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But why need I mention remote instances? Even now we should find that those states which are foremost—Athens and Thebes, I mean—have not derived their great progress from peace, but that, on the contrary, it was in consequence of their recovery from previous reverses in war that one of them was made leader of the Hellenes,The Athenians won their second naval supremacy after the reverses of the Peloponnesian war. while the other has at the present time become a greater state than anyone ever expected she would be. Indeed, honors and distinctions are wont to be gained, not by repose, but by strugg
and the ThebansThebes was one of Sparta's strongest allies against Athens. See Thuc. 4.93. had contributed a great number of troops to their land forces, the Lacedaemonians no sooner gained the supremacy than they straightway plotted against the Thebans,Instanced by the treacherous seizure of the Theban citadel （the Cadmea） by the Spartan Phoebidas. See Xen. Hell. 5.2.25 ff. dispatched Clearchus with an army against the King,Cf. Isoc. 12.104. The “ten thousand” mercenaries led by the Spartan Clearchus to support Cyrus against King Artaxerxes were not officially dispatched, although sanctioned, by Sparta. For the fortunes of this army see Isoc. 4.145-149; Isoc. 5.90 ff.; and Xen. Anab. and in the case of the Chians drove into exileAn oligarchy was established there and 600 of the democratic faction were driven into exile. See Dio. Sic. 13.65. the foremost of their citizens and launched their battle-ships from their docks and made off with their whole navy.This was done by Lysander
His courage Theseus displayed in these perilous exploits which he hazarded alone; his knowledge of war in the battles he fought in company with the whole city; his piety toward the gods in connexion with the supplications of Adrastus and the children of Heracles when, by defeating the Peloponnesians in battle, he saved the lives of the childrenCf. Eur. Heraclid. for the story and also Isocrates, Isoc. 4.56., and to Adrastus he restored for burial, despite the Thebans, the bodies of those who had died beneath the walls of the CadmeaCf. Eur. Supp. The story of Adrastus is told in detail in Isoc. 12.168 ff. Adrastus, king of Argos, led the expedition of the “Seven against Thebes” （cf. Aesch. Seven）, which met with defeat.; and finally, he revealed his other virtues and his prudence, not only in the deeds already recited, but especially in the manner in which he governed ou
and in consequence, we experienced a change so great that, although in former times any barbarians who were in misfortune presumed to be rulers over the Greek cities （for example, Danaus, an exile from Egypt, occupied Argos, Cadmus of Sidon became king of Thebes, the Carians colonized the islandsCf. Thuc. 1.4 and Isoc. 12.43., and Pelops, son of Tantalus, became master of all the Peloponnese）, yet after that war our race expanded so greatly that it took from the barbarians great cities and much territo
And although they were so far outstripped in shrewdness by the barbarian, they then experienced no such resentment as the things which they suffered should have provoked nor such as it behoved them to feel; nor at the present time are the greatest of the states of Hellas ashamed to vie with each other in fawning upon the wealth of the King; nay, Argos and Thebes joined forces with him in the conquest of EgyptSee Isoc. 4.161, note. in order that he might be possessed of the greatest possible power to plot against the Hellenes, while we and the Spartans, although allied together, feel more hostile to each other than to those with whom we are each openly at war.
I could not, then, point out a greater service than this, rendered by our ancestors, nor one more generally beneficial to the Hellenes. But I shall, perhaps, be able to show one more particularly related to their conduct of war, and, at the same time, no less admirable and more manifest to all. For who does not himself know or has not heard from the tragic poetsSee Aesch. Seven; Soph. Ant.; Eur. Phoen. at the Dionysia of the misfortunes which befell AdrastusCompare the treatment of the Adrastus episode in Isoc. 4.54 ff. at Thebes,
When our people heard this plea, they let no time go by but at once dispatched ambassadors to Thebes to advise her people that they be more reverent in their deliberations regarding the recovery of the dead and that they render a decision which would be more lawful than that which they had previously made, and to hint to them also that the Athenians would not countenance their transgression of the common law of all Hellas.
Having heard this message, those who were then in authority at Thebes came to a decision which was in harmony neither with the opinion which some people have of them nor with their previous resolution; on the contrary, after both stating the case for themselves in reasonable terms and denouncing those who had invaded their country, they conceded to our city the recovery of the dead.