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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 22. The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece (cont.)

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Professor Donald Kagan: In the year 401 the

prince of Persia, Cyrus, who was a younger son

and had recently succeeded the King of Persia,

Artaxerxes, his older brother, was in power.

Cyrus had always been ambitious for achieving the job of Shah in

Persia and his mother had worked on his behalf,

but it hadn't paid off. He was not prepared to accept

the verdict and so he set out in the year 401 to launch a scheme

that would bring him to the throne of Persia,

and his scheme was to hire a good sized army of Greek

mercenaries and to trick them into becoming the army that

would defeat the army of his brother Artaxerxes,

and make him king. As it turned out,

one of the men who joined up on that expedition was an Athenian

cavalryman by the name of Xenophon,

and he left an account of that experience in a work that is

called in Greek, the Anabasis,

which means "the march back." But it's the story of how

this body of roughly 10,000 Greek hoplite mercenaries,

marched into the heart of the Persian Empire,

defeated the army of the great king--but in the process Prince

Cyrus himself was killed and since the whole point of the

expedition was to make him king there wasn't any point any

longer. The great question--I've told

you about this earlier in the semester, what should these

10,000 Greeks do? They end up,

after their generals are put to death by treachery,

to elect new generals and to fight their way out of the

empire back to the Black Sea, which was the easiest way for

them to get home, and then to do whatever it was

they would do.

It was a very important event because--and I think

Xenophon's account of it was very,

very important because it planted in the minds of many

Greeks a new notion that the vast,

powerful, wealthy empire of the Persians was remarkably

vulnerable, and that it was possible,

and many thought highly desirable, for the Greeks to

turn the tables on the Persians, to invade Persia,

and to take from it, to subdue it,

and to take from it the vast wealth that the Persians had,

and we shall see down through the years of the fourth century

different speakers will come out and speak or write urging that

the Greeks do exactly this. Isocrates, the Athenian teacher

of rhetoric, was the foremost figure who kept seeking somebody

who would undertake this chore. One of the reasons that he

gave for it more than once was that Greece was suffering,

and, of course, had been for some time,

from poverty produced by war and most particularly by civil

wars between democrats and oligarchs that became more and

more common in the fourth century,

and his solution was if you need money, steal it.

So, take it from the Persians and that would put an end to the

troubles. Well, of course,

none of the Greek city states was capable of establishing

leadership in Greece during the period we're studying now,

so that it could carry out Isocrates' wishes.

So, he turned to a man that the rest of the Greeks regarded as,

or many of the Greeks regarded as a barbarian,

the King of Macedon Philip, and urged him to take on that

course, and apparently whether it was Isocrates or simply the

idea itself, Philip himself did intend to do

exactly that, to conquer the Persian Empire,

but he was killed before he could do it and the job was left

to his quite young son, Alexander, who in fact

accomplished it; but we're looking down the road.

Let's go back to 401 and there we see this expedition of

10,000 Greeks accomplishing what I mentioned to you.

That there could be 10,000 Greek hoplites available for

such a purpose I think is a consequence of the Peloponnesian

War. It shows us how much that war

had helped to uproot people and to impoverish many of them,

so that the idea of becoming a mercenary soldier for a Persian

prince was attractive enough to take them away from home,

something that would have been less likely in the prosperous

years before the Peloponnesian War.

Well, of course, that aside, that is a kind of a

side show, it doesn't very much affect what is happening to the

Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor who remain the issue

as to what will happen. You remember,

these were under Athenian control during the Peloponnesian

War, and when the war was over they

were taken over in many cases by Lysander.

What was to happen to them ultimately still had to be

decided, because the King of Persia claimed that territory

still for his own. The Spartans had really agreed

to that in the treaties they made with the great king during

the Peloponnesian War, but now Lysander didn't see any

reason for carrying out those promises and so there was at the

very least conflict. Of course, what the cities

would have liked best of all was to achieve autonomy for

themselves and they claimed that and regarded the rule either by

Persian or by Spartan as improper and something to be

resisted. Well, Tissaphernes the

satrap of the region of Lydia and to the west,

the ones that included the Greek cities,

attacked those cities, which he claimed for the great

king but which cities were holding out.

Those cities in turn, because the great menace to

them for the moment was Persian, turned to Sparta the great

victorious power, and asked the Spartans to help.

In the year 400 and 399 the Spartans sent an army under a

general by the name of Thibron, who recruited about 6,000 of

those 10,000 men who had marched into the Persian Empire and who

still sought service as mercenaries rather than go home

to poverty, plus about 5,000 or so

Peloponnesians. All of the overseas activities

of the Spartans in these years include practically no Spartans.

They are just too short of troops to be risking them in

overseas ventures. So, they use their

Peloponnesian allies, they sometimes use mercenaries,

and they also use some of these folks I told you about the last

time who were neither this nor that.

The ones that they used on these campaigns are the ones

that we are calling neodamodes,

people who had been helots, but who were liberated and

permitted to fight for the Spartans,

and the notion of sending neodamodes overseas to

fight was very attractive to the Spartans,

because it got them out of Laconia, for one thing,

and provided them with soldiers as well.

