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Disorganised State of Boeotia

But Boeotia as a nation had come to such a low pitch, that for nearly twenty-five years the administration of justice had been suspended in private and public suits alike. Their magistrates were engaged in despatching bodies of men to guard the country or in proclaiming national expeditions, and thus continually postponed their attendance at courts of law. Some of the Strategi also dispensed allowances to the needy from the public treasury; whereby the common people learnt to support and invest with office those who would help them to escape the penalties of their crimes and undischarged liabilities, and to be enriched from time to time with some portion of the public property obtained by official favour. No one contributed to this lamentable state of things more than Opheltas, who was always inventing some plan calculated to benefit the masses for the moment, while perfectly certain to ruin them in the future. To these evils was added another unfortunate fashion. It became the practice for those who died childless not to leave their property to the members of their family, as had been the custom of the country formerly, but to assign it for the maintenance of feasts and convivial entertainments to be shared in by the testator's friends in common; and even many who did possess children left the larger part of their property to the members of their own club. The result was that there were many Boeotians who had more feasts to attend in the month than there were days in it. The people of Megara therefore, disliking this habit, and remembering their old connexion with the Achaean league, were inclined once more to renew their political alliance with it.
Antigonus Gonatas, ob. B. C. 239.
For the Megarians had been members of the Achaean league since the time of Antigonus Gonatas; but upon Cleomenes blockading the Isthmus, finding themselves cut off from the Achaeans they joined the Boeotians, with the consent of the former.
Cleomenic war B. C. 227-221.
But a little before the time of which we are now speaking, becoming dissatisfied with the Boeotian constitution, they again joined the Achaeans. The Boeotians, incensed at what they considered acts of contempt, sallied out in full force to attack Megara; and on the Megarians declining to listen to them, they determined in their anger to besiege and assault their city. But being attacked by a panic, on a report spreading that Philopoemen was at hand at the head of a force of Achaeans, they left their scaling ladders against the walls and fled back precipitately to their own country.

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239 BC (1)
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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), HERES
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