5. An Athenian, son of Ariphron, was general, together with Demosthenes, in the eighth year of the Peloponnesian war (B. C. 424), when the democratic party at Megara, becoming apprehensive of the recal of the exiles, and of a revolution in consequence, made overtures to the Athenians to betray the city into their hands. Demosthenes and Hippocrates immediately marched, with a select body of troops, to take advantage of this opportunity, and, with the assistance of their partisans, made themselves masters of the long walls which connected Megara with its port of Nisaea, but were unable to effect an entrance into the city itself. Thus foiled in part of their enterprise, they turned their arms against Nisaea, in which there was a Peloponnesian garrison, but this was speedily compelled, by want of provisions, to capitulate, and the Athenians became masters of this important port. Brasidas soon after arrived with a considerable army, and by his influence secured the predominance of the Lacedaemonian party at Megara; but he was unable to effect anything against Nisaea, and after haviug in vain offered battle to the Athenian generals, he withdrew again to Corinth. (Thuc. 4.66
; Diod. 12.66
.) Soon after this, a scheme was arranged by Demosthenes and Hippocrates, in concert with a party in some of the Boeotian cities, for the invasion of Boeotia on three different points at once.
In pursuance of this plan Demosthenes attacked by sea the port of Siphae on the Corinthian gulf, while Hippocrates was to seize and fortify Delium, a spot sacred to Apollo near the frontiers of Attica. Some mistake unfortunately took place in their arrangements, and Demosthenes had been already repulsed from before Siphae when his colleague entered Boeotia Hippocrates, however, occupied Delium without opposition, and having fortified it and established a garrison there, was returning with his main army to Athens, when the Boeotian forces arrived.
A pitched battle ensued, at a spot between Delium and Oropus, just within the confines of Attica, in which the Athenians were completely defeated. Hippocrates himself fell in the battle, together with near a thousand of his troops; and the loss on the Athenian side would have been far greater had not the slaughter been interrupted by the coming on of the night. The Boeotians at first refused to give up the bodies of Hippocrates and the others who had fallen in the battle until the Athenians should evacuate Delium; but having reduced that post, after a siege of seventeen days, they at length restored the dead bodies to their countrymen. (Thuc. 4.76
; Diod. 12.69
: Paus. 3.6.1