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Many are the services which we have rendered to the state of the Lacedaemonians, but it has suited my purpose to speak of this one only; for, starting with the advantage afforded by our succor of them, the descendants of Heracles—the progenitors of those who now reign in Lacedaemon—returned to the Peloponnese, took possession of Argos, Lacedaemon, and Messene, settled Sparta, and were established as the founders of all the blessings which the Lacedaemonians now enj
But I can make the matter clear in yet briefer terms. Of all the Hellenic states, excepting our own, Argos and Thebes and Lacedaemon were at that time the greatest, as they still are to this day. And yet our ancestors were manifestly so superior to them all that on behalf of the defeated Argives they dictated terms to the Thebans at the moment of their greatest pride,
This, then, completes what I wanted to say by way of introduction. I shall now proceed with the subject in hand.I affirm that, without neglecting any of your own interests, you ought to make an effort to reconcile Argos and Lacedaemon and Thebes and Athens;The leading states. Cf. Isoc. 4.64. for if you can bring these cities together, you will not find it hard to unite the others as well;
Now you will realize that it is not becoming in you to disregard any of these cities if you will review their conduct in relation to your ancestors; for you will find that each one of them is to be credited with great friendship and important services to your house: Argos is the land of your fathers,Perdiccas I., the founder of the Argive dynasty in Macedonia, was, according to Hdt. 8.137, a descendant of the Argive hero Temenus. See also Hdt. 5.22 and Grote, Hist. iii. p. 432. and is entitled to as much consideration at your hands as are your own ancestors; the Thebans honor the founderHeracles. See General Introd. p. xli. of your race, both by processionals and by sacrifices,At the “Festival of Heracles.” Xen. Hell. 6.4.7; Dio. Sic. 15.53. beyond all the other go
But what is most deplorable of all is that, during the intervals when their enemies cease from harrying them, they themselves put to death the most eminent and wealthy of their citizens;The conflict between democracy and oligarchy, which raged with varying intensity in most of the Greek cities, in Argos was most bitter. In 371 B.C. occurred a massacre in which twelve hundred of the leading men were slain by the mob. Dio. Sic. 15.57-58; Grote, Hist. ix. p. 417. and they have more pleasure in doing this than any other people have in slaying their foes. The cause of their living in such disorder is none other than the state of war; and if you can put a stop to this, you will not only deliver them from these evils but you will cause them to adopt a better policy with respect to their other interests as well.
I draw my inference from their actions while they lived. For your father, in dealing with those states which I am urging you to cultivate, kept on friendly termsWith Athens, Aeschin. 2.26; with Sparta, Xen. Hell. 5.2.38. with them all. And the founder of your empire, although he aspired higher than did his fellow citizensOf Argos. and set his heart on a king's power, was not minded to take the same road as others who set out to attain a like ambition.
And yet our alliesEspecially the Corinthians. See Introduction. have been only too zealous in advising you that you must give up Messene and make peace. Because of this they merit your indignation far more than those who revoltedThe Arcadians had joined the Thebans in invading Sparta. The Argives, Eleans, and Achaeans had also forsaken Sparta and gone over partly or wholly to the Thebans. from you at the beginning. For the latter, when they had forsaken your friendship, destroyed their own cities, plunging them into civil strife and massacres and vicious forms of government.Such disturbances and changes of government took place about this time in Arcadia, Argos, Sicyon, Elis, and Phlius. See Xen. Hell. 7.1-4. By vicious forms of government Archidamus probably refers to the democracies which in various places had been set up instead of the earlier oligarchies. These men, on the other hand, come here to inflict injury upon us;
Searching into the meaning of the oracle, they found, first, that Argos belonged to them by right of their being next of kin, for after the death of Eurystheus they were the sole survivors of Perseus' line;Sthenelus, father of Eurystheus, was a son of Perseus. For the manner of Eurystheus' death see Isoc. 4.60. next, that Lacedaemon was theirs by right of gift, for when Tyndareus, having been driven from his throne,Tyndareus, son of Perieres and of Perseus' daughter, Gorgophone, was king of Lacedaemon until driven out by his half-brother Hippocoön and by Hippocoön's sons. See Apollod. 3.10.5. was restored to it by Heracles,Heracles slew Hippocoön and his twenty sons and restored Tyndareus. after Castor and Polydeuces had vanished from among men,Castor was slain during a foray in Messene. His brother, Polydeuces, who according to most accounts was a son of Zeus by Leda, while Castor was a son of Tyndareus by Leda, refused to accept immortality unless it was shared by his brother.