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In the Peloponnese, the Lacedaemonians dispatched Polytropus as general to Arcadia with a thousand citizen hoplites and five hundred Argive and Boeotian refugees. He reached the Arcadian Orchomenus and guarded it closely since it was on friendly terms with Sparta.1 [2] Lycomedes of Mantineia, general of the Arcadians, with five thousand men styled the elite,2 came to Orchomenus. As the Lacedaemonians led forth their army from the city a great battle ensued in which the Lacedaemonian general was killed3 and two hundred others, while the rest were driven into the city. [3] The Arcadians, in spite of their victory, felt a prudent respect for the strength of Sparta and believed that they would not be able by themselves to cope with the Lacedaemonians. Accordingly, associating Argives and Eleians with themselves, they first sent envoys to Athens requesting them to join in an alliance against the Spartans, but as no one heeded them, they sent an embassy to the Thebans and persuaded them to join an alliance against the Lacedaemonians.4 [4] Immediately, then, the Boeotians led out their army, taking some Locrians and Phocians along as allies. Now these men advanced against the Peloponnese under the boeotarchs Epameinondas and Pelopidas, for the other boeotarchs had willingly relinquished the command to these in recognition of their shrewdness in the art of war and their courage. [5] When they reached Arcadia, the Arcadians, Eleians, Argives, and all the other allies joined them in full force. And when more than fifty thousand had gathered, their leaders sitting in council decided to march upon Sparta itself and lay waste all Laconia.

1 "The Orchomenians refused to be members of the Arcadian League on account of their enmity toward the Mantineans" (Xen. Hell. 6.5.11, trans. by Brownson, L.C.L.).

2 These were called eparitoi. See Xen. Hell. 7.4.22, 33, 36; 5.3; and below, chap. 67.2.

3 Xen. Hell. 6.5.14.

4 See Dem. 16.12, 19, and Xen. Hell. 6.5.19. For the policy of Athens in this period see Cloché, La Politique étrangère d' Athènes, 97-99. Cloché thinks Athens had a chance to expand her confederacy at the expense of her former ally Thebes and her former enemy Sparta, but her refusal to help (owing especially to Elis' recalcitrancy) at this time gave Thebes the opportunity to step in.

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    • Demosthenes, For the Megalopolitans, 12
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.11
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.14
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 6.5.19
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