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This webpage reproduces one of
The Parallel Lives

by
Plutarch

published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,
1916

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Roman
Parallel:
Sulla

(Vol. IV) Plutarch, The Parallel Lives

p235 The Life of Lysander

(433) 1 1 The treasury of the Acanthians at Delphi bears this inscription: "Brasidas and the Acanthians, with spoil from the Athenians."1 For this reason many think that the marble figure standing within the edifice, by the door, is a statue of Brasidas. But it really represents Lysander, with his hair very long, after the ancient custom, and growing a generous beard. 2 For it is not true, as some state, that because the Argives, after their great defeat, shaved their heads for sorrow, the Spartans, in contrary fashion, let their hair grow long in exultation over their victory;2 nor was it because the Bacchiadae,3 when they fled from Corinth to Lacedaemon, looked mean and unsightly from having shaved their heads, that the Spartans, on their part, became eager to wear their hair long; but this custom also goes back to Lycurgus. 434And he is reported to have said that a fine head of hair makes the handsome more comely to look upon, and the ugly more terrible.4

2 1 The father of Lysander, Aristocleitus, is said to have been of the lineage of the Heracleidae, though not of the royal family. But Lysander was reared in poverty, and showed himself as much as any man conformable to the customs of his people; p237of a manly spirit, too, and superior to every pleasure, excepting only that which their good deeds bring to those who are successful and honoured. To this pleasure it is no disgrace for the youth in Sparta to succumb. 2 Indeed, from the very first they wish their boys to be sensitive towards public opinion, distressed by censure, and exalted by praise; and he who is insensible and stolid in these matters, is looked down upon as without ambition for excellence, and a cumberer of the ground. Ambition, then, and the spirit of emulation, were firmly implanted in him by his Laconian training, and no great fault should be found with his natural disposition on this account. 3 But he seems to have been naturally subservient to men of power and influence, beyond what was usual in a Spartan, and content to endure an arrogant authority for the sake of gaining his ends, a trait which some hold to be no small part of political ability. And Aristotle, when he sets forth that great natures, like those of Socrates and Plato and Heracles, have a tendency to melancholy, writes also5 that Lysander, not immediately, but when well on in years, was a prey to melancholy.

4 But what is most peculiar in him is that, though he bore poverty well, and though he was never mastered nor even corrupted by money, yet he filled his country full of wealth and the love of wealth, and made her cease to be admired for not admiring wealth, importing as he did an abundance of gold and silver after the war with Athens, although he kept not a single drachma for himself. 5 And when Dionysius the tyrant sent his daughters some costly tunics of Sicilian make, he would not receive them, p239saying he was afraid they would make his daughters look more ugly. But a little later, when he was sent as ambassador to the same tyrant from the same city, and was presented by him with two robes, and ordered to choose which of them he would, and carry it to his daughter, he said that she could choose better herself, and went off with both of them.

3 1 The Peloponnesian war had now been carried on for a long time, and after their disaster in Sicily6 it was expected that the Athenians would straightway lose their control of the sea, and presently give up the struggle altogether. But Alcibiades, returning from exile and taking the command, wrought a great change, and made his countrymen again a match for their enemies by sea.7 2 The Lacedaemonians, accordingly, were frightened again, and summoning up fresh zeal for the war, which required, as they thought, an able leader and a more powerful armament, sent out Lysander to take command upon the sea.8 When he came to Ephesus, he found the city well disposed to him and very zealous in the Spartan cause, although it was then in a low state of prosperity and in danger of becoming utterly barbarized by the admixture of Persian customs, since it was enveloped by Lydia, and the King's generals made it their headquarters. 3 He therefore pitched his camp there, and ordered the merchant vessels from every quarter to land their cargoes there, and made preparations for the building of triremes. Thus he revived the traffic of their harbours, and the business of their market, and filled their houses and workshops with p241profits, so that from that time on, and through his efforts, the city had hopes of achieving the stateliness and grandeur which it now enjoys.

4 1 When he learned that Cyrus, the King's son, was come to Sardis,9 435he went up to confer with him and to accuse Tissaphernes, who, though he was commissioned to aid the Lacedaemonians and drive the Athenians from the sea, was thought to be remiss in his duty, through the efforts of Alcibiades,10 showing lack of zeal, and destroying the efficiency of the fleet by the meagre subsidies which he gave. 2 Now Cyrus was well pleased that Tissaphernes, who was a base man and privately at feud with him, should be accused and maligned. By this means, then, as well as by his behaviour in general, Lysander made himself agreeable, and by the submissive deference of his conversation, above all else, he won the heart of the young prince, and roused him to prosecute the war with vigour. 3 At a banquet which Cyrus gave him as he was about to depart, the prince begged him not to reject the tokens of his friendliness, but to ask plainly for whatever he desired, since nothing whatsoever would be refused him. "Since, then," said Lysander in reply, "thou art so very kind, I beg and entreat thee, Cyrus, to add an obol to the pay of my sailors, that they may get four obols instead of three."11 4 Cyrus, accordingly, delighted with his public spirit, gave him ten thousand darics, out of which he added the obol to the pay of his seamen, and, by the renown thus won, soon emptied the ships of his enemies. For most of their seamen p243came over to those who offered higher pay, and those who remained were listless and mutinous, and gave daily trouble to their officers. 5 However, although he had thus injured and weakened his enemies, Lysander shrank from a naval battle, through fear of Alcibiades, who was energetic, had a greater number of ships, and in all his battles by land and sea up to that time had come off victorious.

5 1 But after this, Alcibiades sailed away from Samos to Phocaea, leaving Antiochus, his pilot, in command of the fleet; and Antiochus, as if in bold mockery of Lysander, put in to the harbour of Ephesus with two triremes, and rowed ostentatiously past his ships, as they lay drawn up on shore, with noise and laughter. Lysander was incensed, and launching at first only a few of his triremes, pursued him; then seeing that the Athenians were coming to the rescue, he manned others, and at last the action became general. 2 Lysander was victorious, too, captured fifteen triremes, and set up a trophy. Thereupon the people of Athens, flying into a passion, deposed Alcibiades from his command and finding himself slighted and abused by the soldiers at Samos, he left the camp and sailed off to the Chersonese. This battle, then, although actually not a great one, was made memorable by its bearing on the fortunes of Alcibiades.12

3 Lysander now summoned from their various cities to Ephesus men whom he saw to be most eminent for confidence and daring, and sowed in their minds the seeds of the revolutionary decadarchies13 afterwards instituted by him, urging and inciting them to p245form political clubs in their several cities, and apply themselves to public affairs, assuring them that as soon as the Athenian empire was destroyed, they could rid themselves of their democracies and become themselves supreme in power. 4 Moreover, by actual benefits he gave them all a confidence in this future, promoting those who were already his friends and allies to large enterprises and honours and commands, and taking a share himself in their injustice and wickedness in order to gratify their rapacity. Therefore all attached themselves to him, expecting to attain all their highest ambitions if only he remained in power. 5 Therefore, too, they neither looked kindly upon Callicratidas at the first, when he came to succeed Lysander in the admiralty,14 nor afterwards, when he had shown by manifest proofs that he was the justest and noblest of men, 436were they pleased with the manner of his leadership, which had a certain Doric simplicity and sincerity. They did, indeed, admire his virtue, as they would the beauty of a hero's statue; but they yearned for the zealous support of Lysander, and missed the interest which he took in the welfare of his partisans, so that when he sailed away they were dejected and shed tears.

