Polyaenus: Stratagems

    - BOOK 2

Adapted from the translation by R.Shepherd (1793). See key to translations for an explanation of the format. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each section.

CONTENTS:   1 Agesilaus ; 2 Clearchus ; 3 Epaminondas ; 4 Pelopidas ; 5 Gorgidas ; 6 Dercyllidas ; 7 Alcetas ; 8 Arxilaidas ; 9 Isidas ; 10 Cleandridas ; 11 Pharacidas ; 12 Deiphontes ; 13 Eurypon ; 14 The ephors ; 15 Hippodamas ; 16 Gastron ; 17 Megacleidas ; 18 The harmost ; 19 Thibron ; 20 Demaratus ; 21 Herippidas ; 22 Ischolaus ; 23 Mnasippidas ; 24 Antalcidas ; 25 Agesipolis ; 26 Sthenippus ; 27 Callicratidas of Cyrene ; 28 Magas ; 29 Cleonymus ; 30 Clearchus the tyrant ; 31 Aristomenes ; 32 Cineas ; 33 Hegetorides ; 34 Deinias ; 35 Nicon ; 36 Dioetas ; 37 Tisamenus ; 38 Onomarchus

[Preface]   I beg leave to present your most sacred majesties, Antoninus and Verus, with this second book of Stratagems. You are yourselves well qualified to judge, how much labour and time I have employed to compile this collection; especially as the position, which I hold under you in the courts, allows me few leisure hours for other studies.

[1]   Agesilaus.

G   Agesilaus marched out to fight against the Acarnanians at about the time of sowing. The Laconians wished to prevent the enemy from sowing, but Agesilaus told them that after the Acarnanians had sown their corn, they would want to preserve it, and thus would be more inclined to sue for peace. "For then," he said, "they must either have peace; or allow us to reap the fruits of their labour." [see also: Xenophon, Hell_4.6'13]

2   When the Lacedaemonians were advancing to battle against the united forces of Thebes and Athens, although the light-armed troops and peltasts could be of no service to them, Agesilaus ordered the entire phalanx to the attack. Chabrias, general of the Athenians, and Gorgidas, general of the Thebans, ordered their men not to advance, but to await the enemy's charge, with their shields fixed on their knees, and their spears poised. Agesilaus, impressed by the firm disposition of their battle line, decided that it was wiser for a general to retreat, rather than risk fighting about such a resolute enemy. [see also: Diodorus, 15.32'4]

3   Not long after Agesilaus brought his army to Coroneia, a messenger arrived with news that Peisander, the Lacedaemonian admiral, had been defeated and killed by Pharnabazus. Lest the army should be discouraged by this bad news, Agesilaus ordered the heralds to proclaim the opposite: that the Lacedaemonians had won a victory at sea. To support the deceit, he himself appeared crowned, and offered sacrifices on account of the auspicious news, and sent portions of meat from the victims round to his friends. These signs of victory so inspired his troops, that they marched out to battle at Coroneia with confidence and alacrity. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_17]

4   Agesilaus always told his troops to leave the enemy a door open for flight.

5   Agesilaus, after his victory at Coroneia, was told that the Athenians had fled for refuge to the temple of Athena. He replied, "Let them go wherever they are inclined; for nothing can be more dangerous than to risk a battle with an enemy who is aroused by despair." [see also: Xenophon, Hell_4.3'20]

6   Agesilaus, during his campaign in Asia, in order to inspire his men with contempt for the barbarians, ordered some Persian captives to be stripped. He exposed them naked before the army, and told the Greeks to observe their delicate and puny bodies, caused by the luxurious lives in which they were brought up; but on the other hand, their clothes were rich and costly. He added laconically, "Those are our enemies, and these are the rewards of victory." [see also: Plutarch, Ages_9]

7   The allies complained, that the Lacedaemonians had brought fewer soldiers into battle than themselves. Agesilaus ordered the allies to sit down by themselves; and the Laconians to do the same; so that he could give them proof. A herald then made a proclamation, that all the potters should stand up; and a great many of the allies did so. Secondly, the smiths were ordered to rise; many more stood up. Then the carpenters, who were a numerous group, were ordered to stand up. In the same way, all the other craftsmen and artisans were ordered to stand up. After this, there were hardly any of the allies left seated. But of the Lacedaemonians, not a man was seen standing; for their laws forbade them from practising any such trade. Thus the allies were taught that, although they had contributed more men towards the conduct of the war, yet the Laconians had brought more soldiers for battle. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_26]

8   When Agesilaus marched his army into Asia and ravaged the king's territory in that region, Tisaphernes proposed a truce of three months; in that time, they might persuade the king to grant freedom to the Greek cities in Asia. Consequently, the Greeks avoided action and waited for the expiry of the truce; but the Persian was indefatigable in augmenting his forces, and contrary to what he had agreed, suddenly attacked the Greeks. Because they were not expecting an enemy, and were not prepared for resistance, there was confusion and consternation throughout the camp. But Agesilaus came forward with a tranquil expression, or rather looking full of joy, and said to the Greeks, "I thank Tisaphernes for his perjury, by which he has made the gods his enemies, and our allies. Let us therefore march out with confidence, because we have such powerful allies." Encouraged by this short speech, they followed their general into battle and completely defeated the barbarians. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_3.4'5]

9   When he marched to Sardis, Agesilaus sent men to spread a rumour, that his march was only a pretence to deceive Tisaphernes; for although his expedition seemed professedly against Lydia, in reality his target was Caria. Tisaphernes, informed of this, directed all his attention towards the defence of Caria; but the Lacedaemonian ravaged Lydia, and enriched himself with the spoil of the defenceless territory. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_4.3'20]

10   When Agesilaus invaded Acarnania, the inhabitants retreated into the mountains; he halted in the plains, and contented himself with destroying the wood in the neighbouring places, by uprooting the trees. Because he seemed preoccupied in destroying their trees, the Acarnanians despised his apparent indolence; they abandoned the positions they had taken in the mountains, and returned to the cities which were situated in the plains. This spurred Agesilaus into action; by a forced march of a hundred and sixty stades in one night, he surprised them the next morning. He captured many of the Acarnanians in the plain, and took away a great quantity of cattle and other booty. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_4.6'5]

11 G   When Agesilaus heard that the Thebans had secured the pass at Scolus, he ordered all the embassies from Greece to remain at Thespiae; and commanded the supplies for the army to be stored there. The Thebans, informed of this, marched their forces from Scolus to Thespiae, in order to intercept the enemy there. Meanwhile Agesilaus, after a two days' march, found the post at Scolus deserted, and passed through without opposition. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_5.4'48]

12   When Agesilaus was ravaging their territory, the Thebans occupied a hill, called the Seat of Rhea, which was almost inaccessible by nature. He could not attack them there except at a great disadvantage, nor could he penetrate any further into the country, without dislodging them from there. Therefore he made a feint of drawing away his forces, and marching directly against Thebes, which was at that time quite undefended. The Thebans, afraid for their city, abandoned their advantageous position, and hastened to the defence of their homes. Then Agesilaus passed by the hill without opposition. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_5.4'49]

13   At the battle of Leuctra, many of the Lacedaemonians threw down their arms and deserted their ranks. In order that so large a number of men might not be branded with infamy, Agesilaus arranged to be appointed as a temporary legislator. In that capacity, he did not venture to weaken the constitution by establishing any new laws, but for a short time he prevented the execution of the old laws, and then allowed them to regain their full force after the battle of Leuctra. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_30]

