exiles, many belonging to the great family of the Aleuadæ, took refuge in Macedonia, where Amyntas (having died in 370 B.C.) had been succeeded in the throne by his youthful son Alexander. The latter, being persuaded to invade Thessaly for the purpose of restoring them, succeeded in getting possession of Larissa and Krannon; both which cities he kept under his own garrisons, in spite of unavailing resistance from Polyphron and Alexander of Pheræ.[533]

This Alexander, who succeeded to Jason’s despotism in Pheræ, and to a considerable portion of his military power, was nevertheless unable to keep together the whole of it, or to retain Thessaly and its circumjacent tributaries in one united dominion. The Thessalian cities hostile to him invited assistance, not merely from Alexander of Macedon, but also from the Thebans; who despatched Pelopidas into the country, seemingly in 369 B.C., soon after the return of the army under Epaminondas from its victorious progress[p. 249] in Laconia and Arcadia. Pelopidas entered Thessaly at the head of an army, and took Larissa with various other cities into Theban protection; apparently under the acquiescence of Alexander of Macedon, with whom he contracted an alliance.[534] A large portion of Thessaly thus came under the protection of Thebes in hostility to the dynasty of Pheræ, and to the brutal tyrant Alexander who now ruled in that city.

Alexander of Macedon found that he had difficulty enough in maintaining his own dominion at home, without holding Thessalian towns in garrison. He was harassed by intestine dissensions, and after a reign of scarcely two years, was assassinated (368 B.C.) by some conspirators of Alôrus and Pydna, two cities (half Macedonian, half Hellenic) near the western coast of the Thermaic Gulf. Ptolemæus (or Ptolemy) of Alôrus is mentioned as leader of the enterprise, and Apollophanês of Pydna as one of the agents.[535] But besides these conspirators, there was also another enemy, Pausanias,—a man of the royal lineage and a pretender to the throne;[536] who, having been hitherto in banishment, was now returning at the head of a considerable body of Greeks, supported by numerous partisans in Macedonia,—and was already master of Anthemus, Thermê, Strepsa, and other places in or[p. 250] near the Thermaic Gulf. He was making war both against Ptolemy and against the remaining family of Amyntas. Eurydikê, the widow of that prince, was now left with her two younger children, Perdikkas, a young man, and Philip, yet a youth. She was in the same interest with Ptolemy, the successful conspirator against her son Alexander, and there was even a tale which represented her as his accomplice in the deed. Ptolemy was regent, administering her affairs and those of her minor children, against Pausanias.[537]

Deserted by many of their most powerful friends, Eurydikê and Ptolemy would have been forced to yield the country to Pausanias, had they not found by accident a foreign auxiliary near at hand. The Athenian admiral Iphikrates, with a squadron of moderate force, was then on the coast of Macedonia. He had been sent thither by his countrymen (369 B.C.) (soon after his partial conflict near Corinth with the retreating army of Epaminondas, on its way from Peloponnesus to Bœotia), for the purpose of generally surveying the maritime region of Macedonia and Thrace, opening negotiations with parties in the country, and laying his plans for future military operations. At the period when Alexander was slain, and when Pausanias was carrying on his invasion, Iphikrates happened to be on the Macedonian coast. He was there visited by Eurydikê with her two sons Perdikkas and Philip; the latter seemingly about thirteen or fourteen years of age, the former somewhat older. She urgently implored him[p. 251] to assist the family in their present emergency, reminding him that Amyntas had not only throughout his life been a faithful ally of Athens, but had also adopted him (Iphikrates) as his son, and had thus constituted him brother to the two young princes. Placing Perdikkas in his hands, and causing Philip to embrace his knees, she appealed to his generous sympathies, and invoked his aid as the only chance of restoration, or even of personal safety, to the family. Iphikrates, moved by this affecting supplication, declared in her favor, acted so vigorously against Pausanias as to expel him from Macedonia, and secured the sceptre to the family of Amyntas; under Ptolemy of Alôrus as regent for the time.

This striking incident is described by the orator Æschines[538] in an oration delivered many years afterwards at Athens. The boy, who then clasped the knees of Iphikrates, lived afterwards to overthrow the independence, not of Athens alone, but of Greece generally. The Athenian general had not been sent to meddle in the disputes of succession to the Macedonian crown. Nevertheless, looking at the circumstances of the time, his interference may really have promised beneficial consequences to Athens; so that we have no right to blame him for the unforeseen ruin which it was afterwards found to occasion.

Though the interference of Iphikrates maintained the family of Amyntas, and established Ptolemy of Alôrus as regent, it did not procure to Athens the possession of Amphipolis; which was not in the power of the Macedonian kings to bestow. Amphipolis was at that time a free Greek city, inhabited by a population in the main seemingly Chalkidic, and in confederacy with Olynthus.[539] Iphikrates prosecuted his naval operations on the coast of Thrace and Macedonia for a period of three years (368-365 B.C.). We make out very imperfectly what he achieved. He took into his service a general named Charidemus, a native of Oreus in Eu[p. 252]bœa; one of those Condottieri (to use an Italian word familiar in the fourteenth century), who, having a band of mercenaries under his command, hired himself to the best bidder and to the most promising cause. These mercenaries served under Iphikrates for three years,[540] until he was dismissed by the Athenians from his command and superseded by Timotheus. What successes they enabled him to obtain for Athens, is not clear; but it is certain that he did not succeed in taking Amphipolis. He seems to have directed one or two attempts against the town by other officers, which proved abortive; but he got possession of some Amphipolitan prisoners or hostages,[541] which opened a prospect of accomplishing the surrender of the town.

It seems evident, however, in spite of our great dearth of information, that Iphikrates during his command between 369-365 B.C. did not satisfy the expectations of his countrymen. At that time, those expectations were large, as testified by sending out not only Iphikrates to Macedonia and Thrace, but also Timotheus (who had returned from his service with the Persians in 372-371 B.C.) to Ionia and the Hellespont, in conjunction with Ariobarzanes the satrap of Phrygia.[542] That satrap was in possession of Sestos, as well as of various other towns in the Thracian Chersonesus, towards which Athenian ambition now tended, according to that new turn, towards more special and separate acquisitions for Athens, which it had taken since the battle of Leuktra. But[p. 253] before we advert to the achievements of Timotheus (366-365 B.C.) in these regions, we must notice the main course of political conflict in Greece Proper, down to the partial pacification of 366 B.C.

Though the Athenians had sent Iphikrates (in the winter of 370-369 B.C.) to rescue Sparta from the grasp of Epaminondas, the terms of a permanent alliance had not yet been settled between them; envoys from Sparta and her allies visited Athens shortly afterwards for that purpose.[543] All pretensions to exclusive headship[p. 254] on the part of Sparta were now at an end. Amidst abundant discussion in the public assembly, all the speakers, Lacedæmonian and others as well as Athenian, unanimously pronounced that the headship must be vested jointly and equally in Sparta and Athens; and the only point in debate was, how such an arrangement could be most suitably carried out. It was at first proposed that the former should command on land, the latter at sea; a distribution, which, on first hearing, found favor both as equitable and convenient, until an Athenian named Kephisodotus reminded his countrymen, that the Lacedæmonians had few ships of war, and those manned chiefly by Helots; while the land-force of Athens consisted of her horsemen and hoplites, the choice citizens of the state. Accordingly, on the distribution now pointed out, Athenians, in great numbers and of the best quality, would be placed under Spartan command; while few Lacedæmonians, and those of little dignity, would go under Athenian command; which would be, not equality, but the reverse. Kephisodotus proposed that both on land and at sea, the command should alternate between Athens and Sparta, in periods of five days; and his amendment was adopted.[544]

Though such amendment had the merit of perfect equality between the two competitors for headship, it was by no means well-calculated for success in joint operations against a general like Epaminondas. The allies determined to occupy Corinth as a main station, and to guard the line of Mount Oneium between that city and Kenchreæ,[545] so as to prevent the Thebans from again penetrating into Peloponnesus. It is one mark of the depression in the fortunes of Sparta, that this very station, now selected for the purpose of keeping a Theban invader away from her frontier, had been held, during the war from 394-387 B.C., by the Athenians and Thebans against herself, to prevent her from breaking out of Peloponnesus into Attica and Bœotia. Never since the invasion of Xerxes had there been any necessity for defending the Isthmus of Corinth against an extra-Peloponnesian assailant. But now, even to send a force from Sparta to Corinth, recourse must have been had to transport by sea, either across the Argolic[p. 255] Gulf from Prasiæ to Halieis, or round Cape Skyllæum to the Saronic Gulf and Kenchreæ; for no Spartan troops could march by land across Arcadia or Argos. This difficulty however was surmounted, and a large allied force (not less than twenty thousand men according to Diodorus),—consisting of Athenians with auxiliary mercenaries under Chabrias, Lacedæmonians, Pellenians, Epidaurians, Megarians, Corinthians, and all the other allies still adhering to Sparta,—was established in defensive position along the line of Oneium.

It was essential for Thebes to reopen communication with her Peloponnesian allies. Accordingly Epaminondas, at the head of the Thebans and their northern allies, arrived during the same summer in front of this position, on his march into Peloponnesus. His numbers were inferior to those of his assembled enemies, whose position prevented him from joining his Arcadian, Argeian, and Eleian allies, already assembled in Peloponnesus. After having vainly challenged the enemy to come down and fight in the plain, Epaminondas laid his plan for attacking the position. Moving from his camp a little before daybreak, so as to reach the enemy just when the night-guards were retiring, but before the general body had yet risen and got under arms,[546]—he directed an assault along the whole line. But his principal effort, at the head of the chosen Theban troops, was made against the Lacedæmonians and Pellenians, who were posted in the most assailable part of the line.[547] So skilfully was his movement conducted, that he[p. 256] completely succeeded in surprising them. The Lacedæmonian polemarch, taken unprepared, was driven from his position, and forced to retire to another point of the hilly ground. He presently sent to solicit a truce for burying his dead; agreeing to abandon the line of Oneium, which had now become indefensible. The other parts of the Theban army made no impression by their attack, nor were they probably intended to do more than occupy attention, while Epaminondas himself vigorously assailed the weak point of the position. Yet Xenophon censures the Lacedæmonian polemarch as faint-hearted, for having evacuated the whole line as soon as his own position was forced; alleging, that he might easily have found another good position on one of the neighboring eminences, and might have summoned reinforcements from his allies,—and that the Thebans, in spite of their partial success, were so embarrassed how to descend on the Peloponnesian side of Oneium, that they were half disposed to retreat. The criticism of Xenophon indicates doubtless an unfavorable judgment pronounced by many persons in the army; the justice of which we are not in a condition to appreciate. But whether the Lacedæmonian commander was to blame or not, Epaminondas, by his skilful and victorious attack upon this strong position, enhanced his already high military renown.[548]

Having joined his Peloponnesian allies, Arcadians, Eleians, and Argeians, he was more than a match for the Spartan and Athenian force, which appears now to have confined itself to Corinth, Lechæum, and Kenchreæ. He ravaged the territories of Epidaurus, Trœzen, and Phlius; and obtained possession of Sikyon as well as of Pellênê.[549] At Sikyon, a vote of the people being taken, it was resolved to desert Sparta, to form alliance with Thebes, and to admit a Theban harmost and garrison into the acropolis; Euphron, a citizen hitherto preponderant in the city by means of Sparta and devoted to her interest, now altered[p. 257] his politics and went along with the stronger tide.[550] We cannot doubt also that Epaminondas went into Arcadia to encourage and regulate the progress of his two great enterprises,—the foundation of Messênê and Megalopolis; nor does the silence of Xenophon on such a matter amount to any disproof. These new towns having been commenced less than a year before, cannot have been yet finished, and may probably have required the reappearance of his victorious army. The little town of Phlius,—situated south of Sikyon and west of Corinth,—which was one of the most faithful allies of Sparta, was also in great hazard of being captured by the Phliasian exiles. When the Arcadians and Eleians were marching through Nemea to join Epaminondas at Oneium, these exiles entreated them only to show themselves near Phlius; with the assurance that such demonstration would suffice to bring about the capture of the town. The exiles then stole by night to the foot of the town walls with scaling-ladders, and there lay hid, until, as day began to break, the scouts from the neighboring hill Trikaranum announced that the allied enemies were in sight. While the attention of the citizens within was thus engaged on the other side, the concealed exiles planted their ladders, overpowered the few unprepared guards, and got possession of the acropolis. Instead of contenting themselves with this position until the allied force came up, they strove also to capture the town; but in this they were defeated by the citizens, who, by desperate efforts of bravery, repulsed both the intruders within and the enemy without; thus preserving their town.[551] The fidelity of the Phliasians to Sparta entailed upon them severe hardships through the superiority of their enemies in the field, and through perpetual ravage of their territory from multiplied hostile neighbors (Argos, Arcadia, and Sikyon), who had established fortified posts on their borders; for it was only[p. 258] on the side of Corinth that the Phliasians had a friendly neighbor to afford them the means of purchasing provisions.[552]

Amidst general success, the Thebans experienced partial reverses. Their march carrying them near to Corinth, a party of them had the boldness to rush at the gates, and to attempt a surprise of the town. But the Athenian Chabrias, then commanding within it, disposed his troops so skilfully, and made so good a resistance, that he defeated them with loss and reduced them to the necessity of asking for the ordinary truce to bury their dead, which were lying very near to the walls.[553] This advantage over the victorious Thebans somewhat raised the spirits of the Spartan allies; who were still farther encouraged by the arrival in Lechæum of a squadron from Syracuse, bringing a body of two thousand mercenary Gauls and Iberians, with fifty horsemen, as a succor from the despot Dionysius. Such foreigners had never before been seen in Peloponnesus. Their bravery, and singular nimbleness of movement, gave them the advantage in several partial skirmishes, and disconcerted the Thebans. But the Spartans and Athenians were not bold enough to hazard a general battle, and the Syracusan detachment returned home after no very long stay,[554] while the Thebans also went back to Bœotia.

[p. 259]

One proceeding of Epaminondas during this expedition merits especial notice. It was the general practice of the Thebans to put to death all the Bœotian exiles who fell into their hands as prisoners, while they released under ransom all other Greek prisoners. At the capture of a village named Phœbias in the Sikyonian territory, Epaminondas took captive a considerable body of Bœotian exiles. With the least possible delay, he let them depart under ransom, professing to regard them as belonging to other cities.[555] We find him always trying to mitigate the rigorous dealing then customary towards political opponents.

Throughout this campaign of 369 B.C., all the Peloponnesian allies had acted against Sparta cheerfully under Epaminondas and the Thebans. But in the ensuing year the spirit of the Arcadians had been so raised, by the formation of the new Pan-Arcadian communion, by the progress of Messênê and Megalopolis, and the conspicuous depression of Sparta,—that they fancied themselves not only capable of maintaining their independence by themselves, but also entitled to divide headship with Thebes, as Athens divided it with Sparta. Lykomedes the Mantinean, wealthy, energetic, and able, stood forward as the exponent of this new aspiration, and as the champion of Arcadian dignity. He reminded the Ten Thousand (the Pan-Arcadian synod),—that while all other residents in Peloponnesus were originally immigrants, they alone were the indigenous occupants of the peninsula; that they were the most numerous section, as well as the bravest and hardiest men, who bore the Hellenic name,—of which proof was afforded by the fact, that Arcadian mercenary soldiers were preferred to all others; that the Lacedæmonians had never ventured to invade Attica, nor the Thebans to invade Laconia, without Arcadian auxiliaries. “Let us follow no man’s lead (he concluded), but stand up for ourselves. In former days, we built up the power of Sparta by serving in her armies; and now, if we submit quietly to follow the Thebans, without demanding alternate headship for ourselves, we shall presently find them to be Spartans under another name.”[556]

Such exhortations were heard with enthusiasm by the assembled Arcadians, to whom political discussion and the sentiment of collective dignity was a novelty. Impressed with admiration for Ly[p. 260]komedes, they chose as officers every man whom he recommended calling upon him to lead them into active service, so as to justify their new pretensions. He conducted them into the territory of Epidaurus, now under invasion by the Argeians; who were however in the greatest danger of being cut off, having their retreat intercepted by a body of troops from Corinth under Chabrias,—Athenians and Corinthians. Lykomêdês with his Arcadians, fighting his way through enemies as well as through a difficult country, repelled the division of Chabrias, and extricated the embarrassed Argeians. He next invaded the territory south of the new city of Messene and west of the Messenian Gulf, part of which was still held by Spartan garrisons. He penetrated as far as Asinê, where the Spartan commander, Geranor, drew out his garrison to resist them, but was defeated with loss, and slain, while the suburbs of Asinê were destroyed.[557] Probably the Spartan mastery of the south-western corner of the Peloponnesus was terminated by this expedition. The indefatigable activity which these Arcadians now displayed under their new commander, overpowering all enemies, and defying all hardships and difficulties of marching over the most rugged mountains, by night as well as by day, throughout the winter season,—excited everywhere astonishment and alarm; not without considerable jealousy even on the part of their allies the Thebans.[558]

While such jealousy tended to loosen the union between the Arcadians and Thebes, other causes tended at the same time to disunite them from Elis. The Eleians claimed rights of supremacy over Lepreon and the other towns of Triphylia, which rights they had been compelled by the Spartan arms to forego thirty years before.[559] Ever since that period, these towns had ranked as separate communities, each for itself as a dependent ally of Sparta. Now that the power of the latter was broken, the Eleians aimed at[p. 261] resumption of their lost supremacy. But the formation of the new “commune Arcadum” at Megalopolis, interposed an obstacle never before thought of. The Tryphilian towns, affirming themselves to be of Arcadian origin, and setting forth as their eponymous Hero Triphylus son of Arkas,[560] solicited to be admitted as fully qualified members of the incipient Pan-Arcadian communion. They were cordially welcomed by the general Arcadian body (with a degree of sympathy similar to that recently shown by the Germans towards Sleswick-Holstein), received as political brethren, and guaranteed as independent against Elis.[561] The Eleians, thus finding themselves disappointed of the benefits which they had anticipated from the humiliation of Sparta, became greatly alienated from the Arcadians.

Ariobarzanes, the satrap of Phrygia, with whom the Athenians had just established a correspondence, now endeavored (perhaps at their instance) to mediate for peace in Greece, sending over a citizen of Abydus named Philiskus, furnished with a large sum of money. Choosing Delphi as a centre, Philiskus convoked thither, in the name of the Persian king, deputies from all the belligerent parties, Theban, Lacedæmonian, Athenian, etc., to meet him. These envoys never consulted the god as to the best means of attaining peace (says Xenophon), but merely took counsel among themselves; hence, he observes, little progress was made towards peace; since the Spartans[562] peremptorily insisted that Messênê should again be restored to them, while the Thebans were not less firm in resisting the proposition. It rather seems that the allies of Sparta were willing to concede the point, and even tried, though in vain, to overcome her reluctance. The congress accordingly broke up; while Philiskus, declaring himself in favor of Sparta and Athens, employed his money in levying mercenaries for the professed purpose of aiding them in the war.[563] We do not find,[p. 262] however, that he really lent them any aid. It would appear that his mercenaries were intended for the service of the satrap himself, who was then organizing his revolt from Artaxerxes; and that his probable purpose in trying to close the war was, that he might procure Grecian soldiers more easily and abundantly. Though the threats of Philiskus produced no immediate result, however, they so alarmed the Thebans as to determine them to send an embassy up to the Great King; the rather, as they learnt that the Lacedæmonian Euthykles had already gone up to the Persian court, to solicit on behalf of Sparta.[564]

How important had been the move made by Epaminondas in reconstituting the autonomous Messenians, was shown, among other evidences, by the recent abortive congress at Delphi. Already this formed the capital article in Grecian political discussion; an article, too, on which Sparta stood nearly alone. For not only the Thebans (whom Xenophon[565] specifies as if there were no others of the same sentiment), but all the allies of Thebes, felt hearty sympathy and identity of interest with the newly-enfranchised residents in Mount Ithômê and in Western Laconia; while the allies even of Sparta were, at most, only lukewarm against them, if not positively inclined in their favor.[566] A new phenomenon soon presented itself, which served as a sort of recognition of the new-born, or newly-revived, Messenian community, by the public voice of Greece. At the one hundred and third Olympic festival (Midsummer 368 B.C.),—which occurred within less than two years after Epaminondas laid the foundation-stone of Messênê,—a Messenian boy named Damiskus gained the wreath as victor in the foot-race of boys. Since the first Messenian war, whereby the nation became subject to Sparta,[567] no Messenian victor had ever been enrolled; though before that war, in the earliest half-century of recorded Olympiads, several Messenian victors are found on the register. No competitor was admitted to enter the lists, except as[p. 263] a free Greek from a free community; accordingly so long as these Messenians had been either enslaved, or in exile, they would never have been allowed to contend for the prize under that designation. So much the stronger was the impression produced, when, in 368 B.C., after an interval of more than three centuries, Damiscus the Messenian was proclaimed victor. No Theôry (or public legation for sacrifice) could have come to Olympia from Sparta, since she was then at war both with Eleians and Arcadians; probably few individual Lacedæmonians were present; so that the spectators, composed generally of Greeks unfriendly to Sparta, would hail the proclamation of the new name as being an evidence of her degradation, as well as from sympathy with the long and severe oppression of the Messenians.[568] This Olympic festival,—the first after the great revolution occasioned by the battle of Leuktra,—was doubtless a scene of earnest anti-Spartan emotion.

During this year 368 B.C., the Thebans undertook no march into Peloponnesus; the peace-congress at Delphi probably occupied their attention, while the Arcadians neither desired nor needed their aid. But Pelopidas conducted in this year a Theban force into Thessaly, in order to protect Larissa and the other cities against Alexander of Pheræ, and to counter-work the ambitious projects of that despot, who was soliciting reinforcement from Athens. In his first object he succeeded. Alexander was compelled to visit him at Larissa, and solicit peace. This despot, however, alarmed at the complaints which came from all sides against his cruelty,—and at the language, first, admonitory, afterwards, menacing, of Pelopidas—soon ceased to think himself in safety, and fled home to Pheræ. Pelopidas established a defensive union against him among the other Thessalian cities, and then marched onward into Macedonia, where the regent Ptolemy, not strong enough to resist, entered into alliance with the Thebans; surrendering to them thirty hostages from the most distinguished families in Macedonia, as a guarantee for his faithful adherence. Among the hostages was the youthful Philip, son of Amyntas, who remained in this character at Thebes for some[p. 264] years, under the care of Pammenês.[569] It was thus that Ptolemy and the family of Amyntas, though they had been maintained in Macedonia by the active intervention of Iphikrates and the Athenians not many months before, nevertheless now connected themselves by alliance with the Thebans, the enemies of Athens. Æschines the Athenian orator denounces them for ingratitude; but possibly the superior force of the Thebans left them no option. Both the Theban and Macedonian force became thus enlisted for the protection of the freedom of Amphipolis against Athens.[570] And Pelopidas returned to Thebes, having extended the ascendency of Thebes not only over Thessaly, but also over Macedonia, assured by the acquisition of the thirty hostages.

[p. 265]

Such extension of the Theban power, in Northern Greece, disconcerted the maritime projects of Athens on the coast of Macedonia, at the same time that it laid the foundation of an alliance between her and Alexander of Pheræ. While she was thus opposing the Thebans in Thessaly, a second squadron and reinforcement arrived at Corinth from Syracuse, under Kissidas, despatched by the despot Dionysius. Among the synod of allies assembled at Corinth, debate being held as to the best manner of employing them, the Athenians strenuously urged that they should be sent to act in Thessaly. But the Spartans took an opposite view, and prevailed to have them sent round to the southern coast of Laconia, in order that they might coöperate in repelling or invading the Arcadians.[571] Reinforced by these Gauls and other mercenaries, Archidamus led out the Lacedæmonian forces against Arcadia. He took Karyæ by assault, putting to death every man whom he captured in the place; and he farther ravaged all the Arcadian territory, in the district named after the Parrhasii, until the joint Arcadian and Argeian forces arrived to oppose him; upon which he retreated to an eminence near Midea.[572] Here Kissidas, the Syracusan commander, gave notice that he must retire, as the period to which his orders reached had expired. He accordingly marched back to Sparta; but midway in the march, in a narrow pass, the Messenian troops arrested his advance, and so hampered him, that he was forced to send to Archidamus for aid. The latter soon appeared, while the main body of Arcadians and Argeians followed also; and Archidamus resolved to attack them in general battle near Midea. Imploring his soldiers, in an emphatic appeal, to rescue the great name of Sparta from the disgrace into which it had fallen, he found them full of responsive ardor. They rushed with such fierceness to the charge, that the Arcadians and Argeians were thoroughly daunted, and fled with scarce any resistance. The pursuit was vehement, especially by the Gallic mercenaries, and the slaughter frightful. Ten[p. 266] thousand men (if we are to believe Diodorus) were slain, without the loss of a single Lacedæmonian. Of this easy and important victory,—or, as it came to be called, “the tearless battle,”—news was forthwith transmitted by the herald Demotelês to Sparta. So powerful was the emotion produced by his tale, that all the Spartans who heard it burst into tears; Agesilaus, the Senators, and the ephors, setting the example;[573]—a striking proof how humbled, and disaccustomed to the idea of victory, their minds had recently become!—a striking proof also, when we compare it with the inflexible self-control which marked their reception of the disastrous tidings from Leuktra, how much more irresistible is unexpected joy than unexpected grief, in working on these minds of iron temper!

So offensive had been the insolence of the Arcadians, that the news of their defeat was not unwelcome even to their allies the Thebans and Eleians. It made them feel that they were not independent of Theban aid, and determined Epaminondas again to show himself in Peloponnesus, with the special view of enrolling the Achæans in his alliance. The defensive line of Oneium was still under occupation by the Lacedæmonians and Athenians, who had their head-quarters at Corinth. Yet having remained unattacked all the preceding year, it was now so negligently guarded, that Peisias, the general of Argos, instigated by a private request of Epaminondas, was enabled suddenly to seize the heights above Kenchreæ, with a force of two thousand men and seven days’ provision. The Theban commander, hastening his march, thus found the line of Oneium open near Kenchreæ, and entered Peloponnesus without resistance; after which he proceeded, joined by his Peloponnesian allies, against the cities in Achaia.[574] Until the battle of Leuktra, these cities had been among[p. 267] the dependent allies of Sparta, governed by local oligarchies in her interest. Since that event, they had broken off from her, but were still under oligarchical governments (though doubtless not the same men), and had remained neutral without placing themselves in connection either with Arcadians or Thebans.[575] Not being in a condition to resist so formidable an invading force, they opened negotiations with Epaminondas, and solicited to be enrolled as allies of Thebes; engaging to follow her lead whenever summoned, and to do their duty as members of her synod. They tendered securities which Epaminondas deemed sufficient for the fulfilment of their promise. Accordingly, by virtue of his own personal ascendency, he agreed to accept them as they stood, without requiring either the banishment of the existing rulers or substitution of democratical forms in place of the oligarchical.[576] Such a proceeding was not only suitable to the moderation of dealing so remarkable in Epaminondas, but also calculated to[p. 268] strengthen the interests of Thebes in Peloponnesus, in the present jealous and unsatisfactory temper of the Arcadians, by attaching to her on peculiar grounds Achæans as well as Eleians; the latter being themselves half-alienated from the Arcadians. Epaminondas farther liberated Naupaktus and Kalydon,[577] which were held by Achæan garrisons, and which he enrolled as separate allies of Thebes; whither he then returned, without any other achievements (so far as we are informed) in Peloponnesus.

But the generous calculations of this eminent man found little favor with his countrymen. Both the Arcadians, and the opposition-party in the Achæan cities, preferred accusations against him, alleging that he had discouraged and humiliated all the real friends of Thebes; leaving power in the hands of men who would join Sparta on the first opportunity. The accusation was farther pressed by Menekleidas, a Theban speaker of ability, strongly adverse to Epaminondas, as well as to Pelopidas. So pronounced was the displeasure of the Thebans,—partly perhaps from reluctance to offend the Arcadians,—that they not only reversed the policy of Epaminondas in Achaia, but also refrained from reëlecting him as Bœotarch during the ensuing year.[578] They sent harmosts of their own to each of the Achæan cities,—put down the existing oligarchies,—sent the chief oligarchical members and partisans into exile,—and established democratical governments in each. Hence a great body of exiles soon became accumulated; who, watching for a favorable opportunity and combining their[p. 269] united forces against each city successively, were strong enough to overthrow the newly-created democracies, and to expel the Theban harmosts. Thus restored, the Achæan oligarchs took decided and active part with Sparta;[579] vigorously pressing the Arcadians on one side, while the Lacedæmonians, encouraged by the recent Tearless Battle, exerted themselves actively on the other.

The town of Sikyon, closely adjoining to Achaia, was at this time in alliance with Thebes, having a Theban harmost and garrison in its acropolis. But its government, which had always been oligarchical, still remained unaltered. The recent counter-revolution in the Achæan cities, followed closely by their junction with Sparta, alarmed the Arcadians and Argeians, lest Sikyon also should follow the example. Of this alarm a leading Sikyonian citizen named Euphron, took advantage. He warned them that if the oligarchy were left in power, they would certainly procure aid from the garrison at Corinth, and embrace the interests of Sparta. To prevent such defection (he said) it was indispensable that Sikyon should be democratized. He then offered himself, with their aid, to accomplish the revolution, seasoning his offer with strong protestations of disgust against the intolerable arrogance and oppression of Sparta: protestations not unnecessary, since he had himself, prior to the battle of Leuktra, carried on the government of his native city as local agent for her purposes and interest. The Arcadians and Argeians, entering into the views of Euphron, sent to Sikyon a large force, under whose presence and countenance he summoned a general assembly in the market-place, proclaimed the oligarchy to be deposed, and proposed an equal democracy for the future. His proposition being adopted, he next invited the people to choose generals; and the persons chosen were, as might naturally be expected, himself with five partisans. The prior oligarchy had not been without a previous mercenary force in their service, under the command of Lysimenês; but these men were overawed by the new foreign force introduced. Euphron now proceeded to reorganize them, to place them under the command of his son Adeas instead of[p. 270] Lysimenês, and to increase their numerical strength. Selecting from them a special body-guard for his own personal safety, and being thus master of the city under the ostensible color of chief of the new democracy, he commenced a career of the most rapacious and sanguinary tyranny.[580] He caused several of his colleagues to be assassinated, and banished others. He expelled also by wholesale the wealthiest and most eminent citizens, on suspicion of Laconism; confiscating their properties to supply himself with money, pillaging the public treasure, and even stripping the temples of all their rich stock of consecrated gold and silver ornaments. He farther procured for himself adherents by liberating numerous slaves, exalting them to the citizenship, and probably enrolling them among his paid force.[581] The power which he thus acquired became very great. The money seized enabled him not only to keep in regular pay his numerous mercenaries, but also to bribe the leading Arcadians and Argeians, so that they connived at his enormities; while he was farther ready and active in the field to lend them military support. The Theban harmost still held the acropolis with his garrison, though Euphron was master of the town and harbor.

During the height of Euphron’s power at Sikyon, the neighboring city of Phlius was severely pressed. The Phliasians had remained steadily attached to Sparta throughout all her misfortunes; notwithstanding incessant hostilities from Argos, Arcadia, Pellênê, and Sikyon, which destroyed their crops and inflicted upon them serious hardships. I have already recounted, that in the year 369 B.C., a little before the line of Oneium was forced by Epaminondas, the town of Phlius, having been surprised by its own exiles with the aid of Eleians and Arcadians, had only been saved by the desperate bravery and resistance of its citizens.[582] In the ensuing year, 368 B.C., the Argeian and Arcadian force again ravaged the Phliasian plain, doing great damage; yet not without some loss to themselves in their departure, from the attack of the chosen Phliasian hoplites and of some Athenian horsemen from Corinth.[583] In the ensuing year 367 B.C., a second invasion of the Phliasian territory was attempted by Euphron,[p. 271] with his own mercenaries to the number of two thousand,—the armed force of Sikyon and Pellênê,—and the Theban harmost and garrison from the acropolis of Sikyon. On arriving near Phlius, the Sikyonians and Pellenians were posted near the gate of the city which looked towards Corinth, in order to resist any sally from within; while the remaining invaders made a circuit round, over an elevated line of ground called the Trikaranum (which had been fortified by the Argeians and was held by their garrison), to approach and ravage the Phliasian plain. But the Phliasian cavalry and hoplites so bravely resisted them, as to prevent them from spreading over the plain to do damage, until at the end of the day they retreated to rejoin the Sikyonians and Pellenians. From these last, however, they happened to be separated by a ravine which forced them to take a long circuit; while the Phliasians, passing by a shorter road close under their own walls, were beforehand in reaching the Sikyonians and Pellenians, whom they vigorously attacked and defeated with loss. Euphron with his mercenaries, and the Theban division, arrived too late to prevent the calamity, which they made no effort to repair.[584]

An eminent Pellenian citizen, named Proxenus having been here made prisoner, the Phliasians, in spite of all their sufferings, released him without ransom. This act of generosity—coupled with the loss sustained by the Pellenians in the recent engagement, as well as with the recent oligarchical counter-revolutions which had disjoined the other Achæan cities from Thebes—altered the politics of Pellênê, bringing about a peace between that city and Phlius.[585] Such an accession afforded sensible[p. 272] relief,—it might almost be said, salvation,—to the Phliasians, in the midst of cruel impoverishment; since even their necessary subsistence, except what was obtained by marauding excursions from the enemy, being derived by purchase from Corinth, was found difficult to pay for, and still more difficult to bring home, in the face of an enemy. They were now enabled, by the aid of the Athenian general Charês and his mercenary troops from Corinth, to escort their families and their non-military population to Pellênê, where a kindly shelter was provided by the citizens. The military Phliasians, while escorting back a stock of supplies to Phlius, broke through and defeated an ambuscade of the enemy in their way; and afterwards, in conjunction with Charês, surprised the fort of Thyamia, which the Sikyonians were fortifying as an aggressive post on their borders. The fort became not only a defence for Phlius, but a means of aggression against the enemy, affording also great facility for the introduction of provisions from Corinth.[586]

Another cause, both of these successes and of general relief to the Phliasians, arose out of the distracted state of affairs in Sikyon. So intolerable had the tyranny of Euphron become, that the Arcadians, who had helped to raise him up, became disgusted. Æneas of Stymphalus, general of the collective Arcadian force, marched with a body of troops to Sikyon, joined the Theban harmost in the Acropolis, and there summoned the Sikyonian notables to an assembly. Under his protection, the intense sentiment against Euphron was freely manifested, and it was resolved to recall the numerous exiles, whom he had banished without either trial or public sentence. Dreading the wrath of these numerous and bitter enemies, Euphron thought it prudent to retire with his mercenaries to the harbor; where he invited Pasimêlus the Lacedæmonian to come, with a portion of the garrison of Corinth, and[p. 273] immediately declared himself an open partisan of Sparta. The harbor, a separate town and fortification at some little distance from the city (as Lechæum was from Corinth), was thus held by and for the Spartans; while Sikyon adhered to the Thebans and Arcadians. In Sikyon itself however, though evacuated by Euphron, there still remained violent dissensions. The returning exiles were probably bitter in reactionary measures; the humbler citizens were fearful of losing their newly-acquired political privileges; and the liberated slaves, yet more fearful of forfeiting that freedom, which the recent revolution had conferred upon them.

Hence Euphron still retained so many partisans, that having procured from Athens a reinforcement of mercenary troops, he was enabled to return to Sikyon, and again to establish himself as master of the town in conjunction with the popular party. But as his opponents, the principal men in the place, found shelter along with the Theban garrison in the acropolis, which he vainly tried to take by assault,[587]—his possession even of the town was altogether precarious, until such formidable neighbors could be removed. Accordingly he resolved to visit Thebes, in hopes of obtaining from the authorities an order for expelling his opponents and handing over Sikyon a second time to his rule. On what grounds, after so recent a defection to the Spartans, he rested his hopes of success, we do not know; except that he took with him a large sum of money for the purpose of bribery.[588] His Sikyonian opponents, alarmed lest he should really carry his point, followed him to Thebes, where their alarm was still farther increased by seeing him in familiar converse with the magistrates. Under the first impulse of terror and despair, they assassinated Euphron in broad daylight,—on the Kadmeia, and even before the doors of the Theban Senate-house, wherein both magistrates and Senate were sitting.

For an act of violence thus patent, they were of course seized forthwith, and put upon their trial, before the Senate. The magistrates invoked upon their heads the extreme penalty of death, insisting upon the enormity and even impudence of the outrage, committed almost under the eyes of the authorities,—as well as upon the sacred duty of vindicating not merely the majesty, but even the security of the city, by exemplary punishment upon of[p. 274]fenders who had despised its laws. How many in number were the persons implicated, we do not know. All, except one, denied actual hand-participation; but that one avowed it frankly, and stood up to justify it before the Theban Senate. He spoke in substance nearly as follows,—taking up the language of the accusing magistrates:—

“Despise you I cannot, men of Thebes; for you are masters of my person and life. It was on other grounds of confidence that I slew this man: first, I had the conviction of acting justly; next, I trusted in your righteous judgment. I knew that you did not wait for trial and sentence to slay Archias and Hypatês,[589] whom you caught after a career similar to that of Euphron,—but punished them at the earliest practicable opportunity, under the conviction that men manifest in sacrilege, treason, and despotism, were already under sentence by all men. Well! and was not Euphron, too, guilty of all these crimes? Did not he find the temples full of gold and silver offerings, and strip them until they were empty? How can there be a traitor more palpable than the man, who, favored and upheld by Sparta, first betrayed her to you; and then again, after having received every mark of confidence from you, betrayed you to her,—handing over the harbor of Sikyon to your enemies? Was not he a despot without reserve, the man who exalted slaves, not only into freemen, but into citizens? the man who despoiled, banished, or slew, not criminals, but all whom he chose, and most of all, the chief citizens? And now, after having vainly attempted, in conjunction with your enemies the Athenians, to expel your harmost by force from Sikyon, he has collected a great stock of money, and come hither to turn it to account. Had he assembled arms and soldiers against you, you would have thanked me for killing him. How then can you punish me for giving him his due, when he has come with money to corrupt you, and to purchase from you again the mastery of Sikyon, to your own disgrace as well as mis[p. 275]chief? Had he been my enemy and your friend, I should undoubtedly have done wrong to kill him in your city; but as he is a traitor, playing you false, how is he more my enemy than yours? I shall be told that he came hither of his own accord, confiding in the laws of the city. Well! you would have thanked me for killing him anywhere out of Thebes; why not in Thebes also, when he has come hither only for the purpose of doing you new wrong in addition to the past? Where among Greeks has impunity ever been assured to traitors, deserters, or despots? Recollect, that you have passed a vote that exiles from any one of your allied cities might be seized as outlaws in any other. Now Euphron is a condemned exile, who has ventured to come back to Sikyon without any vote of the general body of allies. How can any one affirm that he has not justly incurred death? I tell you in conclusion, men of Thebes,—if you put me to death, you will have made yourselves the avengers of your very worst enemy,—if you adjudge me to have done right, you will manifest yourselves publicly as just avengers, both on your own behalf and on that of your whole body of allies.”[590]

This impressive discourse induced the Theban Senate to pronounce that Euphron had met with his due. It probably came from one of the principal citizens of Sikyon, among whom were most of the enemies as well as the victims of the deceased despot. It appeals, in a characteristic manner, to that portion of Grecian morality which bore upon men, who by their very crimes procured for themselves the means of impunity; against whom there was no legal force to protect others, and who were therefore considered as not being entitled to protection themselves, if the daggers of others could ever be made to reach them. The tyrannicide appeals to this sentiment with confidence, as diffused throughout all the free Grecian cities. It found responsive assent in the Theban Senate, and would probably have found the like assent, if set[p. 276] forth with equal emphasis, in most Grecian senates or assemblies elsewhere.

Very different, however, was the sentiment in Sikyon. The body of Euphron was carried thither, and enjoyed the distinguished preëminence of being buried in the market-place.[591] There, along with his tomb, a chapel was erected, in which he was worshipped as Archêgetês, or Patron-hero and Second Founder, of the city. He received the same honors as had been paid to Brasidas at Amphipolis. The humbler citizens and the slaves, upon whom he had conferred liberty and political franchise,—or at least the name of a political franchise,—remembered him with grateful admiration as their benefactor, forgetting or excusing the atrocities which he had wreaked upon their political opponents. Such is the retributive Nemesis which always menaces, and sometimes overtakes, an oligarchy who keep the mass of the citizens excluded from political privileges. A situation is thus created, enabling some ambitious and energetic citizen to confer favors and earn popularity among the many, and thus to acquire power, which, whether employed or not for the benefit of the many, goes along with their antipathies when it humbles or crushes the previously monopolizing few.

We may presume from these statements that the government of Sikyon became democratical. But the provoking brevity of Xenophon does not inform us of the subsequent arrangements made with the Theban harmost in the acropolis,—nor how the intestine dissensions, between the democracy in the town and the refugees in the citadel, were composed,—nor what became of those citizens who slew Euphron. We learn only that not long afterwards, the harbor of Sikyon, which Euphron had held in conjunction with the Lacedæmonians and Athenians, was left imperfectly defended by the recall of the latter to Athens; and that it was accordingly retaken by the forces from the town, aided by the Arcadians.[592]

It appears that these proceedings of Euphron (from his first proclamation of the democracy at Sikyon and real acquisition of despotism to himself, down to his death and the recovery of the harbor) took place throughout the year 367 B.C. and the earlier half of 366 B.C. No such enemy, probably, would have arisen[p. 277] to embarrass Thebes, unless the policy recommended by Epaminondas in Achaia had been reversed, and unless he himself had fallen under the displeasure of his countrymen. His influence too was probably impaired, and the policy of Thebes affected for the worse, by the accidental absence of his friend Pelopidas, who was then on his mission to the Persian court at Susa. Such a journey and return, with the transaction of the business in hand, must have occupied the greater part of the year 367 B.C., being terminated probably by the return of the envoys in the beginning of 366 B.C.

The leading Thebans had been alarmed by the language of Philiskus,—who had come over a few months before as envoy from the satrap Ariobarzanes and had threatened to employ Asiatic money in the interest of Athens and Sparta against Thebes, though his threats seem never to have been realized, as well as by the presence of the Lacedæmonian Euthyklês (after the failure of Antalkidas[593]) at the Persian court, soliciting aid. Moreover Thebes had now pretensions to the headship of Greece, at least as good as either of her two rivals; while since the fatal example set by Sparta at the peace called by the name of Antalkidas in 387 B.C., and copied by Athens after the battle of Leuktra in 371 B.C.,—it had become a sort of recognized fashion that the leading Grecian state should sue out its title from the terror-striking rescript of the Great King, and proclaim itself as enforcing terms which he had dictated. On this ground of borrowed elevation Thebes now sought to place herself. There was in her case a peculiar reason which might partly excuse the value set upon it by her leaders. It had been almost the capital act of her policy to establish the two new cities, Megalopolis and Messênê. The vitality and chance for duration, of both,—especially that of the latter, which had the inextinguishable hostility of Sparta to contend with,—would be materially improved, in the existing state of the Greek mind, if they were recognized as autonomous under a Persian rescript. To attain this object,[594] Pelopidas and Isme[p. 278]nias now proceeded as envoys to Susa; doubtless under a formal vote of the allied synod, since the Arcadian Antiochus, a celebrated pankratiast, the Eleian Archidamus, and a citizen from Argos, accompanied them. Informed of the proceeding, the Athenians also sent Timagoras and Leon to Susa; and we read with some surprise that these hostile envoys all went up thither in the same company.[595]

Pelopidas, though he declined to perform the usual ceremony of prostration,[596] was favorably received by the Persian court. Xenophon,—who recounts the whole proceeding in a manner unfairly invidious towards the Thebans, forgetting that they were now only copying the example of Sparta in courting Persian aid,—affirms that his application was greatly furthered by the recollection of the ancient alliance of Thebes with Xerxes, against Athens and Sparta, at the time of the battle of Platæa; and by the fact that Thebes had not only refused to second, but had actually discountenanced, the expedition of Agesilaus against Asia. We may perhaps doubt, whether this plea counted for much; or the straightforward eloquence of Pelopidas, so much extolled by Plutarch,[597] which could only reach Persian ears through an interpreter. But the main fact for the Great King to know was, that the Thebans had been victorious at Leuktra; that they had subsequently trodden down still farther the glory of Sparta, by carrying their arms over Laconia, and emancipating the conquered half of the country; that when they were no longer in Pelopon[p. 279]nesus, their allies the Arcadians and Argeians had been shamefully defeated by the Lacedæmonians (in the Tearless Battle). Such boasts on the part of Pelopidas,—confirmed as matters of fact even by the Athenian Timagoras,—would convince the Persian ministers that it was their interest to exercise ascendency over Greece through Thebes in preference to Sparta. Accordingly Pelopidas being asked by the Great King what sort of rescript he wished, obtained his own terms. Messênê was declared autonomous and independent of Sparta: Amphipolis also was pronounced to be a free and autonomous city: the Athenians were directed to order home and lay up their ships of war now in active service, on pain of Persian intervention against them, in case of disobedience. Moreover Thebes was declared the head city of Greece, and any city refusing to follow her headship was menaced with instant compulsion by Persian force.[598] In reference to the points in dispute between Elis and Arcadia (the former claiming sovereignty over Triphylia, which professed itself Arcadian and had been admitted into the Arcadian communion), the rescript pronounced in favor of the Eleians;[599] probably at the instance of[p. 280] Pelopidas, since there now subsisted much coldness between the Thebans and Arcadians.

