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Plutarch's Lives

Part 19 out of 35

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they would all pass over in a body with their arms. And in
truth, Craterus had a mighty name among them, and the soldiers
after Alexander's death were extremely fond of him, remembering
how he had often for their sakes incurred Alexander's
displeasure, doing his best to withhold him when he began to
follow the Persian fashions, and always maintaining the customs
of his country, when, through pride and luxuriousness, they began
to be disregarded. Craterus, therefore, sent on Antipater into
Cilicia, and himself and Neoptolemus marched with a large
division of the army against Eumenes; expecting to come upon him
unawares, and to find his army disordered with reveling after the
late victory. Now that Eumenes should suspect his coming, and be
prepared to receive him, is an argument of his vigilance, but not
perhaps a proof of any extraordinary sagacity, but that he should
contrive both to conceal from his enemies the disadvantages of
his position, and from his own men whom they were to fight with,
so that he led them on against Craterus himself, without their
knowing that he commanded the enemy, this, indeed, seems to show
peculiar address and skill in the general. He gave out that
Neoptolemus and Pigres were approaching with some Cappadocian and
Paphlagonian horse. And at night, having resolved on marching,
he fell asleep, and had an extraordinary dream. For he thought
he saw two Alexanders ready to engage, each commanding his
several phalanx, the one assisted by Minerva, the other by Ceres;
and that after a hot dispute, he on whose side Minerva was, was
beaten, and Ceres, gathering ears of corn, wove them into a crown
for the victor. This vision Eumenes interpreted at once as
boasting success to himself, who was to fight for a fruitful
country, and at that very time covered with the young ears, the
whole being sowed with corn, and the fields so thick with it,
that they made a beautiful show of a long peace. And he was
further emboldened, when he understood that the enemy's pass-word
was Minerva and Alexander. Accordingly he also gave out as his,
Ceres and Alexander, and gave his men orders to make garlands for
themselves, and to dress their arms with wreaths of corn. He
found himself under many temptations to discover to his captains
and officers whom they were to engage with, and not to conceal a
secret of such moment in his own breast alone, yet he kept to his
first resolutions, and ventured to run the hazard of his own

When he came to give battle, he would not trust any Macedonian to
engage Craterus, but appointed two troops of foreign horse,
commanded by Pharnabazus, son to Artabazus, and Phoenix of
Tenedos, with order to charge as soon as ever they saw the enemy,
without giving them leisure to speak or retire, or receiving any
herald or trumpet from them. For he was exceedingly afraid about
his Macedonians, lest, if they found out Craterus to be there,
they should go over to his side. He himself, with three hundred
of his best horse, led the right wing against Neoptolemus. When
having passed a little hill they came in view, and were seen
advancing with more than ordinary briskness, Craterus was amazed,
and bitterly reproached Neoptolemus for deceiving him with hopes
of the Macedonians' revolt, but he encouraged his men to do
bravely, and forthwith charged. The first engagement was very
fierce, and the spears being soon broken to pieces, they came to
close fighting with their swords; and here Craterus did by no
means dishonor Alexander, but slew many of his enemies, and
repulsed many assaults, but at last received a wound in his side
from a Thracian, and fell off his horse. Being down, many not
knowing him went past him, but Gorgias, one of Eumenes's
captains, knew him, and alighting from his horse, kept guard over
him, as he lay badly wounded and slowly dying. In the meantime
Neoptolemus and Eumenes were engaged; who, being inveterate and
mortal enemies, sought for one another, but missed for the two
first courses, but in the third discovering one another, they
drew their swords, and with loud shouts immediately charged. And
their horses striking against one another like two galleys, they
quitted their reins, and taking mutual hold pulled at one
another's helmets, and at the armor from their shoulders. While
they were thus struggling, their horses went from under them, and
they fell together to the ground, there again still keeping their
hold and wrestling. Neoptolemus was getting up first, but
Eumenes wounded him in the ham, and got upon his feet before him.
Neoptolemus supporting himself upon one knee, the other leg being
disabled, and himself undermost, fought courageously, though his
blows were not mortal, but receiving a stroke in the neck he fell
and ceased to resist. Eumenes, transported with passion and his
inveterate hatred to him, fell to reviling and stripping him, and
perceived not that his sword was still in his hand. And with
this he wounded Eumenes under the bottom of his corslet in the
groin, but in truth more frightened than hurt him; his blow being
faint for want of strength. Having stripped the dead body, ill as
he was with the wounds he had received in his legs and arms, he
took horse again, and hurried towards the left wing of his army,
which he supposed to be still engaged. Hearing of the death of
Craterus, he rode up to him, and finding there was yet some life
in him, alighted from his horse and wept, and laying his right
hand upon him, inveighed bitterly against Neoptolemus, and
lamented both Craterus's misfortune and his own hard fate, that
he should be necessitated to engage against an old friend and
acquaintance, and either do or suffer so much mischief.

This victory Eumenes obtained about ten days after the former,
and got great reputation alike for his conduct and his valor in
achieving it. But on the other hand, it created him great envy
both among his own troops, and his enemies, that he, a stranger
and a foreigner, should employ the forces and arms of Macedon, to
cut off the bravest and most approved man among them. Had the
news of this defeat come timely enough to Perdiccas, he had
doubtless been the greatest of all the Macedonians; but now, he
being slain in a mutiny in Egypt, two days before the news
arrived, the Macedonians in a rage decreed Eumenes's death,
giving joint commission to Antigonus and Antipater to prosecute
the war against him. Passing by Mount Ida, where there was a
royal establishment of horses, Eumenes took as many as he had
occasion for, and sent an account of his doing so to the
overseers, at which Antipater is said to have laughed, calling it
truly laudable in Eumenes thus to hold himself prepared for
giving in to them (or would it be taking from them?) strict
account of all matters of administration. Eumenes had designed
to engage in the plains of Lydia, near Sardis, both because his
chief strength lay in horse, and to let Cleopatra see how
powerful he was. But at her particular request, for she was
afraid to give any umbrage to Antipater, he marched into the
upper Phrygia, and wintered in Celaenae; when Alcetas, Polemon,
and Docimus disputing with him who should command in chief, "You
know," said he, "the old saying, That destruction regards no
punctilios." Having promised his soldiers pay within three days,
he sold them all the farms and castles in the country, together
with the men and beasts with which they were filled; every
captain or officer that bought, received from Eumenes the use of
his engines to storm the place, and divided the spoil among his
company, proportionably to every man's arrears. By this Eumenes
came again to be popular, so that when letters were found thrown
about the camp by the enemy, promising one hundred talents,
besides great honors, to anyone that should kill Eumenes, the
Macedonians were extremely offended, and made an order that from
that time forward one thousand of their best men should
continually guard his person, and keep strict watch about him by
night in their several turns. This order was cheerfully obeyed,
and they gladly received of Eumenes the same honors which the
kings used to confer upon their favorites. He now had leave to
bestow purple hats and cloaks, which among the Macedonians is one
of the greatest honors the king can give.

Good fortune will elevate even petty minds, and gives them the
appearance of a certain greatness and stateliness, as from their
high place they look down upon the world; but the truly noble and
resolved spirit raises itself, and becomes more conspicuous in
times of disaster and ill fortune, as was now the case with
Eumenes. For having by the treason of one of his own men lost
the field to Antigonus at Orcynii, in Cappadocia, in his flight
he gave the traitor no opportunity to escape to the enemy, but
immediately seized and hanged him. Then in his flight, taking a
contrary course to his pursuers, he stole by them unawares,
returned to the place where the battle had been fought, and
encamped. There he gathered up the dead bodies, and burnt them
with the doors and windows of the neighboring villages, and raised
heaps of earth upon their graves; insomuch that Antigonus, who
came thither soon after, expressed his astonishment at his
courage and firm resolution. Falling afterwards upon the
baggage of Antigonus, he might easily have taken many captives,
both bond and freemen, and much wealth collected from the spoils
of so many wars; but he feared lest his men, overladen with so
much booty, might become unfit for rapid retreat, and too fond of
their ease to sustain the continual marches and endure the long
waiting on which he depended for success, expecting to tire
Antigonus into some other course. But then considering it would
be extremely difficult to restrain the Macedonians from plunder,
when it seemed to offer itself, he gave them order to refresh
themselves, and bait their horses, and then attack the enemy. In
the meantime he sent privately to Menander, who had care of all
this baggage, professing a concern for him upon the score of old
friendship and acquaintance; and therefore advising him to quit
the plain and secure himself upon the sides of the neighboring
hills, where the horse might not be able to hem him in. When
Menander, sensible of his danger, had speedily packed up his
goods and decamped, Eumenes openly sent his scouts to discover
the enemy's posture, and commanded his men to arm, and bridle
their horses, as designing immediately to give battle; but the
scouts returning with news that Menander had secured so difficult
a post it was impossible to take him, Eumenes, pretending to be
grieved with the disappointment, drew off his men another way.
It is said that when Menander reported this afterwards to
Antigonus, and the Macedonians commended Eumenes, imputing it to
his singular good-nature, that having it in his power to make
slaves of their children, and outrage their wives, he forbore and
spared them all, Antigonus replied, "Alas, good friends, he had
no regard to us, but to himself, being loath to wear so many
shackles when he designed to fly."

From this time Eumenes, daily flying and wandering about,
persuaded many of his men to disband, whether out of kindness to
them, or unwillingness to lead about such a body of men as were
too few to engage, and too many to fly undiscovered. Taking
refuge at Nora, a place on the confines of Lycaonia and
Cappadocia, with five hundred horse, and two hundred heavy-armed
foot, he again dismissed as many of his friends as desired it,
through fear of the probable hardships to be encountered there,
and embracing them with all demonstrations of kindness, gave them
license to depart. Antigonus, when he came before this fort,
desired to have an interview with Eumenes before the siege; but
he returned answer, that Antigonus had many friends who might
command in his room; but they whom Eumenes defended, had no body
to substitute if he should miscarry; therefore, if Antigonus
thought it worth while to treat with him, he should first send
him hostages. And when Antigonus required that Eumenes should
first address himself to him as his superior, he replied, "While
I am able to wield a sword, I shall think no man greater than
myself." At last, when according to Eumenes's demand, Antigonus
sent his own nephew Ptolemy to the fort, Eumenes went out to him,
and they mutually embraced with great tenderness and friendship,
as having formerly been very intimate. After long conversation,
Eumenes making no mention of his own pardon and security, but
requiring that he should be confirmed in his several governments,
and restitution be made him of the rewards of his service, all
that were present were astonished at his courage and gallantry.
And many of the Macedonians flocked to see what sort of person
Eumenes was, for since the death of Craterus, no man had been so
much talked of in the army. But Antigonus, being afraid lest he
might suffer some violence, first commanded the soldiers to keep
off, calling out and throwing stones at those who pressed
forwards. At last, taking Eumenes in his arms, and keeping off
the crowd with his guards, not without great difficulty, he
returned him safe into the fort.