So, that kind of army is the one that Thibron is now using to

fight against the Persians, who just a few years ago had

been the allies of the Spartans for control of the Greek cities

of Asia Minor. Now, meanwhile we have to

turn our attention to the sea, and especially to the island of

Cyprus. It's a Persian possession,

but on that island there are some cities that have a degree

of autonomy. One of them has as its king a

man called Evagoras, and he is very ambitious for

himself and for the Cypriotes, and so he is eager to fight

against the Spartans, presumably on behalf of the

great king, although his motives are not

made clear by our sources. Reasonable guess is that he may

have hoped by achieving something great for the great

king he might receive back thanks from the great king in

whatever form you can imagine. It might be allowing him to

rule over Cyprus, it might mean to give him

wealth, who knows, but also on the

island of Cyprus where he had taken refuge was the Athenian

Admiral Conon, who had been one of the

admirals at the final defeat at Aegospotomi.

He had escaped from that battle and had not gone home to

Athens; he felt that the air there

would not be healthy for somebody who lost the entire

fleet at Aegospotomi and so he went to Evagoras,

who it took good care of Conon and he was a great sailor.

One of the very most distinguished admirals in Greek

history, and he too now continued his feeling that

Sparta was the enemy. So, he joined Evagoras in

urging the great king to build a navy, which would then defeat

the Spartan navy, which would by itself rid Asia

of the menace of Sparta and be a great thing for the Persians.

Conon, I suspect, had some other hopes out of

this activity, which in fact will come to

fruition and I'll tell you about them in due course.

Well, the Spartans have their fleet out there and the king

agrees and he starts building a fleet of his own,

which will ultimately be a very large one indeed--some 300

ships, and the king puts Conon in charge of that fleet,

which is smart in a way because Conon is a great admiral.

Maybe not so smart if you look at what Conon is really up to.

In the face of these activities, the Spartans decided

to raise the ante and they sent an expedition into Asia Minor.

Thibron had not done very well and after about a year the

Spartans replaced him with another general by the name of

Dercyllidas, who does better,

but there's no decisive victory out there.

The war is dragging on and so they choose to send the new King

Agesilaus, who is the son of Aegis,

whose characteristics are among other things,

that he was born lame; he probably would not have been

allowed to live had he not come from the royal family,

but he did and he grew to be an ambitious, aggressive Spartan

King, who I suspect--I mean, a cheap psychology when you

have a handicap like that in a society which values physical

valor and strength, and military success so highly

as the Spartans did, you're twice as aggressive,

and twice as ambitious as an ordinary Spartan.

In any case, that was the way Agesilaus

turned out to be. Another interesting thing about

Agesilaus is that he had been the tent mate of Lysander and

it's hard to believe that Lysander could ever have

achieved the eminence that he did,

the command that was given to him, had he not been a friend of

the young man that people looked to as the next king,

or possibly the next king. But as yet, Agesilaus,

being a much younger man than Lysander, he seemed to be

deferential and everything was okay and so he was very keen on

doing what the Spartans did, which was to send Agesilaus out

with a new expedition to win the war against the Persians out

there. Agesilaus, it is plain,

had extremely lofty plans for himself and for this expedition.

The way the expedition worked, Agesilaus chose to leave with

his fleet from the town of Aulis, which is located in

Boeotia. Does anybody recognize the name

and think why Agesilaus should have wanted to leave from Aulis?

Tell us about it.Student:

[inaudible]Professor Donald Kagan: That's right.

Agamemnon took off for the Trojan War at Aulis,

and you remember how the legend goes.

The winds were against the Greeks, they wouldn't let the

ships get away, and they asked a holy man to

tell them what the gods were up to and the gods said,

well you can't go until you sacrifice your daughter,

your little daughter Iphigenia to the god for that purpose.

So Agamemnon did and the winds relented, and Agamemnon would

pay the price when he got back from Troy.

But it is precisely that the Greek fleet against the

barbarian, against the non-Greeks,

the most important ones in all of their legends,

namely the Trojans, it was at all Aulis that they

left and Agesilaus wanted to bring that to the mind.

He was the new Agamemnon and he was not leading a Spartan fleet

against the Persians, he was the spokesman for the

Greeks. He was the leader of the Greeks

revenging that original offense, whatever that might be.

He was trying to make the case for a panhellenic motive for

what was absolutely a strictly Spartan one and raising himself

to a legendary level practically.

Well, that turned out to be a mistake, because the Thebans

happened at that moment to be, as far as we can tell,

led by a faction that was very hostile to the Spartans.

So, as Agesilaus' people were setting up the altars for

sacrifices before they took off, along the road came a Theban

army, knocked over all of the altars, and asked them who the

hell invited him into Boeotia in the first place,

to get the hell out of there, grossly insulting Agesilaus and

forcing him to skulk out of Aulis,

not in the grand way that he had imagined.

This turned out to be very significant.

Agesilaus took it personally. He didn't like that,

and I suppose--well, never mind I was about to make

a bad joke, let it go. It had an enormous impact

on him because for the rest of his life Agesilaus will be

hostile to Thebes, and when he could he would

promote a policy of attacking Thebes, of trying to defeat it,

to subject it to Sparta, and a whole piece of Spartan

foreign policy, which was to be very costly and

damaging to Sparta was the result of Agesilaus' attempt at

vendetta against the Thebans.

Well, he goes to Asia and begins to encounter the

Persians. He does pretty well,

as always, Greek hoplites if they can get the Persians to

fight them in a nice flat field will beat them,

and he did that on several occasions, but he was never able

to bring a large force of Persians to battle,

so that he could really destroy a good chunk of Persian power in

the region so that the victories were not decisive.

