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After this the Athenians, on their side, proceeded to withdraw their garrisons from the cities and to send after Iphicrates and his ships, and they compelled him to give back everything which he had captured after the time when the oaths were taken at Lacedaemon. [2] But the Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, while they withdrew both their governors and their garrisons from all the other cities, did not follow this course in the case of Cleombrotus, who was at the head of the army in Phocis and now asked the authorities at home what he should do. Prothous did indeed say that it seemed to him they1 ought first to disband the army in accordance with their oaths and send round word to the various cities to make contributions, as large as each city chose to make, to the temple of Apollo,2 and afterwards, in case anyone tried to prevent the cities from being independent, to call together again at that time all who wished to support the cause of independence and lead them against those who opposed it; for he thought, he continued, that in this way the gods would be most favourably inclined toward them and the cities would be least annoyed. [3] The Lacedaemonian assembly, however, upon hearing these words, came to the conclusion that he was talking nonsense; for at this moment, as it seems, Fate was leading them on; and they sent orders to Cleombrotus not to disband his army, but to lead it at once against the Thebans if they did not leave the cities independent. When, therefore, he learned that, so far from leaving the cities independent, the Thebans were not even disbanding their army, in order that they might marshal themselves against him, under these circumstances he undertook to lead his troops into Boeotia.

Now Cleombrotus did not enter Boeotia from Phocis at the point where the Thebans expected him to enter and where they were keeping guard at a narrow pass; but proceeding by way of Thisbae along a mountainous and unexpected route, he arrived at Creusis, captured its wall, and took twelve triremes belonging to the Thebans. [4] After accomplishing this exploit and marching up from the sea-coast, he encamped at Leuctra, in the territory of Thespiae. And the Thebans encamped on the opposite hill not very far away, with no allies except the Boeotians.3 Then his friends went to Cleombrotus and said: [5] “Cleombrotus, if you let the Thebans escape without a battle, you will be in danger of suffering the uttermost penalty at the hands of your state. For they will remember against you not only the time when you reached Cynoscephalae and laid waste no part of the country of the Thebans, but also the time when, on your later expedition, you were beaten back from effecting your entrace, although Agesilaus always made his entrance by way of Cithaeron. Therefore if you really have a care for yourself or a desire to see your fatherland again, you must lead against these men.” Such were the words of his friends; but his opponents said: “Now is the time when the man will make it clear whether he is in truth partial to the Thebans, as rumour has it.” [6]

Cleombrotus, then, as he heard these things was spurred on to join battle. The leaders of the Thebans, on the other hand, calculated that if they did not fight, the cities round about would revolt from them and they would themselves be besieged; further, that if the people of Thebes were thus cut off from provisions, the city itself would be in danger of turning against them. And since many of them had been in exile before, they estimated that it was better to die fighting than to be exiled again. [7] Besides this, they were also somewhat encouraged by the oracle which was reported — that the Lacedaemonians were destined to be defeated at the spot where stood the monument of the virgins, who are said to have killed themselves because they had been violated by certain Lacedaemonians. The Thebans accordingly decorated this monument before the battle. Furthermore, reports were brought to them4 from the city that all the temples were opening of themselves, and that the priestesses said that the gods revealed victory. And the messengers reported that from the Heracleium the arms also had disappeared, indicating that Heracles had gone forth to the battle. Some, to be sure, say that all these things were but devices of the leaders. [8] But in the battle, at any rate, everything turned out adversely for the Lacedaemonians, while for the other side everything went prosperously, even to the gifts of fortune. For it was after the morning meal that Cleombrotus held his last council over the battle, and drinking a little, as they did, at the middle of the day, it was said that the wine helped somewhat to excite them. [9] Again, when both sides were arming themselves and it was already evident that there would be a battle, in the first place, after those who had provided the market and some baggage-carriers and such as did not wish to fight had set out to withdraw from the Boeotian army, the Lacedaemonian mercenaries under Hieron, the peltasts of the Phocians, and, among the horsemen, the Heracleots and Phliasians made a circuit and fell upon these people as they were departing, and not only turned them about but chased them back to the camp of the Boeotians. Thereby they made the Boeotian army much larger and more densely massed than it had been before. [10] In the second place, since the space between the armies was a plain, the Lacedaemonians posted their horsemen in front of their phalanx, and the Thebans in like manner posted theirs over against them. Now the cavalry of the Thebans was in good training as a result of the war with the Orchomenians and the war with the Thespians, while the cavalry of5 the Lacedaemonians was exceedingly poor at that time. [11] For the richest men kept the horses, and it was only when the ban was called out that the appointed trooper presented himself; then he would get his horse and such arms as were given him, and take the field on the moment's notice. As for the men, on the other hand, it was those who were least strong of body and least ambitious who were mounted on the horses. [12] Such, then, was the cavalry on either side. Coming now to the infantry, it was said that the Lacedaemonians led each half-company three files abreast, and that this resulted in the phalanx being not more than twelve men deep.6 The Thebans, however, were massed not less than fifty shields deep, calculating that if they conquered that part of the army which was around the king, all the rest of it would be easy to overcome. [13]

