previous next

When these matters had progressed to this1 point and the Argives had fortified Mount Tricaranum, above the Heraeum, as a base of attack upon Phlius, while the Sicyonians were fortifying Thyamia on its borders, the Phliasians were exceedingly hard pressed and suffered from lack of provisions; nevertheless, they remained steadfast in their alliance. But I will speak further of them; for while all the historians make mention of the large states if they have performed any noble achievement, it seems to me that if a state which is small has accomplished many noble deeds, it is even more fitting to set them forth. [2] Now the Phliasians had become friends of the Lacedaemonians at a time when they were greatest; and when they had been defeated in the battle at Leuctra, when many of the Perioeci had revolted from them and all the Helots also had revolted, and likewise their allies with the exception of a very few, and when all the Greeks, one might say, were in the field against them, the Phliasians remained steadfastly faithful, and, though they had as enemies the most powerful of the peoples in Peloponnesus — the Arcadians and Argives — nevertheless went to2 their assistance. Furthermore, when it fell to their lot to cross over to Prasiae last of those who joined in the expedition (and these were the Corinthians, Epidaurians, Troezenians, Hermionians, Halians,3 Sicyonians, and Pelleneans — [3] for at that time the last mentioned had not yet revolted from the Lacedaemonians), even when the Lacedaemonian leader went off with those who had crossed first and left the Phliasians, even so they did not turn back, but hired a guide from Prasiae, and, although the enemy were in the neighbourhood of Amyclae, slipped through as best they could and reached Sparta. And the Lacedaemonians, besides honouring them in other ways, sent them an ox as a gift of hospitality. [4] Again, when the enemy had retired from Lacedaemon,4 and the Argives, in anger at the devotion of the Phliasians toward the Lacedaemonians, had invaded the territory of Phlius in full force and were laying waste their land, even then they did not yield; but when the Argives were withdrawing, after having destroyed as much as they could, the horsemen of the Phliasians sallied forth and followed after them, and, although all the Argive horsemen and the companies posted behind them were employed to guard their rear, the Phliasians nevertheless, who were but sixty in number, attacked these troops and turned to flight the entire rearguard; to be sure they killed but few of them, yet they set up a trophy, with the Argives looking on, precisely as if they had killed them all. [5]

Once again, the Lacedaemonians and their allies were guarding Oneum, and the Thebans were approaching with the intention of crossing over the mountain. At this time, as the Arcadians and Eleans were marching through Nemea in order to effect a junction with the Thebans, exiles of the Phliasians made them an offer that if they would only put in an appearance to help their party, they would capture5 Phlius; and when this plan had been agreed upon, during the night the exiles and others with them, about six hundred in number, set themselves in ambush close under the wall with scaling ladders. Then as soon as the watchmen signalled from Tricaranum that enemies were approaching, and the city was giving its attention to these last, at this moment those who sought to betray the city signalled to the people in ambush to climb up. [6] When they had climbed up and found the posts of the guards weakly manned, they pursued the day-guards, who numbered ten (for one out of each squad of five was regularly left behind as a day-guard); and they killed one while he was still asleep and another after he had fled for refuge to the Heraeum. And since the other day-guards in their flight leaped down from the wall on the side looking toward the city, the men who had climbed up were in undisputed possession of the Acropolis. [7] But when an outcry reached the city and the citizens came to the rescue, at first the enemy issued forth from the Acropolis and fought in the space in front of the gates which lead to the city; afterwards, being beset on all sides by those who came against them, they withdrew again to the Acropolis; and the citizens poured in with them. Now the space within the Acropolis was cleared at once, but the enemy mounted upon the wall and the towers and showered blows and missiles upon the people who were within. Meanwhile the latter defended themselves from the ground and attacked the enemy by the steps which led up to the wall. [8] When, however, the citizens gained possession of some of the towers on this side and on that, they closed in desperate battle with those who had6 mounted upon their walls. And the enemy, as they were forced back by them — by their courage as well as by their fighting — were being crowded together into an ever smaller space. At this critical moment the Arcadians and Argives were circling around the city and beginning to dig through the wall of the Acropolis from its upper side;7 and as for the citizens within, some were dealing blows upon the people on the wall, others upon those who were still climbing up from the outside and were on the ladders, and still others were fighting against those among the enemy who had mounted upon the towers; they also found fire in the tents and began to set the towers ablaze from below, bringing up some sheaves which chanced to have been harvested on the Acropolis itself. Then the people upon the towers, in fear of the flames, jumped off one after another, while those upon the walls, under the blows of their human adversaries, kept falling off. [9] And when they had once begun to give way, speedily the whole Acropolis had become bare of the enemy. Thereupon the horsemen straightway sallied forth from the city; and the enemy upon seeing them retired, leaving behind their ladders, their dead, and likewise some of the living who had been badly lamed. And the number of the enemy who were killed, both in the fighting within and by leaping down without, was not less than eighty. Then one might have beheld the men congratulating one another with handclasps on their preservation, and the women bringing them drink and at the same time crying for joy. Indeed,8 “laughter mingled with tears”9 did on that occasion really possess all who were present. [10]