They could not win the war, he could win the battles,

but you couldn't win the war, at least he didn't.

Meanwhile, things turned around against

the Spartans from the side that you might expect,

that is to say, from the sea.

Conon, with the Persian fleet, sailed against the very

important Island of Rhodes and captured it and brought it back

to--took it away from the Spartans in any case.

Where the Spartans went, you will remember,

they establish oligarchic governments,

and in this case the victorious Athenian admiral removed the

oligarchic government and in its place there rose up a democracy.

I'm sure the great king didn't care what kind of regime it was

for the moment, he just wanted to get rid of

the Spartans, which he did.

But it was, of course, on the Greek scene,

it was a great defeat for the Spartans and it was a challenge

to the Spartans. It was obvious that Conon,

at least, and who knew what might happen on the part of

other Greeks, were going to resist Spartan

power and Spartan aggressiveness,

and that if he wanted to come back,

then he would have to have a navy.

The Spartans set out to increase their navy to meet this

challenge and just to look ahead a few years,

as I think we need to at this moment, it was that Spartan

fleet that Conon defeated thoroughly and decisively a few

years later in 394 at the Battle of Cnidus,

which really puts an end for considerable time the whole idea

of Sparta fighting at sea entirely.

It really means that that approach--remember we were

talking last time about the three different possibilities

that the Spartans had to choose among,

and they chose for a while this thoroughly aggressive one

overseas, that's out now. If you had been defeated at

sea, you don't have a navy that can challenge your opponents,

you can't do it. As a matter of fact it will not

be very much longer when events in Greece compel them to

withdraw their army under Agesilaus and bring him back

home and no Spartan army ever goes back to Asia again.

We're looking ahead but the action that caused that was the

victory at Cnidus.

Now, of course, with the Spartans being

defeated in that part of the world, the Greek cities that

have been under Spartan rule now typically rebel against the

Spartan rule, and we must imagine that for a

few years there are really quite confused conditions in Asiatic

Greece. Some places may have continued

to be under Spartan rule, some may have continued to be

under Persian rule, no doubt about it,

some of them became autonomous. We just don't know what the

numbers were and there could have been mixtures of things

going on too. I make that point because when,

later on, a final settlement is produced there,

it is imposed upon a condition of confusion rather than simply

overthrowing a single thing that was characteristic across the

board. Still, many of those towns as I

say did return to Persian rule as well.

That's the situation which leads us to the next great event

in Hellenic history across the board.

The Corinthian War, as it is called,

which breaks out in 395 and runs down to 387-386,

so called because the bulk of the fighting on land was around

the city of Corinth. But it was a war that engaged

all of the major cities of Greece right around its core and

its center. I think a fair way to see it is

the cause of that war was, in its most fundamental sense,

Sparta's tyrannical behavior towards the other Greek cities

which produces a variety of reactions.

Let me remind you of some and tell you about some others that

we haven't talked about. Remember there were these

grievances that lingered from the end of the Peloponnesian War

when Spartan allies like Corinth and Thebes had been very

dissatisfied with the way the booty had been shared that came

from the defeat of the Athenians,

and you remember those two cities were aggrieved also

because the Spartans ignored their wishes as to what should

happen to Athens and went their own way there too.

I think I mentioned as well that in all contacts with

non-Spartans in this period, the Spartans seemed to be very

arrogant, very hard to get along with, and they certainly inspire

considerable unhappiness and discontent.

Those things you know about. Now in 402, the Spartans

launched a war against the polis of Elis located up

in the northwestern corner of the Peloponnesus.

Olympia is included in that area, just to help you fix it in

your mind. Now, the Spartans called upon

their allies to join them in this expedition,

as is their right, according to the traditional

rules of the game in the Peloponnesian League.

Thebes and Corinth refuse to send their contingents.

That is practically an act of rebellion against the Spartans.

It's a violation of their treaty agreements and it shows

you how much irritation there existed between them.

The whole campaign seemed to these states very annoying

because why were the Spartans attacking Elis,

partly because they had a continuing debate,

a conflict with them about a border town,

the old stuff. But also I think as an act

of revenge, because the Elians had been disloyal during the

Peloponnesian War, during the Peace of Nicias

after 421, Aulis was one of the four democracies that joined up

in this new separate league that ended up fighting against the

Spartans for a period of time. At the great Battle of

Mantinea, in which the very existence of Sparta was at

issue, Elis was on the side of the enemies of Sparta.

So, that was why the Spartans suddenly decided to attack them

and the allies didn't think that was right, the ones who were

discontented in any case. So, that's in the

background, and all these other irritations that I have

mentioned, but it wasn't enough because

even if you were as mad as you could be at the Spartans and

determined to try to undo their effort at hegemony over the

Greeks, there was no easy way to think

of fighting them successfully. All of these states that were

discontented Thebes, Corinth, and as we will quickly

see, Athens as well, were isolated from each other.

They didn't belong to any common activity and they all

were not strong enough, individually,

to take on the Spartans. Moreover, there was the problem

if you wanted to fight these people, it would require money,

and all of them were short of funds for that purpose.