6 1 Lysander made these men yet more disaffected towards Callicratidas. He also sent back to Sardis what remained of the money which Cyrus had given him for the navy, bidding Callicratidas ask for it himself, if he wished, and see to the maintenance of his soldiers. 2 And finally, as he sailed away, he called Callicratides to witness that p247the fleet which he handed over to him was in command of the sea. But he, wishing to prove the emptiness and vanity of this ambitious boast, said: "In that case, keep Samos on the left, sail to Miletus, and there hand the triremes over to me; surely we need not fear to sail past the enemy at Samos if we are masters of the sea." 3 To this Lysander answered that Callicratidas, and not he, was in command of the ships, and sailed off to Peloponnesus, leaving Callicratidas in great perplexity.15 For neither had he brought money from home with him, nor could he bear to lay the cities under forced contribution when they were already in an evil plight. 4 The only course left, therefore, was to go to the doors of the King's generals, as Lysander had done, and ask for money. For this he was of all men least fitted by nature, being of a free and lofty spirit, and one who thought any and every defeat of Greeks at the hands of Greeks more becoming to them than visits of flattery to the houses of Barbarians, who had much gold, but nothing else worth while.

5 Constrained, however, by his necessities, he went up into Lydia, proceeded at once to the house of Cyrus, and ordered word to be sent in that Callicratidas the admiral was come and wished to confer with him. And when one of the door-keepers said to him: "But Cyrus is not at leisure now, Stranger, for he is at his wine"; Callicratidas replied with the utmost simplicity: "No matter, I will stand here and wait till he has had his wine." 6 This time, then, he merely withdrew, after being taken for a rustic fellow and laughed at by the Barbarians. But when he was come a second time to the door and p249was refused admittance, he was indignant, and set off for Ephesus, invoking many evils upon those who first submitted to the mockery of the Barbarians and taught them to be insolent because of their wealth, 7 and swearing roundly to the bystanders that as soon as he got back to Sparta, he would do all he could to reconcile the Greeks with one another, in order that they might themselves strike fear into the Barbarians, and cease soliciting their power against each other.

7 1 But Callicratidas, after cherishing purposes worthy of Lacedaemon, and showing himself worthy to compete with the most eminent of the Greeks by reason of his righteousness, magnanimity, and valour, not long afterwards lost the sea-fight at Arginusae, and vanished from among men.16 Then, their cause declining, the allies sent an embassy to Sparta and asked that Lysander be made admiral, declaring that they would grapple much more vigorously with the situation if he were their commander. 2 Cyrus also sent to make the same request. Now the Lacedaemonians had a law forbidding that the same man should be admiral twice, and yet they wished to gratify their allies; they therefore invested a certain Aracus with the title of admiral, and sent out Lysander as vice-admiral,17 nominally, but really with supreme power. So he came out, as most of those who had political power and influence in the cities had long desired, for they expected to become still stronger by his aid when the popular governments had been utterly overthrown; 3 but to those who loved simplicity and nobility 437in the character of their leaders, p251Lysander, compared with Callicratidas, seemed to be unscrupulous and subtle, a man who tricked out most of what he did in war with the varied hues of deceit, extolling justice if it was at the same time profitable, but if not, adopting the advantageous as the honourable course, and not considering truth as inherently better than falsehood, but bounding his estimate of either by the needs of the hour. 4 Those who demanded that the descendants of Heracles should not wage war by deceit he held up to ridicule, saying that "where the lions' skin will not reach, it must be patched out with the fox's."

8 1 Of such a sort were his dealings with Miletus, according to the record. For when his friends and allies, whom he had promised to aid in overthrowing the democracy and expelling their opponents, changed their minds and became reconciled to their foes, openly he pretended to be pleased and to join in the reconciliation; but in secret he reviled and abused them, and incited them to fresh attacks upon the multitude. 2 And when he perceived that the uprising was begun, he quickly came up and entered the city, where he angrily rebuked the first conspirators whom he met, and set upon them roughly, as though he were going to punish them, but ordered the rest of the people to be of good cheer and to fear no further evil now that he was with them. 3 But in this he was playing a shifty part, wishing the leading men of the popular party not to fly, but to remain in the city and be slain. And this was what actually happened; for all who put their trust in him were slaughtered.

Furthermore, there is a saying of Lysander's, recorded by Androcleides,a which makes him guilty of p253the greatest recklessness in the matter of oaths. 4 It was his policy, according to this authority, "to cheat boys with knuckle-bones, but men with oaths," thus imitating Polycrates of Samos; not a proper attitude in a general towards a tyrant, nor yet a Laconian trait to treat the gods as one's enemies are treated, nay, more outrageously still; since he who overreaches his enemy by means of an oath, confesses that he fears that enemy, but despises God.

9 1 Well, then, Cyrus summoned Lysander to Sardis, and gave him this, and promised him that, ardently protesting, to gratify him, that he would actually squander his own fortune, if his father gave him nothing for the Spartans; and if all else failed, he said he would cut up the throne on which he sat when giving audience, a throne covered with gold and silver. 2 And finally, as he was going up into Media to wait upon his father, he assigned to Lysander the tribute of the cities, and entrusted his own government to him; and embracing him in farewell, and begging him not to fight the Athenians at sea until he was come back, and promising to come back with many ships from Phoenicia and Cilicia, he set out to go up to the King.18

Then Lysander, who could neither fight a naval battle on equal terms, nor remain idle with the large fleet at his disposal, put out to sea and reduced some of the islands, and touching at Aegina and Salamis, overran them. 3 Then he landed in Attica and saluted Agis, who came down in person from Deceleia19 to meet him, and displayed to the land forces there the p255strength of his fleet, with the mien of one who sailed where he pleased and was master of the sea. But on learning that the Athenians were pursuing him, he fled by another route through the islands to Asia.

4 Finding the Hellespont unguarded, he himself attacked Lampsacus from the sea with his ships, while Thorax, co‑operating with the land forces, assaulted the walls. He took the city by storm, and gave it up to his soldiers to plunder.20 Meanwhile the Athenian fleet of a hundred and eighty triremes had just arrived at Elaeus in the Chersonese, 438and learning that Lampsacus had fallen, they straightway put in at Sestos. 5 There they took in provisions, and then sailed along to Aegospotami, over against their enemies, who were still in station at Lampsacus. The Athenians were under the command of several generals, among whom was Philocles, the man who had recently persuaded the people to pass a decree that their prisoners of war should have the right thumb cut off, that they might not be able to wield a spear, though they might ply an oar.21

10 1 For the time being, then, all rested, expecting that on the morrow the fleets would engage. But Lysander was planning otherwise, and ordered his seamen and pilots, as though there would be a struggle at daybreak, to go on board their triremes in the early morning, and take their seats in order and in silence, awaiting the word of command, and that the land forces also, in the same manner, remain quietly in their ranks by the sea. 2 When the sun rose, however, and the Athenians sailed up with all their ships in line and challenged to battle, although p257he had his ships drawn up in line to meet them and fully manned before it was light, he did not put out from his position, but sending despatch-boats to the foremost of his ships, ordered them to keep quiet and remain in line, not getting into confusion nor sailing out to meet the enemy. 3 And so about midday when the Athenians sailed back, he did not allow his men to leave their ships until two or three triremes, which he sent to reconnoitre, came back, after seeing that the enemy had disembarked. On the following day this was done again, and on the third, and at last on the fourth, so that the Athenians became very bold and contemptuous, believing that their enemies were huddling together in fear.

