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The weight attached to the oracle by a king who knew that oracles could be bought (ch. 66), and who neither here nor elsewhere (at the Heraeum (81), at Eleusis (75), or at Athens (v. 72)), shrank from sacrilege, is a glaring inconsistency. It is most unlikely that Cleomenes after a great victory would allow himself to be robbed of its fruits by any such scruple. More probable explanations of his failure to attack the town are (1) the bribery alleged (ch. 82, cf. 72 n.); or (2) reluctance to face great loss of life in storming the wall, and consciousness of the Spartans lack of skill in siege operations (ix. 70; Thuc. i. 102; cf. Busolt, Lakedaimonier, i. 335); or (3) unwillingness to destroy Argos, ‘the kite which frightened the other cities of the Akte to take refuge under the wing of Sparta,’ and by her close connexion with Aegina kept Corinth loyal to Sparta (Grundy, Thuc. i. 223; J. H. S. xxviii. 85).
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