Leon the Athenian protested against the Persian rescript, observing aloud when he heard it read,—“By Zeus, Athenians, I think it is time for you to look out for some other friend than the Great King.” This remark, made in the King’s hearing and interpreted to him, produced the following addition to the rescript: “If the Athenians have anything juster to propose, let them come to the King and inform him.” So vague a modification, however, did little to appease the murmurs of the Athenians. On the return of their two envoys to Athens, Leon accused his colleague Timagoras of having not only declined to associate with him during the journey, but also of having lent himself to the purposes of Pelopidas, of being implicated in treasonable promises, and of receiving large bribes from the Persian King. On these charges Timagoras was condemned and executed.[600] The Arcadian envoy Antiochus was equally indignant at the rescript; refusing even to receive such presents of formal courtesy as were tendered to all, and accepted by Pelopidas himself, who however strictly declined everything beyond. The conduct of this eminent Theban thus exhibited a strong contrast with the large acquisitions of the Athenian Timagoras.[601] Antiochus, on returning to Arcadia,[p. 281] made report of his mission to the Pan-Arcadian synod, called the Ten Thousand, at Megalopolis. He spoke in the most contemptuous terms of all that he had seen at the Persian court. There were (he said) plenty of bakers, cooks, wine-pourers, porters, etc., but as for men competent to fight against Greeks, though he looked out for them with care, he could see none; and even the vaunted golden plane-tree was not large enough to furnish shade for a grasshopper.[602]

On the other hand, the Eleian envoy returned with feelings of satisfaction, and the Thebans with triumph. Deputies from each of their allied cities were invited to Thebes, to hear the Persian rescript. It was produced by a native Persian, their official companion from Susa,—the first Persian probably ever seen in Thebes since the times immediately preceding the battle of Platæa,—who, after exhibiting publicly the regal seal, read the document aloud; as the satrap Tiribazus had done on the occasion of the peace of Antalkidas.[603]

But though the Theban leaders thus closely copied the conduct of Sparta both as to means and as to end, they by no means found the like ready acquiescence, when they called on the deputies present to take an oath to the rescript, to the Great King, and to Thebes. All replied that they had come with instructions, authorizing them to hear and report, but no more; and that acceptance or rejection must be decided in their respective cities. Nor was this the worst. Lykomedes and the other deputies from Arcadia, already jealous of Thebes, and doubtless farther alienated by the angry report of their envoy Antiochus, went yet farther, and entered a general protest against the headship of Thebes; affirming that the synod ought not to be held constantly in that city, but in the seat of war, wherever that might be. Incensed at such language, the Thebans accused Lykomedes of violating the cardinal principle of the confederacy; upon which he and his Arcadian comrades forthwith retired and went home, declaring that they would no longer sit in the synod. The other deputies appear to have followed his example. Indeed, as they had refused to[p. 282] take the oath submitted to them, the special purpose of the synod was defeated.

Having thus failed in carrying their point with the allies collectively, the Thebans resolved to try the efficacy of applications individually. They accordingly despatched envoys, with the Persian rescript in hand, to visit the cities successively, calling upon each for acceptance with an oath of adhesion. Each city separately (they thought) would be afraid to refuse, under peril of united hostility from the Great King and from Thebes. So confident were they in the terrors of the king’s name and seal, that they addressed this appeal not merely to the cities in alliance with them, but even to several among their enemies. Their envoys first set forth the proposition at Corinth; a city, not only at variance with them, but even serving as a centre of operation for the Athenian and Lacedæmonian forces to guard the line of Oneium, and prevent the entrance of a Theban army into Peloponnesus. But the Corinthians rejected the proposition altogether, declining formally to bind themselves by any common oaths towards the Persian king. The like refusal was experienced by the envoys as they passed on to Peloponnesus, if not from all the cities visited, at least from so large a proportion, that the mission was completely frustrated. And thus the rescript, which Thebes had been at such pains to procure, was found practically inoperative in confirming or enforcing her headship;[604] though doubtless the mere fact, that it comprised and recognized Messênê, contributed to strengthen the vitality, and exalt the dignity, of that new-born city.

In their efforts to make the Persian rescript available towards the recognition of their headship throughout Greece, the Thebans would naturally visit Thessaly and the northern districts as well as Peloponnesus. It appears that Pelopidas and Ismenias themselves undertook this mission; and that in the execution of it they were seized and detained as prisoners by Alexander of Pheræ. That despot seems to have come to meet them, under pacific appearances, at Pharsalus. They indulged hopes of prevailing on him as well as the other Thessalians to accept the Persian[p. 283] rescript; for we see by the example of Corinth, that they had tried their powers of persuasion on enemies as well as friends. But the Corinthians, while refusing the application, had nevertheless respected the public morality held sacred even between enemies in Greece, and had dismissed the envoys (whether Pelopidas was among them, we cannot assert) inviolate. Not so the tyrant of Pheræ. Perceiving that Pelopidas and Ismenias were unaccompanied by any military force, he seized their persons, and carried them off to Pheræ as prisoners.

Treacherous as this proceeding was, it proved highly profitable to Alexander. Such was the personal importance of Pelopidas, that his imprisonment struck terror among the partisans of Thebes in Thessaly, and induced several of them to submit to the despot of Pheræ; who moreover sent to apprise the Athenians of his capture, and to solicit their aid against the impending vengeance of Thebes. Greatly impressed with the news, the Athenians looked upon Alexander as a second Jason, likely to arrest the menacing ascendency of their neighbor and rival.[605] They immediately despatched to his aid thirty triremes and one thousand hoplites under Autoklês; who, unable to get through the Euripus, when Bœotia and Eubœa were both hostile to Athens, were forced to circumnavigate the latter island. He reached Pheræ just in time; for the Thebans, incensed beyond measure at the seizure of Pelopidas, had despatched without delay eight thousand hoplites and six hundred cavalry to recover or avenge him. Unfortunately for them, Epaminondas had not been rechosen commander since his last year’s proceedings in Achaia. He was now serving as an hoplite in the ranks, while Kleomenes with other Bœotarchs had the command. On entering Thessaly, they were joined by various allies in the country. But the army of Alex[p. 284]ander, aided by the Athenians, and placed under the command of Autoklês, was found exceedingly formidable, especially in cavalry. The Thessalian allies of Thebes, acting with their habitual treachery, deserted in the hour of danger; and the enterprise, thus difficult and perilous, was rendered impracticable by the incompetence of the Bœotarchs. Unable to make head against Alexander and the Athenians, they were forced to retreat homeward. But their generalship was so unskilful, and the enemy’s cavalry so active, that the whole army was in imminent danger of being starved or destroyed. Nothing saved them now, but the presence of Epaminondas as a common soldier in the ranks. Indignant as well as dismayed, the whole army united to depose their generals, and with one voice called upon him to extricate them from their perils. Epaminondas accepted the duty,—marshalled the retreat in consummate order,—took for himself the command of the rear-guard, beating off all the attacks of the enemy,—and conducted the army safely back to Thebes.[606]

This memorable exploit, while it disgraced the unsuccessful Bœotarchs, who were condemned to fine and deposition from their office, raised higher than ever the reputation of Epaminondas among his countrymen. But the failure of the expedition was for the time a fatal blow to the influence of Thebes in Thessaly; where Alexander now reigned victorious and irresistible, with Pelopidas still in his dungeon. The cruelties and oppressions, at all times habitual to the despot of Pheræ, were pushed to an excess beyond all former parallel. Besides other brutal deeds of which we read with horror, he is said to have surrounded by his military force the unarmed citizens of Melibœa and Skotussa, and slaughtered them all in mass. In such hands, the life of Pelopidas hung by a thread; yet he himself, with that personal courage which never forsook him, held the language of unsubdued defiance and provocation against the tyrant. Great sympathy was manifested by many Thessalians, and even by Thêbê the wife of Alexander, for so illustrious a prisoner; and Alexander, fearful of incurring the implacable enmity of Thebes, was induced to spare his life, though retaining him as a prisoner. His confinement, too, appears to have lasted some time before the Thebans, discouraged by their late ill-success, were prepared to undertake a second expedition.

[p. 285]

At length they sent a force for the purpose; which was placed, on this occasion, under the command of Epaminondas. The renown of his name rallied many adherents in the country; and his prudence, no less than his military skill, was conspicuously exhibited, in defeating and intimidating Alexander, yet without reducing him to such despair as might prove fatal to the prisoner. The despot was at length compelled to send an embassy excusing his recent violence, offering to restore Pelopidas, and soliciting to be admitted to peace and alliance with Thebes. But Epaminondas would grant nothing more than a temporary truce,[607] coupled with the engagement of evacuating Thessaly; while he required in exchange the release of Pelopidas and Ismenias. His terms were acceded to, so that he had the delight of conveying his liberated friend in safety to Thebes. Though this primary object was thus effected, however, it is plain that he did not restore Thebes to the same influence in Thessaly which she had enjoyed prior to the seizure of Pelopidas.[608] That event with its consequences[p. 286] still remained a blow to Thebes and a profit to Alexander; who again became master of all or most part of Thessaly, together with the Magnêtes, the Phthiot Achæans, and other tributary nations dependent on Thessaly—maintaining unimpaired his influence and connection at Athens.[609]

While the Theban arms were thus losing ground in Thessaly, an important point was gained in their favor on the other side of Bœotia. Orôpus, on the north-eastern frontier of Attica adjoining Bœotia, was captured and wrested from Athens by a party of exiles who crossed over from Eretria in Eubœa, with the aid of Themison, despot of the last-mentioned town. It had been more than once lost and regained between Athens and Thebes; being seemingly in its origin Bœotian, and never incorporated as a Deme or equal constituent member of the Athenian commonwealth, but only recognized as a dependency of Athens; though, as it was close on the frontier, many of its inhabitants were also citizens of Athens, de[p. 287]mots of the neighboring Deme Græa.[610] So recently before as the period immediately preceding the battle of Leuktra, angry remonstrances had been exchanged between Athens and Thebes respecting a portion of the Oropian territory. At that time, it appears, the Thebans were forced to yield, and their partisans in Oropus were banished.[611] It was these partisans who, through the aid of Themison and the Eretrians, now effected their return, so as to repossess themselves of Oropus, and doubtless to banish the principal citizens friendly to Athens.[612] So great was the sensation produced among the Athenians, that they not only marched with all their force to recover the place, but also recalled their general, Chares, with that mercenary force which he commanded in the territories of Corinth and Phlius. They farther requested aid from the Corinthians and their other allies in Peloponnesus. These allies did not obey the summons; but the Athenian force alone would have sufficed to retake Oropus, had not the Thebans occupied it so as to place it beyond their attack. Athens was obliged to acquiesce in their occupation of it; though under protest, and with the understanding that the disputed right should be referred to impartial arbitration.[613]

This seizure of Oropus produced more than one material consequence. Owing to the recall of Chares from Corinth, the harbor of Sikyon could no longer be maintained against the Sikyonians in the town; who, with the aid of the Arcadians, recaptured it, so[p. 288] that both town and harbor again came into the league of Thebans and Arcadians. Moreover, Athens became discontented with her Peloponnesian allies, for having neglected her summons on the emergency at Oropus, although Athenian troops had been constantly in service for the protection of Peloponnesus against the Thebans. The growth of such dispositions at Athens became known to the Mantinean Lykomedes; the ablest and most ambitious leader in Arcadia, who was not only jealous of the predominance of the Thebans, but had come to a formal rupture with them at the synod held for the reception of the Persian rescript.[614] Anxious to disengage the Arcadians from Thebes as well as from Sparta, Lykomedes now took advantage of the discontent of Athens to open negotiations with that city; persuading the majority of the Arcadian Ten Thousand to send him thither as ambassador. There was difficulty among the Athenians in entertaining his proposition, from the alliance subsisting between them and Sparta. But they were reminded, that to disengage the Arcadians from Thebes, was no less in the interest of Sparta than of Athens; and a favorable answer was then given to Lykomedes. The latter took ship at Peiræus for his return, but never reached Arcadia; for he happened to land at the spot where the Arcadian exiles of the opposite party were assembled, and these men put him to death at once.[615] In spite of his death, however, the alliance between Arcadia and Athens was still brought to pass, though not without opposition.

Thebes was during this year engaged in her unsuccessful campaign in Thessaly (alluded to already) for the rescue of Pelopidas, which disabled her from effective efforts in Peloponnesus. But as soon as that rescue had been accomplished, Epaminondas, her greatest man, and her only conspicuous orator, was despatched into Arcadia to offer, in conjunction with an envoy from Argos, diplomatic obstruction to the proposed Athenian alliance. He had to speak against Kallistratus, the most distinguished orator at Athens,[p. 289] who had been sent by his countrymen to plead their cause amidst the Arcadian Ten Thousand, and who, among other arguments, denounced the enormities which darkened the heroic legends both of Thebes and Argos. “Were not Orestes and Alkmæon, both murderers of their mothers (asked Kallistratus), natives of Argos? Was not Œdipus, who slew his father and married his mother, a native of Thebes?”—“Yes (said Epaminondas, in his reply) they were. But Kallistratus has forgotten to tell you, that these persons, while they lived at home were innocent, or reputed to be so. As soon as their crimes became known, Argos and Thebes banished them; and then it was that Athens received them, stained with confessed guilt.”[616] This clever retort told much to the credit of the rhetorical skill of Epaminondas; but his speech as a whole, was not successful. The Arcadians concluded alliance with Athens; yet without formally renouncing friendship with Thebes.

As soon as such new alliance had been ratified, it became important to Athens to secure a free and assured entrance into Peloponnesus; while at the same time the recent slackness of the Corinthians, in regard to the summons to Oropus, rendered her mistrustful of their fidelity. Accordingly it was resolved in the Athenian assembly, on the motion of a citizen named Demotion, to seize and occupy Corinth; there being already some scattered Athenian garrisons, on various points of the Corinthian territory, ready to be concentrated and rendered useful for such a purpose. A fleet and land-force under Chares was made ready and despatched. But on reaching the Corinthian port of Kenchreæ, Chares found himself shut out even from admittance. The proposition of Demotion, and the resolution of the Athenians had become known to the Corinthians; who forthwith stood upon their guard, sent soldiers of their own to relieve the various Athenian outposts on their territory, and called upon these latter to give in any complaints for[p. 290] which they might have ground, as their services were no longer needed. Chares pretended to have learnt that Corinth was in danger. But both he and the remaining Athenians were dismissed, though with every expression of thanks and politeness.[617]

The treacherous purpose of Athens was thus baffled, and the Corinthians were for the moment safe. Yet their position was precarious and uncomfortable; for their enemies, Thebes and Argos, were already their masters by land, and Athens had now been converted from an ally into an enemy. Hence they resolved to assemble a sufficient mercenary force in their own pay;[618] but while thus providing for military security, they sent envoys to Thebes to open negotiations for peace. Permission was granted to them by the Thebans to go and consult their allies, and to treat for peace in conjunction with as many as could be brought to share their views. Accordingly the Corinthians went to Sparta and laid their case before the full synod of allies, convoked for the occasion. “We are on the point of ruin (said the Corinthian envoy), and must make peace. We shall rejoice to make it in conjunction with you, if you will consent; but if you think proper to persevere in the war, be not displeased if we make peace without you.” The Epidaurians and Phliasians, reduced to the like distress, held the same language of weariness and impatience for peace.[619]

It had been ascertained at Thebes, that no propositions for peace could be entertained, which did not contain a formal recognition of the independence of Messênê. To this the Corinthians and other allies of Sparta had no difficulty in agreeing. But they vainly en[p. 291]deavored to prevail upon Sparta herself to submit to the same concession. The Spartans resolutely refused to relinquish a territory inherited from victorious forefathers, and held under so long a prescription. They repudiated yet more indignantly the idea of recognizing as free Greeks and equal neighbors, those who had so long been their slaves; and they proclaimed their determination of continuing the war, even single-handed and with all its hazards, to regain what they had lost;[620] and although they could not directly prohibit the Corinthians and other allies, whose sickness of the war had become intolerable, from negotiating a separate peace for themselves,—yet they gave only a reluctant consent. Archidamus son of Agesilaus even reproached the allies with timorous selfishness, partly in deserting their benefactress Sparta at her hour of need, partly in recommending her to submit to a sacrifice ruinous to her honor.[621] The Spartan prince conjured his country[p. 292]men, in the name of all their ancient dignity, to spurn the mandates of Thebes; to shrink neither from effort nor from peril for the reconquest of Messênê, even if they had to fight alone against all Greece; and to convert their military population into a permanent camp, sending away their women and children to an asylum in friendly foreign cities.

Though the Spartans were not inclined to adopt the desperate suggestions of Archidamus, yet this important congress ended by a scission between them and their allies. The Corinthians, Phliasians, Epidaurians, and others, went to Thebes, and concluded peace; recognizing the independence of Messênê, and affirming the independence of each separate city within its own territory, without either obligatory alliance, or headship on the part of any city. Yet when the Thebans invited them to contract an alliance, they declined, saying that this would be only embarking in war on the other side; whereas that which they sighed for was peace. Peace was accordingly sworn, upon the terms indicated in the Persian rescript, so far as regarded the general autonomy of each separate town, and specially that of Messênê; but not including any sanction, direct or indirect, of Theban headship.[622]

This treaty removed out of the war, and placed in a position of neutrality, a considerable number of Grecian states; chiefly those near the Isthmus,—Corinth, Phlius, Epidaurus; probably Trœzen and Hermionê, since we do not find them again mentioned among the contending parties. But it left the more powerful states, Thebes and Argos,—Sparta and Athens,[623]—still at war; as well as Arcadia, Achaia, and Elis. The relations between these states, however, were now somewhat complicated; for Thebes was at war with Sparta, and in alliance, though not altogether hearty alliance,[p. 293] with the Arcadians; while Athens was at war with Thebes, yet in alliance with Sparta as well as with Arcadia. The Argeians were in alliance with Thebes and Arcadia, and at war with Sparta; the Eleians were on unfriendly terms, though not yet at actual war, with Arcadia—yet still (it would appear) in alliance with Thebes. Lastly, the Arcadians themselves were losing their internal coöperation and harmony one with another, which had only so recently begun. Two parties were forming among them, under the old conflicting auspices of Mantinea and Tegea. Tegea, occupied by a Theban harmost and garrison, held strenuously with Megalopolis and Messênê as well as with Thebes, thus constituting a strong and united frontier against Sparta.

As the Spartans complained of their Peloponnesian allies, for urging the recognition of Messênê as an independent state,—so they were no less indignant with the Persian king; who, though still calling himself their ally, had inserted the same recognition in the rescript granted to Pelopidas.[624] The Athenians also were dissatisfied with this rescript. They had (as has been already stated) condemned to death Timagoras, one of their envoys who had accompanied Pelopidas, for having received bribes. They now availed themselves of the opening left for them in the very words of the rescript, to send a fresh embassy up to the Persian court, and solicit more favorable terms. Their new envoys, communicating the fact that Timagoras had betrayed his trust and had been punished for it, obtained from the Great King a fresh rescript, pronouncing Amphipolis to be an Athenian possession instead of a free city.[625] Whether that other article also in the[p. 294] former rescript, which commanded Athens to call in all her armed ships, was now revoked, we cannot say; but it seems probable.

At the same time that the Athenians sent this second embassy, they also despatched an armament under Timotheus to the coast of Asia Minor, yet with express instructions not to violate the peace with the Persian king. Agesilaus, king of Sparta, went to the same scene, though without any public force; availing himself only of his long-established military reputation to promote the interests of his country as negotiator. Both Spartan and Athenian attention was now turned, directly and specially, towards Ariobarzanes the satrap of Phrygia; who (as has been already related) had sent over to Greece, two years before, Philiskus of Abydus, with the view either of obtaining from the Thebans peace on terms favorable to Sparta, or of aiding the latter against them.[626] Ariobarzanes was then preparing, and apparently had since openly consummated, his revolt from the Persian king, which Agesilaus employed all his influence in fomenting. The Athenians, however, still wishing to avoid a distinct breach with Persia, instructed Timotheus to assist Ariobarzanes,—yet with a formal proviso, that he should not break truce with the Great King. They also conferred both upon Ariobarzanes (with his three sons), and upon Philiskus, the gift of Athenian citizenship.[627] That satrap seems now to have had a large mercenary force, and to have been in possession of both sides of the Hellespont, as well as of Perinthus on the Propontis; while Philiskus, as his chief officer, exercised extensive ascendency, disgraced by much tyranny and brutality, over the Grecian cities in that region.

Precluded by his instructions from openly aiding the revolted Ariobarzanes, Timotheus turned his force against the island of Samos; which was now held by Kyprothemis, a Grecian chief with a military force in the service of Tigranes, Persian satrap[p. 295] on the opposite mainland. How or when Tigranes had acquired it we do not know; but the Persians, when once left by the peace of Antalkidas in quiet possession of the continental Asiatic Greeks, naturally tended to push their dominion over the neighboring islands. After carrying on his military operations in Samos, with eight thousand peltasts and thirty triremes, for ten or eleven months, Timotheus became master of it. His success was the more gratifying, as he had found means to pay and maintain his troops during the whole time at the cost of enemies; without either drawing upon the Athenian treasury, or extorting contributions from allies.[628] An important possession was thus acquired for Athens, while a considerable number of Samians of the opposite party went into banishment, with the loss of their properties. Since Samos was not among the legitimate possessions of the king of Persia, this conquest was not understood to import war between him and Athens. Indeed it appears that the revolt of Ariobarzanes, and the uncertain fidelity of various neighboring satraps, shook for some time the king’s authority, and absorbed his revenues in these regions. Autophradates, the satrap of Lydia,—and Mausôlus, native prince of Karia under Persian supremacy,—attacked Ariobarzanes, with the view, real or pretended, of quelling his revolt; and laid siege to Assus and Adramyttium. But they are said to have been induced to desist by the personal influence of Agesilaus.[629] As the latter had no army, nor any means of allurement (except perhaps some money derived from Ariobarzanes), we may fairly presume that the two besiegers were not very earnest in the cause. Moreover, we shall find both[p. 296] of them, a few years afterwards, in joint revolt with Ariobarzanes himself against the Persian king.[630] Agesilaus obtained, from all three, pecuniary aid for Sparta.[631]

The acquisition of Samos, while it exalted the reputation of Timotheus, materially enlarged the maritime dominion of Athens. It seems also to have weakened the hold of the Great King on Asia Minor,—to have disposed the residents, both satraps and Grecian cities, to revolt,—and thus to have helped Ariobarzanes, who rewarded both Agesilaus and Timotheus. Agesilaus was enabled to carry home a sum of money to his embarrassed countrymen; but Timotheus, declining pecuniary aid, obtained for Athens the more valuable boon of readmission to the Thracian Chersonese. Ariobarzanes made over to him Sestus and Krithôtê in that peninsula; possessions doubly precious, as they secured to the Athenians a partial mastery of the passage of the Hellespont; with a large circumjacent territory for occupation.[632]

Samos and the Chersonese were not simply new tributary confederates aggregated to the Athenian synod. They were, in large proportion, new territories acquired to Athens, open to be occupied by Athenian citizens as out-settlers or kleruchs. Much of the Chersonese had been possessed by Athenian citizens, even from the time of the first Miltiades and afterwards down to the destruction of the Athenian empire in 405 B.C. Though all these proprietors had been then driven home and expropriated, they had never lost the hope of a favorable turn of fortune and[p. 297] eventual reëntry.[633] That moment had now arrived. The formal renunciation of all private appropriations of land out of Attica, which Athens had proclaimed at the formation of her second confederacy in 378 B.C., as a means of conciliating maritime allies—was forgotten, now that she stood no longer in fear of Sparta. The same system of kleruchies, which had so much discredited her former empire, was again partially commenced. Many kleruchs, or lot-holders, were sent out to occupy lands both at Samos and in the Chersonese. These men were Athenian citizens, who still remained citizens of Athens even in their foreign domicile, and whose properties formed part of the taxable schedule of Athens. The particulars of this important measure are unknown to us. At Samos the emigrants must have been new men; for there had never been any kleruchs there before.[634] But in the Chersonese, the old Athenian proprietors, who had been expropriated forty years before (or their descendants), doubtless now went back, and tried, with more or less of success, to regain their[p. 298] previous lands; reinforced by bands of new emigrants. And Timotheus, having once got footing at Sestus and Krithôtê, soon extended his acquisitions to Elæus and other places; whereby Athens was emboldened publicly to claim the whole Chersonese, or at least most part of it, as her own ancient possession,—from its extreme northern boundary at a line drawn across the isthmus north of Kardia, down to Elæus at its southern extremity.[635]

This transfer of lands in Samos to Athenian proprietors, combined with the resumption of the Chersonese, appears to have excited a strong sensation throughout Greece, as a revival of ambitious tendencies on the part of Athens, and a manifest departure from those disinterested professions which she had set forth in 378 B.C. Even in the Athenian assembly, a citizen named Kydias pronounced an emphatic protest against the emigration of the kleruchs to Samos.[636] However, obnoxious as the measure was to criticism, yet having been preceded by a conquering siege and the expulsion of many native proprietors, it does not seem to have involved Athens in so much real difficulty as the resumption of her old rights in the Chersonese. Not only did she here come into conflict with independent towns, like Kardia,[637] which resisted her pretensions,—and with resident proprietors whom she was to aid her citizens in dispossessing,—but also with a new enemy, Kotys, king of Thrace. That prince, claiming the Chersonese as Thracian territory, was himself on the point of seizing Sestus, when Agesilaus or Ariobarzanes drove him away,[638] to make room for Timotheus and the Athenians.

It has been already mentioned, that Kotys,[639]—the new Thracian enemy, but previously the friend and adopted citizen, of Athens,—was father-in-law of the Athenian general Iphikrates, whom he had enabled to establish and people the town and settlement called Drys, on the coast of Thrace. Iphikrates had been employed by the Athenians for the last three or four years on the coasts of Macedonia and Chalkidikê, and especially against Am[p. 299]phipolis; but he had neither taken the latter place, nor obtained (so far as we know) any other success; though he had incurred the expense for three years of a mercenary general named Charidemus with a body of troops. How so unprofitable a result, on the part of an energetic man like Iphikrates, is to be explained,—we cannot tell. But it naturally placed him before the eyes of his countrymen in disadvantageous contrast with Timotheus, who had just acquired Samos and the Chersonese. An additional reason for mistrusting Iphikrates, too, was presented by the fact, that Athens was now at war with his father-in-law Kotys. Hence it was now resolved by the Athenians to recall him, and appoint Timotheus[640] to an extensive command, including Thrace and Macedonia as well as the Chersonese. Perhaps party enmities between the two Athenian chiefs, with their respective friends, may have contributed to the change. As Iphikrates had been the accuser of Timotheus a few years before, so the latter may have seized this opportunity of retaliating.[641] At all events the dismissed general conducted himself in such a manner as to justify the mistrust of his countrymen; taking part with his father-in-law Kotys in the war, and actually fighting against Athens.[642] He had got into his possession some hostages of Amphipolis, surrendered to him by Harpalus; which gave great hopes of extorting the[p. 300] surrender of the town. These hostages he had consigned to the custody of the mercenary general Charidemus, though a vote had been passed in the Athenian assembly that they should be sent to Athens.[643] As soon as the appointment of Iphikrates was cancelled, Charidemus forthwith surrendered the hostages to the Amphipolitans themselves, thus depriving Athens of a material advantage. And this was not all. Though Charidemus had been three years with his band in the service of Athens under Iphikrates, yet when the new general Timotheus wished to reëngage him, he declined the proposition; conveying away his troops in Athenian transports, to enter into the pay of a decided enemy of Athens—Kotys; and in conjunction with Iphikrates himself.[644] He was subsequently coming by sea from Kardia to take service under her other enemies, Olynthus and Amphipolis, when he was captured by the Athenian fleet. Under these circumstances, he was again prevailed on to serve Athens.

It was against these two cities, and to the general coast of Macedonia and the Chalkidic Thrace, that Timotheus devoted his first attention, postponing for the moment Kotys and the Chersonese. In this enterprise he found means to obtain the alliance of Macedonia, which had been hostile to his predecessor Iphikrates. Ptolemy of Alôrus, regent of that country, who had assassinated the preceding king, Alexander son of Amyntas, was himself assassinated (365 B.C.) by Perdikkas, brother of Alexander.[645] Perdikkas, during the first year or two of his reign, seems to have been friendly and not hostile to Athens. He lent aid to Timotheus, who turned his force against Olynthus and other towns both in the Chalkidic Thrace and on the coast of Macedonia.[646] Probably the Olynthian confederacy may have been again acquir[p. 301]ing strength during the years of recent Spartan humiliation; so that Perdikkas now found his account in assisting Athens to subdue or enfeeble it, just as his father Amyntas had invoked Sparta for the like purpose. Timotheus, with the assistance of Perdikkas, was very successful in these parts; making himself master of Torônê, Potidæa, Pydna, Methônê, and various other places. As he mastered many of the Chalkidic towns allied with Olynthus, the means and adherents still retained by that city became so much diminished, that Timotheus is spoken of loosely as having conquered it.[647] Here, as at Samos, he obtained his successes not only without cost to Athens, but also (as we are told) without severities upon the allies, simply from the regular contributions of the Thracian confederates of Athens, assisted by the employment of a temporary coinage of base metal.[648] Yet though Timotheus was thus victorious in and near the Thermaic Gulf, he was not more fortunate than his predecessor in his attempt to achieve that which Athens had most at heart,—the capture of Amphipolis; although, by the accidental capture of Charidemus at sea, he was enabled again to enlist that chief with his band, whose services seem to have been gratefully appreciated at Athens.[649] Timotheus first despatched Alkimachus, who was repulsed,—then landed himself and attacked the city. But the Amphipolitans, aided by the neighboring Thracians, in large numbers (and perhaps by the Thracian Kotys), made so strenuous a resistance, that he was forced to retire with loss; and even to burn some triremes, which, having been carried across to assail the city from the wide part of[p. 302] the river Strymon above, could not be brought off in the face of the enemy.[650]

[p. 303]

Timotheus next turned his attention to the war against Kotys in Thrace, and to the defence of the newly-acquired Athenian possessions in the Chersonese, now menaced by the appearance of a new and unexpected enemy to Athens in the eastern waters of the Ægean,—a Theban fleet.

I have already mentioned that in 366 B.C., Thebes had sustained great misfortunes in Thessaly. Pelopidas had been fraudulently seized and detained as prisoner by Alexander of Pheræ; a Theban army had been sent to rescue him, but had been dishonorably repulsed, and had only been enabled to effect its retreat by the genius of Epaminondas, then serving as a private, and called upon by the soldiers to take the command. Afterwards, Epaminondas himself had been sent at the head of a second army to extricate his captive friend, which he had accomplished, but not without relinquishing Thessaly and leaving Alexander more powerful than ever. For a certain time after this defeat, the Thebans remained comparatively humbled and quiet. At length, the aggravated oppressions of the tyrant Alexander occasioned such suffering, and provoked such missions of complaint on the part of the Thessalians to Thebes, that Pelopidas, burning with ardor to revenge both his city and himself, prevailed on the Thebans to place him at the head of a fresh army for the purpose of invading Thessaly.[651]

At the same time, probably, the remarkable successes of the Athenians under Timotheus, at Samos and the Chersonese, had excited uneasiness throughout Greece, and jealousy on the part of the Thebans. Epaminondas ventured to propose to his countrymen that they should grapple with Athens on her own element,[p. 304] and compete for the headship of Greece not only on land but at sea. In fact the rescript brought down by Pelopidas from the Persian court sanctioned this pretension, by commanding Athens to lay up her ships of war, on pain of incurring the chastisement of the Great King;[652] a mandate, which she had so completely defied as to push her maritime efforts more energetically than before. Epaminondas employed all his eloquence to impress upon his countrymen, that, Sparta being now humbled, Athens was their actual and prominent enemy. He reminded them,—in language such as had been used by Brasidas in the early years of the Peloponnesian war, and by Hermokrates at Syracuse,[653]—that men such as the Thebans, brave and trained soldiers on land, could soon acquire the like qualities on shipboard; and that the Athenians themselves had once been mere landsmen, until the exigencies of the Persian war forced them to take to the sea.[654] “We must put down this haughty rival (he exhorted his countrymen); we must transfer to our own citadel, the Kadmeia, those magnificent Propylæa which adorn the entrance of the acropolis at Athens.”[655]

Such emphatic language, as it long lived in the hostile recollection of Athenian orators, so it excited at the moment extreme ardor on the part of the Theban hearers. They resolved to build and equip one hundred triremes, and to construct docks with ship-houses fit for the constant maintenance of such a number. Epaminondas himself was named commander, to sail with the first fleet, as soon as it should be ready, to the Hellespont and the islands near Ionia; while invitations were at the same time despatched to Rhodes, Chios, and Byzantium, encouraging them to prepare for breaking with Athens.[656] Some opposition however was made in the assembly to the new undertaking; especially by Menekleidas, an opposition speaker, who, being frequent and severe in his criticisms upon the leading men such as Pelopidas and Epaminon[p. 305]das, has been handed down by Nepos and Plutarch in odious colors. Demagogues like him, whose power resided in the public assembly, are commonly represented as if they had a natural interest in plunging their cities into war, in order that there might be more matter of accusation against the leading men. This representation is founded mainly on the picture which Thucydides gives of Kleon in the first half of the Peloponnesian war: I have endeavored in my sixth volume to show,[657] that it is not a fair estimate even of Kleon separately, much less of the demagogues generally, unwarlike men both in tastes and aptitudes. Menekleidas at Thebes, far from promoting warlike expeditions in order that he might denounce the generals when they came back, advocated the prudence of continued peace, and accused Epaminondas of involving his country in distant and dangerous schemes, with a view to emulate the glories of Agamemnon by sailing from Aulis in Bœotia, as commander of an imposing fleet to make conquests in the Hellespont. “By the help of Thebes (replied Epaminondas) I have already done more than Agamemnon. He, with the forces of Sparta and all Greece besides, was ten years in taking a single city; while I, with the single force of Thebes and at the single day of Leuktra, have crushed the power of the Agamemnonian Sparta.”[658] While repelling the charge of personal motives, Epaminondas contended that peace would be equivalent to an abnegation of the headship of Greece; and that, if Thebes wished to maintain that ascendant station, she must keep her citizens in constant warlike training and action.

To err with Epaminondas may be considered, by some readers, as better than being right with Menekleidas. But on the main point of this debate, Menekleidas appears to have been really right. For the general exhortations ascribed to Epaminondas[p. 306] resemble but too closely those feverish stimulants, which Alkibiades administered at Athens to wind up his countrymen for the fatal expedition against Syracuse.[659] If we should even grant his advice to be wise, in reference to land-warfare, we must recollect that he was here impelling Thebes into a new and untried maritime career, for which she had neither aptitude nor facilities. To maintain ascendency on land alone, would require all her force, and perhaps prove too hard for her; to maintain ascendency by land and sea at once would be still more impracticable. By grasping at both she would probably keep neither. Such considerations warrant us in suspecting, that the project of stretching across the Ægean for ultramarine dependencies was suggested to this great man not so much by a sound appreciation of the permanent interests of Thebes, as by jealousy of Athens,—especially since the recent conquests of Timotheus.[660]

The project however was really executed, and a large Theban fleet under Epaminondas crossed the Ægean in 363 B.C. In the same year, apparently, Pelopidas marched into Thessaly, at the head of a Theban land-force, against Alexander of Pheræ. What the fleet achieved, we are scarcely permitted to know. It appears that Epaminondas visited Byzantium; and we are told that he drove off the Athenian guard-squadron under Laches, prevailing upon several of the allies of Athens to declare in his favor.[661] Both he[p. 307] and Timotheus appear to have been in these seas, if not at the same time, at least with no great interval of time between. Both were solicited by the oligarchy of the Pontic Herakleia against the people; and both declined to furnish aid.[662] Timotheus is said to have liberated the besieged town of Kyzikus: by whom it was besieged, we do not certainly know, but probably by the Theban fleet.[663] Epaminondas brought back his fleet at the end of the year, without having gained any splendid victory or acquired any tenable possession for Thebes; yet not without weakening Athens, unsettling her hold upon her dependencies, and seconding indirectly the hostilities carried on by Kotys; insomuch that the Athenian affairs in the Chersonese and Thrace were much less prosperous in 362 B.C. than they had been in 364 B.C. Probably Epaminondas intended to return with his fleet in the next year (362 B.C.), and to push his maritime enterprises still farther;[664] but we shall find him imperatively called elsewhere, to another and a fatal battle-field. And thus the first naval expedition of Thebes was likewise the last.

Meanwhile his friend and colleague Pelopidas had marched into Thessaly against the despot Alexander; who was now at the height of his power, holding in dependence a large portion of Thessaly together with the Phthiot Achæans and the Magnetes, and having Athens as his ally. Nevertheless, so revolting had been his cruelties, and so numerous were the malcontents who had sent to invite aid from Thebes, that Pelopidas did not despair of overpowering him. Nor was he daunted even by an eclipse of the sun, which is said to have occurred just as he was commencing his march, nor by the gloomy warnings which the prophets founded upon it; though this event intimidated many of his fellow-citizens, so that his force was rendered less numerous as well as less confident. Arriving at Pharsalus, and strengthening himself by the junction of his Thessalian allies, he found Alexander approaching to meet him at the head of a well-appointed mercenary force, greatly superior in number. The two chiefs contended who should occupy first the hills called Kynos Kephalæ, or the Dog’s Heads. Pelopidas[p. 308] arrived there first with his cavalry, beat the cavalry of the enemy, and pursued them to some distance; but he thus left the hills open to be occupied by the numerous infantry of the enemy, while his own infantry, coming up later, were repulsed with loss in their attempt to carry the position. Thus unpromising did the battle appear, when Pelopidas returned from the pursuit. Ordering his victorious cavalry to charge the infantry on the hill in flank, he immediately dismounted, seized his shield, and put himself at the head of his own discouraged infantry, whom he again led up the hill to attack the position. His presence infused so much fresh ardor, that his troops, in spite of being twice repulsed, succeeded in a third attempt to drive the enemy from the summit of the hill. Thus master of the hill, Pelopidas saw before him the whole army of the enemy, retiring in some disorder, though not yet beaten; while Alexander in person was on the right wing, exerting himself to rally and encourage them. When Pelopidas beheld, as it were within his reach, this detested enemy,—whose treacherous arrest and dungeon he had himself experienced, and whose cruelties filled every one’s mouth,—he was seized with a transport of rage and madness, like Cyrus the younger on the field of Kunaxa at the sight of his brother Artaxerxes. Without thinking of his duties as a general, or even looking to see by whom he was followed, he rushed impetuously forward, with loud cries and challenges to Alexander to come forth and fight. The latter, declining the challenge, retired among his guards, into the midst of whom Pelopidas plunged, with the few who followed him; and there, while fighting with desperate bravery, met his death. So rapidly had this rash proceeding been consummated, that his army behind did not at first perceive it. But they presently hastened forward to rescue or avenge him, vigorously charged the troops of Alexander, and put them to flight with severe loss.[665]

Yet this victory, though important to the Thebans, and still more important to the Thessalians, was to both of them robbed of all its sensible value by the death of Pelopidas. The demonstrations of grief throughout the army were unbounded and universal. The soldiers yet warm from their victory, the wounded men with wounds yet untended, flocked around the corpse, piling up near to it as a[p. 309] trophy the arms of the slain enemies. Many, refusing either to kindle fire, or to touch their evening meal, testified their affliction by cutting off their own hair as well as the manes of their horses. The Thessalian cities vied with each other in tokens of affectionate respect, and obtained from the Thebans permission to take the chief share in his funeral, as their lost guardian and protector. At Thebes, the emotion was no less strikingly manifested. Endeared to his countrymen first as the head of that devoted handful of exiles who braved every peril to rescue the city from the Lacedæmonians, Pelopidas had been reëlected without interruption to the annual office of Bœotarch during all the years that had since elapsed[666] (378-364 B.C.). He had taken a leading part in all their struggles, and all their glories; he had been foremost to cheer them in the hour of despondency; he had lent himself, with the wisdom of a patriot and the generosity of a friend, to second the guiding ascendency of Epaminondas, and his moderation of dealing towards conquered enemies.[667]

All that Thebes could do, was, to avenge the death of Pelopidas. The Theban generals, Malkitas and Diogeiton,[668] conducted a pow[p. 310]erful force of seven thousand hoplites into Thessaly, and put themselves at the head of their partisans in that country. With this united army, they pressed Alexander hard, completely worsted him, and reduced him to submit to their own terms. He was compelled to relinquish all his dependencies in Thessaly; to confine himself to Pheræ, with its territory near the Gulf of Pagasæ; and to swear adherence to Thebes as a leader. All Thessaly, together with the Phthiot Achæans and the Magnêtes, became annexed to the headship of the Thebans, who thus acquired greater ascendency in Northern Greece than they had ever enjoyed before.[669] The power of Alexander was effectually put down on land; but he still continued both powerful and predatory at sea, as will be seen in the ensuing year.

[p. 311]


It was during this period,—while Epaminondas was absent with the fleet, and while Pelopidas was engaged in that Thessalian campaign from whence he never returned,—that the Thebans destroyed Orchomenus. That city, the second in the Bœotian federation, had always been disaffected towards Thebes; and the absence of the two great leaders, as well as of a large Theban force in Thessaly, seems to have been regarded by the Orchomenian Knights or Horsemen (the first and richest among the citizens, three hundred in number) as a favorable moment for attack. Some Theban exiles took part in this scheme, with a view to overthrow the existing government; and a day, appointed for a military review near Thebes, was fixed for execution. A large number of conspirators joined, with apparent ardor. But before the day arrived, several of them repented and betrayed the plot to the Bœotarchs; upon which the Orchomenian horsemen were seized, brought before the Theban assembly, condemned to death, and executed. But besides this, the resolution was taken to destroy the town, to kill the male adults, and to sell the women and children into slavery.[670] This barbarous decree was executed, though probably a certain fraction found means to escape, forming the kernel of that population which was afterwards restored. The full measure of ancient Theban hatred was thus satiated; a hatred, tracing its origin even to those mythical times when Thebes was said to have paid tribute to Orchomenus. But the erasure of this venerable city from the list of autonomous units in Hellas, with the wholesale execution and sale of so many free kinsmen into slavery, excited strong sympathy throughout the neighbors, as well as repugnance against Theban cruelty;[671] a sentiment probably aggra[p. 312]vated by the fact, which we must presume to have been concurrent,—that the Thebans appropriated the territory among their own citizens. It would seem that the neighboring town of Koroneia shared the same fate; at least the two are afterwards spoken of together in such manner as to make us suppose so.[672] Thebes thus absorbed into herself these two towns and territories to the north of her own city, as well as Platæa and Thespiæ to the south.

We must recollect that during the supremacy of Sparta and the period of Theban struggle and humiliation, before the battle of Leuktra, Orchomenus had actively embraced the Spartan cause. Shortly after that victory, the Thebans had been anxious under their first impulse of resentment to destroy the city, but had been restrained by the lenient recommendations of Epaminondas.[673] All their half-suppressed wrath was revived by the conspiracy of the Orchomenian Knights; yet the extreme severity of the proceeding would never have been consummated, but for the absence of Epaminondas, who was deeply chagrined on his return.[674] He well knew the bitter censures which Thebes would draw upon herself by punishing the entire city for the conspiracy of the wealthy Knights, and in a manner even more rigorous than Platæa and Thespiæ; since the inhabitants of these two latter were expelled with their families out of Bœotia, while the Orchome[p. 313]nian male adults were slain, and the women and children sold into slavery.

