Agesilaüs, accordingly, seeing that the Greeks all listened to Epaminondas with the greatest attention and admiration, asked him whether he considered it justice and equality that the cities of Boeotia should be independent of Thebes. Then when Epaminondas promptly and boldly asked him in reply whether he too thought it justice for the cities of Laconia to be independent of Sparta, Agesilaüs sprang from his seat and wrathfully bade him say plainly whether he intended to make the cities of Boeotia independent.
And when Epaminondas answered again in the same way by asking whether he intended to make the cities of Laconia independent, Agesilaüs became violent and was glad of the pretext for at once erasing the name of the Thebans from the treaty of peace and declaring war upon them.
The rest of the Greeks, however, he ordered to depart, now that they were reconciled with each other, leaving differences which could be healed to the terms of peace, and those which could not, to war, since it was a hard task to settle and remove all their disputes.
At this time Cleombrotus was in Phocis with an army. The ephors therefore immediately sent him orders to lead his forces against Thebes. They also sent round a summons for an assembly of their allies, who were without zeal for the war and thought it a great burden, but were not yet bold enough to oppose or disobey the Lacedaemonians.
And although many baleful signs appeared, as I have written in my Life of Epaminondas,
and though Prothouüs the Laconian made opposition to the expedition, Agesilaüs would not give in, but brought the war to pass. He thought that since all Hellas was on their side, and the Thebans had been excluded from the treaty, it was a favourable time for the Spartans to take vengeance on them.
But the time chosen for it proves that this expedition was made from anger more than from careful calculation. For the treaty of peace was made at Lacedaemon on the fourteenth of the month Scirophorion, and on the fifth of Hecatombaeon the Lacedaemonians were defeated at Leuctra,—an interval of twenty days. In that battle a thousand Lacedaemonians fell, besides Cleombrotus the king, and around him the mightiest of the Spartans.
Among these, they say, was Cleonymus, the beautiful son of Sphodrias,
who was thrice struck down in front of his king, as many times rose again to his feet, and died there, fighting the Thebans.