Then Antigonus, having built a wall round Nora, left a force
sufficient to carry on the siege, and drew off the rest of his
army; and Eumenes was beleaguered and kept garrison, having
plenty of corn and water and salt but no other thing, either for
food, or delicacy; yet with such as he had, he kept a cheerful
table for his friends, inviting them severally in their turns,
and seasoning his entertainment with a gentle and affable
behavior. For he had a pleasant countenance, and looked not like
an old and practiced soldier, but was smooth and florid, and his
shape as delicate as if his limbs had been carved by art in the
most accurate proportions. He was not a great orator, but
winning and persuasive, as may be seen in his letters. The
greatest distress of the besieged was the narrowness of the place
they were in, their quarters being very confined, and the whole
place but two furlongs in compass; so that both they and their
horses fed without exercise. Accordingly, not only to prevent
the listlessness of such inactive living, but to have them in
condition to fly if occasion required, he assigned a room one and
twenty feet long, the largest in all the fort, for the men to
walk in, directing them to begin their walk gently, and so
gradually mend their pace. And for the horses, he tied them to
the roof with great halters, fastening which about their necks,
with a pulley he gently raised them, till standing upon the
ground with their hinder feet, they just touched it with the very
ends of their fore feet. In this posture the grooms plied them
with whips and shouts, provoking them to curvet and kick out with
their hind legs, struggling and stamping at the same time to find
support for their fore feet, and thus their whole body was
exercised, till they were all in a foam and sweat; excellent
exercise, whether for strength or speed; and then he gave them
their corn already coarsely ground, that they might sooner
dispatch, and better digest it.

The siege continuing long, Antigonus received advice that
Antipater was dead in Macedon, and that affairs were embroiled by
the differences of Cassander and Polysperchon, upon which he
conceived no mean hopes, purposing to make himself master of all,
and, in order to his design, thought to bring over Eumenes, that
he might have his advice and assistance. He, therefore, sent
Hieronymus to treat with him, proposing a certain oath, which
Eumenes first corrected, and then referred himself to the
Macedonians themselves that besieged him, to be judged by them,
which of the two forms were the most equitable. Antigonus in the
beginning of his had slightly mentioned the kings as by way of
ceremony, while all the sequel referred to himself alone; but
Eumenes changed the form of it to Olympias and the kings, and
proceeded to swear not to be true to Antigonus only, but to them,
and to have the same friends and enemies, not with Antigonus, but
with Olympias and the kings. This form the Macedonians thinking
the more reasonable, swore Eumenes according to it, and raised
the siege, sending also to Antigonus, that he should swear in the
same form to Eumenes. Meantime, all the hostages of the
Cappadocians whom Eumenes had in Nora he returned, obtaining from
their friends war horses, beasts of carriage, and tents in
exchange. And collecting again all the soldiers who had
dispersed at the time of his flight, and were now wandering about
the country, he got together a body of near a thousand horse, and
with them fled from Antigonus, whom he justly feared. For he had
sent orders not only to have him blocked up and besieged again,
but had given a very sharp answer to the Macedonians, for
admitting Eumenes's amendment of the oath.

While Eumenes was flying, he received letters from those in
Macedonia, who were jealous of Antigonus's greatness, from
Olympias, inviting him thither, to take the charge and protection
of Alexander's infant son, whose person was in danger, and other
letters from Polysperchon, and Philip the king, requiring him to
make war upon Antigonus, as general of the forces in Cappadocia,
and empowering him out of the treasure at Quinda to take five
hundred talents, compensation for his own losses, and to levy as
much as he thought necessary to carry on the war. They wrote also
to the same effect to Antigenes and Teutamus, the chief officers
of the Argyraspids; who, on receiving these letters, treated
Eumenes with a show of respect and kindness; but it was apparent
enough they were full of envy and emulation, disdaining to give
place to him. Their envy Eumenes moderated, by refusing to
accept the money, as if he had not needed it; and their ambition
and emulation, who were neither able to govern, nor willing to
obey, he conquered by help of superstition. For he told them
that Alexander had appeared to him in a dream, and showed him a
regal pavilion richly furnished, with a throne in it; and told
him if they would sit in council there, he himself would be
present and prosper all the consultations and actions upon
which they should enter in his name. Antigenes and Teutamus were
easily prevailed upon to believe this, being as little willing to
come and consult Eumenes, as he himself was to be seen waiting at
other men's doors. Accordingly, they erected a tent royal, and a
throne, called Alexander's, and there they met to consult upon
all affairs of moment.

Afterwards they advanced into the interior of Asia, and in their
march met with Peucestes, who was friendly to them, and with the
other satraps, who joined forces with them, and greatly
encouraged the Macedonians with the number and appearance of
their men. But they themselves, having since Alexander's decease
become imperious and ungoverned in their tempers, and luxurious
in their daily habits, imagining themselves great princes, and
pampered in their conceit by the flattery of the barbarians, when
all these conflicting pretensions now came together, were soon
found to be exacting and quarrelsome one with another, while all
alike unmeasurably flattered the Macedonians, giving them money
for revels and sacrifices, till in a short time they brought the
camp to be a dissolute place of entertainment, and the army a
mere multitude of voters, canvassed as in a democracy for the
election of this or that commander. Eumenes, perceiving they
despised one another, and all of them feared him, and sought an
opportunity to kill him, pretended to be in want of money, and
borrowed many talents, of those especially who most hated him, to
make them at once confide in him, and forbear all violence to him
for fear of losing their own money. Thus his enemies' estates
were the guard of his person, and by receiving money he purchased
safety, for which it is more common to give it.

The Macedonians, also, while there was no show of danger, allowed
themselves to be corrupted, and made all their court to those who
gave them presents, who had their body-guards, and affected to
appear as generals-in-chief. But when Antigonus came upon them
with a great army, and their affairs themselves seemed to call
out for a true general, then not only the common soldiers cast
their eyes upon Eumenes, but these men, who had appeared so great
in a peaceful time of ease, submitted all of them to him, and
quietly posted themselves severally as he appointed them. And
when Antigonus attempted to pass the river Pasitigris, all the
rest that were appointed to guard the passes were not so much as
aware of his march; only Eumenes met and encountered him, slew
many of his men, and filled the river with the dead, and took
four thousand prisoners. But it was most particularly when
Eumenes was sick, that the Macedonians let it be seen how in
their judgment, while others could feast them handsomely and make
entertainments, he alone knew how to fight and lead an army. For
Peucestes, having made a splendid entertainment in Persia, and
given each of the soldiers a sheep to sacrifice with, made
himself sure of being commander-in-chief. Some few days after,
the army was to march, and Eumenes, having been dangerously ill,
was carried in a litter apart from the body of the army, that any
rest he got might not be disturbed. But when they were a little
advanced, unexpectedly they had a view of the enemy, who had
passed the hills that lay between them, and was marching down
into the plain. At the sight of the golden armor glittering in
the sun as they marched down in their order, the elephants with
their castles on their backs, and the men in their purple, as
their manner was when they were going to give battle, the front
stopped their march, and called out for Eumenes, for they would
not advance a step but under his conduct; and fixing their arms
in the ground, gave the word among themselves to stand, requiring
their officers also not to stir or engage or hazard themselves
without Eumenes. News of this being brought to Eumenes, he
hastened those that carried his litter, and drawing back the
curtains on both sides, joyfully put forth his right hand. As
soon as the soldiers saw him, they saluted him in their
Macedonian dialect, and took up their shields, and striking them
with their pikes, gave a great shout; inviting the enemy to come
on, for now they had a leader.

Antigonus understanding by some prisoners he had taken that
Eumenes was out of health, to that degree that he was carried in
a litter, presumed it would be no hard matter to crush the rest
of them, since he was ill. He therefore made the greater haste
to come up with them and engage. But being come so near as to
discover how the enemy was drawn up and appointed, he was
astonished, and paused for some time; at last he saw the litter
carrying from one wing of the army to the other, and, as his
manner was, laughing aloud, he said to his friends, "That litter
there, it seems, is the thing that offers us battle;" and
immediately wheeled about, retired with all his army, and pitched
his camp. The men on the other side, finding a little respite,
returned to their former habits, and allowing themselves to be
flattered, and making the most of the indulgence of their
generals, took up for their winter quarters near the whole
country of the Gabeni, so that the front was quartered nearly a
thousand furlongs from the rear; which Antigonus understanding,
marched suddenly towards them, taking the most difficult road
through a country that wanted water; but the way was short though
uneven; hoping, if he should surprise them thus scattered in
their winter quarters, the soldiers would not easily be able to
come up time enough, and join with their officers. But having to
pass through a country uninhabited, where he met with violent
winds and severe frosts, he was much checked in his march, and
his men suffered exceedingly. The only possible relief was
making numerous fires, by which his enemies got notice of his
coming. For the barbarians who dwelt on the mountains
overlooking the desert, amazed at the multitude of fires they
saw, sent messengers upon dromedaries to acquaint Peucestes. He
being astonished and almost out of his senses with the news, and
finding the rest in no less disorder, resolved to fly, and
collect what men he could by the way. But Eumenes relieved him
from his fear and trouble, undertaking so to stop the enemy's
advance, that he should arrive three days later than he was
expected. Having persuaded them, he immediately dispatched
expresses to all the officers to draw the men out of their winter
quarters, and muster them with all speed. He himself with some
of the chief officers rode out, and chose an elevated tract
within view, at a distance, of such as traveled the desert; this
he occupied and quartered out, and commanded many fires to be
made in it, as the custom is in a camp. This done, and the enemies
seeing the fire upon the mountains, Antigonus was filled with
vexation and despondency, supposing that his enemies had been
long since advertised of his march, and were prepared to receive
him. Therefore, lest his army, now tired and wearied out with
their march, should be forced immediately to encounter with fresh
men, who had wintered well, and were ready for him, quitting the
near way, he marched slowly through the towns and villages to
refresh his men. But meeting with no such skirmishes as are
usual when two armies lie near one another, and being assured by
the people of the country that no army had been seen, but only
continual fires in that place, he concluded he had been outwitted
by a stratagem of Eumenes, and much troubled, advanced to give
open battle.

By this time, the greatest part of the forces were come together
to Eumenes, and admiring his sagacity, declared him alone
commander-in-chief of the whole army; upon which Antigenes and
Teutamus, the commanders of the Argyraspids, being very much
offended, and envying Eumenes, formed a conspiracy against him;
and assembling the greater part of the satraps and officers,
consulted when and how to cut him off. When they had unanimously
agreed, first to use his service in the next battle, and then to
take an occasion to destroy him, Eudamus, the master of the
elephants, and Phaedimus, gave Eumenes private advice of this
design, not out of kindness or good-will to him, but lest they
should lose the money they had lent him. Eumenes, having
commended them, retired to his tent, and telling his friends he
lived among a herd of wild beasts, made his will, and tore up all
his letters, lest his correspondents after his death should be
questioned or punished on account of anything in his secret
papers. Having thus disposed of his affairs, he thought of
letting the enemy win the field, or of flying through Media and
Armenia and seizing Cappadocia, but came to no resolution while
his friends stayed with him. After turning to many expedients in
his mind, which his changeable fortune had made versatile, he at
last put his men in array, and encouraged the Greeks and
barbarians; as for the phalanx and the Argyraspids, they
encouraged him, and bade him be of good heart; for the enemy
would never be able to stand them. For indeed they were the
oldest of Philip's and Alexander's soldiers, tried men, that had
long made war their exercise, that had never been beaten or
foiled; most of them seventy, none less than sixty years old.
And so when they charged Antigonus's men, they cried out, "You
fight against your fathers, you rascals," and furiously falling
on, routed the whole phalanx at once, nobody being able to stand
them, and the greatest part dying by their hands. So that
Antigonus's foot were routed, but his horse got the better, and
he became master of the baggage, through the cowardice of
Peucestes, who behaved himself negligently and basely; while
Antigonus used his judgment calmly in the danger, being aided
moreover by the ground. For the place where they fought was a
large plain, neither deep, nor hard under foot, but, like the
sea-shore, covered with a fine soft sand, which the treading of
so many men and horses, in the time of the battle, reduced to a
small white dust, that like a cloud of lime darkened the air, so
that one could not see clearly at any distance, and so made it
easy for Antigonus to take the baggage unperceived.