4 At this juncture, Alcibiades, who was living in his own fortress on the Chersonese, rode up to the Athenian army and censured the generals, first for having pitched their camp in a bad and even dangerous place on an open beach where there was no roadstead; and second, for the mistake of getting their provisions from distant Sestos, when they ought to sail round the coast 5 a little way to the harbour and city of Sestos, where they would be at a longer remove from their enemies, who lay watching them with an army commanded by a single man, the fear of whom led it to obey his every order promptly. These were the lessons he gave them, but they would not receive them, and Tydeus actually gave him an insolent answer, saying that he was not general now, but others.22

11 1 Alcibiades, accordingly, suspecting that some treachery was afoot among them, went away. But p259on the fifth day, when the Athenians had sailed over to the enemy and back again, as was now their wont, very carelessly and contemptuously, Lysander, as he sent out his reconnoitring ships, ordered their commanders, as soon as they saw that the Athenians had disembarked, to put about and row back with all speed, and when they were half way across, to hoist a brazen shield at the prow, as a signal for the onset. 2 And he himself sailed round and earnestly exhorted the pilots and trierarchs to keep all their crews at their post, sailors and soldiers alike, and as soon as the signal was given, to row with ardour and vigour against the enemy. When, therefore, the shield was hoisted on the lookout ships, and the trumpet on the admiral's ship signalled the attack, the ships sailed forth, and the land forces ran their fastest along the shore to seize the promontory. 3 The distance between the two continents at this point is fifteen furlongs, and such was the zealous ardour of the rowers that it was quickly consumed. Conon, the Athenian general, who was the first to see from the land the onset of the fleet, suddenly shouted orders to embark, and deeply stirred by the threatening disaster, called upon some, besought others, and forced others to man the triremes. 4394 But his eager efforts were of no avail, since the men were scattered. For just as soon as they had disembarked, since they expected no trouble, some went to market, some walked about the country, some lay down to sleep in their tents, and some began to get their suppers ready, being as far as possible removed from any thought of what was to happen, through the inexperience of their commanders. 5 The shouts and splashing oars of the oncoming enemy were already p261heard, when Conon, with eight ships, sailed stealthily away, and making his escape, proceeded to Cyprus, to Evagoras; but the Peloponnesians fell upon the rest of the ships, some of which they took entirely empty, and others they disabled while their crews were still getting aboard. And the men, coming up unarmed and in straggling fashion, perished at their ships, or if they fled by land, their enemies, who had disembarked, slew them. 6 Lysander took three thousand men prisoners, together with their generals, and captured the whole fleet, excepting the Paralus23 and the ships that had made their escape with Conon. So after plundering his enemy's camp and taking their ships in tow, he sailed back to Lampsacus, to the sound of pipes and hymns of victory. He had wrought a work of the greatest magnitude with the least toil and effort, and had brought to a close in a single hour a war which, in length, and the incredible variety of its incidents and fortunes, surpassed all its predecessors. 7 Its struggles and issues had assumed ten thousand changing shapes, and it had cost Hellas more generals than all her previous wars together, and yet it was brought to a close by the prudence and ability of one man. Therefore some actually thought the result due to divine intervention.

12 1 There were some who declared that the Dioscuri24 appeared as twin stars on either side of Lysander's ship just as he was sailing out of the harbour against the enemy, and shone out over the rudder-sweeps. And some say also that the falling of the stone was a portent of this disaster; for according p263to the common belief, a stone of vast size had fallen from heaven at Aegospotami,25 and it is shown to this day by the dwellers in the Chersonese, who hold it in reverence. 2 Anaxagoras is said to have predicted that if the heavenly bodies should be loosened by some slip or shake, one of them might be torn away, and might plunge and fall down to earth; and he said that none of the stars was in its original position; for being of stone, and heavy, their shining light is caused by friction with the revolving aether, and they are forced along in fixed orbits by the whirling impulse which gave them their circular motion, and this was what prevented them from falling to our earth in the first place, when cold and heavy bodies were separated from universal matter.

3 But there is a more plausible opinion than this, and its advocates hold that shooting stars are not a flow or emanation of aetherial fire, which the lower air quenches at the very moment of its kindling, nor are they an ignition and blazing up of a quantity of lower air which has made its escape into the upper regions; but they are plunging and falling heavenly bodies, carried out of their course by some relaxation in the tension of their circular most, and falling, not upon the inhabited region of the earth, but for the most part outside of it and into the great sea; and this is the reason why they are not noticed.

4 But Daïmachus, in his treatise "On Religion," supports the view of Anaxagoras. He says that before the stone fell, seventy-five days continually, there was seen in the heavens a fiery body of p265vast size, as if it had been a flaming cloud, not resting in one place, but moving along with intricate and irregular motions, so that fiery fragments, broken from it by its plunging and erratic course, were carried in all directions and flashed fire, just as shooting stars do. 5 But when it had fallen in that part of the earth, and the inhabitants, after recovering from their fear and amazement, were assembled about it, no action of fire was seen, nor even so much as a trace thereof, but a stone lying there, of large size, it is true, 440but one which bore almost no proportion at all to the fiery mass seen in the heavens. Well, then, that Daïmachus must needs have indulgent readers, is clear; 6 but if his story is true, he refutes utterly those who affirm that a rock, which winds and tempests had torn from some mountain top, was caught up and borne along like a spinning top, and that at the point where the whirling impetus given to it first relaxed and ceased, there it plunged and fell. 7 Unless, indeed, what was seen in the heavens for many days was really fire, the quenching and extinction of which produced a change in the air resulting in unusually violent winds and agitations, and these brought about the plunge of the stone. However, the minute discussion of this subject belongs to another kind of writing.

13 1 Lysander, after the three thousand Athenians whom he had taken prisoners had been condemned to death by the special council of allies, calling Philocles, their general, asked him what punishment should be visited upon him for having given his fellow-citizens such counsel regarding Greeks.26 p2672 But he, not one whit softened by his misfortunes, bade him not play the prosecutor in a case where there was no judge, but to inflict, as victor, the punishment he would have suffered if vanquished. Then, after bathing and putting on a rich robe, he went first to the slaughter and showed his countrymen the way, as Theophrastus writes. After this, Lysander sailed to the various cities, and ordered all the Athenians whom he met to go back to Athens, for he would spare none, he said, but would slaughter any whom he caught outside the city. 3 He took this course, and drove them all into the city together, because he wished that scarcity of food and a mighty famine should speedily afflict the city, in order that they might not hinder him by holding out against his siege with plenty of provisions. He also suppressed the democratic, and the other forms of government, and left one Lacedaemonian harmost27 in each city, and ten rulers chosen from the political clubs which he had organized throughout the cities. 4 This he did alike in the cities which had been hostile, and in those which had become his allies, and sailed along in leisurely fashion, in a manner establishing for himself the supremacy over Hellas. For in his appointments of the rulers he had regard neither to birth nor wealth, but put control of affairs into the hands of his comrades and partisans, and made them masters of rewards and punishments. He also took part himself in many massacres, and assisted in driving out the enemies of his friends. Thus he gave the Greeks no worthy specimen of Lacedaemonian rule, nay, p2695 even the comic poet Theopompus was thought absurd in likening the Lacedaemonians to tavern-women, because they gave the Greeks a very pleasant sip of freedom, and then dashed the wine with vinegar; for from the very first the taste was harsh and bitter, since Lysander not only would not suffer the people to be masters of their affairs, but actually put the cities into the hands of the boldest and most contentious of the oligarchs.

