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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
But if I must also speak of aid from the outside, I think that many will be disposed to assist us.For Athens see Isoc. 8.105 and Isoc. 5.44. Among the states in Peloponnesus, Phlius, Heraea, and Orchomenus in Arcadia were still true to Sparta. (Xen. Hell. 7.2.1, Xen. Hell. 6.5.22, and Xen. Hell. 6.5.11.) The reference is to Dionysius the younger, who began to reign 367-366 B.C. His father had given aid to Sparta on various occasions. See Underhill's note on Xen. Hell. 5.1.28 (Oxford edition). Nectanebos (378-364 B.C.) was king of Egypt at this time. Egypt generally supported those who fought against the Persians, and now the Theban enemies of Sparta were in league with Persia. As to the dynasts of Asia see Isoc. 4.162 and Isoc. 5.103. Probably such powerful rulers as Mausolus of Caria, who revolted from Persia in 362 B.C., are here meant, as well as the rulers of Cyprus. See Isoc. 5.102 and Isoc. 4.134. For I know, in the first place, that the Athenians, although they may
Now in the case of Sparta I can cite no instance of this kind, for in times past no nation stronger than ourselves ever invaded our territory;That is, before the Theban invasion of 369 B.C. but in the case of other states there are many such examples which one might use, and especially is this true of the city of the Athenians.
Similar to this was the career of Amyntas, king of the Macedonians. Worsted in battle by the neighboring barbarians, and robbed of all Macedonia, he at first proposed to quit the country and save his life, but hearing someone praise the remark made to Dionysius, and, like Dionysius, repenting of his decision, Amyntas seized a small fortified post, sent out thence for reinforcements, recovered the whole of Macedonia within three months, spent the remainder of his days on the throne, and finally died of old age.Amyntas, defeated by the Illyrians, won such a victory in 393 B.C. See Dio. Sic. 14.92.3. Amyntas was father of Philip, and reigned from 394 to 370 B.C.
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.
The Lacedaemonians were the leaders of the Hellenes,The hegemony of Sparta lasted from the battle of Aegospotami, 405 B.C., to the battle of Leuctra, 371 B.C. not long ago, on both land and sea, and yet they suffered so great a reversal of fortune when they met defeat at Leuctra that they were deprived of their power over the Hellenes, and lost such of their warriors as chose to die rather than survive defeat at the hands of those over whom they had once been masters.
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.
And as for the condition of the Thebans, surely you have not failed to note that also. They won a splendid victoryBattle of Leuctra, 371 B.C. and covered themselves with glory, but because they did not make good use of their success they are now in no better case than those who have suffered defeat and failure. For no sooner had they triumphed over their foes than, neglecting everything else, they began to annoy the cities of the Peloponnese;Epaminondas invaded the Peloponnese in 369, 368, 366, 362, stirring up the cities there against Sparta. Dio. Sic. 15.62-75. they made bold to reduce Thessaly to subjection;By conquering Alexander of Pherae. Dio. Sic. 15.67. they threatened their neighbors, the Megarians;The Megarians sided with Sparta when Agesilaus invaded Boeotia in 378. Xen. Hell. 5.4.41. they robbed our city of a portion of its territory;The border town of Oropus, 366 B.C. Xen. Hell. 7.4.1. they ravaged Euboea;See Dem. 18.99. they sent men-of-war to Byzantium,One hundred s
having ceased sacrificing victims at the altars they slaughter one anotherPossibly Isocrates may have in mind the massacre at Corinth in 392 B.C. (Xen. Hell. 4.4.3), the murder of certain Achaean suppliants, who took refuge in the temple of Heliconian Poseidon (Pausanias vii. 25), or the slaughter of 1200 prominent citizens in Argos in 371 B.C. (Diodorus xv. 58). Cf. Isoc. 5.52. there instead; and more people are in exile now from a single city than before from the whole of the Peloponnesus. But although the miseries which I have recounted are so many, those which remain unmentioned far outnumber them; for all the distress and all the horror in the world have come together in this
Likewise the Lacedaemonians, after having set out in ancient times from obscure and humble cities, made themselves, because they lived temperately and under military discipline, masters of the Peloponnesus;See Isoc. 4.61; Isoc. 12.253 ff. whereas later, when they grew overweening and seized the empire both of the sea and of the land, they fell into the same dangers as ourselves.The Spartan supremacy began with the triumph over Athens in 404 B.C. and ended with the defeat at Leuctra, 371 B.C. See Vol I. p. 402, footnote. Cf. Isoc. 5.47. After Leuctra, Athens, in her turn, saved Sparta from destruction. See Isoc. 5.44 and note.
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