So the critical element necessary to create a coalition

that could undertake a war against Sparta--that decision

was made by the Persians. The King of Persia

presumably, although it very much looks like the new

satrap in that region--there were two

satraps in the western part of the Persian Empire

remember; the one whose capital is at

Sardis in Lydia, and the one whose capital,

or whose territory is along the Hellespont and the straits in

general, Pharnabazus,

our old friend Pharnabazus from the Peloponnesian War,

and a new sIatrap in Sardis, both want this to happen and so

they find a Rhodian Greek and give him a batch of money and

send him to the Greek cities seeking out those factional

leaders who were known to be hostile to Sparta and offering

to give them some of the money that he was carrying,

which was not in itself a vast amount and certainly not enough

to fight in any war, but was obviously a sign of

good faith saying the King of Persia and his satraps in

this region are against the Spartans and would like for you

to put an end to the things you don't like that are happening in

the Greek world and he will support you with his money.

That, I think, turned out to be an absolutely

critical act. He went to a town I have

not mentioned that belongs in the company of the anti-Spartan

people at this point, of course is Argos,

the traditional enemy of Sparta running back at least into the

eighth century and perhaps further than that,

who seem to find themselves in a war with the Spartans at least

once a century and it looks like this is the time in the fourth

century for them. Argos is a democracy too,

and as you know that is a relevant fact.

Corinth is not a democracy, but they are so angry they want

to play too and they join up. Thebes, again,

it's hard to tell what the government is.

It looks throughout this entire period as oligarchy and

democracy may well have been very close to one another,

so that at any time one faction or the other may have the upper

hand. And, of course,

Athens, which is a democracy again.

Now, the Athenians have been very, very reluctant to do

anything to annoy the Spartans for very good reasons.

They have no navy, they have no walls,

and they have no money so to buck the Spartans would be an

act almost of suicide, because all the Spartans needed

to do was coming marching into Attica and they have no defense.

Up to now therefore they've been very, very careful not to

annoy. In fact in 402 when the Thebans

and Corinthians refused to go to Elis with the Spartans,

the Athenians sent their force, as they were required to do by

their treaty with the Spartans. But the new situation changed

things in Athens just as it did, perhaps even more than it did

in other cities. Now the great king--the

Persians were not the enemy, the Persians were going to

support the war, if they were ready to launch it

against the Spartans. There was no war yet I should

point out when this money is being handed out.

This is an effort to stir up that kind of activity.

Of course, the enemies of the policy refer to these transfers

of money as bribes and there's nothing in Greek practice or

Greek tradition to reject the idea that some of these Persian

coins ended up in the pockets of the men that they were given to,

but I don't think we really should think of them as bribes.

Most of the money was used for the purpose for which it was

intended, to help these leaders stir up support for a war

against Sparta. It was something they believed

in anyway, it was a source of their ability to carry out their

wishes. But as I say,

the Greeks didn't think there was anything wrong with picking

up a few bucks along the way. Now, a war breaks out on the

frontier between Phocis and Locris, two towns in central

Greece, both of which are quite close

to Boeotia, the land ruled by the Thebes.

The Spartans, and I think this was

probably--well, I'm pretty confident that it

was what--motivated by the Spartan unhappiness about

Thebes, the Spartans assist Phocis

against Locris, knowing that Thebes is allied

to Locris, and that this would be,

they believed and hoped, a pretext for war.

This was their chance to get even with the Thebans for all

the things that the Thebans had done that irritated them since

the war. So, Sparta invaded Boeotia;

their strategy to win this war was that they would invade

Boeotia from two sides. One army coming from central

Greece, from the region of Phocis and Locris,

where they were assisting the Phocians,

and another army being sent up from the Peloponnesus itself;

they do finally meet in 395 at a town in western Boeotia called

Haliartus where there is a battle,

and where by the way, Lysander is killed in the

fighting and removed from the scene.

But even before that happened, as it was clear that

the Spartans meant to fight the Thebans,

the Thebans went to Athens and asked the Athenians for help and

of course they had a case that was very attractive.

First of all, they certainly reminded the

Athenians of the roll Thebes had played in liberating Athens by

giving a home to Thrasybulus and his free Athenians when they

were in the position of defeating the Thirty Tyrants and

driving them out. I have a feeling they didn't

remind the Athenians about that little congress they had after

the war in which they suggested that they destroy all the

Athenians and take away their land and turn the whole place

into a great big cattle farm. I think they probably didn't

remember to mention that. But they had that reason,

but more important than that, was what they were saying,

you have a chance now to escape from your bondage to the

Spartans, where the Athenians certainly were and to

re-establish yourself as an autonomous polis along

with us and all the others who want to take away power from the

Spartans, which they are abusing so

terribly. Now, the remarkable thing

to me is that Xenophon, who very likely was there,

reports that the Athenian assembly voted unanimously in

favor. Well, it's worth pointing out,

of course, that the number one advocate of doing that,

of joining the rebellion against Sparta,

was Thrasybulus the great hero of the time that certainly made

a big difference. Thrasybulus had been one of the

cautious leaders before who had been against getting the

Spartans mad, because he knew Athens was

incompetent to fight them now, but with the Persian support

and with the prospect of forming a coalition against Sparta,

the strategic situation had changed and Thrasybulus now came

out a hundred percent for the war.

But unanimous vote in favor of the war, I can't imagine the

Athenian assembly giving unanimous vote in favor of

getting a drink of water. It's just so incredible to me.