14 1 After he had spent some little time in this business, and had sent messengers to Lacedaemon to report that he was sailing up with two hundred ships, he made a junction in Attica with the forces of Agis and Pausanias, the kings, believing that he would speedily capture the city.28 But since the Athenians held out against them, he took his ships and crossed again to Asia. Here he suppressed the governments of all the remaining cities in like manner, and set up decadarchies, many citizens being slain in each city, and many banished; he also drove out all the Samians, and handed their cities over to the men whom they had banished.29 2 Moreover, when he had taken Sestos out of the hands of the Athenians, he would not permit the Sestians to dwell there, but gave the city and its territory to be divided among men who had been pilots and boatswains under him. And this was the first step of his which was resisted by the Lacedaemonians, who restored Sestians again to their country. 3 But there were other measures of Lysander upon 441which all the Greeks looked with pleasure, when, for instance, the Aeginetans, after a long time,30 received p271back their own city, and when the Melians31 and Scionaeans32 were restored to their homes by him, after the Athenians had been driven out and had delivered back the cities.

And now, when he learned that the people of Athens were in a wretched plight from famine, he sailed into the Piraeus, and reduced the city, which was compelled to make terms on the basis of his commands. 4 It is true that one hears it said by Lacedaemonians that Lysander wrote to the ephors thus: "Athens is taken"; and that the ephors wrote back to Lysander: " 'Taken' were enough"; but this actual story was invented for its neatness' sake.33 The actual decree of the ephors ran thus: "This is what the Lacedaemonian authorities have decided: tear down the Piraeus and the long walls; quit all the cities and keep to your own land; if you do these things, and restore your causes, you shall have peace, if you want it. 5 As regards the number of your ships, whatsoever shall be decided there, this do."34 This edict was accepted by the Athenians, on the advice of Theramenes the son of Hagnon, who, they say, being asked at this time by Cleomenes, one of the young orators, if he dared to act and speak the contrary to Themistocles, by surrendering those walls to the Lacedaemonians which that statesman had erected in defiance of the Lacedaemonians, replied: 6 "But I am doing nothing, young man, that is contrary to Themistocles; for the same walls which he erected p273for the safety of the citizens, we shall tear down for their safety. And if walls made cities prosperous, then Sparta must be in the worst plight of all, since she has none."

15 1 Lysander, accordingly, when he had taken possession of all the ships of the Athenians except twelve, and of their walls, on the sixteenth of the month Munychion, the same on which they conquered the Barbarian in the sea-fight at Salamis, took measures at once to change their form of government. 2 And when the Athenians opposed him bitterly in this, he sent word to the people that he had caught the city violating the terms of its surrender; for its walls were still standing, although the days were past within which they should have been pulled down; he should therefore present their case anew for the decision of the authorities, since they had broken their agreements. And some say that in very truth a proposition to sell the Athenians into slavery was actually made in the assembly of the allies, and that at this time Erianthus the Theban also made a motion that the city be razed to the ground, and the country about it left for sheep to graze. 3 Afterwards, however, when the leaders were gathered at a banquet, and a certain Phocian sang the first chorus in the "Electra" of Euripides,35 which begins with

"O thou daughter of Agamemnon,

I am come, Electra, to thy rustic court,"

all were moved to compassion, and felt it to be a cruel deed to abolish and destroy a city which was so famous, and produced such poets.

4 So then, after the Athenians had yielded in all p275points, Lysander sent for many flute-girls from the city, and assembled all those who were already in the camp, and then tore down the walls, and burned up the triremes, to the sound of the flute, while the allies crowned themselves with garlands and made merry together, counting that day as the beginning of their freedom.36 5 Then, without delay, he also made changes in the form of government, establishing thirty rulers in the city and ten in Piraeus. Further, he put a garrison into the acropolis, and made Callibius, a Spartan, its harmost. He it was who once lifted his staff to smite Autolycus, the athlete, whom Xenophon makes the chief character in his "Symposium";37 and when Autolycus seized him by the legs and threw him down, Lysander did not side with Callibius in his vexation, but actually joined in censuring him, 442saying that he did not understand how to govern freemen. But the Thirty, to gratify Callibius, soon afterwards put Autolycus to death.

16 1 Lysander, after settling these matters, sailed for Thrace himself, but what remained of the public moneys, together with all the gifts and crowns which he had himself received, — many people, as was natural, offering presents to a man who had the greatest power, and who was, in a manner, master of Hellas, — he sent off to Lacedaemon by Gylippus, who had held command in Sicily.38 But Gylippus, as it is said, ripped open the sacks at the bottom, p277and after taking a large amount of silver from each, sewed them up again, not knowing that there was a writing in each indicating the sum it held. 2 And when he came to Sparta, he hid what he had stolen under the tiles of his house, but delivered the sacks to the ephors, and showed the seals upon them. When, however, the ephors opened the sacks and counted the money, its amount did not agree with the written lists, and the thing perplexed them, until a servant of Gylippus made the truth known to them by his riddle of many owls sleeping under the tiling. For most of the coinage of the time, as it seems, bore the forgery of an owl, owing to the supremacy of Athens.

17 1 Gylippus, then, after adding a deed so disgraceful and ignoble as this to his previous great and brilliant achievements, removed himself from Lacedaemon. And the wisest of the Spartans, being led by this instance in particular to fear the power of money, which they said was corrupting influential as well as ordinary citizens, reproached Lysander, and fervently besought the ephors to purify the city of all the silver and the gold, as imported curses. The ephors deliberated on the matter. 2 And it was Sciraphidas, according to Theopompus, or Phlogidas, according to Ephorus, who declared that they ought not to receive gold and silver coinage into the city, but to use that of the country. Now this was of iron, and was dipped in vinegar as soon as it came from the fire, that it might not be worked over, but be made brittle and intractable by the dipping.39 Besides, it was very heavy and troublesome p279to carry, and a great quantity and weight of it had but little value. 3 Probably, too, all the ancient money was of this sort, some peoples using iron spits for coins, and some bronze; whence it comes that even to this day many small pieces of money retain the name of "oboli," or spits, and six "oboli" make a "drachma," or handful, since that was as many as the hand could grasp.

4 But since Lysander's friends opposed this measure, and insisted that the money remain in the city, it was resolved that money of this sort could be introduced for public use, but that if any private person should be found in possession of it, he should be punished with death; just as though Lycurgus had feared the coin, and not the covetousness which the coin produced. And this vice was not removed by allowing no private person to possess money, so much as it was encouraged by allowing the city to possess money, its use thereby acquiring dignity and honour. 5 Surely it was not possible for those who saw money publicly honoured, to despise it privately as of no service; or to consider as worthless for the individual's private use that which was publicly held in such repute and esteem. Moreover, it takes far less time for public practices to affect the customs of private life, than it does for individual lapses and failings to corrupt entire cities. 6 For it is natural that the parts should rather be perverted along with the whole, when that deteriorates; but the diseases which flow from a part into the whole find many correctives and aids in the parts which remain sound. 443And so these magistrates merely set the fear of the law to guard the houses of the citizens, that money might have no entrance there, but did not keep their p281spirits undaunted by the power of money and insensible to it; they rather inspired them all with an emulous desire for wealth as a great and noble object of pursuit. On this point, however, we have censured the Lacedaemonians in another treatise.40

18 1 Out of the spoils, Lysander set up at Delphi bronze statues of himself and each of his admirals, as well as golden stars of the Dioscuri, which disappeared before the battle of Leuctra.41 And in the treasury of Brasidas and the Acanthians42 there was stored a trireme two cubits long, made of gold and ivory, which Cyrus sent Lysander as a prize for his victory. 2 Moreover, Anaxandrides the Delphian writes that a deposit of Lysander's was also stored there, consisting of a talent of silver, and fifty-two minas, and eleven staters besides; a statement that is inconsistent with the generally accepted accounts of his poverty. At any rate, Lysander was at this time more powerful than any Greek before him had been, and was thought to cherish a pretentious pride that was greater even than his power. 3 For he was the first Greek, as Duris writes, to whom the cities erected altars and made sacrifices as to a god, the first also to whom songs of triumph were sung. One of these is handed down, and begins as follows:—

"The general of sacred Hellas

who came from wide-spaced Sparta

will we sing, O! io! Paean."