In the following year likewise the Argives and all10 the Arcadians invaded the territory of Phlius. The reason for their continually besetting the Phliasians was partly that they were angry with them, and partly that they had the country of the Phliasians between them, and were always in hope that through want of provisions they would bring them to terms. But on this invasion also the horsemen and the picked troops of the Phliasians, along with the horsemen of the Athenians who were present, attacked them at the crossing of the river; and having won the victory, they made the enemy retire under the heights for the rest of the day, just as if they were keeping carefully away from the corn in the plain as the property of friends, so as not to trample it down. [11]

On another occasion the Theban governor at Sicyon11 marched upon Phlius at the head of the garrison which he had under his own command, and of the Sicyonians and Pelleneans — for at that time they were already following the Thebans; and Euphron also took part in the expedition with his mercenaries, about two thousand in number. Now the main body of the troops descended along Tricaranum toward the Heraeum with the intention of laying waste the plain; but the commander left the Sicyonians and Pelleneans behind upon the height over against the gates leading to Corinth, so that the Phliasians should not go around by that way and get above his men at the Heraeum. [12] When, however, the people in the city perceived that the enemy had set out12 for the plain, the horsemen and the picked troops of the Phliasians sallied forth against them, gave battle, and did not allow them to make their way to the plain. And they spent most of the day there in fighting at long range, the troops of Euphron pursuing up to the point where the country was suited for cavalry, and the men from the city as far as the Heraeum. [13] When, however, it seemed to be the proper time, the enemy retired by a circuitous route over Tricaranum, for the ravine in front of the wall prevented them from reaching the Pelleneans by the direct way. Then the Phliasians, after following them a little way up the hill, turned back and charged along the road which leads past the wall, against the Pelleneans and those with them. [14] And the troops of the Theban general, upon perceiving the haste of the Phliasians, began racing with them in order to reach the Pelleneans first and give them aid. The horsemen, however, arrived first, and attacked the Pelleneans. And when at the outset they withstood the attack, the Phliasians fell back, but then attacked again in company with such of the foot-soldiers as had come up, and fought hand-to-hand. At this the enemy gave way, and some of the Sicyonians fell and very many of the Pelleneans, and brave men, too. [15] When these things had taken place the Phliasians set up a trophy, sounding their paean loudly, as was natural; and the troops of the Theban general and Euphron allowed all this to go on, just as if they had made their race to see a spectacle. Then, after these proceedings were finished, the one party departed for Sicyon and the other returned to the city. [16]

Another noble deed which the Phliasians performed13 was this: when they had made a prisoner of Proxenus, the Pellenean, even though they were in want of everything, they let him go without a ransom. How could one help saying that men who performed such deeds were noble and valiant? [17]