So, how do I explain it? Well, I got to make it up.

I think if there was an overwhelming sentiment in favor

obviously the attractions were great but there were reasons to

fear. If you lose the price could be

very, very high. But I think what happened was

that the emotion was so strong at the moment that once it was

evident that there was a large majority in favor of the motion,

nobody wanted to be seen as being against it.

It would had the look of cowardice, of a lack of

patriotism, and people in these circumstances,

it has been my experience, hate to seem not to be going

along when everybody is enthusiastically going in a

particular direction. So that's how I interpret

Xenophon's remarkable testimony, but whatever the truth of it,

what is clear is the great enthusiasm, overwhelming

majority, they are prepared to fight for their true autonomy in

the war to come.

So, the coalition is finally formed.

Athens, Thebes, Corinth, Argos,

those are the main states on the mainland and they'll do most

of the fighting, but it's worth pointing out

that there are other places that join too.

Euboea, the island to the east of Attica, not surprising;

they're so thoroughly influenced by the Athenians.

That's not a great surprise but it's interesting that many a

town up in the north of the Aegean,

on the Chalcidice also joined in this anti-Spartan coalition,

and likewise, the region in the west on the

Ionian Sea of Acarnania also join, which I think suggests

that there was quite a lot of anti-Spartan sentiment in the

Greek world at this time, which very often comes about if

any state seems to be too strong, too powerful,

too much of a threat to what everybody else wants,

people tend to cut it down. Political scientists tend

to formulize this into the notion of--if you join up with

the most powerful state that's called bandwagoning,

what do they call it if you're against the--balancing,

that's the word. Sorry, I am weak in my

political science technology. Balancing is what's supposed to

happen; the truth of the matter is that

you never can tell which way states will go in these

situations and there you are. But in this case I'm simply

making the point that there was a lot of hostility to Sparta out

there and some people you wouldn't think of joined in

this, but it's the big four that

really matter and they do most of the fighting in the war.

Well, there's no point in going through the war in great detail;

just a few highlights, I think, need to be mentioned.

The largest highlight of all being how in the world are you

supposed to win this war, what is the strategy on each

side? It's remarkable how similar

they are. The Spartans want to gain

control of the isthmus of Corinth, it's Corinth and Megara

especially, so that they can get out into

central Greece and defeat their opponents individually in

Boeotia for the Thebans and Attica for the Athenians and

Corinth, of course, right there in the

isthmus. The other folks,

the big four, want to push into the

Peloponnesus where they can raise up rebellion of the helots

and the perioikoi and defeat the Spartans right there

and strip away their allies in the Peloponnesus.

So, each side basically has to gain control of the isthmus and

then move forward to carry out the conclusion of the war in

their favor, and the bottom line is neither

side is able to do it. The bulk of the fighting

throughout the years of that war surround the city of Corinth,

walls are put up by the Corinthians meant to keep the

Spartans out, they do so for a great chunk of

time, Spartans can take part of the

walls but they can't manage to take everything and to punch

through, and so for all these years

that's what happens. There are some big battles

that are fought. There's one in 394,

soon after the beginning of the war at Nemea,

which is located to the south of Corinth.

It's a very big tough standard hoplite battle,

both sides having strong armies, both sides fighting well

and determinedly. The Spartans technically

winning--it's one of those victories where you know who won

because they put up the trophy and they were able to collect

their dead, and the other guys had to ask

permission to collect their debt.

But it was another one of these victories that did not have

strategic consequences, neither side had been able to

destroy the other, neither side could now advance

into the region that they had to get to in order to make a

difference, so that I think is the major

story of that war. There's another event in there

that has interesting consequences for future Greek

warfare that deserves mentioning.

At a certain point in that war the Athenians,

under an extraordinary general by the name of Iphicrates,

had put together a force of light-armed troops,

not hoplites, people without hoplite armor

and shields who threw missiles at the other side,

probably mainly slingers, but they also would have been

spear throwers, throwers not thrusters,

and bowmen, and these guys could never confront the phalanx

in the normal way and they would normally not even be able to do

much harm in an extraordinary way,

but what was new was that Iphicrates had trained them as a

professional force, so that they could move swiftly

and together as a body in such a way as to be as effective as it

was possible for light-armed troops to be against a phalanx.

It happened that Iphicrates was able to maneuver a whole

division of Spartan soldiers in such a way that they got stuck

in a dead end, in a cal du sac,

and were absolutely victimized by Iphicrates light-armed forces

and about 600 men making up this division of the Spartan army

called a mora, were wiped out and the Greek

world was astonished by this, because no such thing had ever

happened before, and it led to the increased use

of well trained, light-armed infantry who play a

larger role. They never replace the

phalanx as the major form of land warfare but things become

more complicated in the fourth century as they have already

begun to be in the Peloponnesian War,

as you have different branches that are able to perform more

usefully than they were typically expected to do in the


Perhaps as big an event as any that occurred in that war was

the event I mentioned earlier. Conon, using the Persian fleet,

defeating the Spartan fleet at the Battle of Cnidus in 394.

But what does he do? Conon takes his victorious

fleet, sails back to Athens, the Athenians have already

begun the process of rebuilding their walls,

but now with the help of Conon's men and the money that

he carries and gives to them, they are building those walls

at a much faster clip and before the war is over the Athenians

will once again be a walled city,

with a walled port, and with long walls connecting

them. In other words,

the basis for having an independent naval policy will be

in place thanks to Conon's victory.