14   A mutiny happened at Sparta, and many of the hoplites occupied the sacred mountain of Artemisa Issoria, near Pitane. At the same time the Thebans and Arcadians pressed hard upon them, and there was general consternation between the dangers of war and mutiny. Agesilaus, who always retained his resolution and promptness of thought even in the most widespread confusion, judged that it would be too dangerous at that moment to try to force the rebels to obedience; but to plead with them would demean his authority. Therefore he went to the mountain alone and unarmed, and with an intrepid and serene expression, he called out, "Men, you have mistaken my orders; go over to that mountain" (and he pointed to another place) "and remain on guard in your various posts." The Laconians assumed that he was unaware of their mutiny; they obeyed his orders, and marched off to their new positions. But as soon as night arrived, Agesilaus seized twelve of the ringleaders in different places, and thus quashed the mutiny. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_32]

15   The army was in great distress, and many soldiers were deserting every day. To conceal the number of deserters from the rest of the army, Agesilaus sent men throughout the different parts of the camp by night, with orders to gather up all the shields which had been cast away, and bring them to him; so that the discovery of a shield should not reveal the desertion of its owner. In this way, because no discarded shields were to be seen, the other soldiers remained unaware of the deserters. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_32]

16   Agesilaus besieged Phocaea for a long time, without being able to capture the city; nor could he afford to remain there for the further length of time, that the siege was likely to require. However the allies of the Phocaeans were no less weary of the siege than he was. Therefore he ordered his army to strike camp; and retreated. After he had retreated, the allies of the Phocaeans gladly left for their homes; but Agesilaus, learning of this, returned to the city and easily captured it, now that it had been abandoned by its allies. [see also: Frontinus, Str_3.11'2]

17   When he needed to march through Macedonia, Agesilaus sent envoys to king Aeropus, asking him for a free passage. But Aeropus, who had been informed that the Laconians were weak in cavalry, refused to enter into any treaty with him; instead, he replied that he would meet him in person, and ordered his own cavalry to take the field. Therefore Agesilaus, to give the impression of more cavalry than he really had, ordered the infantry to form the first line; and behind them placed all the horses that he could muster, forming them into a double phalanx, and augmenting them with asses, mules, and some horses which, though too old for service, were still used to pull the baggage. There were soldiers mounted on all of these, in complete cavalry armour, so that they gave the appearance of a large number of horsemen. When he saw such a formidable force, Aeropus agreed a treaty with the Lacedaemonians, which allowed them a free passage through his dominions.

18   While his army was encamped in Boeotia, Agesilaus noticed that the allies were unwilling to fight, and were continually slipping away. He secretly sent orders to Orchomenus, an allied city which was the destination of many of the deserters, that they should receive none of the allies into their city, without his permission. Therefore the allies found that they had no place of refuge; and they were forced to place their hopes of safety in victory, rather than flight. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.11'5]

19   When the Thebans were hard pressed in a battle with the Lacedaemonians, they attempted to cut their way out through the Lacedaemonian phalanx. This resulted in obstinate fighting, with many casualties on both sides. Then Agesilaus ordered his troops to act on the defensive, and to open up their ranks, so that the Thebans had an opportunity of breaking through. The Thebans immediately ran through and took to flight; but Agesilaus then fell on their rear, and without further loss to himself, obtained a complete victory over the fleeing enemy. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.6'6]

20   In another battle with the Boeotians, when he noticed that his allies were on the point of yielding, Agesilaus ordered a retreat through a narrow defile in the mountains, with the Lacedaemonians leading the way. When the enemy fell upon his rear, the allies had no choice but to conquer, or die.

21 G   When Agesilaus invaded Boeotia, he ordered the allies to destroy the timber, and to ravage the countryside; but when he saw how negligent and lax they were in executing his orders, he commanded them to desist from the devastation. At the same time, he moved his camp three or four times each day, and because of these manoeuvres, the allies were obliged to cut down wood for the purpose of erecting their tents. Thus they were compelled by necessity to do what they had failed to do earlier, and to inflict this damage on the enemy.

22   When Agesilaus was sent as an ally to Nectanebus in Egypt, they were hemmed in on a narrow strip of land, and blockaded. The Egyptian, who could not bear to be encircled in this way, urged Agesilaus to risk a battle. But Agesilaus did not give in to his demands; instead he waited until his little army was almost surrounded by a wall and trench, with only one small gap remaining, which looked like an entrance into the enclosure. Then Agesilaus called out, "Now is the time for courage!" After sallying out through the entrance, he vigorously attacked and routed the enemy, while the wall served as a fortification to prevent his men from being surrounded by the superior numbers of the enemy. [see also: Plutarch, Ages_39]

23   A battle was fought between the Lacedaemonians and Thebans, which remained undecided when it was brought to an end by the approach of night. In the night, Agesilaus sent a group of trustworthy soldiers, with orders to carry away from the field or secretly bury all the Spartans that they could find. After accomplishing this, they returned to the camp before daybreak. When it became light, the enemy saw that almost all the dead were Thebans, and as a result they were dispirited, because they assumed that they had been completely defeated.

24   When Agesilaus, on his return from his campaign in Asia, was marching through Boeotia, the Thebans tried to harass him and occupied the defiles through which he had to pass. But Agesilaus formed his army into a double phalanx, and ordered the soldiers to march towards Thebes in that formation. The Thebans were terrified that he would capture their city while it was undefended, and they immediately left their positions. While they rushed back to defend the city, Agesilaus continued his march without opposition. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.4'3]

25   In order to halt the invasion of their territory by Agesilaus, the Thebans fortified a camp, on either side of which were narrow defiles. Agesilaus formed his army into a square, hollow column and advanced against the pass on the left. After he had drawn the enemy's whole attention in this direction, he secretly sent small groups of soldiers from his rear, who occupied the other pass without opposition. Then he entered the Theban territory through the other pass, and thoroughly devastated it before retreating safely.

26   While Agesilaus was encamped near Lampsacus, there came to him some Greek deserters from the mines, who announced in the camp, that the inhabitants of Lampsacus had decided to send all the prisoners that they might capture to the mines. This so enraged the army, that they advanced right up to the walls of the city, determined to storm and plunder it. Agesilaus, who was unable to suppress their fury but wanted to save the city, pretended to join in the general resentment. He ordered his troops immediately to destroy the neighbouring vineyards, because they belonged to the leading citizens. While the troops were engaged in doing this, Agesilaus managed to inform the citizens of Lampsacus of their danger, and they took steps to guard themselves against the intended attack.

27   The Lacedaemonians and Thebans were encamped against each other, on opposite sides of the river Eurotas. Agesilaus noticed that the Lacedaemonians were eager to cross the river, but he was afraid of the superior numbers of the enemy. He deliberately spread a rumour that the oracle had declared that the army, which first crossed the river, would be routed. After curbing the enthusiasm of the Lacedaemonians in this way, he left a few of the allies, under the command of their general Symmachus of Thasos, to guard the crossing of the Eurotas; he concealed some other troops in ambush within a hollow; and he himself took up a strong position with the Lacedaemonian veterans. The Thebans, when they observed the small force that was left under Symmachus to dispute their crossing, confidently advanced to cross the river; but while they pursued the troops, who deliberately fled away from them, they fell into the ambush and lost six hundred men. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.10'3]

28   After marching into Messenia, Agesilaus sent out a spy, who returned with information, not only that the Messenians had left their city in order to oppose him, but also that they had been joined by their wives and children, and even by their slaves, who had been manumitted for the purpose. He therefore abandoned his attack, observing that men who were so desperate would always fight with the most determined courage.

