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Agesilaus had the leading of it, but effected nothing. The Thebans had by this time subdued the Phocians, and were become head of the Locrians, Acarnians, Euboeans, and many others; with the power of which countries they entered the Peloponnesus in favour of the Arcadians, who had, upon expectation of their coming, abstained from giving battle to Agesilaus. The army of the Spartans being dismissed, and Epaminondas joined with the Arcadians, the region of Laconia was invaded and spoiled : a thing so strange, that no oracle could have found belief if any had foretold it. Almost six hundred years were spent since the Dorians, under the posterity of Hercules, had seized upon Laconia, in all which time the sound of an enemy's trumpet was not heard in that country: ten years were not fully past since all Greece was at the devotion of the Spartans ; but now the region which neither Xerxes with his huge army could once look upon, nor the mighty forces of Athens and other enemy-states had dared to set foot on, saving by stealth, was all on a light fire, the very smoke whereof the women of Sparta were ashamed to behold. All which indignity notwithstanding, the Lacedaemonians did not issue out of Sparta to fight, but sought how to preserve the town, setting at liberty as many of their Helots or slaves as were willing to bear arms in defence of the state, and somewhat pitifully entreated the Athenians to give them succour. From Corinth and some towns of Peloponnesus they received speedy assistance ; the Athenians came forward more slowly, so that Epaminondas returned without battle, having rebuilt the city of Messene, and peopled it anew by calling home the ancient inhabitants, whom the Lacedaemonians many ages before had chased away into other countries, possessiņg their territories themselves.
The composition between Athens and Sparta for command in war against the Thehans;
who again invade and spoil Peloponnesus-The unfortunate presumption of the Arcadians.
This journey therefore utterly 1 defaced the reputation of the Spartans, in such wise that they did no longer demand the conduct
of the army which was to be raised, nor any manner of precedence; but sending ambassadors from Sparta, and from all the cities which held league with it, unto Athens, they offered to yield the admiralty to the Athenians, requesting that they themselves might be generals by land. This had been a composition well agreeing with the situation and quality of these two cities; but it was rejected, because the mariners and others that were to be employed at sea were men of no mark or estimation, in regard of those companies of horse and foot whereof the land army was compounded; who, being all gentlemen or citizens of Athens, were to have served under the Lacedaemonians. Wherefore it was agreed that the authority should be divided by time, the Athenians ruling five days, the Lacedaemonians other five, and so successively that each of them should have command of all, both by land and sea. It is manifest that in this conclusion vain ambition was more regarded than the common profit, which must of necessity be very slowly advanced, where consultation, resolution, and performance are so often to change hands. This appeared by a second invasion of Peloponnesus, wherein the Thebans found their enemies so unable to 2impeach them, that having fortified the isthmus from sea to sea, as in former times they had done against Xerxes, they were driven out of their strength by Epaminondas, who foraged the country without resistance. But as the articles of this league between Athens and Sparta did, by dividing the conduct in such manner, 3 disable the society, and make it insufficient to those ends for which it was concluded ; so the example of it wrought their good, by filling the enemies' heads with the like vanity. For the Arcadians considering their own numbers which they brought into the field, and having found by many trials that their people were not inferior to others in strength of body, in courage, or in good soldiership, thought it good reason that they should in like manner share the government with their friends the Thebans, and not always continue followers of others, by increasing whose greatness they should strengthen their own yoke. Hereupon they began to demean themselves very insolently, whereby they grew hateful to their neighbours, and suspected of the Thebans in an ill time. For a
motion of general peace having been made (which took not effect, because the city of Messene was not abandoned to the Lacedaemonians) the next enterprise of the Spartans and their friends was upon these Arcadians, who, relying too inuch upon their own worth, were overthrown in a great battle, their calamity being as pleasing to their confederates as to their enemies.
The great growth of the Theban estate-Embassages of the Greeks to the Persian ; with
the reasons why he inost favoured the Thebans-Troubles in the Persian empire --The fruitless issue of the embassages.
