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[2] Epaminondas, however, as some say, was reluctant to give his fellow-citizens a taste of the advantages accruing from naval superiority, in order that they might not surprise him by becoming, instead of ‘steadfast hoplites,’ to use Plato's words,1 degenerate mariners; and therefore he purposely came back from Asia and the islands without achieving anything2

1 Laws, iv. p. 706. Cf. the Themistocles, iv. 3.

2 In 364 B.C., two years before his death, Epaminondas successfully inaugurated a naval policy for Thebes, which enabled her to cope with Athens on the sea.

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