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ginary happiness Pelopidas, and the other ambassadors of Greece, both found and left him; but left him by so much more assured than they found him, by how much the conclusion of his treaty with them, being altogether to his own advantage, did seem to promise, if not the perpetuity, a long endurance of the same felicity to him and his; or (at the least) a full security of danger from Greece, whence only could any danger be feared. But such foundations of eternity laid by mortal men in this transitory world, like the Tower of Babel, are either shaken from heaven, or made vain and unprofitable, ere the frame can be raised to full height, by confusion of tongues among the builders. Hereof was found a good example in the Thebans, and other estates of Greece, that had sent ambassadors to the Persian. For whereas it had been concluded, that all towns, as well the little as the great, should be set at liberty, and the Thebans made protectors of this common peace, who thereby should become the judges of all controversies that might arise, and leaders in war of all that would enter into this confederacy; the king's letters being solemnly published at Thebes, in the presence of ambassadors, drawn thither from all parts of Greece; when an oath was required for observation of the form of peace therein set down, a dilatory answer was made by the ambassadors, who said that they were sent to hear the articles, not to swear unto them. Hereby the Thebans were driven to send unto each of the cities to require the oath; but in vain. For when the Corinthians had boldly refused it, saying that they did not need it, others took courage by their example to do the like, disappointing the Thebans of their glorious hopes, to whom this negotiation with Artaxerxes gave neither addition nor confirmation of greatness, but left them as it found them, to rely upon their own swords.
How all Greece was divided, between the Athenians and Lacedaemonians on the one side,
and Thebans on the other-Of the great tumults rising in Arcadia.
The condition of things in Greece at that time did stand thus : Athens and Sparta, which in former times had commanded all that nation, and each upon envy of the other's greatness drawn all their followers into a cruel intestine war, by which the whole country, and especially the estate of these two cities, was brought very low, did now conjoin their forces against the Thebans, who sought to make themselves lords of all. The Eleans, Corinthians, and Achaians, followed the party of these ancient governing cities ; either for the old reputation of them and benefits received, or in dislike of those who by strong hand were ready to become rulers, to which authority they could not suddenly aspire without some injury and much envy. The city of Thebes abounding with men whom necessity had made warlike, and many victories in few years had filled with great spirits, and being so mighty in dependants, that she had reduced all the continent of Greece 1 without Peloponnesus (the region of Attica, and very little part beside excepted) under such acknowledgment as wanted not much of mere vassalage, did hope to bring all Peloponnesus to the like obedience, wherein already she had set good footing by her conjunction with the states of Argos and of Arcadia. The Argives had been always bad neighbours to the Spartans, to whom they thought themselves in ancient nobility superiors; but were far under them in valour, having been often beaten out of the field by them, and put in danger of losing all : which caused them to suspect and envy nothing more than the greatness and honour of Sparta; a taking truce with her when she was at rest, and had leisure to bend her whole force against them, but firmly joining with her enemies whensoever they found her entangled in a difficult war. As the Argives were, in hatred of Sparta, sure friends of Thebes; so the Arcadians, transported with a great opinion of their own worthiness, had formerly renounced and provoked against them their old confederates and leaders, the Lacedaemonians, and were now become very doubtful adherents to the Thebans. 3 In which regard it was thought convenient by Epaminondas, and the state of Thebes, to send an army into Peloponnesus, before such time as these wavering friends should fall further off, and become either neutral, or, which was to be feared, open enemies. And surely great cause there was to suspect the worst of them, considering that without consent of the Thebans they had made peace with Athens; which was very strange, and seemed no less to the Athenians themselves, who holding a firm league with Sparta at the same time when the Arcadians treated with them, did nevertheless accept this new confederacy, not relinquishing the old, because they found that, howsoever these Arcadians were enemies to the Lacedaemonians, they should hereby be drawn somewhat further from their alliance with Thebes, which without them was unlikely to invade Peloponnesus with a strong army. But this did rather hasten than by any means stay the coming of Epaminondas; who, finding the way somewhat more clear for him, (because the city of Corinth, which lay upon the isthmus, and had been adverse to Thebes, was now, by miseries of this grievous war, driven to become neutral,) took occasion hereby, and by some disorders among the Arcadians, to visit Peloponnesus with an army, consisting of all the power of Thebes. A great tumult had risen in Arcadia about consecrated money, which many principal men among them had laid hands