4 The Samians, too, voted that their festival of Hera should be called Lysandreia. And the poet Choerilus p283was always kept in his retinue, to adorn his achievements with verse; while with Antilochus, who composed some verses in his honour, he was so pleased that he filled his cap with silver and gave it to him. And when Antimachus of Colophon and a certain Niceratus of Heracleia competed one another at the Lysandreia in poems celebrating his achievements, he awarded the crown to Niceratus, and Antimachus, in vexation, suppressed his poem. 5 But Plato, who was then a young man, and admired Antimachus for his poetry, tried to cheer and console him in his chagrin at this defeat, telling him that it is the ignorant who suffer from their ignorance, just as the blind do from their blindness. However, when Aristonoüs the harper, who had been six times victor at the Pythian games, told Lysander in a patronizing way that if he should be victorious again, he would have himself proclaimed under Lysander's name, "That is," Lysander replied, "as my slave?"

19 1 Now to the leading men, and to his equals, the ambition of Lysander was annoying merely. But since, owing to the court that was paid to him, great haughtiness and severity crept into his character along with his ambition, there was no such moderation as would become a popular leader either in his rewards or punishments, but the prizes he awarded to his friends and allies were irresponsible lordships over cities, and absolute sovereignties, while the sole punishment that could satisfy his wrath was the death of his enemy; not even exile was allowed. 2 Nay, at a later time, fearing lest the active popular leaders of Miletus should go into exile, and desiring to bring from their retreats those also who were in hiding, he made oath that he would do them no p285harm; but when the first put faith in him and the second came forth, he delivered them all over to the oligarchs for slaughter, being no less than eight hundred of both classes. 3 In the other cities also untold numbers of the popular party were slain, since he killed not only for his own private reasons, but also gratified by his murders the hatred and cupidity of his many friends everywhere, and shared the bloody work with them. Wherefore Eteocles the Lacedaemonian won great approval when he said that Hellas could not have borne two Lysanders. 444Now this same utterance was made by Archestratus concerning Alcibiades also,43 as Theophrastus tells us. 4 But in his case it was insolence, and wanton self-will, that gave most offence; whereas Lysander's power was made dreadful and oppressive by the cruelty of his disposition.

The Lacedaemonians paid little heed to the rest of his accusers, but when Pharnabazus, who was outraged by Lysander's pillaging and wasting his territory, sent men to Sparta to denounce him, the ephors were incensed, and when they found Thorax, one of Lysander's friends and fellow-generals, with money in his private possession, they put him to death, and sent a dispatch-scroll to Lysander, ordering him home.

5 The dispatch-scroll is of the following character. When the ephors send out an admiral or a general, they make two round pieces of wood exactly alike in length and thickness, so that each corresponds to the other in its dimensions, and keep one themselves, while they give the other to their envoy. These pieces of wood they call "scytalae." 6 Whenever, then, they p287wish to send some secret and important message, they make a scroll of parchment long and narrow, like a leathern strap, and wind it round their "scytale," leaving no vacant space thereon, but covering its surface all round with the parchment. After doing this, they write what they wish on the parchment, just as it lies wrapped about the "scytale"; and when they have written their message, they take the parchment off, and send it, without the piece of wood, to the commander. 7 He, when he has received it, cannot other get any meaning of it, — since the letters have no connection, but are disarranged, — unless he takes his own "scytale" and winds the strip of parchment about it, so that, when its spiral course is restored perfectly, and that which follows is joined to that which precedes, he reads around the staff, and so discovers the continuity of the message. And the parchment, like the staff, is called "scytale," as the thing measured bears the name of the measure.

20 1 But Lysander, when the dispatch-scroll reached him at the Hellespont, was much disturbed, and since he feared the denunciations of Pharnabazus above all others, he hastened to hold a conference with him, hoping to compose their quarrel. At this conference he begged Pharnabazus to write another letter about him to the magistrates, stating that he had not been wronged at all, and had no complaints to make. 2 But in thus "playing the Cretan against a Cretan," as the saying is, he misjudged his opponent. For Pharnabazus, after promising to do all that he desired, openly wrote such a letter as Lysander demanded, but secretly kept another by him ready written. And when it came to putting on the seals, p289he exchanged the documents, which looked exactly alike, and gave him the letter which had been secretly written. 3 Accordingly, when Lysander arrived at Sparta and went, as the custom is, into the senate-house, he gave the ephors the letter of Pharnabazus, convinced that the greatest of the complaints against him was thus removed; for Pharnabazus was in high favour with the Lacedaemonians, because he had been, of all the King's generals, most ready to help them in the war. 4 But when the ephors, after reading the letter, showed it to him, and he understood that

"Odysseus, then, is not the only man of guile,"44

for the time being he was mightily confounded and went away. But a few days afterwards, on meeting the magistrates, he said that he was obliged to go up to the temple of Ammon45 and sacrifice to the god the sacrifice which he had vowed before his battles. 5 Now some say that when he was besieging the city of Aphytae in Thrace, Ammon really stood by him in his sleep; wherefore he raised the siege, declaring that the god had commanded it, and ordered the Aphytaeans to sacrifice to Ammon, and was eager to make a journey into Libya and propitiate the god. 6 But the majority believed that he made the god a pretext, 445and really feared the ephors, and was impatient of the yoke at home, and unable to endure being under authority, and therefore longed to wander and travel about somewhat, like a horse which comes back from unrestricted pasture in the meadows to his stall, and is put once more to his accustomed work. p291Ephorus, it is true, assigns another reason for this absence abroad, which I shall mention by and by.46

21 1 After he had with great difficulty procured his release by the ephors, he set sail. But the kings, when he had gone abroad, became aware that by means of the societies which he had formed, he had the cities entirely in his power and was master of Hellas; they therefore took measures for deposing his friends everywhere and restoring the management of affairs to the people. 2 However, fresh disturbances broke out in connection with these changes, and first of all the Athenians from Phyle attacked the Thirty and overpowered them. Lysander therefore came home in haste, and persuaded the Lacedaemonians to aid the oligarchies and chastise the democracies. Accordingly, they sent to the Thirty, first of all, a hundred talents for the war, and Lysander himself as general. 3 But the kings were jealous of him, and feared to let him capture Athens a second time; they therefore determined that one of them should go out with the army. And Pausanias did go out, ostensibly in behalf of the tyrants47 against the people, but really to put a stop to the war, in order that Lysander might not again become master of Athens through the efforts of his friends. This object, then, he easily accomplished, and by reconciling the Athenians and putting a stop to their discord, he robbed Lysander of his ambitious hopes. 4 A short time afterwards, however, when the Athenians revolted again, he himself was censured for taking the curb of the oligarchy out of the mouth of the people, and letting them grow bold and insolent again; while p293Lysander won fresh repute as a man who exercised his command in downright fashion, not for the gratification of others, nor yet to win applause, but for the good of Sparta.

22 1 He was harsh of speech also, and terrifying to his opponents. For instance, when the Argives were disputing about boundaries, and thought they made a juster plea than the Lacedaemonians, he pointed to his sword, and said to them: "He who is master of this discourses best about boundaries." And when a Megarian, in some conference with him, grew bold in speech, he said: "Thy words, Stranger, lack a city." 2 And when the Boeotians tried to play a double game with him, he asked them whether he should march through their territory with spears upright, or levelled. And once when the Corinthians had revolted, a hare was seen leaping across the moat; whereupon he said: "Are ye not ashamed to fear enemies who are so lazy that hares sleep on their walls?"