On top of which, he takes the Persian fleet and

goes to the Athenians and says, this is now your fleet and

suddenly the Athenians have again probably the biggest fleet

in the Greek world, just like that.

Similarly, or rather as a consequence of all this,

because for a while at least they are able to dominate the

Aegean Sea with these forces and with Conon around they regain

those famous islands that are so crucial to them,

the stepping stones to the Hellespont: Lemnos,

Imbros, Skyros--become Athenian owned again.

They also gain control of the scared Island of Apollo at

Delos. They also make an alliance with

the important Island of Chios and suddenly you have what are

the bare beginnings of the reconstruction of the old

Athenian naval alliance; you might want to call it an

empire. Let me make it very clear that

even when they become far more powerful in years to come,

they are never able to recreate the old Athenian Empire.

They never reach the point which was so decisive for their

power where it is truly an empire where almost every state

in the league is contributing money,

which allows the Athenians to not only build but to sustain in

peace time and war time the biggest navy and the best navy

around. They never get there.

They do become very important as a naval power

again, they are going to be a very significant state again,

but even though they are turning in that other direction

they never get there. But I think we need to remember

that probably there's a very good chunk of the Athenians,

who regard those days as the good old days and as the natural

state of things, and is the place to which they

ought to be going towards that empire.

Certainly a lot of their behavior in the Corinthian war

and afterwards suggests that that was a widespread opinion.

There was, undoubtedly, also hostility to that opinion

as people look back on the experience of what happened last

time, look at the consequences. There were important

socioeconomic political significance of pursuing such a

policy; it meant democracy,

it meant a naval democracy, it meant the most extreme

democracy, and a lot of people's memories,

especially those of the rich were of the mistakes and defeats

that that democracy had brought about.

When you read Plato, particularly about the Athenian

democracy, or even Aristotle, I think you have to remember

that these people were very, very critical of what the

Athenian democracy had done in the fifth century,

blamed the democracy for that defeat, and then that was tied

up with their political views in general that democracy was a

very bad wicked thing, and that should help you

understand this very strong bias against democratic government on

the part of such people.

Another special event in the course of the Corinthian War,

which would have some consequence for Greek life later

on, during that war there was a

union between the cities of Corinth and Argos.

It was brought about by a special emergency situation

created by the war in which all the fighting was around Corinth

in which there was terrible destruction of Corinthian

property, in which poverty came to be a

problem with Corinth in a way that it had never been.

There was a topsy-turvy situation.

It had been throughout the whole fifth century back into

the sixth century--an oligarchic government,

a broad oligarchic government, one that was widely thought to

be a good government, and that so far as we know was

never touched until sometime here in the Corinthian War when

these extreme conditions produced what looks like a

democratic faction, which seized power,

which murdered the leaders of the opposition in a brutal way.

By the way, on a holy day, it was a memorable and horrible

event. So, it was after that event had

taken place that you see this union between Argos,

which is a democracy, and this democratic government

in Corinth, which is under siege for the reasons that I have

suggested, and what they do is they

arrange for a new situation where citizens of one state will

be citizens of the other as well.

So, theoretically, if you lived in Corinth and you

wanted to go to Argos to sit in on the Argive Assembly you could

do it and vice versa. This is something absolutely

new. The idea of anything but a

polis being by itself or being on top of other

poleis, but the notion of their being a

sharing of a regime interpoleis sharing of

governmental responsibilities is really new,

and it becomes more usual in the course of the next century

and the century after that. This one hardly lasts at all;

it's just a few years as a consequence of the war,

and it's undone at the end of the war.

But it's an indication of what people might be thinking about

and we shall see that in the course of this century there

will grow up federations--that's something different,

but still it's the same thing in a way.

A federation is a political union that allows for the

maintenance of local powers on the part of the original

members, but also takes some powers for

a central body, which is made up of more than

one. We Americans of course have

some idea about that, but there was the Arcadian

League that came into being, and the Achaean League that

came into being, and the Aetolian League which

came into being, and as a matter of fact our

founding fathers read very carefully about these

experiments in federal government as they were writing

the American Constitution, we have hard evidence about

that. The best evidence for those

confederations does not occur in our period, it occurs later,

typically in the third and the second centuries B.C.,

and the accounts of them are in the works of Polybius,

if you're ever interested. So, Polybius was a very

important figure for the American founding fathers who

wrote the Constitution. But the first seed of this kind

of interstate cooperation on a basis that was not merely

alliance, but was co-citizenship is in

the case of Corinth and Argos in the course of this war.

Well, as the war dragged on, it became clearer and

clearer that neither side had any way of prevailing.

But another thing that happened that was to play a very

important part in how the war came to an end was that the

Athenian control of the sea was rapidly making Athens stronger

and stronger, and more like that scary thing

which Athens had been to its neighbors and its opponents in

the fifth century B.C., such that the Persians,

who after all, had started the war by virtue

of encouraging the anti-Spartan factions to get together and had

been supporting it to some degree during the war in

general, began to feel that maybe Athens

was becoming more frightening from the Persian point of view

than Sparta was. After all, Sparta was out of

the navy business now and they were not likely to be able to

get back into it, and if you don't have a navy

you really can't threaten Persia very much, at least until

Alexander came along and figured out a way to do it.