on, under pretence of employing it to public uses. In compounding the differences grown upon this occasion, such as had least will to render account of the money which had come into their hands procured the captain of some Theban soldiers, lying in Tegea, to take prisoners many of their countrymen, as people desirous of innovation. This was done ; but the uproar thereby caused was so great, that the prisoners were forthwith 4 enlarged, and the Arcadians, who had in great numbers taken arms, with much ado scarce pacified. When complaint of the captain's proceedings came to Thebes, Epaminondas turned all the blame upon them who had made the peace with Athens, letting them know that he would be shortly among them, to judge of their fidelity by the assistance which they should give him in that war which he intended to make in Peloponnesus. These lordly words did greatly amaze the Arcadians ; who, needing not the aid of so mighty a power as he drew along with him, did vehemently suspect that great preparation to be made against themselves. Hereupon such of them as had before sought means to settle the affairs of their country, by drawing things to some good conclusion of peace, did now forthwith send to
Athens for help; and withal despatched some of the principal among them as ambassadors to Sparta, by whom they offered themselves to the common defence of Peloponnesus, now ready to be invaded. This embassage brought much comfort to the Lacedaemonians, who feared nothing more than the coming of Epaminondas, against whom they well knew that all their forces and best provisions would be no more than very hardly sufficient. Forbearing, therefore, to dispute about prerogatives, they (who had been accustomed unto such a supremacy as they would in no wise 5 communicate with the powerful city of Athens, till other hope of securing their own estate could not be thought upon) did now very gently yield to the Arcadians that the command of the army in chief should be given, for the time, to that city, in whose territory it lay.
A terrible invasion of Peloponnesus by Epaminondas Certain it is that the condition of things did at that time require a very firm consent, and uniform care of the common safety. For besides the great forces raised out of the other parts of Greece, the Argives and Messenians prepared with all their strength to join with Epaminondas; who having lain a while at Nemea, to intercept the Athenians, received there intelligence that the army coming from Athens would pass by sea; whereupon he dislodged, and came to Tegea; which city, and the most of all Arcadia besides, forthwith declared themselves his. The common opinion was, that the first attempt of the Thebans would be upon such of the Arcadians as had revolted; which caused the Lacedaemonian captains to fortify Mantinea with all diligence, and to send for Agesilaus to Sparta, that he bringing with him all that small force of able men which remained in the town, they might be strong enough to abide Epaminondas there. But Epaminondas held so good espial upon his enemies, that had not an unknown fellow brought hasty advertisement of his pur, pose to Agesilaus, who was then well onward in the way to Mantinea, the city of Sparta had suddenly been taken. For thither with all speed and secrecy did the Thebans march, who had surely carried the city, notwithstanding any defence that could have been made by that handful of men remaining within it, but that Agesilaus in allflying haste got into it with his companies, whom the army of his confederates followed thither to the rescue as fast as it was able. The arrival of the Lacedaemonians and their friends, as it cut off all hope from Epaminondas of taking Sparta, so it presented him with a fair advantage upon Mantinea. It was the time of harvest, which made it very likely that the Mantineans, finding the war to be carried from their walls into another quarter, would use the commodity of that vacation, by fetching in their corn, and turning out their cattle into the fields, whilst no enemy was near that might impeach them. Wherefore he turned away from Sparta to Mantinea, sending his horsemen before him, to seize upon all that might be found without the city. The Mantineans (according to the expectation of Epaminondas) were scattered abroad in the country; far more intent upon their harvest-business than upon the war, whereof they were secure, as thinking themselves 1 out of distance. By which presumption it fell out that great numbers of them, and all their cattle, being unable to a recover the town, were in a desperate case ; and the town itself in no great likelihood of holding out, when the enemy should have taken all their provision of victuals with 80 many of the people, as had not over-dearly been redeemed by that city's returning to 3 society with Thebes. But at the same time, the Athenians coming to the succour of their confederates, whom they thought to have found at Mantinea, were very earnestly entreated by the citizens to rescue their goods and people from the danger whereinto they were fallen, if it were possible by any courageous adventure to deliver those who otherwise were given as lost. The Thebans were known at that time to be the best soldiers of all the Greeks; and the commendation of good horsemanship had always been given to the Thessalians, as excelling in that quality all other nations; yet the regard of honour so wrought upon the Athenians, that for the reputation of their city, which had entered into this war upon no necessity of her own, but only in desire of relieving her dis