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When the Athenians learned that the Lacedaemonians had concluded the war against the Phocians and were about to make their return home, they decided to attack the Lacedaemonians while on the march. Accordingly they dispatched an army against them, including in it Argives and Thessalians; and with the intention of falling upon them with fifty ships and fourteen thousand men, they occupied the passes about Mt. Geraneia. [2] But the Lacedaemonians, having information of the plans of the Athenians, took the route to Tanagra in Boeotia. The Athenians advanced into Boeotia and formed in line of battle, and a fierce struggle took place; and although in the fighting the Thessalians deserted to the Lacedaemonians, nonetheless the Athenians and the Argives fought the battle through and not a few fell in both armies before night put an end to the struggle. [3] After this, when a large supply-train was on its way from Attica for the Athenians, the Thessalians decided to attack it, and taking their evening meal at once, they intercepted by night the supply-train. [4] The Athenians who were guarding the train were unaware that the Thessalians had changed sides and received them as friends, so that many conflicts of various kinds broke out around the convoy. For at first the Thessalians, who had been welcomed by the enemy in their ignorance, kept cutting down all whom they met, and being an organized band engaging with men who had fallen into confusion they slew many of the guards. [5] But the Athenians in the camp, when they learned of the attack of the Thessalians, came up with all speed, and routing the Thessalians at the first charge, they were making a great slaughter of them. [6] The Lacedaemonians, however, now came to the rescue of the Thessalians with their army in battle order, and a pitched battle between the two armies ensued, and such was their rivalry that many were slain on both sides. And finally, since the battle ended in a tie, both the Lacedaemonians and the Athenians laid claim to the victory. However, since night intervened and the victory was still a matter of dispute, each sent envoys to the other and they concluded a truce of four months.1

1 This was the battle of Tanagra. Thucydides (Thuc. 1.108), in contradiction to Diodorus, states that the Lacedaemonians were victorious; at any rate they returned home via the Isthmus without any further opposition on the part of the Athenians.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TANAGRA
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    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.108
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