On returning from his maritime expedition at the end of 363 B.C., Epaminondas was reëlected one of the Bœotarchs. He had probably intended to renew his cruise during the coming year. But his chagrin for the Orchomenian affair, and his grief for the death of Pelopidas,—an intimate friend, as well as a political colleague whom he could trust,—might deter him from a second absence; while the affairs of Peloponnesus also were now becoming so complicated, as to render the necessity of renewed Theban interference again probable.

Since the peace concluded in 366 B.C. with Corinth, Phlius, etc., Thebes had sent no army into that peninsula; though her harmost and garrison still continued at Tegea, perhaps at Megalopolis and Messênê also. The Arcadians, jealous of her as well as disunited among themselves, had even gone so far as to contract an alliance with her enemy Athens. The main conflict however now was, between the Arcadians and the Eleians, respecting the possession of Triphylia and the Pisatid. The Eleians about this time (365 B.C.) came into alliance again with Sparta,[675] relinquishing their alliance with Thebes; while the Achæans, having come into vigorous coöperation with Sparta[676] ever since 367 B.C. (by reaction against the Thebans, who, reserving the judicious and moderate policy of Epaminondas, violently changed the Achæan governments), allied themselves with Elis also, in or before 365 B.C.[677] And thus Sparta, though robbed by the pacification of 366 B.C. of the aid of Corinth, Phlius, Epidaurus, etc., had now acquired in exchange Elis and Achaia,—confederates not less valuable.

Triphylia, the territory touching the western coast of Peloponnesus, immediately north of the river Neda,—and the Pisatid (including the lower course of the river Alpheius and the plain of Olympia), immediately north of Triphylia,—both of them between Messenia and Elis,—had been in former times conquered and long held by the Eleians, but always as discontented subjects. Sparta, in the days of her unquestioned supremacy, had[p. 314] found it politic to vindicate their independence, and had compelled the Eleians, after a war of two or three years, to renounce formally all dominion over them.[678] No sooner, however, had the battle of Leuktra disarmed Sparta, than the Eleians reclaimed their lost dominion;[679] while the subjects on their side found new protectors in the Arcadians, and were even admitted, under pretence of kindred race, into the Pan-Arcadian confederacy.[680] The Persian rescript brought down by Pelopidas (367-366 B.C.) seems to have reversed this arrangement, recognizing the imperial rights of the Eleians.[681] But as the Arcadians had repudiated the rescript, it remained for the Eleians to enforce their imperial rights by arms, if they could. They found Sparta in the same interest as themselves; not only equally hostile to the Arcadians, but also complaining that she had been robbed of Messênê, as they complained of the loss of Triphylia. Sparta had just gained a slight advantage over the Arcadians, in the recapture of Sellasia; chiefly through the aid of a Syracusan reinforcement of twelve triremes, sent to them by the younger Dionysius, but with orders speedily to return.[682]

Besides the imperial claims over Triphylia and the Pisatid, which thus placed Elis in alliance with Sparta and in conflict with Arcadia,—there was also a territory lying north of the Alpheius (on the hilly ground forming the western or Eleian side of Mount Erymanthus, between Elis and the north-western portion of Arcadia), which included Lasion and the highland townships called Akroreii, and which was disputed between Elis and Arcadia. At this moment, it was included as a portion of the Pan-Arcadian aggregate;[683] but the Eleians, claiming it as their own and suddenly marching in along with a body of Arcadian exiles, seized and occupied Lasion as well as some of the neighboring Akroreii. The Arcadians were not slow in avenging the affront. A body of their Pan-Arcadian militia called the epariti, collected from the various cities and districts, marched to Lasion, defeated the Eleian hoplites with considerable loss both of men and arms, and[p. 315] drove them out of the district. The victors recovered both Lasion and all the Akroreii, except Thraustus; after which they proceeded to the sacred ground of Olympia, and took formal possession of it, planting a garrison, protected by a regular stockaded circle, on the hill called Kronion. Having made good this position, they marched on even to the city of Elis itself, which was unfortified (though it had a tenable acropolis), so that they were enabled to enter it, finding no resistance until they reached the agora. Here they found mustered the Eleian horsemen and the chosen hoplites, who repulsed them with some loss. But Elis was in great consternation; while a democratical opposition now manifested itself against the ruling oligarchy,—seizing the acropolis in hopes of admitting the Arcadians. The bravery of the horsemen and hoplites, however, put down this internal movement, recovered the acropolis, and forced the malcontents, to the number of four hundred, to evacuate the city. Thus expelled, the latter seized and established themselves at Pylus (in the Eleian territory, about nine miles from Elis towards the Arcadian border[684]), where they were reinforced not only by a body of Arcadians, but also by many of their partisans who came from the city to join them. From this fortified post, planted in the country like Dekeleia in Attica, they carried on harassing war against the Eleians in the city, and reduced them after some time to great straits. There were even hopes of compelling the city to surrender, and a fresh invasion of the Arcadians was invited to complete the enterprise. The Eleians were only rescued by a reinforcement from their allies in Achaia, who came in large force and placed the city in safety; so that the Arcadians could do nothing more than lay waste the territory around.[685]

Retiring on this occasion, the Arcadians renewed their invasion not long afterwards; their garrison still occupying Olympia, and the exiles continuing at Pylus. They now marched all across the country, even approaching Kyllênê, the harbor of Elis on the western sea. Between the harbor and the city, the Eleians ventured to attack them, but were defeated with such loss, that their general Andromachus (who had prompted the attack) fell upon his sword in despair. The distress of the Eleians became greater[p. 316] than ever. In hopes of drawing off the Arcadian invaders, they sent an envoy to Sparta, entreating that the Lacedæmonians would make a diversion on their side of Arcadia. Accordingly, the Spartan prince Archidamus (son of king Agesilaus), invading the south-western portion of Arcadia, occupied a hill-town or post called Kromnus (seemingly in the territory of Megalopolis, and cutting off the communication between that city and Messênê), which he fortified and garrisoned with about two hundred Spartans and Periœki. The effect which the Eleians contemplated was produced. The Arcadian army (except the garrison of Olympia) being withdrawn home, they had leisure to act against Pylus. The Pylian exiles had recently made an abortive attempt upon Thalamæ, on their return from which they were overtaken and worsted by the Eleians, with severe loss in killed, and two hundred of their number ultimately made prisoners. Among these latter, all the Eleian exiles were at once put to death; all the remainder sold for slaves.[686]

Meanwhile the main Arcadian force, which had returned from Elis, was joined by allies,—Thebans,[687] Argeians, and Messenians,—and marched at once to Kromnus. They there blocked up the Lacedæmonian garrison by a double palisade carried all around, which they kept a numerous force to occupy. In vain did Archidamus attempt to draw them off, by carrying his devastations into the Skiritis and other portions of Arcadia; for the Skiritæ, in former days dependents of Sparta and among the most valuable constituents of the Lacedæmonian armies,[688] had now become independent Arcadians. The blockade was still continued without interruption. Archidamus next tried to get possession of a hill-top which commanded the Arcadian position. But in marching along the road up, he encountered the enemy in great force, and was repulsed with some loss; himself being thrust through the thigh with a spear, and his relatives Polyænidas and Chilon slain.[689][p. 317] The Lacedæmonian troops retreated for some space into a wider breadth of ground, where they were again formed in battle order, yet greatly discouraged both by the repulse and by the communication of the names of the slain, who were among the most distinguished soldiers of Sparta. The Arcadians on the contrary were advancing to the charge in high spirits, when an ancient Spartan, stepping forth from the ranks, shouted with a loud voice “What need to fight, gentlemen? Is it not better to conclude a truce and separate?” Both armies accepted the proposition joyfully. The truce was concluded; the Lacedæmonians took up their dead and retired: the Arcadians also retreated to the spot where they had gained their advantage, and there erected their trophy.[690]

Under the graphic description here given by Xenophon, seems to be concealed a defeat of the Lacedæmonians more serious than he likes to enunciate. The Arcadians completely gained their point, by continuing the blockade without interruption. One more attempt was made by the Lacedæmonians for the relief of their countrymen. Suddenly assailing the palisade at night, they succeeded in mastering the portion of it guarded by the Argeians.[691] They broke down an opening, and called to the besieged to hasten out. But the relief had come unexpected, so that only a few of those near at hand could profit by it to escape. The Arcadians, hurrying to the spot in large force, drove off the assailants and reënclosed the besieged, who were soon compelled to surrender for want of provisions. More than a hundred prisoners, Spartans and Periœki together, were distributed among the captors,—Argeians, Thebans, Arcadians, and Messenians,—one share to each.[692] Sixty years before, the capture of two hundred and twenty Spartans and Lacedæmonians in Sphakteria, by Kleon and Demosthenes, had excited the extreme of incredulous wonder throughout all Greece; emphatically noted by the impartial Thucydides.[693] Now, not a trace of such sentiment appears, even in the philo-Laconian Xenophon. So sadly had Spartan glory declined!

[p. 318]

Having thus put an end to the Spartan attack, the Arcadians resumed their aggression against Elis, in conjunction with a new project of considerable moment. It was now the spring immediately preceding the celebration of the great quadrennial Olympic festival, which came about midsummer. The presidency over this sacred ceremony had long been the cherished privilege of the Eleians, who had acquired it when they conquered the Pisatans—the inhabitants of the region immediately around Olympia, and the first curators of the festival in its most primitive state. These Pisatans, always reluctant subjects of Elis, had never lost the conviction that the presidency of the festival belonged to them of right; and had entreated Sparta to restore to them their right, thirty-five years before, when Agis as conqueror imposed terms of peace upon the Eleians.[694] Their request had been then declined, on the ground that they were too poor and rude to do worthy honor to the ceremony. But on now renewing it, they found the Arcadians more compliant than the Spartans had been. The Arcadian garrison, which had occupied the sacred plain of Olympia for more than a year, being strongly reinforced, preparation was made for celebrating the festival by the Pisatans under Arcadian protection.[695] The Grecian states would receive with surprise, on this occasion, two distinct notices from official heralds, announcing to them the commencement of the hieromenia or sacred season, and the precise day when the ceremonies would begin: for doubtless the Eleians, though expelled by force from Olympia, still asserted their rights and sent round their notices as usual.

It was evident that this memorable plain, consecrated as it was to Hellenic brotherhood and communion, would on the present occasion be dishonored by dispute and perhaps by bloodshed: for the Arcadians summoned to the spot, besides their own military strength, a considerable body of allies: two thousand hoplites from Argos, and four hundred horsemen from Athens. So imposing a force being considered sufficient to deter the unwarlike Eleians from any idea of asserting their rights by arms, the Arcadians and Pisatans began the festival with its ordinary routine of sacrifice and matches. Having gone through the chariot-race, they entered upon the pentathlon, or quintuple contest, wherein the running[p. 319] match and the wrestling-match came first in order. The running-match had already been completed, and those who had been successful enough in it to go on contending for the prize in the other four points, had begun to wrestle in the space between the stadium and the great altar,[696]—when suddenly the Eleians were seen entering the sacred ground in arms, accompanied by their allies the Achæans, and marching up to the opposite bank of the little river Kladeus,—which flowed at a little distance to the westward of the Altis, or interior enclosed precinct of Zeus, falling afterwards into the Alpheius. Upon this the Arcadians drew up in armed order, on their own side of the Kladeus, to resist the farther approach of the Eleians.[697] The latter, with a boldness for which no one gave[p. 320] them credit, forded the rivulet, headed by Stratolas with his chosen band of three hundred, and vigorously charged first the Arcadians, next the Argeians; both of whom were defeated and driven back. The victorious Eleians forced their way into the Altis, and pressed forward to reach the great altar. But at every step of their advance the resistance became stronger, aided as it was by numerous buildings,—the senate-house, the temple of Zeus, and various porticos,—which both deranged their ranks, and furnished excellent positions of defence for darters and archers on the roofs. Stratolas was here slain; while his troops, driven out of the sacred ground, were compelled to recross the Kladeus. The festival was then resumed and prosecuted in its usual order. But the Arcadians were so afraid of a renewed attack on the following day, that they not only occupied the roofs of all the buildings more completely than before, but passed the night in erecting a palisade of defence; tearing down for that purpose the temporary booths which had been carefully put up to accommodate the crowd of visitors.[698] Such precautions rendered the place unassailable, so that the Eleians were obliged to return home on the next day; not without sympathy and admiration among many of the Greeks, for the unwonted boldness which they had displayed. They revenged themselves by pronouncing the 104th Olympiad to be no Olympiad at all, and by registering it as such in their catalogue, when they regained power; preserving however the names of those who had been proclaimed victors, which appeared in the lists like the rest.[699]

Such was the unholy combat which dishonored the sanctuary of Pan-hellenic brotherhood, and in which the great temple, with its enthroned inmate the majestic Zeus of Pheidias, was for the first time turned into a fortress against its habitual presidents the Eleians. It was a combat wherein, though both Thebes and Sparta, the competing leaders of Greece, stand clear, Athens as well as most of the Peloponnesian chief states were implicated. It had been brought on by the rapacious ambition of the Arcadians, and its result seemed to confirm them, under color of Pisatan presi[p. 321]dency, in the permanent mastery of Olympia. But in spite of such apparent promise, it was an event which carried in itself the seeds of violent reaction. We cannot doubt that the crowd of Grecian spectators present were not merely annoyed by the interruption of the proceedings and by the demolition of their tents, but also deeply shocked by the outrage to the sacred ground,—“imminentium templorum religio.”[700] Most of them probably believed the Eleians to be the rightful presidents, having never either seen or heard of any one else in that capacity. And they could hardly help feeling strong sympathy for the unexpected courage of these dispossessed presidents; which appeared so striking to Xenophon (himself perhaps a spectator) that he ascribes it to a special inspiration of the gods.[701]

If they disapproved of the conduct of the Arcadians and Pisatans as an unjust intrusion, they would disapprove yet more of that spoliation of the rich temples at Olympia, whereby the intruders rewarded themselves. The Arcadians, always on the look-out for plunder and pay as mercenary soldiers, found themselves supplied with both, in abundant measure, from this war: the one from the farms, the stock, and the field-laborers, of the Eleian neighborhood generally, more plentiful than in any part of Peloponnesus;[702] the other from the ample accumulation, both of money and of precious offerings, distributed over the numerous temples at Olympia. The Pisatans, now installed as administrators, would readily consent to appropriate these treasures to the pay of their own defenders, whom they doubtless considered as acting in the service of the Olympian Zeus. Accordingly the Epariti, the militia of joint Arcadia, were better paid than ever they had been before so that the service attracted numerous volunteers of the poorer class.[703]

[p. 322]

At the outset of the Peloponnesian war, the Corinthians and Spartans had talked of prosecuting it in part by borrowed money from the treasuries of Delphi and Olympia.[704] How far the project had ever been executed, we have no information. But at least, it had not been realized in any such way as to form a precedent for the large sums now appropriated by the Pisatans and Arcadians; which appropriation accordingly excited much outcry, as flagrant rapacity and sacrilege. This sentiment was felt with peculiar force among many even of the Arcadians themselves, the guilty parties. Moreover some of the leaders employed had made important private acquisitions for themselves, so as to provoke both resentment and jealousy among their rivals. The Pan-Arcadian communion, recently brought together and ill-cemented, was little calculated to resist the effect of any strong special cause of dissension. It was composed of cities which had before been accustomed to act apart and even in hostility to each other; especially Mantinea and Tegea. These two cities now resumed their ancient rivalry.[705] The Mantineans, jealous both of Tegea and Megalopolis, began to labor underhand against Arcadian unity and the Theban alliance,—with a view to renewed connection with Sparta; though only five years before, they had owed to Thebes the reëstablishment of their own city, after it had been broken up into villages by Spartan force. The appropriation of the sacred funds, offensive as it was to much of sincere sentiment, supplied them with a convenient ground for commencing opposition. In the Mantinean assembly, a resolution was passed, renouncing all participation in the Olympic treasures; while at the same time an adequate sum was raised among the citizens, to furnish pay for all members of the Epariti who came from their city. This sum was forwarded to the officers in command; who however not only refused to receive it; but even summoned the authors of the proceeding to take their trial before the Pan-Arcadian assembly,—the Ten Thousand at Megalopolis,—on the charge of breaking up the integrity of Arcadia.[706] The Mantinean leaders[p. 323] thus summoned, having refused to appear, and being condemned in their absence by the Ten Thousand,—a detachment of the epariti was sent to Mantinea to secure their persons. But the gates were found shut, and the order was set at defiance. So much sympathy was manifested in Arcadia towards the Mantineans, that many other towns copied their protest. Nay, even the majority of the Ten Thousand themselves, moved by repeated appeals made to them in the name of the offended gods, were gradually induced to adopt it also, publicly renouncing and interdicting all farther participation in the Olympian treasures.

Here was a just point carried, and an important advantage gained, in desisting from a scandalous misappropriation. The party which had gained it immediately sought to push it farther. Beginning as the advocates of justice and of the Olympian Zeus, the Mantineans speedily pronounced themselves more clearly as the champions of oligarchy; friendly to Sparta and adverse to Thebes. Supplies from Olympia being no longer obtained, the means presently failed, of paying the epariti or public militia. Accordingly, such members of that corps as were too poor to continue without pay, gradually relinquished the service; while on the other hand, the more wealthy and powerful citizens, by preconcerted understanding with each other, enrolled themselves in large numbers, for the purpose of getting the national force out of the hands of the opposite party and into their own.[707] The leaders of that opposite party saw plainly, that this oligarchical movement would not only bring them to severe account for the appropriation of the sacred treasure, but would also throw Arcadia again into alliance with Sparta. Accordingly they sent intimation to the Thebans of the impending change of policy, inviting them to prevent it by an immediate expedition into Arcadia. Informed of this proceeding,[708] the opposite leaders brought it before the Pan-Arcadian assembly; in which they obtained a resolution, that[p. 324] envoys should be despatched to Thebes, desiring that no Theban army might enter into Arcadia until formally summoned,—and cancelling the preceding invitation as unauthorized. At the same time, the assembly determined to conclude peace with the Eleians, and to restore to them the locality of Olympia with all their previous rights. The Eleians gladly consented, and peace was accordingly concluded.[709]

The transactions just recounted occupied about one year and nine or ten months, from Midsummer 364 B.C. (the time of the battle at Olympia) to about April 362 B.C. The peace was generally popular throughout Arcadia, seemingly even among the cities which adhered to Thebes, though it had been concluded without consulting the Thebans. Even at Tegea, the centre of Theban influence, satisfaction was felt at the abandonment of the mischievous aggression and spoliation of Olympia, wherein the Thebans had had no concern. Accordingly when the peace, having been first probably sworn in other Arcadian cities, came to be sworn also at Tegea,—not only the city authorities, but also the Theban harmost, who occupied the town with a garrison of three hundred Bœotians, were present and took part in the ceremony. After it had been finished, most of the Mantineans went home; their city being both unfriendly to Tegea and not far distant. But many other Arcadians passed the evening in the town, celebrating the peace by libations, pæans, and feasting. On a sudden the gates were shut by order, and the most prominent of the oligarchical party were arrested as they sat at the feast, by the Bœotian garrison and the Arcadian Epariti of the opposite party. The leaders seized were in such considerable number, as to fill both the prison and the government-house; though there were few Mantineans among them, since most of these last had gone home. Among the rest the consternation was extreme. Some let themselves down from the walls, others escaped surreptitiously by the gates. Great was the indignation excited at Mantinea on the following morning, when the news of this violent arrest was brought thither. The authorities,—while they sent round the intelligence to the remaining Arcadian cities, inviting them at once to arms,—despatched heralds to Tegea, demanding all the Mantinean[p. 325] prisoners there detained. They at the same time protested emphatically against the arrest or the execution of any Arcadian, without previous trial before the Pan-Arcadian community; and they pledged themselves in the name of Mantinea, to answer for the appearance of any Arcadian against whom charges might be preferred.[710]

Upon receiving this requisition, the Theban harmost forthwith released all his prisoners. He then called together an assembly,—seemingly attended by only a few persons, from feelings of mistrust,[711]—wherein he explained that he had been misled, and that he had ordered the arrest upon a false report that a Lacedæmonian force was on the borders, prepared to seize the city in concert with treacherous correspondents within. A vote was passed accepting the explanation, though (according to Xenophon) no one believed it. Yet envoys were immediately sent to Thebes probably from the Mantineans and other Arcadians, complaining loudly of his conduct, and insisting that he should be punished with death.

On a review of the circumstances, there seems reason for believing that the Theban officer gave a true explanation of the motives under which he had acted. The fact of his releasing the prisoners at the first summons, is more consistent with this supposition than with any other. Xenophon indeed says that his main object was to get possession of the Mantineans, and that, when he found but few of the latter among the persons seized, he was indifferent to the detention of the rest. But if such had been his purpose, he would hardly have set about it in so blind and clumsy a manner. He would have done it while the Mantineans were still in the town, instead of waiting until after their departure. He would not have perpetrated an act offensive as well as iniquitous, without assuring himself that it was done at a time when the determining purpose was yet attainable. On the other hand, nothing can be more natural than the supposition that the more violent among the Arcadian epariti believed in the existence of a plot to betray Tegea to the Lacedæmonians, and impressed the Theban with a[p. 326] persuasion of the like impending danger. To cause a revolution in Tegea, would be a great point gained for the oligarchical party, and would be rendered comparatively practicable by the congregation of a miscellaneous body of Arcadians in the town. It is indeed not impossible, that the idea of such a plot may really have been conceived; but it is at least highly probable, that the likelihood of such an occurrence was sincerely believed in by opponents.[712]

The explanation of the Theban governor, affirming that his order for arrest had either really averted, or appeared to him indispensable to avert, a projected treacherous betrayal,—reached Thebes at the same time as the complaints against him. It was not only received as perfectly satisfactory, but Epaminondas even replied to the complainants by counter-complaints of his own,—“The arrest (he said) was an act more justifiable than the release of those arrested. You Arcadians have already committed treason against us. It was on your account, and at your request, that we carried the war into Peloponnesus,—and you now conclude peace without consulting us! Be assured that we shall presently come in arms into Arcadia, and make war to support our partisans in the country.”[713]

Such was the peremptory reply which the Arcadian envoy brought back from Thebes, announcing to his countrymen that they must prepare for war forthwith. They accordingly concerted measures for resistance with the Eleians and Achæans. They sent an invitation to the Lacedæmonians to march into Arcadia, and assist in repelling any enemy who should approach for the purpose of subjugating Peloponnesus,—yet with the proviso, as to headship, that each state should take the lead when the war was in its own territory; and they farther sent to solicit aid from Athens. Such were the measures taken by the Mantineans and their partisans, now forming the majority in the Pan-Arcadian aggregate, who (to use the language of Xenophon) “were really solicitous for Peloponnesus.”[714] “Why do these Thebans (said[p. 327] they) march into our country when we desire them not to come? For what other purpose, except to do us mischief? to make us do mischief to each other, in order that both parties may stand in need of them? to enfeeble Peloponnesus as much as possible, in order that they may hold it the more easily in slavery?”[715] Such is the language which Xenophon repeats, with a sympathy plainly evincing his philo-Laconian bias. For when we follow the facts as he himself narrates them, we shall find them much more in harmony with the reproaches which he puts into the mouth of Epaminondas. Epaminondas had first marched into Peloponnesus (in 369 B.C.) at the request of both Arcadians and Eleians, for the purpose of protecting them against Sparta. He had been the first to give strength and dignity to the Arcadians, by organizing them into a political aggregate, and by forming a strong frontier for them against Sparta, in Messênê and Megalopolis. When thus organized, the Arcadians had manifested both jealousy of Thebes, and incompetence to act wisely for themselves. They had caused the reversal of the gentle and politic measures adopted by Epaminondas towards the Achæan cities, whom they had thus thrown again into the arms of Sparta. They had, of their own accord, taken up the war against Elis and the mischievous encroachment at Olympia. On the other hand, the Thebans had not marched into Peloponnesus since 367 B.C.—an interval now of nearly five years. They had tried to persuade the Arcadians to accept the Persian rescript, and to desist from the idea of alliance with Athens; but when refused, they had made no attempt to carry either of these points by force. Epaminondas had a fair right now to complain of them for having made peace with Elis and Achaia, the friends and allies of Sparta, without any consultation with Thebes. He probably believed that there had been a real plot to betray Tegea to the Lacedæmonians, as one fruit of this treacherous peace; and he saw plainly that the maintenance of the frontier line against Sparta,—Tegea, Megalopolis, and Messênê,—could no longer be assured without a new Theban invasion.

This appears to me the reasonable estimate of the situation in Peloponnesus, in June 362 B.C.—immediately before the last invasion of Epaminondas. We cannot trust the unfavorable judg[p. 328]ment of Xenophon with regard either to this great man or to the Thebans. It will not stand good, even if compared with the facts related by himself; still less probably would it stand, if we had the facts from an impartial witness.

I have already recounted as much as can be made out of the proceedings of the Thebans, between the return of Pelopidas from Persia with the rescript (in the winter 367-366 B.C.) to the close of 363 B.C. In 366-365 B.C., they had experienced great loss and humiliation in Thessaly connected with the detention of Pelopidas, whom they had with difficulty rescued from the dungeon of Pheræ. In 364-363 B.C., Pelopidas had been invested with a fresh command in Thessaly, and though he was slain, the Theban arms had been eminently successful, acquiring more complete mastery of the country than ever they possessed before; while Epaminondas, having persuaded his countrymen to aim at naval supremacy, had spent the summer of 363 B.C. as admiral of a powerful Theban fleet on the coast of Asia. Returning to Thebes at the close of 363 B.C., he found his friend Pelopidas slain; while the relations of Thebes, both in Peloponnesus and in Thessaly, were becoming sufficiently complicated to absorb his whole attention on land, without admitting farther aspirations towards maritime empire. He had doubtless watched, as it went on, the gradual change of politics in Arcadia (in the winter and spring of 363-362 B.C.), whereby the Mantinean and oligarchical party, profiting by the reaction of sentiment against the proceedings at Olympia, had made itself a majority in the Pan-Arcadian assembly and militia, so as to conclude peace with Elis, and to present the prospect of probable alliance with Sparta, Elis, and Achaia. This political tendency was doubtless kept before Epaminondas by the Tegean party in Arcadia, opposed to the party of Mantinea; being communicated to him with partisan exaggerations even beyond the reality. The danger, actual or presumed, of Tegea, with the arrest which had been there operated, satisfied him that a powerful Theban intervention could be no longer deferred. As Bœotarch, he obtained the consent of his countrymen to assemble a Bœotian force, to summon the allied contingents, and to conduct this joint expedition into Peloponnesus.

The army with which he began his march was numerous and imposing. It comprised all the Bœotians and Eubœans, with a[p. 329] large number of Thessalians (some even sent by Alexander of Pheræ, who had now become a dependent ally of Thebes), the Lokrians, Malians, Ænianes, and probably various other allies from Northern Greece; though the Phokians declined to join, alleging that their agreement with Thebes was for alliance purely defensive.[716] Having passed the line of Mount Oneium,—which was no longer defended, as it had been at his former entrance,—he reached Nemea, where he was probably joined by the Sikyonian contingent,[717] and where he halted, in hopes of intercepting the Athenian contingent in their way to join his enemies. He probably had information which induced him to expect them;[718] but the information turned out false. The Athenians never appeared, and it was understood that they were preparing to cross by sea to the eastern coast of Laconia. After a fruitless halt, he proceeded onward to Tegea, where his Peloponnesian allies all presently joined him: the Arcadians of Tegea, Pallantium, Asea, and Megalopolis, the Messenians—(all these forming the line of frontier against Laconia)—and the Argeians.

The halt at Nemea, since Epaminondas missed its direct purpose, was injurious in another way, as it enabled the main body of his Peloponnesian enemies to concentrate at Mantinea; which junction might probably have been prevented, had he entered Arcadia without delay. A powerful Peloponnesian army was there united, consisting of the Mantineans with the major part of the other Arcadians,—the Eleians,—and the Achæans. Invitation had been sent to the Spartans; and old Agesilaus, now in his eightieth year, was in full march with the Lacedæmonian forces to Mantinea. Besides this, the Athenian contingent was immediately expected; especially valuable from its cavalry, since the Peloponnesians were not strong in that description of force,—some of them indeed having none at all.

Epaminondas established his camp and place of arms within the walls of Tegea; a precaution which Xenophon praises, as making his troops more secure and comfortable, and his motions less ob[p. 330]servable by the enemy.[719] He next marched to Mantinea, to provoke the enemy to an action before the Spartans and Athenians joined; but they kept carefully on their guard, close to Mantinea, too strongly posted to be forced.[720] On returning to his camp in Tegea, he was apprised that Agesilaus with the Spartan force, having quitted Sparta on the march to Mantinea, had already made some progress and reached Pellênê. Upon this he resolved to attempt the surprise of Sparta by a sudden night-march from Tegea, which lay in the direct road from Sparta to Mantinea, while Agesilaus in getting from Sparta to Mantinea had to pursue a more circuitous route to the westward. Moving shortly after the evening meal, Epaminondas led the Theban force with all speed towards Sparta; and he had well-nigh come upon that town, “like a nest of unprotected young birds,” at a moment when no resistance could have been made. Neither Agesilaus, nor any one else, expected so daring and well-aimed a blow, the success of which would have changed the face of Greece. Nothing saved Sparta except the providential interposition of the gods,[721] signified by the accident that a Kretan runner hurried to Agesilaus, with the news that the Thebans were in full march southward from Tegea, and happened to arrest in time his farther progress towards Mantinea. Agesilaus instantly returned back with the troops around him to Sparta, which was thus put in a sufficient posture of defence before the Thebans arrived. Though sufficient for the emergency, however, his troops were not numerous; for the Spartan cavalry and mercenary forces were still absent, having been sent forward to Mantinea. Orders were sent for the main army at that city to hasten immediately to the relief of Sparta.[722]

[p. 331]

The march of Epaminondas had been undertaken only on the probability, well-nigh realized, of finding Sparta undefended. He was in no condition to assault the city, if tolerably occupied,—still less to spend time before it; for he knew that the enemy from Mantinea would immediately follow him into Laconia, within which he did not choose to hazard a general action. He found it impracticable to take this unfortified, yet unassailable city, Sparta, even at his former invasion of 370-369 B.C.; when he had most part of Peloponnesus in active coöperation with him, and when the Lacedæmonians had no army in the field. Accordingly, though he crossed the Eurotas and actually entered into the city of Sparta[723] (which had no walls to keep him out), yet as soon as he perceived the roofs manned with soldiers and other preparations for resistance, he advanced with great caution, not adventuring into the streets and amidst the occupied houses. He only tried to get possession of various points of high ground commanding the city, from whence it might be possible to charge down upon the defenders with advantage. But even here, though inferior in number they prevented him from making any impression. And Archidamus son of Agesilaus, sallying forth unexpectedly beyond the line[p. 332] of defence, with a small company of one hundred hoplites, scrambled over some difficult ground in his front, and charged the Thebans even up the hill, with such gallantry, that he actually beat them back with some loss; pursuing them for a space, until he was himself repulsed and forced to retreat.[724] The bravery of the Spartan Isidas, too, son of Phœbidas the captor of the Theban Kadmeia, did signal honor to Sparta, in this day of her comparative decline. Distinguished for beauty and stature, this youth sallied forth naked and unshielded, with his body oiled as in the palæstra. Wielding in his right hand a spear and in his left a sword, he rushed among the enemy, dealing death and destruction; in spite of which he was suffered to come back unwounded: so great was the awe inspired by his singular appearance and desperate hardihood. The ephors decorated him afterwards with a wreath of honor, but at the same time fined him for exposing himself without defensive armor.[725]

Though the Spartans displayed here an honorable gallantry, yet these successes, in themselves trifling, are magnified into importance only by the partiality of Xenophon. The capital fact was, that Agesilaus had been accidentally forewarned so as to get back to Sparta and put it in defence before the Thebans arrived. As soon as Epaminondas ascertained this, he saw that his project was no longer practicable; nor did he do more than try the city round, to see if he could detect any vulnerable point, without involving himself in a hazardous assault. Baffled in his first scheme, he applied himself, with equal readiness of resource and celerity of motion, to the execution of a second. He knew that the hostile army from Mantinea would be immediately put in march for Sparta, to ward off all danger from that city. Now the straight road from Mantinea to Sparta (a course nearly due south all the way) lying through Tegea, was open to Epaminondas, but not to the enemy, who would be forced to take another and more circuitous route, probably by Asea and Pallantion; so that he was actually nearer to Mantinea than they. He determined to return to Tegea forthwith, while they were on their march towards Sparta, and before[p. 333] they could be apprised of his change of purpose. Breaking up accordingly, with scarce any interval of rest, he marched back to Tegea; where it became absolutely indispensable to give repose to his hoplites, after such severe fatigue. But he sent forward his cavalry without any delay, to surprise Mantinea, which would be now (he well knew) unprepared and undefended; with its military force absent on the march to Sparta, and its remaining population, free as well as slave, largely engaged in the fields upon the carrying of harvest. Nothing less than the extraordinary ascendency of Epaminondas,—coupled with his earnestness in setting forth the importance of the purpose, as well as the probable plunder,—could have prevailed upon the tired horsemen to submit to such additional toil, while their comrades were enjoying refreshment and repose at Tegea.[726]

Everything near Mantinea was found in the state which Epaminondas anticipated. Yet the town was preserved, and his well-laid scheme defeated, by an unexpected contingency which the Mantineans doubtless ascribed to the providence of the gods,—as Xenophon regards the previous warning given to Agesilaus. The Athenian cavalry had arrived, not an hour before, and had just dismounted from their horses within the walls of Mantinea. Having departed from Eleusis (probably after ascertaining that Epaminondas no longer occupied Nemea), they took their evening meal and rested at the isthmus of Corinth, where they seem to have experienced some loss or annoyance.[727] They then passed forward through Kleonæ to Mantinea, arriving thither without having broken fast, either themselves or their horses, on that day. It was just after they reached Mantinea, and when they had yet taken no refreshment,—that the Theban and Thessalian cavalry suddenly[p. 334] made their appearance, having advanced even to the temple of Poseidon, within less than a mile of the gates.[728]

The Mantineans were terror-struck at this event. Their military citizens were absent on the march to Sparta, while the remainder were dispersed about the fields. In this helpless condition, they implored aid from the newly-arrived Athenian cavalry; who, though hungry and tired, immediately went forth,—and indeed were obliged to do so, since their own safety depended upon it. The assailants were excellent cavalry, Thebans and Thessalians, and more numerous than the Athenians. Yet such was the gallantry with which the latter fought, in a close and bloody action, that on the whole they gained the advantage, forced the assailants to retire, and had the satisfaction to preserve Mantinea with all its citizens and property. Xenophon extols[729] (and doubtless with good reason) the generous energy of the Athenians, in going forth hungry and fatigued. But we must recollect that the Theban cavalry had undergone yet more severe hunger and fatigue,—that Epaminondas would never have sent them forward in such condition, had he expected any serious resistance; and that they probably dispersed to some extent, for the purpose of plundering and seizing subsistence in the fields through which they passed, so that they were found in disorder when the Athenians sallied out upon them. The Athenian cavalry-commander Kephisodôrus,[730][p. 335] together with Gryllus (son of the historian Xenophon), then serving with his brother Diodorus among the Athenian horse, were both slain in the battle. A memorable picture at Athens by the contemporary painter Euphranor, commemorated both the battle and the personal gallantry of Gryllus, to whose memory the Mantineans also paid distinguished honors.

Here were two successive movements of Epaminondas, both well-conceived, yet both disappointed by accident, without any omission of his own. He had his forces concentrated at Tegea, while his enemies on their side, returning from Sparta, formed a united camp in the neighborhood of Mantinea. They comprised Lacedæmonians, Eleians, Arcadians, Achæans, and Athenians; to the number, in all, of twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse, if we could trust the assertion of Diodorus;[731] who also gives the numbers of Epaminondas as thirty thousand foot and three thousand horse. Little value can be assigned to either of these estimates; nor is it certain which of the two armies was the more numerous. But Epaminondas saw that he had now no chance left for striking a blow except through a pitched battle, nor did he at all despair of the result.[732] He had brought out his northern allies for a limited time; which time they were probably not disposed to prolong, as the season of harvest was now approaching. Moreover, his stock of provisions was barely sufficient;[733] the new crop being not yet gathered in, while the crop of the former year was probably almost exhausted. He took his resolution therefore to attack the enemy forthwith.

[p. 336]

But I cannot adopt the view of Xenophon, that such resolution was forced upon Epaminondas, against his own will, by a desperate position, rendering it impossible for him to get away without fighting,—by the disappointment of finding so few allies on his own side, and so many assembled against him,—and by the necessity of wiping off the shame of his two recent failures (at Sparta and at Mantinea) or perishing in the attempt.[734] This is an estimate of the position of Epaminondas, not consistent with the facts narrated by Xenophon himself. It could have been no surprise to the Theban general that the time had arrived for ordering a battle. With what other view had he come into Peloponnesus? Or for what other purpose could he have brought so numerous an army? Granting that he expected greater support in Peloponnesus than he actually found, we cannot imagine him to have hoped that his mere presence, without fighting, would suffice to put down enemies courageous as well as powerful. Xenophon exaggerates the importance of the recent defeats (as he terms them) before Sparta and Mantinea. These were checks or disappointments rather than defeats. On arriving at Tegea, Epaminondas had found it practicable (which he could not have known beforehand) to attempt a coup de main, first against Sparta, next against Mantinea. Here were accidental opportunities which his genius discerned and turned to account. Their success, so near to actual attainment, would have been a prodigious point gained;[735] but their accidental failure left him not worse off than he was before. It remained for him then, having the enemy before him in the field, and no farther opportunities of striking at them unawares by side-blows, to fight them openly; which he and all around him must have contemplated, from their first entrance into Peloponnesus, as the only probable way of deciding the contest.

The army of Epaminondas, far from feeling that sentiment of disappointed hope and stern necessity which Xenophon ascribes to their commander, were impatient to fight under his orders, and[p. 337] full of enthusiastic alacrity when he at last proclaimed his intention. He had kept them within the walls of Tegea, thus not only giving them better quarters and fuller repose, but also concealing his proceedings from the enemy; who on their side were encamped on the border of the Mantinean territory. Rejoicing in the prospect of going forth to battle, the horsemen and hoplites of Epaminondas all put themselves in their best equipment. The horsemen whitened their helmets,—the hoplites burnished up their shields, and sharpened their spears and swords. Even the rustic and half-armed Arcadian villagers, who had nothing but clubs in place of sword or spear, were eager to share the dangers of the Thebans, and inscribed upon their shields (probably nothing but miserable squares of wood) the Theban ensign.[736] The best spirit and confidence animated all the allies, as they quitted the gates of Tegea, and disposed themselves in the order of march commanded by Epaminondas.

The lofty Mantinico-Tegeatic plain, two thousand feet above the level of the sea (now known as the plain of Tripolitza)—“is the greatest of that cluster of valleys in the centre of Peloponnesus, each of which is so closely shut in by the intersecting mountains that no outlet is afforded to the waters except through the moun[p. 338]tains themselves.”[737] Its length stretches from north to south, bordered by the mountain range of Mænalus on the west, and of Artemisium and Parthenion on the east. It has a breadth of about eight miles in the broadest part, and of one mile in the narrowest. Mantinea is situated near its northern extremity, Tegea near its southern; the direct distance between the two cities, in a line not much different from north and south, being about ten English miles. The frontier line between their two domains was formed by a peculiarly narrow part of the valley, where a low ridge projecting from the range of Mænalus on the one side, and another from Artemisium on the opposite, contract the space and make a sort of defensible pass near four miles south of Mantinea;[738] thus about six miles distant from Tegea. It was at this position, covering the whole Mantinean territory, that the army opposed to Epaminondas was concentrated; the main Lacedæmonian force as well as the rest having now returned from Sparta.[739]

Epaminondas, having marched out from Tegea by the northern gate, arrayed his army in columns proper for advancing towards the enemy; himself with the Theban columns forming the van. His array being completed, he at first began his forward march in a direction straight towards the enemy. But presently he changed his course, turning to the left towards the Mænalian range of mountains which forms the western border of the plain, and which he probably reached somewhere near the site of the present Tripolitza. From thence he pursued his march northward, skirting the flank of the mountain on the side which lies over against or fronts towards Tegea;[740] until at length he neared the enemy’s po[p. 339]sition, upon their right flank. He here halted, and caused his columns to face to the right; thus forming a line, or phalanx of moderate depth, fronting towards the enemy. During the march, each lochus or company had marched in single file with the lochage or captain (usually the strongest and best soldier in it), at the head; though we do not know how many of these lochages marched abreast, or what was the breadth of the column. When the phalanx or front towards the enemy was formed, each lochage was of course in line with his company, and at its left hand; while the Thebans and Epaminondas himself were at the left of the whole line. In this position, Epaminondas gave the order to ground arms.[741]

The enemy, having watched him ever since he had left Tegea and formed his marching array, had supposed at first that he was coming straight up to the front of their position, and thus expected speedy battle. But when he turned to the left towards the mountains, so that for some time he did not approach sensibly nearer to their position, they began to fancy that he had no intention of fighting on that day. Such belief, having been once raised, still continued, even though, by advancing along the skirts of the mountain, he gradually arrived very close upon their right flank. They were farther confirmed in the same supposition, when they saw his phalanx ground arms; which they construed as an indication that he was about to encamp on the spot where he stood. It is probable that Epaminondas may have designedly simulated some other preliminaries of encampment, since his march from Tegea seems to have been arranged for the purpose partly of raising such false impression in his enemies, partly of getting upon their right flank instead of their front. He completely succeeded in his object. The soldiers on the Lacedæmonian side, believing that there would be no battle until the next day, suffered their ranks to[p. 340] fall into disorder, and scattered about the field. Many of the horsemen even took off their breast-plates and unbridled their horses. And what was of hardly less consequence,—that mental preparation of the soldier, whereby he was wound up for the moment of action, and which provident commanders never omitted, if possible, to inflame by a special harangue at the moment,—was allowed to slacken and run down.[742] So strongly was the whole army persuaded of the intention of Epaminondas to encamp, that they suffered him not only without hindrance, but even without suspicion, to make all his movements and dispositions preparatory to immediate attack.

Such improvidence is surprising, when we recollect that the ablest commander and the best troops in Greece were so close upon the right of their position. It is to be in part explained, probably, by the fact that the Spartan headship was now at an end, and that there was no supreme chief to whom the whole body of Lacedæmonian allies paid deference. If either of the kings of Sparta was present,—a point not distinctly ascertainable,—he would have no command except over the Lacedæmonian troops. In the entire allied army, the Mantineans occupied the extreme right (as on a former occasion, because the battle was in their territory,[743] and because the Lacedæmonians had lost their once-recognized privilege), together with the other Arcadians. On the right-centre and centre were the Lacedæmonians, Eleians, and Achæans; on the extreme left, the Athenians.[744] There was cavalry on both the wings; Athenian on the left,—Eleian on the right; spread out with no more than the ordinary depth, and without any intermixture of light infantry along with the horsemen.[745]

In the phalanx of Epaminondas, he himself with the Thebans and Bœotians was on the left; the Argeians on the right; the[p. 341] Arcadians, Messenians, Eubœans, Sikyonians and other allies in the centre.[746] It was his purpose to repeat the same general plan of attack which had succeeded so perfectly at Leuktra; to head the charge himself with his Bœotians on the left against the opposing right or right-centre, and to bear down the enemy on that side with irresistible force, both of infantry and cavalry; while he kept back his right and centre, composed of less trustworthy troops, until the battle should have been thus wholly or partially decided. Accordingly, he caused the Bœotian hoplites,—occupying the left of his line in lochi or companies, with the lochage or captain at the left extremity of each,—to wheel to the right and form in column fronting the enemy, in advance of his remaining line. The Theban lochages thus became placed immediately in face of the enemy, as the heads of a column of extraordinary depth; all the hoplites of each lochus, and perhaps of more than one lochus, being ranged in file behind them.[747] What the actual depth was, or what was the exact number of the lochus, we do not know. At Leuktra, Epaminondas had attacked with fifty shields of depth; at Mantinea, the depth of his column was probably not less. Himself, with the chosen Theban warriors, were at the head of it, and he relied upon breaking through the enemy’s phalanx at whatever point he charged; since their files would hardly be more than eight deep, and very inadequate to resist so overwhelming a shock. His column would cut through the phalanx of the enemy, like the prow of a trireme impelled in sea-fight against the midships of her antagonist.