29   When the Lacedaemonians were besieged in their city by the Thebans, they were indignant at being cooped up within their walls along with the women, and decided to sally out in a glorious attempt either to conquer or to die. Agesilaus dissuaded them from this rash intention, by reminding them, that they had once blocked up the Athenians in a similar way; but the Athenians, instead of throwing away their lives in such a wild attempt, had manned their walls and defended their city, until the Lacedaemonians, worn down by the opposition and delay, had been compelled to raise the siege and evacuate the country.

30   While Agesilaus was bringing back a great quantity of spoils in Asia, he was harassed by the enemy, who attacked him with their arrows and javelins. Therefore he flanked his army with prisoners; the barbarians were unwilling to kill their own men, and desisted from further attacks. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.4'2]

31 G   Agesilaus surprised by night the city of Menda, which supported the Athenians, and occupied the strongest part of it. The inhabitants were enraged, and immediately gathered together in their assembly. Agesilaus stood up and said to them all: "Why are you so angry and resentful? Half of you belong to the conspiracy, which betrayed the city to me." This made the citizens of Menda turn to suspecting each other, and they submitted to the victor's terms without further resistance.

32   It was the practice of Agesilaus, to restore to their countries without ransom those captives, who had powerful connections in their respective states. In this way he reduced their influence and ability to incite rebellion, by creating suspicion of their loyalty in the minds of their fellow citizens.

33   When Agesilaus negotiated with the enemy, he always insisted that they should send their most important men to discuss the terms with him. He then conversed with these men in a friendly fashion, and entertained them lavishly, so that he created suspicion of them among the common people, and caused dissension within their state.

[2]   Clearchus.

G   Clearchus advanced with a numerous army to a river, which in one place was so easily fordable that the water would not reach higher than the knees, but in another place was deep enough to be breast-high. He tried first to force a passage where the water was shallowest. But when he found that the crossing was strongly contested by the enemy with slings and arrows, he marched his hoplites to the spot where the river was deepest. While they were crossing there, most of their bodies were concealed beneath the water, and the parts which were above the water were covered by their shields. Therefore they were able to cross the river without loss, and forced the enemy to retreat. Then the remaining part of the army crossed the shallow ford without opposition.

2   During the retreat of the Greek forces after the death of Cyrus, Clearchus encamped in a region which abounded with provisions. Tisaphernes sent envoys there, and assured them that he would allow them to continue unmolested there, if they gave up their weapons. Clearchus showed so much attention to the envoys, that Tisaphernes, assuming that a treaty would be agreed, disbanded some of his troops and sent his army back to their quarters. Then the Greeks struck camp at night, and by marching continuously through the day and the night advanced so far ahead of the Persian, that before he could gather his scattered troops, they were completely out of his reach. [see also: Xenophon, Anab_2.1]

3   Clearchus asked Cyrus not to expose himself to danger, but to stay at a distance, as a spectator of the battle. He said to him that a single man, merely by his physical strength, could be of little consequence in determining the outcome of a battle; whereas if he fell in battle, they would all fall with him. He then advanced slowly with the Greeks in a close firm phalanx, and the well-ordered charge struck terror into the enemy. As soon as they approached within reach of their javelins, Clearchus ordered his men to close with the enemy, as fast as they could run. By this manoeuvre the Greeks completely defeated the Persians. [see also: Diodorus, 14.23]

4   After the death of Cyrus, the Greeks were left in possession of a large and fertile tract of country, which was surrounded by a river, so that it was almost an island, except for one narrow isthmus. Clearchus, in order to dissuade his troops from remaining encamped in this peninsula, dispatched to their camp a pretended deserter, who informed them that the king intended to build a wall across the isthmus, and hem them in. Alarmed by this news, the Greeks took the advice of Clearchus, and placed their camp outside the isthmus. [see also: Xenophon, Anab_2.4'14]

5   When he was returning from a raid with a large amount of booty, Clearchus was surprised by a superior force on a mountain, where he had halted. The enemy began to dig a trench around the mountain, and his officers strongly urged him to fight, before they were completely blocked in. Clearchus told them to be patient. As soon as the evening approached, he threw his baggage and booty into the most incomplete part of the trench, and there he attacked the enemy, as if on a narrow pass, and defeated them because they were unable to use the advantage of their superior numbers.

6   When Clearchus was returning with the spoils which he had captured in Thrace, he was unable to complete his retreat to Byzantium, and encamped near the Thracian mountains. Because he expected that the Thracians would pour down from the mountains and attack him in the night, he ordered his men to keep on their armour, and to wake up at frequent intervals during the night. In order to test their readiness to meet a sudden attack, he chose a very dark night and in the middle of it, he appeared before his own camp at the head of a small detachment, who brandished and struck their weapons against each other in the Thracian manner. His troops, assuming that they were the enemy, immediately formed up to resist them. Meanwhile the Thracians really did advance in the hope of surprising them while they were asleep; but the Greeks, being already dressed and armed, confronted the assailants. The Thracians were unprepared for such a ready and vigorous resistance, and were defeated with great slaughter.

7   After the revolt of Byzantium, Clearchus, although he had been condemned by the ephors, continued with a raid against the Thracians. He arrived with four ships at Lampsacus, where apparently he lived in a loose and dissipated manner. The Byzantines appealed to him for assistance against the Thracians, by whom were being hard pressed. He pretended a severe attack of gout, and waited for three days before he agreed to meet with the Byzantine envoys. Then he assured then, that he felt very sorry for their situation, and assured them that they would receive the assistance which they required. Accordingly, after manning two other ships besides the four which he had with him, he set sail for Byzantium. There he disembarked his own troops, and at an assembly of the people he urged them to put all their cavalry and their hoplites on board the ships, so that they could fall on the enemy's rear, and thereby divert their attention away from the city. At the same time, he ordered the captains of the ships to weigh anchor, as soon as they saw him give the signal for battle. The troops embarked, and at the given signal the ships immediately set sail. Then Clearchus, pretending to be thirsty, invited the Byzantine generals to step inside a nearby tavern with him. After posting a group of his men at the door, he massacred the generals, and ordered the landlord of the tavern, on pain of death, not to reveal what had happened. Meanwhile he took advantage of the absence of the citizens, who were on the ships, to send his own troops into the city, and gained control of it. [see also: Diodorus, 14.12]

8   The Thracians sent envoys to Clearchus to sue for peace, after he had spread terror and devastation throughout their country. Clearchus was opposed to peace on any terms, and to prove this, he ordered his cooks to cut into pieces two or three Thracian bodies, and hang them up. He told them, if any Thracians asked what this meant, to reply that they were being prepared for Clearchus's supper. Struck with horror at such acts, the Thracian envoys abandoned their mission and returned home. [see also: Frontinus, Str_3.5'1]

9   When Clearchus's hoplites were being harassed by the enemy's cavalry, he formed his army eight deep, in a looser formation than the usual square. He ordered his men to lower their shields, and under cover of the shields to use their swords to dig ditches, as large as they could conveniently make them. As soon as this was finished, he advanced beyond the ditches into the plain which lay in front of them, and ordered his troops, as soon as they were pressed by the enemy, to retreat behind the ditches which they had recently made. The enemy's cavalry, charging eagerly after them, fell one over another into the ditches, and became easy victims to the troops of Clearchus.

10   When Clearchus was in Thrace, his army was seized by a groundless fear of attacks at night. To restore order in his camp, he ordered that, if any tumult should arise, no-one should stir; and if anyone rose and left his tent, he should be killed as an enemy. This order effectively put an end to the fears of a night attack, and the camp became quiet and tranquil again.

