Having thus obtained very great influence in the city, he effected the appointment of Teleutias, his half-brother on his mother's side, as admiral. Then he led an army to Corinth, and himself, by land, captured the long walls, while Teleutias, with his fleet, seized the enemy's ships and dockyards. Then coming suddenly upon the Argives,
who at that time held Corinth, and were celebrating the Isthmian games, he drove them away just as they had sacrificed to the god, and made them abandon all their equipment for the festival.
At this, the exiles from Corinth who were in his army begged him to hold the games. This, however, he would not do, but remained at hand while they held the games from beginning to end, and afforded them security. Afterwards, when he had departed, the Isthmian games were held afresh by the Argives, and some contestants won their victories a second time, while some were entered in the lists as victors in the first contests, but as vanquished in the second.
In this matter Agesilaüs declared that the Argives had brought down upon themselves the charge of great cowardice, since they regarded the conduct of the games as so great and august a privilege, and yet had not the courage to fight for it. He himself thought that moderation ought to be observed in all these matters, and sought to improve the local choirs and games. These he always attended, full of ambitious ardour, and was absent from no contest in which either boys or girls competed. Those things, however, for which he saw the rest of the world filled with admiration, he appeared not even to recognize.
Once upon a time Callipides the tragic actor, who had a name and fame among the Greeks and was eagerly courted by all, first met him and addressed him, then pompously thrust himself into his company of attendants, showing plainly that he expected the king to make him some friendly overtures, and finally said:
‘Dost thou not recognize me, O King?’ The king fixed his eyes upon him and said:
‘Yea, art thou not Callipides the buffoon?’ For this is how the Lacedaemonians describe actors. And again, when he was invited to hear the man who imitated the nightingale, he declined, saying:
‘I have heard the bird herself.’
Again, Menecrates the physician, who, for his success in certain desperate cases, had received the surname of Zeus, and had the had taste to employ the appellation, actually dared to write the king a letter beginning thus:
‘Menecrates Zeus, to King Agesilaüs, greeting.’ To this Agesilaüs replied:
‘King Agesilaüs, to Menecrates, health and sanity.’