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ing, he contented himself with spoiling the territory, and
taking a small town belonging to the Mantineans, thus
reviving the hearts of the people, letting them see that
they were not everywhere unsuccessful.

Epaminondas now invaded Laconia with an army of forty
thousand, besides light-armed men and others that fol-
lowed the camp only for plunder, so that in all they were
at least seventy thousand. It was now six hundred years
since the Dorians had possessed Laconia, and in all that
tii 11^ the face of an enemy had not been seen within their


territories, no man daring to invade them ; but now they
made their entrance, and burnt and plundered without re-
sistance the hitherto untouched and sacred territory, up
to Eurotas, and the very suburbs of Sparta ; for Agesilaus
would not permit them to encounter so impetuous a tor-
rent, as Theopompus calls it, of war. He contented him-
self with fortifying the chief parts of the city, and with
placing guards in convenient places, enduring meanwhile
the taunts of the Thebans, who reproached him by name as
the kindler of the war, and the author of all that mischief
to his country, bidding him defend himself if he could.
But this was not all ; he was equally disturbed at home
with the tumults of the city, the outcries and running
about of the old men, who were enraged at their present
condition, and the women yet worse, out of their senses
with the clamors, and the fires of the enemy in the field.
He was also himself afflicted by the sense of his lost glory ;
who, having come to the throne of Sparta when it was in
its most flourishing and powerful condition, now lived to
see it laid low in esteem, and all its great vaunts cut down,
even that which he himself had been accustomed to use,
that the women of Sparta had never seen the smoke of the
enemy's fire. As it is said, also, that when Antalcidas,
once being in dispute with an Athenian about the valor of
the two nations, the Athenian boasted, that they had often
driven the Spartans from the river Cephisus, " Yes," said
Antalcides, " but we never had occasion to drive you from
Eurotas." And a common Spartan of less note, being in
company with an Argive, who was bragging how many
Spartans lay buried in the fields of Argos, replied, " None
of you are buried in the country of Laconia." Yet now
the case was so altered, that Antalcidas, being one of the
Ephors, out of fear sent away his children privately to the
island of Cythera.

When the enemy essayed to get over the river, and
Jkence to attack the town, Agesilaus, abandoning the rest,


betook himself to the high places and strongholds of It
But it happened, Eurotas at that time was swollen to a
great height with snow that had fallen and made the pas-
sage very difficult to the Thebans, not only by its depth,
but much more by its extreme coldness. Whilst this was
doing, Epaminondas was seen in the front of the phalanx,
and was pointed out to Agesilaus, who looked long at him,
and said but these words, " O bold man ! " But when he
came to the city, and would have fain attempted something
within the limits of it that might raise him a trophy there,
he could not tempt Agesilaus out of his hold, but was
forced to march off again, wasting the country as he went.
Meanwhile, a body of long discontented and bad citi-
zens, about two hundred in number, having got into a
strong part of the town called the Issorion, where the
temple of Diana stands, seized and garrisoned it. The
Spartans would have fallen upon them instantly; but
Agesilaus, not knowing how far the sedition might reach,
bade them forbear, and going himself in his ordinary dress,
with but one servant, when he came near the rebels, called
out, and told them that they mistook their orders ; this
was not the right place ; they were to go, one part of them
thither, showing them another place in the city, and part to
another, which he also showed. The conspirators gladly
heard this, thinking themselves unsuspected of treason,
and readily went off to the places which he showed them.
Whereupon Agesilaus placed in their room a guard of his
own ; and of the conspirators he apprehended fifteen, and
put them to death in the night. But after this, a much
more dangerous conspiracy was discovered of Spartan
citizens, who had privately met in each other's houses, plot-
ting a revolution. These were men whom it was equally
dangerous to prosecute publicly according to law, and to
connive at. Agesilaus took council with the Ephors, and
put these also to death privately without process ; a thing
never before known in the case of any born Spartan.


At this time, also, many of the helots and country peo
pie, who were in the army, ran away to the enemy, which
was a matter of great consternation to the city. He there-
fore caused some officers of his, every morning before day,
to search the quarters of the soldiers, and where any man
was gone, to hide his arms, that so the greatness of the
numher might not appear.