[3]   Epaminondas.

G   Phoebidas, the officer in charge of the Cadmeia, conceived a passion for the wife of Epaminondas, who informed her husband of the advances he had made to her. Epaminondas told her to feign acceptance of his advances, and to invite him to dinner; she asked him at the same time to bring along some friends with him, to whom she promised to introduce ladies who were as easy and compliant as herself. Accordingly, Phoebidas and his friends came to dinner, and found everything as they had hoped. After they had eaten, and drunk freely, the ladies asked for leave to retire, in order to go to an evening sacrifice; they promised that they would return later. The men agreed, and told the doormen to let them in when they returned. After leaving, the women exchanged their clothes with some beardless youths; the youths then accompanied one of the women, who led them back and after a short conversation persuaded the doormen to let them in. The young men, as they had been instructed, immediately killed both Phoebidas and his companions.

2   In the battle at Leuctra, Epaminondas commanded the Thebans, and Cleombrotus commanded the Lacedaemonians. The battle remained finely balanced for a long time, until Epaminondas called on his troops to give him one step more, and he would ensure the victory. They did as he asked; and they gained the victory. The Spartan king Cleombrotus was killed in the fighting, and the Laconians left the enemy in possession of the battlefield.

3   When Epaminondas advanced to Leuctra, the Thespians showed that they were reluctant to fight. Epaminondas plainly noticed this, but in order to avoid the confusion which would be caused in his army by their desertion, he announced just before he attacked, that whoever of the Boeotians wished to leave the battlefield, they were at liberty to do so. The Thespians, who were already armed, took advantage of his proclamation and withdrew. Meanwhile Epaminondas led the resolute troops, who remained with him, to a great and glorious victory. [see also: Pausanias, 9.13'8]

4   When Epaminondas invaded the Peloponnese, he found the enemy encamped at Mount Oneium. A violent storm of thunder happened at the same time, which greatly intimidated his army, and the soothsayer declared against fighting. But Epaminondas said that it was the right time for fighting; because the thunder was clearly directed against the enemy in their camp. His interpretation of the occurrence brought fresh courage to his soldiers; and they advanced eagerly to the attack. [see also: Plutarch, Mor_193'A]

5   After a successful expedition against the Lacedaemonians, Epaminondas had it in his power to capture Lacedaemon; but he retreated from the vicinity of the city, without taking advantage of the opportunity. When his colleagues threatened to bring him to trial for his conduct, he showed them the Arcadians, Messenians, Argives and other Peloponnesians. "If we were to destroy the Lacedaemonians," he said, "all these would become our enemies. They are at present our allies, not for the sake of helping Thebes, but to keep the Spartan power in check."

6   Epaminondas used to encourage the Thebans to try their strength with the Lacedaemonians, who lived amongst them, in wrestling and boxing. When the Thebans easily mastered them in these exercises, they conceived a contempt for the people; and so they learned to meet them on the battlefield with confidence in their own superiority.

7   While he was in the Peloponnese, Epaminondas constantly drew up his army at sun-rise, as if ready to fight; and thereby he gave the impression to the enemy that he intended to confront them openly in battle. After the Lacedaemonians had been deceived by this feint, he attacked them during the night, while they were quite unprepared to resist him.

8   At the famous battle between the Lacedaemonians and their allies, commanded by Cleombrotus, and the Thebans, under the command of Epaminondas, the Theban general used two stratagems to raise the spirits of his troops, when they were alarmed by the superior numbers of the enemy, whose army amounted to forty thousand men. When they marched out of the city, he arranged for them to be met by a stranger, who had a garland on his head, and was adorned with ribbons. The man said that he was sent by Trophonius to inform them, that the victory would belong to those, who began the attack. Then Epaminondas told the Thebans, who were moved with superstition by this pronouncement of the oracle, to pay their vows at the temple of Heracles. He had previously ordered the priests to open the temple during the night, take out the rusty weapons which were kept there, polish them up, and lay them before the statue of the god; after they had done this, he told them to leave the building and inform no-one of what had happened. When the soldiers and their officers entered the building, they found no-one in attendance, but the old rusty weapons were newly polished, bright and gleaming. The soldiers immediately shouted in acclamation, and advanced out to battle, confident that they were fighting under the protection of Heracles. As a result of their confidence, they were able to defeat the army of forty thousand men. [see also: Diodorus, 15.53]

9   In order to prevent an expedition that Epaminondas planned to make against Lacedaemon, a body of Laconians were sent to secure the pass by Mount Oneium. Epaminondas halted by the mountain, and pretended that he would immediately attempt to take it by force. The Laconians remained in arms all through the night, in readiness to resist him. But on the contrary, Epaminondas ordered his men to relax and rest themselves, and waited until the next morning. Then he struck camp and attacked the enemy while they were exhausted and sleeping. He easily defeated them, and forced his way through the pass. [see also: Diodorus, 15.68]

10   Epaminondas once attempted to gain control of Lacedaemon by a night attack, while the Lacedaemonian forces were absent. But Agesilaus, who had been informed of this plan by deserters, entered the city after a forced march with a body of troops; and after preparing to receive the enemy, he drove them back with great loss. Amidst the confusion, many of the Theban soldiers, who had been routed in the night and were being vigorously pursued by the Lacedaemonians, threw away their shields. When Epaminondas observed this, in order to conceal their disgrace, he ordered the troops to hand over their shields to the keepers of the baggage, and to follow their general with only their swords and their spears. This earned him the gratitude of those who had thrown away their shields; and in return for that act of favour, they were most alert from then on in executing his commands. [see also: Frontinus, Str_3.11'5]

11 G   In a battle between the Thebans and the Lacedaemonians, when night came on and the victory remained undecided, both armies returned to their respective camps. The Lacedaemonians, who encamped in regular formation, in their own regiments and morae, could see who was missing and were aware of their losses, which greatly discouraged and concerned them. But Epaminondas ordered the Thebans, without regard to their particular regiment or company, to eat as quickly as they could, in whatever tent they could find, sharing with each other whatever provisions they could find. The next morning they advanced to the attack, well refreshed and in full spirits; and they obtained an easy victory over the enemy, who were so disheartened by the loss of their friends that they were like an army that had already suffered a defeat.

12   When Epaminondas advanced to fight against the Lacedaemonians and their allies, whose army amounted to forty thousand men, he observed that the Theban troops, as might be expected, were alarmed by the great superiority in numbers of the enemy. He employed various stratagems to keep up their spirits. There was in the temple of Athena at Thebes a statue of the goddess, holding a spear in her right hand and with a shield before her knees. During the night, he sent an artist into the temple, who altered the statue so that the goddess was holding the handle of the shield in her left hand. In the morning, before the troops marched out, he ordered the temples to be opened up, on pretence of performing some religious ceremonies before he went out to battle. The soldiers noticed with astonishment how the appearance of the goddess had changed; and they considered that they were assured of her direct protection. Then Epaminondas reassured them in a powerful speech, that Athena was taking up her shield against their foes. As a result, the Thebans fought with such confidence of success, that after charging against the enemy sword in hand, they obtained a complete and brilliant victory, despite their inferiority in numbers. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.11'16]