The Thebans especially rejoiced at the Arcadians' misfortune, considering that, without their aid, the success of all enterprises proved so ill ; whereas they themselves had by their own power accomplished very well whatsoever they took in hand, and were become not only victorious over the Lacedaemonians, but patrons over the Thessalians, and moderators of the great quarrels that had risen in Macedonia, where, compounding the differences about that kingdom as pleased them best, they carried Philip the son of Amyntas, and father of Alexander the Great, as an hostage unto Thebes. Having, therefore, obtained such reputation that little seemed wanting to make them absolute commanders of all Greece, they sought means of alliance with the Persian king, to whom they sent ambassador the great and famous captain Pelopidas, whose reputation drew Artaxerxes to grant unto the Thebans all that they desired; whereof two especial points were, that Messene should remain free from the Lacedaemonians, and that the Athenians should forbear to send their ships of war to sea; only the latter of these two was somewhat qualified with reference to further advice. The other states of Greece did also send their ambassadors at the same time, of whom few or none received much contentment. For the king having found by long experience how far it concerned him to maintain a sure party in Greece, did, upon many weighty considerations, resolve to bind the Thebans firmly unto him ; justly expecting that their greatness should be on that side his own security. The Athenians had been ancient enemies to his crown, and having turned the profit of their victories upon the Persian to the 1 purchase of a great estate in Greece, maintained their signiory in such puissant manner, that (sundry grievous misfortunes notwithstanding) they had endured a terrible war, wherein the Lacedaemonians being followed by most of the Greeks, and supplied with treasure and all sorts of aid by Darius Nothus, were not able to vanquish them, till their own indiscretion brought them on their knees. The Lacedaemonians being victorious over Athens, had no sooner established their dominion at home than they undertook the conquest of Asia: from which, though by the commotion raised in Greece with Persian gold, they were called back, yet, having renewed their power, and settled things in Greece, it was not unlikely that they should upon the next advantage have pursued the same enterprise, had not they been impeached by this Theban war. But the Thebans, contrariwise, had always discovered a good affection to the crown of Persia. They had sided with Xerxes, in his invasion of Greece; with Darius and the Lacedaemonians, against Athens ; and finally, having offered much contumely to Agesilaus when he put to sea, they drew him home by making war on the confederates of Sparta. Besides all these their good deservings, they were no seamen, and therefore unlikely to look abroad; whereunto if perchance they should have any desire, yet were they disabled by the want of good haven towns, which they could not seize upon without open breach of that peace whereof they intended to become the executors, giving liberty to all cities that had at any time been free. Wherefore Artaxerxes did wholly condescend unto the requests of Pelopidas, as far forth as he might without giving open defiance to the rest of Greece; and by that means he purchased his own quiet, being never afterwards molested by that nation in the Lower Asia. The ill means which the Greeks had to disturb Artaxerxes was very beneficial to the estate of Persia shortly after these times, in that great rebellion of all the maritime provinces. For had then the affairs of Greece been so composed that any one city might, without impeachment of the rest, have transported an army to assist the revolting satrapae or viceroys of Cairo, Phrygia, Lydia, Mysia, Lycia,
Pisidia, Pamphylia, Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia, human reason can hardly find the means by which the empire could have been preserved from that ruin which the divine counsel had deferred unto the days of Alexander. But this great conspiracy of so many large and wealthy provinces, wanting a firm body of good and hardy soldiers, was in short space 2 discussed and vanished like a mist, without effect : these effeminate Asiatics, wearied quickly with the travails and dangers incident to war, forsaking the common cause, and each man striving to be the first that, by treason to his company, should both redeem the former treason to his prince, and purchase withal his own promotion with increase of riches. Of this commotion, which in course of time followed some actions not as yet related, I have rather chosen to make short mention in this place, than hereafter to interrupt the narration of things more important; 3 but for that it was likely a sudden storm, rashly commenced, idly followed, and foolishly laid down, having made a great noise without effect, and having small reference to any other action regardable; as also because in the whole reign of Artaxerxes, from the war of Cyrus to the invasion of Egypt, I find nothing (this insurrection and a fruitless journey against the Cadusians excepted) worthy of any mention, much less of digression from the course of the business in Greece. All, or the most of his time, passed away so quietly, that he enjoyed the pleasures which an empire so great and wealthy could afford unto so absolute a lord, with little disturbance. The troubles which he found were only or chiefly domestical ; growing out of the hatred which Parysatis, the queen-mother, bare unto his wife Statira, and to such as had been the greatest enemies to her son Cyrus, or gloried in his death : upon whom, when by poison and mischievous practices she had satisfied her feminine appetite of revenge, thenceforth she wholly applied herself to the king's disposition, cherishing in him the lewd desire of marrying his own daughter, and filling him with the persuasion, which princes not endued with an especial grace do readily entertain, that his own will was the supreme law of his 4 subject, and the rule by which all things were to be measured, and adjudged to be good or evil. In this ima