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Agesilaus led forth his army and reached Boeotia accompanied by all the soldiers, amounting to more than eighteen thousand, in which were the five divisions of Lacedaemonians. Each division contained five hundred men. The company known as Sciritae1 amongst the Spartans is not drawn up with the rest, but has its own station with the king and it goes to the support of the sections that from time to time are in distress; and since it is composed of picked men, it is an important factor in turning the scale in pitched battles, and generally determines the victory. Agesilaus also had fifteen hundred cavalry. [2] Passing on then to the city of Thespiae, which was garrisoned by the Lacedaemonians, he encamped near it and for several days rested his men from the hardships of the march. The Athenians, having become aware of the arrival of the Lacedaemonians in Boeotia, immediately went to the assistance of Thebes with five thousand foot-soldiers and two hundred cavalry. [3] When these forces had assembled, the Thebans occupied an oblong crest about twenty stades from the city and, having transformed the obstacle into a bastion, awaited the attack of the enemy; for the reputation of Agesilaus so overawed them that they were too timid to await his attack on equal terms in the level country. [4] As for Agesilaus,2 he led out his army in battle array against the Boeotians, and, when he had drawn near, in the first place launched his light-armed troops against his opponents, thus testing their disposition to fight him. But when the Thebans had easily from their higher position thrust his men back, he led the whole army against them closely arrayed to strike them with terror. [5] Chabrias3 the Athenian, however, leading his mercenary troops, ordered his men to receive the enemy with a show of contempt, maintaining all the while their battle lines, and, leaning their shields against their knees, to wait with upraised spear. [6] Since they did what they were ordered as at a single word of command, Agesilaus, marvelling at the fine discipline of the enemy and their posture of contempt, judged it inadvisable to force a way against the higher ground and compel his opponents to show their valour in a hand-to-hand contest, and, having learned by trial that they would dare, if forced, to dispute the victory, he challenged them in the plain. But when the Thebans would not come down to meet him, he withdrew the phalanx of infantry, dispatched the cavalry and light-armed ranks to plunder the countryside unhampered, and so took a great quantity of spoil.

1 A people who lived on the mountainous northern frontier of Laconia. This special corps, considered apparently the cream of the army, formed the vanguard of an advance and the rearguard of a retreat. Thought by some to be lightarmed, though this is doubted by Kromayer-Veith on the strength of this and other passages (p. 39, Heerwesen und Kriegsführung der Griechen und Römer, Munich, 1928). (See Thuc. 5.67.1).

2 For the campaign of this year (actually 378) see Xen. Hell. 5.4.35-41, Xen. Ages. 26.

3 For the role of Chabrias see Polyaenus 2.1.2;Nepos Chabrias 1; Dem. 20.76.

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