Historians differ about the cause of the Thebans' depart-
ure from Sparta. Some say, the winter forced them; as
also that the Arcadian soldiers disbanding, made it neces-
sary for the rest to retire. Others say that they stayed
there three months, till they had laid the whole country
waste. Theopompus is the only author who says that
when the Boeotian generals had already resolved upon the
retreat, Phrixus, the Spartan, came to them, and offered
them from Agesilaus ten talents to be gone, so hiring them
to do what they were already doing of their own accord.
How he alone should come to be aware of this, I know not ;
only in this all authors agree, that the saving of Sparta
from ruin was wholly due to the wisdom of Agesilaus, who
in this extremity of affairs quitted all his ambition and his
haughtiness, and resolved to play a saving game. But all
his wisdom and courage was not sufficient to recover the
glory of it, and to raise it to its ancient greatness. For
as we see in human bodies, long used to a very strict and
too exquisitely regular diet, any single great disorder is
usually fatal ; so here one stroke overthrew the whole
State's long prosperity. Nor can we be surprised at this.
Lycurgus had formed a polity admirably designed for the
peace, harmony, and virtuous life of the citizens ; and their
fall came from their assuming foreign dominion and arbi-
trary sway, things wholly undesirable, in the judgment of
Lycurgus, for a well-conducted and happy State.

Agesilaus being now in years, gave over all military em-
ployments ; but his son, Archidamus, having received help
from Dionysius of Sicily, gave a great defeat to the Area-


dians, in the fight known by the name of the Tearless
Battle, in which there was a great slaughter of the enemy
without the loss of one Spartan. Yet this victory, more
than anything else, discovered the present weakness of
Sparta; for heretofore victory was esteemed so usual a
L!i ing with them, that for their greatest successes, they
merely sacrificed a cock to the gods. The soldiers never
vaunted, nor did the citizens display any great joy at the
oews ; even when the great victory, described by Thucy-
dides, was obtained at Mantinea, the messenger that brought
the news had no other reward than a piece of meat, sent
by the magistrates from the common table. But at the
news of this Arcadian victory, they were not able to con-
tain themselves; Agesilaus went out in procession with
tears of joy in his eyes, to meet and embrace his son, and
all the magistrates and public officers attended him. The
old men and the women marched out as far as the river
Eurotas, lifting up their hands, and thanking the gods that
Sparta was now cleared again of the disgrace and indignity
that had befallen her, and once more saw the light of
day. Since before, they tell us, the Spartan men, out of
shame at their disasters, did not dare so much as to look
their wives in the face.

"When Epaminondas restored Messene, and recalled from
all quarters the ancient citizens to inhabit it, they were
not able to obstruct the design, being not in condition of
appearing in the field against them. But it went greatly
against Agesilaus in the minds of his countrymen, when
they found so large a territory, equal to their own in com-
pass, and for fertility the richest of all Greece, which they
had enjoyed so long, taken from them in his reign. There-
fore it was that the king broke off treaty with the Thebans
when they offered him peace, rather than set his hand to
the passing away of that country, though It was already
taken from him. Which point of honor had like to have
cost him dear ; for not long after he was overreached by


a stratagem, which had almost amounted to the loss of
Sparta. For when the Mantineans again revolted from
Thebes to Sparta, and Epaminondas understood that Ages-
ilaus was come to their assistance with a powerful army;
he privately in the night quitted his quarters at Tegea, and,
unknown to the Mantineans, passing by Agesilaus, marched
toward Sparta, insomuch that he failed very little of tak-
ing it empty and unarmed. Agesilaus had intelligence
sent him by Euthynus, the Thespian, as Callisthenes says,
but Xenophon says by a Cretan ; and immediately de-
spatched a horseman to Lacedsemon, to apprise them of
it, and to let them know that he was hastening to them.
Shortly after his arrival the Thebans crossed the Eurotas.
They made an assault upon the town, and were received
by Agesilaus with great courage, and with exertions be-
yond what was to be expected at his years. For he did
not now fight with that caution and cunning which he for-
merly made use of, but put all upon a desperate push ;
which, though not his usual method, succeeded so well,
that he rescued the city out of the very hands of Epami-
nondas, and forced him to retire, and, at the erection of a
trophy, was able, in the presence of their wives and chil-
dren, to declare that the Lacedaemonians had nobly paid
their debt to their country, and particularly his son Ar-
chidamus, who had that day made himself illustrious, both
by his courage and agility of body, rapidly passing about
by the short lanes to every endangered point, and every-
where maintaining the town against the enemy with but
few to help him. Isadas, however, the son of Phosbidas,
must have been, I think, the admiration of the enemy as
well as of his friends. He was a youth of remarkable
beauty and stature, in the very flower of the most attract,
ive time of life, when the boy is just rising into the man.
He had no arms upon him and scarcely clothes ; he had
just anointed himself at home, when, upon the alarm,
without further awaiting, in that undress, he snatched 9


