Hellenica (Xenophon)/Book 3/Chapter 5

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1But now Tithraustes seemed to have discovered in Agesilaus a disposition to despise the fortunes of the Persian monarch--he evidently had no intention to withdraw from Asia; on the contrary, he was cherishing hopes vast enough to include the capture of the king himself. Being at his wits' end how to manage matters, he resolved to send Timocrates the Rhodian to Hellas with a gift of gold worthy fifty silver talents,[1] and enjoined upon him to endeavour to exchange solemn pledges with the leading men in the several states, binding them to undertake a war against Lacedaemon. Timocrates arrived and began to dole out his presents. In Thebes he gave gifts to Androcleidas, Ismenias, and Galaxidorus; in Corinth to Timolaus and Polyanthes; in Argos to Cylon and his party.2The Athenians,[2] though they took no share of the gold, were none the less eager for the war, being of opinion that empire was theirs by right.[3] The recipients of the moneys forthwith began covertly to attack the Lacedaemonians in their respective states, and, when they had brought these to a sufficient pitch of hatred, bound together the most important of them in a confederacy.

3But it was clear to the leaders in Thebes that, unless some one struck the first blow, the Lacedaemonians would never be brought to break the truce with their allies. They therefore persuaded the Opuntian Locrians[4] to levy moneys on a debatable district,[5] jointly claimed by the Phocians and themselves, when the Phocians would be sure to retaliate by an attack on Locris. These expectations were fulfilled. The Phocians immediately invaded Locris and seized moneys on their side with ample interest.4Then Androcleidas and his friends lost no time in persuading the Thebans to assist the Locrians, on the ground that it was no debatable district which had been entered by the Phocians, but the admittedly friendly and allied territory of Locris itself. The counter-invasion of Phocis and pillage of their country by the Thebans promptly induced the Phocians to send an embassy to Lacedaemon. In claiming assistance they explained that the war was not of their own seeking, but that they had attacked the Locrians in self- defence.5On their side the Lacedaemonians were glad enough to seize a pretext for marching upon the Thebans, against whom they cherished a long-standing bitterness. They had not forgotten the claim which the Thebans had set up to a tithe for Apollo in Deceleia,[6] nor yet their refusal to support Lacedaemon in the attack on Piraeus;[7] and they accused them further of having persuaded the Corinthians not to join that expedition. Nor did they fail to call to mind some later proceedings of the Thebans--their refusal to allow Agesilaus to sacrifice in Aulis;[8] their snatching the victims already offered and hurling them from the altars; their refusal to join the same general in a campaign directed even against Asia.[9] The Lacedaemonians further reasoned that now, if ever, was the favourable moment to conduct an expedition against the Thebans, and once for all to put a stop to their insolent behaviour towards them. Affairs in Asia were prospering under the strong arm of Agesilaus, and in Hellas they had no other war on hand to trammel their movements.6Such, therefore, being the general view of the situation adopted at Lacedaemon, the ephors proceeded to call out the ban. Meanwhile they despatched Lysander to Phocis with orders to put himself at the head of the Phocians along with the Oetaeans, Heracleotes, Melians, and Aenianians, and to march upon Haliartus; before the walls of which place Pausanias, the destined leader of the expedition, undertook to present himself at the head of the Lacedaemonians and other Peloponnesian forces by a specified date. Lysander not only carried out his instructions to the letter, but going a little beyond them, succeeded in detaching Orchomenus from Thebes.[10]7Pausanias, on the other hand, after finding the sacrifice for crossing the frontier favourable, sat down at Tegea and set about despatching to and fro the commandants of allied troops whilst contentedly awaiting the soldiers from the provincial[11] districts of Laconia.

