Agesilaus, then, was occupied with these things. But the Lacedaemonians at home, when they found out definitely that the money1
had come to Greece, and that the largest states had united for war against them, believed that their state was in danger, and thought that it was necessary to undertake a campaign.
And while themselves making preparations for this, they also immediately sent Epicydidas to fetch Agesilaus. And when Epicydidas arrived in Asia, he told Agesilaus the general condition of affairs, and that the state bade him come as speedily as possible to the aid of his fatherland.
Now when Agesilaus heard this, although he was disturbed, considering what honours and what hopes he was deprived of, nevertheless, calling2
together the allies, he made known to them what the state commanded, and said that it was necessary to go to the aid of the fatherland. “But if those matters turn out successfully, be well assured, my allies,” he said, “that I shall not forget you, but shall return again to accomplish the things which you desire.”
Upon hearing this many burst into tears, but they all voted to go with Agesilaus to the aid of Lacedaemon, resolved, if matters there should turn out successfully, to bring him back again with them to Asia.
Accordingly they made preparations to follow with him. As for Agesilaus, he left behind him in Asia Euxenus as governor, and with him a garrison of not less than four thousand men, so that he could keep the cities safe; and seeing that most of his own soldiers were more desirous of remaining than of undertaking a campaign against Greeks, in the desire to lead with him the best men and as many as possible he offered prizes to the cities, for the one which should send the best force, and to the captains of the mercenaries, for the one who should join the expedition with the best equipped company of hoplites, of bowmen, and of peltasts. He likewise announced to the commanders of cavalry that he would also give a prize of victory to the one who should furnish the best mounted and best equipped battalion.
And he said that he would make the decision in the Chersonese, when they had crossed from Asia to Europe, his purpose being to let them understand thoroughly that they must select their troops with care.
As for the prizes, most of them were beautifully wrought arms, both for hoplites and for horsemen; there were also wreaths of gold, and the prizes all told cost not less than four talents. As a3
result, however, of the expending of this sum, arms worth a vast sum of money were provided for the army.
And when he had crossed the Hellespont, Menascus, Herippidas, and Orsippus were appointed as judges from the side of the Lacedaemonians, and from that of the allies one from each city. Then Agesilaus, after he had made the decision, marched on with his army by the same route which the Persian king4
followed when he made his expedition against Greece.
Meanwhile the ephors called out the ban; and since Agesipolis5
was still a boy, the state commanded Aristodemus, who was of the royal family and the boy's guardian, to lead the army.
Now when the Lacedaemonians were marching forth and their enemies had gathered together, the latter met and took counsel as to how they might fight the battle with the greatest advantage to themselves.
Then Timolaus of Corinth spoke as follows: “It seems to me,” he said, “fellow allies, that the case of the Lacedaemonians is much the same as that of rivers. For rivers at their sources are not large, but easy to cross, yet the farther on they go, other rivers empty into them and make their current stronger;
and just so the Lacedaemonians, at the place whence they come forth, are alone by themselves, but as they go on and keep attaching the cities to them, they become more numerous and harder to fight against. Again, I see,” he said, “that all who wish to destroy wasps, in case they try to capture the wasps as they issue forth, are stung by many of them; but if they apply the fire while the wasps are still in their nests, they suffer no harm and subdue the wasps. Considering6
these things, therefore, I believe it is best to fight the battle in Lacedaemon itself if possible, but if not, as near there as we can.” Since it was thought that his advice was good, they voted for this course.
But while they were negotiating about the leadership and trying to come to an agreement with one another as to the number of ranks in depth in which the whole army should be drawn up, in order to prevent the states from making their phalanxes too deep and thus giving the enemy a chance of surrounding them,—meanwhile the Lacedaemonians, having already picked up the Tegeans and Mantineans, were on their outward march, taking the road along the sea-shore.7
And as the two armies marched on, the Corinthians and their allies were in the district of Nemea, and the Lacedaemonians and their allies at Sicyon, at almost the same time. Now when the latter had made their entry into Corinthian territory by way of Epieiceia, at first the light troops of their adversaries did them a great deal of harm by throwing missiles and discharging arrows upon them from the heights upon their right.
