Now that the Lacedaemonians had met with an unexpected reverse, and the Thebans with an unlooked-for success surpassing that of any other Hellenes at strife with Hellenes, the high conduct of the defeated city was no less to be envied and admired than that of the victorious city.
that in the case of noble men, there is much that is worth recording even in what they say and do at their wine and in their sports, and he is right; and it is no less, but even more, worth while to observe carefully the decorum with which noble men speak and act in the midst of adversity. The city was holding a festival and was full of strangers; for the
‘gymnopaediae’ were in progress and choirs of boys were competing with one another in the theatre; then came the messengers of calamity from Leuctra.
But the ephors, although it was at once apparent that their cause was ruined and their supremacy lost, would not allow a choral performance to be omitted, nor the fashion of the festival to be changed by the city, but after sending the names of the slain warriors to the homes of their kindred, they themselves conducted the spectacle and the choral contests to a close.
On the next morning also, now that everyone knew who had survived the battle and who had been slain, the fathers and kindred and friends of the slain went down into the market-place and greeted one another with bright faces, full of pride and exultation; while the friends of the survivors, as if in mourning, tarried at home with the women, and if one of them was obliged to appear in public, his garb and speech and looks betokened his humiliation and abasement.
And a still greater difference was to be seen (or heard about) in the women; she who expected her son back from the battle alive was dejected and silent, but the mothers of those reported to have fallen immediately frequented the temples, and visited one another with an air of gladness and pride.