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For Messene furnished Nestor, the wisest of all who lived in those times; Lacedaemon, Menelaus, who because of his moderation and his justice was the one man to be deemed worthy to become the son-in-law of Zeus;Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was the daughter of Zeus. See Hom. Od. 4.569 and Isoc. 10.16. and Argos, Agamemnon, who was possessed, not of one or two of the virtues merely, but of all which anyone can name
For the Lacedaemonians were not satisfied with wronging these cities and men of this character, but treated in the same way those who had set out with them from the same country, joined with them in the same expedition, and shared with them the same perilsIn the Trojan War.—I mean the Argives and the Messenians. For they determined to plunge these also into the very same misfortunes which had been visited upon their former victims.The distinction—not altogether clear—is between the older and the later inhabitants. They did not cease laying siege to the Messenians until they had driven them from their territory, and with the same object they are even now making war upon the Argives.For the conquest of Messene see Isoc. 6.26 ff. The Spartans and Argives were almost always at war. See Isoc.
When, then, the Dorians who invaded the Peloponnesus divided into three parts both the cities and the lands which they had taken from their rightful owners, those of them who received Argos and Messene as their portions ordered their affairs very much as did the Hellenes in general. But the third division of them, whom we now call Lacedaemonians, were, according to close students of their history, more embroiled in factional strife than any other people of Hellas. Moreover, the party which looked down upon the multitude, having got the upper hand, did in no wise adopt the same measures regarding the issues of that conflict as the other Hellenes who had gone through a similar experience.
but because they wish to hear how you have dealt with them. And as they think and dwell upon these deeds, they will not fail to recall also those ancient exploits through which you have glorified their ancestors,See 239 note. but will often talk of them amongst themselves; and first of all they will tell of the time when, being still Dorians, they saw their own cities to be inglorious and insignificant and in need of many things, and, feeling them to be unworthy, took the field against the leading states of the Peloponnesus—against Argos and Lacedaemon and Messene