When the people accepted the
proposal and the decree authorizing the embassy had been drafted by Demosthenes, they turned to
the search for their most eloquent representative. Demosthenes willingly answered the call to
service. He carried out the mission vigorously and returned to Athens at last having secured
the adhesion of the Thebans.
Now that they had doubled their
existing armed forces by the Boeotian alliance, the Athenians recovered their confidence.
At once they designated Chares and Lysicles as generals and
sent forth their entire army under arms into Boeotia. All their youth reported eager for battle
and advanced with forced marches as far as Chaeroneia in Boeotia. Impressed by the promptness
of the Athenian arrival and themselves no less ready to act decisively, the Boeotians joined
them with their weapons and, brigaded together, all awaited the approach of the enemy.
Philip's first move was to send envoys to the Boeotian
League, the most eminent of whom was Pytho.1
He was celebrated for his eloquence, but judged by the Boeotians in this contest for their
allegiance against Demosthenes, he surpassed all the other speakers, to be sure, but was
clearly inferior to him.
And Demosthenes himself in his
speeches parades his success against this orator as a great accomplishment, where he
says:“I did not then give ground before Pytho in spite of his confidence and his torrent
of words against you.”Dem. 18.1362
So Philip failed to get the
support of the Boeotians, but nevertheless decided to fight both of the allies together. He
waited for the last of his laggard confederates to arrive, and then marched into Boeotia. His
forces came to more than thirty thousand infantry and no less than two thousand cavalry.
Both sides were on edge for the battle, high-spirited and
eager, and were well matched in courage, but the king had the advantage in numbers and in
He had fought many battles of different sorts and
had been victorious in most cases, so that he had a wide experience in military operations. On
the Athenian side, the best of their generals were dead—Iphicrates, Chabrias, and
Timotheus too—and the best of those who were left, Chares, was no better than any
average soldier in the energy and discretion required of a commander.3