[p. 342]

It was apparently only the Bœotian hoplites who were thus formed in column, projecting forward in advance; while the remaining allies were still left in their ordinary phalanx or lines.[748] Epaminondas calculated, that when he should have once broken through the enemy’s phalanx at a single point, the rest would either take flight, or become so dispirited, that his allies coming up in phalanx could easily deal with them.

Against the cavalry on the enemy’s right, which was marshaled only with the ordinary depth of a phalanx of hoplites (four, six, or perhaps eight deep),[749] and without any light infantry intermingled with the ranks—the Theban general opposed on his left his own excellent cavalry, Theban and Thessalian, but in strong and deep column, so as to ensure to them also a superior weight of attack. He farther mingled in their ranks some active footmen, darters and slingers, of whom he had many from Thessaly and the Maliac Gulf.[750]

There remained one other precaution to take. His deep Theban and Bœotian column, in advancing to the charge, would be exposed on its right or unshielded side to the attack of the Athenians, especially the Athenian cavalry, from the enemy’s left. To guard against any such movement, he posted, upon some rising ground near his right, a special body of reserve, both horse and[p. 343] foot, in order to take the Athenians in the rear if they should attempt it.

All these fresh dispositions for attack, made on the spot, must have occupied time, and caused much apparent movement. To constitute both the column of infantry, and the column of cavalry, for attack on his left—and to post the body of reserve on the rising ground at his right against the Athenians—were operations which the enemy from their neighboring position could not help seeing. Yet they either did not heed, or did not understand, what was going on.[751] Nor was it until Epaminondas, perceiving all to be completed, actually gave the word of command to “take up arms,” that they had any suspicion of the impending danger. As soon as they saw him in full march moving rapidly towards them, surprise and tumultuous movement pervaded their body. The scattered hoplites ran to their places; the officers exerted every effort to establish regular array; the horsemen hastened to bridle their horses and resume their breast-plates.[752] And though the space dividing the two armies was large enough to allow such mischief to be partially corrected,—yet soldiers thus taken unawares, hurried, and troubled, were not in condition to stand the terrific shock of chosen Theban hoplites in deep column.

The grand force of attack, both of cavalry and infantry, which Epaminondas organized on his left, was triumphant in both its portions. His cavalry, powerfully aided by the intermingled darters and light troops from Thessaly, broke and routed the enemy’s cavalry opposed to them, and then restraining themselves from pursuit, turned to fall upon the phalanx of infantry. Epaminondas, on his part, with his Theban column, came into close conflict with the Mantinean and Lacedæmonian line of infantry, whom, after a desperate struggle of shield, spear, and sword, he bore down by superior force and weight. He broke through the enemy’s line of infantry at this point, compelling the Lacedæmonians opposed to him, after a brave and murderous resistance, to turn their backs and take to flight. The remaining troops of the enemy’s line, seeing the best portion of their army defeated and in flight, turned[p. 344] and fled also. The centre and right of Epaminondas, being on a less advanced front, hardly came into conflict with the enemy until the impression of his charge had been felt, and therefore found the troops opposed to them already wavering and disheartened. The Achæan, Eleian, and other infantry on that side, gave way after a short resistance; chiefly as it would appear, from contagion and alarm, when they saw the Lacedæmonians broken. The Athenians however, especially the cavalry, on the left wing of their own army, seem to have been engaged in serious encounter with the cavalry opposite to them. Diodorus affirms them to have been beaten, after a gallant fight,[753] until the Eleian cavalry from the right came to their aid. Here, as on many other points, it is difficult to reconcile his narrative with Xenophon, who plainly intimates that the stress of the action fell on the Theban left and Lacedæmonian right and centre,—and from whose narrative we should rather have gathered, that the Eleian cavalry, beaten on their own right, may have been aided by the Athenian cavalry from the left; reversing the statement of Diodorus.

In regard to this important battle, however, we cannot grasp with confidence anything beyond the capital determining feature and the ultimate result.[754] The calculations of Epaminondas were[p. 345] completely realized. The irresistible charge, both of infantry and cavalry, made by himself with his left wing, not only defeated the troops immediately opposed, but caused the enemy’s whole army to take flight. It was under these victorious circumstances, and while he was pressing on the retiring enemy at the head of his Theban column of infantry, that he received a mortal wound with a spear in the breast. He was by habit and temper, always foremost in braving danger, and on this day probably exposed himself preëminently, as a means of encouraging those around him, and ensuring the success of his own charge, on which so much depended; moreover, a Grecian general fought on foot in the ranks, and carried the same arms (spear, shield, etc.) as a private soldier. Diodorus tells us that the Lacedæmonian infantry were making a prolonged resistance, when Epaminondas put himself at the head of the Thebans for a fresh and desperate effort; that he stepped forward, darted his javelin, and slew the Lacedæmonian commander; that having killed several warriors, and intimidated others, he forced them to give way; that the Lacedæmonians, seeing him in advance of his comrades, turned upon him and overwhelmed him with darts, some of which he avoided, others he turned off with his shield, while others, after they had actually entered his body and wounded him, he plucked out and employed them in repelling the enemy. At length he received a mortal wound in his breast with a spear.[755] I cannot altogether admit to notice these details; which once passed as a portion of Grecian history, though they seem rather the offspring of an imagination fresh from the perusal of the Iliad than a recital of an actual combat of Thebans and Lacedæmonians, both eminent for close-rank fighting, with long spear and heavy shield.[p. 346] The mortal wound of Epaminondas, with a spear in the breast, is the only part of the case which we really know. The handle of the spear broke, and the point was left sticking in his breast. He immediately fell, and as the enemy were at that moment in retreat, fell into the arms of his own comrades. There was no dispute for the possession of his body, as there had been for Kleombrotus at Leuktra.

The news of his mortal wound spread like wild-fire through his army; and the effect produced is among the most extraordinary phenomena in all Grecian military history. I give it in the words of the contemporary historian. “It was thus (says Xenophon) that Epaminondas arranged his order of attack; and he was not disappointed in his expectation. For having been victorious, on the point where he himself charged, he caused the whole army of the enemy to take flight. But so soon as he fell, those who remained had no longer any power even of rightly using the victory. Though the phalanx of the enemy’s infantry was in full flight, the Theban hoplites neither killed a single man more, nor advanced a step beyond the actual ground of conflict. Though the enemy’s cavalry was also in full flight, yet neither did the Theban horsemen continue their pursuit, nor kill any more either of horsemen or of hoplites, but fell back through the receding enemies with the timidity of beaten men. The light troops and peltasts, who had been mingled with the Theban cavalry and had aided in their victory, spread themselves over towards the enemy’s left with the security of conquerors; but there (being unsupported by their own horsemen) they were mostly cut to pieces by the Athenians.”[756]

Astonishing as this recital is, we cannot doubt that it is literally[p. 347] true, since it contradicts the sympathies of the reciting witness. Nothing but the pressure of undeniable evidence could have constrained Xenophon to record a scene so painful to him as the Lacedæmonian army beaten, in full flight, and rescued from destruction only by the untimely wound of the Theban general. That Epaminondas would leave no successor either equal or second to himself, now that Pelopidas was no more,—that the army which he commanded should be incapable of executing new movements or of completing an unfinished campaign,—we can readily conceive. But that on the actual battle-field, when the moment of dangerous and doubtful struggle has been already gone through, and when the soldier’s blood is up, to reap his reward in pursuit of an enemy whom he sees fleeing before him—that at this crisis of exuberant impatience, when Epaminondas, had he been unwounded, would have found it difficult to restrain his soldiers from excessive forwardness, they should have become at once paralyzed and disarmed on hearing of his fall,—this is what we could not have believed, had we not found it attested by a witness at once contemporary and hostile. So striking a proof has hardly ever been rendered, on the part of soldiers towards their general, of devoted and absorbing sentiment. All the hopes of this army, composed of such diverse elements, were centred in Epaminondas; all their confidence of success, all their security against defeat, were derived from the idea of acting under his orders; all their power, even of striking down a defeated enemy, appeared to vanish when those orders were withdrawn. We are not indeed to speak of such a proceeding with commendation. Thebes and her allied cities had great reason to complain of their soldiers, for a grave dereliction of military duty, and a capital disappointment of well-earned triumph,—whatever may be our feelings about the motive. Assuredly the man who would be most chagrined of all, and whose dying moments must have been embittered if he lived to hear it,—was Epaminondas himself. But when we look at the fact simply as a mark and measure of the ascendency established by him over the minds of his soldiers, it will be found hardly paralleled in history. I have recounted, a few pages ago, the intense grief displayed by the Thebans and their allies in Thessaly over the dead body of Pelopidas[757] on the[p. 348] hill of Kynoskephalæ. But all direct and deliberate testimonies of attachment to a dead or dying chief (and doubtless these too were abundant on the field of Mantinea) fall short of the involuntary suspension of arms in the tempting hour of victory.

That the real victory, the honors of the day, belonged to Epaminondas and the Thebans, we know from the conclusive evidence of Xenophon. But as the vanquished, being allowed to retire unpursued, were only separated by a short distance from the walls of Mantinea, and perhaps rallied even before reaching the town,—as the Athenian cavalry had cut to pieces some of the straggling light troops,—they too pretended to have gained a victory. Trophies were erected on both sides. Nevertheless the Thebans were masters of the field of battle; so that the Lacedæmonians, after some hesitation, were forced to send a herald to solicit truce for the burial of the slain, and to grant for burial such Theban bodies as they had in their possession.[758] This was the understood confession of defeat.

The surgeons, on examining the wound of Epaminondas, with the spear-head yet sticking in it, pronounced that he must die as soon as that was withdrawn. He first inquired whether his shield was safe; and his shield-bearer, answering in the affirmative, produced it before his eyes. He next asked about the issue of the battle, and was informed that his own army was victorious.[759] He then desired to see Iolaidas and Daiphantus, whom he intended to succeed him as commanders; but received the mournful reply, that both of them had been slain.[760] “Then (said he) you must make[p. 349] peace with the enemy.” He ordered the spear-head to be withdrawn, when the efflux of blood speedily terminated his life.

Of the three questions here ascribed to the dying chief, the third is the gravest and most significant. The death of these two other citizens, the only men in the camp whom Epaminondas could trust, shows how aggravated and irreparable was the Theban loss, not indeed as to number, but as to quality. Not merely Epaminondas himself, but the only two men qualified in some measure to replace him, perished in the same field; and Pelopidas had fallen in the preceding year. Such accumulation of individual losses must be borne in mind when we come to note the total suspension of Theban glory and dignity, after this dearly-bought victory. It affords emphatic evidence of the extreme forwardness with which their leaders exposed themselves, as well as of the gallant resistance which they experienced.

The death of Epaminondas spread rejoicing in the Lacedæmonian camp proportioned to the sorrow of the Theban. To more than one warrior was assigned the honor of having struck the blow. The Mantineans gave it to their citizen Machærion; the Athenians, to Gryllus son of Xenophon; the Spartans, to their countryman Antikrates.[761] At Sparta, distinguished honor was shown, even in the days of Plutarch, to the posterity of Antikrates, who was believed to have rescued the city from her most formidable enemy. Such tokens afford precious testimony, from witnesses beyond all suspicion, to the memory of Epaminondas.

How the news of his death was received at Thebes, we have no positive account. But there can be no doubt that the sorrow,[p. 350] so paralysing to the victorious soldiers on the field of Mantinea, was felt with equal acuteness, and with an effect not less depressing, in the senate-house and market-place of Thebes. The city, the citizen-soldiers, and the allies, would be alike impressed with the mournful conviction, that the dying injunction of Epaminondas must be executed. Accordingly, negotiations were opened, and peace was concluded,—probably at once, before the army left Peloponnesus. The Thebans and their Arcadian allies exacted nothing more than the recognition of the statu quo; to leave everything exactly as it was, without any change or reactionary measure, yet admitting Megalopolis, with the Pan-Arcadian constitution attached to it,—and admitting also Messênê as an independent city. Against this last article Sparta loudly and peremptorily protested. But not one of her allies sympathized with her feelings. Some, indeed, were decidedly against her; to such a degree, that we find the maintenance of independent Messênê against Sparta ranking shortly afterwards as an admitted principle in Athenian foreign politics.[762] Neither Athenians, nor Eleians, nor Arcadians, desired to see Sparta strengthened. None had any interest in prolonging the war, with prospects doubtful to every one; while all wished to see the large armies now in Arcadia dismissed. Accordingly, the peace was sworn to on these conditions, and the autonomy of Messênê guaranteed, by all, except the Spartans; who alone stood out, keeping themselves without friends or auxiliaries, in the hope for better times,—rather than submit to what they considered as an intolerable degradation.[763]

Under these conditions, the armies on both sides retired. Xenophon is right in saying, that neither party gained anything, either city, territory, or dominion; though before the battle, considering[p. 351] the magnitude of the two contending armies, every one had expected that the victors, whichever they were, would become masters, and the vanquished, subjects. But his assertion,—that “there was more disturbance, and more matter of dispute, in Greece, after the battle than before it,”—must be interpreted, partly as the inspiration of a philo-Laconian sentiment, which regards a peace not accepted by Sparta as no peace at all,—partly as based on the circumstance, that no definite headship was recognized as possessed by any state. Sparta had once enjoyed it, and had set the disgraceful example of suing out a confirmation of it from the Persian king at the peace of Antalkidas. Both Thebes and Athens had aspired to the same dignity, and both by the like means, since the battle of Leuktra; neither of them had succeeded. Greece was thus left without a head, and to this extent the affirmation of Xenophon is true. But it would not be correct to suppose that the last expedition of Epaminondas into Peloponnesus was unproductive of any results,—though it was disappointed of its great and brilliant fruits by his untimely death. Before he marched in, the Theban party in Arcadia, (Tegea, Megalopolis, etc.), was on the point of being crushed by the Mantineans and their allies. His expedition, though ending in an indecisive victory, nevertheless broke up the confederacy enlisted in support of Mantinea; enabling Tegea and Megalopolis to maintain themselves against their Arcadian opponents, and thus leaving the frontier against Sparta unimpaired. While therefore we admit the affirmation of Xenophon,—that Thebes did not gain by the battle either city, or territory, or dominion,—we must at the same time add, that she gained the preservation of her Arcadian allies, and of her anti-Spartan frontier, including Messênê.

This was a gain of considerable importance. But dearly, indeed, was it purchased, by the blood of her first hero, shed on the field of Mantinea; not to mention his two seconds, whom we know only from his verdict,—Daiphantus and Iolaidas.[764] He was buried on the field of battle, and a monumental column was erected on his tomb.

Scarcely any character in Grecian history has been judged with so much unanimity as Epaminondas. He has obtained a meed of admiration,—from all, sincere and hearty,—from some,[p. 352] enthusiastic. Cicero pronounces him to be the first man of Greece.[765] The judgment of Polybius, though not summed up so emphatically in a single epithet, is delivered in a manner hardly less significant and laudatory. Nor was it merely historians or critics who formed this judgment. The best men of action, combining the soldier and the patriot, such as Timoleon and Philopœmen,[766] set before them Epaminondas as their model to copy. The remark has been often made, and suggests itself whenever we speak of Epaminondas, though its full force will be felt only when we come to follow the subsequent history,—that with him the dignity and commanding influence of Thebes both began and ended. His period of active political life comprehends sixteen years, from the resurrection of Thebes into a free community, by the expulsion of the Lacedæmonian harmost and garrison, and the subversion of the ruling oligarchy,—to the fatal day of Mantinea (379-362 B.C.). His prominent and unparalleled ascendency belongs to the last eight years, from the victory of Leuktra (371 B.C.). Throughout this whole period, both all that we know and all that we can reasonably divine, fully bears out the judgment of Polybius and Cicero, who had the means of knowing much more. And this too,—let it be observed,—though Epaminondas is tried by a severe canon: for the chief contemporary witness remaining is one decidedly hostile. Even the philo-Laconian Xenophon finds neither misdeeds nor omissions to reveal in the capital enemy of Sparta,—mentions him only to record what is honorable,—and manifests the perverting bias mainly by suppressing or slurring over his triumphs. The man whose eloquence bearded Agesilaus at the congress immediately preceding the battle of Leuktra,[767]—who in that battle stripped Sparta of her glory, and transferred the wreath to Thebes,—who a few months afterwards, not only ravaged all the virgin territory of Laconia, but cut off the best half of it for the restitution of independent Messênê, and erected the hostile Arcadian community of Megalopolis on its frontier,—the author of these fatal disasters inspires to Xenophon such intolera[p. 353]ble chagrin and antipathy, that in the two first he keeps back the name, and in the third, suppresses the thing done. But in the last campaign, preceding the battle of Mantinea (whereby Sparta incurred no positive loss, and where the death of Epaminondas softened every predisposition against him), there was no such violent pressure upon the fidelity of the historian. Accordingly, the concluding chapter of Xenophon’s ‘Hellenica’ contains a panegyric,[768] ample and unqualified, upon the military merits of the Theban general; upon his daring enterprise, his comprehensive foresight, his care to avoid unnecessary exposure of soldiers, his excellent discipline, his well-combined tactics, his fertility of aggressive resource in striking at the weak points of the enemy, who content themselves with following and parrying his blows (to use a simile of Demosthenes[769]) like an unskilful pugilist, and only succeed in doing so by signal aid from accident. The effort of strategic genius, then for the first time devised and applied, of bringing an irresistible force of attack to bear on one point of the hostile line, while the rest of his army was kept comparatively back until the action had been thus decided,—is clearly noted by Xenophon, together with its triumphant effect, at the battle of Mantinea; though the very same combination on the field of Leuktra is slurred over in his description, as if it were so commonplace as not to require any mention of the chief with whom it originated. Compare Epaminondas with Agesilaus,—how great is the superiority of the first,—even in the narrative of Xenophon, the earnest panegyrist of the other! How manifestly are we made to see that nothing except the fatal spear-wound at Mantinea, prevented him from reaping the fruit of a series of admirable arrangements, and from becoming arbiter of Peloponnesus, including Sparta herself!

The military merits alone of Epaminondas, had they merely belonged to a general of mercenaries, combined with nothing praiseworthy in other ways,—would have stamped him as a man of high and original genius, above every other Greek, antecedent or contemporary. But it is the peculiar excellence of this great man that we are not compelled to borrow from one side of his character in order to compensate deficiencies in another.[770] His splendid mili[p. 354]tary capacity was never prostituted to personal ends: neither to avarice, nor ambition, nor overweening vanity. Poor at the beginning of his life, he left at the end of it not enough to pay his funeral expenses; having despised the many opportunities for enrichment which his position afforded, as well as the richest offers from foreigners.[771] Of ambition he had so little, by natural temperament, that his friends accused him of torpor. But as soon as the perilous exposure of Thebes required it, he displayed as much energy in her defence as the most ambitious of her citizens, without any of that captious exigence, frequent in ambitious men, as to the amount of glorification or deference due to him from his countrymen. And his personal vanity was so faintly kindled, even after the prodigious success at Leuktra, that we find him serving in Thessaly as a private hoplite in the ranks, and in the city as an ædile or inferior street-magistrate, under the title of Telearchus. An illustrious specimen of that capacity and goodwill, both to command and to be commanded, which Aristotle pronounces to form in their combination the characteristic feature of the worthy citizen.[772] He once incurred the displeasure of his fellow-citizens, for his wise and moderate policy in Achaia, which they were ill-judged enough to reverse. We cannot doubt also that he was frequently attacked by political censors and enemies,—the condition of eminence in every free state; but neither of these causes ruffled the dignified calmness of his political course. As he never courted popularity by unworthy arts, so he bore unpopularity without murmurs, and without angry renunciation of patriotic duty.[773]

[p. 355]

The mildness of his antipathies against political opponents at home was undeviating; and, what is even more remarkable, amidst the precedence and practice of the Grecian world, his hostility against foreign enemies, Bœotian dissentients, and Theban exiles, was uniformly free from reactionary vengeance. Sufficient proofs have been adduced in the preceding pages of this rare union of attributes in the same individual; of lofty disinterestedness, not merely as to corrupt gains, but as to the more seductive irritabilities of ambition, combined with a just measure of attachment towards partisans, and unparalleled gentleness towards enemies. His friendship with Pelopidas was never disturbed during the fifteen years of their joint political career; an absence of jealousy signal and creditable to both, though most creditable to Pelopidas, the richer, as well as the inferior, man of the two. To both, and to the harmonious coöperation of both, Thebes owed her short-lived splendor and ascendency. Yet when we compare the one with the other, we not only miss in Pelopidas the transcendent strategic genius and conspicuous eloquence, but even the constant vigilance and prudence, which never deserted his friend. If Pelopidas had had Epaminondas as his companion in Thessaly, he would hardly have trusted himself to the good faith, nor tasted the dungeon, of the Pheræan Alexander; nor would he have rushed forward to certain destruction, in a transport of phrensy, at the view of that hated tyrant in the subsequent battle.

In eloquence, Epaminondas would doubtless have found superiors at Athens; but at Thebes, he had neither equal, nor predecessor, nor successor. Under the new phase into which Thebes passed by the expulsion of the Lacedæmonians out of the Kadmeia, such a gift was second in importance only to the great strategic qualities; while the combination of both elevated their possessor into the envoy, the counsellor, the debater, of his country,[774][p. 356] as well as her minister at war and commander-in-chief. The shame of acknowledging Thebes as leading state in Greece, embodied in the current phrases about Bœotian stupidity, would be sensibly mitigated, when her representative in an assembled congress spoke with the flowing abundance of the Homeric Odysseus, instead of the loud, brief, and hurried bluster of Menelaus.[775] The possession of such eloquence, amidst the uninspiring atmosphere of Thebes, implied far greater mental force than a similar accomplishment would have betokened at Athens. In Epaminondas, it was steadily associated with thought and action,—that triple combination of thinking, speaking, and acting, which Isokrates and other Athenian sophists[776] set before their hearers as the stock and qualification for meritorious civic life. To the bodily training and soldier-like practice, common to all Thebans, Epaminondas added an ardent intellectual impulse and a range of discussion with the philosophical men around, peculiar to himself. He was not floated into public life by the accident of birth or wealth,—nor hoisted and propped up by oligarchical clubs,—nor even determined to it originally by any spontaneous ambition of his own. But the great revolution of 379 B.C., which expelled from Thebes both the Lacedæmonian garrison and the local oligarchy who ruled by its aid, forced him forward by the strongest obligations both of duty and interest; since nothing but an energetic defence could rescue both him and every other free Theban from slavery. It was by the like necessity that the American revolution, and the first French revolution, thrust into the front rank the most instructed and capable men of the country, whether ambitious by temperament or not. As the pressure of the time impelled Epaminondas forward, so it also disposed his countrymen to look out for a competent leader wherever he was to be found; and in[p. 357] no other living man could they obtain the same union of the soldier, the general, the orator, and the patriot. Looking through all Grecian history, it is only in Perikles that we find the like many-sided excellence; for though much inferior to Epaminondas as a general, Perikles must be held superior to him as a statesman. But it is alike true of both,—and the remark tends much to illustrate the sources of Grecian excellence,—that neither sprang exclusively from the school of practice and experience. They both brought to that school minds exercised in the conversation of the most instructed philosophers and sophists accessible to them,—trained to varied intellectual combinations and to a larger range of subjects than those that came before the public assembly,—familiarized with reasonings which the scrupulous piety of Nikias forswore, and which the devoted military patriotism of Pelopidas disdained.

On one point, as I have already noticed, the policy recommended by Epaminondas to his countrymen appears of questionable wisdom,—his advice to compete with Athens for transmarine and naval power. One cannot recognize in this advice the same accurate estimate of permanent causes,—the same long-sighted view, of the conditions of strength to Thebes and of weakness to her enemies, which dictated the foundation of Messênê and Megalopolis. These two towns, when once founded, took such firm root, that Sparta could not persuade even her own allies to aid in effacing them; a clear proof of the sound reasoning on which their founder had proceeded. What Epaminondas would have done,—whether he would have followed out maxims equally prudent and penetrating,—if he had survived the victory of Mantinea,—is a point which we cannot pretend to divine. He would have found himself then on a pinnacle of glory, and invested with a plenitude of power, such as no Greek ever held without abusing. But all that we know of Epaminondas justifies the conjecture that he would have been found equal, more than any other Greek, even to this great trial; and that his untimely death shut him out from a future not less honorable to himself, than beneficial to Thebes and to Greece generally.

Of the private life and habits of Epaminondas we know scarcely anything. We are told that he never married; and we find brief allusions, without any details, to attachments in which he is said[p. 358] to have indulged.[777] Among the countrymen of Pindar,[778] devoted attachment between mature men and beautiful youths was more frequent than in other parts of Greece. It was confirmed by interchange of mutual oaths at the tomb of Iolaus, and was reckoned upon as the firmest tie of military fidelity in the hour of battle. Asopichus and Kaphisodorus are named as youths to whom Epaminondas was much devoted. The first fought with desperate bravery at the battle of Leuktra, and after the victory caused an image of the Leuktrian trophy to be carved on his shield, which he dedicated at Delphi;[779] the second perished along with his illustrious friend and chief on the field of Mantinea, and was buried in a grave closely adjacent to him.[780]

It rather appears that the Spartans, deeply incensed against their allies for having abandoned them in reference to Messênê, began to turn their attention away from the affairs of Greece to those of Asia and Egypt. But the dissensions in Arcadia were not wholly appeased even by the recent peace. The city of Megalopolis had been founded only eight years before by the coalescence of many smaller townships, all previously enjoying a separate autonomy more or less perfect. The vehement anti-Spartan impulse, which marked the two years immediately succeeding the battle of Leuktra, had overruled to so great a degree the prior instincts of these townships, that they had lent themselves to the plans of Lykomedes and Epaminondas for an enlarged community in the new city. But since that period, reaction had taken place. The Mantineans had come to be at the head of an anti-Megalopolitan party in Arcadia; and several of the communities which had been merged in Megalopolis, counting upon aid from them and from the Eleians, insisted on seceding, and returning to[p. 359] their original autonomy. But for foreign aid, Megalopolis would now have been in great difficulty. A pressing request was sent to the Thebans, who despatched into Arcadia three thousand hoplites under Pammenes. This force enabled the Megalopolitans, though not without measures of considerable rigor, to uphold the integrity of their city, and keep the refractory members in communion.[781] And it appears that the interference thus obtained was[p. 360] permanently efficacious, so that the integrity of this recent Pan-Arcadian community was no farther disturbed.

The old king Agesilaus was compelled, at the age of eighty, to see the dominion of Sparta thus irrevocably narrowed, her influence in Arcadia overthrown, and the loss of Messênê formally sanctioned even by her own allies. All his protests, and those of his son Archidamus, so strenuously set forth by Isokrates, had only ended by isolating Sparta more than ever from Grecian support and sympathy. Archidamus probably never seriously attempted to execute the desperate scheme which he had held out as a threat some two or three years before the battle of Mantinea; that the Lacedæmonians would send away their wives and families, and convert their military population into a perpetual camp, never to lay down arms until they should have reconquered Messênê or perished in the attempt.[782] Yet he and his father, though deserted by all Grecian allies, had not yet abandoned the hope that they might obtain aid, in the shape of money for levying mercenary troops, from the native princes in Egypt and the revolted Persian satraps in Asia, with whom they seem to have been for some time in a sort of correspondence.[783]

About the time of the battle of Mantinea,—and as it would seem, for some years before,—a large portion of the western dominions of the Great King were in a state partly of revolt, partly of dubious obedience. Egypt had been for some years in actual revolt, and under native princes, whom the Persians had vainly endeavored to subdue (employing for that purpose the aid of the Athenian generals Iphikrates and Timotheus) both in 374 and 371 B.C. Ariobarzanes, satrap of the region near the Propontis and the Hellespont, appears to have revolted about the year 367-366 B.C. In other parts of Asia Minor, too,—Paphlagonia, Pisidia, etc.,—the subordinate princes or governors became disaffected to Artaxerxes. But their disaffection was for a certain time kept down by the extraordinary ability and vigor of a Karian named Datames, commander for the king in a part of Kappadokia, who gained several important victories over them by rapidity of movement and well-combined stratagem. At length the services of Datames became so distinguished as to[p. 361] excite the jealousy of many of the Persian grandees; who poisoned the royal mind against him, and thus drove him to raise the standard of revolt in his own district of Kappadokia, under alliance and concert with Ariobarzanes. It was in vain that Autophradates, satrap of Lydia, was sent by Artaxerxes with a powerful force to subdue Datames. The latter resisted all the open force of Persia, and was at length overcome only by the treacherous conspiracy of Mithridates (son of Ariobarzanes), who, corrupted by the Persian court and becoming a traitor both to his father Ariobarzanes and to Datames, simulated zealous coöperation, tempted the latter to a confidential interview, and there assassinated him.[784]

Still, however, there remained powerful princes and satraps in Asia Minor, disaffected to the court; Mausôlus, prince of Karia; Orontes, satrap of Mysia, and Autophradates, satrap of Lydia,—the last having now apparently joined the revolters, though he had before been active in upholding the authority of the king. It seems too that the revolt extended to Syria and Phœnicia, so that all the western coast with its large revenues, as well as Egypt, was at once subtracted from the empire. Tachos, native king of Egypt, was prepared to lend assistance to this formidable combination of disaffected commanders, who selected Orontes as their chief; confiding to him their united forces, and sending Rheomithres to Egypt to procure pecuniary aid. But the Persian court broke the force of this combination by corrupting both Orontes and Rheomithres, who betrayed their confederates, and caused the enterprise to fail. Of the particulars we know little or nothing.[785]

[p. 362]

Both the Spartan king Agesilaus, with a thousand Lacedæmonian or Peloponnesian hoplites,—and the Athenian general Chabrias, were invited to Egypt to command the forces of Tachos; the former on land, the latter at sea. Chabrias came simply as a volunteer, without any public sanction or order from Athens. But the service of Agesilaus was undertaken for the purposes and with the consent of the authorities at home, attested by the presence of thirty Spartans who came out as his counsellors. The Spartans were displeased with the Persian king for having sanctioned the independence of Messênê; and as the prospect of overthrowing or enfeebling his empire appeared at this moment considerable, they calculated on reaping a large reward for their services to the Egyptian prince, who would in return lend them assistance towards their views in Greece. But dissension and bad judgment marred all the combinations against the Persian king. Agesilaus, on reaching Egypt,[786] was received with little respect. The Egyptians saw with astonishment, that one, whom they had invited as a formidable warrior, was a little deformed old man, of mean attire, and sitting on the grass with his troops, careless of show or luxury. They not only vented their disappointment in sarcastic remarks, but also declined to invest him with the supreme command, as he had anticipated. He was only recognized as general of the mercenary land force, while Tachos himself commanded in chief, and Chabrias was at the head of the fleet. Great efforts were made to assemble a force competent to act against the Great King; and Chabrias is said to have suggested various stratagems for obtaining money from the Egyptians.[787] The army having been thus strengthened, Agesilaus, though discontented and indignant, nevertheless accompanied Tachos on an expedition against the Persian forces in Phœnicia; from whence they were forced to return by the revolt of Nektanebis, cousin of Tachos, who caused himself[p. 363] to be proclaimed king of Egypt. Tachos was now full of supplications to Agesilaus to sustain him against his competitor for the Egyptian throne; while Nektanebis, also on his side, began to bid high for the favor of the Spartans. With the sanction of the authorities at home, but in spite of the opposition of Chabrias, Agesilaus decided in favor of Nektanebis, withdrawing the mercenaries from the camp of Tachos,[788] who was accordingly obliged to take flight. Chabrias returned home to Athens; either not choosing to abandon Tachos, whom he had come to serve,—or recalled by special order of his countrymen, in consequence of the remonstrance of the Persian king. A competitor for the throne presently arose in the Mendesian division of Egypt. Agesilaus, vigorously maintaining the cause of Nektanebis, defeated all the efforts of his opponent. Yet his great schemes against the Persian empire were abandoned, and nothing was effected as the result of his Egyptian expedition except the establishment of Nektanebis; who, having in vain tried to prevail upon him to stay longer, dismissed him in the winter season with large presents, and with a public donation to Sparta of two hundred and thirty talents. Agesilaus marched from the Nile towards Kyrênê, in order to obtain from that town and its ports ships for the passage home. But he died on the march, without reaching Kyrênê. His body was conveyed home by his troops, for burial, in a preparation of wax, since honey was not to be obtained.[789]

Thus expired, at an age somewhat above eighty, the ablest and most energetic of the Spartan kings. He has enjoyed the advantage, denied to every other eminent Grecian leader, that his character and exploits have been set out in the most favorable point of view by a friend and companion,—Xenophon. Making every allowance for partiality in this picture, there will still remain a really great and distinguished character. We find the virtues of[p. 364] a soldier, and the abilities of a commander, combined with strenuous personal will and decision, in such measure as to ensure for Agesilaus constant ascendency over the minds of others far beyond what was naturally incident to his station; and that, too, in spite of conspicuous bodily deformity, amidst a nation eminently sensitive on that point. Of the merits which Xenophon ascribes to him, some are the fair results of a Spartan education;—his courage, simplicity of life, and indifference to indulgences,—his cheerful endurance of hardship under every form. But his fidelity to engagements, his uniform superiority to pecuniary corruption, and those winning and hearty manners which attached to him all around—were virtues not Spartan but personal to himself. We find in him, however, more analogy to Lysander—a man equally above reproach on the score of pecuniary gain—than to Brasidas or Kallikratidas. Agesilaus succeeded to the throne, with a disputed title, under the auspices and through the intrigues of Lysander; whose influence, at that time predominant both at Sparta and in Greece, had planted everywhere dekarchies and harmosts as instruments of ascendency for imperial Sparta—and under the name of Sparta, for himself. Agesilaus, too high-spirited to comport himself as second to any one, speedily broke through so much of the system as had been constructed to promote the personal dominion of Lysander; yet without following out the same selfish aspirations, or seeking to build up the like individual dictatorship, on his own account. His ambition was indeed unbounded, but it was for Sparta in the first place, and for himself only in the second. The misfortune was, that in his measures for upholding and administering the imperial authority of Sparta, he still continued that mixture of domestic and foreign coërcion (represented by the dekarchy and the harmost) which had been introduced by Lysander; a sad contrast with the dignified equality, and emphatic repudiation of partisan interference, proclaimed by Brasidas, as the watchword of Sparta, at Akanthus and Torônê—and with the still nobler Pan-hellenic aims of Kallikratidas.

The most glorious portion of the life of Agesilaus was that spent in his three Asiatic campaigns, when acting under the miso-Persian impulse for which his panegyrist gives him so much credit.[790]

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He was here employed in a Pan-hellenic purpose, to protect the Asiatic Greeks against that subjection to Persia which Sparta herself had imposed upon them a few years before, as the price of Persian aid against Athens.

The Persians presently succeeded in applying the lessons of Sparta against herself, and in finding Grecian allies to make war upon her near home. Here was an end of the Pan-hellenic sentiment, and of the truly honorable ambition, in the bosom of Agesilaus. He was recalled to make war nearer home. His obedience to the order of recall is greatly praised by Plutarch and Xenophon—in my judgment, with little reason, since he had no choice but to come back. But he came back an altered man. His miso-Persian feeling had disappeared, and had been exchanged for a miso-Theban sentiment which gradually acquired the force of a passion. As principal conductor of the war between 394-387 B.C., he displayed that vigor and ability which never forsook him in military operations. But when he found that the empire of Sparta near home could not be enforced except by making her the ally of Persia and the executor of a Persian rescript, he was content to purchase such aid, in itself dishonorable, by the still greater dishonor of sacrificing the Asiatic Greeks. For the time, his policy seemed to succeed. From 387-379 B.C. (that is, down to the time of the revolution at Thebes, effected by Pelopidas and his small band), the ascendency of Sparta on land, in Central Greece, was continually rising. But her injustice and oppression stand confessed even by her panegyrist Xenophon; and this is just the period when the influence of Agesilaus was at its maximum. Afterwards we find him personally forward in sheltering Sphodrias from punishment, and thus bringing upon his countrymen a war with Athens as well as with Thebes. In the conduct of that war his military operations were, as usual, strenuous and able, with a certain measure of success. But on the whole, the war turns out unfavorably for Sparta. In 371 B.C., she is obliged to accept peace on terms very humiliating, as compared with her position in 387 B.C.; and the only compensation which she receives, is, the opportunity of striking the Thebans out of the treaty, thus leaving them to contend single-handed against what seemed overwhelming odds. Of this intense miso-Theban impulse, which so speedily brought about the unexpected and crushing disaster at Leuktra, Agesilaus stands[p. 366] out as the prominent spokesman. In the days of Spartan misfortune which followed, we find his conduct creditable and energetic, so far as the defensive position, in which Sparta then found herself, allowed; and though Plutarch seems displeased with him[791] for obstinacy in refusing to acknowledge the autonomy of Messênê (at the peace concluded after the battle of Mantinea), when acknowledged by all the other Greeks,—yet it cannot be shown that this refusal brought any actual mischief to Sparta; and circumstances might well have so turned out, that it would have been a gain.

On the whole, in spite of the many military and personal merits of Agesilaus, as an adviser and politician he deserves little esteem. We are compelled to remark the melancholy contrast between the state in which he found Sparta at his accession, and that wherein he left her at his death—“Marmoream invenit, lateritiam reliquit.” Nothing but the death of Epaminondas at Mantinea saved her from something yet worse; though it would be unfair to Agesilaus, while we are considering the misfortunes of Sparta during his reign, not to recollect that Epaminondas was an enemy more formidable than she had ever before encountered.

The efficient service rendered by Agesilaus during his last expedition to Egypt, had the effect of establishing firmly the dominion of Nektanebis the native king, and of protecting that country for the time from being reconquered by the Persians; an event that did not happen until a few years afterwards, during the reign of the next Persian king. Of the extensive revolt, however, which at one time threatened to wrest from the Persian crown Asia Minor as well as Egypt, no permanent consequence remained. The treachery of Orontes and Rheomithres so completely broke up the schemes of the revolters, that Artaxerxes Mnemon still maintained the Persian empire (with the exception of Egypt), unimpaired.

He died not long after the suppression of the revolt (apparently about a year after it, in 359-358 B.C.), having reigned forty-five or forty-six years.[792] His death was preceded by one of those[p. 367] bloody tragedies which so frequently stained the transmission of a Persian sceptre. Darius, the eldest son of Artaxerxes, had been declared by his father successor to the throne. According to Persian custom, the successor thus declared was entitled to prefer any petition which he pleased; the monarch being held bound to grant it. Darius availed himself of the privilege to ask for one of the favorite inmates of his father’s harem, for whom he had contracted a passion. The request so displeased Artaxerxes, that he seemed likely to make a new appointment as to the succession; discarding Darius and preferring his younger son Ochus, whose interests were warmly espoused by Atossa, wife as well as daughter of the monarch. Alarmed at this prospect, Darius was persuaded by a discontented courtier, named Teribazus, to lay a plot for assassinating Artaxerxes; but the plot was betrayed, and the king caused both Darius and Teribazus to be put to death. By this catastrophe the chance of Ochus was improved, and his ambition yet farther stimulated. But there still remained two princes, older than he—Arsames and Ariaspes. Both these brothers he contrived to put out of the way; the one by a treacherous deceit, entrapping him to take poison,—the other by assassination. Ochus thus stood next as successor to the crown, which was not long denied to him,—for Artaxerxes, now very old and already struck down by the fatal consummation respecting his eldest son, Darius, did not survive the additional sorrow of seeing his two other sons die so speedily[p. 368] afterwards.[793] He expired, and his son Ochus, taking the name of Artaxerxes, succeeded to him without opposition; manifesting as king the same sanguinary dispositions as those by which he had placed himself on the throne.

During the two years following the battle of Mantinea, Athens, though relieved by the general peace from land-war, appears to have been entangled in serious maritime contests and difficulties. She had been considerably embarrassed by two events; by the Theban naval armament under Epaminondas, and by the submission of Alexander of Pheræ to Thebes,—both events belonging to 364-363 B.C. It was in 363-362 B.C. that the Athenian Timotheus,—having carried on war with eminent success against Olynthus and the neighboring cities in the Thermaic Gulf, but with very bad success against Amphipolis,—transferred his forces to the war against Kotys king of Thrace near the Thracian Chersonese. The arrival of the Theban fleet in the Hellespont greatly distracted the Athenian general, and served as a powerful assistance to Kotys; who was moreover aided by the Athenian gen[p. 369]eral Iphikrates, on this occasion serving his father-in-law against his country.[794] Timotheus is said to have carried on war against Kotys with advantage, and to have acquired for Athens a large plunder.[795] It would appear that his operations were of an aggressive character, and that during his command in those regions the Athenian possessions in the Chersonese were safe from Kotys; for Iphikrates would only lend his aid to Kotys towards defensive warfare; retiring from his service when he began to attack the Athenian possessions in the Chersonese.[796]

We do not know what circumstances brought about the dismissal or retirement of Timotheus from the command. But in the next year, we find Ergophilus as Athenian commander in the Chersonese, and Kallisthenes (seemingly) as Athenian commander against Amphipolis.[797] The transmarine affairs of Athens, however, were far from improving. Besides that under the new general she seems to have been losing strength near the Chersonese, she had now upon her hands a new maritime enemy—Alexander of Pheræ. A short time previously, he had been her ally against Thebes, but the victories of the Thebans during the preceding year had so completely humbled him, that he now identified his cause with theirs; sending troops to join the expedition of Epaminondas into Peloponnesus,[798] and equipping a fleet to attack the maritime allies of Athens. His fleet captured the island of Tenos, ravaged several of the other Cyclades, and laid siege to Peparethos. Great alarm prevailed in Athens, and about the end of August (362 B.C.),[799] two months after the battle of Mantinea,[p. 370] a fleet was equipped with the utmost activity, for the purpose of defending the insular allies, as well as of acting in the Hellespont. Vigorous efforts were required from all the trierarchs, and really exerted by some, to accelerate the departure of this fleet. But that portion of it, which, while the rest went to the Hellespont, was sent under Leosthenes to defend Peparethos,—met with a defeat from the ships of Alexander, with the loss of five triremes and six hundred prisoners.[800] We are even told that soon after this naval advantage, the victors were bold enough to make a dash into the Peiræus itself (as Teleutias had done twenty-seven years before), where they seized both property on shipboard and men on the quay, before there was any force ready to repel them.[801] The Thessalian marauders were ultimately driven back to their harbor of Pegasæ; yet not without much annoyance to the insular confederates, and some disgrace to Athens. The defeated admiral Leosthenes was condemned to death; while several trierarchs,—who, instead of serving in person, had performed the duties incumbent on them by deputy and by contract, were censured or put upon trial.[802]

Not only had the affairs of Athens in the Hellespont become worse under Ergophilus than under Timotheus, but Kallisthenes also, who had succeeded Timotheus in the operations against Amphipolis, achieved no permanent result. It would appear that the Amphipolitans, to defend themselves against Athens, had invoked the aid of the Macedonian king Perdikkas; and placed their city in his hands. That prince had before acted in conjunction with the Athenian force under Timotheus against Olynthus; and their[p. 371] joint invasion had so much weakened the Olynthians as to disable them from affording aid to Amphipolis. At least, this hypothesis explains how Amphipolis came now, for the first time, to be no longer a free city; but to be disjoined from Olynthus, and joined with (probably garrisoned by) Perdikkas, as a possession of Macedonia.[803] Kallisthenes thus found himself at war under greater disadvantages than Timotheus; having Perdikkas as his enemy, together with Amphipolis. Nevertheless, it would appear, he gained at first great advantages, and reduced Perdikkas to the necessity of purchasing a truce by the promise to abandon the Amphipolitans. The Macedonian prince, however, having gained time during the truce to recover his strength, no longer thought of performing his promise, but held Amphipolis against the Athenians as obstinately as before. Kallisthenes had let slip an opportunity which never again returned. After having announced at Athens the victorious truce and the approaching surrender, he seems to have been compelled, on his return, to admit that he had been cheated into suspending operations, at a moment when (as it seemed) Amphipolis might have been conquered. For this misjudgment or misconduct he was put upon trial at Athens, on returning to his disappointed countrymen; and at the same time Ergophilus also, who had been summoned home from the Chersonesus for his ill-success or bad management of the war against Kotys.[804] The people were much incensed against both; but most against Ergophilus. Nevertheless it happened that Kallisthenes was tried first, and condemned to death. On the next day, Ergophilus was tried. But the verdict of the preceding day had discharged the wrath of the dikasts, and rendered them so much more indulgent, that they acquitted him.[805]

Autokles was sent in place of Ergophilus to carry on war for Athens in the Hellespont and Bosphorus. It was not merely against Kotys that his operations were necessary. The Prokon[p. 372]nesians, allies of Athens, required protection against the attacks of Kyzikus; besides which, there was another necessity yet more urgent. The stock of corn was becoming short, and the price rising, not merely at Athens, but at many of the islands in the Ægean, and at Byzantium and other places. There prevailed therefore unusual anxiety, coupled with keen competition, for the corn in course of importation from the Euxine. The Byzantines, Chalkedonians, and Kyzikenes, had already begun to detain the passing corn-ships, for the supply of their own markets; and nothing less than a powerful Athenian fleet could ensure the safe transit of such supplies to Athens herself.[806] The Athenian fleet, guarding the Bosphorus even from the Hieron inwards (the chapel near the junction of the Bosphorus with the Euxine), provided safe convoy for the autumnal exports of this essential article.