Now when Cleombrotus began to lead his army against the enemy, in the first place, before the troops under him so much as perceived that he was advancing, the horsemen had already joined battle and those of the Lacedaemonians had speedily been worsted; then in their flight they had fallen foul of their own hoplites, and, besides, the companies of the Thebans were now charging upon them. Nevertheless, the fact that Cleombrotus and his men were at first victorious in the battle may be known from this clear indication: they would not have been able to take him up and carry him off still living, had not those who were fighting in front of him been holding the advantage at that time. [14] But when Deinon, the polemarch, Sphodrias, one of the king's tent-companions, and Cleonymus,7 the son of Sphodrias, had been killed, then the royal bodyguard, the so-called aides of the polemarch, and the others fell back under the pressure of the Theban mass, while those who were on the left wing of the Lacedaemonians, when they saw that the right wing was being pushed back, gave way. Yet despite the fact that many had fallen and that they were defeated, after they had crossed the trench which chanced to be in front of their camp they grounded their arms at the spot from which they had set forth. The camp, to be sure, was not on ground which was altogether level, but rather on the slope of a hill. After the disaster some of the Lacedaemonians, thinking it unendurable, said that they ought to prevent the enemy from setting up their trophy and to try to recover the bodies of the dead, not by means of a truce, but by fighting. [15] The polemarchs, however, seeing that of the whole number of the Lacedaemonians almost a thousand had been killed; seeing, further, that among the Spartiatae themselves, of whom there were some seven hundred there, about four hundred had fallen; and perceiving that the allies were one and all without heart for fighting, while some of them were not even displeased at what had taken place, gathered together the most important personages and deliberated about what they should do. And as all thought it best to recover the bodies of the dead by a truce, they finally sent a herald to ask for a truce. After this, then, the Thebans set up a trophy and gave back the bodies under a truce. [16]

After these things had happened, the messenger who was sent to carry the news of the calamity to8 Lacedaemon arrived there on the last day of the festival of the Gymnopaediae,9 when the chorus of men was in the theatre. And when the ephors heard of the disaster, they were indeed distressed, as, I conceive, was inevitable; yet they did not withdraw the chorus, but suffered it to finish its performance. Further, although they duly gave the names of the dead to their several kinsmen, they gave orders to the women not to make any outcry, but to bear the calamity in silence. And on the following day one could see those whose relatives had been killed going about in public with bright and cheerful faces, while of those whose relatives had been reported as living you would have seen but few, and these few walking about gloomy and downcast. [17]

After this the ephors called out the ban of the two remaining10 regiments, going up as far as those who were forty years beyond the minimum military age; they also sent out all up to the same age who belonged to the regiments abroad11; for in the original expedition to Phocis only those men who were not more than thirty-five years beyond the minimum age had served; furthermore, they ordered those who at that time had been left behind in public office to join their regiments. [18] Now Agesilaus as a result of his illness was not yet strong; accordingly the state directed Archidamus, his son, to act as commander. And the Tegeans served with him zealously; for the followers of Stasippus were still alive, who were favourable to the Lacedaemonians and had no slight power in their own state. Likewise the Mantineans from their villages12 supported him13 stoutly; for they chanced to be under an aristocratic government. Furthermore, the Corinthians, Sicyonians, Phliasians, and Achaeans followed him with all zeal, and other states also sent out soldiers. Meanwhile the Lacedaemonians themselves and the Corinthians manned triremes and requested the Sicyonians also to help them in so doing, intending to carry the army across the gulf on these ships. [19] And Archidamus accordingly offered his sacrifices at the frontier.

