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Grundy (op. cit. 306-9, 315-17; improving on a suggestion made by Bury in the Annual of the British School of Athens, ii. 102) argues strongly that the 2,800 allies dismissed were really detached to meet Hydarnes on the Anopaea, but failed to perform this duty. His great point is that otherwise the conduct of the Thespians (and of the Thebans) is inexplicable; cf. App. XX. 10, and for another suggestion Munro, J. H. S. xxii. 317-19.

Θηβαῖοι. Diodorus (xi. 9) omits the Thebans, as does Pausanias (x. 20. 2), who adds the Mycenaeans.

ἐν ὁμήρων λόγῳ. Plutarch (de Malign. Her. 31, Mor. 865) rightly attacks the view that the Thebans could have been detained as hostages, a course which would only have added to Leonidas' own danger. Further, Plutarch here makes an effective apology for his countrymen; he urges that they sent 500 men under Mnamias to Tempe and the contingent demanded by Leonidas to Thermopylae, treating Leonidas with special honour. And with reference to the tradition that Leontiades and the other Theban captives were branded by Xerxes, Plutarch remarks (1) that Anaxandrus and not Leontiades was in command, (2) that branding would be a proof not of Medism but of fidelity to the Greek cause, (3) that the story was unknown before H. On the whole, in spite of Grundy's doubts (pp. 294-6) and Hauvette's rather half-hearted defence of H. (Herodote, pp. 360-4), we must admit that H. has been misled by malignant Athenian gossip, and that Leontiades, like Adeimantus, has suffered for the sins of his son (vii. 233 n.; Introd. § 30 c, d; J. H. S. xxii. 317). E. Meyer (F. ii. 211) holds the Thebans remained in order to desert with more effect, but it may well be that the Medizing oligarchy at Thebes furnished as their contingent men of the opposite party (Diod. xi. 4 τῆς ἑτέρας μερίδος) loyal to the Greek cause. The existence of such a party at Thebes seems proved (in spite of H. ix. 87) by the Theban orator's speech against Plataea (Thuc. iii. 62). For the dispatch of political opponents to the front to get rid of them, we may compare the attempt of the Corcyrean democrats to enlist their opponents for naval service (Thuc. iii. 75), the sending of 300 oligarchic knights to Thibron by the restored Athenian democrats (Xen. Hell. iii. 1. 4), and of oligarchs to Cambyses by Polycrates (H. iii. 44. 2 n.). Boeotian loyalists were doomed if Thermopylae was lost, and so would be likely to fight to the last. Cf. also M. Müller, Geschichte Thebens, pp. 25-45.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.62
    • Thucydides, Histories, 3.75
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 3.1.4
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