spear in one hand and a sword in the other, and broke his
way through the combatants to the enemies, striking at
all he met. He received no wound, whether it were that a
special divine care rewarded his valor with an extraordi-
nary protection, or whether his shape being so large and
beautiful, and his dress so unusual, they thought him more
than a man. The Ephors gave him a garland ; but as soon
as they had done so, they fined him a thousand drachmas,
for going out to battle unarmed.

A few days after this there was another battle fought
near Mantinea, in which Epaminondas, having routed the
van of the Lacedaemonians, was eager in the pursuit of
them, when Anticrates, the Laconian, wounded him with a
spear, says Dioscorides ; but the Spartans to this day call
the posterity of this Anticrates, swordsmen, because he
wounded Epaminondas with a sword. They so dreaded
Epaminondas when living, that the slayer of him was em-
braced and admired by all ; they decreed honors and gifts
to him, and an exemption from taxes to his posterity, a
privilege enjoyed at this day by Callicrates, one of his

Epaminondas being slain, there was a general peace again
concluded, from which Agesilaus's party excluded the
Messenians, as men that had no city, and therefore would
not let them swear to the league ; to which when the rest
of the Greeks admitted them, the Lacedgemonians broke
off, and continued the war alone, in hopes of subduing the
Messenians. In this Agesilaus was esteemed a stubborn
and headstrong man, and insatiable of war, who took such
pains to undermine the general peace, and to protract the
war at a time when he had not money to carry it on with,
but was forced to borrow of his friends and raise subscrip-
tions, with much difficulty, while the city, above all things,
needed repose. And all this to recover the one poor town
pf Messene, after he had lost so great an empire both by


Plutarch's Lives. ZZL


tea and land, as the Spartans were possessed o'f, when he
began to reign.

But it added still more to his ill-repute when he put
himself into the service of Tachos, the Egyptian. They
thought it too unworthy of a man of his high station, who
was then looked upon as the first commander in all Greece,
who had filled all countries with his renown, to let himself
out to hire to a barbarian, an Egyptian rebel (for Tachoe
was no better), and to fight for pay, as captain only of a
band of mercenaries. If, they said, at those years of eighty
and odd, after his body had been worn out with age, and
enfeebled with wounds, he had resumed that noble under-
taking, the liberation of the Greeks from Persia, it had
been worthy of some reproof. To make an action honor-
able, it ought to be agreeable to the age, and other circum-
stances of the person ; since it is circumstance and proper
measure that give an action its character, and make it
either good or bad. But Agesilaus valued not other men's
discourses ; he thought no public employment dishonorable ;
the ignoblest thing in his esteem was for a man to sit idle
ind useless at home, waiting for his death to come and
take him. The money, therefore, that he received from
Tachos, he laid out in raising men, with whom, having filled
his ships, he took also thirty Spartan counsellors with him,
as formerly he had done in his Asiatic expedition, and set
sail for Egypt.