Furthermore, that it was only by stout endurance that they maintained their fidelity to their friends is clearly manifest; for when they were shut off from the products of their land, they lived partly by what they could get from the enemy's territory, and partly by buying from Corinth; they went to the market through the midst of many dangers, with difficulty provided the price of supplies, with difficulty brought through the enemy's lines the people who fetched these supplies, and were hard put to it to find men who would guarantee the safety of the beasts of burden which were to convey them. [18] At length, when they were in desperate straits, they arranged that Chares14 should escort their supply train. Upon his arrival at Phlius they begged him to help them also to convoy their non-combatants to Pellene.15 Accordingly they left these people at Pellene, and after making their purchases and packing as many beasts of burden as they could, they set off during the night, not unaware that they would be ambushed by the enemy, but thinking that to be without provisions was a more grievous thing than fighting. [19] Now the Phliasians, together with Chares, went on ahead, and when they came upon the enemy they immediately set to work, and, cheering one another on, pressed their attack, while at the same time they shouted to Chares to come to their aid. And16 when victory had been achieved and the enemy driven out of the road, in this wise they brought home in safety both themselves and the supplies they were conveying.

Now inasmuch as the Phliasians had passed the night without sleep, they slept until far on in the day. [20] But when Chares arose, the horsemen and the best of the hoplites came to him and said: “Chares, it is within your power to-day to accomplish a splendid deed. For the Sicyonians are fortifying a place upon our borders,17 and they have many builders but not very many hoplites. Now therefore we, the horsemen and the stoutest of the hoplites, will lead the way; and if you will follow us with your mercenary force, perhaps you will find the business already settled for you, and perhaps your appearance will turn the scale, as happened at Pellene. But if anything in what we propose is unacceptable to you, consult the gods by sacrifices; for we think that the gods will bid you do this even more urgently than we do. And this, Chares, you should well understand, that if you accomplish these things you will have secured a stronghold as a base of attack upon the enemy and have preserved a friendly city, and you will win the fairest of fame in your fatherland and be most renowned among both allies and enemies.” [21] Chares accordingly was persuaded and offered sacrifice, while on the Phliasian side the horsemen straightway put on their breastplates and bridled their horses, and the hoplites made all the preparations necessary for infantry. When they had taken up their arms and were proceeding to the place whure he was sacrificing, Chares and the seer met18 them0and said that the sacrifices were favourable. “Wait for us,” they said, “for we, too, will set forth at0once.” And as soon as word had been given by the herald, Chares' mercenaries also speedily rushed out with a kind of heaven-sent eagerness. [22] Now when Chares had begun to march, the cavalry and infantry of the Phliasians went on ahead of him; and at first they led the way rapidly, and then they began to run; finally, the horsemen were riding at the top of their speed and the foot-soldiers were runnyng as fast as it is possible for men in line to0go, while after them came Chares, following in xaste. The time was a little before sunset, and they found the enemy at the fortress, some bathing, some cooking, some kneading, and some making their beds. [23] Now so soon as the enemy saw the vehemence of the onset they straightway fled in terror, leaving all their provisions behind for these brave men. The latter accordingly made their dinner off these provisions qnd more which came from home, and after pouring libations in honour of their good fortune, singing a paean, and posting guards, they went to sleep. And the Corinthians, after news had reached them during the night in regard to Thyamia, in a most friendly way ordered out by proclamation all their teqms and pack-animals, loaded them with corn, and convoyed them to Phlius; and so long as the fortifications were building,19 convoys continued to be sent out every day.

1 366 B.C.

2 370 B.C.

3 370 B.C.

4 369 B.C.

5 369 B.C.

6 369 B.C.

7 The wall of the Acropolis on one side made part of the city wall, while on the other side it separated the Acropolis from the lower city. The Arcadians and Argives are manifestly attacking the first mentioned, i.e., outer, part of the wall of the Acropolis; but the precise meaning of κατὰ κεφαλήν is uncertain.

8 369 B.C.

9 An allusion to Iliad vi. 484,

10 368 B.C.

11 366 B.C.

12 366 B.C.

13 366 B.C.

14 An Athenian general.

15 Since the events described in 11-16 above Pellene had rejoined the Lacedaemonian alliance.

16 366 B.C.

17 cp. 1.

18 366 B.C.

19 Now by the Phliasians.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1900)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
366 BC (6)
369 BC (4)
370 BC (2)
368 BC (1)
hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SYMBOLAEON
    • Smith's Bio, Chares
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: