Nabis Finds a Pretext for War
The rest of his conduct was on a par with this beginning.
The beginning of the war between Nabis and the Achaeans.
He made common cause with the Cretan pirates,
and kept temple-breakers, highway-robbers, and
murderers all over the Peloponnese; and as he
shared in the profits of their nefarious trades, he
allowed them to use Sparta as their base of operations. Moreover, about this time some visitors from Boeotia, who happened
to be staying at Lacedaemon, enticed one of his grooms to
make off with them, taking a certain white horse which was
considered the finest in the royal stud. They were pursued
by a party sent by Nabis as far as Megalopolis, where the
tyrants found the horse and groom, and took them off without any one interfering. But they then laid hands on the
Boeotians, who at first demanded to be taken before the
magistrate; but as no attention was paid to the demand, one
of them shouted out "Help!" Upon a crowd of the people
of the place collecting and protesting that the men should be
taken before the magistrate, Nabis's party were obliged to let
them go and retire. Nabis, however, had been long looking
out for a ground of complaint and a reasonable pretext for a
quarrel, and having seized on this one, he harried the cattle
belonging to Proagoras and some others; which was a commencement of the war.1
. . .