In carrying on operations against Kotys, Autokles was favored with an unexpected advantage by the recent revolt of a powerful Thracian named Miltokythes against that prince. This revolt so alarmed Kotys, that he wrote a letter to Athens in a submissive tone, and sent envoys to purchase peace by various concessions. At the same time Miltokythes also first sent envoys—next, went in person—to Athens, to present his own case and solicit aid. He was however coldly received. The vote of the Athenian assembly, passed on hearing the case (and probably procured in part through the friends of Iphikrates), was so unfavorable,[807] as to send him away not merely in discouragement, but in alarm; while Kotys recovered all his power in Thrace, and even became master of the Sacred Mountain with its abundance of wealthy deposits. Nevertheless, in spite of this imprudent vote, the Athenians really intended to sustain Miltokythes against Kotys. Their general Autokles was recalled after a few months, and put upon his trial for having suffered Kotys to put down this enemy unassisted.[808][p. 373] How the trial ended or how the justice of the case stood, we are unable to make out from the passing allusions of Demosthenes.

Menon was sent as commander to the Hellespont to supersede Autokles; and was himself again superseded after a few months, by Timomachus. Convoy for the corn-vessels out of the Euxine became necessary anew, as in the preceding year; and was furnished a second time during the autumn of 361 B.C. by the Athenian ships of war;[809] not merely for provisions under transport to Athens, but also for those going to Maroneia, Thasos, and other places in or near Thrace. But affairs in the Chersonese became yet more unfavorable to Athens. In the winter of 361-360 B.C., Kotys, with the coöperation of a body of Abydene citizens and Sestian exiles, who crossed the Hellespont from Abydos, contrived to surprise Sestos;[810] the most important place in the Chersonese, and the guard-post of the Hellespont on its European side, for all vessels passing in or out. The whole Chersonese was now thrown open to his aggressions. He made preparations for attacking Elæus and Krithôtê, the two other chief possessions[p. 374] of Athens, and endeavored to prevail on Iphikrates to take part in his projects. But that general, though he had assisted Kotys in defence against Athens, refused to commit the more patent treason involved in aggressive hostility against her. He even quitted Thrace, but not daring at once to visit Athens, retired to Lesbos.[811] In spite of his refusal, however, the settlers and possessions of Athens in the Chersonese were attacked and imperiled by Kotys, who claimed the whole peninsula as his own, and established toll-gatherers at Sestos to levy the dues both of strait and harbor.[812]

The fortune of Athens in these regions was still unpropitious. All her late commanders, Ergophilus, Autokles, Menon, Timomachus, had been successively deficient in means, in skill, or in fidelity, and had undergone accusation at home.[813] Timomachus was now superseded by Kephisodotus, a man of known enmity towards both Iphikrates and Kotys.[814] But Kephisodotus achieved no more than his predecessors, and had even to contend against a new enemy, who crossed over from Abydos to Sestos to reinforce Kotys—Charidemus with the mercenary division under his command. That officer, since his service three years before under Timotheus against Amphipolis, had been for some time in Asia, especially in the Troad. He hired himself to the satrap Artabazus; of whose embarrassments he took advantage to seize by fraud the towns of Skepsis, Kebren, and Ilium; intending to hold them as a little principality.[815] Finding his position, however, ultimately untenable against the probable force of the satrap, he sent a letter across to the Chersonese, to the Athenian commander Kephisodotus, asking for Athenian triremes to transport his division across to Europe; in return for which, if granted, he engaged to crush Kotys and reconquer the Chersonese for Athens. This proposition, whether accepted or not, was never realized; for[p. 375] Charidemus was enabled, through a truce unexpectedly granted to him by the satrap, to cross over from Abydos to Sestos without any Athenian ships. But as soon as he found himself in the Chersonese, far from aiding Athens to recover that peninsula, he actually took service with Kotys against her; so that Elæeus and Krithôtê, her chief remaining posts, were in greater peril than ever.[816]

The victorious prospects of Kotys, however, were now unexpectedly arrested. After a reign of twenty-four years he was assassinated by two brothers, Python and Herakleides, Greeks from the city of Ænus in Thrace, and formerly students under Plato at Athens. They committed the act to avenge their father; upon whom, as it would appear, Kotys had inflicted some brutal insult, under the influence of that violent and licentious temper which was in him combined with an energetic military character.[817][p. 376] Having made their escape, Python and his brother retired to Athens, where they were received with every demonstration of honor, and presented with the citizenship as well as with golden wreaths; partly as tyrannicides, partly as having relieved the Athenians from an odious and formidable enemy.[818] Disclaiming the warm eulogies heaped upon him by various speakers in the assembly, Python is said to have replied—“It was a god who did the deed; we only lent our hands:”[819] an anecdote, which, whether it be truth or fiction, illustrates powerfully the Greek admiration of tyrannicide.

The death of Kotys gave some relief to Athenian affairs in the Chersonese. Of his children, even the eldest, Kersobleptes, was only a youth:[820] moreover two other Thracian chiefs, Berisades and Amadokus, now started up as pretenders to shares in the kingdom of Thrace. Kersobleptes employed as his main support and minister the mercenary general Charidemus, who either had already married, or did now marry, his sister; a nuptial connection had been formed in like manner by Amadokus with two Greeks named Simon and Bianor—and by Berisades with an Athenian citizen named Athenodorus, who (like Iphikrates and others) had founded a city, and possessed a certain independent dominion, in or near the Chersonese.[821] These Grecian mercenary chiefs thus united themselves by nuptial ties to the princes whom they served, as Seuthes had proposed to Xenophon, and as the Italian Condottieri of the fifteenth century ennobled themselves by similar alliance with princely families—for example, Sforza with the Visconti of Milan. All these three Thracian competitors were now represented by Grecian agents. But at first, it seems, Charidemus on behalf of Kersobleptes was the strongest. He and his army were near Perinthus on the north coast of the Propontis, where the Athenian[p. 377] commander, Kephisodotus, visited him, with a small squadron of ten triremes, in order to ask for the fulfilment of those fair promises which Charidemus had made in his letter from Asia. But Charidemus treated the Athenians as enemies, attacked by surprise the seamen on shore, and inflicted upon them great damage. He then pressed the Chersonese severely for several months, and marched even into the midst of it, to protect a nest of pirates whom the Athenians were besieging at the neighboring islet on its western coast—Alopekonnesus. At length, after seven months of unprofitable warfare (dating from the death of Kotys), he forced Kephisodotus to conclude with him a convention so disastrous and dishonorable, that as soon as known at Athens, it was indignantly repudiated.[822] Kephisodotus, being recalled in disgrace, was put upon his trial, and fined; the orator Demosthenes (we are told), who had served as one of the trierarchs in the fleet, being among his accusers.[823]

Among the articles of this unfavorable convention, one was that[p. 378] the Greek city of Kardia should be specially reserved to Charidemus himself. That city—eminently convenient from its situation on the isthmus connecting the Chersonese with Thrace—claimed by the Athenians as within the Chersonese, yet at the same time intensely hostile to Athens—became his principal station.[824] He was fortunate enough to seize, through treachery, the person of the Thracian Miltokythes, who had been the pronounced enemy of Kotys, and had coöperated with Athens. But he did not choose to hand over this important prisoner to Kersobleptes, because the life of Miltokythes would thus have been saved: it not being the custom of Thracians, in their intestine disputes, to put each other to death.[825] We remark with surprise a practice milder than that of Greece, amidst a people decidedly more barbarous and blood-thirsty than the Greeks. Charidemus accordingly surrendered Miltokythes to the Kardians, who put the prisoner with his son into a boat, took them a little way out to sea, slew the son before the eyes of the father, and then drowned the father himself.[826] It is not improbable that there may have been some special antecedent causes, occasioning intense antipathy on the part of the Kardians towards Miltokythes, and inducing Charidemus to hand him over to them as an acceptable subject for revenge. However this may be, their savage deed kindled violent indignation among all the Thracians, and did much injury to the cause of Kersobleptes and Charidemus. Though Kephisodotus had been recalled, and though a considerable interval elapsed before any successor came from Athens, yet Berisades and Amadokus joined their forces in one common accord, and sent to the Athenians propositions of alliance, with request for pecuniary aid. Athenodorus, the general of Berisades, putting himself at the head of Thracians and Athenians together, found himself superior in the field to Kersobleptes and Charidemus; whom he constrained to accept a fresh convention dictated by himself. Herein it was provided, that the kingdom of Thrace should be divided in equal portions between the three competitors; that all three should concur in surrendering the Chersonese to Athens;[p. 379] and that the son of a leading man named Iphiades at Sestos, held by Charidemus as hostage for the adherence of that city, should be surrendered to Athens also.[827]

This new convention, sworn on both sides, promised to Athens the full acquisition which she desired. Considering the thing as done, the Athenians sent Chabrias as commander in one trireme to receive the surrender, but omitted to send the money requested by Athenodorus; who was accordingly constrained to disband his army for want of pay. Upon this Kersobleptes and Charidemus at once threw up their engagement, refused to execute the convention just sworn, and constrained Chabrias, who had come without any force, to revert to the former convention concluded with Kephisodotus. Disappointed and indignant, the Athenians disavowed the act of Chabrias, in spite of his high reputation. They sent ten envoys to the Chersonese, insisting that the convention of Athenodorus should be resworn by all the three Thracian competitors—Berisades, Amadokus, Kersobleptes; if the third declined, the envoys were instructed to take measures for making war upon him, while they received the engagements of the other two. But such a mission, without arms, obtained nothing from Charidemus and Kersobleptes, except delay or refusal; while Berisades and Amadokus sent to Athens bitter complaints respecting the breach of faith. At length, after some months—just after the triumphant conclusion of the expedition of Athens against Eubœa (358 B.C.)—the Athenian Chares arrived in the Chersonese, at the head of a considerable mercenary force. Then at length the two recusants were compelled to swear anew to the convention of Athenodorus, in the presence of the latter as well as of Berisades and Amadokus.[828][p. 380] And it would appear that before long, its conditions were realized. Charidemus surrendered the Chersonese, of course including its principal town Sestos, to Athens;[829] yet he retained for himself Kardia,[830] which was affirmed (though the Athenians denied it) not to be included in the boundaries of that peninsula. The kingdom of Thrace was also divided between Kersobleptes, Berisades, and Amadokus; which triple division, diminishing the strength of each, was regarded by Athens as a great additional guarantee for her secure possession of the Chersonese.[831]

[p. 381]

It was thus that Athens at length made good her possession of the Chersonese against the neighboring Thracian potentates. And it would seem that her transmarine power, with its dependencies and confederates, now stood at a greater height than it had ever reached since the terrible reverses of 405 B.C. Among them were numbered not only a great number of the Ægean islands (even the largest, Eubœa, Chios, Samos, and Rhodes), but also the continental possessions of Byzantium—the Chersonese—Maroneia[832] with other places on the southern coast of Thrace—and Pydna, Methônê, and Potidæa, with most of the region surrounding the Thermaic Gulf.[833] This last portion of empire had been acquired at the cost of the Olynthian fraternal alliance of neighboring cities, against which Athens too, as well as Sparta, by an impulse most disastrous for the future independence of Greece, had made war with inauspicious success. The Macedonian king Perdikkas, with a just instinct towards the future aggrandizement of his dynasty, had assisted her in thus weakening Olynthus; feeling that the towns on the Thermaic Gulf, if they formed parts of a strong Olynthian confederacy of brothers and neighbors, reciprocally attached and self-sustaining, would resist Macedonia more effectively, than if they were half-reluctant dependencies of Athens, even with the chances of Athenian aid by sea. The aggressive hand of Athens against Olynthus, indeed, between 368-363 B.C., was hardly less mischievous, to Greece generally, than that of Sparta had been between 382-380 B.C. Sparta had crushed the Olynthian confederacy in its first brilliant promise—Athens prevented it from rearing its head anew. Both conspired to break down the most effective barrier against Macedonian aggrandizement; neither were found competent to provide any adequate protection to Greece in its room.

The maximum of her second empire, which I have remarked that Athens attained by the recovery of the Chersonese,[834] lasted[p. 382] but for a moment. During the very same year, there occurred that revolt among her principal allies, known by the name of the Social War, which gave to her power a fatal shock, and left the field comparatively clear for the early aggressions of her yet more formidable enemy—Philip of Macedon. That prince had already emerged from his obscurity as a hostage in Thebes, and had succeeded his brother Perdikkas, slain in a battle with the Illyrians, as king (360-359 B.C.). At first, his situation appeared not merely difficult, but almost hopeless. Not the most prescient eye in Greece could have recognized, in the inexperienced youth struggling at his first accession against rivals at home, enemies abroad, and embarrassments of every kind—the future conqueror of Chæroneia, and destroyer of Grecian independence. How, by his own genius, energy, and perseverance, assisted by the faults and dissensions of his Grecian enemies, he attained his inauspicious eminence—will be recounted in my subsequent volume.

At the opening of my ninth volume, after the surrender of Athens, Greece was under the Spartan empire. Its numerous independent city-communities were more completely regimented under one chief than they had ever been before, Athens and Thebes being both numbered among the followers of Sparta.

But the conflicts recounted in these two volumes (during an interval of forty-four years—404-403 B.C. to 360-359 B.C.) have wrought the melancholy change of leaving Greece more disunited, and more destitute of presiding Hellenic authority, than she had been at any time since the Persian invasion. Thebes, Sparta, and Athens, had all been engaged in weakening each other; in which, unhappily, each has been far more successful than in strengthening[p. 383] herself. The maritime power of Athens is now indeed considerable, and may be called very great, if compared with the state of degradation to which she had been brought in 403 B.C. But it will presently be seen how unsubstantial is the foundation of her authority, and how fearfully she has fallen off from that imperial feeling and energy which ennobled her ancestors under the advice of Perikles.

It is under these circumstances, so untoward for defence, that the aggressor from Macedonia arises.


In the sixtieth chapter of this work, I brought down the history of the Grecian communities in Sicily to the close of the Athenian siege of Syracuse, where Nikias and Demosthenes with nearly their entire armament perished by so lamentable a fate. I now resume from that point the thread of Sicilian events, which still continues so distinct from those of Peloponnesus and Eastern Greece, that it is inconvenient to include both in the same chapters.

If the destruction of the great Athenian armament (in September 413 B.C.) excited the strongest sensation throughout every part of the Grecian world, we may imagine the intoxication of triumph with which it must have been hailed in Sicily. It had been achieved (Gylippus and the Peloponnesian allies aiding) by the united efforts of nearly all the Grecian cities in the island,—for all of them had joined Syracuse as soon as her prospects became decidedly encouraging; except Naxos and Katana, which were allied with the Athenians,—and Agrigentum, which remained neutral.[835] Unfortunately we know little or nothing of the proceedings[p. 384] of the Syracusans, immediately following upon circumstances of so much excitement and interest. They appear to have carried on war against Katana, where some fugitives from the vanquished Athenian army contributed to the resistance against them.[836] But both this city and Naxos, though exposed to humiliation and danger as allies of the defeated Athenians, contrived to escape without the loss of their independence. The allies of Syracuse were probably not eager to attack them, and thereby to aggrandize that city farther; while the Syracusans themselves also would be sensible of great exhaustion, arising from the immense efforts through which alone their triumph had been achieved. The pecuniary burdens to which they had been obliged to submit—known to Nikias during the last months of the siege,[837] and fatally misleading his judgment,—were so heavy as to task severely their powers of endurance. After paying, and dismissing with appropriate gratitude, the numerous auxiliaries whom they had been obliged to hire,—after celebrating the recent triumph, and decorating the temples, in a manner satisfactory to the exuberant joy of the citizens[838]—there would probably be a general disposition to repose rather than to aggressive warfare. There would be much destruction to be repaired throughout their territory, poorly watched or cultivated during the year of the siege.

In spite of such exhaustion, however, the sentiment of exasperation and vengeance against Athens, combined with gratitude towards the Lacedæmonians, was too powerful to be balked. A confident persuasion reigned throughout Greece that Athens[839] could not hold out for one single summer after her late terrific disaster; a persuasion, founded greatly on the hope of a large auxiliary squadron to act against her from Syracuse and her other enemies in Sicily and Italy. In this day of Athenian distress, such enemies of course became more numerous. Especially the city of Thurii in Italy,[840] which had been friendly to Athens and had furnished aid to Demosthenes in his expedition to Sicily, now underwent a change, banished three hundred of the leading philo-Athenian citizens (among them the rhetor Lysias), and espoused[p. 385] the Peloponnesian cause with ardor. The feeling of reaction at Thurii, and of vengeance at Syracuse, stimulated the citizens of both places to take active part in an effort promising to be easy and glorious, for the destruction of Athens and her empire. And volunteers were doubtless the more forward, as the Persian satraps of the sea-board were now competing with each other in invitations to the Greeks, with offers of abundant pay.

Accordingly, in the summer of the year 412 B.C. (the year following the catastrophe of the Athenian armament,) a Sicilian squadron of twenty triremes from Syracuse and two from Selinus, under the command of Hermokrates, reached Peloponnesus and joined the Lacedæmonian fleet in its expedition across the Ægean to Miletus. Another squadron of ten triremes from Thurii, under the Rhodian Dorieus, and a farther reinforcement from Tarentum, and Lokri, followed soon after. It was Hermokrates who chiefly instigated his countrymen to this effort.[841] Throughout the trying months of the siege, he had taken a leading part in the defence of Syracuse, seconding the plans of Gylippus with equal valor and discretion. As commander of the Syracusan squadron in the main fleet now acting against Athens in the Ægean (events already described in my sixty-first chapter), his conduct was not less distinguished. He was energetic in action, and popular in his behavior towards those under his command; but what stood out most conspicuously as well as most honorably, was his personal incorruptibility. While the Peloponnesian admiral and trierarchs accepted the bribes of Tissaphernes, conniving at his betrayal of the common cause and breach of engagement towards the armament, with indifference to the privations of their own unpaid seamen,—Hermokrates and Dorieus were strenuous in remonstrance, even to the extent of drawing upon themselves the indignant displeasure of the Peloponnesian admiral Astyochus, as well as of the satrap himself.[842] They were the more earnest in performing this duty, because the Syracusan and Thurian triremes were manned by freemen in larger proportion than the remaining fleet.[843]

The sanguine expectation, however, entertained by Hermokrates and his companions in crossing the sea from Sicily,—that one[p. 386] single effort would gloriously close the war,—was far from being realized. Athens resisted with unexpected energy; the Lacedæmonians were so slack and faint-hearted, that they even let slip the golden opportunity presented to them by the usurpation of the Athenian Four Hundred. Tissaphernes was discovered to be studiously starving and protracting the war for purposes of his own, which Hermokrates vainly tried to counter-work by a personal visit and protest at Sparta.[844] Accordingly, the war trailed on with fluctuating success, and even renovated efficiency on the part of Athens; so that the Syracusans at home, far from hearing announced the accomplishment of those splendid anticipations under which their squadron had departed, received news generally unfavorable, and at length positively disastrous. They were informed that their seamen were ill-paid and distressed; while Athens, far from striking her colors, had found means to assemble a fleet at Samos competent still to dispute the mastery of the Ægean. They heard of two successive naval defeats, which the Peloponnesian and Syracusan fleets sustained in the Hellespont[845] (one at Kynossema,—411 B.C.,—a second between Abydos and Dardanus,—410 B.C.); and at length of a third, more decisive and calamitous than the preceding,—the battle of Kyzikus (409 B.C.), wherein the Lacedæmonian admiral Mindarus was slain, and the whole of his fleet captured or destroyed. In this defeat the Syracusan squadron were joint sufferers. Their seamen were compelled to burn all their triremes without exception, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy; and were left destitute, without clothing or subsistence, on the shores of the Propontis amidst the satrapy of Pharnabazus.[846] That satrap, with generous forwardness, took them into his pay, advanced to them clothing and provision for two months, and furnished them with timber from the woods of Mount Ida to build fresh ships. At Antandrus (in the Gulf of Adramyttium, one great place of export for Idæan timber), where the reconstruction took place, the Syracusans made themselves so acceptable and useful to the citizens, that a vote of thanks and a grant of citizenship was passed to all of them who chose to accept it.[847]

[p. 387]

In recounting this battle, I cited the brief and rude despatch, addressed to the Lacedæmonians by Hippokrates, surviving second officer of the slain Mindarus, describing the wretched condition of the defeated armament—“Our honor is gone. Mindarus is slain. The men are hungry. We know not what to do.”[848] This curious despatch has passed into history, because it was intercepted by the Athenians, and never reached its destination. But without doubt the calamitous state of facts, which it was intended to make known, flew rapidly, under many different forms of words, both to Peloponnesus and to Syracuse. Sad as the reality was, the first impression made by the news would probably be yet sadder; since the intervention of Pharnabazus, whereby the sufferers were so much relieved, would hardly be felt or authenticated until after some interval. At Syracuse, the event on being made known excited not only powerful sympathy with the sufferers, but also indignant displeasure against Hermokrates and his colleagues; who, having instigated their countrymen three years before, by sanguine hopes and assurances, to commence a foreign expedition for the purpose of finally putting down Athens, had not only achieved nothing, but had sustained a series of reverses, ending at length in utter ruin, from the very enemy whom they had pronounced to be incapable of farther resistance.

It was under such sentiment of displeasure, shortly after the defeat of Kyzikus, that a sentence of banishment was passed at Syracuse against Hermokrates and his colleagues. The sentence was transmitted to Asia, and made known by Hermokrates himself to the armament, convoked in public meeting. While lamenting and protesting against its alleged injustice and illegality, he entreated the armament to maintain unabated good behavior for the future, and to choose new admirals for the time, until the successors nominated at Syracuse should arrive. The news was heard with deep regret by the trierarchs, the pilots, and the maritime soldiers or marines; who, attached to Hermokrates from his popular manner, his constant openness of communication with them, and his anxiety to collect their opinions, loudly proclaimed that they would neither choose, nor serve under, any other lead[p. 388]ers.[849] But the admirals repressed this disposition, deprecating any resistance to the decree of the city. They laid down their command, inviting any man dissatisfied with them to prefer his complaint at once publicly, and reminding the soldiers of the many victories and glorious conflicts, both by land and sea, which had knit them together by the ties of honorable fellowship. No man stood forward to accuse them; and they consented, on the continued request of the armament, to remain in command, until their three successors arrived—Demarchus, Myskon, and Potamis. They then retired amidst universal regret; many of the trierarchs even binding themselves by oath, that on returning to Syracuse they would procure their restoration. The change of commanders took place at Miletus.[850]

Though Hermokrates, in his address to the soldiers, would doubtless find response when he invoked the remembrance of past victories, yet he would hardly have found the like response in a Syracusan assembly. For if we review the proceedings of the armament since he conducted it from Syracuse to join the Peloponnesian fleet, we shall find that on the whole his expedition had been a complete failure, and that his assurances of success against Athens had ended in nothing but disappointment. There was therefore ample cause for the discontent of his countrymen. But on the other hand, as far as our limited means of information enable us to judge, the sentence of banishment against him appears to have been undeserved and unjust. For we cannot trace the ill-success of Hermokrates to any misconduct or omission on his part; while in regard to personal incorruptibility, and strenuous resistance to the duplicity of Tissaphernes, he stood out as an honorable exception among a body of venal colleagues. That satrap, indeed, as soon as Hermokrates had fallen into disgrace, circulated a version of his own, pretending that the latter, having asked money from him and been refused, had sought by calumnious means to revenge such refusal.[851] But this story, whether believed elsewhere or not, found no credit with the other satrap Pharnabazus; who warmly espoused the cause of the banished general, presenting him with a sum of money even unsolicited. This money[p. 389] Hermokrates immediately employed in getting together triremes and mercenary soldiers to accomplish his restoration to Syracuse by force.[852] We shall presently see how he fared in this attempt. Meanwhile we may remark that the sentence of banishment, though in itself unjust, would appear amply justified in the eyes of his countrymen by his own subsequent resort to hostile measures against them.

The party opposed to Hermokrates had now the preponderance in Syracuse, and by their influence probably the sentence against him was passed, under the grief and wrath occasioned by the defeat of Kyzikus. Unfortunately we have only the most scanty information as to the internal state of Syracuse during the period immediately succeeding the Athenian siege; a period of marked popular sentiment and peculiar interest. As at Athens under the pressure of the Xerxeian invasion—the energies of all the citizens, rich and poor, young and old, had been called forth for repulse of the common enemy, and had been not more than enough to achieve it. As at Athens after the battles of Salamis and Platæa, so at Syracuse after the destruction of the Athenian besiegers—the people, elate with the plenitude of recent effort, and conscious that the late successful defence had been the joint work of all, were in a state of animated democratical impulse, eager for the utmost extension and equality of political rights. Even before the Athenian siege, the government had been democratical; a fact, which Thucydides notices as among the causes of the successful defence, by rendering the citizens unanimous in resistance, and by preventing the besiegers from exciting intestine discontent.[853] But in the period immediately after the siege, it underwent changes which are said to have rendered it still more democratical. On the proposition of an influential citizen named Dioklês, a commission of Ten was named, of which he was president, for the purpose of revising both the constitution and the legislation of the city. Some organic alterations were adopted, one of which was, that the lot should be adopted, instead of the principle of election, in the nomination of magistrates. Furthermore, a new code, or collection of criminal and civil enactments, was drawn up and sanctioned. We know nothing of its details, but we are told that[p. 390] its penalties were extremely severe, its determination of offences minute and special, and its language often obscure as well as brief. It was known by the name of the Laws of Dioklês, the chief of the Committee who had prepared it. Though now adopted at Syracuse, it did not last long; for we shall find in five or six years the despotism of Dionysius extinguishing it, just as Peisistratus had put down the Solonian legislation at Athens. But it was again revived at the extinction of the Dionysian dynasty, after the lapse of more than sixty years; with comments and modifications by a committee, among whose members were the Corinthians Kephalus and Timoleon. It is also said to have been copied in various other Sicilian cities, and to have remained in force until the absorption of all Sicily under the dominion of the Romans.[854]

We have the austere character of Dioklês illustrated by a story (of more than dubious credit,[855] and of which the like is recounted respecting other Grecian legislators), that having inadvertently violated one of his own enactments, he enforced the duty of obedience by falling on his own sword. But unfortunately we are not permitted to know the substance of his laws, which would have thrown so much light on the sentiments and position of the Sicilian Greeks. Nor can we distinctly make out to what extent the political constitution of Syracuse was now changed. For though Diodorus tells us that the lot was now applied to the nomination of magistrates, yet he does not state whether it was applied to all magistrates, or under what reserves and exceptions—such, for example, as those adopted at Athens. Aristotle too states that the Syracusan people, after the Athenian siege, changed their constitution from a partial democracy into an entire democracy. Yet he describes Dionysius, five or six years afterwards, as pushing himself up to the despotism, by the most violent demagogic opposition; and as having accused, disgraced, and overthrown certain rich leaders then in possession of the functions of government.[856] If the constitutional forms were rendered more democratical, it would seem that the practice cannot have materially changed, and[p. 391] that the persons actually in leading function still continued to be rich men.

The war carried on by the Syracusans against Naxos and Katana, after continuing more than three years,[857] was brought to a close by an enemy from without, even more formidable than Athens. This time, the invader was not Hellenic, but Phœnician—the ancient foe of Hellas, Carthage.

It has been already recounted, how in the same eventful year (480 B.C.) which transported Xerxes across the Hellespont to meet his defeat at Salamis, the Carthaginians had poured into Sicily a vast mercenary host under Hamilkar, for the purpose of reinstating in Himera the despot Terillus, who had been expelled by Theron of Agrigentum. On that occasion, Hamilkar had been slain, and his large army defeated, by the Syracusan despot Gelon, in the memorable battle of Himera. So deep had been the impression left by this defeat, that for the seventy years which intervened between 480-410 B.C., the Carthaginians had never again invaded the island. They resumed their aggressions shortly after the destruction of the Athenian power before Syracuse; which same event had also stimulated the Persians, who had been kept in restraint while the Athenian empire remained unimpaired, again to act offensively for the recovery of their dominion over the Asiatic Greeks. The great naval power of Athens, inspiring not merely reserve but even alarm to Carthage,[858] had been a safeguard to the Hellenic world both at its eastern and its western extremity. No sooner was that safeguard overthrown, than the hostile pressure of the foreigner began to be felt, as well upon Western Sicily as on the eastern coast of the Ægean.

From this time forward for two centuries, down to the conclusion of the second Punic war, the Carthaginians will be found frequent in their aggressive interventions in Sicily, and upon an extensive[p. 392] scale, so as to act powerfully on the destinies of the Sicilian Greeks. Whether any internal causes had occurred to make them abstain from intervention during the preceding generations, we are unable to say. The history of this powerful and wealthy city is very little known. We make out a few facts, which impart a general idea both of her oligarchical government and of her extensive colonial possessions, but which leave us in the dark as to her continuous history. Her possessions were most extensive, along the coast of Africa both eastward and westward from her city; comprehending also Sardinia and the Balearic isles, but (at this time, probably) few settlements in Spain. She had quite enough to occupy her attention elsewhere, without meddling in Sicilian affairs; the more so, as her province in Sicily was rather a dependent ally than a colonial possession. In the early treaties made with Rome, the Carthaginians restrict and even interdict the traffic of the Romans both with Sardinia and Africa (except Carthage itself), but they grant the amplest license of intercourse with the Carthaginian province of Sicily; which they consider as standing in the same relation to Carthage as the cities of Latium stood in to Rome.[859] While the connection of Carthage with Sicily was thus less close, it would appear that her other dependencies gave her much trouble, chiefly in consequence of her own harsh and extortionate dominion.

All our positive information, scanty as it is, about Carthage and her institutions, relates to the fourth, third, or second centuries B.C., yet it may be held to justify presumptive conclusions as to the fifth[p. 393] century B.C., especially in reference to the general system pursued. The maximum of her power was attained before her first war with Rome, which began in 264 B.C.; the first and second Punic wars both of them greatly reduced her strength and dominion. Yet in spite of such reduction we learn that about 150 B.C., shortly before the third Punic war, which ended in the capture and depopulation of the city, not less than seven hundred thousand souls[860] were computed in it, as occupants of a fortified circumference of above twenty miles, covering a peninsula with its isthmus. Upon this isthmus its citadel Byrsa was situated, surrounded by a triple wall of its own, and crowned at its summit by a magnificent temple of Æsculapius. The numerous population is the more remarkable, since Utica (a considerable city, colonized from Phœnicia more anciently than even Carthage itself, and always independent of the Carthaginians, though in the condition of an inferior and discontented ally), was within the distance of seven miles from Carthage[861] on the one side, and Tunis seemingly not much farther off on the other. Even at that time, too, the Carthaginians are said to have possessed three hundred tributary cities in Libya.[862] Yet this was but a small fraction of the prodigious empire which had belonged to them certainly in the fourth century B.C., and in all probability also between 480-410 B.C. That empire extended eastward as far as the Altars of the Philæni, near the Great Syrtis,—westward, all along the coast to the Pillars of Herakles and the western coast of Morocco. The line of coast south-east of Carthage, as far as the bay called the Lesser Syrtis, was proverbial (under the name of Byzacium and the Emporia) for its fertility. Along this extensive line were distributed indigenous Libyan tribes, living by agriculture; and a mixed population called Liby-Phœnicians, formed by intermarriage and coalition of some of these tribes either with colonists from Tyre and Sidon, or perhaps with a Canaanitish population akin in race to the Phœnicians, yet of still earlier settlement in the country.[863] These Liby-Phœnicians[p. 394] dwelt in towns, seemingly of moderate size and unfortified, but each surrounded by a territory ample and fertile, yielding large produce. They were assiduous cultivators, but generally unwarlike, which latter quality was ascribed by ancient theory to the extreme richness of their soil.[864] Of the Liby-Phœnician towns the number is not known to us, but it must have been prodigiously great, since we are told that both Agathokles and Regulus in their respective invasions captured no less than two hundred. A single district, called Tuska, is also spoken of as having fifty towns.[865]

A few of the towns along the coast,—Hippo, Utica, Adrumetum, Thapsus, Leptis, etc.,—were colonies from Tyre, like Carthage herself. With respect to Carthage, therefore, they stood upon a different footing from the Liby-Phœnician towns, either maritime or in the interior. Yet the Carthaginians contrived in time to render every town tributary, with the exception of Utica. They thus derived revenue from all the inhabitants of this fertile region, Tyrian, Liby-Phœnician, and indigenous Libyan; and the amount which they imposed appears to have been exorbitant. At one time, immediately after the first Punic war, they took from the rural cultivators as much as one-half of their produce,[866] and doubled at one stroke the tribute levied upon the towns. The town and district of Leptis paid to them a tribute of one talent per day, or three hundred and sixty-five talents annually. Such exactions were not collected without extreme harshness of enforcement,[p. 395] sometimes stripping the tax-payer of all that he possessed, and even tearing him from his family to be sold in person for a slave.[867] Accordingly the general sentiment among the dependencies towards Carthage was one of mingled fear and hatred, which rendered them eager to revolt on the landing of any foreign invader. In some cases the Carthaginians seem to have guarded against such contingencies by paid garrisons; but they also provided a species of garrison from among their own citizens; by sending out from Carthage poor men, and assigning to them lots of land with the cultivators attached. This provision for poor citizens as emigrants (mainly analogous to the Roman colonies), was a standing feature in the Carthaginian political system, serving the double purpose of obviating discontent among their own town population at home, and of keeping watch over their dependencies abroad.[868]

In the fifth century B.C., the Carthaginians had no apprehension of any foreign enemy invading them from seaward; an enterprise first attempted in 316 B.C., to the surprise of every one, by the boldness of the Syracusan Agathokles. Nor were their enemies on the land side formidable as conquerors, though they were extremely annoying as plunderers. The Numidians and other native tribes, half-naked and predatory horsemen, distinguished for speed as well as for indefatigable activity, so harassed the individ[p. 396]ual cultivators of the soil, that the Carthaginians dug a long line of ditch to keep them off.[869] But these barbarians did not acquire sufficient organization to act for permanent objects, until the reign of Masinissa and the second Punic war with Rome. During the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., therefore (prior to the invasion of Agathokles), the warfare carried on by the Carthaginians was constantly aggressive and in foreign parts. For these purposes they chiefly employed foreign mercenaries, hired for the occasion from Italy, Gaul, Spain, and the islands of the Western Mediterranean, together with conscripts from their Libyan dependencies. The native Carthaginians,[870] though encouraged by honorary marks to undertake this military service, were generally averse to it, and sparingly employed. But these citizens, though not often sent on foreign service, constituted a most formidable force when called upon. No less then forty thousand hoplites went forth from the gates of Carthage to resist Agathokles, together with one thousand cavalry, and two thousand war-chariots.[871] An immense public magazine,—of arms, muniments of war of all kinds, and provisions,—appears to have been kept in the walls of Byrsa, the citadel of Carthage.[872] A chosen division of two thousand five hundred citi[p. 397]zens, men of wealth and family, formed what was called the Sacred Band of Carthage,[873] distinguished for their bravery in the field as well as for the splendor of their arms, and the gold and silver plate which formed part of their baggage. We shall find these citizen-troops occasionally employed on service in Sicily: but most part of the Carthaginian armies consists of Gauls, Iberians, Libyans, etc., a mingled host got together for the occasion, discordant in language as well as in customs. Such men had never any attachment to the cause in which they fought,—seldom, to the commanders under whom they served; while they were often treated by Carthage with bad faith, and recklessly abandoned to destruction.[874] A military system such as this was pregnant with danger, if ever the mercenary soldiers got footing in Africa; as happened after the first Punic war, when the city was brought to the brink of ruin. But on foreign service in Sicily, these mercenaries often enabled Carthage to make conquest at the cost only of her money, without any waste of the blood of her own citizens. The Carthaginian generals seem generally to have relied, like Persians, upon numbers,—manifesting little or no military skill; until we come to the Punic wars with Rome, conducted under Hamilkar Barca and his illustrious son Hannibal.

Respecting the political constitution of Carthage, the facts known are too few, and too indistinct, to enable us to comprehend its real working. The magistrates most conspicuous in rank and precedence were, the two kings or suffetes, who presided over the Senate.[875] They seem to have been renewed annually, though how far the same persons were reëligible, or actually rechosen, we do not[p. 398] know, but they were always selected out of some few principal families or Gentes. There is reason for believing that the genuine Carthaginian citizens were distributed into three tribes, thirty curiæ, and three hundred gentes—something in the manner of the Roman patricians. From these gentes emanated a Senate of three hundred, out of which again was formed a smaller council or committee of thirty principes representing the curiæ;[876] sometimes a still smaller, of only ten principes. These little councils are both frequently mentioned in the political proceedings of Carthage; and perhaps the Thirty may coincide with what Polybius calls the Gerusia, or Council of Ancients,—the Three Hundred, with that which he calls the Senate.[877] Aristotle assimilates the two kings (suffetes) of Carthage to the two kings of Sparta—and the Gerusia of Carthage also to that of Sparta;[878] which latter consisted of thirty members, including the kings who sat in it. But Aristotle does not allude to any assembly at Carthage analogous to what Polybius calls the Senate. He mentions two Councils, one of one hundred members, the other of one hundred and four; and certain Boards of Five,—the pentarchies. He compares the Council of one hundred and four to the Spartan ephors; yet again he talks of the pentarchies as invested with extensive functions, and terms the Council of one hundred the greatest authority in the state. Perhaps this last Council was identical with the assembly of one hundred Judges (said to have been chosen from the Senate as a check upon the generals employed), or Ordo Judicum; of which Livy speaks after the second Punic war, as existing with its members perpetual and so powerful that it overruled all the other assemblies and magistracies of the state. Through the influence of Hannibal, a law was passed to lessen the overweening power of this Order of Judges; causing them to be elected only for one year, instead of being perpetual.[879]

[p. 399]

These statements, though coming from valuable authors, convey so little information and are withal so difficult to reconcile, that both the structure and working of the political machine at Carthage may be said to be unknown.[880] But it seems clear that the general spirit of the government was highly oligarchical; that a few rich, old, and powerful families, divided among themselves the great offices and influence of the state; that they maintained themselves in pointed and even insolent distinction from the multitude;[881] that they stood opposed to each other in bitter feuds, often stained by gross perfidy and bloodshed; and that the treatment with which, through these violent party-antipathies, unsuccessful generals were visited, was cruel in the extreme.[882] It appears that wealth was one indispensable qualification, and that magistrates and generals procured their appointments in a great measure by corrupt means. Of such corruption, one variety was, the habit of constantly regaling the citizens in collective banquets of the curiæ or the political associations; a habit so continual, and embracing so wide a circle of citizens, that Aristotle compares these banquets to the phiditia or public mess of Sparta.[883] There was a demos or people at Carthage, who were consulted on particular occasions, and before whom propositions were publicly debated, in cases where the suffetes and the small Council were not all of one mind.[884] How numerous[p. 400] this demos was, or what proportion of the whole population it comprised, we have no means of knowing. But it is plain, that whether more or less considerable, its multitude was kept under dependence to the rich families by stratagems such as the banquets, the lucrative appointments with lots of land in foreign dependencies, etc. The purposes of government were determined, its powers wielded and the great offices held—suffetes, senators, generals, or judges,—by the members of a small number of wealthy families; and the chief opposition which they encountered, was from their feuds against each other. In the main, the government was conducted with skill and steadiness, as well for internal tranquillity as for systematic foreign and commercial aggrandizement. Within the knowledge of Aristotle, Carthage had never suffered either the successful usurpation of a despot, or any violent intestine commotion.[885]

The first eminent Carthaginian leader brought to our notice, is Mago (seemingly about 530-500 B.C.), who is said to have mainly contributed to organize the forces, and extend the dominion, of Carthage. Of his two sons, one, Hasdrubal, perished after a victorious career in Sardinia;[886] the other, Hamilkar, commanding at the battle of Himera in Sicily, was there defeated and slain by Gelon, as has been already recounted. After the death of Hamilkar, his son Giskon was condemned to perpetual exile, and passed his life in Sicily at the Greek city of Selinus.[887] But the sons of Hasdrubal[p. 401] still remained at Carthage, the most powerful citizens in the state; carrying on hostilities against the Moors and other indigenous Africans, whom they compelled to relinquish the tribute which Carthage had paid, down to that time, for the ground whereon the city was situated. This family are said indeed to have been so powerful, that a check upon their ascendency was supposed to be necessary; and for that purpose the select One Hundred Senators sitting as judges were now nominated for the first time.[888] Such wars in Africa doubtless tended to prevent the Carthaginians from farther interference in Sicily, during the interval between 480-410 B.C. There were probably other causes also, not known to us,—and down to the year 413 B.C., the formidable naval power of Athens (as has been already remarked) kept them on the watch even for themselves. But now, after the great Athenian catastrophe before Syracuse, apprehensions from that quarter were dissipated; so that Carthage again found leisure, as well as inclination, to seek in Sicily both aggrandizement and revenge.