As for the Thebans, immediately after the battle they sent to Athens a garlanded messenger, and while telling of the greatness of their victory, they at the same time urged the Athenians to come to their aid, saying that now it was possible to take vengeance upon the Lacedaemonians for all the harm they had done to them. [20] Now the Senate of the Athenians chanced to be holding its sitting on the Acropolis. And when they heard what had taken place, it was made clear to everyone that they were greatly distressed; for they did not invite the herald to partake of hospitality and about the matter of aid they gave him no answer. So the herald departed from Athens without having received a reply. But to Jason, who was their ally, the Thebans sent in haste, urging him to come to their aid; for they were debating among themselves how the future would turn out. [21] And Jason immediately proceeded to man triremes, as though he intended to go to their assistance by sea, but in fact he took his mercenary force and his bodyguard of cavalry and, although the Phocians were engaged in a bitter warfare against him, proceeded by land through their country14 into Boeotia, appearing in many of their towns before it was reported to them that he was on the march. At any rate, before they could gather troops together from here and there, he was already far on ahead, thus making it clear that in many cases it is speed rather than force which accomplishes the desired results. [22]

But when he arrived in Boeotia and the Thebans said that now was the right moment to attack the Lacedaemonians, he with his mercenaries from the heights above and they by a frontal assault, Jason sought to dissuade them, pointing out that since they had done a good work, it was not worth while for them to venture a decisive engagement in which they would either accomplish yet greater things or would be deprived of the victory already gained. [23] “Do you not see,” he said, “that in your own case it was when you found yourselves in straits that you won the victory? Therefore one must suppose that the Lacedaemonians also, if they were in like straits, would fight it out regardless of their lives. Besides, it seems that the deity often takes pleasure in making the small great and the great small.” [24] With such words, then, he endeavoured to dissuade the Thebans from making the final venture; to the Lacedaemonians, on the other hand, he pointed out what manner of thing a defeated army was, and what an army victorious. “And if you wish,” he said, “to forget the disaster which has befallen you, I advise you first to recover your breath and rest yourselves, and then, after you have become stronger, go into battle against men who are unconquered. But now,” he said, “be well assured that even among your allies there are those who are holding converse15 with the enemy about a treaty of friendship with them; by all means, then, try to obtain a truce. And I am myself eager for this,” he said, “out of a desire to save you, both because of my father's friendship with you and because I am your diplomatic agent.” [25] Such, then, were the arguments he urged, but he was acting perhaps with the purpose that these two parties, at variance as they were with one another, might both alike be in need of him. The Lacedaemonians, however, after hearing his words bade him negotiate for the truce; and when the report came that the truce had been made, the polemarchs gave orders that after dining all should have their baggage packed and ready with the purpose of setting out during the night, in order that at daybreak they might be climbing Cithaeron. But when the men had dined and before they went to rest, the polemarchs gave the order to follow, and led the way immediately upon the fall of evening by the road through Creusis, trusting to secrecy more than to the truce. [26] And proceeding with very great difficulty, since they were withdrawing at night and in fear and by a hard road, they arrived at Aegosthena in the territory of Megara. There they fell in with the army under Archidamus. And after waiting there until all the allies had joined him, Archidamus led back the whole army together as far as Corinth; from there he dismissed the allies and led the citizen troops back home. [27]

As for Jason, on his way back through Phocis he captured the outer city of the Hyampolitans, laid waste their land, and killed many of them, but he passed through the rest of Phocis without any hostile act. Upon arriving at Heracleia, however, he destroyed16 the walled city of the Heracleots, manifestly having no fear that when this passage-way17 had been thus thrown open anyone would march against his own dominion, but rather making provision that none should seize Heracleia, situated as it was at a narrow pass,18 and block his way if he wanted to march to any place in Greece. [28] And when he had come back again to Thessaly, he was in great repute both because he had legally been made Tagus of the Thessalians19 and because he maintained about him many mercenaries, both foot-soldiers and horsemen, these moreover being troops which had been trained to the highest efficiency; his repute was yet greater by reason of his many allies, including, in addition to those whom he already had, also those who were desirous of becoming such. And he was the greatest of the men of his time in that he was not lightly to be despised by anyone soever. [29]