After the battle, Teutamus sent a message to Antigonus to demand
the baggage. He made answer, he would not only restore it to the
Argyraspids, but serve them further in other things if they would
but deliver up Eumenes. Upon which the Argyraspids took a
villainous resolution to deliver him up alive into the hands of
his enemies. So they came to wait upon him, being unsuspected by
him, but watching their opportunity, some lamenting the loss of
the baggage, some encouraging him as if he had been victor, some
accusing the other commanders, till at last they all fell upon
him, and seizing his sword, bound his hands behind him with his
own girdle. When Antigonus had sent Nicanor to receive him, he
begged he might be led through the body of the Macedonians, and
have liberty to speak to them, neither to request, nor deprecate
anything, but only to advise them what would be for their
interest. A silence being made, as he stood upon a rising
ground, he stretched out his hands bound, and said, "What trophy,
O ye basest of all the Macedonians, could Antigonus have wished
for so great as you yourselves have erected for him, in
delivering up your general captive into his hands? You are not
ashamed, when you are conquerors, to own yourselves conquered,
for the sake only of your baggage, as if it were wealth, not
arms, wherein victory consisted; nay, you deliver up your general
to redeem your stuff. As for me, I am unvanquished, though a
captive, conqueror of my enemies, and betrayed by my fellow
soldiers. For you, I adjure you by Jupiter, the protector of
arms, and by all the gods that are the avengers of perjury, to
kill me here with your own hands; for it is all one; and if I am
murdered yonder, it will be esteemed your act, nor will Antigonus
complain, for he desires not Eumenes alive, but dead. Or if you
withhold your own hands, release but one of mine, it shall
suffice to do the work; and if you dare not trust me with a sword
throw me bound as I am under the feet of the wild beasts. This
if you do I shall freely acquit you from the guilt of my death,
as the most just and kind of men to their general."

While Eumenes was thus speaking, the rest of the soldiers wept
for grief, but the Argyraspids shouted out to lead him on, and
give no attention to his trilling. For it was no such great
matter if this Chersonesian pest should meet his death, who in
thousands of battles had annoyed and wasted the Macedonians; it
would be a much more grievous thing for the choicest of Philip's
and Alexander's soldiers to be defrauded of the fruits of so long
service, and in their old age to come to beg their bread, and to
leave their wives three nights in the power of their enemies. So
they hurried him on with violence. But Antigonus, fearing the
multitude, for nobody was left in the camp, sent ten of his
strongest elephants with divers of his Mede and Parthian lances
to keep off the press. Then he could not endure to have Eumenes
brought into his presence, by reason of their former intimacy and
friendship; but when they that had taken him inquired how he
would have him kept, "As I would," said he, "an elephant, or a
lion." A little after, being loved with compassion, he
commanded the heaviest of his irons to be knocked off, one of his
servants to be admitted to anoint him, and that any of his
friends that were willing should have liberty to visit him, and
bring him what he wanted. Long time he deliberated what to do
with him, sometimes inclining to the advice and promises of
Nearchus of Crete, and Demetrius his son, who were very earnest
to preserve Eumenes, whilst all the rest were unanimously instant
and importunate to have him taken off. It is related that
Eumenes inquired of Onomarchus, his keeper, why Antigonus, now he
had his enemy in his hands, would not either forthwith dispatch
or generously release him? And that Onomarchus contumeliously
answered him, that the field had been a more proper place than
this to show his contempt of death. To whom Eumenes replied,
"And by heavens, I showed it there; ask the men else that engaged
me, but I could never meet a man that was my superior."
"Therefore," rejoined Onomarchus, "now you have found such a man,
why don't you submit quietly to his pleasure?"

When Antigonus resolved to kill Eumenes, he commanded to keep his
food from him, and so with two or three days' fasting he began to
draw near his end; but the camp being on a sudden to remove, an
executioner was sent to dispatch him. Antigonus granted his body
to his friends, permitted them to burn it, and having gathered
his ashes into a silver urn, to send them to his wife and

Eumenes was thus taken off; and Divine Providence assigned to no
other man the chastisement of the commanders and soldiers that
had betrayed him; but Antigonus himself, abominating the
Argyraspids as wicked and inhuman villains, delivered them up to
Sibyrtius, the governor of Arachosia, commanding him by all ways
and means to destroy and exterminate them, so that not a man of
them might ever come to Macedon, or so much as within sight of
the Greek sea.


These are the most remarkable passages that are come to our
knowledge concerning Eumenes and Sertorius. In comparing their
lives, we may observe that this was common to them both; that
being aliens, strangers, and banished men, they came to be
commanders of powerful forces, and had the leading of numerous
and warlike armies, made up of divers nations. This was peculiar
to Sertorius, that the chief command was, by his whole party,
freely yielded to him, as to the person of the greatest merit and
renown, whereas Eumenes had many who contested the office with
him, and only by his actions obtained the superiority. They
followed the one honestly, out of desire to be commanded by him;
they submitted themselves to the other for their own security,
because they could not commend themselves. The one, being a
Roman, was the general of the Spaniards and Lusitanians, who for
many years had been under the subjection of Rome; and the other,
a Chersonesian, was chief commander of the Macedonians, who were
the great conquerors of mankind, and were at that time subduing
the world. Sertorius, being already in high esteem for his
former services in the wars, and his abilities in the senate, was
advanced to the dignity of a general; whereas Eumenes obtained
this honor from the office of a writer, or secretary, in which he
had been despised. Nor did he only at first rise from inferior
opportunities, but afterwards, also, met with greater
impediments in the progress of his authority, and that not only
from those who publicly resisted him, but from many others that
privately conspired against him. It was much otherwise with
Sertorius, not one of whose party publicly opposed him, only late
in life and secretly a few of his acquaintance entered into a
conspiracy against him. Sertorius put an end to his dangers as
often as he was victorious in the field, whereas the victories of
Eumenes were the beginning of his perils, through the malice of
those that envied him.

Their deeds in war were equal and parallel, but their general
inclinations different. Eumenes naturally loved war and
contention, but Sertorius esteemed peace and tranquillity; when
Eumenes might have lived in safety, with honor, if he would have
quietly retired out of their way, he persisted in a dangerous
contest with the greatest of the Macedonian leaders; but
Sertorius, who was unwilling to trouble himself with any public
disturbances, was forced, for the safety of his person, to make
war against those who would not suffer him to live in peace. If
Eumenes could have contented himself with the second place,
Antigonus, freed from his competition for the first, would have
used him well, and shown him favor, whereas Pompey's friends
would never permit Sertorius so much as to live in quiet. The
one made war of his own accord, out of a desire for command; and
the other was constrained to accept of command, to defend himself
from war that was made against him. Eumenes was certainly a true
lover of war, for he preferred his covetous ambition before his
own security; but Sertorius was truly warlike, who procured his
own safety by the success of his arms.

As to the manner of their deaths, it happened to one without the
least thought or surmise of it; but to the other when he
suspected it daily; which in the first, argues an equitable
temper, and a noble mind, not to distrust his friends; but in the
other, it showed some infirmity of spirit, for Eumenes intended to
fly and was taken. The death of Sertorius dishonored not his
life; he suffered that from his companions which none of his
enemies were ever able to perform. The other, not being able to
deliver himself before his imprisonment, being willing also to
live in captivity, did neither prevent nor expect his fate with
honor or bravery; for by meanly supplicating and petitioning, he
made his enemy, that pretended only to have power over his body,
to be lord and master of his body and mind.


Archidamus, the son of Zeuxidamus, having reigned gloriously over
the Lacedaemonians, left behind him two sons, Agis the elder,
begotten of Lampido, a noble lady, Agesilaus, much the younger,
born of Eupolia, the daughter of Melesippidas. Now the succession
belonging to Agis by law, Agesilaus, who in all probability was to
be but a private man, was educated according to the usual
discipline of the country, hard and severe, and meant to teach
young men to obey their superiors. Whence it was that, men say,
Simonides called Sparta "the tamer of men," because by early
strictness of education, they, more than any nation, trained the
citizens to obedience to the laws, and made them tractable and
patient of subjection, as horses that are broken in while colts.
The law did not impose this harsh rule on the heirs apparent of the
kingdom. But Agesilaus, whose good fortune it was to be born a
younger brother, was consequently bred to all the arts of
obedience, and so the better fitted for the government, when it
fell to his share; hence it was that he proved the most
popular-tempered of the Spartan kings, his early life having added
to his natural kingly and commanding qualities the gentle and
humane feelings of a citizen.

While he was yet a boy, bred up in one of what are called the
flocks, or classes, he attracted the attachment of Lysander, who
was particularly struck with the orderly temper that he manifested.
For though he was one of the highest spirits, emulous above any of
his companions, ambitious of preeminence in everything, and showed
an impetuosity and fervor of mind which irresistibly carried him
through all opposition or difficulty he could meet with; yet, on
the other side, he was so easy and gentle in his nature, and so apt
to yield to authority, that though he would do nothing on
compulsion, upon ingenuous motives he would obey any commands, and
was more hurt by the least rebuke or disgrace, than he was
distressed by any toil or hardship.

He had one leg shorter than the other, but this deformity was
little observed in the general beauty of his person in youth. And
the easy way in which he bore it, (he being the first always to
pass a jest upon himself,) went far to make it disregarded. And
indeed his high spirit and eagerness to distinguish himself were
all the more conspicuous by it, since he never let his lameness
withhold him from any toil or any brave action. Neither his statue
nor picture are extant, he never allowing them in his life, and
utterly forbidding them to be made after his death. He is said to
have been a little man, of a contemptible presence; but the
goodness of his humor, and his constant cheerfulness and
playfulness of temper, always free from anything of moroseness or
haughtiness, made him more attractive, even to his old age, than
the most beautiful and youthful men of the nation. Theophrastus
writes, that the Ephors laid a fine upon Archidamus for marrying a
little wife, "For" said they, "she will bring us a race of
kinglets, instead of kings."

