Disorganised State of Boeotia
But Boeotia as a nation had come to such a low pitch,
that for nearly twenty-five years the administration of justice had been suspended in private
and public suits alike. Their magistrates were
engaged in despatching bodies of men to guard the country
or in proclaiming national expeditions, and thus continually
postponed their attendance at courts of law. Some of the
Strategi also dispensed allowances to the needy from the public
treasury; whereby the common people learnt to support and
invest with office those who would help them to escape the
penalties of their crimes and undischarged liabilities, and to
be enriched from time to time with some portion of the public
property obtained by official favour. No one contributed to
this lamentable state of things more than Opheltas, who was
always inventing some plan calculated to benefit the masses for
the moment, while perfectly certain to ruin them in the future.
To these evils was added another unfortunate fashion. It
became the practice for those who died childless not to leave
their property to the members of their family, as had been
the custom of the country formerly, but to assign it for the
maintenance of feasts and convivial entertainments to be shared
in by the testator's friends in common; and even many who
did possess children left the larger part of their property to the
members of their own club. The result was that there were
many Boeotians who had more feasts to attend in the month
than there were days in it. The people of Megara therefore,
disliking this habit, and remembering their old connexion with
the Achaean league, were inclined once more to renew their
political alliance with it.
Antigonus Gonatas, ob. B. C. 239.
For the Megarians had been
members of the Achaean league since the time
of Antigonus Gonatas; but upon Cleomenes
blockading the Isthmus, finding themselves cut
off from the Achaeans they joined the Boeotians, with the
consent of the former.
Cleomenic war B. C. 227-221.
But a little before the
time of which we are now speaking, becoming
dissatisfied with the Boeotian constitution, they
again joined the Achaeans. The Boeotians, incensed at what
they considered acts of contempt, sallied out in full force to
attack Megara; and on the Megarians declining to listen to
them, they determined in their anger to besiege and assault
their city. But being attacked by a panic, on a report spreading that Philopoemen was at hand at the head of a force of
Achaeans, they left their scaling ladders against the walls
and fled back precipitately to their own country.