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march with thofe troops to Olyn- Sparta, and one from every other
thus, he palTed by, and encamp- city.
td near Thebes, where Leontidas

T 3 (6)

be L I F E of

him a hundred thoufand drachmas; but they full kept
pbfTeflion of the Cadmea,, and continued a garrifon in it.
All the other Grecians were greatly furprifedat this ri-
diculous inconfjfbency, to authorife and confirm an
action, and yet at the fame time punifh the actor. And
the Thebans having thus loft their ancient form of go T
vernment, and being enflaved by Archi as and Leontidas,
faw no means nor hopes of being freed from a tyranny,
which was fupported by the Lacedemonians, nor a pof-
fibility of breaking the yoke, but by fuch a power as
v/as fufficient to deprive them of their fuperiority which
they had both by fea and land.

Leontidas being informed that the exiles had retired
to Athens, where they were kindly received by the corn -
men people, and honoured by men of rank and fortune,
formed fecret defigns againfl their lives, by means of cer-
tain unknow aflailins whom he fent thither. 'Androcli-
des fell by their hands, but all the reft efcaped.

At the fame time the Athenians received letters from
Sparta, warning them neither to receive nor encourage
the exiles, but expel them as perfons who had been declar-
ed common enemies to Greece by all the allies. But
the Athenians, befide their natural humanity, thought
themfelves obliged to make a gateful acknowledgment
and return to the Thebans, who had very much afiiiiea
them in reftoring their democracy, and had publickly e-,
nacled, that if any Athenian fhould march
the tyrants through Boeoti a, he mould meet with no hin-
drance or moleftation from the Boeotians. The Athe-
nians, from thofe confederations, attempted nothing at
all the Thel;

Pelopidas. though very young at that time, privately
excited each fingle exileand often told them at theirmeet-, ct that jt was both- difhonourable and impious to ne-
" gleet their enflaved and captive country, and meanly
" contented with their o\vn lives raid iafety to depend en


(6 This is nil the partFJutatch caufe, he faid, he would not clip
makes Epcir.inondasstt in this en- his hands in the blood of his f'el-
tfrpn'/e. He was privy to it, tut low-citizens j for he knew very
vc'jld not be concerned in k, b;- v/ell they would not be refrained


P E L O P I D A S. 295

" the decrees of the Athenians, and fawn on every ora-
" tor that had the art of wheedling the people ; and that
tc they ought to rim every hazard in fo glorious a caufe,
" taking Thrafybulus's courage for their example ; for
" as he advanced from Thebes, and broke the power of
" the tyrants in Athens, fo fhould they march 'from
" Athens, and deli ver Thebes." When he had perfuaded
them by this difcourfe, they fent fecretly to Thebes, to
acquaint their friends there with their defigns, which
were highly approved of; and Charon a perfon of the
greateft qualit in the city offered his houfe for their
reception. Philidas found means to be made fecretary
to Archias and Philip, who were then Polemarch's ;
and as for Epaminondas, (6) he had taken pains all along
to infpire the youth with courage and magnanimi-
ty : for at their exercifes he always advifed them to
challenge and wreille with the Spartans, and when he
faw them pleafed and elated for having thrown, and
vanquifhed them, he told them, " that they ought rather
" to be afhamed of their cowardice in being enflaved by
" thofe, whom in flrength they fo much excelled,"

The day for action being fet, it was agreed upon by
the exiles that Pherenicus with the reft fhould flay at
Thriafmm, and fome few of .the younger men try the.
firft danger by endeavouring to get into the city, and
if they were furprized by their enemies the others mould
take care to provide for their families. Pelopiclas was
the firft that offered himfelf for this undertaking, and
after him Melon, Damoclidas and Theopompus ; all of
them perfons of the befl families in Thebes, intimate
and faithful friends in all things eife, but rivals- in ho-
nour and virtue. They were in all twelve, (7), and
having taken leave of their companions who ftaid behind
at Thriafmm, and difpatchcd a meffenger to advertiie
Charon of their coming, they fet forward, meanly clad,
and carrying with them hounds and hunting poles, that
they might not give any fufpicion to thofe who met


within bounds, and that the ty- in his difcoui fe concerning the

rants would not be the only per- genius of Socrates,
fons that would perifh in it. Plu- (7) Xenophon mentions but fe-

tarch gives a fuller accountof this ven,

T 4 (8) He

2 o6 The LIFE of

them on the road, but might be taken for hunters ilrag
gling about in purfuit of their game.