Whilst Agis, the elder brother, reigned, Alcibiades, being then an
exile from Athens, came from Sicily to Sparta; nor had he stayed
long there, before his familiarity with Timaea, the king's wife,
grew suspected, insomuch that Agis refused to own a child of hers,
which, he said, was Alcibiades's, not his. Nor, if we may believe
Duris, the historian, was Timaea much concerned at it, being
herself forward enough to whisper among her helot maid-servants,
that the infant's true name was Alcibiades, not Leotychides.
Meanwhile it was believed, that the amour he had with her was not
the effect of his love but of his ambition, that he might have
Spartan kings of his posterity. This affair being grown public, it
became needful for Alcibiades to withdraw from Sparta. But the
child Leotychides had not the honors due to a legitimate son paid
him, nor was he ever owned by Agis, till by his prayers and tears
he prevailed with him to declare him his son before several
witnesses upon his death-bed. But this did not avail to fix him in
the throne of Agis, after whose death Lysander, who had lately
achieved his conquest of Athens by sea, and was of the greatest
power in Sparta, promoted Agesilaus, urging Leotychides's bastardy
as a bar to his pretensions. Many of the other citizens, also,
were favorable to Agesilaus and zealously joined his party, induced
by the opinion they had of his merits, of which they themselves
had been spectators, in the time that he had been bred up among
them. But there was a man, named Diopithes, at Sparta, who had a
great knowledge of ancient oracles, and was thought particularly
skillful and clever in all points of religion and divination. He
alleged, that it was unlawful to make a lame man king of
Lacedaemon, citing in the debate the following oracle: --

Beware, great Sparta, lest there come of thee
Though sound thyself; an halting sovereignty;
Troubles, both long and unexpected too,
And storms of deadly warfare shall ensue.

But Lysander was not wanting with an evasion, alleging that if the
Spartans were really apprehensive of the oracle, they must have a
care of Leotychides; for it was not the limping foot of a king that
the gods cared about, but the purity of the Herculean family, into
whose sights if a spurious issue were admitted, it would make the
kingdom to halt indeed. Agesilaus likewise alleged, that the
bastardy of Leotychides was witnessed to by Neptune, who threw Agis
out of bed by a violent earthquake, after which time he ceased to
visit his wife, yet Leotychides was born above ten months after

Agesilaus was upon these allegations declared king, and soon
possessed himself of the private estate of Agis, as well as his
throne, Leotychides being wholly rejected as a bastard. He now
turned his attention to his kindred by the mother's side, persons
of worth and virtue, but miserably poor. To them he gave half his
brother's estate, and by this popular act gained general good-will
and reputation, in the place of the envy and ill-feeling which the
inheritance might otherwise have procured him. What Xenophon tells
us of him, that by complying with, and, as it were, being ruled by
his country, he grew into such great power with them, that he could
do what he pleased, is meant to apply to the power he gained in the
following manner with the Ephors and Elders. These were at that
time of the greatest authority in the State; the former, officers
annually chosen; the Elders, holding their places during life; both
instituted, as already told in the life of Lycurgus, to restrain
the power of the kings. Hence it was that there was always from
generation to generation, a feud and contention between them and
the kings. But Agesilaus took another course. Instead of
contending with them, he courted them; in all proceedings he
commenced by taking their advice, was always ready to go, nay
almost run, when they called him; if he were upon his royal seat
hearing causes and the Ephors came in, he rose to them; whenever
any man was elected into the Council of Elders, he presented him
with a gown and an ox. Thus, whilst he made show of deference to
them, and of a desire to extend their authority, he secretly
advanced his own, and enlarged the prerogatives of the kings by
several liberties which their friendship to his person conceded.

To other citizens he so behaved himself, as to be less blamable in
his enmities than in his friendships; for against his enemy he
forbore to take any unjust advantage, but his friends he would
assist, even in what was unjust. If an enemy had done anything
praiseworthy, he felt it shameful to detract from his due, but his
friends he knew not how to reprove when they did ill, nay, he would
eagerly join with them, and assist them in their misdeed, and
thought all offices of friendship commendable, let the matter in
which they were employed be what it would. Again, when any of his
adversaries was overtaken in a fault, he would be the first to pity
him, and be soon entreated to procure his pardon, by which he won
the hearts of all men. Insomuch that his popularity grew at last
suspected by the Ephors, who laid a fine on him, professing that he
was appropriating the citizens to himself, who ought to be the
common property of the State. For as it is the opinion of
philosophers, that could you take away strife and opposition out of
the universe, all the heavenly bodies would stand still, generation
and motion would cease in the mutual concord and agreement of all
things, so the Spartan legislator seems to have admitted ambition
and emulation, among the ingredients of his Commonwealth as the
incentives of virtue, distinctly wishing that there should be some
dispute and competition among his men of worth, and pronouncing the
mere idle, uncontested, mutual compliance to unproved deserts to be
but a false sort of concord. And some think Homer had an eye to
this, when he introduces Agamemnon well pleased with the quarrel
arising between Ulysses and Achilles, and with the "terrible
words" that passed between them, which he would never have done,
unless he had thought emulations and dissensions between the
noblest men to be of great public benefit. Yet this maxim is not
simply to be granted, without restriction, for if animosities go
too far, they are very dangerous to cities, and of most pernicious

When Agesilaus was newly entered upon the government, there came
news from Asia, that the Persian king was making great naval
preparations, resolving with a high hand to dispossess the Spartans
of their maritime supremacy. Lysander was eager for the
opportunity of going over and succoring his friends in Asia, whom
he had there left governors and masters of the cities, whose
mal-administration and tyrannical behavior was causing them to be
driven out, and in some cases put to death. He therefore persuaded
Agesilaus to claim the command of the expedition, and by carrying
the war far from Greece into Persia, to anticipate the designs of
the barbarian. He also wrote to his friends in Asia, that by
embassy they should demand Agesilaus for their captain. Agesilaus,
therefore, coming into the public assembly, offered his service,
upon condition that he might have thirty Spartans for captains and
counselors, two thousand chosen men of the newly enfranchised
helots, and allies to the number of six thousand. Lysander's
authority and assistance soon obtained his request, so that he was
sent away with the thirty Spartans, of whom Lysander was at once
the chief, not only because of his power and reputation, but also
on account of his friendship with Agesilaus, who esteemed his
procuring him this charge a greater obligation, than that of
preferring him to the kingdom.

Whilst the army was collecting to the rendezvous at Geraestus,
Agesilaus went with some of his friends to Aulis, where in a dream
he saw a man approach him, and speak to him after this manner: "O
king of the Lacedaemonians, you cannot but know that, before
yourself, there hath been but one general captain of the whole of
the Greeks, namely, Agamemnon; now, since you succeed him in the
same office and command of the same men, since you war against the
same enemies, and begin your expedition from the same place, you
ought also to offer such a sacrifice, as he offered before he
weighed anchor." Agesilaus at the same moment remembered that the
sacrifice which Agamemnon offered was his own daughter, he being so
directed by the oracle. Yet was he not at all disturbed at it, but
as soon as he arose, he told his dream to his friends, adding, that
he would propitiate the goddess with the sacrifices a goddess must
delight in, and would not follow the ignorant example of his
predecessor. He therefore ordered a hind to be crowned with
chaplets, and bade his own soothsayer perform the rite, not the
usual person whom the Boeotians, in ordinary course, appointed to
that office. When the Boeotian magistrates understood it, they
were much offended, and sent officers to Agesilaus, to forbid his
sacrificing contrary to the laws of the country. These having
delivered their message to him, immediately went to the altar, and
threw down the quarters of the hind that lay upon it. Agesilaus
took this very ill, and without further sacrifice immediately
sailed away, highly displeased with the Boeotians, and much
discouraged in his mind at the omen, boding to himself an
unsuccessful voyage, and an imperfect issue of the whole

When he came to Ephesus, he found the power and interest of
Lysander, and the honors paid to him, insufferably great; all
applications were made to him, crowds of suitors attended at his
door, and followed upon his steps, as if nothing but the mere name
of commander belonged, to satisfy the usage, to Agesilaus, the
whole power of it being devolved upon Lysander. None of all the
commanders that had been sent into Asia was either so powerful or
so formidable as he; no one had rewarded his friends better, or had
been more severe against his enemies; which things having been
lately done, made the greater impression on men's minds, especially
when they compared the simple and popular behavior of Agesilaus,
with the harsh and violent and brief-spoken demeanor which Lysander
still retained. Universal deference was yielded to this, and
little regard shown to Agesilaus. This first occasioned offense to
the other Spartan captains, who resented that they should rather
seem the attendants of Lysander, than the councilors of Agesilaus.
And at length Agesilaus himself, though not perhaps all envious man
in his nature, nor apt to be troubled at the honors redounding upon
other men, yet eager for honor and jealous of his glory, began to
apprehend that Lysander's greatness would carry away from him the
reputation of whatever great action should happen. He therefore
went this way to work. He first opposed him in all his counsels;
whatever Lysander specially advised was rejected, and other
proposals followed. Then whoever made any address to him, if he
found him attached to Lysander, certainly lost his suit. So also
in judicial cases, anyone whom he spoke strongly against was sure
to come off with success, and any man whom he was particularly
solicitous to procure some benefit for, might think it well if he
got away without an actual loss. These things being clearly not
done by chance, but constantly and of a set purpose, Lysander was
soon sensible of them, and hesitated not to tell his friends, that
they suffered for his sake, bidding them apply themselves to the
king, and such as were more powerful with him than he was. Such
sayings of his seeming to be designed purposely to excite ill
feeling, Agesilaus went on to offer him a yet more open affront,
appointing him his meat-carver; and would in public companies
scornfully say, "Let them go now and pay their court to my carver."
Lysander, no longer able to brook these indignities, complained at
last to Agesilaus himself, telling him, that he knew very well how
to humble his friends. Agesilaus answered, "I know certainly how
to humble those who pretend to more power than myself." "That,"
replied Lysander, "is perhaps rather said by you, than done by me;
I desire only, that you will assign me some office and place, in
which I may serve you without incurring your displeasure."

Upon this Agesilaus sent him to the Hellespont, whence he procured
Spithridates, a Persian of the province of Pharnabazus, to come to
the assistance of the Greeks with two hundred horse, and a great
supply of money. Yet his anger did not so come down, but he
thenceforward pursued the design of wresting the kingdom out of the
hands of the two families which then enjoyed it, and making it
wholly elective; and it is thought that he would on account of this
quarrel have excited a great commotion in Sparta, if he had not
died in the Boeotian war. Thus ambitious spirits in a
commonwealth, when they transgress their bounds, are apt to do more
harm than good. For though Lysander's pride and assumption was
most ill-timed and insufferable in its display, yet Agesilaus
surely could have found some other way of setting him right, less
offensive to a man of his reputation and ambitious temper. Indeed
they were both blinded with the same passion, so as one not to
recognize the authority of his superior, the other not to bear with
the imperfections of his friend.