So, all of that gives the Spartans, who really want to get

out of this war, because it isn't going

anywhere, the hope that they can bring

about a peace and so the Spartans try to make peace with

the aid of Persia. There's a Spartan political

figure by the name of Antalcidas who emerges on this scene,

and we shall see in his life, the few times we hear about him

he's always engaged in attempting to contain Sparta's

ambitions, to certainly exclude the

possibility of overseas commitments and I would argue,

I think most scholars would agree, even not to be engaged

outside of the Peloponnesus very far.

He seems to represent a traditionalist point of view,

which obviously comes to the fore as this war,

which the Spartans have started really as part of Agesilaus'

aggressive policy, isn't working.

The Spartans are having to constantly fight,

they are suffering casualties, their allies are becoming more

and more restive, and look what's happened,

suddenly Sparta which was absolutely in charge of

everything is practically on the defensive.

So, for all these reasons there's opposition to the bold

policy and Antalcidas represents that.

He gets the Spartan assembly or the Spartan gerousia in

efforts to support a mission to the King of Persia in which he

tries to negotiate a peace. It doesn't work in large

part, because the enemies, that is Athens and Thebes

particularly, and perhaps the others--sorry

Corinth and Argos also, and I'll tell you why in a

moment, are not ready to do what is

necessary from the Spartan point of view.

What the Spartans really want is to break up this coalition

and all anti-Spartan coalitions. That's really the bottom line

for Sparta. There's no sense making peace,

if you leave these people in tact.

What's to stop the whole thing from happening again in the

future? That's the bottom line and they

are unable to persuade the Greeks to make the concessions

that are necessary. So, the war continues and

nothing really changes except things get worse.

This time Antalcidas again negotiates a peace and he really

negotiates it with the great King of Persia.

The King of Persia has changed his mind about where the

great threat comes from. Thrasybulus in the 390s,

in the latter part of the 390s, engages in a series of naval

campaigns all around the Aegean Sea in which he recovers one

city after another that used to be under Athenian rule and once

again puts it under Athenian rule.

He even once again starts collecting money from them.

He did something also that the Athenians had done late in the

Peloponnesian War; he establishes a customs house

in the Hellespont in the Bosporus and every ship that

goes through pays a tax to the Athenians.

So, there's a real feeling in Persia obviously that the

Athenians are coming back to rebuild their empire,

and we better stop them and the Spartans are safer from our

point of view having been chasing by events,

and so I think that's probably the single most important reason

why the great king comes out and backs,

and as we shall see, insists on a peace in Greece

which meets Sparta's needs and the needs are that all these

international organizations should be broken up.

Obviously, the league of four states that

have conducted the war must stop, but on top of that,

the union between Argos and Corinth must be broken up;

that's especially critical to the Spartans.

That's right next door. Argos would be strengthened by

its association with Corinth and if it were allowed to continue,

it would be a problem in the future.

So, it had to be broken up. Thebes, of course,

was a great problem for the Spartans and they insisted that

before peace was to come, the Thebans had to give up

their control of Boeotia. They had used the war as an

opportunity to reconstruct the old Boeotian League,

which left Thebes at the head and in control of the bulk of

Boeotia that was to be broken up in order to reduce Theban power.

Originally, the Spartans had wanted the

Athenians to give up the things that they had acquired in the

course of the war but they couldn't do that.

Athens was still too strong in the one field that they couldn't

be challenged in easily -- their control of the sea and so a

compromise had to be made if a peace was to be made.

Athens would not join unless it was allowed to keep Lemnos,

Skyros, Imbros. So, that was permitted.

So the peace came and the critical part--Xenophon reports

the exact language of a message that King Artaxerxes sent to the

Greeks that was in effect the instrument that made the peace.

Here's what it said, "King Artaxerxes thinks it just

that the cities in Asia, and the islands of Klazomenai

and Cyprus shall belong to him. Further, that all the other

Greek cities, small and great,

shall be autonomous." Listen to that word,

that's critical. This peace is associated with

the principle of autonomy, there shall be no breach of

autonomy except, says the king,

"Lemnos, Imbros and Skyros which shall belong to Athens as

in the past. If any refuse to accept this

peace, I shall make war on them, along with those who are of the

same purpose, both by land and sea and with

both ships and money." Ancient writers and modern

writers have disagreed as to what is the name of this peace,

some of them speak of the Peace of Antalcidas,

more of them I think speak, and I think they're right in

this decision, as the King's Peace.

This is not the product of a negotiation and the king is

very careful even though it really is,

but he's very careful to make it clear that that's not the way

he sees it. This is a command leveled by

the king at the Greek states saying, this is how you will be,

I say so, and if you don't like it I will beat the hell out of

you. That's the message that comes.

But, of course, the reason he can say that,

with as much confidence as he does, is that his partner in the

peace is Sparta. This is a peace that will

benefit Persia and benefit Sparta at the expense of

everybody else. The Spartans take it as a

license to run Greece in the way that they see fit.