When their meilenger arrived at Thebes, and had
given Charon an account of their being upon the road,
the approach of danger did not make him change his
mind ; but like a man of probity and honour, he flood
to his promife, and made preparations to receive them,

Among thofe who were privy to this defign, there
was one Hippofthenidas, who was a well-meaning man,
loved his country, and was a friend to the exiles -, but
he wanted that fortitude and refolution which fo haz-
ardous an enterprize required. This man (8) confider-
ing the greatnefs of the danger in which they were going
to embark, and not being able to comprehend how by
the weak afliftance of a few indigent exiles they mould
be flrong enough to make the Spartan government, and
free themfelves from that power, grew giddy as it were
with the reflection. In this perplexity he went privately
to his own houfe, and difpatched a friend to Melon and
Pelopidas, defiling them to defer their enterprize for the
prefent, to return to Athens, and wait there till a more
favourable opportunity fhould offer. This meflenger's
name was Chlidon, who going home in all hafle, and
taking his horfe out of the liable, bid his wife bring
him thebridle but fhe being at a lofs, and not know-
ing where to find it, faid, (he had lent it to a neighbour,
Chlidon upon this fell into a paflion, from whence they
foon proceeded to reproachful language, and after that
to imprecations, his wife curfmghim bitterly, and pray-
ing that his journey might prove fatal to himfelf, and
thofe who fent him. Chlidon's paflion tranfported him
fo far, that he fpent moil of the day in this fquabble,
and looking upon what had happened as an ill omen


(8} He confidered that though dered the Thefpian foldiers to be

the afTociated exiles fhould be able under arms that day.

to kill the tyrants, yet they were (9) He went to Hippoftheni-

too few to take the garrifon, das's houfe, but not finding him at

which confided of i 500 men; and home, he went from thence to the

that two very vigilant officers houfe of one of the accomplices,

were to command the guard that where he guefl'ed he fhould find

night } and that Archias had or- him, to let him know how thq


P E L O P I D A S. 297

laid afide all thoughts of his journey, and (9) went elfe-
where. So near were thefe great and glorious defigns
oF mifcarrying in the very birth. But Pelopidas and
his aiTociates drefling themfelves like peafants, divided,
and whilft it was yet day entered at feveral quarters of
the city; befides, (i) it was the beginning of winter,
and the fnow fell, and a fharp wind blew which con-
tributed much to their concealment, becaufe moft of
the citizens kept within doors to avoid the inclemency
of the weather. But they that were in the fecret re-
ceived them as they came, and conducted them forth-
with to Charon's houfe ^ all of them together, exiles and
others, making up forty-eight in number.

As for the tyrants, their affairs flood thus- Philidas,
their fecretary was, as I faid before, an accomplice,
in the affair: and very forward to promote it. He had
fome time before promifed to give Archias and his
friends an entertainment at his houfe that very day, ard
to provide fome women of pleafure in the town to meet
them there. This he did with a view, (2) that when
they were enfeebled by lewdnefs and excefs they might
fall a more eafy iacrifice to the confpirators.

They had not been long at table before a rumour
was fpread among them, which, though not falfe,
leemed uncertain, and confirmed by no circurnftance,
that the exiles lay fomewhere concealed in the city.
Philidas did what he could to divert the difcourfe; but
Archias fent an officer to Charon, to command his imme-
diate attendance. By this time it was growing dark,
fo that Pelopidas and his friends were preparing foradi-
on, having their armour on already, and their fwords
girt: when on a fudden a great knocking was heard at
the door, whereupon one ftepping forth to know the