Tisaphernes being at first afraid of Agesilaus, treated with him
about setting the Grecian cities at liberty, which was agreed on.
But soon after finding a sufficient force drawn together, he
resolved upon war, for which Agesilaus was not sorry. For the
expectation of this expedition was great, and he did not think it
for his honor, that Xenophon with ten thousand men should march
through the heart of Asia to the sea, beating the Persian forces
when and how he pleased, and that he at the head of the Spartans,
then sovereigns both at sea and land, should not achieve some
memorable action for Greece. And so to be even with Tisaphernes,
he requites his perjury by a fair stratagem. He pretends to march
into Caria, whither when he had drawn Tisaphernes and his army, he
suddenly turns back, and falls upon Phrygia, takes many of their
cities, and carries away great booty, showing his allies, that to
break a solemn league was a downright contempt of the gods, but the
circumvention of an enemy in war was not only just but glorious, a
gratification at once and an advantage.

Being weak in horse, and discouraged by ill omens in the
sacrifices, he retired to Ephesus, and there raised cavalry. He
obliged the rich men, that were not inclined to serve in person, to
find each of them a horseman armed and mounted; and there being
many who preferred doing this, the army was quickly reinforced by a
body, not of unwilling recruits for the infantry, but of brave and
numerous horsemen. For those that were not good at fighting
themselves, hired such as were more military in their inclinations,
and such as loved not horse-service substituted in their places
such as did. Agamemnon's example had been a good one, when he took
the present of an excellent mare, to dismiss a rich coward from the

When by Agesilaus's order the prisoners he had taken in Phrygia
were exposed to sale, they were first stripped of their garments,
and then sold naked. The clothes found many customers to buy them,
but the bodies being, from the want of all exposure and exercise,
white and tender-skinned, were derided and scorned as
unserviceable. Agesilaus, who stood by at the auction, told his
Greeks, "These are the men against whom ye fight, and these the
things you will gain by it."

The season of the year being come, he boldly gave out that he would
invade Lydia; and this plaindealing of his was now mistaken for a
stratagem by Tisaphernes, who, by not believing Agesilaus, having
been already deceived by him, overreached himself. He expected
that he should have made choice of Caria, as a rough country, not
fit for horse, in which he deemed Agesilaus to be weak, and
directed his own marches accordingly. But when he found him to be
as good as his word, and to have entered into the country of
Sardis, he made great haste after him, and by great marches of his
horse, overtaking the loose stragglers who were pillaging the
country, he cut them off. Agesilaus meanwhile, considering that
the horse had outridden the foot, but that he himself had the whole
body of his own army entire, made haste to engage them. He mingled
his light-armed foot, carrying targets, with the horse, commanding
them to advance at full speed and begin the battle, whilst he
brought up the heavier-armed men in the rear. The success was
answerable to the design; the barbarians were put to the rout, the
Grecians pursued hard, took their camp, and put many of them to the
sword. The consequence of this victory was very great; for they
had not only the liberty of foraging the Persian country, and
plundering at pleasure, but also saw Tisaphernes pay dearly for all
the cruelty he had showed the Greeks, to whom he was a professed
enemy. For the king of Persia sent Tithraustes, who took off his
head, and presently dealt with Agesilaus about his return into
Greece, sending to him ambassadors to that purpose, with commission
to offer him great sums of money. Agesilaus's answer was, that the
making of peace belonged to the Lacedaemonians, not to him; as for
wealth, he had rather see it in his soldiers' hands than his own;
that the Grecians thought it not honorable to enrich themselves
with the bribes of their enemies, but with their spoils only. Yet,
that he might gratify Tithraustes for the justice he had done upon
Tisaphernes, the common enemy of the Greeks, he removed his
quarters into Phrygia, accepting thirty talents for his expenses.
Whilst he was upon his march, he received a staff from the
government at Sparta, appointing him admiral as well as general.
This was an honor which was never done to any but Agesilaus, who
being now undoubtedly the greatest and most illustrious man of his
time, still, as Theopompus has said, gave himself more occasion of
glory in his own virtue and merit than was given him in this
authority and power. Yet he committed a fault in preferring
Pisander to the command of the navy, when there were others at hand
both older and more experienced; in this not so much consulting the
public good, as the gratification of his kindred, and especially
his wife, whose brother Pisander was.

Having removed his camp into Pharnabazus's province, he not only
met with great plenty of provisions, but also raised great sums of
money, and marching on to the bounds of Paphlagonia, he soon drew
Cotys, the king of it, into a league, to which he of his own accord
inclined, out of the opinion he had of Agesilaus's honor and
virtue. Spithridates, from the time of his abandoning Pharnabazus,
constantly attended Agesilaus in the camp whithersoever he went.
This Spithridates had a son, a very handsome boy, called Megabates,
of whom Agesilaus was extremely fond, and also a very beautiful
daughter, that was marriageable. Her Agesilaus matched to Cotys,
and taking of him a thousand horse, with two thousand light-armed
foot, he returned into Phrygia, and there pillaged the country of
Pharnabazus, who durst not meet him in the field, nor yet trust to
his garrisons, but getting his valuables together, got out of the
way and moved about up and down with a flying army, till
Spithridates joining with Herippidas the Spartan, took his camp,
and all his property. Herippidas being too severe an inquirer into
the plunder with which the barbarian soldiers had enriched
themselves, and forcing them to deliver it up with too much
strictness, so disobliged Spithridates with his questioning and
examining, that he changed sides again, and went off with the
Paphlagonians to Sardis. This was a very great vexation to
Agesilaus, not only that he had lost the friendship of a valiant
commander, and with him a considerable part of his army, but still
more that it had been done with the disrepute of a sordid and petty
covetousness, of which he always had made it a point of honor to
keep both himself and his country clear. Besides these public
causes, he had a private one, his excessive fondness for the son,
which touched him to the quick, though he endeavored to master it,
and, especially in presence of the boy, to suppress all appearance
of it; so much so that when Megabates, for that was his name, came
once to receive a kiss from him, he declined it. At which when the
young boy blushed and drew back, and afterward saluted him at a
more reserved distance, Agesilaus soon repenting his coldness, and
changing his mind, pretended to wonder why he did not salute him
with the same familiarity as formerly. His friends about him
answered, "You are in the fault, who would not accept the kiss of
the boy, but turned away in alarm; he would come to you again, if
you would have the courage to let him do so." Upon this Agesilaus
paused a while, and at length answered, "You need not encourage him
to it; I think I had rather be master of myself in that refusal,
than see all things that are now before my eyes turned into gold."
Thus he demeaned himself to Megabates when present, but he had so
great a passion for him in his absence, that it may be questioned
whether if the boy had returned again, all the courage he had would
have sustained him in such another refusal.

After this, Pharnabazus sought an opportunity of conferring with
Agesilaus, which Apollophanes of Cyzicus, the common host of them
both, procured for him. Agesilaus coming first to the appointed
place, threw himself down upon the grass under a tree, lying there
in expectation of Pharnabazus, who, bringing with him soft skins
and wrought carpets to lie down upon, when he saw Agesilaus's
posture, grew ashamed of his luxuries and made no use of them, but
laid himself down upon the grass also, without regard for his
delicate and richly dyed clothing. Pharnabazus had matter enough
of complaint against Agesilaus, and therefore, after the mutual
civilities were over, he put him in mind of the great services he
had done the Lacedaemonians in the Attic war, of which he thought
it an ill recompense to have his country thus harassed and spoiled,
by those men who owed so much to him. The Spartans that were
present hung down their heads, as conscious of the wrong they had
done to their ally. But Agesilaus said, "We, O Pharnabazus, when
we were in amity with your master the king, behaved ourselves like
friends, and now that we are at war with him, we behave ourselves
as enemies. As for you, we must look upon you as a part of his
property, and must do these outrages upon you, not intending the
harm to you, but to him whom we wound through you. But whenever
you will choose rather to be a friend to the Grecians, than a slave
of the king of Persia, you may then reckon this army and navy to be
all at your command, to defend both you, your country, and your
liberties, without which there is nothing honorable, or indeed
desirable among men." Upon this Pharnabazus discovered his mind,
and answered, "If the king sends another governor in my room, I
will certainly come over to you, but as long as he trusts me with
the government, I shall be just to him, and not fail to do my
utmost endeavors in opposing you." Agesilaus was taken with the
answer, and shook hands with him; and rising, said, "How much
rather had I have so brave a man my friend than mine enemy."

Pharnabazus being gone off, his son, staying behind, ran up to
Agesilaus, and smilingly said, "Agesilaus, I make you my guest;"
and thereupon presented him with a javelin which he had in his
hand. Agesilaus received it, and being much taken with the good
mien and the courtesy of the youth, looked about to see if there
were anything in his train fit to offer him in return; and
observing the horse of Idaeus, the secretary, to have very fine
trappings on, he took them off, and bestowed them upon the young
gentleman. Nor did his kindness rest there, but he continued ever
after to be mindful of him, so that when he was driven out of his
country by his brothers, and lived an exile in Peloponnesus, he
took great care of him, and condescended even to assist him in some
love-matters. He had an attachment for a youth of Athenian birth,
who was bred up as an athlete; and when at the Olympic games this
boy, on account of his great size and general strong and full-grown
appearance, was in some danger of not being admitted into the
list, the Persian betook himself to Agesilaus, and made use of his
friendship. Agesilaus readily assisted him, and not without a
great deal of difficulty effected his desires. He was in all other
things a man of great and exact justice, but when the case
concerned a friend, to be straitlaced in point of justice, he said,
was only a colorable presence of denying him. There is an epistle
written to Idrieus, prince of Caria, that is ascribed to Agesilaus;
it is this: "If Nicias be innocent, absolve him; if he be guilty,
absolve him upon my account; however be sure to absolve him." This
was his usual character in his deportment towards his friends. Yet
his rule was not without exception; for sometimes he considered the
necessity of his affairs more than his friend, of which he once
gave an example, when upon a sudden and disorderly removal of his
camp, he left a sick friend behind him, and when he called loudly
after him, and implored his help, turned his back, and said it was
hard to be compassionate and wise too. This story is related by
Hieronymus, the philosopher.

Another year of the war being spent, Agesilaus's fame still
increased, insomuch that the Persian king received daily
information concerning his many virtues, and the great esteem the
world had of his temperance, his plain living, and his moderation.
When he made any journey, he would usually take up his lodging in a
temple, and there make the gods witnesses of his most private
actions, which others would scarce permit men to be acquainted
with. In so great an army, you should scarce find common soldier
lie on a coarser mattress, than Agesilaus; he was so indifferent to
the varieties of heat and cold, that all the seasons, as the gods
sent them, seemed natural to him. The Greeks that inhabited Asia
were much pleased to see the great lords and governors of Persia,
with all the pride, cruelty, and luxury in which they lived,
trembling and bowing before a man in a poor threadbare cloak, and
at one laconic word out of his mouth, obsequiously deferring and
changing their wishes and purposes. So that it brought to the
minds of many the verses of Timotheus,

Mars is the tyrant, gold Greece does not fear.