Now when the Pythian festival was approaching,20 Jason sent orders to his cities to make ready cattle, sheep, goats, and swine for the sacrifice. And it was said that although he laid upon each city a very moderate demand, there were contributed no fewer than a thousand cattle and more than ten thousand of the other animals. He also made proclamation that a golden crown would be the prize of victory to the city which should rear the finest bull to lead the herd in honour of the god. [30] Furthermore, he gave orders to the Thessalians to make preparations for taking the field at the time of the Pythian festival; for he was intending, it was said, to be himself the director both of the festal assembly in honour of the god and of the games. What he21 intended, however, in regard to the sacred treasures, is even to this day uncertain; but it is said that when the Delphians asked the god what they should do if he tried to take any of his treasures, Apollo replied that he would himself take care of the matter. [31] At any rate this man, great as he was and purposing deeds so great and of such a kind, after he had held a review and inspection of the cavalry of the Pheraeans, and was now in his seat and making answer if anyone came to him with any request, was struck down and killed by seven young men who came up to him as though they had some quarrel with one another. [32] And when the guardsmen who attended him rushed stoutly to his aid, one of the young men, while still in the act of striking Jason, was pierced with a lance and killed; a second was caught while mounting his horse, suffered many wounds, and so was killed; but the rest leaped upon the horses which they had in readiness and escaped, and in most of the Greek cities to which they came they were honoured. This fact, indeed, made it plain that the Greeks had conceived a very great fear lest Jason should become tyrant.22 [33]

When he had thus been slain, Polydorus, his brother, and Polyphron succeeded to the office of Tagus. Now Polydorus, while the two were on their way to Larisa, was killed at night in his sleep by Polyphron, his brother, as people thought; for his death was sudden and without manifest cause. [34] Then Polyphron, in his turn, held sway for a year, and made the office of Tagus like the rule of a tyrant. For in Pharsalus he put to death Polydamas and eight more23 of the best among the citizens, and from Larisa he drove many into exile. While thus engaged he, also,24 was slain by Alexander, who posed as avenger of Polydorus and destroyer of the tyranny. [35] But when Alexander had himself succeeded to the position of ruler, he proved a cruel Tagus to the Thessalians, a cruel enemy to the Thebans and Athenians, and an unjust robber both by land and by sea. Being such a man, he likewise was slain in his turn, the25 actual deed being done by his wife's brothers, though the plan was conceived by the woman herself. [36] For she reported to her brothers that Alexander was plotting against them, and concealed them within the house for the entire day. Then after she had received Alexander home in a drunken state and had put him to bed, while the light was left burning she carried his sword out of the chamber. And when she perceived that her brothers were hesitating to go in and attack Alexander, she said that if they did not act at once she would wake him. Then, as soon as they had gone in, she closed the door and held fast to the knocker until her husband had been killed. [37] Now her hatred toward her husband is said by some people to have been caused by the fact that when Alexander had imprisoned his own favourite, who was a beautiful youth, and she begged him to release him, he took him out and slew him; others, however, say that inasmuch as no children were being born to him of this woman, Alexander was sending to Thebes and trying to win as his wife the widow of Jason. The reasons, then, for the plot on the part of his wife are thus stated; but as for those who executed this deed, Tisiphonus, who was the eldest of the brothers, held the position of ruler up to the time when this26 narrative was written.27

1 371 B.C.

2 i.e., for a war fund.

3 371 B.C.

4 371 B.C.

5 371 B.C.

6 i.e., the half-company numbered thirty-six men.

7 371 B.C.

8 371 B.C.

9 A Spartan festival, celebrated with singing, dancing, and gymnastic exhibitions.

10 cp. i. 1 and note.

11 i.e., now at Leuctra.

12 See Xen. Hell. 5.2.5-7.

13 371 B.C.

14 371 B.C.

15 371 B.C.

16 371 B.C.

17 Thermopylae.

18 Thermopylae

19 See Xen. Hell. 6.1.18

20 370 B.C.

21 370 B.C.

22 i.e., an absolute and irresponsible ruler, whereas the position of Tagus was a legal, elective office.

23 370 B.C.

24 369 B.C.

25 358 B.C.

26 358 B.C.

27 Xenophon probably died in 354 B.C. Hence this portion of his narrative was written between 358 (see above) and 354 B.C.

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  • Cross-references to this page (13):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CI´VITAS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), E´PHORI
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), GYMNOPAE´DIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HOSPI´TIUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), POLEMARCHUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TAGUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CREU´SA
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Smith's Bio, Archida'mus Iii.
    • Smith's Bio, Jason
    • Smith's Bio, Ly'cophron
    • Smith's Bio, Polyphron
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
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