It is remarkable that the same persons, acting in the same quarrel, who furnished the pretext or the motive for the recent invasion by Athens, now served in the like capacity as prompters to Carthage. The inhabitants of Egesta, engaged in an unequal war with rival neighbors at Selinus, were in both cases the soliciting parties. They had applied to Carthage first, without success,[889] before they thought of sending to invoke aid from Athens. This war indeed had been for the time merged and forgotten in the larger Athenian enterprise against Syracuse; but it revived after that catastrophe, wherein Athens and her armament were shipwrecked. The Egestæans had not only lost their protectors, but had incurred aggravated hostility from their neighbors, for having brought upon Sicily so formidable an ultramarine enemy. Their original quarrel with Selinus had related to a disputed portion of border territory. This point they no longer felt competent to maintain, under[p. 402] their present disadvantageous circumstances. But the Selinuntines, confident as well as angry, were now not satisfied with success in their original claim. They proceeded to strip the Egestæans of other lands indisputably belonging to them, and seriously menaced the integrity as well as the independence of the city. To no other quarter could the Egestæans turn, with any chance of finding both will and power to protect them, except to Carthage.[890]

The town of Egesta (non-Hellenic or at least only semi-Hellenic) was situated on or near the northern line of Sicilian coast, not far from the western cape of the island, and in the immediate neighborhood of the Carthaginian settlements,—Motyê, Panormus (now Palermo), and Soloeis or Soluntum. Selinus also was near the western cape, but on the southern coast of Sicily, with its territory conterminous to the southern portion of Egesta. When therefore the Egestæan envoys presented their urgent supplications at Carthage for aid, proclaiming that unless assisted they must be subjugated and become a dependency of Selinus,—the Carthaginians would not unreasonably conceive, that their own Sicilian settlements would be endangered, if their closest Hellenic neighbor were allowed thus to aggrandize herself. Accordingly they agreed to grant the aid solicited; yet not without much debate and hesitation. They were uneasy at the idea of resuming military operations in Sicily,—which had been laid aside for seventy years, and had moreover left such disastrous recollections[891]—at a moment when Syracusan courage stood in high renown, from the recent destruction of the Athenian armament. But the recollections of the Gelonian victory at Himera, while they suggested apprehension, also kindled the appetite of revenge; especially in the bosom of Hannibal, the grandson of that general Hamilkar who had there met his death. Hannibal was at this moment king, or rather first of the two suffetes, chief executive magistrates of Carthage, as his grandfather had been seventy years before. So violent had been the impression made upon the Carthaginians by the defeat of Himera, that they had banished Giskon, son of the slain general Hamilkar and father of Hannibal, and had condemned him to pass his whole life in exile. He had chosen the Greek city of Selinus; where probably Hannibal also had spent his youth, though restored[p. 403] since to his country and to his family consequence,—and from whence he brought back an intense antipathy to the Greek name, as well as an impatience to wipe off by a signal revenge the dishonor both of his country and of his family. Accordingly, espousing with warmth the request of the Egestæans, he obtained from the Senate authority to take effective measures for their protection.[892]

His first proceeding was to send envoys to Egesta and Selinus, to remonstrate against the encroachments of the Selinuntines; with farther instructions, in case remonstrance proved ineffectual, to proceed with the Egestæans to Syracuse, and there submit the whole dispute to the arbitration of the Syracusans. He foresaw that the Selinuntines, having superiority of force on their side, would refuse to acknowledge any arbitration; and that the Syracusans, respectfully invoked by one party but rejected by the other, would stand aside from the quarrel altogether. It turned out as he had expected. The Selinuntines sent envoys to Syracuse, to protest against the representations from Egesta and Carthage; but declined to refer their case to arbitration. Accordingly, the Syracusans passed a vote that they would maintain their alliance with Selinus, yet without impeachment of their pacific relations with Carthage: thus leaving the latter free to act without obstruction. Hannibal immediately sent over a body of troops to the aid of Egesta: five[p. 404] thousand Libyans or Africans; and eight hundred Campanian mercenaries, who had been formerly in the pay and service of the Athenians before Syracuse, but had quitted that camp before the final catastrophe occurred.[893]

In spite of the reinforcement and the imposing countenance of Carthage, the Selinuntines, at this time in full power and prosperity, still believed themselves strong enough to subdue Egesta. Under such persuasion, they invaded the territory with their full force. They began to ravage the country, yet at first with order and precaution; but presently, finding no enemy in the field to oppose them, they became careless, and spread themselves about for disorderly plunder. This was the moment for which the Egestæans and Carthaginians were watching. They attacked the Selinuntines by surprise, defeated them with the loss of a thousand men, and recaptured the whole booty.[894]

The war, as hitherto carried on, was one offensive on the part of the Selinuntines, for the purpose of punishing or despoiling their ancient enemy Egesta. Only so far as was necessary for the defence of the latter, had the Carthaginians yet interfered. But against such an interference the Selinuntines, if they had taken a prudent measure of their own force, would have seen that they were not likely to achieve any conquest. Moreover, they might perhaps have obtained peace now, had they sought it; as a considerable minority among them, headed by a citizen named Empedion,[895] urgently recommended: for Selinus appears always to have been on more friendly terms with Carthage than any other Grecian city in Sicily. Even at the great battle of Himera, the Selinuntine troops had not only not assisted Gelon, but had actually fought in the Carthaginian army under Hamilkar;[896] a plea, which, had it been pressed, might probably have had weight with Hannibal. But this claim upon the goodwill of Carthage appears only to have rendered them more confident and passionate in braving her force and in prosecuting the war. They sent to Syracuse to ask for aid, which the Syracusans, under present circumstances, promised to send them. But the promise was given with little cordiality, as appears by the manner in which they fulfilled it, as well as from[p. 405] the neutrality which they had professed so recently before; for the contest seemed to be aggressive on the part of Selinus, so that Syracuse had little interest in helping her to conquer Egesta. Neither Syracusans nor Selinuntines were prepared for the immense preparations, and energetic rapidity of movement by which Hannibal at once altered the character, and enlarged the purposes, of the war. He employed all the ensuing autumn and winter in collecting a numerous host of mercenary troops from Africa, Spain, and Campania, with various Greeks who were willing to take service.[897]

In the spring of the memorable year 409 B.C., through the exuberant wealth of Carthage, he was in a condition to leave Africa with a great fleet of sixty triremes, and fifteen hundred transports or vessels of burthen;[898] conveying an army, which, according to the comparatively low estimate of Timæus, amounted to more than one hundred thousand men; while Ephorus extended the number to two hundred thousand infantry, and four thousand cavalry, together with muniments of war and battering machines for siege. With these he steered directly for the western Cape of Sicily, Lilybæum; taking care, however, to land his troops and to keep his fleet on the northern side of that cape, in the bay near Motyê,—and not to approach the southern shore, lest he should alarm the Syracusans with the idea that he was about to prosecute his voyage farther eastward along the southern coast towards their city. By this precaution, he took the best means for prolonging the period of Syracusan inaction. The Selinuntines, panic-struck at the advent of an enemy so much more overwhelming than they had expected, sent pressing messengers to Syracuse to accelerate the promised help. They had made no provision for standing on the defensive against a really formidable aggressor. Their walls, though strong enough to hold out against Sicilian neighbors, had been neglected during the long-continued absence of any foreign besieger, and were now in many places out of[p. 406] repair. Hannibal left them no time to make good past deficiencies. Instead of wasting his powerful armament (as the unfortunate Nikias had done five years before) by months of empty flourish and real inaction, he waited only until he was joined by the troops from Egesta and the neighboring Carthaginian dependencies, and then marched his whole force straight from Lilybæum to Selinus. Crossing the river Mazara in his way, and storming the fort which lay near its mouth, he soon found himself under the Selinuntine walls. He distributed his army into two parts, each provided with battering machines and movable wooden towers; and then assailed the walls on many points at once, choosing the points where they were most accessible or most dilapidated. Archers and slingers in great numbers were posted near the walls, to keep up a discharge of missiles and chase away the defenders from the battlements. Under cover of such discharge, six wooden towers were rolled up to the foot of the wall, to which they were equal or nearly equal in height, so that the armed men in their interior were prepared to contend with the defenders almost on a level. Against other portions of the wall, battering-rams with iron heads were driven by the combined strength of multitudes, shaking or breaking through its substance, especially where it showed symptoms of neglect or decay. Such were the methods of attack which Hannibal now brought to bear upon the unprepared Selinuntines. He was eager to forestal the arrival of auxiliaries, by the impetuous movements of his innumerable barbaric host, the largest seen in Sicily since his grandfather Hamilkar had been defeated before Himera. Collected from all the shores of the western Mediterranean, it presented soldiers heterogeneous in race, in arms, in language,—in everything, except bravery and common appetite for blood as well as plunder.[899]

The dismay of the Selinuntines, when they suddenly found themselves under the sweep of this destroying hurricane, is not to be described. It was no part of the scheme of Hannibal to impose conditions or grant capitulation; for he had promised the plunder of their town to his soldiers. The only chance of the besieged was, to hold out with the courage of desperation, until they could receive aid from their Hellenic brethren on the south[p. 407]ern coast,—Agrigentum, Gela, and especially Syracuse,—all of whom they had sent to warn and to supplicate. Their armed population crowded to man the walls, with a resolution worthy of Greeks and citizens; while the old men and the females, though oppressed with agony from the fate which seemed to menace them, lent all the aid and encouragement in their power. Under the sound of trumpets, and every variety of war-cry, the assailants approached the walls, encountering everywhere a valiant resistance. They were repulsed again and again, with the severest loss. But fresh troops came up to relieve those who were slain or fatigued; and at length, after a murderous struggle, a body of Campanians forced their way over the walls into the town. Yet in spite of such temporary advantage, the heroic efforts of the besieged drove them out again or slew them, so that night arrived without the capture being accomplished. For nine successive days was the assault thus renewed with undiminished fury; for nine successive days did this heroic population maintain a successful resistance, though their enemies were numerous enough to relieve each other perpetually,—though their own strength was every day failing,—and though not a single friend arrived to their aid. At length, on the tenth day, and after terrible loss to the besiegers, a sufficient breach was made in the weak part of the wall, for the Iberians to force their way into the city. Still however the Selinuntines, even after their walls were carried, continued with unabated resolution to barricade and defend their narrow streets, in which their women also assisted, by throwing down stones and tiles upon the assailants from the house-tops. All these barriers were successively overthrown, by the unexhausted numbers, and increasing passion, of the barbaric host; so that the defenders were driven back from all sides into the agora, where most of them closed their gallant defence by an honorable death. A small minority, among whom was Empedion, escaped to Agrigentum, where they received the warmest sympathy and the most hospitable treatment.[900]

Resistance being thus at an end, the assailants spread themselves through the town in all the fury of insatiate appetites,—murderous, lustful, and rapacious. They slaughtered indiscrimi[p. 408]nately elders and children, preserving only the grown women as captives. The sad details of a town taken by storm are to a great degree the same in every age and nation; but the destroying barbarians at Selinus manifested one peculiarity, which marks them as lying without the pale of Hellenic sympathy and sentiment. They mutilated the bodies of the slain; some were seen with amputated hands strung together in a row and fastened round their girdles; while others brandished heads on the points of their spears and javelins.[901] The Greeks (seemingly not numerous) who served under Hannibal, far from sharing in these ferocious manifestations, contributed somewhat to mitigate the deplorable fate of the sufferers. Sixteen thousand Selinuntines are said to have been slain, five thousand to have been taken captive; while two thousand six hundred escaped to Agrigentum.[902] These figures are probably under, rather than above, the truth. Yet they do not seem entitled to any confidence; nor do they give us any account of the entire population in its different categories,—old and young,—men and women,—freemen and slaves,—citizens and metics. We can only pretend to appreciate this mournful event in the gross. All exact knowledge of its details is denied to us.

It does little honor either to the generosity or to the prudence of the Hellenic neighbors of Selinus, that this unfortunate city should have been left to its fate unassisted. In vain was messenger after messenger despatched, as the defence became more and more critical, to Agrigentum, Gela, and Syracuse. The military force of the two former was indeed made ready, but postponed its march until joined by that of the last; so formidable was the account given of the invading host. Meanwhile the Syracusans were not ready. They thought it requisite, first, to close the war which they were prosecuting against Katana and Naxos,—next, to muster a large and carefully-appointed force. Before these preliminaries were finished, the nine days of siege were past, and the death-hour of Selinus had sounded. Probably the Syracusans were misled by the Sicilian operations of Nikias, who, beginning with a long interval of inaction, had then approached their town by slow blockade, such as the circumstances of his case required. Expecting in the case of Selinus that Hannibal would enter upon[p. 409] the like elaborate siege,—and not reflecting that he was at the head of a vast host of miscellaneous foreigners hired for the occasion, of whose lives he could afford to be prodigal, while Nikias commanded citizens of Athens and other Grecian states, whom he could not expose to the murderous but thorough-going process of ever-renewed assault against strong walls recently erected,—they were thunderstruck on being informed that nine days of carnage had sufficed for the capture. The Syracusan soldiers, a select body of three thousand, who at length joined the Geloans and Agrigentines at Agrigentum, only arrived in time to partake in the general dismay everywhere diffused. A joint embassy was sent by three cities to Hannibal, entreating him to permit the ransom of the captives, and to spare the temples of the gods; while Empedion went at the same time to sue for compassion on behalf of his own fugitive fellow-citizens. To the former demand the victorious Carthaginian returned an answer at once haughty and characteristic,—“The Selinuntines have not been able to preserve their freedom, and must now submit to a trial of slavery. The gods have become offended with them, and have taken their departure from the town.”[903] To Empedion, an ancient friend and pronounced partisan of the Carthaginians, his reply was more indulgent. All the relatives of Empedion, found alive among the captives, were at once given up; moreover permission was granted to the fugitive Selinuntines to return, if they pleased, and reoccupy the town with its lands, as tributary subjects of Carthage. At the same time that he granted such permission, however, Hannibal at once caused the walls to be razed, and even the town with its temples to be destroyed.[904] What was done about the proposed ransom, we do not hear.

[p. 410]

Having satiated his troops with this rich plunder Hannibal now quitted the scene of bloodshed and desolation, and marched across the island to Himera on its northern coast. Though Selinus, as the enemy of Egesta, had received the first shock of his arms, yet it was against Himera that the grand purpose of his soul was directed. Here it was that Hamilkar had lost both his army and his life, entailing inexpiable disgrace upon the whole life of his son Giskon: here it was that his grandson intended to exact full vengeance and requital from the grandchildren of those who then occupied the fated spot. Not only was the Carthaginian army elate with the past success, but a number of fresh Sikels and Sikans, eager to share in plunder as well as to gratify the antipathies of their races against the Grecian intruders, flocked to join it; thus making up the losses sustained in the recent assault. Having reached Himera, and disposed his army in appropriate positions around, Hannibal proceeded to instant attack, as at Selinus; pushing up his battering machines and towers against the vulnerable portions of the walls, and trying at the same time to undermine them. The Himeræans defended themselves with desperate bravery; and on this occasion the defence was not unassisted; for four thousand allies, chiefly Syracusans, and headed by the Syracusan Dioklês, had come to the city as a reinforcement. For a whole day they repelled with slaughter repeated assaults. No impression being made upon the city, the besieged became so confident in their own valor, that they resolved not to copy the Selinuntines in confining themselves to defence, but to sally out at daybreak the next morning and attack the besiegers in the field. Ten thousand gallant men,—Himeræans, Syracusans, and other Grecian allies,—accordingly marched out with the dawn; while the battlements were lined with old men and women as anxious spectators of their exploits. The Carthaginians near the walls, who, preparing to renew the assault, looked for nothing less than for a sally, were taken by surprise. In spite of their great superiority of number, and in spite of great personal bravery, they fell into confusion, and were incapable of long resisting the gallant and orderly charge of the Greeks. At length they gave way and fled towards the neighboring hill, where Hannibal himself with his body of reserve was posted to cover the operations of assault. The Greeks pursued them fiercely and slaughtered great numbers (six thousand according to Timæus,[p. 411] but not less than twenty thousand, if we are to accept the broad statement of Ephorus), exhorting each other not to think of making prisoners. But in the haste and exultation of pursuit, they became out of breath, and their ranks fell into disorder. In this untoward condition, they found themselves face to face with the fresh body of reserve brought up by Hannibal, who marched down the hill to receive and succor his own defeated fugitives. The fortune of the battle was now so completely turned, that the Himeræans, after bravely contending for some time against these new enemies, found themselves overpowered and driven back to their own gates. Three thousand of their bravest warriors, however, despairing of their city and mindful of the fate of Selinus, disdained to turn their backs, and perished to a man in obstinate conflict with the overwhelming numbers of the Carthaginians.[905]

Violent was the sorrow and dismay in Himera, when the flower of her troops were thus driven in as beaten men, with the loss of half their numbers. At this moment there chanced to arrive at the port a fleet of twenty-five triremes, belonging to Syracuse and other Grecian cities in Sicily; which triremes had been sent to aid the Peloponnesians in the Ægean, but had since come back, and were now got together for the special purpose of relieving the besieged city. So important a reinforcement ought to have revived the spirit of the Himeræans. It announced that the Syracusans were in full march across the island, with the main force of the city, to the relief of Himera. But this good news was more than countervailed by the statement, that Hannibal was ordering out the Carthaginian fleet in the bay of Motyê, in order that it might sail round cape Lilybæum and along the southern coast into the harbor of Syracuse, now defenceless through the absence of its main force. Apparently the Syracusan fleet, in sailing from Syracuse to Himera, had passed by the bay of Motyê, observed maritime movement among the Carthaginians there, and picked up these tidings in explanation. Here was intelligence more than sufficient to excite alarm for home, in the bosom of Dioklês and the Syracusans at Himera; especially under the despondency now reigning. Dioklês not only enjoined the captains of the fleet to sail back immediately to Syracuse, in order to guard against the apprehended[p. 412] surprise, but also insisted upon marching back thither himself by land with the Syracusan forces, and abandoning the farther defence of Himera. He would in his march home meet his fellow-citizens on their march outward, and conduct them back along with him. To the Himeræans, this was a sentence of death, or worse than death. It plunged them into an agony of fright and despair. But there was no safer counsel to suggest, nor could they prevail upon Dioklês to grant anything more than means of transport for carrying off the Himeræan population, when the city was relinquished to the besiegers. It was agreed that the fleet, instead of sailing straight to Syracuse, should employ itself in carrying off as much of the population as could be put on board, and in depositing them safely at Messênê; after which it would return to fetch the remainder, who would in the mean time defend the city with their utmost force.

Such was the frail chance of refuge now alone open to these unhappy Greeks, against the devouring enemy without. Immediately the feebler part of the population,—elders, women, and children,—crowding on board until the triremes could hold no more, sailed away along the northern coast to Messênê. On the same night, Dioklês also marched out of the city with his Syracusan soldiers; in such haste to get home, that he could not even tarry to bury the numerous Syracusan soldiers who had been just slain in the recent disastrous sally. Many of the Himeræans, with their wives and children, took their departure along with Dioklês, as their only chance of escape; since it was but too plain that the triremes could not carry away all. The bravest and most devoted portion of the Himeræan warriors still remained, to defend their city until the triremes came back. After keeping armed watch on the walls all night, they were again assailed on the next morning by the Carthaginians, elate with their triumph of the preceding day and with the flight of so many defenders. Yet notwithstanding all the pressure of numbers, ferocity, and battering machines, the resistance was still successfully maintained; so that night found Himera still a Grecian city. On the next day, the triremes came back, having probably deposited their unfortunate cargo in some place of safety not so far off as Messênê. If the defenders could have maintained their walls until another sunset, many of them might yet have escaped. But the good fortune, and probably the[p. 413] physical force, of these brave men, was now at an end. The gods were quitting Himera, as they had before quitted Selinus. At the moment when the triremes were seen coming near to the port, the Iberian assailants broke down a wide space of the fortification with their battering-rams, poured in through the breach, and overcame all opposition. Encouraged by their shouts, the barbaric host now on all sides forced the walls, and spread themselves over the city, which became one scene of wholesale slaughter and plunder. It was no part of the scheme of Hannibal to interrupt the plunder, which he made over as a recompense to his soldiers. But he speedily checked the slaughter, being anxious to take as many prisoners as possible, and increasing the number by dragging away all who had taken sanctuary in the temples. A few among this wretched population may have contrived to reach the approaching triremes; all the rest either perished or fell into the hands of the victor.[906]

It was a proud day for the Carthaginian general when he stood as master on the ground of Himera; enabled to fulfil the duty, and satisfy the exigencies, of revenge for his slain grandfather. Tragical indeed was the consummation of this long-cherished purpose. Not merely the walls and temples (as at Selinus), but all the houses in Himera, were razed to the ground. Its temples, having been first stripped of their ornaments and valuables, were burnt. The women and children taken captive were distributed as prizes among the soldiers. But all the male captives, three thousand in number, were conveyed to the precise spot where Hamilkar had been slain, and there put to death with indignity,[907] as an expiatory satisfaction to his lost honor. Lastly, in order that even the hated name of Himera might pass into oblivion, a new town called Therma (so designated because of some warm springs) was shortly afterwards founded by the Carthaginians in the neighborhood.[908]

[p. 414]

No man can now read the account of this wholesale massacre without horror and repugnance. Yet we cannot doubt, that among all the acts of Hannibal’s life, this was the one in which he most gloried; that it realized, in the most complete and emphatic manner, his concurrent inspirations of filial sentiment, religious obligation, and honor as a patriot; that to show mercy would have been regarded as a mean dereliction of these esteemed impulses; and that if the prisoners had been even more numerous, all of them would have been equally slain, rendering the expiatory fulfilment only so much the more honorable and efficacious. In the Carthaginian religion, human sacrifices were not merely admitted, but passed for the strongest manifestation of devotional fervor, and were especially resorted to in times of distress, when the necessity for propitiating the gods was accounted most pressing. Doubtless the feelings of Hannibal were cordially shared, and the plenitude of his revenge envied, by the army around him. So different, sometimes so totally contrary, is the tone and direction of the moral sentiments, among different ages and nations.

In the numerous wars of Greeks against Greeks, which we have been unfortunately called upon to study, we have found few or no examples of any considerable town taken by storm. So much the more terrible was the shock throughout the Grecian world, of the events just recounted; Selinus and Himera, two Grecian cities of ancient standing and uninterrupted prosperity,—had both of them been stormed, ruined, and depopulated, by a barbaric host, within the space of three months.[909] No event at all parallel had occurred since the sack of Miletus by the Persians after the Ionic revolt (495 B.C.),[910] which raised such powerful sympathy and mourning in Athens. The war now raging in the Ægean, between Athens and Sparta with their respective allies, doubtless contributed to deaden, throughout Central Greece, the impression of calamities sustained by Greeks at the western extremity of Sicily. But within that island, the sympathy with the sufferers was most acute, and aggravated by terror for the future. The Carthaginian general had displayed a degree of energy equal to any Grecian officer throughout the war, with a command of besieging and battering machinery surpassing even the best equipped Grecian cities.[p. 415] The mercenaries whom he had got together were alike terrible from their bravery and ferocity; encouraging Carthaginian ambition to follow up its late rapid successes by attacks against the other cities of the island. No such prospects indeed were at once realized. Hannibal, having completed his revenge at Himera, and extended the Carthaginian dominion all across the north-west corner of Sicily (from Selinus on the southern sea to the site of Himera or Therma on the northern), dismissed his mercenary troops and returned home. Most of them were satiated with plunder as well as pay, though the Campanians, who had been foremost at the capture of Selinus, thought themselves unfairly stinted, and retired in disgust.[911] Hannibal carried back a rich spoil, with glorious trophies, to Carthage, where he was greeted with enthusiastic welcome and admiration.[912]

Never was there a time when the Greek cities in Sicily,—and Syracuse especially, upon whom the others would greatly rest in the event of a second Carthaginian invasion,—had stronger motives for keeping themselves in a condition of efficacious defence. Unfortunately, it was just at this moment that a new cause of intestine discord burst upon Syracuse; fatally impairing her strength, and proving in its consequences destructive to her liberty. The banished Syracusan general Hermokrates had recently arrived at Messênê in Sicily; where he appears to have been, at the time when the fugitives came from Himera. It has already been mentioned that he, with two colleagues, had commanded the Syracusan contingent serving with the Peloponnesians under Mindarus in Asia. After the disastrous defeat of Kyzikus, in which Mindarus was slain and every ship in the fleet taken or destroyed, sentence of banishment was passed at Syracuse against the three admirals. Hermokrates was exceedingly popular among the trierarchs and the officers; he had stood conspicuous for incorruptibility, and had conducted himself (so far as we have means of judging) with energy and ability in his command. The sentence, unmerited by his behavior, was dictated by acute vexation for the loss of the fleet, and for the disappointment of those expectations which Hermokrates had held out; combined with the fact that Diokles and the opposite party were now in the ascendant at Sy[p. 416]racuse. When the banished general, in making it known to the armament, complained of its injustice and illegality, he obtained warm sympathy, and even exhortations still to retain the command, in spite of orders from home. He forbade them earnestly to think of raising sedition against their common city and country;[913] upon which the trierarchs, when they took their last and affectionate leave of him, bound themselves by oath, as soon as they should return to Syracuse, to leave no means untried for procuring his restoration.

The admonitory words addressed by Hermokrates to the forwardness of the trierarchs, would have been honorable to his patriotism, had not his own conduct at the same time been worthy of the worst enemies of his country. For immediately on being superseded by the new admirals, he went to the satrap Pharnabazus, in whose favor he stood high; and obtained from him a considerable present of money, which he employed in collecting mercenary troops and building ships, to levy war against his opponents in Syracuse and procure his own restoration.[914] Thus strengthened, he returned from Asia to Sicily, and reached the Sicilian Messênê rather before the capture of Himera by the Carthaginians. At Messênê he caused five fresh triremes to be built, besides taking into his pay one thousand of the expelled Himeræans. At the head of these troops, he attempted to force his way into Syracuse, under concert with his friends in the city, who engaged to assist his admission by arms. Possibly some of the trierarchs of his armament, who had before sworn to lend him their aid, had now returned and were among this body of interior partisans.

The moment was well chosen for such an enterprise. As the disaster at Kyzikus had exasperated the Syracusans against Hermokrates, so we cannot doubt that there must have been a strong reaction against Diokles and his partisans, in consequence of the fall of Selinus unaided, and the subsequent abandonment of Himera. What degree of blame may fairly attach to Diokles for these misfortunes, we are not in a condition to judge. But such[p. 417] reverses in themselves were sure to discredit him more or less, and to lend increased strength and stimulus to the partisans of the banished Hermokrates. Nevertheless that leader, though he came to the gates of Syracuse, failed in his attempt to obtain admission, and was compelled to retire; upon which he marched his little army across the interior of the island, and took possession of the dismantled Selinus. Here he established himself as the chief of a new settlement, got together as many as he could of the expelled inhabitants (among whom probably some had already come back along with Empedion), and invited many fresh colonists from other quarters. Reëstablishing a portion of the demolished fortifications, he found himself gradually strengthened by so many new-comers, as to place at his command a body of six thousand chosen hoplites,—probably independent of other soldiers of inferior merit. With these troops he began to invade the Carthaginian settlements in the neighborhood, Motyê and Panormus.[915] Having defeated the forces of both in the field, he carried his ravages successfully over their territories, with large acquisitions of plunder. The Carthaginians had now no army remaining in Sicily; for their immense host of the preceding year had consisted only of mercenaries levied for the occasion, and then disbanded.

These events excited strong sensation throughout Sicily. The valor of Hermokrates, who had restored Selinus and conquered the Carthaginians on the very ground where they had stood so recently in terrific force, was contrasted with the inglorious proceeding of Diokles at Himera. In the public assemblies of Syracuse, this topic, coupled with the unjust sentence whereby Hermokrates had been banished, was emphatically set forth by his partisans; producing some reaction in his favor, and a still greater effect in disgracing his rival Diokles. Apprised that the tide of Syracusan opinion was turning towards him, Hermokrates made renewed preparations for his return, and resorted to a new stratagem for the purpose of smoothing the difficulty. He marched from Selinus to the ruined site of Himera, informed himself of the spot where the Syracusan troops had undergone their murderous defeat, and collected together the bones of his slain fellow-citizens; which (or rather the unburied bodies) must have lain[p. 418] upon the field unheeded for about two years. Having placed these bones on cars richly decorated, he marched with his forces and conveyed them across the island from Himera to the Syracusan border. Here as an exile he halted; thinking it suitable now to display respect for the law,—though in his previous attempt he had gone up to the very gates of the city, without any similar scruples. But he sent forward some friends with the cars and the bones, tendering them to the citizens for the purpose of being honored with due funeral solemnities. Their arrival was the signal for a violent party discussion, and for an outburst of aggravated displeasure against Diokles, who had left the bodies unburied on the field of battle. “It was to Hermokrates (so his partisans urged) and to his valiant efforts against the Carthaginians, that the recovery of these remnants of the slain, and the opportunity of administering to them the funeral solemnities, was now owing. Let the Syracusans, after duly performing such obsequies, testify their gratitude to Hermokrates by a vote of restoration, and their displeasure against Diokles by a sentence of banishment.”[916] Diokles with his partisans was thus placed at great disadvantage. In opposing the restoration of Hermokrates, he thought it necessary also to oppose the proposition for welcoming and burying the bones of the slain citizens. Here the feelings of the people went vehemently against him; the bones were received and interred, amidst the respectful attendance of all; and so strong was the reactionary sentiment generally, that the partisans of Hermokrates carried their proposition for sentencing Diokles to banishment. But on the other hand, they could not so far prevail as to obtain the restoration of Hermokrates himself. The purposes of the latter had been so palpably manifested, in trying a few months before to force his way into the city by surprise, and in now presenting himself at the frontier with an armed force under his command,—that his readmission would have been nothing less than a deliberate surrender of the freedom of the city to a despot.[917]

Having failed in this well-laid stratagem for obtaining a vote of[p. 419] consent, Hermokrates saw that his return could not at that moment be consummated by open force. He therefore retired from the Syracusan frontier; yet only postponing his purposes of armed attack until his friends in the city could provide for him a convenient opportunity. We see plainly that his own party within had been much strengthened, and his opponents enfeebled, by the recent manœuvre. Of this a proof is to be found in the banishment of Diokles, who probably was not succeeded by any other leader of equal influence. After a certain interval, the partisans of Hermokrates contrived a plan which they thought practicable, for admitting him into the city by night. Forewarned by them, he marched from Selinus at the head of three thousand soldiers, crossed the territory of Gela,[918] and reached the concerted spot near the gate of Achradina during the night. From the rapidity of his advance, he had only a few troops along with him; the main body not having been able to keep up. With these few, however, he hastened to the gate, which he found already in possession of his friends, who had probably (like Pasimêlus at Corinth[919]) awaited a night on which they were posted to act as sentinels. Master of the gate, Hermokrates, though joined by his partisans within in arms, thought it prudent to postpone decisive attack until his own main force came up. But during this interval, the Syracusan authorities in the city, apprised of what had happened, mustered their full military strength in the agora, and lost no time in falling upon the band of aggressors. After a sharply contested combat, these aggressors were completely worsted, and Hermokrates himself slain with a considerable proportion of his followers. The remainder having fled, sentence of banishment was passed upon them. Several among the wounded, however, were reported by their relatives as slain, in order that they might escape being comprised in such a condemnation.[920]

[p. 420]

Thus perished one of the most energetic of the Syracusan citizens; a man not less effective as a defender of his country against foreign enemies, than himself dangerous as a formidable enemy to her internal liberties. It would seem, as far as we can make out, that his attempt to make himself master of his country was powerfully seconded, and might well have succeeded. But it lacked that adventitious support arising from present embarrassment and danger in the foreign relations of the city, which we shall find so efficacious two years afterwards in promoting the ambitious projects of Dionysius.

Dionysius,—for the next coming generation the most formidable name in the Grecian world,—now appears for the first time in history. He was a young Syracusan of no consideration from family or position, described as even of low birth and low occupation; as a scribe or secretary, which was looked upon as a subordinate, though essential, function.[921] He was the son of Hermokrates,—not that eminent person whose death has been just described, but another person of the same name, whether related or[p. 421] not, we do not know.[922] It is highly probable that he was a man of literary ability and instruction, since we read of him in after-days as a composer of odes and tragedies; and it is certain that he stood distinguished in all the talents for military action,—bravery, force of will, and quickness of discernment. On the present occasion, he espoused strenuously the party of Hermokrates, and was one of those who took arms in the city on his behalf. Having distinguished himself in the battle, and received several wounds, he was among those given out for dead by his relations.[923] In this manner he escaped the sentence of banishment passed against the survivors. And when, in the course of a certain time, after recovering from his wounds, he was produced as unexpectedly living,—we may presume that his opponents and the leading men in the city left him unmolested, not thinking it worth while to reopen political inquisition in reference to matters already passed and finished. He thus remained in the city, marked out by his daring and address to the Hermokratæan party, as the person most fit to take up the mantle, and resume the anti-popular designs, of their late leader. It will presently be seen how the chiefs of this party lent their aid to exalt him.

Meanwhile the internal condition of Syracuse was greatly enfeebled by this division. Though the three several attempts of Hermokrates to penetrate by force or fraud into the city had all failed, yet they had left a formidable body of malcontents behind; while the opponents also, the popular government and its leaders, had been materially reduced in power and consideration by the banishment of Diokles. This magistrate was succeeded by Daphnæus and others, of whom we know nothing, except that they are spoken of as rich men and representing the sentiments of the rich,—and that they seem to have manifested but little ability. Nothing could be more unfortunate than the weakness of Syracuse at this particular juncture: for the Carthaginians, elate with their successes at Selinus and Himera, and doubtless also piqued by the subsequent retaliation of Hermokrates upon their dependencies at Motyê and Panormus, were just now meditating a second invasion of Sicily on a still larger scale. Not uninformed of their[p. 422] projects, the Syracusan leaders sent envoys to Carthage to remonstrate against them, and to make propositions for peace. But no satisfactory answer could be obtained, nor were the preparations discontinued.[924]

In the ensuing spring, the storm gathering from Africa burst with destructive violence upon this fated island. A mercenary force had been got together during the winter, greater than that which had sacked Selinus and Himera; three hundred thousand men, according to Ephorus,—one hundred and twenty thousand, according to Xenophon and Timæus. Hannibal was again placed in command; but his predominant impulses of family and religion having been satiated by the great sacrifice of Himera, he excused himself on the score of old age, and was only induced to accept the duty by having his relative Imilkon named as colleague. By their joint efforts, the immense host of Iberians, Mediterranean islanders, Campanians, Libyans, and Numidians, was united at Carthage, and made ready to be conveyed across, in a fleet of one hundred and twenty triremes, with no less than one thousand five hundred transports.[925] To protect the landing, forty Carthaginian triremes were previously sent over to the Bay of Motyê. The Syracusan leaders, with commendable energy and watchfulness, immediately despatched the like number of triremes to attack them, in hopes of thereby checking the farther arrival of the grand armament. They were victorious, destroying fifteen of the Carthaginian triremes, and driving the rest back to Africa; yet their object was not attained; for Hannibal himself, coming forth immediately with fifty fresh triremes, constrained the Syracusans to retire. Presently afterwards the grand armament appeared, disembarking its motley crowd of barbaric warriors near the western cape of Sicily.

Great was the alarm caused throughout Sicily by their arrival. All the Greek cities either now began to prepare for war, or pushed with a more vigorous hand equipments previously begun, since they seem to have had some previous knowledge of the purpose of the enemy. The Syracusans sent to entreat assistance both from the Italian Greeks and from Sparta. From the latter city, however, little was to be expected, since her whole[p. 423] efforts were now devoted to the prosecution of the war against Athens; this being the year wherein Kallikratidas commanded, and when the battle of Arginusæ was fought.

Of all Sicilian Greeks, the Agrigentines were both the most frightened and the most busily employed. Conterminous as they were with Selinus on their western frontier, and foreseeing that the first shock of the invasion would fall upon them, they immediately began to carry in their outlying property within the walls, as well as to accumulate a stock of provisions for enduring blockade. Sending for Dexippus, a Lacedæmonian then in Gela as commander of a body of mercenaries for the defence of that town, they engaged him in their service, with one thousand five hundred hoplites; reinforced by eight hundred of those Campanians who had served with Hannibal at Himera, but had quitted him in disgust.[926]

Agrigentum was at this time in the highest state of prosperity and magnificence; a tempting prize for any invader. Its population was very great; comprising, according to one account, twenty thousand citizens among an aggregate total of two hundred thousand males,—citizens, metics, and slaves; according to another account, an aggregate total of no less than eight hundred thousand persons;[927] numbers unauthenticated, and not to be trusted farther than as indicating a very populous city. Situated a little more than two miles from the sea, and possessing a spacious territory highly cultivated, especially with vines and olives, Agrigentum carried on a lucrative trade with the opposite coast of Africa, where at that time no such plantations flourished. Its temples and porticos, especially the spacious temple of Zeus Olympius,—its statues and pictures,—its abundance of chariots and horses,—its fortifications,—its sewers,—its artificial lake of near a mile in circumference, abundantly stocked with fish,—all these placed it on a par with the most splendid cities of the Hellenic world.[928] Of the numerous prisoners taken at the defeat of the Carthaginians near Himera seventy years before, a very large proportion had fallen to the lot of the Agrigentines, and had been employed by them in public works contributing to the advantage or ornament of the city.[929] The hospitality of the wealthy citizens,—Gellias,[p. 424] Antisthenes, and others,—was carried even to profusion. The surrounding territory was celebrated for its breed of horses,[930] which the rich Agrigentines vied with each other in training and equipping for the chariot-race. At the last Olympic games immediately preceding this fatal Carthaginian invasion (that is at the 93rd Olympiad,—408 B.C.), the Agrigentine Exænetus gained the prize in a chariot-race. On returning to Sicily after his victory, he was welcomed by many of his friends, who escorted him home in procession with three hundred chariots, each drawn by a pair of white horses, and all belonging to native Agrigentines. Of the festival by which the wealthy Antisthenes celebrated the nuptials of his daughter, we read an account almost fabulous. Amidst all this wealth and luxury, it is not surprising to hear that the rough duties of military exercise were imperfectly kept up, and that indulgences, not very consistent with soldier-like efficiency, were allowed to the citizens on guard.

Such was Agrigentum in May 406 B.C., when Hannibal and Imilkon approached it with their powerful army. Their first propositions, however, were not of a hostile character. They invited the Agrigentines to enter into alliance with Carthage; or if this were not acceptable, at any rate to remain neutral and at peace. Both propositions were declined.[931]

Besides having taken engagements with Gela and Syracuse, the Agrigentines also felt a confidence, not unreasonable, in the strength of their own walls and situation. Agrigentum with its citadel was placed on an aggregate of limestone hills, immediately above the confluence of two rivers, both flowing from the north; the river Akragas on the eastern and southern sides of the city, and the Hypsas on its western side. Of this aggregate of hills, separated from each other by clefts and valleys, the northern half is the loftiest, being about eleven hundred feet above the level of the sea—the southern half is less lofty. But on all sides, except on the south-west, it rises by a precipitous ascent; on the side towards the sea, it springs immediately out of the plain, thus presenting a fine prospect to ships passing along the coast. The whole of this aggregate of hills was encompassed by a continuous wall, built round the declivity, and in some parts hewn out of the solid rock. The town[p. 425] of Agrigentum was situated in the southern half of the walled enclosure. The citadel, separated from it by a ravine, and accessible only by one narrow ascent, stood on the north-eastern hill; it was the most conspicuous feature in the place, called the Athenæum, and decorated by temples of Athênê and of Zeus Atabyrius. In the plain under the southern wall of the city stood the Agrigentine sepulchres.[932]—Reinforced by eight hundred Campanian mercenaries, with the fifteen hundred other mercenaries brought by Dexippus from Gela,—the Agrigentines awaited confidently the attack upon their walls, which were not only in far better condition than those of Selinus, but also unapproachable by battering-machines or movable towers, except on one part of the south-western side. It was here that Hannibal, after reconnoitering the town all round, began his attack. But after hard fighting without success for one day, he was forced to retire at nightfall; and even lost his battering train, which was burnt during the night by a sally of the besieged.[933] Desisting from farther attempts on that point, Hannibal now ordered his troops to pull down the tombs; which were numerous on the lower or southern side of the city, and many of which, especially that of the despot Theron, were of conspicuous grandeur. By this measure he calculated on providing materials adequate to the erection of immense mounds, equal in height to the southern wall, and sufficiently close to it for the purpose of assault. His numerous host had made considerable progress in demolishing these tombs, and were engaged in breaking down the monument of Theron,[p. 426] when their progress was arrested by a thunderbolt falling upon it. This event was followed by religious terrors, suddenly overspreading the camp. The prophets declared that the violation of the tombs was an act of criminal sacrilege. Every night the spectres of those whose tombs had been profaned manifested themselves, to the affright of the soldiers on guard; while the judgment of the gods was manifested in a violent pestilential distemper. Numbers of the army perished, Hannibal himself among them; and even of those who escaped death, many were disabled from active duty by distress and suffering. Imilkon was compelled to appease the gods, and to calm the agony of the troops, by a solemn supplication according to the Carthaginian rites. He sacrificed a child, considered as the most propitiatory of all offerings, to Kronus; and cast into the sea a number of animal victims as offerings to Poseidon.[934]

These religious rites calmed the terrors of the army, and mitigated, or were supposed to have mitigated, the distemper; so that Imilkon, while desisting from all farther meddling with the tombs, was enabled to resume his batteries and assaults against the walls, though without any considerable success. He also dammed up the western river Hypsas, so as to turn the stream against the wall; but this manœuvre produced no effect. His operations were presently interrupted by the arrival of a powerful army which marched from Syracuse, under Daphnæus, to the relief of Agrigentum. Reinforced in its road by the military strength of Kamarina and Gela, it amounted to thirty thousand foot and five thousand horse, on reaching the river Himera, the eastern frontier of the Agrigentine territory; while a fleet of thirty Syracusan triremes sailed along the coast to second its efforts. As these troops neared the town, Imilkon despatched against them a body of Iberians and Campanians;[935] who however, after a strenuous[p. 427] combat, were completely defeated, and driven back to the Carthaginian camp near the city, where they found themselves under the protection of the main army. Daphnæus, having secured the victory and inflicted severe loss upon the enemy, was careful to prevent his troops from disordering their ranks in the ardor of pursuit, in the apprehension that Imilkon with the main body might take advantage of that disorder to turn the fortune of the day,—as had happened in the terrible defeat before Himera, three years before. The routed Iberians were thus allowed to get back to the camp. At the same time the Agrigentines, witnessing from the walls, with joyous excitement, the flight of their enemies, vehemently urged their generals to lead them forth for an immediate sally, in order that the destruction of the fugitives might thus be consummated. But the generals were inflexible in resisting such demand; conceiving that the city itself would thus be stripped of its defenders, and that Imilkon might seize the occasion for assaulting it with his main body, when there was not sufficient force to repel them. The defeated Iberians thus escaped to the main camp; neither pursued by the Syracusans, nor impeded, as they passed near the Agrigentine walls, by the population within.

Presently Daphnæus with his victorious army reached Agrigentum, and joined the citizens; who flocked in crowds, along with the Lacedæmonian Dexippus, to meet and welcome them. But the joy of meeting, and the reciprocal congratulations on the recent victory, were fatally poisoned by general indignation for the unmolested escape of the defeated Iberians; occasioned by nothing less than remissness, cowardice, or corruption, (so it was contended), on the part of the generals,—first the Syracusan generals, and next the Agrigentine. Against the former, little was now said, though much was held in reserve, as we shall soon hear. But against the latter, the discontent of the Agrigentine population burst forth instantly and impetuously. A public assembly being held on the spot, the Agrigentine generals, five in number, were put under accusation. Among many speakers who denounced them as guilty of treason, the most violent of all was[p. 428] the Kamarinæan Menês,—himself one of the leaders, seemingly of the Kamarinæan contingent in the army of Daphnæus. The concurrence of Menês, carrying to the Agrigentines a full sanction of their sentiments, wrought them up to such a pitch of fury, that the generals, when they came to defend themselves, found neither sympathy nor even common fairness of hearing. Four out of the five were stoned and put to death on the spot; the fifth, Argeius, was spared only on the ground of his youth; and even the Lacedæmonian Dexippus was severely censured.[936]

How far, in regard to these proceedings, the generals were really guilty, or how far their defence, had it been fairly heard, would have been valid,—is a point which our scanty information does not enable us to determine. But it is certain that the arrival of the victorious Syracusans at Agrigentum completely altered the relative position of affairs. Instead of farther assaulting the walls, Imilkon was attacked in his camp by Daphnæus. The camp, however, was so fortified as to repel all attempts, and the siege from this time forward became only a blockade; a contest of patience and privation between the city and the besiegers, lasting seven or eight months from the commencement of the siege. At first Daphnæus, with his own force united to the Agrigentines, was strong enough to harass the Carthaginians and intercept their supplies, so that the greatest distress began to prevail among their army. The Campanian mercenaries even broke out into mutiny, crowding, with clamorous demands for provision and with menace of deserting, around the tent of Imilkon; who barely pacified them by pledging to them the gold and silver drinking-cups of the chief Carthaginians around him,[937] coupled with entreaties that they[p. 429] would wait yet a few days. During that short interval, he meditated and executed a bold stroke of relief. The Syracusans and Agrigentines were mainly supplied by sea from Syracuse; from whence a large transport of provision-ships was now expected, under convoy of some Syracusan triremes. Apprised of their approach, Imilkon silently brought out forty Carthaginian triremes from Motyê and Panormus, with which he suddenly attacked the Syracusan convoy, no way expecting such a surprise. Eight Syracusan triremes were destroyed; the remainder were driven ashore, and the whole fleet of transports fell into the hands of Imilkon. Abundance and satisfaction now reigned in the camp of the Carthaginians, while the distress, and with it the discontent, was transferred to Agrigentum. The Campanian mercenaries in the service of Dexippus began the mutiny, complaining to him of their condition. Perhaps he had been alarmed and disgusted at the violent manifestation of the Agrigentines against their generals, extending partly to himself also. At any rate, he manifested no zeal in the defence, and was even suspected of having received a bribe of fifteen talents from the Carthaginians. He told the Campanians that Agrigentum was no longer tenable, for want of supplies; upon which they immediately retired, and marched away to Messênê, affirming that the time stipulated for their stay had expired. Such a secession struck every one with discouragement. The Agrigentine generals immediately instituted an examination, to ascertain the quantity of provision still remaining in the city. Having made the painful discovery that there remained but very little, they took the resolution of causing the city to be evacuated by its population during the coming night.[938]

A night followed, even more replete with woe and desolation than that which had witnessed the flight of Diokles with the inhabitants of Himera from their native city. Few scenes can be imagined more deplorable than the vast population of Agrigentum obliged to hurry out of their gates during a December night, as their only chance of escape from famine or the sword of a merciless enemy. The road to Gela was beset by a distracted crowd, of both sexes and of every age and condition, confounded in one indiscriminate lot of suffering. No thought could be bestowed on[p. 430] the preservation of property or cherished possessions. Happy were they who could save their lives; for not a few, through personal weakness or the immobility of despair, were left behind. Perhaps here and there a citizen, combining the personal strength with the filial piety of Æneas, might carry away his aged father with the household gods on his shoulders; but for the most part, the old, the sick, and the impotent, all whose years were either too tender or too decrepit to keep up with a hurried flight, were of necessity abandoned. Some remained and slew themselves, refusing even to survive the loss of their homes and the destruction of their city; others, among whom was the wealthy Gellias, consigned themselves to the protection of the temples, but with little hope that it would procure them safety. The morning’s dawn exhibited to Imilkon unguarded walls, a deserted city, and a miserable population of exiles huddled together in disorderly flight on the road to Gela.