matter flood that fo he might winter, in the firft year of the

fend fome other meffenger in his icoth Olympiad,

ftead. (2) How could this be, when

(i)The Spartans feized on the he brought no body to them, but

caftle about the middle of fum- fome of the confpirators drefled in

mer, in the third year of the ninety- womens cloaths ? To reconcile this,

ninth Olympiad, and it was taken it muft be fuppofed that Phili-

from them in the beginning of das did really defign to have had


29$ 72* LIFE ef

meaning of it, and learning from the officer that he was
come with an order to carry Charon to Archias, he re-
turned in great hafte and confufion, to give them an
Account of this terrible news. Every one at rirft be-
lieved that the .whole plot was difcovered, and that they
fhould be all deftroyed, without being able to perform
any exploit worthy of their undaunted bravery and re-
iblution. However they were unanimous in their opi-
nion that Charon fhould obey the order, and appear
boldly before the tyrants, as no way terrified or confci-
ous of any guilt. Charon being a man of great firmnefs
and intrepidity, was unmoved at the danger that threat-
ened himfelf, but full of concern for the fafety of his
friends ; and apprehending that he might be fufpected
of treachery in cafe fo many valiant citizens mould be
deilroyed, before he left the houfe, he went into the wo-
mens apartment, and brought out his only fon, who was
very young, but for beauty and ftrength fuperior to any
of his age, and with thefe words delivered him to Pelo-
pidas, " If you find me a traitor ufe this boy as an enemy,
" and be cruel in the execution." The affliction "and the
magnanimity of Charon, drew tears from many ; but
it extremely troubled them all, that he fhould think any-
one among them could be guilty of fuch bafenefs or cow-
ardice at the approach of danger, as either to fufpect
or blame his conduct ; and they moil earneftly beibught
him not to leave his fon with them, but to remove him
fome where to a place of fafety, that fo he might one day
revenge his friends and country, if he was fo happy as to
efcape the tyrants fury. But Charon abiblutely refufed
to remove him, faying, " What life, what fafety can be
" more honourable, than to die bravely with his father, and
" with fo many generous friends and companions?" Then
imploring the protection of the. Gods, and embracing,
and encouraging them all, he parted.

On the way, as he went along, he endeavoured to
recover himfelf, and fo to compofe his countenance and
voice, that they might have as little conformity as pof-


women for them, but being pre- time, or fome other means, he
vented either through want of caufedfome of the confpirators to


P E L O P I D A S. 209


fible with the real ftate of his mind. When he was come to
the door of the houfe, Archias and Philip went out to him,
and faid, "What perfons are thefe, Charon, who are lately
" come to town, as we are informed, and are concealed and
" countenanced by fomc of our citizens ?" Charon was at
firft in a little diforder, but recovering himfelf quickly, he
afked them, " Who thefe peribns they fpoke of were, and
" by whom harboured ;" and perceiving by Archias's an-
fwer that he had no certain or particular knowledge of the
matter, concluded, that his information could not come
from any one, who was privy to the defign, and there-
fore faid to them, " Do not be difturbed by a vain ru-
" mour ; however I'll make the beft enquiry I can ; for
" nothing of this kind ou;ht to be neglected." Philidas


who then appeared, commended his prudence , and
bringing Archias back to the company, drank him up to
a high pitch ; and prolonged the entertainment, by keep-
ing them ftill in expectation of feeing the women.

Charon, at his return home, finding his friends not in
expectation of fafety and fuccefs, but as men refolved
to die bravely, after being revenged on their enemies,
told Pelopidas the plain truth, but (3) concealed it from
the reft, inventing feveral things, which, he pretended
Archias had difcourfed him about.

This fiorm was fcarce blown over before fortune
raifed another ; for almofl at the very fame time arrived
an exprefs, fent from Archias the High-priefl of Athens
to his namefake Archias of Thebes, [who was his parti-
cular friend. The letters he brought did not contain an
uncertain rumour, founded only on furmifes and fufpi-
cions, but, as appeared afterwards, a full and exacl:
account of the whole confpiracy. WHien the courier
was brought to Archias, who was by this time well warm-
ed with liquor, as he delivered his letters to him, he faid,
"Sir, theperfon who wrote thefe letters conjures you to
" read them forthwith, for they contain bufmefs of great
" importance." But Archias taking the letters, faid, fmi-
Jing, " bufmefs to-morrow } " and putting them under the

fce dieflei in women's cioaths. was no occafion at all for it. And

3) Why this artifice ? There Plutarch himfelf, in his treatife


300 '7be \. t I F E of

bolfter of his couch, refumed his former con verfation with
Philidas. Thofe words, u Bufmefs to- marrow," grew into
a proverb, and continue fo to this day among the Greeks.

When every thing ; was ripe for action, the confpira-
tors ifiiied out, and divided themfelves into two bodies ;
one under the command of Pelopidas and Damodidas
inarched againft (4) Leontidas and Hy pates, who were
neighbours , and the othsr, led by Charon and Melon,
went to attack Archias 'and Philip. Thefe put womens
deaths over their armour, and pine and 'poplar about
;r heads to fhade their faces. As" foon as they ap-
peared at the door where the guefts were, the whole
company fhouted for joy, believing them to t>e the wo-
men they had fo long expected. But when the confpi-
rators had looked round the room, and deligently ob-
ferved all who were prefent, they drew their fwordsand
made at Archias and Philip acrofs the table, which foon
difcovered who they were. Philidas prevailed with a
few of his guefts to fit Hill; the reft who rofeup to de-
fend themfelves, and aflifl their chiefs, being difordered
with wine, were eafily difpatched.

