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
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,
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
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.