13   The Thessalians were drawn up on the other side of the river Spercheius, ready to dispute the crossing of the Thebans over the bridge. In the morning, Epaminondas observed that a heavy cloud was rising up from the river. He ordered each of his men to carry two parcels of wood, one green and one dry; in the middle of the night they set fire to the dry one, and put the green one on top of it. In the night, the clouds and the smoke so obscured the view, that Epaminondas and his army were able to cross the bridge without being observed. It was not until the smoke and the clouds had dispersed, that the Thessalians realised that the Theban army had crossed the bridge; and meanwhile the Thebans drew up in order of battle on the open plain. [see also: Diodorus, 15.71'5]

14   To gain the advantage of ground over the Lacedaemonians near Tegea, Epaminondas ordered the commander of his cavalry, with sixteen hundred men, to ride up and down, a small distance in front of the army. By this means they raised a cloud of dust, which prevented the enemy from observing his movements. Then he moved away, and took possession of the higher ground. When the Spartans saw his new position, they realised the reason for the movements of his cavalry, which they had been unable to understand beforehand. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.2'12]

15   In order to encourage the Thebans to make a vigorous attack on the Lacedaemonians, Epaminondas produced a large snake, and crushed its head in front of the army. "If you crush the head," he said, "you see how impotent is the rest of the body. So let us crush the head of the confederacy, that is the Laconians, and the power of their allies will become insignificant.". The Thebans appreciated the force of his argument. They attacked and routed the Laconian phalanx; after which, the whole army of the allies immediately gave way and fled.

[4]   Pelopidas.

G   Pelopidas advanced against two fortified cities, which were about 120 stades distant from each other. Upon approaching one of them, he ordered some horsemen, with wreaths on their heads, to ride up to him at full speed, and announce that the other city had been captured. Upon receiving this news, he changed his plans, and marched to the city which was supposed to have been captured. As soon as he arrived before its walls, he ordered a large fire to be lit; and when the people in the other city saw the smoke rising from it, it confirmed their suspicion that the city had been captured and burnt. Therefore in order to avoid the same calamity, they opened their gates to Pelopidas when he returned, and surrendered their city to him. With the addition of the forces which he found in that town, he then advanced against the other city. The inhabitants, alarmed by the fate of the city which had already been captured, no longer tried to resist, and they also surrendered to Pelopidas. [see also: Frontinus, Str_3.8'2]

2   Pelopidas did not have time to cross a river in his retreat from Thessaly, because the enemy were pressing so closely on his rear. He encamped by the side of the river, and entrenched himself opposite the enemy, as strongly as time permitted. Then he ordered a great quantity of wood to be cut down, and after it had been laid in the trenches, he told his troops to rest. In the middle of the night, he set the wood on fire. The fierce blaze, which stopped the enemy from pursuing, allowed him to cross the river without hindrance. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.5'2]

3   A Laconian garrison was placed in Thebes, and their commander took up residence in the Cadmeia. It happened to be the festival of Aphrodite, which the women celebrate with great jollity, while the men attend as spectators. To do honour to the goddess, the commander of the garrison ordered some prostitutes to be introduced. But Pelopidas entered among them, with a hidden dagger; he slew the commander of the garrison, and liberated Thebes. [see also: Plutarch, Pel_11]

[5]   Gorgidas.

G   Gorgidas was the man, who first established the sacred band in Thebes; it consisted of three hundred men, who were devoted to each other by mutual obligations of love. And such was the effect of the passion, which they had conceived for each other, that they scarcely ever turned to flight; but they either died for each other, or bravely conquered.

2   Gorgidas, who commanded a detachment of cavalry, fell in with a body of peltasts, who were under the command of Phoebidas, on a narrow piece of ground. Gorgidas ordered a retreat, as if he was unable to withstand the attack of the peltasts. The enemy continue to pursue him closely, until he had at last drawn them into an open plain. Then Gorgidas, by hoisting a helmet on a spear, gave the signal to his troops to turn around. The peltasts were unable to withstand the attack of the cavalry, now that they had room in which to manoeuvre. The peltasts fled away to Thespiae, and (?) many of them were killed in the rout; Phoebidas along with a few others escaped with difficulty to Thebes. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_5.4'42]

[6]   Dercyllidas.

G   Dercyllidas pledged with an oath to Meidias the tyrant of Scepsis, that if he came out to a conference, he would be at liberty to return to the city afterwards. The tyrant accordingly came out to meet him. At the conference, Dercyllidas instructed him, on pain of death, to order the gates of the city to be opened. The tyrant yielded to the threat, and the gates were thrown open. "Now," said Dercyllidas, "return into your city; for that is what I promised. But I and my army will enter too." [see also: Xenophon, Hell_3.1'20]

[7]   Alcetas.

G   Alcetas the Lacedaemonian planned to sail out of Histiaea, but wanted to conceal the strength of his fleet. He embarked his forces in turn on one trireme, which he ordered to manoeuvre in sight of the enemy. In this way he was able to exercise the crews of all his ships. [see also: Frontinus, Str_4.7'19]

[8]   Arxilaidas.

G   Arxilaidas the Laconian was marching through an inhospitable country, where he thought it very probable that ambushes might be formed against him. Although he had received no direct intelligence of any ambushes, he told his army that he had been informed of it as a fact, and he ordered them therefore to march in order of battle. His suspicions were justified; a large force had been placed in ambush to surprise him. He immediately attacked this force, who were unprepared for any resistance, because they did not expect the other army to be prepared for action; and he killed many of them.

[9]   Isidas.

G   After their decisive victory at Leuctra, the Thebans installed a garrison in Gytheium, the port of Sparta. Isidas the Laconian formed a group of a hundred youths of his acquaintance, who oiled themselves and bound wreaths of olive around their heads. Then they concealed daggers under their arms, and ran naked across the plain, with Isidas in the lead and the others following. The Thebans, who were deceived by their appearance, supposed that they were just exercising themselves. But the Laconians took out their daggers and fell upon them. After killing some of the Thebans, and driving out the others, they regained possession of Gytheium.

[10]   Cleandridas.

G   In an expedition against Terina, Cleandridas the Laconian marched his army through a concealed valley, in order to surprise the city. But the inhabitants of the city, who were informed of his plans by deserters, marched out and appeared on the hills above him. His troops were disheartened by the advantageous position which the enemy had taken, but Cleandridas told them to take courage. He then ordered a herald to proclaim, "Those men of Terina, who answer the agreed signal, will remain safe." The inhabitants of Terina, who were induced by this proclamation to suppose that they were being betrayed, went back as quickly as possible to defend their city. Meanwhile Cleandridas continued his march in safety; and, after ravaging the countryside, he retreated without opposition.

2   Cleandridas, after the Thurians under his command had defeated the Lucanians, led his men back to the field of battle. He pointed out to them, on the spot where they had stood, the close and compact manner in which they had fought, and he told them that it was because of this that they had won the victory; but the enemy, who left their posts and loosened their ranks, had been unable to withstand their united attack. Meanwhile, the Lucanians rallied and advanced against him with a considerably larger force. Cleandridas retreated to a confined and narrow spot, where the enemy could not make use of their superiority in numbers, but his own men could extend their front to an equal length. By this manoeuvre he defeated the Lucanians a second time.

3   The inhabitants of Tegea suspected that their leaders secretly supported the Lacedaemonians. In order to increase this suspicion, when Cleandridas ravaged their territory, he scrupulously avoided damaging the estates of their leaders. As a result of these signs of favour from the enemy, the leaders were immediately charged with treason. When they found that the resentment of the people against them was running high, they feared that they would be condemned on this charge. Therefore the leaders were forced by the false suspicion to become real traitors, and betrayed their city to Cleandridas.