And now that it was fully plain to the Thebans that the Lacedaemonians would invade their territory, they sent ambassadors to Athens, who spoke as follows:--

8"Men of Athens, it is a mistake on your part to blame us for certain harsh resolutions concerning Athens at the conclusion of the war.[12] That vote was not authorised by the state of Thebes. It was the utterance merely of one man,[13] who was at that time seated in the congress of the allies. A more important fact is that when the Lacedaemonians summoned us to attack Piraeus[14] the collective state of Thebes passed a resolution refusing to join in the campaign. As then you are to a large extent the cause of the resentment which the Lacedaemonians feel towards us, we consider it only fair that you in your turn should render us assistance.9Still more do we demand of you, sirs, who were of the city party at that date, to enter heart and soul into war with the Lacedaemonians. For what were their services to you? They first deliberately converted you into an oligarchy and placed you in hostility to the democracy, and then they came with a great force under guise of being your allies, and delivered you over to the majority, so that, for any service they rendered you, you were all dead men; and you owe your lives to our friends here, the people of Athens.[15]

10"But to pass on--we all know, men of Athens, that you would like to recover the empire which you formerly possessed; and how can you compass your object better than by coming to the aid yourselves of the victims of Lacedaemonian injustice? Is it their wide empire of which you are afraid? Let not that make cowards of you--much rather let it embolden you as you lay to heart and ponder your own case. When your empire was widest then the crop of your enemies was thickest. Only so long as they found no opportunity to revolt did they keep their hatred of you dark; but no sooner had they found a champion in Lacedaemon than they at once showed what they really felt towards you.11So too to- day. Let us show plainly that we mean to stand shoulder to shoulder[16] embattled against the Lacedaemonians; and haters enough of them--whole armies--never fear, will be forthcoming. To prove the truth of this assertion you need only to count upon your fingers. How many friends have they left to them to-day? The Argives have been, are, and ever will be, hostile to them. Of course.12But the Eleians? Why, the Eleians have quite lately[17] been robbed of so much territory and so many cities that their friendship is converted into hatred. And what shall we say of the Corinthians? the Arcadians? the Achaeans? In the war which Sparta waged against you, there was no toil, no danger, no expense, which those peoples did not share, in obedience to the dulcet coaxings[18] and persuasions of that power. The Lacedaemonians gained what they wanted, and then not one fractional portion of empire, honour, or wealth did these faithful followers come in for. That is not all. They have no scruple in appointing their helots[19] as governors, and on the free necks of their alies, in the day of their good fortune, they have planted the tyrant's heel.

13"Then again take the case of those whom they have detached from yourselves. In the most patent way they have cajoled and cheated them; in place of freedom they have presented them with a twofold slavery. The allies are tyrannised over by the governor and tyrannised over by the ten commissioners set up by Lysander over every city.[20] And to come lastly to the great king. In spite of all the enormous contributions with which he aided them to gain a mastery over you, is the lord of Asia one whit better off to-day than if he had taken exactly the opposite course and joined you in reducing them?

14"Is it not clear that you have only to step forward once again as the champions of this crowd of sufferers from injustice, and you will attain to a pinnacle of power quite unprecedented? In the days of your old empire you were leaders of the maritime powers merely--that is clear; but your new empire to-day will be universal. You will have at your backs not only your former subjects, but ourselves, and the Peloponnesians, and the king himself, with all that mighty power which is his. We do not deny that we were serviceable allies enough to Lacedaemon, as you will bear us witness; but this we say:--If we helped the Lacedaemonians vigorously in the past, everything tends to show that we shall help you still more vigorously to-day; for our swords will be unsheathed, not in behalf of islanders, or Syracusans, or men of alien stock, as happened in the late war, but of ourselves, suffering under a sense of wrong.15And there is another important fact which you ought to realise: this selfish system of organised greed which is Sparta's will fall more readily to pieces than your own late empire. Yours was the proud assertion of naval empire over subjects powerless by sea. Theirs is the selfish sway of a minority asserting dominion over states equally well armed with themselves, and many times more numerous. Here our remarks end. Do not forget, however, men of Athens, that as far as we can understand the matter, the field to which we invite you is destined to prove far richer in blessings to your own state of Athens than to ours, Thebes."

