When Timocrates was archon at Athens, in Rome three
military tribunes with consular power were elected, Titus Quinctius, Servius Cornelius, and
Servius Sulpicius; and the hundred fourth Olympiad was celebrated by the Pisans and Arcadians,
in which Phocides, an Athenian, won the stadium race.
their term of office the Pisans, renewing the ancient prestige2
of their country and resorting to mythical,
antiquarian proofs, asserted that the honour of holding the Olympian festival was their
prerogative. And judging that they had now a suitable occasion for claiming the games, they
formed an alliance with the Arcadians, who were enemies of the Eleians. With them as supporters
they took the field against the Eleians who were in the act of holding the games.
The Eleians resisted with all their forces and a stubborn battle took
place, having as spectators the Greeks who were present for the festival wearing wreaths on
their heads and calmly applauding the deeds of valour on both sides, themselves out of reach of
danger. Finally the Pisans won the day and held the games, but the Eleians later failed to
record this Olympiad because they considered that it had been conducted by force and contrary
While these things
were going on, Epameinondas the Theban, who enjoyed the highest standing amongst his fellow
countrymen, harangued his fellow citizens at a meeting of the assembly, urging them to strive
for the supremacy on the sea. In the course of the speech, which was the result of long
consideration, he pointed out that this attempt was both expedient and possible, alleging in
particular that it was easy for those who possessed supremacy on land to acquire the mastery of
the sea. The Athenians, for instance, in the war with Xerxes, who had two hundred ships manned
by themselves, were subject to the commands of the Lacedaemonians who provided only ten ships.
By this and many other arguments suited to his theme he prevailed upon the Thebans to make a
bid for the mastery at sea.