But Pelopidas and his party met with a more difficult
tafk -, for they were obliged to encounter a fober and
valiant man. When they came to the houfe of Leonti-
das they found the doors fhut, he being already gone to
bed ; there they knocked a long time before any body
anfwered ; but at laft a fervant that heard them, came
down to open the door ; but he had fcarce unbolted,
and not half opened it ; when rufhing in all together,
they overturned the man, and ran as fail as they could
up flairs to Leontidas's chamber. Leontidas hearing the
noife, fufpected the matter, and leaping from his bed
feized his fword; but forgot to put out his lights,
v/hich, had he done it, might have been the occafion of
their falling foul of one another in the dark, and fo
he himfelf might have efcaped. But though he had
the difadvantage of being eafily feen by reafon of the


concerning the Genius of Socrates and told them all, what Archias
fays, that Charon came back to had faid to him.
them with apkafant countenance, (4.) Thefe did not fup with Phi-

P E L O P I D A S. 301

light he received them at his chamber door, and flab-
bed Cephifodorus, who was the iirft man that attempted
to enter. The next that he encountered was Pelopidas -,
but the psilage being narrow, andCephifodorus's dead
body lying in the way, the difpate was long and dif-
ficult , however at laft Pelopidas overpowered him, and
killed him. From thence they went altogether to
find out Ky pates, and got into his houfe after the very
fame manner : but he, alarmed at the noife, made his
cfcape into a neighbour's houfe, whither they clofely
followed him and killed him. After this they marched
to join Melon, and fent to haften the exiles they had
left in Attica, proclaiming liberty to all the Thebans,
They likewiie took down the fpoils that hung over the
portico's, and breaking open the (hops of the armourers
and fword-cutlers, armed all thofe that came to their
ailiftance. Epaminondas and Gorgidas having gathered
together and armed a large body of young men, and
fome of the flrongeft of the old men, came in, and
"joined them.

The whole city was by this time in great terror and
confufion, the houfes full of lights, and the ftreets of
people running to and fro : yet they did not gather to-
gether in a body, but being amazed at what had hap-
pened, and knowing nothing with certainty, waited
impatiently for the day. The Spartan officers were un-
doubtedly guilty of a great overfight, in not falling
upon the confpirators, while this confufion lafted -, for
the garrifon at that time confiiled of 1 500 men, and
they were joined befides by many of the people of the
city. But being in a kind of conflernation at the out-
cries, numerous lights, and confufed hurry of the pec-
pie, they did not move at all, but contented themfelves
with preferring the cattle.

As foon as day appeared the exiles from Attica came
in armed, and there was a general affembly of the peo-
ple. Epaminondas and Gorgidas brought forth Pelopidas


lidas, becaufe Archias expe&ing Leontidas fhould be at the enter-
to meet one of the greateft ladies tainment ; and fo Philidas could
ST. thcuy there, hadno raind that not invite him.

(5) Plutarch

302 The L I F E of

and his party encompafJed by the priefts, who carried
garlands in their hands, and exhorted the people to fight
for their Gods and their country. The whole affembly,
excited by this appearance, rofe up, and with fhouts
and acclamations received the men as their benefactors
and deliverers. Then Pelopidas being appointed Gover-
nor of Boeotia, together with Melon and Charon, imme-
diately blocked up, and attacked the caftle thinking it
of great importance to drive out the Lacedaemonians, and
get pofleflion of it, before any fuccours could arrive
from Sparta. And indeed (5) he was beforehand with
them but a very little while ; for the Lacedcemonians had
fcarce furrendered the place, and were, according to
the capitulation, returning home,, when they met Cleom-
brotus at Megara, marching towards Thebes with a pow-
erful army. The Spartans called the three chief com-
manders, who figned that capitulation, to an account ;
Hermipiddas and ArcilTus were executed for it, andLy-
canoridas the third was fined fo feverely, that being una-
able to pay the fum he was forced to fly his country.