16With these words the speaker ended. Among the Athenians, speaker after speaker spoke in favour of the proposition,[21] and finally a unanimous resolution was passed voting assitance to the Thebans. Thrasybulus, in an answer communicating the resolution, pointed out with pride that in spite of the unfortified condition of Piraeus, Athens would not shrink from repaying her former debt of gratitude to Thebes with interest. "You," he added, "refused to join in a campaign against us; we are prepared to fight your battles with you against the enemy, if he attacks you."17Thus the Thebans returned home and made preparations to defend themselves, whilst the Athenians made ready to assist them.

And now the Lacedaemonians no longer hesitated. Pausanias the king advanced into Boeotia with the home army and the whole of the Peloponnesian contingents, saving only the Corinthians, who declined to serve. Lysander, at the head of the army supplied by Phocis and Orchomenus and the other strong places in those parts, had already reached Haliartus, in front of Pausanias.18Being arrived, he refused to sit down quietly and await the arrival of the army from Lacedaemon, but at once marched with what troops he had against the walls of Haliartus; and in the first instance he tried to persuade the citizens to detach themselves from Thebes and to assume autonomy, but the intention was cut short by certain Thebans within the fortress. Whereupon Lysander attacked the place.19The Thebans were made aware,[22] and hurried to the rescue with heavy infantry and cavalry. Then, whether it was that the army of relief fell upon Lysander unawares, or that with clear knowledge of his approach he preferred to await the enemy, with intent to crush him, is uncertain. This only is clear: a battle was fought beside the walls, and a trophy still exists to mark the victory of the townsfolk before the gates of Haliartus. Lysander was slain, and the rest fled to the mountains, the Thebans hotly pursuing.20But when the pursuit had led them to some considerable height, and they were fairly environed and hemmed in by difficult ground and narrow space, then the heavy infantry turned to bay, and greeted them with a shower of darts and missiles. First two or three men dropped who had been foremost of the pursuers, and then upon the rest they poured volleys of stones down the precipitous incline, and pressed on their late pursuers with much zeal, until the Thebans turned tail and quitted the deadly slope, leaving behind them more than a couple of hundred corpses.

21On this day, thereafter, the hearts of the Thebans failed them as they counted their losses and found them equal to their gains; but the next day they discovered that during the night the Phocians and the rest of them had made off to their several homes, whereupon they fell to pluming themselves highly on their achievement. But presently Pausanias appeared at the head of the Lacedaemonian army, and once more their dangers seemed to thicken round them. Deep, we are told, was the silence and abasement which reigned in their host.22It was not until the third day, when the Athenians arrived[23] and were duely drawn up beside them, whilst Pausanias neither attacked nor offered battle, that at length the confidence of the Thebans took a larger range. Pausanias, on his side, having summoned his generals and commanders of fifties,[24] deliberated whether to give battle or to content himself with picking up the bodies of Lysander and those who fell with him, under cover of a truce.

23The considerations which weighed upon the minds of Pausanias and the other high officers of the Lacedaemonians seem to have been that Lysander was dead and his defeated army in retreat; while, as far as they themselves were concerned, the Corinthian contingent was absolutely wanting, and the zeal of the troops there present at the lowest ebb. They further reasoned that the enemy's cavalry was numerous and theirs the reverse; whilst, weightiest of all, there lay the dead right under the walls, so that if they had been ever so much stronger it would have been no easy task to pick up the bodies within range of the towers of Haliartus. On all these grounds they determined to ask for a flag of truce, in order to pick up the bodies of the slain.24These, however, the Thebans were not disposed to give back unless they agreed to retire from their territory. The terms were gladly accepted by the Lacedaemonians, who at once picked up the corpses of the slain, and prepared to quit the territory of Boeotia. The preliminaries were transacted, and the retreat commenced. Despondent indeed was the demeanour of the Lacedaemonians, in contrast with the insolent bearing of the Thebans, who visited the slightest attempt to trespass on their private estates with blows and chased the offenders back on to the high roads unflinchingly. Such was the conclusion of the campaign of the Lacedaemonians.

