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Often, however, they went to war on account of the revolts of the Messenians. Tyrtaeus says in his poems that the first conquest of Messenia took place in the time of his fathers' fathers; the second, at the time when the Messenians chose the Argives, Eleians, Pisatans, and Arcadians as allies and revolted—the Arcadians furnishing Aristocrates1 the king of Orchomenus as general and the Pisatae furnishing Pantaleon the son of Omphalion; at this time, he says, he himself was the Lacedaemonian general in the war,2 for in his elegy entitled Eunomia he says that he came from there: “"For the son of Cronus, spouse of Hera of the beautiful crown, Zeus himself, hath given this city to the Heracleidae, in company with whom I left windy Erineus, and came to the broad island of Pelops."
34 Therefore either these verses of the elegy must be denied authority or we must discredit Philochorus,5 who says that Tyrtaeus was an Athenian from the deme of Aphidnae, and also Callisthenes and several other writers, who say that he came from Athens when the Lacedaemonians asked for him in accordance with an oracle which bade them to get a commander from the Athenians. So the second war was in the time of Tyrtaeus; but also a third and fourth war took place, they say, in which the Messenians were defeated.6 The voyage round the coast of Messenia, following the sinuosities of the gulfs, is, all told, about eight hundred stadia in length.

1 On the perfidy of Aristocrates, see Paus. 4.17.4

2 Tyrt. Fr. 8 (Bergk)

3 Tyrt. Fr. 2 (Bergk)

4 Erineus was an important city in the district of Doris (see 9. 4. 10 and 10. 4. 6). Thuc. 1.107 calls Doris the "mother-city of the Lacedaemonians."

5 Among other works Philochorus was the author of an Atthis, a history of Attica in seventeen books from the earliest time to 261 B.C. Only fragments are extant.

6 Diod. Sic. 15.66 mentions only three Messenian wars.

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load focus English (H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., 1903)
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