For these fugitives, however, the Syracusan and Agrigentine soldiers formed a rear-guard sufficient to keep off the aggravated torture of a pursuit. But the Carthaginian army found enough to occupy them in the undefended prey which was before their eyes. They rushed upon the town with the fury of men who had been struggling and suffering before it for eight months. They ransacked the houses, slew every living person that was left, and found plunder enough to satiate even a ravenous appetite. Temples as well as private dwellings were alike stripped, so that those who had taken sanctuary in them became victims like the rest: a fate which Gellius only avoided by setting fire to the temple in which he stood and perishing in its ruins. The great public ornaments and trophies of the city,—the bull of Phalaris, together with the most precious statues and pictures,—were preserved by Imilkon and sent home as decorations to Carthage.[939] While he gave up the houses of Agrigentum to be thus gutted, he still kept them standing, and caused them to serve as winter-quarters for the repose of his soldiers, after the hardships of an eight months’ siege. The unhappy Agrigentine fugitives first found shelter and kind hospitality at Gela; from whence they were afterwards, by permission of the Syracusans, transferred to Leontini.

[p. 431]

I have described, as far as the narrative of Diodorus permits us to know, this momentous and tragical portion of Sicilian history; a suitable preface to the long despotism of Dionysius. It is evident that the seven or eight months (the former of these numbers is authenticated by Xenophon, while the latter is given by Diodorus) of the siege or blockade must have contained matters of the greatest importance which are not mentioned, and that even of the main circumstances which brought about the capture, we are most imperfectly informed. But though we cannot fully comprehend its causes, its effects are easy to understand. They were terror-striking and harrowing in the extreme. When the storm which had beaten down Selinus and Himera was now perceived to have extended its desolation to a city so much more conspicuous, among the wealthiest and most populous in the Grecian world,—when the surviving Agrigentine population, including women and children, and the great proprietors of chariots whose names stood recorded as victors at Olympia, were seen all confounded in one common fate of homeless flight and nakedness—when the victorious host and its commanders took up their quarters in the deserted houses, ready to spread their conquests farther after a winter of repose,—there was hardly a Greek in Sicily who did not tremble for his life and property.[940] Several of them sought shelter at Syracuse, while others even quitted the island altogether, emigrating to Italy.

Amidst so much anguish, humiliation, and terror, there were loud complaints against the conduct of the Syracusan generals under whose command the disaster had occurred. The censure which had been cast upon them before, for not having vigorously pursued the defeated Iberians, was now revived, and aggravated tenfold by the subsequent misfortune. To their inefficiency the capture of Agrigentum was ascribed, and apparently not without substantial cause; for the town was so strongly placed as to defy assault, and could only be taken by blockade; now we discern no impediments adequate to hinder the Syracusan generals from procuring supplies of provisions; and it seems clear that the surprise of the Syracusan store-ships might have been prevented by proper precautions; upon which surprise the whole question turned, between famine in[p. 432] the Carthaginian camp and famine in Agrigentum.[941] The efficiency of Dexippus and the other generals, in defending Agrigentum (as depicted by Diodorus), stands sadly inferior to the vigor and ability displayed by Gylippus before Syracuse, as described by Thucydides: and we can hardly wonder that by men in the depth of misery, like the Agrigentines,—or in extreme alarm, like the other Sicilian Greeks—these generals, incompetent or treasonable, should be regarded as the cause of the ruin.

Such a state of sentiment, under ordinary circumstances, would have led to the condemnation of the generals and to the nomination of others, with little farther result. But it became of far graver import, when combined with the actual situation of parties in Syracuse. The Hermokratean opposition party,—repelled during the preceding year with the loss of its leader, yet nowise crushed,—now re-appeared more formidable than ever, under a new leader more aggressive even than Hermokrates himself. Throughout ancient as well as modern history, defeat and embarrassment in the foreign relations have proved fruitful causes of change in the internal government. Such auxiliaries had been wanting to the success of Hermokrates in the preceding year; but alarms of every kind now overhung the city in terrific magnitude, and when the first Syracusan assembly was convoked on returning from Agrigentum, a mournful silence reigned;[942] as in the memorable description given by Demosthenes of the Athenian assembly held immediately after the taking of Elateia.[943] The generals had lost the confidence of their fellow-citizens; yet no one else was forward, at a juncture so full of peril, to assume their duty, by proffering fit counsel for the future conduct of the war. Now was the time for the Hermokratean party to lay their train for putting down the government. Dionysius, though both young and of mean family, was adopted as leader in consequence of that audacity and bravery[p. 433] which even already he had displayed, both in the fight along with Hermokrates and in the battles against the Carthaginians. Hipparinus, a Syracusan of rich family, who had ruined himself by dissolute expenses, was eager to renovate his fortunes by seconding the elevation of Dionysius to the despotism;[944] Philistus (the subsequent historian of Syracuse), rich, young, and able, threw himself ardently into the same cause; and doubtless other leading persons, ancient Hermokrateans and others, stood forward as partisans in the conspiracy. But it either was, from the beginning, or speedily became, a movement organized for the purpose of putting the sceptre into the hands of Dionysius, to whom all the rest, though several among them were of far greater wealth and importance, served but as satellites and auxiliaries.

Amidst the silence and disquietude which reigned in the Syracusan assembly, Dionysius was the first who rose to address them. He enlarged upon a topic suitable alike to the temper of his auditors and to his own views. He vehemently denounced the generals as having betrayed the security of Syracuse to the Carthaginians,—and as the persons to whom the ruin of Agrigentum, together with the impending peril of every man around, was owing. He set forth their misdeeds, real or alleged, not merely with fulness and acrimony, but with a ferocious violence outstripping all the limits of admissible debate, and intended to bring upon them a lawless murder, like the death of the generals recently at Agrigentum. “There they sit, the traitors! Do not wait for legal trial or verdict; but lay hands upon them at once, and inflict upon them summary justice.”[945] Such a brutal exhortation, not unlike that of[p. 434] the Athenian Kritias, when he caused the execution of Theramenes in the oligarchical senate, was an offence against law as well as against parliamentary order. The presiding magistrates reproved Dionysius as a disturber of order, and fined him, as they were empowered by law.[946] But his partisans were loud in his support. Philistus not only paid down the fine for him on the spot, but publicly proclaimed that he would go on for the whole day paying all similar fines which might be imposed,—and incited Dionysius to persist in such language as he thought proper. That which had begun as illegality, was now aggravated into open defiance of the law. Yet so enfeebled was the authority of the magistrates, and so vehement the cry against them, in the actual position of the city, that they were unable either to punish or to repress the speaker. Dionysius pursued his harangue in a tone yet more inflammatory, not only accusing the generals of having corruptly betrayed Agrigentum, but also denouncing the conspicuous and wealthy citizens generally, as oligarchs who held tyrannical sway,—who treated the many with scorn, and made their own profit out of the misfortunes of the city. Syracuse (he contended) could never be saved, unless men of a totally different character were invested with authority; men, not chosen from wealth and station, but of humble birth, belonging to the people by position, and kind in their deportment from consciousness of their own weakness.[947] His bitter invective against generals already discredited, together with the impetuous warmth of his apparent sympathy for the people against the rich, were both alike favorably received. Plato states that the assembly became so furiously exasperated, as to follow literally the lawless and blood-thirsty inspirations of Dionysius, and to stone all these generals, ten in number, on the spot, without any form of trial. But Diodorus simply tells us, that a vote was passed to cashier[p. 435] the generals, and to name in their places Dionysius, Hipparinus, and others.[948] This latter statement is, in my opinion, the more probable.

[p. 436]

Such was the first stage of what we may term the despot’s progress, successfully consummated. The pseudo-demagogue Dio[p. 437]nysius outdoes, in fierce professions of antipathy against the rich, anything that we read as coming from the real demagogues, Athenagoras at Syracuse, or Kleon at Athens. Behold him now sitting as a member of the new Board of generals, at a moment when the most assiduous care and energy, combined with the greatest unanimity, were required to put the Syracusan military force into an adequate state of efficiency. It suited the policy of Dionysius not only to bestow no care or energy himself, but to nullify all that was bestowed by his colleagues, and to frustrate deliberately all chance of unanimity. He immediately began a systematic opposition and warfare against his colleagues. He refused to attend at their Board, or to hold any communication with them. At the frequent assemblies held during this agitated state of the public mind, he openly denounced them as engaged in treasonable correspondence with the enemy. It is obvious that his colleagues, men newly chosen in the same spirit with himself, could not as yet have committed any such treason in favor of the Carthaginians. But among them was his accomplice Hipparinus;[949] while probably the rest also, nominated by a party devoted to him personally, were selected in a spirit of collusion, as either thorough-going partisans,[p. 438] or worthless and incompetent men, easy for him to set aside. At any rate, his calumnies, though received with great repugnance by the leading and more intelligent citizens, found favor with the bulk of the assembly, predisposed at that moment from the terrors of the situation to suspect every one. The new Board of generals being thus discredited, Dionysius alone was listened to as an adviser. His first and most strenuous recommendation was, that a vote should be passed for restoring the exiles; men (he affirmed) attached to their country, and burning to serve her, having already refused the offers of her enemies; men who had been thrown into banishment by previous political dispute, but who, if now generously recalled, would manifest their gratitude by devoted patriotism, and serve Syracuse far more warmly than the allies invoked from Italy and Peloponnesus. His discredited colleagues either could not, or would not, oppose the proposition; which, being warmly pressed by Dionysius and all his party, was at length adopted by the assembly. The exiles accordingly returned, comprising all the most violent men who had been in arms with Hermokrates when he was slain. They returned glowing with party-antipathy and revenge, prepared to retaliate upon others the confiscation under which themselves had suffered, and looking to the despotism of Dionysius as their only means of success.[950]

The second step of the despot’s progress was now accomplished. Dionysius had filled up the ranks of the Hermokratean party, and obtained an energetic band of satellites, whose hopes and interests were thoroughly identified with his own. Meanwhile letters arrived from Gela, entreating reinforcements, as Imilkon was understood to be about to march thither. Dionysius being empowered to march thither a body of two thousand hoplites, with four hundred horsemen, turned the occasion to profitable account. A regiment of mercenaries, under the Lacedæmonian Dexippus, was in garrison at Gela; while the government of the town is said to have been oligarchical, in the hands of the rich, though with a strong and discontented popular opposition. On reaching Gela, Dionysius immediately took part with the latter; originating the most violent propositions against the governing rich, as he had done at Syracuse. Accusing them of treason in the public assembly, he obtained[p. 439] a condemnatory vote under which they were put to death and their properties confiscated. With the funds so acquired, he paid the arrears due to the soldiers of Dexippus, and doubled the pay of his own Syracusan division. These measures procured for him immense popularity, not merely with all the soldiers, but also with the Geloan Demos, whom he had relieved from the dominion of their wealthy oligarchy. Accordingly, after passing a public vote testifying their gratitude, and bestowing upon him large rewards, they despatched envoys to carry the formal expression of their sentiments to Syracuse. Dionysius resolved to go back thither at the same time, with his Syracusan soldiers; and tried to prevail on Dexippus to accompany him with his own division. This being refused, he went thither with his Syracusans alone. To the Geloans, who earnestly entreated that they might not be forsaken when the enemy was daily expected, he contented himself with replying that he would presently return with a larger force.[951]

A third step was thus obtained. Dionysius was going back to Syracuse with a testimonial of admiration and gratitude from Gela,—with increased attachment on the part of his own soldiers, on account of the double pay,—and with the means of coining and circulating a new delusion. It was on the day of a solemn festival that he reached the town, just as the citizens were coming in crowds out of the theatre. Amidst the bustle of such a scene as well as of the return of the soldiers, many citizens flocked around him to inquire, What news about the Carthaginians? “Do not ask about your foreign enemies (was the reply of Dionysius); you have much worse enemies within among you. Your magistrates,—these very men upon whose watch you rely during the indulgence of the festival,—they are the traitors who are pillaging the public money, leaving the soldiers unpaid, and neglecting all necessary preparation, at a moment when the enemy with an immense host is on the point of assailing you. I knew their treachery long ago, but I have now positive proof of it. For Imilkon sent to me an envoy, under pretence of treating about the prisoners, but in reality to purchase my silence and connivance; he tendered to me a larger bribe than he had given to them, if I would consent to refrain from hindering them, since I could not be induced to take[p. 440] part in their intrigues. This is too much. I am come home now to throw up my command. While my colleagues are corruptly bartering away their country, I am willing to take my share as a citizen in the common risk, but I cannot endure to incur shame as an accomplice in their treachery.”

Such bold allegations, scattered by Dionysius among the crowd pressing round him,—renewed at length, with emphatic formality in the regular assembly held the next day,—and concluding with actual resignation,—struck deep terror into the Syracusan mind. He spoke with authority, not merely as one fresh from the frontier exposed, but also as bearing the grateful testimonial of the Geloans, echoed by the soldiers whose pay he had recently doubled. His assertion of the special message from Imilkon, probably an impudent falsehood, was confidently accepted and backed by all these men, as well as by his other partisans, the Hermokratean party, and most of all by the restored exiles. What defence the accused generals made, or tried to make, we are not told. It was not likely to prevail, nor did it prevail, against the positive deposition of a witness so powerfully seconded. The people, persuaded of their treason, were incensed against them, and trembled at the thought of being left, by the resignation of Dionysius, to the protection of such treacherous guardians against the impending invasion. Now was the time for his partisans to come forward with their main proposition: “Why not get rid of these traitors, and keep Dionysius alone? Leave them to be tried and punished at a more convenient season; but elect him at once general with full powers, to make head against the pressing emergency from without. Do not wait until the enemy is actually assaulting our walls. Dionysius is the man for our purpose, the only one with whom we have a chance of safety. Recollect that our glorious victory over the three hundred thousand Carthaginians at Himera was achieved by Gelon acting as general with full powers.” Such rhetoric was irresistible in the present temper of the assembly,—when the partisans of Dionysius were full of audacity and acclamation,—when his opponents were discomfited, suspicious of each other, and without any positive scheme to propose,—and when the storm, which had already overwhelmed Selinus, Himera, and Agrigentum, was about to burst on Gela and Syracuse. A vote of the assembly was[p. 441] passed, appointing Dionysius general of the city, alone, and with full powers;[952] by what majority we do not know.

The first use which the new general-plenipotentiary made of his dignity was to propose, in the same assembly, that the pay of the soldiers should be doubled. Such liberality (he said) would be the best means of stimulating their zeal; while in regard to expense, there need be no hesitation; the money might easily be provided.

Thus was consummated the fourth, and most important, act of the despot’s progress. A vote of the assembly had been obtained, passed in constitutional forms, vesting in Dionysius a single-handed power unknown to and above the laws,—unlimited and unresponsible. But he was well aware that the majority of those who thus voted had no intention of permanently abnegating their freedom,—that they meant only to create a temporary dictatorship, under the pressing danger of the moment, for the express purpose of preserving that freedom against a foreign enemy,—and that even thus much had been obtained by impudent delusion and calumny, which subsequent reflection would speedily dissipate. No sooner had the vote passed, than symptoms of regret and alarm became manifest among the people. What one assembly had conferred, a second repentant assembly might revoke.[953] It therefore now remained for Dionysius to ensure the perpetuity of his power by some organized means; so as to prevent the repentance, of which he already discerned the commencement, from realizing itself in any actual revocation. For this purpose he required a military force extra-popular and anti-popular; bound to himself and not to the city. He had indeed acquired popularity with the Syracusan as well as with the mercenary soldiers, by doubling and ensuring their pay. He had energetic adherents, prepared to go all lengths on his behalf, especially among the restored exiles. This was an[p. 442] important basis, but not sufficient for his objects without the presence of a special body of guards, constantly and immediately available, chosen as well as controlled by himself, yet acting in such vocation under the express mandate and sanction of the people. He required a farther vote of the people, legalizing for his use such a body of guards.

But with all his powers of delusion, and all the zeal of his partisans, he despaired of getting any such vote from an assembly held at Syracuse. Accordingly, he resorted to a manœuvre, proclaiming that he had resolved on a march to Leontini, and summoning the full military force of Syracuse (up to the age of forty) to march along with him, with orders for each man to bring with him thirty days’ provision. Leontini had been, a few years before, an independent city; but was now an outlying fortified post, belonging to the Syracusans; wherein various foreign settlers, and exiles from the captured Sicilian cities, had obtained permission to reside. Such men, thrown out of their position and expectations as citizens, were likely to lend either their votes or their swords willingly to the purposes of Dionysius. While he thus found many new adherents there, besides those whom he brought with him, he foresaw that the general body of the Syracusans, and especially those most disaffected to him, would not be disposed to obey his summons or accompany him.[954] For nothing could be more preposterous, in a public point of view, than an out-march of the whole Syracusan force for thirty days to Leontini, where there was neither danger to be averted nor profit to be reaped; at a moment too when the danger on the side of Gela was most serious, from the formidable Carthaginian host at Agrigentum.

Dionysius accordingly set out with a force which purported, ostensibly and according to summons, to be the full military manifestation of Syracuse; but which, in reality, comprised mainly his own adherents. On encamping for the night near to Leontini, he caused a factitious clamor and disturbance to be raised during the[p. 443] darkness, around his own tent,—ordered fires to be kindled,—summoned on a sudden his most intimate friends,—and affected to retire under their escort to the citadel. On the morrow an assembly was convened, of the Syracusans and residents present, purporting to be a Syracusan assembly; Syracuse in military guise, or as it were in Comitia Centuriata,—to employ an ancient phrase belonging to the Roman republic. Before this assembly Dionysius appeared, and threw himself upon their protection; affirming that his life had been assailed during the preceding night,—calling upon them emphatically to stand by him against the incessant snares of his enemies,—and demanding for that purpose a permanent body of guards. His appeal, plausibly and pathetically turned, and doubtless warmly seconded by zealous partisans, met with complete success. The assembly,—Syracusan or quasi-Syracusan, though held at Leontini,—passed a formal decree, granting to Dionysius a body-guard of six hundred men, selected by himself and responsible to him alone.[955] One speaker indeed proposed to limit the guards to such a number as should be sufficient to protect him against any small number of personal enemies, but not to render him independent of, or formidable to, the many.[956] But such precautionary refinement was not likely to be much considered, when the assembly was dishonest or misguided enough to pass the destructive vote here solicited; and even if embodied in the words of the resolution, there were no means of securing its observance in practice. The regiment of guards being once formally sanctioned, Dionysius heeded little the limit of number prescribed to him. He immediately enrolled more than one thousand men, selected as well for their bravery as from their poverty and desperate position. He provided them with the choicest arms, and promised to them the most munificent pay. To this basis of a certain, permanent, legalized, regiment of household troops, he added farther a sort of standing army, composed of mercenaries hardly less at his devotion than the guards properly so called. In addition to the mercenaries already around[p. 444] him, he invited others from all quarters, by tempting offers; choosing by preference outlaws and profligates, and liberating slaves for the purpose.[957] Next, summoning from Gela Dexippus the Lacedæmonian, with the troops under his command, he sent this officer away to Peloponnesus,—as a man not trustworthy for his purpose and likely to stand forward on behalf of the freedom of Syracuse. He then consolidated all the mercenaries under one organization, officering them anew with men devoted to himself.

This fresh military levy and organization was chiefly accomplished during his stay at Leontini, without the opposition which would probably have arisen if it had been done at Syracuse; to which latter place Dionysius marched back, in an attitude far more imposing than when he left it. He now entered the gates at the head not only of his chosen body-guard, but also of a regular army of mercenaries, hired by and dependent upon himself. He marched them at once into the islet of Ortygia (the interior and strongest part of the city, commanding the harbor), established his camp in that acropolis of Syracuse, and stood forth as despot conspicuously in the eyes of all. Though the general sentiment among the people was one of strong repugnance, yet his powerful military force and strong position rendered all hope of open resistance desperate. And the popular assembly,—convoked under the pressure of this force, and probably composed of none but his partisans,—was found so subservient, as to condemn and execute, upon his requisition, Daphnæus and Demarchus. These two men, both wealthy and powerful in Syracuse, had been his chief opponents, and were seemingly among the very generals whom he had incited the people to massacre on the spot without any form of trial, in one of the previous public assemblies.[958] One step alone remained to decorate the ignoble origin of Dionysius, and to mark the triumph of the Hermokratean party by whom its elevation had been mainly brought about. He immediately married the daughter of Hermokrates; giving his own sister in marriage to Polyxenus, the brother of that deceased chief.[959]

Thus was consummated the fifth or closing act of the despot’s progress, rendering Dionysius master of the lives and fortunes of[p. 445] his fellow-countrymen. The successive stages of his rise I have detailed from Diodorus, who (excepting a hint or two from Aristotle) is our only informant. His authority is on this occasion better than usual, since he had before him not merely Ephorus and Timæus, but also Philistus. He is, moreover, throughout this whole narrative at least clear and consistent with himself. We understand enough of the political strategy pursued by Dionysius, to pronounce that it was adapted to his end with a degree of skill that would have greatly struck a critical eye like Machiavel; whose analytical appreciation of means, when he is canvassing men like Dionysius, has been often unfairly construed as if it implied sympathy with and approbation of their end. We see that Dionysius, in putting himself forward as the chief and representative of the Hermokratean party, acquired the means of employing a greater measure of fraud and delusion than an exile like Hermokrates, in prosecution of the same ambitious purposes. Favored by the dangers of the state and the agony of the public mind, he was enabled to simulate an ultra-democratical ardor both in defence of the people against the rich, and in denunciation of the unsuccessful or incompetent generals, as if they were corrupt traitors. Though it would seem that the government of Syracuse, in 406 B.C., must have been strongly democratical, yet Dionysius in his ardor for popular rights, treats it as an anti-popular oligarchy; and tries to acquire the favor of the people by placing himself in the most open quarrel and antipathy to the rich. Nine years before, in the debate between Hermokrates and Athenagoras in the Syracusan assembly, the former stood forth, or at least was considered to stand forth, as champion of the rich; while the latter spoke as a conservative democrat, complaining of conspiracies on the part of the rich. In 406 B.C., the leader of the Hermokratean party has reversed this policy, assuming a pretended democratical fervor much more violent than that of Athenagoras. Dionysius, who took up the trade of what is called a demagogue on this one occasion, simply for the purpose of procuring one single vote in his own favor, and then shutting the door by force against all future voting and all correction,—might resort to grosser falsehood than Athenagoras; who, as an habitual speaker, was always before the people, and even if successful by fraud at one meeting, was nevertheless open to exposure at a second.

[p. 446]

In order that the voting of any public assembly shall be really available as a protection to the people, its votes must not only be preceded by full and free discussion, but must also be open from time to time to rediscussion and correction. That error will from time to time be committed, as well by the collective people as by particular fractions of the people, is certain; opportunity for amendment is essential. A vote which is understood to be final, and never afterwards to be corrigible, is one which can hardly turn to the benefit of the people themselves, though it may often, as in the case of Dionysius, promote the sinister purposes of some designing protector.


The proceedings, recounted at the close of my last chapter, whereby Dionysius erected his despotism, can hardly have occupied less than three months; coinciding nearly with the first months of 405 B.C., inasmuch as Agrigentum was taken about the winter solstice of 406 B.C.[960] He was not molested during this[p. 447] period by the Carthaginians, who were kept inactive in quarters at Agrigentum, to repose after the hardships of the blockade; employed in despoiling the city of its movable ornaments, for transmission to Carthage, and in burning or defacing, with barbarous antipathy, such as could not be carried away.[961] In the spring Imilkon moved forward towards Gela, having provided himself with fresh siege-machines, and ensured his supplies from the Carthaginian territory in his rear. Finding no army to oppose him, he spread his troops over the territory both of Gela and of Kamarina, where much plunder was collected and much property ruined. He then returned to attack Gela, and established a fortified camp by clearing some plantation-ground near the river of the same name, between the city and the sea. On this spot stood, without the walls, a colossal statue of Apollo, which Imilkon caused to be carried off and sent as a present to Tyre.

Gela was at this moment defended only by its own citizens, for Dionysius had called away Dexippus with the mercenary troops. Alarmed at the approach of the formidable enemy who had already mastered Agrigentum, Himera, and Selinus,—the Geloans despatched pressing entreaties to Dionysius for aid; at the same time resolving to send away their women and children for safety to Syracuse. But the women, to whom the idea of separation was intolerable, supplicated so earnestly to be allowed to stay and share the fortunes of their fathers and husbands, that this resolution was abandoned. In expectation of speedy relief from Dionysius, the defence was brave and energetic. While parties of the Geloans, well-acquainted with the country, sallied out and acted with great partial success against the Carthaginian plunderers,—the mass of the citizens repelled the assaults of Imilkon against the walls. His battering-machines and storming-parties were brought to bear on several places at once; the walls themselves,—being neither in so good a condition, nor placed upon so[p. 448] unassailable an eminence, as those of Agrigentum,—gave way on more than one point. Yet still the besieged, with obstinate valor, frustrated every attempt to penetrate within; reëstablishing during the night the breaches which had been made during the day. The feebler part of their population aided, by every means in their power, the warriors on the battlements; so the defence was thus made good until Dionysius appeared with the long-expected reinforcement. It comprised his newly-levied mercenaries, with the Syracusan citizens, and succors from the Italian as well as from the Sicilian Greeks; amounting in all to fifty thousand men, according to Ephorus,—to thirty thousand foot, and one thousand horse, as Timæus represented. A fleet of fifty ships of war sailed round Cape Pachynus to coöperate with them off Gela.[962]

Dionysius fixed his position between Gela and the sea, opposite to that of the Carthaginians, and in immediate communication with his fleet. His presence having suspended the assaults upon the town, he became in his turn the aggressor; employing both his cavalry and his fleet to harass the Carthaginians and intercept their supplies. The contest now assumed a character nearly the same as had taken place before Agrigentum, and which had ended so unfavorably to the Greeks. At length, after twenty days of such desultory warfare, Dionysius, finding that he had accomplished little, laid his plan for a direct attack upon the Carthaginian camp. On the side towards the sea, as no danger had been expected, that camp was unfortified; it was there, accordingly, that Dionysius resolved to make his principal attack with his left division, consisting principally of Italiot Greeks, sustained by the Syracusan ships, who were to attack simultaneously from seaward. He designed at the same time also to strike blows from two other points. His right division, consisting of Sicilian allies, was ordered to march on the right or western side of the town of Gela, and thus fall upon the left of the Carthaginian camp; while he himself, with the mercenary troops which he kept specially around him, intended to advance through the town itself, and assail the advanced or central portion of their position near the walls, where their battering-machinery was posted. His cavalry were directed[p. 449] to hold themselves in reserve for pursuit, in case the attack proved successful; or for protection to the retreating infantry, in case it failed.[963]

Of this combined scheme, the attack upon the left or seaward side of the Carthaginian camp, by the Italiot division and the fleet in concert, was effectively executed, and promised at first to be successful. The assailants overthrew the bulwarks, forced their way into the camp, and were only driven out by extraordinary efforts on the part of the defenders; chiefly Iberians and Campanians, but reinforced from the other portions of the army, which were as yet unmolested. But of the two other divisions of Dionysius, the right did not attack until long after the moment intended, and the centre never attacked at all. The right had to make a circuitous march, over the Geloan plain round the city, which occupied longer time than had been calculated; while Dionysius with the mercenaries around him, intending to march through the city, found themselves so obstructed and embarrassed that they made very slow progress, and were yet longer before they could emerge on the Carthaginian side. Probably the streets, as in so many other ancient towns, were crooked, narrow, and irregular; perhaps also, farther blocked up by precautions recently taken for defence. And thus the Sicilians on the right, not coming up to the attack until the Italians on the left had been already repulsed, were compelled to retreat, after a brave struggle, by the concurrent force of the main Carthaginian army. Dionysius and his mercenaries, coming up later still, found that the moment for attack had passed altogether, and returned back into the city without fighting at all.

Whether the plan or the execution was here at fault,—or both the one and the other,—we are unable certainly to determine. There will appear reasons for suspecting, that Dionysius was not displeased at a repulse which should discourage his army, and furnish an excuse for abandoning Gela. After retiring again within the walls, he called together his principal friends to consult what was best to be done. All were of opinion that it was imprudent to incur farther hazard for the preservation of the town. Dionysius now found himself in the same position as Diokles after the defeat[p. 450] near Himera, and as Daphnæus and the other Syracusan generals before Agrigentum, after the capture of their provision-fleet by the Carthaginians. He felt constrained to abandon Gela, taking the best means in his power for protecting the escape of the inhabitants. Accordingly, to keep the intention of flight secret, he sent a herald to Imilkon to solicit a burial-truce for the ensuing day; he also set apart a body of two thousand light troops, with orders to make noises in front of the enemy throughout the whole night, and to keep the lights and fires burning, so as to prevent any suspicion on the part of the Carthaginians.[964] Under cover of these precautions, he caused the Geloan population to evacuate their city in mass at the commencement of night, while he himself with his main army followed at midnight to protect them. All hurried forward on their march to Syracuse, turning to best account the hours of darkness. On their way thither lay Kamarina,—Kamarina the immovable,[965] as it was pronounced by an ancient oracle or legend, yet on that fatal night seeming to falsify the epithet. Not thinking himself competent to defend this city, Dionysius forced all the Kamarinæan population to become partners in the flight of the Geloans. The same heart-rending scene, which has already been recounted at Agrigentum and Himera, was now seen repeated on the road from Gela to Syracuse: a fugitive multitude, of all ages and of both sexes, free as well as slave, destitute and terror-stricken, hurrying they knew not whither, to get beyond the reach of a merciless enemy. The flight to Syracuse, however, was fortunately not molested by any pursuit. At daybreak the Carthaginians, discovering the abandonment of the city, immediately rushed in and took possession of it. As very little of the valuable property within it had been removed, a rich plunder fell into the hands of the conquering host, whose barbarous hands massacred indiscriminately the miserable remnant left behind: old men, sick, and children, unable to accompany a flight so sudden and so rapid. Some of the conquerors farther satiated their ferocious instincts by crucifying or mutilating these unhappy prisoners.[966]

[p. 451]

Amidst the sufferings of this distressed multitude, however, and the compassion of the protecting army, other feelings also were powerfully aroused. Dionysius, who had been so unmeasured and so effective in calumniating unsuccessful generals before, was now himself exposed to the same arrows. Fierce were the bursts of wrath and hatred against him, both among the fugitives and among the army. He was accused of having betrayed to the Carthaginians, not only the army, but also Gela and Kamarina, in order that the Syracusans, intimidated by these formidable neighbors so close to their borders, might remain in patient servitude under his dominion. It was remarked that his achievements for the relief of Gela had been unworthy of the large force which he brought with him; that the loss sustained in the recent battle had been nowise sufficient to compel, or even to excuse, a disgraceful flight; that the mercenaries, especially, the force upon which he most relied, had not only sustained no loss, but had never been brought into action; that while his measures taken against the enemy had thus been partial and inefficient, they on their side had manifested no disposition to pursue him in his flight,—thus affording a strong presumption of connivance between them. Dionysius was denounced as a traitor by all,—except his own mercenaries, whom he always kept near him for security. The Italiot allies, who had made the attack and sustained the main loss during the recent battle, were so incensed against him for having left them thus unsupported, that they retired in a body, and marched across the centre of the island home to Italy.

But the Syracusans in the army, especially the horsemen, the principal persons in the city, had a double ground of anger against Dionysius; partly from his misconduct or supposed treachery in this recent enterprise, but still more from the despotism which he had just erected over his fellow-citizens. This despotism, having been commenced in gross fraud and consummated by violence, was now deprived of the only plausible color which it had ever worn, since Dionysius had been just as disgracefully unsuccessful against the Carthaginians as those other generals whom he had denounced and superseded. Determined to rid themselves of one whom they[p. 452] hated at once as a despot and as a traitor, the Syracusan horsemen watched for an opportunity of setting upon Dionysius during the retreat, and killing him. But finding him too carefully guarded by the mercenaries who always surrounded his person, they went off in a body, and rode at their best speed to Syracuse, with the full purpose of reëstablishing the freedom of the city, and keeping out Dionysius. As they arrived before any tidings had been received of the defeat and flight at Gela, they obtained admission without impediment into the islet of Ortygia; the primitive interior city, commanding the docks and harbor, set apart by the despot for his own residence and power. They immediately assaulted and plundered the house of Dionysius, which they found richly stocked with gold, silver, and valuables of every kind. He had been despot but a few weeks; so that he must have begun betimes to despoil others, since it seems ascertained that his own private property was by no means large. The assailants not only plundered his house with all its interior wealth, but also maltreated his wife so brutally that she afterwards died of the outrage.[967] Against this unfortunate woman they probably cherished a double antipathy, not only as the wife of Dionysius, but also as the daughter of Hermokrates. They at the same time spread abroad the news that Dionysius had fled never to return; for they fully confided in the disruption which they had witnessed among the retiring army, and in the fierce wrath which they had heard universally expressed against him.[968] After having betrayed his army, together with Gela and Kamarina, to the Carthaginians, by a flight without any real ground of necessity (they asserted),—he had been exposed, disgraced, and forced to flee in reality, before the just displeasure of his own awakened fellow-citizens. Syracuse was now free; and might, on the morrow, reconstitute formally her popular government.

Had these Syracusans taken any reasonable precautions against adverse possibilities, their assurances would probably have proved correct. The career of Dionysius would here have ended. But while they abandoned themselves to the plunder of his house and brutal outrage against his wife, they were so rashly confident in his supposed irretrievable ruin, and in their own mastery of the insular portion of the city, that they neglected to guard the gate of[p. 453] Achradina (the outer city) against his reëntry. The energy and promptitude of Dionysius proved too much for them. Informed of their secession from the army, and well knowing their sentiments, he immediately divined their projects, and saw that he could only defeat them by audacity and suddenness of attack. Accordingly, putting himself at the head of his best and most devoted soldiers,—one hundred horsemen and six hundred foot,—he left his army and proceeded by a forced march to Syracuse; a distance of about four hundred stadia, or about forty-five English miles. He arrived there about midnight, and presented himself, not at the gate of Ortygia, which he had probably ascertained to be in possession of his enemies, but at that of Achradina; which latter (as has been already mentioned) formed a separate fortification from Ortygia, with the Nekropolis between them.[969] Though the gate was shut, he presently discovered it to be unguarded, and was enabled to apply to it some reeds gathered in the marshes on his road, so as to set it on fire and burn it. So eager had he been for celerity of progress, that at the moment when he reached the gate, a part only of his division were with him. But as the rest arrived while the flames were doing their work, he entered, with the whole body, into Achradina or the outer city. Marching rapidly through the streets, he became master, without resistance, of all this portion of the city, and of the agora, or market-place, which formed its chief open space. His principal enemies, astounded by this alarming news, hastened out of Ortygia into Achradina, and tried to occupy the agora. But they found it already in possession of Dionysius; and being themselves very few in number, having taken no time to get together any considerable armed body, they were overpowered and slain by his mercenaries. Dionysius was thus strong enough to vanquish all his enemies, who entered Achradina in small and successive parties, without any order, as they came out of Ortygia. He then proceeded to attack the houses of those whom he knew to be unfriendly to his dominion, slew such as he could find within, and forced the rest to seek shelter in exile. The great body of the Syracusan horsemen,—who but the evening before were masters of the city, and might with common prudence have maintained themselves in it, were thus either destroyed or[p. 454] driven into banishment. As exiles they established themselves in the town of Ætna.[970]

Thus master of the city, Dionysius was joined on the ensuing day by the main body of his mercenaries, and also by the Sicilian allies, who had now completed their march. The miserable sufferers from Gela and Kamarina, who looked upon him with indignation as their betrayer,—went to reside at Leontini; seemingly as companions of the original Leontine citizens, who had been for some time domiciliated at Syracuse, but who no longer chose to remain there under Dionysius. Leontini thus became again an independent city.[971]

Though the disasters at Gela had threatened to ruin Dionysius, yet he was now, through his recent victory, more master of Syracuse than ever; and had more completely trodden down his opponents. The horsemen, whom he had just destroyed and chased away, were for the most part the rich and powerful citizens of Syracuse. To have put down such formidable enemies, almost indispensable as leaders to any party which sought to rise against him, was the strongest of all negative securities for the prolongation of his reign. There was no public assembly any longer at Syracuse, to which he had to render account of his proceedings at Gela and Kamarina, and before which he was liable to be arraigned,—as he himself had arraigned his predecessors who had commanded at Himera and Agrigentum. All such popular securities he had already overridden or subverted. The superiority of force, and intimidation of opponents, upon which his rule rested, were now more manifest and more decisive than ever.

Notwithstanding such confirmed position, however, Dionysius might still have found defence difficult, if Imilkon had marched on with his victorious army, fresh from the plunder of Gela and Kamarina, and had laid energetic siege to Syracuse. From all[p. 455] hazard and alarm of this sort he was speedily relieved, by propositions for peace, which came spontaneously tendered by the Carthaginian general. Peace was concluded between them, on the following terms:—

1. The Carthaginians shall retain all their previous possessions, and all their Sikanian dependencies, in Sicily. They shall keep, besides, Selinus, Himera, Agrigentum. The towns of Gela and Kamarina may be reoccupied by their present fugitive inhabitants; but on condition of paying tribute to Carthage, and destroying their walls and fortifications.

2. The inhabitants of Leontini and Messênê, as well as all the Sikel inhabitants, shall be independent and autonomous.

3. The Syracusans shall be subject to Dionysius.[972]

4. All the captives, and all the ships, taken on both sides, shall be mutually restored.

Such were the conditions upon which peace was now concluded. Though they were extremely advantageous to Carthage, assigning to her, either as subject or as tributary, the whole of the southern shore of Sicily,—yet as Syracuse was, after all, the great prize to be obtained, the conquest of which was essential to the security of all the remainder, we are astonished that Imilkon did not push forward to attack it, at a moment so obviously promising. It appears that immediately after the conquest of Gela and Kamarina, the Carthaginian army was visited by a pestilential distemper, which is said to have destroyed nearly the half of it, and to have forbidden future operations. The announcement of this event however, though doubtless substantially exact, comes to us in a way somewhat confused.[973] And when we read, as one of the[p. 456] articles in the treaty, the express and formal provision that “The Syracusans shall be subject to Dionysius,”—we discern plainly, that there was also an additional cause for this timely overture, so suitable to his interests. There was real ground for those bitter complaints against Dionysius, which charged him with having betrayed Gela and Kamarina to the Carthaginians in order to assure his own dominion at Syracuse. The Carthaginians, in renouncing all pretensions to Syracuse and recognizing its autonomy, could have no interest in dictating its internal government. If they determined to recognize by formal treaty the sovereignty as vested in Dionysius, we may fairly conclude that he had purchased the favor from them by some underhand service previously rendered. In like manner both Hiketas and Agathoklês,—the latter being the successor, and in so many points the parallel of Dionysius, ninety years afterwards,—availed themselves of Carthaginian support as one stepping-stone to the despotism of Syracuse.[974]

The pestilence, however, among the Carthaginian army is said to have been so terrible as to destroy nearly the half of their numbers. The remaining half, on returning to Africa, either found it already there, or carried it with them; for the mortality at and around Carthage was not less deplorable than in Sicily.[975]

[p. 457]

It was in the summer of 405 B.C., that this treaty was concluded, which consigned all the Hellenic ground on the south of Sicily to the Carthaginian dominion, and Syracuse with its population to that of Dionysius. It was in September or October of the same year that Lysander effected his capture of the entire Athenian fleet at Ægospotami, destroyed the maritime ascendency and power of Athens, and gave commencement to the Lacedæmonian empire, completed by the actual surrender of Athens during the ensuing year. The dekarchies and harmosts, planted by Lysander in so many cities of the central Hellenic world, commenced their disastrous working nearly at the same time as the despotism of Dionysius in Syracuse. This is a point to be borne in mind, in reference to the coming period. The new position and policy wherein Sparta now became involved, imparted to her a sympathy with Dionysius such as in earlier times she probably would not have felt; and which contributed materially, in a secondary way, to the durability of his dominion, as well by positive intrigues of Lacedæmonian agents, as by depriving the oppressed Syracusans of effective aid or countenance from Corinth or other parts of Greece.[976]

The period immediately succeeding this peace was one of distress, depression, and alarm, throughout all the south of Sicily. According to the terms of the treaty, Gela and Kamarina might be reoccupied by their fugitive population; yet with demolished walls,—with all traces of previous opulence and comfort effaced by the plunderers,—and under the necessity of paying tribute to Carthage. The condition of Agrigentum, Selinus, and Himera, now actually portions of Carthaginian territory, was worse; especially Agrigentum, hurled at one blow from the loftiest pinnacle of prosperous independence. No free Hellenic territory was any longer to be found between Cape Pachynus and Cape Lilybæum, beyond the Syracusan frontier.

Amidst the profound discouragement of the Syracusan mind, the withdrawal from Sicily of the terror-striking Carthaginian army[p. 458] would be felt as a relief, and would procure credit for Dionysius.[977] It had been brought about under him, though not as a consequence of his exploits; for his military operations against Imilkon at Gela had been completely unsuccessful (and even worse); and the Carthaginians had suffered no harm except from the pestilence. While his partisans had thus a plea for extolling him as the savior of the city, he also gathered strength in other ways out of the recent events. He had obtained a formal recognition of his government from the Carthaginians; he had destroyed or banished the chief Syracusan citizens opposed to his dominion, and struck terror into the rest; he had brought back all his mercenary troops and guards, without loss or dissatisfaction. He now availed himself of his temporary strength to provide precautions for perpetuity, before the Syracusans should recover spirit, or obtain a favorable opportunity, to resist.

His first measure was to increase the fortifications of the islet called Ortygia, strengthening it as a position to be held separately from Achradina and the remaining city. He constructed a new wall, provided with lofty turrets and elaborate defences of every kind, immediately outside of the mole which connected this islet with Sicily. On the outside of this new wall, he provided convenient places for transacting business, porticos spacious enough to shelter a considerable multitude, and seemingly a distinct strong fort, destined for a public magazine of corn.[978] It suited his purpose that the trade of the town should be carried on, and the persons of the traders congregated, under or near the outer walls of his peculiar fortress. As a farther means of security, he also[p. 459] erected a distinct citadel or acropolis within the islet and behind the new wall. The citadel was close to the Lesser Harbor or Portus Lakkius. Its walls were so extended as to embrace the whole of this harbor, closing it up in such a way as to admit only one ship at a time, though there was room for sixty ships within. He was thus provided with an almost impregnable stronghold, not only securing him against attack from the more numerous population in the outer city, but enabling him to attack them whenever he chose,—and making him master, at the same time, of the grand means of war and defence against foreign enemies.