Many parts of Asia now revolting from the Persians, Agesilaus
restored order in the cities, and without bloodshed or banishment
of any of their members, reestablished the proper constitution in
the governments, and now resolved to carry away the war from the
seaside, and to march further up into the country, and to attack
the king of Persia himself in his own home in Susa and Ecbatana;
not willing to let the monarch sit idle in his chair, playing
umpire in the conflicts of the Greeks, and bribing their popular
leaders. But these great thoughts were interrupted by unhappy news
from Sparta; Epicydidas is from thence sent to remand him home, to
assist his own country, which was then involved in a great war;

Greece to herself doth a barbarian grow,
Others could not, she doth herself o'erthrow.

What better can we say of those jealousies, and that league and
conspiracy of the Greeks for their own mischief, which arrested
fortune in full career, and turned back arms that were already
uplifted against the barbarians, to be used upon themselves, and
recalled into Greece the war which had been banished out of her? I
by no means assent to Demaratus of Corinth, who said, that those
Greeks lost a great satisfaction, that did not live to see
Alexander sit in the throne of Darius. That sight should rather
have drawn tears from them, when they considered, that they had
left that glory to Alexander and the Macedonians, whilst they spent
all their own great commanders in playing them against each other
in the fields of Leuctra, Coronea, Corinth, and Arcadia.

Nothing was greater or nobler than the behavior of Agesilaus on
this occasion, nor can a nobler instance be found in story, of a
ready obedience and just deference to orders. Hannibal, though in
a bad condition himself, and almost driven out of Italy, could
scarcely be induced to obey, when he was called home to serve his
country. Alexander made a jest of the battle between Agis and
Antipater, laughing and saying, "So, whilst we were conquering
Darius in Asia, it seems there was a battle of mice in Arcadia."
Happy Sparta, meanwhile, in the justice and modesty of Agesilaus,
and in the deference he paid to the laws of his country; who,
immediately upon receipt of his orders, though in the midst of his
high fortune and power, and in full hope of great and glorious
success, gave all up and instantly departed, "his object
unachieved," leaving many regrets behind him among his allies in
Asia, and proving by his example the falseness of that saying of
Demostratus, the son of Phaeax, "That the Lacedaemonians were
better in public, but the Athenians in private." For while
approving himself an excellent king and general, he likewise showed
himself in private an excellent friend, and a most agreeable

The coin of Persia was stamped with the figure of an archer;
Agesilaus said, That a thousand Persian archers had driven him out
of Asia; meaning the money that had been laid out in bribing the
demagogues and the orators in Thebes and Athens, and thus inciting
those two States to hostility against Sparta.

Having passed the Hellespont, he marched by land through Thrace,
not begging or entreating a passage anywhere, only he sent his
messengers to them, to demand whether they would have him pass as a
friend or as an enemy. All the rest received him as a friend, and
assisted him on his journey. But the Trallians, to whom Xerxes
also is said to have given money, demanded a price of him, namely,
one hundred talents of silver, and one hundred women. Agesilaus in
scorn asked, Why they were not ready to receive them? He marched
on, and finding the Trallians in arms to oppose him, fought them,
and slew great numbers of them. He sent the like embassy to the
king of Macedonia, who replied, He would take time to deliberate:
"Let him deliberate," said Agesilaus, "we will go forward in the
meantime." The Macedonian, being surprised and daunted at the
resolution of the Spartan, gave orders to let him pass as friend.
When he came into Thessaly, he wasted the country, because they
were in league with the enemy. To Larissa, the chief city of
Thessaly, he sent Xenocles and Scythes to treat of a peace, whom
when the Larissaeans had laid hold of, and put into custody, others
were enraged, and advised the siege of the town; but he answered,
That he valued either of those men at more than the whole country
of Thessaly. He therefore made terms with them, and received his
men again upon composition. Nor need we wonder at this saying of
Agesilaus, since when he had news brought him from Sparta, of
several great captains slain in a battle near Corinth, in which the
slaughter fell upon other Greeks, and the Lacedaemonians obtained a
great victory with small loss, he did not appear at all satisfied;
but with a great sigh cried out, "O Greece, how many brave men hast
thou destroyed; who, if they had been preserved to so good an use,
had sufficed to have conquered all Persia!" Yet when the
Pharsalians grew troublesome to him, by pressing upon his army, and
incommoding his passage, he led out five hundred horse, and in
person fought and routed them, setting up a trophy under the mount
Narthacius. He valued himself very much upon that victory, that
with so small a number of his own training, he had vanquished a
body of men that thought themselves the best horsemen of Greece.

Here Diphridas, the Ephor, met him, and delivered his message from
Sparta, which ordered him immediately to make an inroad into
Boeotia; and though he thought this fitter to have been done at
another time, and with greater force, he yet obeyed the
magistrates. He thereupon told his soldiers that the day was come,
on which they were to enter upon that employment, for the
performance of which they were brought out of Asia. He sent for
two divisions of the army near Corinth to his assistance. The
Lacedaemonians at home, in honor to him, made proclamation for
volunteers that would serve under the king, to come in and be
enlisted. Finding all the young men in the city ready to offer
themselves, they chose fifty of the strongest, and sent them.

Agesilaus having gained Thermopylae, and passed quietly through
Phocis, as soon as he had entered Boeotia, and pitched his camp
near Chaeronea, at once met with an eclipse of the sun, and with
ill news from the navy, Pisander, the Spartan admiral, being beaten
and slain at Cnidos, by Pharnabazus and Conon. He was much moved
at it, both upon his own and the public account. Yet lest his
army, being now near engaging, should meet with any discouragement,
he ordered the messengers to give out, that the Spartans were the
conquerors, and he himself putting on a garland, solemnly
sacrificed for the good news, and sent portions of the sacrifices
to his friends.

When he came near to Coronea, and was within view of the enemy, he
drew up his army, and giving the left wing to the Orchomenians, he
himself led the right. The Thebans took the right wing of their
army, leaving the left to the Argives. Xenophon, who was present,
and fought on Agesilaus's side, reports it to be the hardest fought
battle that he had seen. The beginning of it was not so, for the
Thebans soon put the Orchomenians to rout, as also did Agesilaus
the Argives. But both parties having news of the misfortune of
their left wings, they betook themselves to their relief. Here
Agesilaus might have been sure of his victory, had he contented
himself not to charge them in the front, but in the flank or rear;
but being angry and heated in the fight, he would not wait the
opportunity, but fell on at once, thinking to bear them down before
him. The Thebans were not behind him in courage, so that the
battle was fiercely carried on on both sides, especially near
Agesilaus's person, whose new guard of fifty volunteers stood him
in great stead that day, and saved his life. They fought with
great valor, and interposed their bodies frequently between him and
danger, yet could they not so preserve him, but that he received
many wounds through his armor with lances and swords, and was with
much difficulty gotten off alive by their making a ring about him,
and so guarding him, with the slaughter of many of the enemy and
the loss of many of their own number. At length finding it too
hard a task to break the front of the Theban troops, they opened
their own files, and let the enemy march through them, (an artifice
which in the beginning they scorned,) watching in the meantime the
posture of the enemy, who having passed through, grew careless, as
esteeming themselves past danger; in which position they were
immediately set upon by the Spartans. Yet were they not then put
to rout, but marched on to Helicon, proud of what they had done,
being able to say, that they themselves, as to their part of the
army, were not worsted.

Agesilaus, sore wounded as he was, would not be borne to his tent,
till he had been first carried about the field, and had seen the
dead conveyed within his encampment. As many of his enemies as had
taken sanctuary in the temple, he dismissed. For there stood near
the battlefield, the temple of Minerva the Itonian, and before it a
trophy erected by the Boeotians, for the victory which under the
conduct of Sparton, their general, they obtained over the Athenians
under Tolmides, who himself fell in the battle. And next morning
early, to make trial of the Theban courage, whether they had any
mind to a second encounter, he commanded his soldiers to put on
garlands on their heads, and play with their flutes, and raise a
trophy before their faces; but when they, instead of fighting, sent
for leave to bury their dead, he gave it them; and having so
assured himself of the victory, after this he went to Delphi, to
the Pythian games, which were then celebrating, at which feast he
assisted, and there solemnly offered the tenth part of the spoils
he had brought from Asia, which amounted to a hundred talents.

Thence he returned to his own country, where his way and habits of
life quickly excited the affection and admiration of the Spartans;
for, unlike other generals, he came home from foreign lands the
same man that he went out, having not so learned the fashions of
other countries, as to forget his own, much less to dislike or
despise them. He followed and respected all the Spartan customs,
without any change either in the manner of his supping, or bathing,
or his wife's apparel, as if he had never traveled over the river
Eurotas. So also with his household furniture and his own armor;
nay, the very gates of his house were so old, that they might well
be thought of Aristodemus's setting up. His daughter's Canathrum,
says Xenophon, was no richer than that of any one else. The
Canathrum, as they call it, is a chair or chariot made of wood, in
the shape of a griffin, or tragelaphus, on which the children and
young virgins are carried in processions. Xenophon has not left us
the name of this daughter of Agesilaus; and Dicaearchus expresses
some indignation, because we do not know, he says, the name of
Agesilaus's daughter, nor of Epaminondas's mother. But in the
records of Laconia, we ourselves found his wife's name to have been
Cleora, and his two daughters to have been called Eupolia and
Prolyta. And you may also to this day see Agesilaus's spear kept
in Sparta, nothing differing from that of other men.

There was a vanity he observed among the Spartans, about keeping
running horses for the Olympic games, upon which he found they much
valued themselves. Agesilaus regarded it as a display not of any
real virtue, but of wealth and expense; and to make this evident to
the Greeks, induced his sister, Cynisca, to send a chariot into the
course. He kept with him Xenophon, the philosopher, and made much
of him, and proposed to him to send for his children, and educate
them at Sparta, where they would be taught the best of all
learning; how to obey, and how to command. Finding on Lysander's
death a large faction formed, which he on his return from Asia had
established against Agesilaus, he thought it advisable to expose
both him and it, by showing what manner of a citizen he had been
whilst he lived. To that end, finding among his writings all
oration, composed by Cleon the Halicarnassean, but to have been
spoken by Lysander in a public assembly, to excite the people to
innovations and changes in the government, he resolved to publish
it, as an evidence of Lysander's practices. But one of the Elders
having the perusal of it, and finding it powerfully written,
advised him to have a care of digging up Lysander again, and rather
bury that oration in the grave with him; and this advice he wisely
hearkened to, and hushed the whole thing up; and ever after forbore
publicly to affront any of his adversaries, but took occasions of
picking out the ringleaders, and sending them away upon foreign
services. He thus had means for exposing the avarice and the
injustice of many of them in their employments; and again when they
were by others brought into question, he made it his business to
bring them off, obliging them, by that means, of enemies to become
his friends, and so by degrees left none remaining.

Agesipolis, his fellow king, was under the disadvantage of being
born of an exiled father, and himself young, modest, and inactive,
meddled not much in affairs. Agesilaus took a course of gaining
him over, and making him entirely tractable. According to the
custom of Sparta, the kings, if they were in town, always dined
together. This was Agesilaus's opportunity of dealing with
Agesipolis, whom he found quick, as he himself was, in forming
attachments for young men, and accordingly talked with him always
on such subjects, joining and aiding him, and acting as his
confidant, such attachments in Sparta being entirely honorable, and
attended always with lively feeling of modesty, love of virtue, and
a noble emulation; of which more is said in Lycurgus's life.

