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When Evander was archon at Athens, the Romans elected six2 military tribunes with consular power, Quintus Sulpicius, Gaius Fabius, Quintus Servilius, Publius Cornelius. During their term of office, the Lacedaemonians took possession of the Cadmeia in Thebes for the following reasons. Seeing that Boeotia had a large number of cities and that her inhabitants were men of outstanding valour, while Thebes,3 still retaining her renown of ancient times, was, generally speaking, the citadel of Boeotia, they were mindful of the danger that Thebes, if a suitable occasion arose, might claim the leadership of Greece. [2] Accordingly the Spartans gave secret instructions4 to their commanders, if ever they found an opportunity, to take possession of the Cadmeia. Acting under these instructions, Phoebidas the Spartan, who had been assigned to a command and was leading an expeditionary force against Olynthus, seized the Cadmeia.5 When the Thebans, resenting this act, gathered under arms, he joined battle with them and after defeating them exiled three hundred of the most eminent Thebans. Then after he had terrorized the rest and had stationed a strong garrison in the Cadmeia, he went off on his own business. For this act the Lacedaemonians, being now discredited in the eyes of the Greeks,6 punished Phoebidas with a fine but would not remove the garrison from Thebes. [3] So the Thebans in this way lost their independence and were compelled to take orders from the Lacedaemonians. As the Olynthians continued the war against Amyntas,7 king of the Macedonians, the Lacedaemonians relieved Phoebidas of his command, and installed Phoebidas' brother Eudamidas as general. Giving him three thousand hoplites, they dispatched him to carry on the war against the Olynthians.

1 382/1 B.C.

2 Only four mentioned by name—a frequent inconsistency.

3 Sparta had been successful in stripping Thebes of much of her strength in Boeotia by dissolving the Boeotian League at the time of the King's Peace. Thebes was beginning to assert her strength again by withholding the help due Sparta in her action against Olynthus (see Xen. Hell. 5.2.27).

4 Diodorus alone speaks of these secret instructions which have no existence in Xenophon's fuller account. In fact Xenophon expressly says (Xen. Hell. 5.2.32) ὅτι οὐ προσταχθέντα ὑπὸ τῆς πόλεως ταῦτα ἐπεπράχει. But then we must remember Xenophon's pro-Spartan bias. Plut. Agesilaus 23-24 virtually admits the complicity of Agesilaus, and Ed. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, 5.298, accepts the notion of a secret commission, as does Laistner, The Greek World from 479 to 323 B.C., p. 190.

5 See Xen. Hell. 5.2.25-31.

6 The reaction of the Greek world and the punishment of Phoebidas are recounted in Isoc. 4.126; Xen. Hell. 5.4.1; Plut. Pelopidas 6 and Plut. De Genio Socratis 576a; Nepos Pelopidas 1; and Polybius 4.27.4.

7 This was Amyntas III, king of Macedonia 393-369. Through the opposition of a pretender Argaeus and the Illyrians, Amyntas had been confined to a small portion of his realm. By the aid of the Thessalians he had succeeded in ousting Argaeus. Amyntas now looked for help from Sparta to recover the lost portion of his kingdom. (See Xen. Hell. 5.2.11-19 and chap. 19).

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  • Cross-references to this page (5):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (11):
    • Isocrates, Panegyricus, 126
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.11
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.25
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.27
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.2.32
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 5.4.1
    • Polybius, Histories, 4.27
    • Cornelius Nepos, Pelopidas, 1
    • Plutarch, Pelopidas, 6
    • Plutarch, Agesilaus, 23
    • Plutarch, De genio Socratis, 576a
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