As soon as he arrived in Egypt, all the great officers of
the kingdom came to pay their compliments to him at his
landing. His reputation being so great, had raised the ex-
pectation of the whole country, and crowds flocked in to
see him; but when they found, instead of the splendid
prince whom they looked for, a little old man of contempt-
ible appearance, without all ceremony lying down upon the
grass, in coarse and threadbare clothes, they fell into laugh-
ter and scorn of him, crying out, that the old proverb was
How made good, "The mountain had brought forth


mouse." They were ye.t more astonished at his stupidity,
as they thought it, who, when presents were made him of
all sorts of provisions, took only the meal, the calves, and
the geese, but rejected the sweetmeats, the confections, and
perfumes ; and when they urged him to the acceptance of
them, took them and gave them to the helots in his army.
Yet he was taken, Theophrastus tells us, with the garlands
they made of the papyrus, because of their simplicity, and
when he returned home, he demanded one of the king,
"rhich he carried with him.

When he joined with Tachos, he found his expectation
of being general-in-chief disappointed. Tachos reserved
that place for himself, making Agesilaus only captain of
the mercenaries, and Chabrias, the Athenian, commander
of the fleet. This was the first occasion of his discontent,
but there followed others ; he was compelled daily to sub-
mit to the insolence and vanity of this Egyptian, and was
at length forced to attend him into Phoenicia, in a condition
much below his character and dignity, which he bore and
put up with for a time, till he had opportunity of showing
his feelings. It was afforded him by Nectanabis, the cousin
of Tachos, who commanded a large force under him, and
shortly after deserted him, and was proclaimed king by the
Egyptians. This man invited Agesilaus to join his party,
and the like he did to Chabrias, offering great rewards to
both. Tachos, suspecting it, immediately applied himself
both to Agesilaus and Chabrias, with great humility be-
seeching their continuance in his friendship. Chabrias con-
sented to it, and did what he could by persuasion and good
words to keep Agesilaus with them. But he gave this
short reply, " You, O Chabrias, came hither a volunteer,
and may go and stay as you see cause ; but I am the serv-
ant of Sparta, appointed to head the Egyptians, and there-
fore I cannot fight against tluse to whom I was sent as a
tnend, unless I am commanded to do so by my country."
This being said, he despatched messengers to Sparta, who


were sufficiently supplied with matter both for dispraise of
Tachos and commendation of Nectanabis. The two Egyp-
tians also sent their ambassadors to Lacedcemon, the one
to claim continuance of the league already made, the other
to make great offers for the breaking of it, and making a
new one. The Spartans having heard both sides, gave in
their public answer, that they referred the whole matter to
Agesilaus ; but privately wrote to him, to act as he should
find it best for the profit of the commonwealth. Upon re-
ceipt of his orders, he at once changed sides, carrying all
the mercenaries with him to Nectanabis, covering, with the
plausible pretence of acting for the benefit of his country,
a most questionable piece of conduct, which, stripped of
that disguise, in real truth was no better than downright
treachery. But the Lacedaemonians, who make it their
first principle of action to serve their country's interest,
know not anything to be just or unjust by any measure
but that.

Tachos, being thus deserted by the mercenaries, fled for
it ; upon which a new king of the Mendesian province was
proclaimed his successor, and came against ISTectanabis with
an army of one hundred thousand men. Nectanabis, in his
talk with Agesilaus, professed to despise them as newly
raised men, who, though many in number, were of no skill
in war, being most of them mechanics and tradesmen, never
bred to war. To whom Agesilaus answered, that he did
not fear their numbers, but did fear their ignorance, which
gave no room for employing stratagem against them.
Stratagem only avails with men who are alive to suspicion,
and, expecting to be assailed, expose themselves by their
attempts at defence ; but one who has no thought or expec-
tation of anything, gives as little opportunit} 7 " to the enemy,
as he who stands stock-still does to a wrestler. The Men-
desian was not wanting in solicitations of Agesilaus, inso-
much that Nectanabis grew jealous. But when Agesilaus
advised to fight the enemy at once, saying it was folly to


protract the war and rely on time, in a contest with men
who had no experience in righting battles, but with their
great numbers might be able to surround them, and cut
off their communications by intrenchments, and anticipate
them in many matters of advantage, this altogether con-
firmed him in his fears and suspicions. He took quite the
contrary course, and retreated into a large and strongly
fortified town. Agesilaus, finding himself mistrusted, book
it very ill, and was full of indignation, yet was ashamed to
change sides back again, or to go away without effecting
anything, so that he was forced to follow Nectanabis into
the town.