Having thus established his power in the city, he easily obtained
that his half-brother Teleutias might be chosen admiral, and
thereupon making all expedition against the Corinthians, he made
himself master of the long walls by land, through the assistance of
his brother at sea. Coming thus upon the Argives, who then held
Corinth, in the midst of their Isthmian festival, he made them fly
from the sacrifice they had just commenced, and leave all their
festive provision behind them. The exiled Corinthians that were in
the Spartan army, desired him to keep the feast, and to preside in
the celebration of it. This he refused, but gave them leave to
carry on the solemnity if they pleased, and he in the meantime
stayed and guarded them. When Agesilaus marched off, the Argives
returned and celebrated the games over again, when some who were
victors before, became victors a second time, others lost the
prizes which before they had gained. Agesilaus thus made it clear
to everybody, that the Argives must in their own eyes have been
guilty of great cowardice, since they set such a value on presiding
at the games, and yet had not dared to fight for it. He himself
was of opinion, that to keep a mean in such things was best; he
assisted at the sports and dances usual in his own country, and was
always ready and eager to be present at the exercises either of the
young men, or of the girls, but things that many men used to be
highly taken with, he seemed not at all concerned about.
Callippides, the tragic actor, who had a great name in all Greece
and was made much of, once met and saluted him; of which when he
found no notice taken, he confidently thrust himself into his
train, expecting that Agesilaus would pay him some attention. When
all that failed, he boldly accosted him, and asked him, whether he
did not remember him? Agesilaus turned, and looking him in the
face, "Are you not," said he, "Callippides the showman?" Being
invited once to hear a man who admirably imitated the nightingale,
he declined, saying, he had heard the nightingale itself.
Menecrates, the physician, having had great success in some
desperate diseases, was by way of flattery called Jupiter; he was
so vain as to take the name, and having occasion to write a letter
to Agesilaus, thus addressed it: "Jupiter Menecrates to King
Agesilaus, greeting." The king returned answer: "Agesilaus to
Menecrates, health and a sound mind."

Whilst Agesilaus was in the Corinthian territories, having just
taken the Heraeum, he was looking on while his soldiers were
carrying away the prisoners and the plunder, when ambassadors from
Thebes came to him to treat of peace. Having a great aversion for
that city, and thinking it then advantageous to his affairs
publicly to slight them, he took the opportunity, and would not
seem either to see them, or hear them speak. But as if on purpose
to punish him in his pride, before they parted from him, messengers
came with news of the complete slaughter of one of the Spartan
divisions by Iphicrates, a greater disaster than had befallen them
for many years; and that the more grievous, because it was a choice
regiment of full-armed Lacedaemonians overthrown by a parcel of
mere mercenary targeteers. Agesilaus leapt from his seat, to go at
once to their rescue, but found it too late, the business being
over. He therefore returned to the Heraeum, and sent for the
Theban ambassadors to give them audience. They now resolved to be
even with him for the affront he gave them, and without speaking
one word of the peace, only desired leave to go into Corinth.
Agesilaus, irritated with this proposal, told them in scorn, that
if they were anxious to go and see how proud their friends were of
their success, they should do it tomorrow with safety. Next
morning, taking the ambassadors with him, he ravaged the Corinthian
territories, up to the very gates of the city, where having made a
stand, and let the ambassadors see that the Corinthians durst not
come out to defend themselves, he dismissed them. Then gathering
up the small remainders of the shattered regiment, he marched
homewards, always removing his camp before day, and always pitching
his tents after night, that he might prevent their enemies among
the Arcadians from taking any opportunity of insulting over their

After this, at the request of the Achaeans, he marched with them
into Acarnania, and there collected great spoils, and defeated the
Acarnanians in battle. The Achaeans would have persuaded him to
keep his winter quarters there, to hinder the Acarnanians from
sowing their corn; but he was of the contrary opinion, alleging,
that they would be more afraid of a war next summer, when their
fields were sown, than they would be if they lay fallow. The event
justified his opinion; for next summer, when the Achaeans began
their expedition again, the Acarnanians immediately made peace with

When Conon and Pharnabazus with the Persian navy were grown masters
of the sea, and had not only infested the coast of Laconia, but
also rebuilt the walls of Athens at the cost of Pharnabazus, the
Lacedaemonians thought fit to treat of peace with the king of
Persia. To that end, they sent Antalcidas to Tiribazus, basely and
wickedly betraying the Asiatic Greeks, on whose behalf Agesilaus
had made the war. But no part of this dishonor fell upon
Agesilaus, the whole being transacted by Antalcidas, who was his
bitter enemy, and was urgent for peace upon any terms, because war
was sure to increase his power and reputation. Nevertheless once
being told by way of reproach, that the Lacedaemonians had gone
over to the Medes, he replied, "No, the Medes have come over to the
Lacedaemonians." And when the Greeks were backward to submit to
the agreement, he threatened them with war, unless they fulfilled
the king of Persia's conditions, his particular end in this being
to weaken the Thebans; for it was made one of the articles of
peace, that the country of Boeotia should be left independent.
This feeling of his to Thebes appeared further afterwards, when
Phoebidas, in full peace, most unjustifiably seized upon the
Cadmea. The thing was much resented by all Greece, and not well
liked by the Lacedaemonians themselves; those especially who were
enemies to Agesilaus, required an account of the action, and by
whose authority it was done, laying the suspicion of it at his
door. Agesilaus resolutely answered, on the behalf of Phoebidas,
that the profitableness of the act was chiefly to be considered; if
it were for the advantage of the commonwealth, it was no matter
whether it were done with or without authority. This was the more
remarkable in him, because in his ordinary language, he was always
observed to be a great maintainer of justice, and would commend it
as the chief of virtues, saying, that valor without justice was
useless, and if all the world were just, there would be no need of
valor. When any would say to him, the Great King will have it so;
he would reply, "How is he greater than I, unless he be juster?"
nobly and rightly taking, as a sort of royal measure of greatness,
justice, and not force. And thus when, on the conclusion of the
peace, the king of Persia wrote to Agesilaus, desiring a private
friendship and relations of hospitality, he refused it, saying,
that the public friendship was enough; whilst that lasted there was
no need of private. Yet in his acts he was not constant to his
doctrine, but sometimes out of ambition, and sometimes out of
private pique, he let himself be carried away; and particularly in
this case of the Thebans, he not only saved Phoebidas, but
persuaded the Lacedaemonians to take the fault upon themselves, and
to retain the Cadmea, putting a garrison into it, and to put the
government of Thebes into the hands of Archias and Leontidas, who
had been betrayers of the castle to them.

This excited strong suspicion that what Phoebidas did was by
Agesilaus's order, which was corroborated by after occurrences.
For when the Thebans had expelled the garrison, and asserted their
liberty, he, accusing them of the murder of Archias and Leontidas,
who indeed were tyrants, though in name holding the office of
Polemarchs, made war upon them. He sent Cleombrotus on that
errand, who was now his fellow king, in the place of Agesipolis,
who was dead, excusing himself by reason of his age; for it was
forty years since he had first borne arms, and he was consequently
exempt by the law; meanwhile the true reason was, that he was
ashamed, having so lately fought against tyranny in behalf of the
Phliasians, to fight now in defense of a tyranny against the

One Sphodrias, of Lacedaemon, of the contrary faction to Agesilaus,
was governor in Thespiae, a bold and enterprising man, though he
had perhaps more of confidence than wisdom. This action of
Phoebidas fired him, and incited his ambition to attempt some great
enterprise, which might render him as famous as he perceived the
taking of the Cadmea had made Phoebidas. He thought the sudden
capture of the Piraeus, and the cutting off thereby the Athenians
from the sea, would be a matter of far more glory. It is said,
too, that Pelopidas and Melon, the chief captains of Boeotia, put
him upon it; that they privily sent men to him, pretending to be of
the Spartan faction, who, highly commending Sphodrias, filled him
with a great opinion of himself, protesting him to be the only man
in the world that was fit for so great an enterprise. Being thus
stimulated, he could hold no longer, but hurried into an attempt as
dishonorable and treacherous as that of the Cadmea, but executed
with less valor and less success; for the day broke whilst he was
yet in the Thriasian plain, whereas he designed the whole exploit
to have been done in the night. As soon as the soldiers perceived
the rays of light reflecting from the temples of Eleusis, upon the
first rising of the sun, it is said that their hearts failed them;
nay, he himself, when he saw that he could not have the benefit of
the night, had not courage enough to go on with his enterprise;
but, having pillaged the country, he returned with shame to
Thespiae. An embassy was upon this sent from Athens to Sparta, to
complain of the breach of peace; but the ambassadors found their
journey needless, Sphodrias being then under process by the
magistrates of Sparta. Sphodrias durst not stay to expect
judgment, which he found would be capital, the city being highly
incensed against him, out of the shame they felt at the business,
and their desire to appear in the eyes of the Athenians as
fellow-sufferers; in the wrong, rather than accomplices in its
being done.

This Sphodrias had a son of great beauty named Cleonymus, to whom
Archidamus, the son of Agesilaus, was extremely attached.
Archidamus, as became him, was concerned for the danger of his
friend's father, but yet he durst not do anything openly for his
assistance, he being one of the professed enemies of Agesilaus.
But Cleonymus having solicited him with tears about it, as knowing
Agesilaus to be of all his father's enemies the most formidable,
the young man for two or three days followed after his father with
such fear and confusion, that he durst not speak to him. At last,
the day of sentence being at hand, he ventured to tell him, that
Cleonymus had entreated him to intercede for his father Agesilaus,
though well aware of the love between the two young men, yet did
not prohibit it, because Cleonymus from his earliest years had been
looked upon as a youth of very great promise; yet he gave not his
son any kind or hopeful answer in the case, but coldly told him,
that he would consider what he could honestly and honorably do in
it, and so dismissed him. Archidamus, being ashamed of his want of
success, forbore the company of Cleonymus, whom he usually saw
several times every day. This made the friends of Sphodrias to
think his case desperate, till Etymocles, one of Agesilaus's
friends, discovered to them the king's mind, namely, that he
abhorred the fact, but yet he thought Sphodrias a gallant man, such
as the commonwealth much wanted at that time. For Agesilaus used
to talk thus concerning the cause, out of a desire to gratify his
son. And now Cleonymus quickly understood, that Archidamus had
been true to him, in using all his interest with his father; and
Sphodrias's friends ventured to be forward in his defense. The
truth is, that Agesilaus was excessively fond of his children; and
it is to him the story belongs, that when they were little ones, he
used to make a horse of a stick, and ride with them; and being
caught at this sport by a friend, he desired him not to mention it,
till he himself were the father of children.