25As for Pausanias, on his arrival at home he was tried on the capital charge. The heads of indictment set forth that he had failed to reach Haliartus as soon as Lysander, in spite of his undertaking to be there on the same day: that, instead of using any endeavour to pick up the bodies of the slain by force of arms, he had asked for a flag of truce: that at an earlier date, when he had got the popular government of Athens fairly in his grip at Piraeus, he had suffered it to slip through his fingers and escape. Besides this,[25] he failed to present himself at the trial, and a sentence of death was passed upon him. He escaped to Tegea and there died of an illness whilst still in exile. Thus closes the chapter of events enacted on the soil of Hellas. To return to Asia and Agesilaus.

  1. = 12,187 pounds: 10 shillings.
  2. See Paus. III. ix. 8; Plut. "Ages." xv.
  3. Reading {nomizontes auton to arkhein} with Sauppe; or if, as Breitinbach suggests, {enomizon de oukh outon to arkhesthai}, translate "but thought it was not for them to take the initiative."
  4. For an alliance between Athens and the Locrians, B.C. 395, see Hicks, 67; and below, IV. ii. 17.
  5. Lit. "the." See Paus. III. ix. 9.
  6. See Grote, "H. G." ix. 309, 403; viii. 355.
  7. "Hell." II. iv. 30, B.C. 403.
  8. See above, III. iv. 3; and below, VII. i. 34.
  9. See Paus. III. ix. 1-3.
  10. See Freeman, op. cit. p. 167, "Ill feeling between Thebes and other towns."--"Against Thebes, backed by Sparta, resistance was hopeless. It was not till long after that, at last [in 395 B.C.], on a favourable opportunity during the Corinthian war, Orchomenos openly seceded." And for the prior "state of disaffection towards Thebes on the part of the smaller cities," see "Mem." III. v. 2, in reference to B.C. 407.
  11. Lit. "perioecid."
  12. See "Hell." II. ii. 19; and below, VI. v. 35.
  13. Plut. "Lys." xv. "Erianthus the Theban gave his vote to pull down the city, and turn the country into sheep-pasture."--Clough, iii. 121.
  14. See "Hell." II. iv. 30.
  15. See "Hell." II. iv. 38, 40, 41.
  16. Lit. "shield to shield."
  17. Lit. "to-day," "nowadays."
  18. {mala liparoumenoi}. See Thuc. i. 66 foll.; vi. 88.
  19. See "Pol. Lac." xiv.
  20. Grote ("H. G." ix. 323), referring to this passage, and to "Hell." VI. iii. 8-11, notes the change in Spartan habits between 405 and 394 B.C. (i.e. between the victory of Aegospotami and the defeat of Cnidos), when Sparta possessed a large public revenue derived from the tribute of the dependent cities. For her earlier condition, 432 B.C., cf. Thuc. i. 80. For her subsequent condition, 334 B.C., cf. Arist. "Pol." ii. 6, 23.
  21. For the alliance between Boeotia and Athens, B.C. 395, see Kohler, "C. I. A." ii. 6; Hicks, op. cit. 65; Lys. "pro Man." S. 13; Jebb, "Att. Or." i. p. 247; and the two speeches of the same orator Lysias against Alcibiades (son of the famous Alcibiades), on a Charge of Desertion ("Or." xiv.), and on a Charge of Failure to Serve ("Or." xv.)--Jebb, op. cit. i. p. 256 foll.
  22. See Plut. "Lys." xxviii. (Clough, iii. 137).
  23. See Dem. "On the Crown," 258.
  24. Lit. "polemarchs and penteconters"--"colonels and lieutenants." See "Pol. Lac." xi.
  25. Or, add, "as a further gravamen."