3 When Agis the king died,48 leaving a brother, Agesilaüs, and a reputed son, Leotychides, Lysander, who had been a lover of Agesilaüs, persuaded him to lay claim to the kingdom, on the ground that he was a genuine descendant of Heracles. For Leotychides was accused of being a son of Alcibiades, who had secret commerce with Timaea, the wife of Agis, while he was living in exile at export. 4 Now Agis, as they tell us, being convinced by a computation of time that his wife had not conceived by him, ignored p295Leotychides, and manifestly repudiated him up to the last. But when he was carried sick to Heraea and was about to die, he yielded to the entreaties of the young man himself and of his friends, and declared in the hearing of many that Leotychides was his own son, and after begging those who were present to bear witness of this to the Lacedaemonians, died. 4465 Accordingly, they did so bear witness in favour of Leotychides. Moreover, Agesilaüs, who was otherwise illustrious, and had Lysander as a champion, was injured in his claim by Diopeithes, a man in high repute for his interpretation of oracles, who published the following prophecy with reference to the lameness of Agesilaüs:—49

"Bethink thee now, O Sparta, although thou art very proud,

Lest from thee, sound of foot, there spring a maimed royalty;

For long will unexpected toils oppress thee,

And onward rolling billows of man-destroying war."

6 Many, therefore, out of deference to the oracle, inclined to Leotychides, but Lysander declared that Diopeithes did not interpret the prophecy correctly; for it did not mean that the god would be displeased if one who was lame should rule the Lacedaemonians, but the kingdom would be maimed if bastards and ill-born men should be kings in a line with the posterity of Heracles. By such arguments, and because he had very great influence, he prevailed, and Agesilaüs became king.50

p297 23 1 At once, then, Lysander tried to rouse and incite him to make an expedition into Asia, suggesting hopes that he would put down the Persians and become a very great man. He also wrote letters to his friends in Asia, bidding them ask Agesilaüs of the Lacedaemonians as general for their war against the Barbarians.51 2 They obeyed, and sent ambassadors to Lacedaemon with the request, and thus an honour not inferior to that of being made king was obtained for Agesilaüs through the efforts of Lysander. But with ambitious natures, which are otherwise not ill qualified for command, jealousy of their equals in reputation is no slight obstacle to the performance of noble deeds; for they make those their rivals in the path of virtue, whom they might have as helpers. 3 Agesilaüs did indeed take Lysander with him among his thirty counsellors, intending to treat him with special favour as his chief friend; but when they were come into Asia, the people there, who were not acquainted with him, conferred with him but rarely and briefly, whereas Lysander, in consequence of their large intercourse with him in former times, had them always at his door and in his train, those who were his friends coming out of deference, and those whom he suspected, out of fear. 4 And just as in tragedies it naturally happens that an actor who takes the part of some messenger or servant is in high repute and plays leading rôles, while the one who bears the crown and sceptre is not even listened to when he speaks, so in this case the whole honour of the government was associated with the counsellor, and there was left for the king only the empty name of power. p2995 It is true, perhaps, that there should have been some gentle handling of this excessive ambition, and that Lysander should have been reduced to the second place; but entirely to cast off and insult, for fame's sake, a benefactor and a friend, was not worthy of the character of Agesilaüs.

In the first place, then, he did not give him opportunities for achievement, nor even assign him to a command; and secondly, those in whose behalf he perceived that Lysander was earnestly exerting himself, these he always sent away with less reward than an ordinary suitor, or wholly unsuccessful, thus quietly undoing and chilling his influence. 6 So when Lysander missed all his aims, and saw that his interested efforts for his friends were an obstacle to their success, he not only ceased to give them his own aid, but begged them not to wait upon him nor pay him their court, but to confer with the king, and with such as had more power to benefit those who showed them honour than was his at present. 7 Most of those who heard this refrained from troubling him about their affairs, but did not cease paying him their court, nay rather, 447by waiting upon him in the public walks and places of exercise, they gave Agesilaüs even more annoyance than before, because he envied him the honour. Therefore, though he offered most of the Spartans52 commands in the field and governments of cities, he appointed Lysander his carver of meats. And presently, as if by way of insult to the Ionians, he said: "Let them be off, and pay their court now to my carver of meats." 8 Accordingly, Lysander determined to have a conference p301with him, at which a brief and laconic dialogue passed between them. "Verily, though knowest well, Agesilaüs, how to abase friends." To which Agesilaüs: "Yes, if they would be greater than I; but those who increase my power should also share in it." 9 "Well, perhaps thy words, Agesilaüs, are fairer than my deeds; but I beg thee, even because of the strangers who have their eyes upon us, to give me a post under thy command where thou believest that I shall be least annoying to thyself, and more serviceable than now."53

24 1 Upon this, he was sent as ambassador to the Hellespont; and though he was angry with Agesilaüs, he did not neglect to do his duty, but induced Spithridates the Persian, a high-minded man with forces at his command, to revolt from Pharnabazus, with whom he was at odds, and brought him to Agesilaüs.54 2 The king made no further use of Lysander, however, in the war, and when his time had expired, he sailed back to Sparta without honour, not only enraged at Agesilaüs, but hating the whole form of government more than ever, and resolved to put into execution at once, and without delay, the plans for a revolutionary change which he is thought to have devised and concocted some time before.

3 They were as follows. Of the Heracleidae who united with the Dorians and came down into Peloponnesus, there was a numerous and glorious stock flourishing in Sparta; however, not every family belonging to it participated in the royal succession, p303but the kings were chosen from two houses only, and were called Eurypontidae and Agiadae. The rest had no special privileges in the government because of their high birth, but the honours which result from superior excellence lay open to all who had power and ability. 4 Now Lysander belonged to one of these families, and when he had risen to great fame for his deeds, and had acquired many friends and great power, he was vexed to see the city increased in power by his efforts, but ruled by others who were of no better birth than himself. He therefore planned to take the government away from the two houses, and restore it to all the Heracleidae in common, 5 or, as some say, not to the Heracleidae, but to the Spartans in general,55 in order that its high prerogatives might not belong to those only who were descended from Heracles, but to those who, like Heracles, were selected for superior excellence, since it was this which raised him to divine honours. And he hoped that when the kingdom was awarded on this principle, no Spartan would be chosen before himself.

25 1 In the first place, then, he undertook and made preparations to persuade the citizens by his own efforts, and committed to memory a speech written by Cleon, the Halicarnassian, for the purpose. In the second place, seeing that the novelty and magnitude of his innovation demanded a more audacious support, he brought stage machinery to bear upon the citizens,56 as it were, 2 by collecting and arranging responses and oracles of Apollo; convinced p305that Cleon's clever rhetoric would not help him at all unless he should first terrify and subdue his countrymen by vague religious fear and superstitious terror, and then bring them under the influence of his argument. 3 Well, then, Ephorus tells us that after an attempt to corrupt the Pythian priestess, and after a second failure to persuade the priestesses of Dodona by means of Pherecles, he went up to the temple of Ammon and had a conference with the god's interpreters there, at which he offered them much money, but that they took this ill, and sent certain messengers to Sparta to denounce him; and further, that when Lysander was acquitted of their charges, the Libyans said, as they went away, "But we will pass better judgments than yours, 448O Spartans, when ye come to dwell with us in Libya"; for they knew that there was a certain ancient oracle bidding the Lacedaemonians to settle in Libya. 4 But since the whole plot and concoction was no insignificant one, nor yet carelessly undertaken, but made many important assumptions, like a mathematical demonstration, and proceeded to its conclusion through premises which were difficult and hard to obtain, we shall follow, in our description of it, the account of one who was both a historian and a philosopher.57