4   In the war against the Lucanians, Cleandridas, whose own army was one and a half times the size of the enemy, was afraid that he would be unable to bring them to battle, if they knew his true strength. Therefore he formed a deep phalanx, with a narrow front. The Lucanians, who were made over-confident by his supposedly small numbers, tried to block his retreat, by extending their ranks in order to surround him. After the Lucanians had (?) made their own retreat impossible by this manoeuvre, Cleandridas ordered his own officers to extend their formation as wide as they could. In this way he surrounded the enemy, who were all killed, except for a few who escaped with difficulty.

5   Cleandridas always advised the Thurians against fighting a superior enemy in open battle; he said that, if the lion's skin was not sufficient, it was necessary to put on the fox's tail. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.3'12]

[11]   Pharacidas.

G   After the Carthaginians declared war against Syracuse, Pharacidas attacked a Carthaginian squadron, and captured nine of their ships. In order to pass by the enemy's main fleet, which was much larger, he manned the ships with his own troops and sailors. The Carthaginians, recognising their own ships and supposing them to be friendly, allowed them to pass by without hindrance into the harbour of Syracuse. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.4'12]

[12]   Deiphantes.

G   Deiphantes ordered the Dorians to bring the Argives out to battle, by ravaging their territory. He himself sailed off with a detachment, and landed near a mountain, where he lay concealed. A scout was sent to inform the Argives of the damage which the Dorians had committed; they immediately set off to confront the raiders. Meanwhile Deiphantes rushed forwards from his ships with his detachment, and captured the camp which had been left without defenders. In this way the parent, children and wives of the Argive fell into the hands of the enemy. The Argives were forced to surrender their country and cities to the Dorians, in order to recover their families.

[13]   Eurytion.

G   Eurytion, king of the Lacedaemonians, found that the war which he had undertaken against the Arcadians was lasting longer than he had expected. In order to sow dissension amongst the Arcadians, he sent a herald, to inform them, that the Lacedaemonians would end the war, if they banished those who were guilty of killing Agis. Therefore those, who had been responsible for the death of Agis, banded together to avoid being punished by the people as the price of peace. They won the support of the slaves through the promise of their freedom, and put to death all of their opponents. After the people had been divided into two factions in this way, the party who were in favour of peace assembled in a particular quarter of the city of Mantineia, and threw open the gates to the enemy; and so by their help the Lacedaemonians obtained what they had been unable to achieve by force of arms.

[14]   The ephors.

G   When the ephors learned of a conspiracy, which had been formed by Cinadon, they did not think it advisable to seize him in the city. Instead they secretly dispatched a group of cavalry to Aulon, not far from the borders of Laconia, and contrived that Cinadon, attended by two soldiers, should be sent there as if on a covert operation. As soon as he arrived on the spot, the cavalry seized him, and through torture forced him to reveal the identity of the other conspirators. When the ephors received his confession, they ordered the execution of the others conspirators while he was still absent, and in this way they suppressed the conspiracy without any resistance. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_3.3'5]

2   When the ephors learned that the Partheniae were planning an uprising, and that the signal for it was to be a cap thrown up in the middle of the market-place, they ordered this proclamation to be made: "All who are waiting for the cap to be thrown up, must leave the market-place". Accordingly, all those, who were involved in the intended uprising, abandoned their attempt, because their plan had been discovered. [see also: Strabo, 6.278]

[15]   Hippodamas.

G   Hippodamas was besieged at Prasiae by the Arcadians, and reduced to great distress by the lack of provisions. The Arcadians intercepted a courier, whom the Spartans had sent to Hippodamas; they led the courier to the walls, and gave him permission to deliver his message, but would not allow him to enter the city. Hippodamas immediately called out to him from the walls, "Tell the ephors to deliver us from the woman, who is bound in the temple of Chalcioecus." The Arcadians could make nothing of this instruction, but the Lacedaemonians understood that he was asking to be delivered from famine. For in the temple of Chalcioecus there was a picture of Famine, who was shown as a woman, pale and emaciated, with her hands tied behind her back. In this way Hippodamas contrived to send a message which was clear to his fellow-citizens, but kept it secret from the enemy.

[16]   Gastron.

G   Gastron, the Lacedaemonian commander in the war against the Persians in Egypt, made the Greeks and Egyptians exchange their weapons and clothes before a battle. The Greeks appeared in Egyptian costume, and the Egyptians as Greeks. He drew up the Greeks in front, and the Egyptians in support behind them. The Greeks bravely withstood the danger; and when they forced open the way, the Egyptians, encouraged by their example, charged boldly forwards. The Persians, assuming that they also were Greeks, abandoned their ranks and fled away. [see also: Frontinus, Str_2.3'13]

[17]   Megacleidas.

G   Megacleidas, who was retreating from a superior force, took up position on a rough and woody mountain. When he was closely pressed by the enemy, he split up his army, and sent the most heavy-laden and useless part of it, to make their escape through the woods. When the enemy discovered this, they set off in pursuit of the fugitives; but Megacleidas with the best part of his troops took a different route, and retreated safely.

[18]   The harmost.

G   A Lacedaemonian harmost, who was being closely besieged by the Athenians, had no more than two days' provisions left. The Athenians escorted a herald, whom the Spartans had sent to him, up to the walls, but would not allow him to go inside. The herald shouted from where he stood, "The Lacedaemonians command you to persist; for you will soon receive relief." To this the harmost replied, "Tell the Lacedaemonians to be in no hurry; for we still have six months' provisions left." The Athenians, because winter was now approaching and they did not care for a tedious winter campaign, raised the siege and disbanded their army.

[19]   Thibron.

G   When Thibron was attacking a fort in Asia, he persuaded the governor to meet him, in order to try to negotiate a truce. And if they failed to reach agreement, he promised on oath to conduct him back to the fort. The governor accordingly went out to meet him, and while they were talking, the garrison became laxer in their duties because the expected a truce. The besiegers took advantage of this, and captured the fort by storm. Thibron, as he had promised, conducted the governor back to the fort; and there he ordered him to be executed.

[20]   Demaratus.

G   Demaratus engraved a message to the Lacedaemonians, about the army of Xerxes, on a tablet which he then covered with wax, so that if the message was intercepted, no writing would be visible on the tablet. [see also: Herodotus, 7.239]

[21]   Herippidas.

G   As soon as Herippidas arrived at Heracleia in Trachis, he summoned an assembly; he surrounded the assembly with hoplites, and ordered the Trachinians to sit down. He then demanded from them an account of their misdeeds, with their hands bound, as the criminal law in Sparta requires. The soldiers bound them up and took them out of the city, where they were all executed. [see also: Diodorus, 14.38'4]

[22]   Ischolaus.

G   Ischolaus observed that the Athenian fleet at Aenus was waiting in strength close to the coast, and suspected that they intended to cut out some of his ships from the harbour. He ordered his ships to be attached by their masts to a tower, that stood on the sea-wall; the ships nearest the shore were fastened directly to the tower, and the others were attached to each other. In the night, the Athenians made the attempt which Ischolaus suspected. When the people of Aenus were informed of this by the guard, they immediately sallied forth and caused great havoc amongst the Athenians, both by sea and by land.

2   Ischolaus was marching through a country, which in one part was steep and craggy, with many precipices, while in the other part the enemy had taken an advantageous position on a mountain that commanded the plain below. When the wind was very high, he ordered a quantity of wood to be set on fire. The enemy were driven from their position by the smoke and fire, and Ischolaus took the opportunity to pass by them without loss or danger.

