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Summer was now over. The winter following, the plague a second time attacked the Athenians; for although it had never entirely left them, still there had been a notable abatement in its ravages. The second visit lasted no less than a year, the first having lasted two; and nothing distressed the Athenians and reduced their power more than this. No less than four thousand four hundred heavy infantry in the ranks died of it and three hundred cavalry, besides a number of the multitude that was never ascertained. At the same time took place the numerous earthquakes in Athens, Euboea, and Boeotia, particularly at Orchomenus in the last-named country.
It was in the first days of the winter following that the places in Boeotia were to be put into the hands of Athenian generals, Hippocrates and Demosthenes, the latter of whom was to go with his ships to Siphae, the former to Delium. A mistake, however, was made in the days on which they were each to start; and Demosthenes sailing first to Siphae, with
plot having been betrayed by Nicomachus, a Phocian from Phanotis, who told
the Lacedaemonians, and they the Boeotians.
Succours accordingly flocked in from all parts of Boeotia, Hippocrates not
being yet there to make his diversion, and Siphae and Chaeronea were
promptly secured, and the conspirators, informed of the mistake, did not
venture on any
During the days thus employed the Boeotians were mustering at Tanagra, and by the time that they had come in from all the towns, found the Athenians already on their way home. The rest of the eleven Boeotarchs were against giving battle, as the enemy was no longer in Boeotia, the Athenians being just over the Oropian border, when they halted; but Pagondas, son of Aeolidas, one of the Boeotarchs of Thebes （Arianthides, son of Lysimachidas, being the other）, and then commander-in-chief, thought it best to hazard a battle. He accordingly called the men to him, company after company, to prevent their all leaving their arms at once, and urged them to attack the Athenians, and stand the issue of a battle, speaki
The Boeotians replied that if they were in Boeotia, they must evacuate that country before taking up their dead; if they were in their own territory, they could do as they pleased: for they knew that, although the Oropid where the bodies as it chanced were lying （the battle having been fought on the borders） was subject to Athens, yet the Athenians could not get them witho Athenians could not get them without their leave. Besides, why should they grant a truce for Athenian ground? And what could be fairer than to tell them to evacuate Boeotia if they wished to get what they asked? The Athenian herald accordingly returned with this answer, without having accomplished his object.