But when they had descended towards the sea,8
they marched on by this route through the plain, devastating and burning the land. The enemy also, however, retired and encamped, getting the river-bed9
in front of them; and when, as they advanced, the Lacedaemonians were distant not so much as ten stadia from the enemy, they also encamped where they were and remained quiet.
And now I will state the numbers on either side. As for hoplites, there had gathered together of the Lacedaemonians about six thousand, of the Eleans,10
Triphylians, Acrorians, and Lasionians almost three thousand, and of the Sicyonians one thousand five hundred, while of the Epidaurians, Troezenians, Hermionians, and Halians there were not less than three thousand. Besides these there were horsemen of the Lacedaemonians to the number of about seven hundred, Cretan bowmen who accompanied the army, about three hundred, and, further, slingers of the Marganians, Letrinians, and Amphidolians, not less than four hundred. The Phliasians, however, would not join them; for they said that they were keeping a holy truce.11
This, then, was the force on the side of the Lacedaemonians.
But the force of the enemy which was gathered together included, of the Athenians about six thousand hoplites, of the Argives, according to all accounts, about seven thousand, of the Boeotians (since the Orchomenians were not present) only about five thousand, of the Corinthians about three thousand, and, further, from the whole of Euboea not less than three thousand. This was the number of the hoplites; but as for horsemen, there were of the Boeotians (since the Orchomenians were not present) about eight hundred, of the Athenians about six hundred, of the Chalcidians from Euboea about one hundred, and of the Opuntian Locrians about fifty. And of light troops also there was a greater number with the party of the Corinthians; for the Ozolian Locrians, Malians, and Acarnanians were with them.
This, then, was the force on either side. Now the Boeotians, so long as they occupied the left wing,12
were not in the least eager to join battle; but when13
the Athenians took position opposite the Lacedaemonians, and the Boeotians themselves got the right wing and were stationed opposite the Achaeans, they immediately said that the sacrifices were favourable and gave the order to make ready, saying that there would be a battle. And in the first place, disregarding the sixteen-rank formation,14
they made their phalanx exceedingly deep, and, besides, they also veered to the right in leading the advance, in order to outflank the enemy with their wing; and the Athenians, in order not to be detached from the rest of the line, followed them towards the right, although they knew that there was danger of their being surrounded.
Now for a time the Lacedaemonians did not perceive that the enemy were advancing; for the place was thickly overgrown; but when the latter struck up the paean, then at length they knew, and immediately gave orders in their turn that all should make ready for battle. And when they had been drawn up together in the positions which the Lacedaemonian leaders of the allies assigned to the several divisions, they passed the word along to follow the van. Now the Lacedaemonians also veered to the right in leading the advance, and extended their wing so far beyond that of the enemy that only six tribes of the Athenians found themselves opposite the Lacedaemonians, the other four being opposite the Tegeans.
And when the armies were now not so much as a stadium apart, the Lacedaemonians sacrificed the goat to Artemis Agrotera15
, as is their custom, and led the charge upon their adversaries, wheeling round their overlapping wing in order to surround them. When they had come to close encounter, all the allies of16
the Lacedaemonians were overcome by their adversaries except the men of Pellene, who, being pitted against the Thespians, fought and fell in their places,—as did also many of the other side.
But the Lacedaemonians themselves overcame that part of the Athenians which they covered, and wheeling round with their overlapping wing killed many of them, and then, unscathed as they were, marched on with lines unbroken. They passed by the other four tribes of the Athenians before the latter had returned from the pursuit, so that none of these were killed except such as fell in the original encounter, at the hands of the Tegeans;
but the Lacedaemonians did come upon the Argives as they were returning from the pursuit, and when the first polemarch was about to attack them in front, it is said that some one shouted out to let their front ranks pass by. When this had been done, they struck them on their unprotected sides17
as they ran past, and killed many of them. The Lacedaemonians also attacked the Corinthians as they were returning. And, furthermore, they likewise came upon some of the Thebans returning from the pursuit, and killed a large number of them.
These things having taken place, the defeated troops at first fled to the walls of Corinth; but afterwards, since the Corinthians shut them out, they encamped again in their old camp. The Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, returning to the place where they first engaged the enemy, set up a trophy. Such, then, was the issue of this battle.