When the enemy came up, and began to draw lines about
the town, and to entrench, the Egyptian now resolved
upon a battle, out of fear of a siege. And the Greeks were
eager for it, provisions growing already scarce in the town.
When Agesilaus opposed it, the Egyptians then suspected
him much more, publicly calling him the betrayer ot the
king. But Agesilaus, being now satisfied within himself,
bore these reproaches patiently, and followed the design
which he had laid, of overreaching the enemy, which was

The enemy were forming a deep ditch and high wall,
resolving to shut up the garrison and starve it. When the
ditch was brought almost quite round and the two ends had
all but met, he took the advantage of the night, and armed
all his Greeks. Then going to the Egyptian, "This, young
man, is your opportunity," said he, "of saving yourself,
which I all this while durst not announce, lest discovery
should prevent it ; but now the enemy has, at his own cost,
and the pains and labor of his own men, provided for our
security. As much of this wall as is built will prevent
them from surrounding us with their multitude, the gap
yet left will be sufficient for us to sally out by ; now play
the man, and follow the example the Greeks will give you,
and by fighting yaliantly, save yourself and your army ;


their front will not be able to stand against us, and their
rear we are sufficiently secured from by a wall of their own
making." Nectanabis, admiring the sagacity of Agesilaus,
immediately placed himself in the middle of the Greek
troops, and fought with them ; and upon the first charge
soon routed the enemy. Agesilaus having now gained,
credit with the king, proceeded to use, like a trick in
wrestling, the same stratagem over again. He sometimes
pretended a retreat, at other times advanced to attack their
flanks, and by this means at last drew them into a place
enclosed between two ditches that were very deep, and full
of water. When he had them at this advantage, he soon
charged them, drawing up the front of his battle equal to
the space between the two ditches, so that they had no way
of surrounding him, being enclosed themselves on both sides.
They made but little resistance ; many fell, others fled and
were dispersed.

Nectanabis, being thus settled and fixed in his kingdom,
with much kindness and affection invited Agesilaus to
spend his winter in Egypt, but he made haste home to assist
in wars of his own country, which was, he knew, in want
of monev, and forced to hire mercenaries, whilst their own

J * /

men were fighting abroad. The king, therefore, dismissed
him very honorably, and among other gifts presented him
with two hundred and thirty talents of silver, toward the
charge of the war. But the weather being tempestuous,
his ships kept inshore, and passing along the coast of
Africa he reached an uninhabited spot called the Port of
Menelaus, and here, when his ships were just upon landing,
he expired, being eighty-four years old, and having reigned
in Lacedsemon forty-one. Thirty of which years he passed
with the reputation of being the greatest and most power-
ful man of all Greece, and was looked upon as, in a manner,
general and king of it, until the battle of Leuctra. It was
the custom of the Spartans to bury their common dead in
the place where they died, whatsoever country it was, but


their kings they carried home. The followers of Agesi
laus, for want of honey, enclosed his body in wax, and so
conveyed him to Lacedsemon.

His son, Archidamus, succeeded him on his throne ; so
did his posterity successively to Agis, the fifth from Agesi-
laus ; who was slain by Leonidas, while attempting to re-
store the ancient discipline of Sparta.


THE people of Rome seem to have entertained for Pom-
pey from his childhood the same affection that Prometheus,
in the tragedy of ^Eschylus, expresses for Hercules, speaking
of him as the author of his deliverance, in these words,

Ah cruel Sire ! how dear thy son to me 1
The generous offspring of my enemy J

For on the one hand, never did the Romans give such dem-
onstrations of a vehement and fierce hatred against any of
their generals, as they did against Strabo, the father of
Pompey ; during whose lifetime, it is true, they stood in
awe of his military power, as indeed he was a formidable
warrior, but immediately upon his death, which happened
by a stroke of thunder, they treated him with the utmost
contumely, dragging his corpse from the bier, as it was
carried to his funeral. On the other side, never had any
Roman the people's good-will and devotion more zealous
throughout all the changes of fortune, more early in its
first springing up, or more steadily rising with his pros-
perity, or more constant in his adversity than Pompey
had. In Strabo, there was one great cause of their hatred,
his insatiable covetousness ; in Pompey, there were many
that helped to make him the object of their love; his

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