26 1 There was a woman in Pontus who declared that she was with child by Apollo. Many disbelieved her, as was natural, but many also lent an ear to her, so that when she gave birth to a male child, many notable persons took an interest in its care and rearing. For some reason or other, the name given to the boy was Silenus. Lysander p307took these circumstances for his foundation, and supplied the rest of his cunning fabric himself, making use of not a few, nor yet insignificant, champions of the tale, 2 who brought the story of the boy's birth into credit without exciting suspicion. They also brought back another response from Delphi, and caused it to be circulated in Sparta, which declared that sundry very ancient oracles were kept in secret writings by the priests there, and that it was not possible to get these, nor even lawful to read them, unless someone born of Apollo should come after a long lapse of time, give the keepers an intelligible token of his birth, and obtain the tablets containing the oracles. 3 The way thus being prepared, Silenus was to come and demand the oracles as Apollo's son, and the priests who were in the secret were to insist on precise answers to all their questions about his birth, and finally, persuaded, forsooth, that he was the son of Apollo, were to show him the writing. Then Silenus, in the presence of many witnesses, was to read aloud the prophecies, especially the one relating to the kingdom, for the sake of which the whole scheme had been invented, and which declared that it was more for the honour and interest of the Spartans to choose their kings from the best citizens.

4 But when at last Silenus was grown to be a youth, and was ready for the business, Lysander's play was ruined for him by the cowardice of one of his actors, or co‑workers, who, just as he came to the point, lost his courage and drew back. However, all this was actually found out, not while Lysander was alive, but after his death.

p309 27 1 And he died before Agesilaüs returned from Asia, after he had plunged, or rather had plunged Hellas, into the Boeotian war.58 For it is stated in both ways; and some hold him responsible for the war, others the Thebans, and others both together. It is charged against the Thebans that they cast away the sacrifices at Aulis,59 and that, because Androcleides and Amphitheus60 had been bribed with the King's money to stir up a war in Greece against the Lacedaemonians, they set upon the Phocians and ravaged their country. 2 It is said, on the other hand, that Lysander was angry with the Thebans because they alone laid claim to a tenth part of the spoils of the war, while the rest of the allies held their peace; and because they were indignant about the money which he sent to Sparta; but above all, because they first put the Athenians in the way of freeing themselves from the thirty tyrants whom he had set up, whose terrorizing power the Lacedaemonians had increased by decreeing that fugitives from Athenians might be brought back from every place of refuge, and that all who impeded their return should be declared enemies of Sparta. 3 In reply to this the Thebans issued counter decrees, akin in spirit to the beneficent deeds of Heracles and Dionysus, to the effect that every house and city in Boeotia should be open to such Athenians as needed succour; and that whosoever did not help a fugitive under arrest, should be fined a talent; 449and that if any one should carry arms p311through Boeotia against the tyrants in Athens, no Theban would either see him or hear about it. 4 And they did not merely vote such Hellenic and humane decrees, without at the same time making their deeds correspond to their edicts; but Thrasybulus and those who with him occupied Phyle, set out from Thebes to do so,61 and the Thebans not only provided them with arms and money, but also with secrecy and a base of operations. Such, then, were the grounds of complaint which Lysander had against the Thebans.

28 1 And since he was now of an altogether harsh disposition, owing to the melancholy which persisted into his old age, he stirred up the ephors, and persuaded them to fit out an expedition against the Thebans; and assuming the command, he set out on the campaign.62 Afterwards the ephors sent out Pausanias the king also with an army. 2 Now it was the plan that Pausanias should make a circuit by the way of Mount Cithaeron, and then invade Boeotia, while Lysander marched through Phocis to meet him, with a large force. He took the city of Orchomenus, which came over to him of its own accord, and assaulted and plundered Lebadeia. Then he sent a letter to Pausanias, bidding him move from Plataea and join forces with him at Haliartus, and promising that he himself would be before the walls of Haliartus at break of day. This letter was brought to Thebes by some scouts, into whose hands its bearer fell. 3 The Thebans therefore entrusted their city to a force of Athenians which had come to their aid, while they themselves set out early in the p313night, and succeeded in reaching Haliartus a little before Lysander, and a considerable part of them entered the city. Lysander at first decided to post his army on a hill and wait for Pausanias; then, as the day advanced, being unable to remain inactive, he took his arms, encouraged his allies, and led them along the road in column towards the wall of the city. 4 But those of the Thebans who had remained outside, taking the city on their left, advanced upon the rear of their enemy, at the spring called Cissusa. Here, as the story goes, his nurses bathed the infant Dionysus after his birth; for the water has the colour and sparkle of wine, is clear, and very pleasant to the taste. And not far away the Cretan storax-shrub grows in profusion, which the Haliartans regard as a proof that Rhadamanthus once dwelt there; and they show his tomb, which they call Alea. 5 And near by is also the memorial of Alcmene; for she was buried there, as they say, having lived with Rhadamanthus after the death of Amphitryon.

But the Thebans inside the city, drawn up in battle array with the Haliartans, kept quiet for some time; when, however, they saw Lysander with his foremost troops approaching the wall, they suddenly threw open the gate and fell upon them, and killed Lysander himself with his soothsayer, and a few of the rest; for the greater part of them fled swiftly back to the main body. 6 And when the Thebans made no halt, but pressed hard upon them, the whole force turned to the hills in flight, and a thousand of them were slain. Three hundred of p315the Thebans also lost their lives by pursuing their enemies into rough and dangerous places. These had been accused of favouring the Spartan cause, and in their eagerness to clear themselves of this charge in the eyes of their fellow-citizens, they exposed themselves needlessly in the pursuit, and so threw away their lives.63

29 1 Tidings of the disaster were brought to Pausanias while he was on the march from Plataea to Thespiae, and putting his army in battle array, he came to Haliartus. Thrasybulus also came from Thebes, leading his Athenians. But when Pausanias was minded to ask for the bodies of the dead under a truce, the elders of the Spartans could not brook it, and were angry among themselves, and coming to the king, 450they protested that the body of Lysander must not be taken up under cover of a truce, but by force of arms, in open battle for it; and that if they conquered, then they would give him burial, but if they were vanquished, it would be a glorious thing to lie dead with their general. 2 Such were the words of the elders; but Pausanias saw that it would be a difficult matter to conquer the Thebans, flushed as they were with victory, and that the body of Lysander lay near the walls, so that its recovery would be difficult without a truce, even if they were victorious; he therefore sent a herald, and after making a truce, led his forces back. 3 And as soon as they had come beyond the boundary of Boeotia with Lysander's body, they buried it in the friendly soil of their allies, the Panopeans, where his monument now stands, by the road leading from Delphi to Chaeroneia.

Here the army bivouacked; and it is said that a p317certain Phocian, recounting the action to another who was not in it, said that the enemy fell upon them just after Lysander had crossed the Hoplites. 4 Then a Spartan, who was a friend of Lysander, asked in amazement what he meant by Hoplites, for he did not know the name. "Indeed it was there," said the Phocian, "that the enemy slew the foremost of us; for the stream that flows past the city is called Hoplites." On hearing this, the Spartan burst into tears, and said that man could not escape his destiny. 5 For Lysander, as it appears, had received an oracle running thus:—

"Be on thy guard, I bid thee, against a sounding Hoplites,

And an earth born dragon craftily coming behind thee."