This action being fo like that ofThrafybulus, whether
we coniider the courage of the actors, or the difficulties
that were to be furmounted, and the fuccefs that at-
tended it, was for that reafon called its filler by the
Greeks. For it would be difficult to give another in-
fiance of perfons fo few in number, who by their
bravery and conduct overcame fo powerful an oppofi-
tion, and procured fuch fignal advantages to their
country. But this action was rendered flill more glo-
rious by that change of affairs which followed upon it.
For that war which humbled the pride of the Spartans
and deprived them of their empire both by fea and land,
was the effect of that night's enterprize, when Pelopidas,


(5) Plutarch, in this place, garrifon, befides above 3000
feems to flraiten his narrative too more, citizens and others that had
much. How was it poffible for fled to them, and declared on
the confpirators with theaffiftance their fide? He ought to have men-
only of a few citizens, and the tioned -the 5000 foot and 2000
exiles from Attica, to retake fo horfe, which the Athenians fent
ftronga placeas that caftle; where very early the next morning to
there were i5OoLacedxm.on.ians in Pelopidas's afliftance, under the


P E L O P I D A S. 303

without taking cattle, fortification, or town, but being
only one out of twelve who entered a private houle,
loofened and broke to pieces (if we may exprefs truth
by a metaphor) the chains of the Spartan goverment,
till then thought indifibluble.

Not long after this the Lacedaemonians entered Bseotia
with a powerful army, which fo terrified the Athenians,
that they renounced all alliance with the Thebans, and
judicially profecuted all that continued in their intereft;
fome they put to death, others they bammed, and
others they fined feverely. Thus the affairs of the
Thebans, they having no friend or ally, feemed at that
time to be in a very defperate condition. But Pelopidas
and Goreidas being then governors of Bceotia, confulted

t.7 * >-J '

together how to breed a frefh quarrel between the Athe-
nians and Spartans ; and this was their contrivance.
There was a certain Spartan named Sphrodias, a man of
great courage, but of no found judgment, and whofe
mind was always full of vain and ambitious projects.
This man had been left at Thefpiae with a body of troops
to receive and protect fuch Basotians as fhould defert the
intereft of their country and go over to the Spartans.
To him (6) Pelopidas fent money fecretly by a merchant
who was his friend, and at the fame time fuch advice as
v/as moft proper to flatter his vanity, and would be
more perfuafive than money ; " That he ought to un-
" dertake fome noble enterprize, and making a fudden
" incurfion on the unprovided Athenians furprize the
" Piraeus ; that nothing could be fo agreeable to the
"Spartans, as to be matters of Athens ; and that the
" Thebans hating the Athenians, iuj they now did, and
" looking upon them as traitors, would be fure to give
" them no manner of afliftance." Perfuaded by thismef-
fage, Sphrodias marched with his army by night,


command of Demophon, as well at laft only for want of provifions.

as the feveral bodies of troops that See Xenoph. 1. 5. of the Grecian

came from all the cities of Bceotia, hiftory, and Diodor. Sicul. 1. xv.
all which together made up an (6) This is more probable than

army of (2,000 foot, and 2000 what Diodorus Siculus writes, 1.

horfe. This was the army that xv. that Cleombrotus, without any

befieged the caftle, which held order from the Ephori, perfuaded

out feveral days, and furrendcred Sphodrias to furprize the Pirajus.


304 We LIFE of

entered Attica in a hoilile manner, and advanced as far
as Eleufis ; (7) but then his foldiers hearts began to fail;
and finding his defign was difcovered, he thought fit
to return to Thefpias, after having, by this action, (8)
brought upon the Lacedaemonians a long and dangerous
war : for immediately upon this, the Athenians made a
new alliance with the Thebans, and aflifted them with
all their pov/er ; and fitting out a large fleet failed to
feveral places, receiving and engaging all the Greeks
that were inclined to make off the Spartan yoke.

In the mean time, the Thebans having frequent fkir-
mifhes with the, Spartans in Boeotia, and after fighting
fome battles (not great indeed, but fit to train them up,
and inftruct them) their fpirits were raifed, and their
bodies inured to labour, and they got both experience
and courage by thofe frequent encounters. Infomuch
that Antalcidas is reported to have faid to Agefilaus,
when he was brought home wounded from Boeotia, " You
*' are now paid for the inftrudlion you have given the
M Thebans, and for teaching them the art of war againft
" their will." Though to fpeak properly, Agelilaus was
not their mafter, but thofe wife commanders who led
them with prudence to battle, and when they faw a fit
opportunity, let them loofe, like (launch hounds, upon
the enemy ; and when they had tafted the fweets of vic-
tory, by which their appetites were fharpened, took
them off again fafe and unhurt. But of all thofe leaders
Pelopidas deferves mofl honour ; for from the time of his

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