3   When Chabrias was besieging him at Drys, and was moving a battering ram up to the walls, Ischolaus gave orders for part of the wall to be demolished. He supposed that the effect of this would be two-fold: it would force his own soldiers to fight more resolutely, because they no longer had the protection of the wall; and it would discourage the enemy from carrying on with their siege-works, when they saw how little his men depended on their fortifications. This stratagem was so effective, that the enemy did not venture to enter into the city, whose inhabitants were acting with such desperation.

4   When Ischolaus was informed that some of the guards intended to betray the city, which was then being besieged by the Athenians, he ordered a mercenary to be posted with every sentry. By this means, without suggesting any suspicion, he thwarted any plans of treachery.

[23]   Mnasippidas.

G   The enemy caught up with Mnasippidas, who had a much smaller force, and attacked him in the night. He ordered his light-armed troops and trumpeters to wheel round. After they had gone round the enemy's flank, they sounded the charge and attacked them in the rear with a shower of missiles. The enemy, finding themselves in this way attacked both in front and in the rear, suspected that they were in danger of being surrounded by a numerous army, and made a precipitate retreat.

[24]   Antalcidas.

G   While Antalcidas was lying with a large fleet at Abydus, he found that the Athenian ships at Tenedos would not venture to join Iphicrates at Byzantium. He gave orders to sail to Chalcedon, which had been attacked by Iphicrates, but then he halted near Cyzicus. The the Athenians at Tenedos heard that Antalcidas had departed, they immediately decided to sail and join Iphicrates at Byzantium. As soon as the approached the enemy's fleet, which was hidden in a bay so that it could not be seen from a distance, Antalcidas sailed out and vigorously attacked them. He sank some of the Athenian ships, and captured most of the others. [see also: Xenophon, Hell_5 .1'25]

[25]   Agesipolis.

G   While Agesipolis was besieging Mantineia, the Lacedaemonians were joined by their allies, who were sympathetic towards the Mantineians, but were obliged to help the Lacedaemonians because they were at that time the leading power in Greece. Agesipolis was informed that the allies were secretly supplying the defenders with whatever they might need. To prevent this happening in future, he let loose a number of dogs around the camp, and particularly around the part which faced towards the city. This stopped the communications with the defenders; because no-one ventured to cross between the camp and the city, for fear of being discovered by the barking of the dogs.

[26]   Sthenippus.

G   Sthenippus the Laconian, pretending resentment at having been fined by the ephors, went off to Tegea, where he was readily received. While he was living there, he was able to bribe a group who were opposed to Aristocles, their ruler. With their assistance he fell upon Aristocles, while he was going to a sacrifice, and killed him.

[27]   Callicratidas.

G   Callicratidas of Cyrene asked the commander of the citadel at Magnesia, to receive four of his sick. After this had been agreed, four men in complete armour, with swords hidden under their cloaks, lay down on stretchers, and twenty young men, with weapons concealed, carried the stretchers. As soon as they were let inside the walls, they killed the guards and gained control of the citadel.

2   When Callicratidas was being besieged at Magnesia, and the enemy were moving battering rams up to the walls, he ordered a breach to be made in the walls, in a place which was not easily accessible to the enemy. While the attention of the enemy was still fixed on the area where they were attacking, he sallied out through the breach. He vigorously attacked the rear of the enemy, drove them off with great loss, and made many of them prisoners. After his return to the city, he repaired the breach which he had made in the walls.

[28]   Magas.

G   When Magas left Cyrene, to go on a foreign expedition, he left his friends in charge of the city. But he stored the missiles and other weapons of war in the fortress, and dismantled the walls; so that, if any revolution should be attempted in his absence, he should find it easy to re-enter the city on his return.

2   When Magas captured Paraetonium, he order the guards to kindle a "friendly" fire signal both in the evening, and early in the morning. By this deception, he advanced without resistance into the surrounding country, as far as the place that is called Chi.

[29]   Cleonymus.

G   When Cleonymus, king of Lacedaemon, was besieging Troezen, he posted expert marksmen against different parts of the city, and he ordered them to hurl javelins into the city, which carried this inscription: "I have come to preserve the freedom of Troezen." Also he sent the Troezenians, whom he had taken prisoners, back home without ransom, so that they might inform their fellow citizens of the happy news. However Eudamidas, an officer of experience and indefatigable vigilance, strongly opposed his plans. While the different factions in the city were engaged in arguments and discord, Cleonymus scaled the walls. Then he made himself master of the city, and placed a Spartan garrison in it.

2   At the siege of Edessa, when a breach was made in the walls, the spear-men, whose spears were sixteen cubits long, sallied out against the assailants. Cleonymus deepened his phalanx, and ordered the front line not to use their weapons, but with both hands to seize the enemy's spears, and hold them fast; while the next rank immediately advanced, and closed upon them. When their spears were seized in this way, the men retreated; but the second rank, pressing upon them, either took them prisoner, or killed them. By this manoeuvre of Cleonymus, the long and formidable sarissa was rendered useless, and became rather an encumbrance, than a dangerous weapon.

[30]   Clearchus the tyrant.

G   In order to gain permission to fortify a citadel in Heracleia, Clearchus ordered the mercenaries to go out by night, and plunder, rob, maim and do all the damage they could. Suffering from these injuries, the citizens complained to Clearchus, and begged his protection. He told them, it would be impossible to stop the depredations of the troops, unless they were confined within walls, which is what he wanted to recommend to them. The citizens agreed, and assigned part of the city, where he could raise a wall and build a citadel. In fact, this citadel offered no protection to the citizens, but it enabled Clearchus to maltreat them in any way he chose.

2   Clearchus, the tyrant of Heracleia, announced that he intended to dismiss his guards, and restore the republic into the hands of the council of Three Hundred. The Three Hundred accordingly met at the council house, in order to express their gratitude to him for the restitution of their liberty. Clearchus went to the council house, and placed an armed guard at the door. Then he ordered them to be called out one by one; the soldiers seized them as they came out, and took them away to the citadel.

3   Clearchus, who suspected that the number of citizens was too large for the safety of his government, but had no pretext for removing them, undertook an expedition against the city of Astacus in the middle of the dog-days. He recruited an army of men, aged from sixteen years to (?) sixty-five. When he came near to Astacus, he established a camp for the citizens on a flat marsh, full of dead and stagnant water. He ordered them to watch the movements of the Thracians, while he himself advanced with the mercenaries, as if to sustain all the danger of the siege; but he took up a position on a hill, which was shaded by trees, and refreshed by streams. Then he protracted the siege, until all the citizens were dead, from the fatal diseases which were inevitably caused by the stagnant waters in that hot season. Having achieved his purpose, he raised the siege, and pretended that the citizens had died as a result of an infectious disease.

[31]   Aristomenes.

G   When Aristomenes of Lacedaemon was serving in a naval battle as an ally of Dionysius, he noticed that during a sudden retreat, some of the enemy's triremes had appeared in the middle of his squadron. Then he cried out to his officers, "Let them escape." When the enemy heard this, they assumed that they were utterly defeated; they gave up fighting, and turned to flight.