Some, however, say that the Hoplites does not flow before Haliartus, but is a winter torrent near Coroneia, which joins the Philarus and then flows past that city; in former times it was called Hoplias, but now Isomantus. 6 Moreover, the man of Haliartus who killed Lysander, Neochorus by name, had a dragon as emblem on his shield, and to this, it was supposed, the oracle referred. And it is said that the Thebans also, during the Peloponnesian war, received an oracle at the sanctuary of Ismenus which indicated beforehand not only the battle at Delium,64 but also this battle at Haliartus, thirty years later. 7 It ran as follows:—

"When thou huntest the wolf with the spear, watch closely the border,

Orchalides, too, the hill which foxes never abandon."

p319 Now by "border," the god meant the region about Delium, where Boeotia is conterminous with Attica; and by Orchalides, the hill which is now called Alopecus, or Fox-hill, in the parts of Haliartus which stretch towards Mount Helicon.

30 1 Now that Lysander had met with such an end, at the outset the Spartans were so indignant about it that they summoned the king to trial for his life; but he evaded it, and fled to Tegea, where he spent the end of his days as a suppliant in the sanctuary of Athena. 2 For the poverty of Lysander, which was discovered at his death, made his excellence more apparent to all, since from the vast wealth and power in his hands, and from the great homage paid him by cities and the Great King, he had not, even in the slightest degree, sought to amass money for the aggrandizement of his family. This is the testimony of Theopompus, who is more to be trusted when he praises than when he blames; for he takes more pleasure in blaming than in praising. 3 But after some time had passed, according to Ephorus, some dispute arose at Sparta with her allies, and it became necessary to inspect the writings which Lysander had kept by him; for which purpose Agesilaüs went to his house. And when he found the book containing the speech on the constitution,65 which argued that the kingship ought to be taken from the Eurypontidae and Agiadae and made accessible to all Spartans alike, and that the choice should be made from the best of these, 4 he was eager to produce the speech before his countrymen, and show them what the real character of Lysander's citizenship had been. 451But Lacratidas, a prudent man, and p321at that time the principal ephor, held Agesilaüs back, saying that they ought not to dig Lysander up again, but rather to bury the speech along with him, since it was composed with such a subtle persuasiveness.

5 However, they paid him many honours at his death. In particular, they imposed a fine upon the men who had engaged to marry his daughters, and then, after Lysander's death, had renounced the engagement. The reason given for the fine was that the men had paid court to Lysander while they thought him rich, but when his poverty showed them that he was just a good man, they forsook him. For there was, as it appears, a penalty at Sparta not only for not marrying at all, and for a late marriage, but also a bad marriage; and to this last they subjected those especially who sought alliance with the rich, instead of with the good and with their own associates. Such, then, are the accounts we have found given of Lysander.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 In B.C. 424, Brasidas won Acanthus, a town on the Chalcidic peninsula, away from its alliance with Athens (Thuc. IV.84‑88).

2 Herodotus, I.82.

3 An oligarchical family, deposed from rule in Corinth by Cypselus, about 650 B.C. (Herod. V.92).

4 Cf. Lycurgus, xxii.1.

5 Problems, xxx.1.

6 413 B.C. Cf. Thuc. VIII.2.

7 Cf. Alcibiades, xxxii.4.

8 In the autumn of 408 B.C.

9 He succeeded Tissaphernes as satrap of Lydia.

10 Cf. Alcibiades, xxv.1‑2.

11 Cf. Xen. Hell. I.5.6 f.

12 Cf. Alcibiades, xxxv‑xxxvi.

13 Governing bodies of ten men.

14 Late in the year 407 B.C. It was Spartan policy to change their admiral yearly.

15 Cf. Xen. Hell. I.6.2 f.

16 In the late summer of 406 B.C. (Xen. Hell. I.6.33).

17 In the spring of 405 B.C. (Xen. Hell. II.1.7).

18 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.1.13 f.

19 In the spring of 413 B.C. the Spartans had fortified Deceleia, a few miles N.W. of Athens, and stationed there a permanent garrison under Agis the king. Lysander's ravaging of Aegina and Salamis was just before his siege of Athens, according to Xenophon (Hell. II.2.9).

20 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.1.18 f.

21 See the note on xiii.1.

22 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.1.20‑26; Plutarch, Alcibiades, xxxvi.4‑xxxvii.1.

23 One of the sacred state-galleys. It now carried the news of the disaster to Athens (Xen. Hell. II.1.28).

24 Castor and Pollux.

25 In 468‑7 B.C., according to the Parian marble (ep. 57) and Pliny, N. H. II.149 f.

26 See chapter ix.5. According to Xenophon (Hell. II.1.31 f.), however, the Athenians had passed a decree that, if victorious in the sea-fight, they would cut off the right hand of every prisoner; and the crime of Philocles was that he had ordered the crews of two captured triremes to be thrown over a precipice.

27 The specific name for the governor whom the Lacedaemonians sent out to the islands and cities of Greece during their supremacy.

28 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.2.5‑9.

29 This was after the fall of Athens (Xen. Hell. II.3.6 f.).

30 They had been expelled by the Athenians in 431 B.C.

31 The island and city of Melos were captured and depopulated by the Athenians in the winter of 416‑415 B.C.

32 The city of Scionè, on the Chalcidic peninsula, was captured and depopulated by the Athenians in 421 B.C.

33 To illustrate the Spartan passion for brevity of speech.

34 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.2.20.

35 Verses 167 f. (Kirchhoff).

36 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.2.23.

37 The scene of the "Symposium" is laid at the house of Callias, to which Autolycus and his father have been invited, together with Socrates and some of his friends.

38 As Spartan general sent out to aid the Syracusans, he had turned the success of the besieging Athenians into disaster. See the Nicias, chapters xviii ff.

39 Cf. Lycurgus, ix.2.

40 Inst. Lacon. 42 (Morals, p239 f.).

41 An omen of the defeat of the Spartans in that battle (371 B.C.).

42 Cf. chapter i.1.

43 Cf. Alcibiades, xvi.5.

44 An iambic trimeter of some unknown poet.

45 In an oasis of the great desert of Libya. Cf. Cimon, xviii.6 f.

46 Chapter xxv.3.

47 That is, the Thirty in Athens.

48 In 398 B.C., after returning home from a victorious campaign (Xen. Hell. III.3.1).

49 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, ii.2.

50 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, iii.3‑5; Xen. Hell. III.3.2 f.

51 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, vi.1 f.

52 Agis took thirty Spartans with him as counsellors and captains (Plutarch's Agesilaüs, vi.3; Xenophon's Agesilaüs, i.7).

53 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, vii‑viii.1‑2; Xen. Hell. III.4.7‑9.

54 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, viii.3; Xen. Hell. III.4.10.

55 Cf. Plutarch's Agesilaüs, viii.3.

56 In the Greek theatre, gods were swung into view, above the plane of the action, by means of a huge crane. Cf. Themistocles, x.1.

57 Probably Ephorus.

58 In 395 B.C., the aggressions of Sparta led to an alliance between Thebes and Athens against her. In the following year Corinth and Argos joined the alliance, and the whole war, which dragged along until 387 B.C., is usually known as the "Corinthian war."

59 In the spring of 396, when Agesilaüs vainly tried to sacrifice there, in imitation of Agamemnon (Plutarch's Agesilaüs, vi.4‑6; Xen. Hell. III.4.3 f., and 5.5).

60 Cf. Xen. Hell. III.5.1 and 4.

61 Cf. Xen. Hell. II.4.1 f.

62 Lysander was commissioned to raise a force of allies in Phocis and the neighbouring country, with which Pausanias was to unite his troops (Xen. Hell. III.5.6). Plutarch's language is obscure.

63 Cf. Xen. Hell. III.5.17‑20.

64 424 B.C.

65 Cf. chapter xxv.1.


Thayer's Note:

a The saying pops up elsewhere in Plutarch, and is also attributed to several other men: see the Loeb editor's footnote to Sayings of Spartans, Lys. 4.


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