previous next

While these things were going on, Acoris, the king of the Egyptians, being on unfriendly terms with the Persian King, collected a large mercenary force; for by offering high pay to those who enrolled and doing favours to many of them, he quickly induced many of the Greeks to take service with him for the campaign.1 [2] But having no capable general, he sent for Chabrias the Athenian, a man distinguished both for his prudence as general and his shrewdness in the art of war, who had also won great repute for personal prowess. Now Chabrias, without first securing the permission of the Athenian people, accepted the appointment and took command of the forces in Egypt and with great dispatch made preparations to fight the Persians.2 [3] But Pharnabazus, who had been appointed by the King general of the Persian armies, prepared large supplies of war material, and also sent ambassadors to Athens, first to denounce Chabrias, who by becoming general of the Egyptians was alienating, so he said, the King's affection from the people of Athens, and, secondly, to urge them to give him Iphicrates as general. [4] The Athenians, being eager to gain the favour of the Persian King and to incline Pharnabazus to themselves, quickly recalled Chabrias from Egypt3 and dispatched Iphicrates4 as general to act in alliance with the Persians. [5]

The truce which the Lacedaemonians and Athenians had concluded in the earlier period5remained unshaken up to this time. But now Sphodriades the Spartan, who had been placed in command and was by nature flighty and precipitate, was prevailed upon by Cleombrotus,6 the king of the Lacedaemonians, without the consent of the ephors to occupy the Peiraeus. [6] Sphodriades with more than ten thousand soldiers attempted to occupy the Peiraeus at night,7 but he was detected by the Athenians and, failing in the attempt, returned without accomplishing anything. He was then denounced before the council of the Spartans, but since he had the kings to support him, he got off by a miscarriage of justice.8 [7] As a result the Athenians, much vexed at the occurrence, voted that the truce had been broken by the Lacedaemonians.9 They then decided to make war on them and chose three of their most distinguished citizens as generals, Timotheus,10 Chabrias, and Callistratus.11 They voted to levy twenty thousand hoplites and five hundred cavalry, and to man two hundred ships. They likewise admitted the Thebans into the common council on terms equal in all respects.12 [8] They voted also to restore the land settled by cleruchs13 to its former owners and passed a law that no Athenian should cultivate lands outside of Attica.14 By this generous act they recovered the goodwill of the Greeks and made their own leadership more secure.

1 This war between the Persians and the Egyptians (cp. Isoc. 4.140 f.; Dem. 20.76; Nepos Chabrias 2.1) belongs to an earlier period (according to Hall, Cambridge Ancient History, 6.145 f., to the years 385-383). Nectanebos became king of Egypt in succession to Acoris by 378 (ibid. 148). Olmstead, A. T., History of the Persian Empire, p. 399, gives 385-383 as dates of the war.

2 This must have been c. 386-384 when Chabrias was in charge of the Athenian army which was recalled from Cyprus (Hall, l.c. 146). Chabrias went shortly afterward to Egypt. Hall l.c. 148), on the other hand, says that he went to Egypt in 377 and was soon recalled. See sect. 4, first note. Hall on the dates for Chabrias is at variance with other historians and Greek evidence. A good discussion of dates is found in Parke, Greek Mercenary Soldiers, 59-62. See recent treatment in Olmstead, op. cit. pp. 397 ff. Complete data in Kirchner, Pros. Att. no. 15086.

3 The recall of Chabrias probably occurred in the winter 380/79, since in the next winter he held the Athenian frontier against Cleombrotus (Xen. Hell. 5.4.14) and in the early summer 378 helped defend Thebes against Agesilaus. He was probably elected general in the spring of 379 (see Beloch, Griechische Geschichte (2), 3.2.229-230). Chabrias was of good family, lived on a generous scale, kept a racing stable, and was an able condottiere.

4 Iphicrates was probably sent out to Persia (see Nepos Iphicrates 2.4) about the time Chabrias was elected general. Since the Corinthian War Iphicrates had been in Thrace, restored to King Cotys his rule over the Odrysians, and married Cotys' daughter. He returned from Persian service to Athens in 373. He was a self-made man, great organizer and master of light-armed tactics, one of the most able of the condottieri (see chap. 44 and Nepos, Iphicrates).

5 Cp. Book 14.110.4.

6 Other accounts are Xen. Hell. 5.4.20-21 and Plut. Pelopidas 14 and Plut. Agesilaus 24. Diodorus here as in the case of Phoebidas is suspicious of Spartan policy, while Xenophon and Plutarch both speak of Thebes as the instigator of the raid in order to embroil Athens and Sparta. Again Diodorus seems right in suspecting Sparta (cp. "leitende Kreise in Sparta" in Beloch, Griechische Geschichte (2), 3.1.147 and Judeich, op. cit. 178). The inroad of Sphodrias (in Diodorus Sphodriades) was made (cp. Pearl Harbor) at the very time when three Spartan ambassadors were in Athens to negotiate. Their promises that Sparta would punish Sphodrias did much to assuage the anger of the Athenians at the moment.

7 Diodorus recounts the whole war from the raid of Sphodrias to the battle of Naxos under the year 377/6. The raid of Sphodrias probably took place in the spring of 378 when Cleombrotus was operating in Boeotia after the liberation of Thebes (December 379).

8 See for the influence of Cleombrotus and Archidamus, son of Agesilaus, in rescuing Sphodrias, Xen. Hell. 5.4.22-33; Plut. Agesilaus 25.

9 Cp. Xen. Hell. 5.4.34; Plut. Pelopidas 15.

10 Conon's son Timotheus was successful as general and as statesman from this time on till his death in 354.

11 Callistratus of Aphidna, though one of the opponents of the King's Peace (see Book 14.110.2-3), had come to see that Athens had no other choice. One of the most brilliant orators of this period, he was a keen politician and a skilful finance administrator.

12 Cp. Xen. Hell. 5.4.34, Plut. Pelopidas 15. For the League see chap. 28.4.

13 See chap. 23.4.

14 Thousands of Athenian citizens lost their last hope of recovering the land outside Attica which they or their fathers had lost in the catastrophe of 404. These hopes were still alive in the Corinthian War.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1989)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (23 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: