Now with the Athenians the men of Tegea came to strife regarding their position in the line. They claimed that, as had always been the case, since the Lacedaemonians held the right wing, they themselves should hold the left, and in support of their claim they sounded loudly the praises of their ancestors. The Athenians were incensed, and Aristides came forward and made this speech:
‘To argue with the men of Tegea about noble birth and bravery, there is surely no time now; but we declare to you, O Spartans, and to the rest of the Hellenes, that valor is not taken away from a man, nor is it given him, by his position in the line. Whatsoever post ye shall assign to us, we will endeavor to maintain and adorn it, and so bring no disgrace upon the contests we have made before.
We are come, not to quarrel with our allies, but to do battle with our foes; not to heap praises on our fathers, but to show ourselves brave men in the service of Hellas. It is this contest which will show how much any city or captain or private soldier is worth to Hellas.’ On hearing this, the councillors and leaders declared for the Athenians, and assigned to them the other wing.