To provide a fortress in the islet of Ortygia, was one step towards perpetual dominion at Syracuse; to fill it with devoted adherents, was another. For Dionysius, the instruments of dominion were his mercenary troops and body-guards; men chosen by himself from their aptitude to his views, identified with him in interest, and consisting in large proportion not merely of foreigners, but even of liberated slaves. To these men he now proceeded to assign a permanent support and residence. He distributed among them the houses in the islet or inferior stronghold, expelling the previous proprietors, and permitting no one to reside there except his own intimate partisans and soldiers. Their quarters were in the islet, while he dwelt in the citadel,—a fortress within a fortress, sheltering his own person against the very garrison or standing army, by means of which he kept Syracuse in subjection.[979] Having provided houses for his soldiers, by extruding the residents in Ortygia,—he proceeded to assign to them a comfortable maintenance, by the like wholesale dispossession of proprietors, and reappropriation of lands, without. He distributed anew the entire Syracusan territory; reserving the best lands, and the best shares, for his own friends and for the officers in command of his mercenaries,—and apportioning the remaining territory in equal shares to all the inhabitants, citizens as well as non-citizens. By this distribution the latter became henceforward citizens as well as the former; so far at least, as any man[p. 460] could be properly called a citizen under his despotism. Even the recently enfranchised slaves became new citizens and proprietors as well as the rest.[980]

Respecting this sweeping change of property, it is mortifying to have no farther information than is contained in two or three brief sentences of Diodorus. As a basis for entire redivision of lands, Dionysius would find himself already possessed of the property of those Syracusan Horsemen or Knights whom he had recently put down or banished. As a matter of course, their property would be confiscated, and would fall into his possession for reassignment. It would doubtless be considerable, inasmuch as these Horsemen were for the most part wealthy men. From this basis, Dionysius enlarged his scheme to the more comprehensive idea of a general spoliation and reappropriation, for the benefit of his partisans and his mercenary soldiers. The number of these last we do not know; but on an occasion not very long afterwards, the mercenaries under him are mentioned as amounting to about ten thousand.[981] To ensure landed properties to each of these men, together with the monopoly of residence in Ortygia, nothing less than a sweeping confiscation would suffice. How far the equality of share, set forth in principle, was or could be adhered to in practice, we cannot say. The maxim of allowing residence in Ortygia to none but friends and partisans, passed from Dionysius into a traditional observance for future anti-popular governments of Syracuse. The Roman consul Marcellus, when he subdued the city near two centuries afterwards, prescribed the rule of admitting into the islet none but Romans, and of excluding all native Syracusan residents.[982]

[p. 461]

Such mighty works of fortification, combined with so extensive a revolution both in property and in domicile, cannot have been accomplished in less than a considerable time, nor without provoking considerable resistance in detail. Nor is it to be forgotten that the pecuniary cost of such fortifications must have been very heavy. How Dionysius contrived to levy the money, we do not know. Aristotle informs us that the contributions which he exacted from the Syracusans were so exorbitant, that within the space of five years, the citizens had paid into his hands their entire property; that is, twenty per cent. per annum upon their whole property.[983] To what years this statement refers, we do not know; nor what was the amount of contribution exacted on the special occasion now before us. But we may justly infer from it that Dionysius would not scruple to lay his hand heavily upon the Syracusans for the purpose of defraying the cost of his fortifications; and that the simultaneous burthen of large contributions would thus come to aggravate the painful spoliation and transfers of property, and the still more intolerable mischiefs of a numerous standing army domiciled as masters in the heart of the city. Under such circumstances, we are not surprised to learn that the discontent among the Syracusans was extreme, and that numbers of them were greatly mortified at having let slip the favorable opportunity of excluding Dionysius, when the Horsemen were actually for a moment masters of Syracuse, before he suddenly came back from Gela.[984]

Whatever might be the extent of indignation actually felt, there could be no concert or manifestation in Syracuse, under a watchful despot with the overwhelming force assembled in Ortygia. But a suitable moment speedily occurred. Having completed his fortress and new appropriation for the assured maintenance of the mercenaries, Dionysius resolved to attempt a conquest of the autonomous Sikel tribes in the interior of the island, some of whom had sided with Carthage in the recent war. He accordingly marched out with a military force, consisting partly of his mercenary troops, part[p. 462]ly of armed Syracusan citizens under a commander named Dorikus. While he was laying siege to the town of Erbessus, the Syracusan troops, finding themselves assembled in arms and animated with one common sentiment, began to concert measures for open resistance to Dionysius. The commander Dorikus, in striving to repress these manifestations, lifted up his hand to chastise one of the most mutinous speakers;[985] upon which the soldiers rushed forward in a body to defend him. They slew Dorikus, and proclaimed themselves again, with loud shouts, free Syracusan citizens; calling upon all their comrades in the camp to unite against the despot. They also sent a message forthwith to the town of Ætna, inviting the immediate junction of the Syracusan Horsemen, who had sought shelter there in their exile from Dionysius. Their appeal found the warmest sympathy among the Syracusan soldiers in the camp, all of whom declared themselves decisively against the despot, and prepared for every effort to recover their liberty.

So rapidly did this sentiment break out into vehement and unanimous action, that Dionysius was too much intimidated to attempt to put it down at once by means of his mercenaries. Profiting by the lesson which he had received, after the return march from Gela, he raised the siege of Erbessus forthwith, and returned to Syracuse to make sure of his position in Ortygia, before his Syracusan enemies could arrive there. Meanwhile the latter, thus left full of joy and confidence, as well as masters of the camp, chose for their leaders those soldiers who had slain Dorikus, and found themselves speedily reinforced by the Horsemen, or returning exiles from Ætna. Resolved to spare no effort for liberating Syracuse, they sent envoys to Messênê and Rhegium, as well as to Corinth, for aid; while they at the same time marched with all their force to Syracuse, and encamped on the heights of Epipolæ. It is not clear whether they remained in this position, or whether they were enabled, through the sympathy of the population, to possess themselves farther of the outer city Achradina, and with its appendages Tycha and Neapolis. Dionysius was certainly cut off from all communication with the country; but he maintained himself in his impregnable position in Ortygia, now exclusively occupied by his chosen[p. 463] partisans and mercenaries. If he even continued master of Achradina, he must have been prevented from easy communication with it. The assailants extended themselves under the walls of Ortygia, from Epipolæ to the Greater as well as the Lesser Harbor.[986] A considerable naval force was sent to their aid from Messênê and Rhegium, giving to them the means of blocking him up on the seaside; while the Corinthians, though they could grant no farther assistance, testified their sympathy by sending Nikoteles as adviser.[987] The leaders of the movement proclaimed Syracuse again a free city, offered large rewards for the head of Dionysius, and promised equal citizenship to all the mercenaries who should desert him.

Several of the mercenaries, attracted by such offers, as well as intimidated by that appearance of irresistible force which characterizes the first burst of a popular movement, actually came over and were well received. Everything seemed to promise success to the insurgents, who, not content with the slow process of blockade, brought up battering-machines, and vehemently assaulted the walls of Ortygia. Nothing now saved Dionysius except those elaborate fortifications which he had so recently erected, defying all attack. And even though sheltered by them, his position appeared to be so desperate, that desertion from Ortygia every day increased. He himself began to abandon the hope of maintaining his dominion; discussing with his intimate friends the alternative, between death under a valiant but hopeless resistance, and safety purchased by a dishonorable flight. There remained but one means of rescue: to purchase the immediate aid of a body of twelve hundred mercenary Campanian cavalry, now in the Carthaginian service, and stationed probably at Gela or Agrigentum. His brother-in-law Polyxenus advised him to mount his swiftest horse, to visit in person the Campanians, and bring them to the relief of Ortygia. But this counsel was strenuously resisted by two intimate friends,—Helôris and Megaklês,—who both impressed upon him, that the royal robe was the only honorable funeral garment, and that, instead of quitting his post at full speed, he ought to cling to it until he was dragged away by the leg.[988] Accordingly, Dionysius determined to hold out, without quitting Ortygia; sending private en[p. 464]voys to the Campanians, with promises of large pay if they would march immediately to his defence. The Carthaginians were probably under obligation not to oppose this, having ensured to Dionysius by special article of treaty the possession of Syracuse.

To gain time for their arrival, by deluding and disarming the assailants, Dionysius affected to abandon all hope of prolonged defence, and sent to request permission to quit the city, along with his private friends and effects. Permission was readily granted to him to depart with five triremes. But as soon as this evidence of success had been acquired, the assailants without abandoned themselves to extravagant joy and confidence, considering Dionysius as already subdued, and the siege as concluded. Not merely was all farther attack suspended, but the forces were in a great measure broken up. The Horsemen were disbanded, by a proceeding alike unjust and ungrateful, to be sent back to Ætna; while the hoplites dispersed about the country to their various lands and properties. The same difficulty of keeping a popular force long together for any military operation requiring time, which had been felt when the Athenians besieged their usurpers Kylon and Peisistratus in the acropolis,[989] was now experienced in regard to the siege of Ortygia. Tired with the length of the siege, the Syracusans blindly abandoned themselves to the delusive assurance held out by Dionysius; without taking heed to maintain their force and efficiency undiminished, until his promised departure should be converted into a reality. In this unprepared and disorderly condition, they were surprised by the sudden arrival of the Campanians,[990] who, attacking and defeating them with considerable loss, forced[p. 465] their way through to join Dionysius in Ortygia. At the same time, a reinforcement of three hundred fresh mercenaries reached him by sea. The face of affairs was now completely changed. The recent defeat produced among the assailants not only discouragement, but also mutual recrimination and quarrel. Some insisted upon still prosecuting the siege of Ortygia, while others, probably the friends of the recently dismissed Horsemen, declared in favor of throwing it up altogether and joining the Horsemen at Ætna; a resolution, which they seem at once to have executed. Observing his opponents thus enfeebled and torn by dissension, Dionysius sallied out and attacked them, near the suburb called Neapolis or Newtown, on the south-west of Achradina. He was victorious, and forced them to disperse. But he took great pains to prevent slaughter of the fugitives, riding up himself to restrain his own troops; and he subsequently buried the slain with due solemnity. He was anxious by these proceedings to conciliate the remainder; for the most warlike portion of his opponents had retired to Ætna, where no less than seven thousand hoplites were now assembled along with the Horsemen. Dionysius sent thither envoys to invite them to return to Syracuse, promising the largest amnesty for the past. But it was in vain that his envoys expatiated upon his recent forbearance towards the fugitives and decent interment of the slain. Few could be induced to come back, except such as had left their wives and families at Syracuse in his power. The larger proportion, refusing all trust in his word and all submission to his command, remained in exile at Ætna. Such as did return were well treated, in hopes of inducing the rest gradually to follow their example.[991]

Thus was Dionysius rescued from a situation apparently desperate, and reëstablished in his dominion; chiefly through the rash presumption (as on the former occasion after the retreat from Gela), the want of persevering union, and the absence of any commanding leader, on the part of his antagonists. His first proceeding was to[p. 466] dismiss the newly-arrived Campanians. For though he had to thank them mainly for his restoration, he was well aware that they were utterly faithless, and that on the first temptation they were likely to turn against him.[992] But he adopted more efficient means for strengthening his dominion in Syracuse, and for guarding against a repetition of that danger from which he had so recently escaped. He was assisted in his proceedings by a Lacedæmonian envoy named Aristus, recently despatched by the Spartans for the ostensible purpose of bringing about an amicable adjustment of parties at Syracuse. While Nikoteles, who had been sent from Corinth, espoused the cause of the Syracusan people, and put himself at their head to obtain for them more or less of free government,—Aristus, on the contrary, lent himself to the schemes of Dionysius. He seduced the people away from Nikoteles, whom he impeached and caused to be slain. Next, pretending himself to act along with the people, and to employ the great ascendency of Sparta in defence of their freedom,[993] he gained their confidence and then betrayed them. The despot was thus enabled to strengthen himself more decisively than before, and probably to take off the effective popular leaders thus made known to him; while the mass of the citizens were profoundly discouraged by finding Sparta enlisted in the conspiracy against their liberties.

Of this renovated tide of success Dionysius took advantage, to strike another important blow. During the season of harvest,[p. 467] while the citizens were busy in the fields, he caused the houses to be searched, and seized all the arms found therein. Not satisfied with thus robbing his opponents of the means of attack, he farther proceeded to construct additional fortifications around the islet of Ortygia, to augment his standing army of mercenaries, and to build fresh ships. Feeling more than ever that his dominion was repugnant to the Syracusans, and rested only on naked force, he thus surrounded himself with precautions probably stronger than any other Grecian despot had ever accumulated. He was yet farther strengthened by the pronounced and active support of Sparta, now at the maximum of her imperial ascendency;[994] and by the presence of the mighty Lysander at Syracuse as her ambassador to countenance and exalt him.[995] The Spartan alliance, however, did not prevent him from enrolling among his mercenaries a considerable fraction of the Messenians, the bitter enemies of Sparta; who were now driven out of Naupaktus and Kephallenia, with no other possession left except their arms[996]—and whose restoration to Peloponnesus by Epaminondas, about thirty years afterwards, has been described in a preceding chapter.

So large a mercenary force, while the people in Syracuse were prostrate and in no condition for resistance, naturally tempted Dionysius to seek conquest as well as plunder beyond the border. Not choosing as yet to provoke a war with Carthage, he turned his arms to the north and north-west of the Syracusan territory; the Grecian (Chalkidic or Ionic) cities, Naxus, Katana, and Leontini—and the Sikels, towards the centre of Sicily. The three Chalkidic cities were the old enemies of Syracuse, but Leontini had been conquered by the Syracusans even before the Athenian expedition, and remained as a Syracusan possession until the last peace with the Carthaginians, when it had been declared independent. Naxus and Katana had contrived to retain their independence against Syracuse, even after the ruin of the Athenian armament under Nikias. At the head of a powerful force, Dionysius marched out from Syracuse first against the town of Ætna, occupied by a considerable body of Syracusan exiles hostile to his dominion.[p. 468] Though the place was strong by situation,[997] yet these men, too feeble to resist, were obliged to evacuate it; upon which he proceeded to attack Leontini. But on summoning the inhabitants to surrender, he found his propositions rejected, and every preparation made for a strenuous defence; so that he could do nothing more than plunder the territory around, and then advanced onward into the interior Sikel territory, towards Enna and Erbita. But his march in this direction was little more than a feint, for the purpose of masking his real views upon Naxus and Katana, with both which cities he had already opened intrigues. Arkesilaus, general of Katana, and Prokles, general of Naxus, were both carrying on corrupt negotiations for the purpose of selling to him the liberty of their native cities. Until the negotiations were completed, Dionysius wished to appear as if turning his arms elsewhere, and therefore marched against Enna. Here he entered into conspiracy with an Ennæan citizen named Aeimnestus, whom he instigated to seize the sceptre of his native town,—by promises of assistance, on condition of being himself admitted afterwards. Aeimnestus made the attempt and succeeded, but did not fulfil his engagement to Dionysius; who resented this proceeding so vehemently, that he assisted the Ennæans in putting down Aeimnestus, delivered him as prisoner into their hands, and then retired, satisfied with such revenge, without farther meddling. He next marched against Erbita, before which he passed his time with little or no result, until the bribes promised at Naxus and Katana had taken effect. At length the terms were fully settled. Dionysius was admitted at night by Arkesilaus into Katana, seized the city, disarmed the inhabitants, and planted there a powerful garrison. Naxus was next put into his hands, by the like corruption on the part of Prokles; who was rewarded with a large bribe, and with the privilege of preserving his kinsmen. Both cities were given up to be plundered by his soldiers; after which the walls as well as the houses were demolished, and the inhabitants sold as slaves. The dismantled site of Katana was then assigned to a body of Campanian mercenaries in the service of Dionysius, who however retained in his possession hostages for their fidelity;[998] the site of Naxus to the indigenous Sikels in the neighborhood. These captures struck so[p. 469] much terror into the Leontines, that when Dionysius renewed his attack upon them, they no longer felt competent to resist. He required them to surrender their city, to remove to Syracuse, and there to reside for the future as citizens; which term meant, at the actual time, as subjects of his despotism. The Leontines obeyed the requisition, and their city thus again became an appendage of Syracuse.[999]

These conquests of Dionysius, achieved mainly by corrupting the generals of Naxos and Katana, were of serious moment, and spread so much alarm among the Sikels of the interior, that Archonides, the Sikel prince of Erbita, thought it prudent to renounce his town and soil; withdrawing to a new site beyond the Nebrode mountains, on the northern coast of the island, more out of the reach of Syracusan attack. Here, with his mercenary soldiers and with a large portion of his people who voluntarily accompanied him, he founded the town of Alæsa.[1000]

Strengthened at home by these successes abroad, the sanguine despot of Syracuse was stimulated to still greater enterprises. He resolved to commence aggressive war with the Carthaginians. But against such formidable enemies, large preparations were indispensable, defensive as well as offensive, before his design could be proclaimed. First, he took measures to ensure the defensibility of Syracuse against all contingencies. Five Grecian cities on the south of the island, one of them the second in Sicily, had already undergone the deplorable fate of being sacked by a Carthaginian host; a calamity, which might possibly be in reserve for Syracuse also, especially if she herself provoked a war, unless the most elaborate precautions were taken to render a successful blockade impossible.

Now the Athenian blockade under Nikias had impressed valuable lessons on the mind of every Syracusan. The city had then been well-nigh blocked up by a wall of circumvallation carried from sea to sea; which was actually more than half completed, and would have been entirely completed, had the original com[p. 470]mander been Demosthenes instead of Nikias. The prodigious importance of the slope of Epipolæ to the safety of the city had been demonstrated by the most unequivocal evidence. In my seventh volume, I have already described the site of Syracuse and the relation of this slope to the outer city called Achradina. Epipolæ was a gentle ascent west of Achradina. It was bordered, along both the north side and the south side, by lines of descending cliff, cut down precipitously, about twenty feet deep in their lowest part. These lines of cliff nearly converged at the summit of the slope, called Euryalus; leaving a narrow pass or road between elevated banks, which communicated with the country both north and west of Syracuse. Epipolæ thus formed a triangle upon an inclined plane, sloping upward from its base, the outer wall of Achradina, to its apex at Euryalus; and having its two sides formed, the one by the northern, the other by the southern, line of cliffs. This apex formed a post of the highest importance, commanding the narrow road which approached Epipolæ from its western extremity or summit, and through which alone it was easy for an army to get on the declivity of Epipolæ, since the cliffs on each side were steep, though less steep on the northern side than on the southern.[1001] Unless an enemy acquired possession of this slope, Syracuse could never be blocked up from the northern sea at Trogilus to the Great Harbor; an enterprise, which Nikias and the Athenians were near accomplishing, because they first surprised from the northward the position of Euryalus, and from thence poured down upon the slope of Epipolæ. I have already described, in my seventh volume, how the arrival of Gylippus deprived them of superiority in the field, at a time when their line of circumvallation was already half finished,—having been carried from the centre of Epipolæ southward down to Great Harbor, and being partially completed from the same point across the northern half of Epipolæ to the sea at Trogilus; how he next intercepted their farther progress, by carrying out, from the outer wall of Achradina, a cross wall traversing their intended line of circumvallation and ending at the northern cliff; how he finally erected a fort or guard-post on the summit of Euryalus, which he[p. 471] connected with the cross-wall just mentioned by a single wall of junction carried down the slope of Epipolæ.[1002]

Both the danger which Syracuse had then incurred, and the means whereby it had been obviated, were fresh in the recollection of Dionysius. Since the Athenian siege, the Syracusans may perhaps have preserved the fort erected by Gylippus near Euryalus; but they had pulled down the wall of junction, the cross-wall, and the outer wall of protection constructed between the arrival of Nikias in Sicily and his commencement of the siege, enclosing the sacred precinct of Apollo Temenites. The outer city of Syracuse was thus left with nothing but the wall of Achradina, with its two suburbs or excrescences, Tychê and Neapolis. Dionysius now resolved to provide for Syracuse a protection substantially similar to that contrived by Gylippus, yet more comprehensive, elaborate, and permanent. He carried out an outer line of defence, starting from the sea near the port called Trogilus, enclosing the suburb called Tychê (which adjoined Achradina to the north-west), and then ascending westward, along the brink of the northern cliff of Epipolæ, to the summit of that slope at Euryalus. The two extremities thus became connected together,—not as in the time of Gylippus,[1003] by a single cross-wall carried out from the city-wall to the northern cliff, and then joined at an angle by another single wall descending the slope of Epipolæ from Euryalus, but,—by one continuous new line bordering the northern cliff down to the sea. And the new line, instead of being a mere single wall, was now built under the advice of the best engineers, with lofty and frequent towers interspersed throughout its length, to serve both as means of defence and as permanent quarters for soldiers. Its length was thirty stadia (about three and a half English miles); it was constructed of large stones carefully hewn, some of them four feet in length.[1004] The quarries at hand supplied abundant materials, and for the labor necessary, Dionysius brought together all the population of the city and its neighborhood, out of whom he selected sixty thousand of the most[p. 472] effective hands, to work on the wall. Others were ordered to cut the stones in the quarry, while six thousand teams of oxen were put in harness to draw them to the spot. The work was set out by furlongs and by smaller spaces of one hundred feet each, to regiments of suitable number, each under the direction of an overseer.[1005]

As yet, we have heard little about Dionysius except acts of fraud, violence, and spoliation, for the purpose of establishing his own dominion over Syracuse, and aggrandizing himself by new conquests on the borders. But this new fortification was a work of different import. Instead of being, like his forts and walls in Ortygia, a guardhouse both of defence and aggression merely for himself against the people of Syracuse,—it was a valuable protection to the people, and to himself along with them, against foreign besiegers. It tended much to guarantee Syracuse from those disasters which had so recently befallen Agrigentum and the other cities. Accordingly, it was exceeding popular among the Syracusans, and produced between them and Dionysius a sentiment of friendship and harmony such as had not before been seen. Every man labored at the work not merely with good will, but with enthusiasm; while the despot himself displayed unwearied zeal, passing whole days on the spot, and taking part in all the hardship and difficulty. He showed himself everywhere amidst the mass, as an unguarded citizen, without suspicion or reserve, in marked contrast with the harshness of his previous demeanor,[1006] proclaiming rewards for the best and most rapid workmen; he also provided attendance or relief for those whose strength gave way. Such was the emulation thus inspired, that the numbers assembled, often toiling by night as well as by day, completed the whole wall in the space of twenty days. The fort at Euryalus, which formed the termination of this newly-constructed line of wall, is probably not to be understood as comprised within so short a period of execution; at least in its complete consummation. For the defences provided at this fort (either now or at a later[p. 473] period) were prodigious in extent as well as elaborate in workmanship; and the remains of them exhibit, even to modern observers, the most complete specimen preserved to us of ancient fortification.[1007] To bring them into such a condition must have occupied a longer time than twenty days. Even as to the wall, perhaps, twenty days is rather to be understood as indicating the time required for the essential continuity of its line, leaving towers, gates, etc., to be added afterwards.

To provide defence for Syracuse against a besieging army, however, was only a small part of the extensive schemes of Dionysius. What he meditated was aggressive war against the Carthaginians; for which purpose, he not only began to accumulate preparations of every kind on the most extensive scale, but also modified his policy both towards the Syracusans and towards the other Sicilian Greeks.

Towards the Syracusans his conduct underwent a material change. The cruelty and oppression which had hitherto marked his dominion was discontinued; he no longer put men to death, or sent them into banishment, with the same merciless hand as before. In place of such tyranny, he now substituted comparative mildness, forbearance, and conciliation.[1008] Where the system had before been so fraught with positive maltreatment to many and alarm to all, the mitigation of it must have been sensibly as well as immediately felt. And when we make present to our minds the relative position of Dionysius and the Syracusans, we shall see that the evil inflicted by his express order by no means represented the whole amount of evil which they suffered. He occupied the impregnable fortress of Ortygia, with the entire harbor, docks, and maritime means of the city. The numerous garrison in his pay, and devoted to him, consisted in great part of barbaric or non-Hellenic soldiers and of liberated slaves, probably also non-Hellenic. The Syracusans resident in the outer city and around were not only destitute of the means of defensive concert and[p. 474] organization, but were also disarmed. For these mercenaries either pay was to be provided from the contributions of the citizens, or lands from their properties; for them, and for other partisans also, Dionysius had enforced spoliations and transfers of land and house-property by wholesale.[1009] Now, while the despot himself was inflicting tyrannical sentences for his own purposes, we may be sure that these men, the indispensable instruments of his tyranny, would neither of themselves be disposed to respect the tranquillity of the other citizens, nor be easily constrained to do so. It was not, therefore, merely from the systematic misrule of the chief that the Syracusans had to suffer, but also from the insolence and unruly appetites of the subordinates. And accordingly they would be doubly gainers, when Dionysius, from anxiety to attack the Carthaginians, thought it prudent to soften the rigor of his own proceedings; since his example, and in case of need his interference, would restrict the license of his own partisans. The desire for foreign conquest made it now his interest to conciliate some measure of goodwill from the Syracusans; or at least to silence antipathies which might become embarrassing if they broke out in the midst of a war. And he had in this case the advantage of resting on another antipathy, powerful and genuine in their minds. Hating as well as fearing Carthage, the Syracusans cordially sympathized in the aggressive schemes of Dionysius against her; which held out a prospect of relief from the tyranny under which they groaned, and some chance of procuring a restoration of the arms snatched from them.[1010]

Towards the Sicilian Greeks, also, the conduct of Dionysius was mainly influenced by his anti-Carthaginian projects, which made him eager to put aside, or at least to defer, all possibilities of war in other quarters. The inhabitants of Rhegium, on the Italian side of the Strait of Messina, had recently manifested a disposition to attack him. They were of common Chalkidic origin with Naxos and Katana, the two cities which Dionysius had recently conquered and enslaved. Sixteen years before, when the powerful Athenian armament visited Sicily with the ostensible view of protecting the Chalkidic cities against Syracuse, the Rhegines in spite of their fellowship of race, had refused the invitation of Nikias[1011] to lend assistance, being then afraid of Athens.[p. 475] But subsequent painful experience had taught them, that to residents in or near Sicily, Syracuse was the more formidable enemy of the two. The ruin of Naxus and Katana, with the great extension of Syracusan dominion northward, had filled them with apprehension from Dionysius, similar to the fears of Carthage, inspired to the Syracusans themselves by the disasters of Agrigentum and Gela. Anxious to revenge their enslaved kinsmen, the Rhegines projected an attack upon Dionysius before his power should become yet more formidable; a resolution, in which they were greatly confirmed by the instigations of the Syracusan exiles (now driven from Ætna and the other neighboring cities to Rhegium), confident in their assurances that insurrection would break out against Dionysius at Syracuse, so soon as any foreign succor should be announced as approaching. Envoys were sent across the strait to Messênê, soliciting coöperation against Dionysius, upon the urgent plea that the ruin of Naxus and Katana could not be passed over, either in generosity or in prudence, by neighbors on either side of the strait. These representations made so much impression on the generals of Messênê, that without consulting the public assembly, they forthwith summoned the military force of the city, and marched along with the Rhegines towards the Syracusan frontier,—six thousand Rhegine and four thousand Messenian hoplites,—six hundred Rhegine and four hundred Messenian horsemen,—with fifty Rhegine triremes. But when they reached the frontiers of the Messenian territory, a large portion of the soldiers refused to follow their generals farther. A citizen named Laomedon headed the opposition, contending that the generals had no authority to declare war without a public vote of the city, and that it was imprudent to attack Dionysius unprovoked. Such was the effect of these remonstrances, that the Messenian soldiers returned back to their city; while the Rhegines, believing themselves to be inadequate to the enterprise single handed, went home also.[1012]

Apprised of the attack meditated, Dionysius had already led his troops to defend the Syracusan frontier. But he now reconducted them back to Syracuse, and listened favorably to propositions for peace which speedily reached him, from Rhegium and[p. 476] Messênê.[1013] He was anxious to conciliate them for the present, at all price, in order that the Carthaginians, when he came to execute his plans, might find no Grecian allies to coöperate with them in Sicily. He acquired an influence in Messênê, by making to the city large concessions of conterminous territory; on which side of the border, or how acquired, we do not know. He farther endeavored to open an intimate connection with Rhegium by marrying a Rhegine wife; with which view he sent a formal message to the citizens, asking permission to contract such an alliance, accompanied with a promise to confer upon them important benefits, both in territorial aggrandizement and in other ways. After a public debate, the Rhegines declined his proposition. The feeling in their city was decidedly hostile to Dionysius, as the recent destroyer of Naxus and Katana; and it appears that some of the speakers expressed themselves with contemptuous asperity, remarking that the daughter of the public executioner was the only fit wife for him.[1014] Taken by itself, the refusal would be sufficiently galling to Dionysius. But when coupled with such insulting remarks (probably made in public debate in the presence of his own envoys, for it seems not credible that the words should have been embodied in the formal reply or resolution of the assembly[1015]), it left the bitterest animosity; a feeling, which we shall hereafter find in full operation.

Refused at Rhegium, Dionysius sent to prefer a similar request, with similar offers, at the neighboring city of Lokri; where it was favorably entertained. It is remarkable that Aristotle comments upon this acquiescence of the Lokrians as an act of grave imprudence, and as dictated only by the anxiety of the principal citizens, in an oligarchical government, to seek for aggrandizement to themselves out of such an alliance. The request would not have been granted (Aristotle observes) either in a democracy or in a well-regulated aristocracy. The marital connection now contracted by Dionysius with a Lokrian female, Doris, the daughter of a citizen of distinction named Xenetus, produced as an ultimate conse[p. 477]quence the overthrow of the oligarchy of Lokri.[1016] And even among the Lokrians, the request was not granted without opposition. A citizen named Aristeides (one of the companions of Plato), whose daughter Dionysius had solicited in marriage, returned for answer that he would rather see her dead than united to a despot. In revenge for this bitter reply, Dionysius caused the sons of Aristeides to be put to death.[1017]

But the amicable relations which Dionysius was at so much pains to establish with the Greek cities near the Strait of Messênê, were destined chiefly to leave him free for preparations against Carthage; which preparations he now commenced on a gigantic scale. Efforts so great and varied, combined not merely with forecast but with all the scientific appliances then available, have not hitherto come before us throughout this history. The terrible effect with which Hannibal had recently employed his battering-machines against Selinus and Himera, stimulated Dionysius to provide himself with the like implements in greater abundance than any Greek general had ever before possessed. He collected at Syracuse, partly by constraint, partly by allurement, all the best engineers, mechanists, armorers, artisans, etc., whom Sicily or Italy could furnish. He set them upon the construction of machines and other muniments of war, and upon the manufacture of arms offensive as well as defensive, with the greatest possible assiduity. The arms provided were of great variety; not merely such as were suitable for Grecian soldiers, heavy or light, but also such as were in use among the different barbaric tribes around the Mediterranean, Gauls, Iberians, Tyrrhenians, etc., from whom Dionysius intended to hire mercenaries; so that every different soldier would be furnished, on arriving, with the sort of weapon which had become habitual to him. All Syracuse became a bustling military workshop,—not only the market-places, porticos, palæstræ, and large private houses, but also the fore-cham[p. 478]bers and back-chambers of the various temples. Dionysius distributed the busy multitude into convenient divisions, each with some eminent citizen as superintendent. Visiting them in person frequently, and reviewing their progress, he recompensed largely, and invited to his table, those who produced the greatest amount of finished work. As he farther offered premiums for inventive skill, the competition of ingenious mechanists originated several valuable warlike novelties; especially the great projectile engine for stones and darts, called Catapulta, which was now for the first time devised. We are told that the shields fabricated during this season of assiduous preparation were not less than one hundred and forty thousand in number, and the breast-plates fourteen thousand, many of them unrivalled in workmanship, destined for the body-guard and the officers. Helmets, spears, daggers, etc., with other arms and weapons in indefinite variety, were multiplied in corresponding proportion.[1018] The magazines of arms, missiles, machines, and muniments of war in every variety, accumulated in Ortygia, continued stupendous in amount through the whole life of Dionysius, and even down to the downfall of his son.[1019]

If the preparations for land-warfare were thus stupendous, those for sea-warfare were fully equal, if not superior. The docks of Syracuse were filled with the best ship-builders, carpenters, and artisans; numerous wood-cutters were sent to cut ship-timber on the well-clothed slopes of Ætna and the Calabrian Apennines; teams of oxen were then provided to drag it to the coast, from whence it was towed in rafts to Syracuse. The existing naval establishment of Syracuse comprised one hundred and ten triremes; the existing docks contained one hundred and fifty ship-houses, or covered slips for the purpose either of building or housing a trireme. But this was very inadequate to the conceptions of Dionysius, who forthwith undertook the construction of one hundred and sixty new ship-houses, each competent to hold two vessels,—and then commenced the building of new ships of war to the number of two hundred; while he at the same time put all[p. 479] the existing vessels and docks into the best state of repair. Here too, as in the case of the catapulta, the ingenuity of his architects enabled him to stand forth as a maritime inventor. As yet, the largest ship of war which had ever moved on the Grecian or Mediterranean waters, was the trireme, which was rowed by three banks or tiers of oars. It was now three centuries since the first trireme had been constructed at Corinth and Samos by the inventive skill of the Corinthian Ameinokles:[1020] it was not until the period succeeding the Persian invasion that even triremes had become extensively employed; nor had any larger vessels ever been thought of. The Athenians, who during the interval between the Persian invasion and their great disaster at Syracuse had stood preëminent and set the fashion in all nautical matters, were under no inducement to build above the size of the trireme. As their style of manœuvring consisted of rapid evolutions and changes in the ship’s direction, for the purpose of striking the weak parts of an enemy’s ship with the beak of their own,—so, if the size of their ship had been increased, her capacity for such nimble turns and movements would have been diminished. But the Syracusans had made no attempt to copy the rapid evolutions of the Athenian navy. On the contrary, when fighting against the latter in the confined harbor of Syracuse,[1021] they had found every advantage in their massive build of ships, and straightforward impact of bow driven against bow. For them, the larger ships were the more suitable and efficient; so that Dionysius or his naval architects, full of ambitious aspirations, now struck out the plan of building ships of war with four or five banks of oars instead of three; that is, quadriremes, or quinqueremes, instead of triremes.[1022] Not only did the Syracusan despot thus equip a naval force equal in number of ships to Athens in her best days; but he also exhibited ships larger than Athens had ever possessed, or than Greece had ever conceived.

In all these offensive preparations against Carthage, as in the previous defences on Epipolæ, the spontaneous impulse of the Syracusans generally went hand in hand with Dionysius.[1023] Their[p. 480] sympathy and concurrence greatly promoted the success of his efforts, for this immense equipment against the common enemy. Even with all this sympathy, indeed, we are at a loss to understand, nor are we at all informed, how he found money to meet so prodigious an outlay.

After the material means for war had thus been completed,—an operation which can hardly have occupied less than two or three years,—it remained to levy men. On this point, the ideas of Dionysius were not less aspiring. Besides his own numerous standing force, he enlisted all the most effective among the Syracusan citizens, as well as from the cities in his dependency. He sent friendly addresses, and tried to acquire popularity, among the general body of Greeks throughout the island. Of his large fleet, one-half was manned with Syracusan rowers, marines, and officers; the other half with seamen enlisted from abroad. He farther sent envoys both to Italy and to Peloponnesus to obtain auxiliaries, with offers of the most liberal pay. From Sparta, now at the height of her power, and courting his alliance as a means of perpetuity to her own empire, he received such warm encouragement, that he was enabled to enlist no inconsiderable numbers in Peloponnesus; while many barbaric or non-Hellenic soldiers from the western regions near the Mediterranean were hired also.[1024] He at length succeeded, to his satisfaction, in collecting an aggregate army, formidable not less from numbers and bravery, than from elaborate and diversified equipment. His large and well-stocked armory (already noticed) enabled him to furnish each newly-arrived soldier, from all the different nations, with native and appropriate weapons.[1025]

When all his preparations were thus complete, his last step was to celebrate his nuptials, a few days previous to the active commencement of the war. He married, at one and the same time, two wives,—the Lokrian Doris (already mentioned), and a Syracusan woman named Aristomachê, daughter of his partisan Hipparinus (and sister of Dion, respecting whom much will occur hereafter). The first use made of one among his newly-invented quinquereme vessels, was to sail to Lokri, decked out in the richest ornaments of gold and silver, for the purpose of conveying Doris[p. 481] in state to Ortygia. Aristomachê was also brought to his house in a splendid chariot with four white horses.[1026] He celebrated his nuptials with both of them in his house on the same day; no one knew which bedchamber he visited first; and both of them continued constantly to live with him at the same table, with equal dignity, for many years. He had three children by Doris, the eldest of whom was Dionysius the Younger; and four by Aristomachê; but the latter was for a considerable time childless; which greatly chagrined Dionysius. Ascribing her barrenness to magical incantations, he put to death the mother of his other wife Doris, as the alleged worker of these mischievous influences.[1027] It was the rumor at Syracuse that Aristomachê was the most beloved of the two. But Dionysius treated both of them well, and both of them equally; moreover his son by Doris succeeded him, though he had two sons by the other. His nuptials were celebrated with banquets and festive recreations, wherein all the Syracusan citizens as well as the soldiers partook. The scene was probably the more grateful to Dionysius, as he seems at this moment, when every man’s mind was full of vindictive impulse and expected victory against Carthage, to have enjoyed a real short-lived popularity, and to have been able to move freely among the people; without that fear of assassination which habitually tormented his life even in his inmost privacy and bedchamber—and that extremity of suspicion which did not except either his wives or his daughters.[1028]

After a few days devoted to such fellowship and festivity, Dionysius convoked a public assembly, for the purpose of formally announcing the intended war. He reminded the Syracusans that the Carthaginians were common enemies to Greeks in general, but most of all to the Sicilian Greeks—as recent events but too plainly testified. He appealed to their generous sympathies on behalf of the five Hellenic cities, in the southern part of the island, which had lately undergone the miseries of capture by the generals of Carthage, and were still groaning under her yoke. Nothing prevented Carthage (he added) from attempting to extend her dominion over the rest of the island, except the pestilence under which she had herself been suffering in Africa. To the Syracusans[p. 482] this ought to be an imperative stimulus for attacking her at once, and rescuing their Hellenic brethren, before she had time to recover.[1029]

These motives were really popular and impressive. There was besides another inducement, which weighed with Dionysius to hasten the war, though he probably did not dwell upon it in his public address to the Syracusans. He perceived that various Sicilian Greeks were migrating voluntarily with their properties into the territory of Carthage; whose dominion, though hateful and oppressive, was, at least while untried, regarded by many with less terror than his dominion when actually suffered. By commencing hostilities at once, he expected not only to arrest such emigration, but to induce such Greeks as were actually subjects of Carthage to throw off her yoke and join him.[1030]

Loud acclamations from the Syracusan assembly hailed the proposition for war with Carthage; a proposition, which only converted into reality what had been long the familiar expectation of every man. And the war was rendered still more popular by the permission, which Dionysius granted forthwith, to plunder all the Carthaginian residents and mercantile property either in Syracuse or in any of his dependent cities. We are told that there were not only several domiciliated Carthaginians at Syracuse, but also many loaded vessels belonging to Carthage in the harbor, so that the plunder was lucrative.[1031] But though such may have been the case in ordinary times, it seems hardly credible, that under the actual circumstances, any Carthaginian (person or property) can have been at Syracuse except by accident; for war with Carthage[p. 483] had been long announced, not merely in current talk, but in the more unequivocal language of overwhelming preparation. Nor is it easy to understand how the prudent Carthaginian Senate (who probably were not less provided with spies at Syracuse than Dionysius was at Carthage)[1032] can have been so uninformed as to be taken by surprise at the last moment, when Dionysius sent thither a herald formally declaring war; which herald was not sent until after the license for private plunder had been previously granted. He peremptorily required the Carthaginians to relinquish their dominion over the Greek cities in Sicily,[1033] as the only means of avoiding war. To such a proposition no answer was returned, nor probably expected. But the Carthaginians were now so much prostrated (like Athens in the second or third years of the Peloponnesian war) by depopulation, suffering, terrors, and despondency, arising out of the pestilence which beset them in Africa, that they felt incompetent to any serious effort, and heard with alarm the letter read from Dionysius. There was, however, no alternative, so that they forthwith despatched some of their ablest citizens to levy troops for the defence of their Sicilian possessions.[1034]

The first news that reached them was indeed appalling. Dionysius had marched forth with his full power, Syracusan as well as foreign, accumulated by so long a preparation. It was a power, the like of which had never been beheld in Greece; greater even than that wielded by his predecessor Gelon eighty years before. If the contemporaries of Gelon had been struck with awe[1035] at the superiority of his force to anything that Hellas could show elsewhere, as much or more would the same sentiment be felt by those who surrounded Dionysius. More intimately still was a similar comparison, with the mighty victor of Himera, present to Dionysius himself. He exulted in setting out with an army yet more imposing, against the same enemy, and for the same purpose of liberating the maritime cities of Sicily subject to Carthage;[1036][p. 484] cities, whose number and importance had since fearfully augmented.

These subject-cities, from Kamarina on one side of the island to Selinus and Himera on the other, though there were a certain number of Carthaginian residents established there, had no effective standing force to occupy or defend them on the part of Carthage; whose habit it was to levy large mercenary hosts for the special occasion and then to disband them afterwards. Accordingly, as soon as Dionysius with his powerful army passed the Syracusan border, and entered upon his march westward along the southern coast of the island, proclaiming himself as liberator—the most intense anti-Carthaginian manifestations burst forth at once, at Kamarina, Gela, Agrigentum, Selinus, and Himera. These Greeks did not merely copy the Syracusans in plundering the property of all Carthaginians found among them, but also seized their persons, and put them to death with every species of indignity and torture. A frightful retaliation now took place for the cruelties recently committed by the Carthaginian armies, in the sacking of Selinus, Agrigentum, and the other conquered cities.[1037] The Hellenic war-practice, in itself sufficiently rigorous, was aggravated into a merciless and studied barbarity, analogous to that which had disfigured the late proceedings of Carthage and her western mercenaries. These “Sicilian vespers,” which burst out throughout all the south of Sicily against the Carthaginian residents, surpassed even the memorable massacre known under that name in the thirteenth century, wherein the Angevine knights and soldiers were indeed assassinated, but not tortured. Diodorus tells us that the Carthaginians learnt from the retaliation thus suffered, a lesson of forbearance. It will not appear however, from their future conduct, that the lesson was much laid to heart; while it is unhappily cer[p. 485]tain, that such interchange of cruelties with less humanized neighbors, contributed to lower in the Sicilian Greeks that measure of comparative forbearance which characterized the Hellenic race in its own home.

Elate with this fury of revenge, the citizens of Kamarina, Gela, Agrigentum, and Selinus joined Dionysius on his march along the coast. He was enabled, from his abundant stock of recently fabricated arms, to furnish them with panoplies and weapons; for it is probable that as subjects of Carthage they had been disarmed. Strengthened by all these reinforcements, he mustered a force of eighty thousand men, besides more than three thousand cavalry; while the ships of war which accompanied him along the coast were nearly two hundred, and the transports, with stores and battering machines, not less than five hundred. With this prodigious army, the most powerful hitherto assembled under Grecian command, he appeared before the Carthaginian settlement of Motyê, a fortified seaport in a little bay immediately north of Cape Lilybæum.[1038]

Of the three principal establishments of Carthage in Sicily,—Motyê, Panormus (Palermo), and Soloeis,—Motyê was at once the nearest to the mother-city,[1039] the most important, and the most devoted. It was situated (like the original Syracuse in Ortygia) upon a little islet, separated from Sicily by a narrow strait about two-thirds of a mile in breadth, which its citizens had bridged over by means of a mole, so as to form a regular, though narrow, footpath. It was populous, wealthy, flourishing, and distinguished for the excellence both of its private houses and its fortifications. Perceiving the approach of Dionysius, and not intimidated by the surrender of their neighbors and allies, the Elymi at Eryx, who did not dare to resist so powerful a force,—the Motyênes put themselves in the best condition of defence. They broke up their mole, and again insulated themselves from Sicily, in the hope of holding out until relief should be sent from Carthage. Resolved to avenge upon Motyê the sufferings of Agrigentum and Selinus, Dionysius took a survey of the place in conjunction with his principal engineers. It deserves notice, that this is among the earliest sieges recorded in Grecian history wherein we read of a pro[p. 486]fessed engineer as being directly and deliberately called on to advise the best mode of proceeding.[1040]

Having formed his plans, he left his admiral Leptines with a portion of the army to begin the necessary works, while he himself with the remainder laid waste the neighboring territory dependent on or allied with Carthage. The Sikani and others submitted to him; but Ankyræ, Soloeis, Panormus, Egesta, and Entella, all held out, though the citizens were confined to their walls, and obliged to witness, without being able to prevent, the destruction of their lands.[1041] Returning from this march, Dionysius pressed the siege of Motyê with the utmost ardor, and with all the appliances which his engineers could devise. Having moored his transports along the beach, and hauled his ships of war ashore in the harbor, he undertook the laborious task of filling up the strait (probably of no great depth) which divided Motyê from the main island;[1042]—or at least as much of the length of the strait as was sufficient to march across both with soldiers and with battering engines, and to bring them up close against the walls of the city. The numbers under his command enabled him to achieve this enterprise, though not without a long period of effort, during which the Carthaginians tried more than once to interrupt his proceedings. Not having a fleet capable of contending in pitched battle against the besiegers, the Carthaginian general Imilkon tried two successive manœuvres. He first sent a squadron of ten ships of war to sail suddenly into the harbor of Syracuse, in hopes that the diversion thus operated would constrain Dionysius to detach a portion of his fleet from Motyê. Though the attack, however, was so far successful as to destroy many merchantmen in the harbor, yet the assailants were beaten off without making any more serious impression, or creating the diversion intended.[1043] Imilkon next made an attempt to surprise the armed ships of Dionysius,[p. 487] as they lay hauled ashore in the harbor near Motyê. Crossing over