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Adrastus, on his return from the expedition against Thebes where he had met with disaster and had not by his own efforts been able to recover the bodies of those who had fallen under the Cadmean fortress, called upon our city to lend aid in a misfortune which was of universal concern, and not to suffer that men who die in battle be left unburied nor that ancient custom and immemorial lawThe dead had a divine right to burial. See Isoc. 12.169 and Soph. Ant. be brought to naught.
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,
they sacked and razed the city of Mantinea,In 383 B.C. Cf. Isoc. 8.100; Xen. Hell. 5.2.7. after peace had been concluded; they seized the CadmeaIn the same year. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.25. The Cadmea was the citidel of Thebes. in Thebes; and nowThis helps in dating the Panegyricus. they are laying siege to Olynthus and Phlius:The siege of Olynthus was begun in 382 B.C. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.11. The siege of Phlius was begun in 380 B.C. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.8. on the other hand, they are assistThebes; and nowThis helps in dating the Panegyricus. they are laying siege to Olynthus and Phlius:The siege of Olynthus was begun in 382 B.C. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.11. The siege of Phlius was begun in 380 B.C. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.8. on the other hand, they are assisting Amyntas, king of the Macedonians,Amyntas, the father of Philip, was aided by the Spartans against Olynthus 383 B.C. See Isoc. 6.46 and Isoc. 5.106. and Dionysius,For the sympathy between Sparta and Dionysius see Isoc. 8.99, Isoc. 6.63. the tyrant of Sicily, and the barbarian king who rules over Asia,By the Peace of Antalcidas. to extend their dominions far and wide.
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;
And again, when fortune shifted her favorThebes became the supreme power in Greece by the battle of Leuctra, 371 B.C. and the Thebans and the Peloponnesians were one and all trying to devastate Lacedaemon, we alone among the Hellenes formed361 B.C. an alliance with the Lacedaemonians and helped to save them from destruction.In 362 B.C., when Epaminondas, at the head of the Thebans and their allies, including the Argives, Arcadians, Messenians, and the Eleans, marched on Sparta to destroy her, the Athenians dispatched Iphicrates with an army of twelve thousand to the rescue. See Isoc. 8.105; Xen. Hell. 6.5.23 ff.; Grote, Hist. x. pp. 89 ff.
But the worst of their afflictions is that they live in continual fear that the Thebans may patch up their quarrel with the PhociansThebes was the principal enemy of the Phocians in the Sacred War, which was now drawing to a close. For this war see Grote, Hist. xi. p. 45. and, returning again,As in the campaign referred to in 44, which ended with the battle of Mantinea. ring them about with still greater calamities than have befallen them in the past. How, then, can we refuse to believe that people so hard pressed would gladly see at the head of a movement for peace a man who commands confidence and has the power to put an end to the wars in which they are involved?
But we should both grow weary, you with listening and I with speaking, if we were to examine every incident of this sort; nay, if we were to recall also our experience with Thebes, while we should be grieved over past events, we should gain better hopes for the future. For when they ventured to withstand our inroads and our threats,Of Agesilaus in 394, 378, and 377 B.C.; of Phoebidas in 382, and of Cleombrotus in 378 and 376 B.C. fortune so completely reversed their situation that they, who at all other times have been in our power, now assert their right to dictate to us.
and that we still remain faithful to the customs and ways of life which we established here in the very beginning, while the rest of the Hellenes are not able to stand even their good fortune, but have become completely demoralized, some of them seizing the cities of their allies,That is, those of the Theban league. Isocrates is here describing Thebes and especially her allies in the Peloponnesus. others opposing them in this; some disputing with their neighbors about territory, others, again, indulging their envy of one anotherSee note a, p. 352. Xen. Hell. 7.1.32, says that the Thebans and Eleans were no less pleased at the defeat of their allies, the Arcadians, in the “tearless” battle of 367 B.C. than were the Lacedaemonians. rather than making war against us. Therefore I wonder at those who look for a stronger ally than is found in the blundering of our enemi