2   After three splendid victories over the Lacedaemonians, Aristomenes, the general of the Messenians, was disabled by wounds and captured along with many others. They were all sentenced by the Laconians to be thrown down a precipice; the rest were to be stripped, but Aristomenes was allowed to keep his armour, out of respect for his bravery. The others were killed instantly; but the broad shield of Aristomenes, which was to some extent lifted up by the air, let him gently down upon the ground. Aristomenes looked up, and saw nothing above, except inaccessible precipices; but he was too was bold in spirit, to give up all hope of safety. Examining the mountain carefully, he at last spotted a cleft, into which some foxes were entering. He broke off a bone from a dead body, and caught one of the foxes by the tail. Although he was severely bitten by the fox, he would not let go, but followed it into the cleft. After clearing away the rubbish with the bone that he held in his other hand, he escaped through the mountain, and arrived in the Messenian camp, just as his men were going out to fight again. He immediately armed himself, and led them into battle. The Laconians saw that enemy's troops were being led by Aristomenes, who was again engaging in battle, although they had just thrown him down the precipice, a punishment which no-one had ever before survived. They retreated from him, as from one who was more than human, and promptly fled from the battlefield. [see also: Pausanias, 4.18'4]

3   On another occasion, when Aristomenes the Messenian had been made prisoner by the Lacedaemonians, and was bound with cords, he went so close to a fire which was in the prison, that it burnt through the cords. Then he fell upon the guards and slew them. He proceeded secretly into Sparta, where he fixed up the guards' shields in the temple of Chalcioecus with this inscription: "Aristomenes has escaped from the Lacedaemonians unhurt." Then he returned to Messenia.

4   On the day of the festival, when the Lacedaemonians make a public sacrifice to the Dioscuri, Aristomenes the Messenian and a friend mounted on two white horses, and put golden stars on their heads. As soon as night came on, they appeared at a little distance from the Lacedaemonians, who with their wives and children were celebrating the festival on the plain outside the city. The Lacedaemonians superstitiously believed that they were the Dioscuri, and indulged in drinking and revelling even more freely. Meanwhile, the two supposed deities, alighting from their horses, advanced against them with sword in hand. After leaving many of them dead on the spot, they remounted their horses, and made their escape. [see also: Pausanias, 4.27'1]

[32]   Cineas.

G   In a battle near Mantineia, both the Thebans and the Mantineians claimed the victory. However the Mantineians wanted to send heralds to the Thebans, to ask for permission to carry off their dead. But Cineas the Athenian, whose brother Demetrius had died in the battle, opposed this suggestion. He said that he would rather leave his brother without decent burial, than surrender the honour of victory to the enemy. "My brother sacrificed his life," he added, "to prevent the enemy from erecting trophies to the disgrace of ourselves and our country." The Mantineians were moved by the brave words of Cineas, and decided not to send any heralds.

[33]   Hegetorides.

G   The Thasians were closely besieged by the Athenians, and many of them were dying every day from war and famine; but none of them ventured to suggest a treaty with the enemy, because of a law which made it a capital offence to propose a treaty with the Athenians. Then Hegetorides put a rope around his neck, entered the assembly of the Thasians, and spoke as follows: "Fellow citizens, you can dispose of me as you think fit, and as best suits your interests. But in pity for the rest of the citizens, who have survived the slaughter, that famine and the sword have made among us, I ask you to repeal the law which forbids all discussion of peace." The Thasians took his advice; they acquitted Hegetorides, and repealed the law.

[34]   Deinias.

G   Deinias the son of Telesippus, by birth a Pheraean, moved to Crannon a city of Thessaly, where he supported himself by catching birds on the lakes and rivers. From that lowly position he set out to establish himself as tyrant of the city, by the following devices. The citizens of Crannon used to pay by agreement a certain stipend every year for the watch and guard of the city. Deinias took on this duty; and for three years he performed his office so diligently, that the citizens could walk out more securely in the night, than by day. His conduct in this office gained him a great reputation; and to ingratiate himself further with the people, he hired more watchmen, in order to keep everything in greater security. When the task of collecting the tithe of corn was put out for contract, he persuaded his younger brother, who had never before held any public office, to take it on, by emphasising the profits which could be made from it. His brother, thus appointed collector, associated with him a number of young men, to survey the various tracts of land, and collect the corn. On the occasion of a festival, called Itonia, when the inhabitants of Crannon give themselves up to banqueting and merriment, Deinias gathered together his own dependants, the watchmen, and the gatherers of corn, who were connected with his brother. With this band of sober men he attacked and easily defeated the drunken citizens; he slew more than a thousand of them, and made himself tyrant of Crannon.

[35]   Nicon.

G   After Nicon, a pirate from Pherae in the Peloponnese, had by frequent raids done great damage to the property of the Messenians, Agemachus, the Messenian general, at last surprised and captured him. When he was brought before their assembly, Nicon promised, if the Messenians would spare his life, to put them in possession of Pherae. To this they agreed: and choosing a dark night, he took with him a few attendants, with bundles of straw on their shoulders, but directed a greater number to follow him a short distance behind. During the second watch of the night, he arrived at the gates, called out to the sentinels, and gave them the password. They recognised his voice, as well as the password, and so they instantly opened the gates. When Nicon and his companions had entered, they threw down their bundles, and drawing their swords slew the sentinels; and the rest of the men, rushing in, took control of the city.

[36]   Dioetas.

G   Dioetas, the general of the Achaeans, was unable to capture the city of Heraea by a regular siege, but contrived by a stratagem to achieve what he had attempted in vain by force of arms. By large bribes he won over some of the citizens to his purpose; they took frequent opportunities of visiting the sentinels of the gates: and while familiarly conversing and drinking with them, they managed to take an impression of the keys, which they sent to Dioetas, who made exact copies of the keys. He sent these copies back to his collaborators, and told them to fix a night, when they would open the gates to him. By this means he entered the city with a select body of troops, but he found it necessary to use yet another stratagem; because the citizens of Heraea, when they discovered what had happened, sallied forth in great numbers, and had the advantage of being well acquainted with every part of the city. Dioetas, seeing such formidable opposition, ordered his trumpeters to disperse to every part of the city, and to sound the attack wherever they went. The citizens of Heraea, hearing the sound of the enemy's trumpets on all sides, assumed that the enemy were already in possession of the whole city; and so they fled away. Afterwards they sent envoys to Dioetas, asking for permission to return to their own country; and they promised that they would remain subject to the Achaeans in the future.

[37]   Tisamenus.

G   While Tisamenus was on the march, he noticed that a number of birds were hovering over a particular place, without every settling; and he supposed that there were some men there, who were keeping the birds in the air. On reconnoitring the ground, he found that there were some Ionians lying in ambush, whom he attacked and killed. [see also: Frontinus, Str_1.2'8]

[38]   Onomarchus.

G   When the Boeotians were besieging Elateia, Onomarchus the Phocian ordered all the inhabitants to leave the town, and locked the gates. In one row he placed the fathers, mothers, children and wives; and in front of them he placed all those who could bear arms, in order of battle. Pelopidas realised, from such an appearance of desperation, that they were determined either to conquer or to die; and he retreated without risking a battle.

2   When Onomarchus was fighting against the Macedonians, he took up a position with a steep and craggy mountain in his rear; and on the top of the mountain he placed in ambush a number of men, who were expert in throwing stones, with a supply of huge stones and pieces of jagged rock for this purpose. He then advanced, and formed up his army on the plain. The Macedonians began the attack with their javelins, which the Phocians pretended they were unable to resist, and retreated half-way up the mountain. The Macedonians eagerly pursued them, until they came within reach of the men in ambush, who then emerged and started to attack the Macedonian phalanx with huge stones. Onomarchus then gave the signal to the Phocians to turn around and renew the fight. The Macedonians, who were vigorously attacked by the troops in front of them, and grievously harassed by those above them, with difficulty succeeded in making a rapid retreat. On this occasion, Philippus the king of Macedonia is said to have cried out, "We do not run away, but retreat like rams, ready to renew the fight with greater strength."

Attalus' home page   |   03.04.19   |   Any comments?