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But Thebes! Thebes, our neighbor, has in one day been swept from the midst of Hellas—even though justly, for her main policy was wrong, yet possessed by an infatuate blindness and folly that were not of men, but a divine visitation. And the wretched Lacedaemonians, who barely touched these acts at their beginning in connection with the seizure of the temple,1 they who once claimed the right to lead the Greeks, are now about to be sent to Alexander to serve as hostages, and to make an exhibition of their misfortunes2—destined, themselves and their country, to suffer whatever may please him; their fate dependent on the mercy of the man who has conquered them after receiving unprovoked injury at their hands.
1 the seizure by the Phocians at the beginning of the Phocian war.
2 The Spartans had led an ill-advised revolt against the Macedonian overlordship, and had been completely defeated shortly before this speech was delivered. They were required to send fifty noble citizens as hostages to Alexander, who was now in Asia.
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