After this the Athenians dispatched to Argos
by sea a thousand picked hoplites and two hundred cavalry, under the
command of Laches and Nicostratus; and Alcibiades also accompanied them, although in a private
capacity, because of the friendly relations he enjoyed with the Eleians and Mantineians; and
when they were all gathered in council, they decided to pay no attention to the truce but to
set about making war.
Consequently each general urged on his
own troops to the conflict, and when they all responded eagerly, they pitched camp outside the
city. Now they agreed that they should march first of all against Orchomenus
; and so, advancing
, they settled down to the siege of the
city and made daily assaults upon its walls.
And after they
had taken the city, they encamped near Tegea
decided to besiege it also. But when the Tegeatans called upon the Lacedaemonians for immediate
aid, the Spartans gathered all their own soldiers and those of their allies and moved on
, believing that, once Mantineia
was attacked in the war, the enemy would raise the
siege of Tegea
The Mantineians gathered their allies, and marching forth
themselves en masse,
formed their lines opposite the Lacedaemonians. A sharp
battle followed, and the picked troops of the Argives, one thousand in number, who had received
excellent training in warfare, were the first to put to flight their opponents and made great
slaughter of them in their pursuit.
But the Lacedaemonians,
after putting to flight the other parts of the army and slaying many, wheeled about to oppose
the Argives and by their superior numbers surrounded them, hoping to destroy them to a man.
Now although the picked troops of the Argives, though in
numbers far inferior, were superior in feats of courage, the king of the Lacedaemonians led the
fight and held out firmly against the perils he encountered; and he would have slain all the
Argives—for he was resolved to fulfil the promises he had made to his fellow citizens
and wipe out, by a great deed, his former ill repute—but he was not allowed to
consummate that purpose. For Pharax the Spartan, who was one of the advisers of Agis and
enjoyed the highest reputation in Sparta
him to leave a way of escape for the picked men and not, by hazarding the issue against men who
had given up all hope of life, to learn what valour is when abandoned by Fortune.
So the king was compelled, in obedience to the command recently given
to leave a way of escape even
as Pharax advised. So the Thousand, having been allowed to pass through in the manner
described, made their way to safety, and the Lacedaemonians, having won the victory in a great
battle, erected a trophy and returned home.