Meanwhile, Sphodrias being acquitted, the Athenians betook
themselves to arms, and Agesilaus fell into disgrace with the
people; since to gratify the whims of a boy, he had been willing to
pervert justice, and make the city accessory to the crimes of
private men, whose most unjustifiable actions had broken the peace
of Greece. He also found his colleague, Cleombrotus, little
inclined to the Theban war; so that it became necessary for him to
waive the privilege of his age, which he before had claimed, and to
lead the army himself into Boeotia; which he did with variety of
success, sometimes conquering, and sometimes conquered; insomuch
that receiving a wound in a battle, he was reproached by
Antalcidas, that the Thebans had paid him well for the lessons he
had given them in fighting. And, indeed, they were now grown far
better soldiers than ever they had been, being so continually kept
in training, by the frequency of the Lacedaemonian expeditions
against them. Out of the foresight of which it was, that anciently
Lycurgus, in three several laws, forbade them to make many wars
with the same nation, as this would be to instruct their enemies in
the art of it. Meanwhile, the allies of Sparta were not a little
discontented at Agesilaus, because this war was commenced not upon
any fair public ground of quarrel, but merely out of his private
hatred to the Thebans; and they complained with indignation, that
they, being the majority of the army, should from year to year be
thus exposed to danger and hardship here and there, at the will of
a few persons. It was at this time, we are told, that Agesilaus,
to obviate the objection, devised this expedient, to show the
allies were not the greater number. He gave orders that all the
allies, of whatever country, should sit down promiscuously on one
side, and all the Lacedaemonians on the other: which being done,
he commanded a herald to proclaim, that all the potters of both
divisions should stand out; then all the blacksmiths; then all the
masons; next the carpenters; and so he went through all the
handicrafts. By this time almost all the allies were risen, but of
the Lacedaemonians not a man, they being by law forbidden to learn
any mechanical business; and now Agesilaus laughed and said, "You
see, my friends, how many more soldiers we send out than you do."

When he brought back his army from Boeotia through Megara, as he
was going up to the magistrate's office in the Acropolis, he was
suddenly seized with pain and cramp in his sound leg, and great
swelling and inflammation ensued. He was treated by a Syracusan
physician, who let him blood below the ankle; this soon eased his
pain, but then the blood could not be stopped, till the loss of it
brought on fainting and swooning; at length, with much trouble, he
stopped it. Agesilaus was carried home to Sparta in a very weak
condition, and did not recover strength enough to appear in the
field for a long time after.

Meanwhile, the Spartan fortune was but ill; they received many
losses both by sea and land; but the greatest was that at Tegyrae,
when for the first time they were beaten by the Thebans in a set

All the Greeks were, accordingly, disposed to a general peace, and
to that end ambassadors came to Sparta. Among these was
Epaminondas, the Theban, famous at that time for his philosophy and
learning, but he had not yet given proof of his capacity as a
general. He, seeing all the others crouch to Agesilaus, and court
favor with him, alone maintained the dignity of an ambassador, and
with that freedom that became his character, made a speech in
behalf not of Thebes only, from whence he came, but of all Greece,
remonstrating, that Sparta alone grew great by war, to the distress
and suffering of all her neighbors. He urged, that a peace should
be made upon just and equal terms, such as alone would be a lasting
one, which could not otherwise be done, than by reducing all to
equality. Agesilaus, perceiving all the other Greeks to give much
attention to this discourse, and to be pleased with it, presently
asked him, whether he thought it a part of this justice and
equality that the Boeotian towns should enjoy their independence.
Epaminondas instantly and without wavering asked him in return,
whether he thought it just and equal that the Laconian towns should
enjoy theirs. Agesilaus started from his seat and bade him once
for all speak out and say whether or not Boeotia should be
independent. And when Epaminondas replied once again with the same
inquiry, whether Laconia should be so, Agesilaus was so enraged
that, availing himself of the pretext he immediately struck the
name of the Thebans out of the league, and declared war against
them. With the rest of the Greeks he made a peace, and dismissed
them with this saying, that what could be peaceably adjusted,
should; what was otherwise incurable, must be committed to the
success of war, it being a thing of too great difficulty to provide
for all things by treaty. The Ephors upon this dispatched their
orders to Cleombrotus, who was at that time in Phocis, to march
directly into Boeotia, and at the same time sent to their allies
for aid. The confederates were very tardy in the business, and
unwilling to engage, but as yet they feared the Spartans too much
to dare to refuse. And although many portents, and prodigies of
ill presage, which I have mentioned in the life of Epaminondas,
had appeared; and though Prothous, the Laconian, did all he could
to hinder it, yet Agesilaus would needs go forward, and prevailed
so, that the war was decreed. He thought the present juncture of
affairs very advantageous for their revenge, the rest of Greece
being wholly free, and the Thebans excluded from the peace. But
that this war was undertaken more upon passion than judgment, the
event may prove; for the treaty was finished but the fourteenth of
Scirophorion, and the Lacedaemonians received their great overthrow
at Leuctra, on the fifth of Hecatombaeon, within twenty days.
There fell at that time a thousand, Spartans, and Cleombrotus their
king, and around him the bravest men of the nation; particularly,
the beautiful youth, Cleonymus the son of Sphodrias, who was thrice
struck down at the feet of the king, and as often rose, but was
slain at the last.

This unexpected blow, which fell so heavy upon the Lacedaemonians,
brought greater glory to Thebes than ever was acquired by any other
of the Grecian republics, in their civil wars against each other.
The behavior, notwithstanding, of the Spartans, though beaten, was
as great, and as highly to be admired, as that of the Thebans. And
indeed, if, as Xenophon says, in conversation good men even in
their sports and at their wine let fall many sayings that are worth
the preserving; how much more worthy to be recorded, is an
exemplary constancy of mind, as shown both in the words and in the
acts of brave men, when they are pressed by adverse fortune! It
happened that the Spartans were celebrating a solemn feast, at
which many strangers were present from other countries, and the
town full of them, when this news of the overthrow came. It was
the gymnopaediae, and the boys were dancing in the theater, when
the messengers arrived from Leuctra. The Ephors, though they were
sufficiently aware that this blow had ruined the Spartan power, and
that their primacy over the rest of Greece was gone for ever, yet
gave orders that the dances should not break off, nor any of the
celebration of the festival abate; but privately sending the names
of the slain to each family, out of which they were lost, they
continued the public spectacles. The next morning, when they had
full intelligence concerning it, and everybody knew who were slain,
and who survived, the fathers, relatives, and friends of the slain
came out rejoicing in the market-place, saluting each other with a
kind of exultation; on the contrary, the fathers of the survivors
hid themselves at home among the women. If necessity drove any of
them abroad, they went very dejectedly, with downcast looks, and
sorrowful countenances. The women outdid the men in it; those
whose sons were slain, openly rejoicing, cheerfully making visits
to one another, and meeting triumphantly in the temples; they who
expected their children home, being very silent, and much troubled.

But the people in general, when their allies now began to desert
them, and Epaminondas, in all the confidence of victory, was
expected with an invading army in Peloponnesus, began to think
again of Agesilaus's lameness, and to entertain feelings of
religious fear and despondency, as if their having rejected the
sound-footed, and having chosen the halting king, which the oracle
had specially warned them against, was the occasion of all their
distresses. Yet the regard they had to the merit and reputation of
Agesilaus, so far stilled this murmuring of the people, that
notwithstanding it, they entrusted themselves to him in this
distress, as the only man that was fit to heal the public malady,
the arbiter of all their difficulties, whether relating to the
affairs of war or peace. One great one was then before them,
concerning the runaways (as their name is for them) that had fled
out of the battle, who being many and powerful, it was feared that
they might make some commotion in the republic, to prevent the
execution of the law upon them for their cowardice. The law in
that case was very severe; for they were not only to be debarred
from all honors, but also it was a disgrace to intermarry with
them; whoever met any of them in the streets, might beat him if he
chose, nor was it lawful for him to resist; they in the meanwhile
were obliged to go about unwashed and meanly dressed, with their
clothes patched with divers colors, and to wear their beards half
shaved half unshaven. To execute so rigid a law as this, in a case
where the offenders were so many, and many of them of such
distinction, and that in a time when the commonwealth wanted
soldiers so much as then it did, was of dangerous consequence.
Therefore they chose Agesilaus as a sort of new lawgiver for the
occasion. But he, without adding to or diminishing from or any
way changing the law, came out into the public assembly, and said,
that the law should sleep for today, but from this day forth be
vigorously executed. By this means he at once preserved the law
from abrogation, and the citizens from infamy; and that he might
alleviate the despondency and self-distrust of the young men, he
made an inroad into Arcadia, where carefully avoiding all fighting,
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

Epaminondas now invaded Laconia, with an army of forty thousand,
besides light-armed men and others that followed 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 time 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 resistance 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 torrent, as Theopompus calls it, of war.
He contented himself 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
Antalcidas, "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 thence to attack
the town, Agesilaus, abandoning the rest, betook himself to the
high places and strong-holds of it. But it happened, that Eurotas
at that time was swollen to a great height with the snow that had
fallen, and made the passage 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 citizens, 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, plotting a revolution. These were men whom it was
equally dangerous to prosecute publicly according to law, and to
connive at. Agesilaus took counsel 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 people, who were
in the army, ran away to the enemy, which was matter of great
consternation to the city. He therefore 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 number might not appear.

Historians differ about the cause of the Thebans' departure from
Sparta. Some say, the winter forced them; as also that the
Arcadian soldiers disbanding, made it necessary 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 arbitrary 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 employments;
but his son Archidamus, having received help from Dionysius of
Sicily, gave a great defeat to the Arcadians, 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 thing
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 news; even when the great
victory, described by Thucydides, 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 contain
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 compass, and for fertility the richest of all Greece,
which they had enjoyed so long, taken from them in his reign.
Therefore 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 Agesilaus 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 towards Sparta, insomuch that he
failed very little of taking it empty and unarmed. Agesilaus had
intelligence sent him by Euthynus, the Thespian, as Callisthenes
says, but Xenophon says by a Cretan; and immediately dispatched a
horseman to Lacedaemon, 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 beyond what was to be expected at his years. For he did
not now fight with that caution and cunning which he formerly 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 Epaminondas, and forced him to retire, and, at
the erection of a trophy, was able, in the presence of their wives
and children, to declare that the Lacedaemonians had nobly paid
their debt to their country, and particularly his son Archidamus,
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 everywhere maintaining the town against the
enemy with but few to help him. Isadas, however, the son of
Phoebidas, 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 attractive 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 waiting, in that undress, he
snatched a 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 extraordinary 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
embraced 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 descendants.

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
Lacedaemonians 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 subscriptions, with much difficulty, while
the city, above all things, needed repose. And all this to recover
the one poor town of Messene, after he had lost so great an empire
both by sea and land, as the Spartans were possessed of, 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 Tachos 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 undertaking, the
liberation of the Greeks from Persia, it had been worthy of some
reproof. To make an action honorable, it ought to be agreeable to
the age, and other circumstances 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 and
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 counselors 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 expectation 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 contemptible appearance, without all ceremony lying down
upon the grass, in coarse and threadbare clothes, they fell into
laughter and scorn of him, crying out, that the old proverb was;
now made good, "The mountain had brought forth a mouse." They were
yet 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, which 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 submit 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
beseeching their continuance in his friendship. Chabrias consented
to it, and did what he could by persuasion and good words to keep

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