previous next

Troubles In Sparta

And perhaps my observation may receive some support from ancient history. For, among many other indications, it is a fact that the Messenians did set up a pillar close to the altar of Zeus Lycaeus in the time of Aristomenes,1 according to the evidence of Callisthenes, in which they inscribed the following verses: “A faithless king will perish soon or late!
Messene tracked him down right easily,
The traitor:—perjury must meet its fate;
Glory to Zeus, and life to Arcady!
” The point of this is, that, having lost their own country, they pray the gods to save Arcadia as their second country.2 And it was very natural that they should do so; for not only did the Arcadians receive them when driven from their own land, at the time of the Aristomenic war, and make them welcome to their homes and free of their civic rights; but they also passed a vote bestowing their daughters in marriage upon those of the Messenians who were of proper age; and besides all this, investigated the treason of their king Aristocrates in the battle of the Trench; and, finding him guilty, put him to death and utterly destroyed his whole family.
B. C. 362.
But setting aside these ancient events, what has happened recently after the restoration of Megalopolis and Messene will be sufficient to support what I have said. For when, upon the death of Epaminondas leaving the result of the battle of Mantinea doubtful, the Lacedaemonians endeavoured to prevent the Messenians from being included. in the truce, hoping even then to get Messenia into their own hands, the Megalopolitans, and all the other Arcadians who were allied with the Messenians, made such a point of their being admitted to the benefits of the new confederacy, that they were accepted by the allies and allowed to take the oaths and share in the provisions of the peace; while the Lacedaemonians were the only Greeks excluded from the treaty. With such facts before him, could any one doubt the soundness of the suggestion I lately made?

I have said thus much for the sake of the Arcadians and Messenians themselves; that, remembering all the misfortunes which have befallen their countries at the hands of the Lacedaemonians, they may cling close to the policy of mutual affection and fidelity; and let no fear of war, or desire of peace, induce them to abandon each other in what affects the highest interests of both.

1 The hero of the second Messenian war, B. C. 685-668 (Pausan. 4, 14-24). The story told by Pausanias, who also quotes these verses, is that Aristocrates, king of the Arcadians, twice played the traitor to Aristomenes, the Messenian champion: once at the battle of the Great Trench, and again when Aristomenes renewed the war after his escape from the Pits at Sparta; and that on the second occasion his own people stoned him to death, and set up this pillar in the sacred enclosure of Zeus on Mount Lycaeus.

2 But Pausanias represents the pillar as put up by the Arcadians, not the Messenians (4, 22, 7).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Theodorus Büttner-Wobst after L. Dindorf, 1893)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Messene (Greece) (2)
Messenia (Greece) (1)
Megalopolis (Greece) (1)
Mantinea (Greece) (1)
Arcadia (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
362 BC (1)
hide References (7 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (4):
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.14
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.22.7
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: