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Previous Disasters

Now, the greatest alarm that fortune ever brought upon
Comparison between the fall of Greece under the Romans with the Persian invasion, B.C. 480.
the Greeks was when Xerxes invaded Europe: for at that time all were exposed to danger though an extremely small number actually suffered disaster. The greatest sufferers were the Athenians: for, with a prudent foresight of what was coming, they abandoned their country with their wives and children. That crisis then caused them damage; for the Barbarians took Athens and laid it waste with savage violence: but it brought them no shame or disgrace. On the contrary, they gained the highest glory in the eyes of all the world for having regarded everything as of less importance, in comparison with taking their share in the same fortune as the other Greeks. Accordingly, in consequence of their exalted conduct, they not only immediately recovered their own city and territory, but soon afterwards disputed the supremacy in Greece with the Lacedaemonians.
The defeat of the Athenians at Aegospotami, B. C. 405.
Subsequently, indeed, they were beaten by the Spartans in war, and forced to submit to the destruction of their own city walls: but even this one might assert to be a reproach to the Lacedaemonians, for having used the power put into their hands with excessive severity, rather than to the Athenians.
of the Spartans at Leuctra, B. C. 371.
Then the Spartans once more, being beaten by the Thebans, lost the supremacy in Greece, and after that defeat were deprived of their outside rule and reduced to the frontiers of Laconia. But what disgrace was there in having retired, while disputing for the most honourable objects, to the limits of their ancestral dominion? Therefore, these events we may speak of as failures, but not as misfortunes in any sense.
The destruction of Mantinea, B. C. 362,
The Mantineans again were forced to leave their city, being divided out and scattered into separate villages by the Lacedaemonians; but for this all the world blamed the folly, not of the Mantineans, but of the Lacedaemonians.
and of Thebes, B. C. 335.
The Thebans, indeed, besides the loss of their army, saw their country depopulated at the time when Alexander, having resolved on the invasion of Asia, conceived that by making an example of Thebes he should establish a terror that would act as a check upon the Greeks, while his attention was distracted upon other affairs: but at that time all the world pitied the Thebans as having been treated with injustice and harshness, and no one was found to justify this proceeding of Alexander.

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