Notice nobody says that the Spartans have to break up the

Peloponnesian League, that doesn't count as any kind

of a violation of autonomy and so that's the nature of the

peace, whether among the results are

that the Asiatic Greeks are abandoned by the Greek states

once and for all, and of course that means Sparta

mainly, until finally Alexander will impose his rule when he

conquers the Persian Empire. The Boeotian League is

dissolved, Argos and Corinth are split, and Athens loses all that

has been gained except for those three islands that are

mentioned. Sparta regains,

and in a certain sense, gets greater control of the

mainland Greek situation. It is the hegemon of

Greece now as a kind of a partner of the great king,

and the great king leaves Greece essentially to the

Spartans without any interference.

How did he do that? In the same way that they did

it to win the Peloponnesian War. An enemy of the Spartans would

say because they were Medizers, they had done the work of the

Persians; they had collaborated with the

Persians against the Greeks. That's now how the Spartans saw

it of course; they would have something

like--I guess there's a crack in Plutarch somewhere,

it says, we have not Medized; it's the Persians who have

Spartanized, but that's a very kind way of looking at it.

It is without question, if you look back on it,

we're talking just about 100 years after the Persian war and

it's a reversal of the Persian Wars.

The Greeks won the Persian Wars and the proof of it was

they chased the great king out of Europe,

eager to stay alive and completely unable to do anything

about what the Greeks were to do with the coastal regions of the

Persian Empire. Now the King of Persia is

telling the Greeks what they must do.

It was widely seen as a cause for great shame and by those

people who were not friendly to Sparta a great cause of anger

against the Spartans, who were responsible for this

condition of things. But the Spartans didn't care

much, because they were now in a position to exercise the power

that the dominant force in Sparta,

who is Agesilaus and his supporters, wanted to do.

So, in 385 we see the Spartans attacking the city of Mantinea.

Once again, the story is very much like the story of Aulis in

402. This time Mantinea had been

again, one of those states in the Peloponnesus that had joined

in a quadruple alliance against Sparta in 421,

the great battle that so much threatened Spartan existence in

418 had been fought on the territory of Mantinea.

It had a democratic history and democratic tendencies.

So, with no pretext really at all, the Spartans invaded

their territory, besieged the city,

managed finally to defeat Mantinea by diverting the waters

of a river that ran through Mantinea to the point where it

undermined the walls and they had to surrender.

Xenophon learns an important lesson about warfare from this

event and he concludes his account of this by saying,

well, that shows you that you should not build your city

around the river. So, if any of you are planning,

keep that in mind.

Then soon afterwards, the Spartans turn on another

city in the Peloponnesus, the city of Phlyus,

which is to the southwest of Corinth, not a very big city but

not a small tiny one either, and what it turns out here is

that the thing that the Phylasians have done that the

Spartans don't like is that they have been a democracy for part

of the time. King Agesilaus basically

removes the government after fighting a war and besieging the

city. It was not an easy task,

it was expensive and time consuming, but they do gain a

victory and Agesilaus puts in a new government made up not just

of oligarchs, which of course they were,

but they were the personal friends of Agesilaus.

If you look at it, historically it resembles the

stuff that Lysander was doing at the end of the Peloponnesian War

and afterwards in placing these decarchies of his friends

in the cities, so that they would not be only

pro-Spartan but pro-Lysander, and here Agesilaus did the same

thing in Phylus and it's not the only place that he did.

Then enormity followed enormity as the Spartan power was

unchecked in this period of time.

Up in the north the city of Olynthus, in the Chalcidic

peninsula was gaining control of that peninsula,

basically establishing itself as the hegemonal power over

cities in that region. In 383, a couple of cities up

in that region came to Sparta complaining of what the

Olynthians were doing and urging the Spartans to defend them and

to undo these things, using as the basis for their

appeal the King's Peace. This was a violation of their

autonomy; the Spartans were to be the

upholders of Greek autonomy according to the King's Peace,

and so they ought to send a force up.

The Spartans did so and in the course of that war which

lasted from 382 to 379, they defeated Olynthos,

dissolved the confederacy, and destroyed again any notion

of a league other than the Spartan League.

There was an event that was connected with that movement up

towards the northeast, up to the Chalcidice,

which was the most famous, I think--there's a small

competition for a couple of events,

but one of the most famous anyway in this period

illustrating the arrogance and power of the Spartan hegemony,

a Spartan force was sent off ostensibly to reinforce their

Spartan army up there in the Chalcidice.

It was led by a general named Phoebidas.

As he was moving north on a route that would not have been

the normal route to take, a route that took him right

past the city of Thebes, he camped out at night and on

his way there he was contacted by an important official in the

government of Thebes, an oligarch, a friend of Sparta.

The next day the Spartan army seized the Acropolis of Thebes,

which is called the Cadmea.

They did so on a sacred day, a holiday was being celebrated,

everybody was in the same shape people are on a holiday.

Nobody was ready, they took the city;

the enemies of the dominant party that had invited the

Spartans in were put to death, if they could not flee

successfully. The Spartans left a

garrison on the Cadmea and took control of the city and

had their stooges run the city thereafter.

Now, this had not been determined by the Spartan

assembly, this was not the consequence of a policy decision

that the Spartan officials or people had made.

When Phoebidas came back to Sparta he was put on trial and

there was great anger against him and there was great anger

against Sparta of course throughout the Greek world.

There was no real case for him, but surprisingly enough,

even though he was not a member of Agesilaus' faction.

Agesilaus got up at the trial and simply said,

you guys are all talking about the wrong thing.

There's only one question that should be asked about the

behavior of Phoebidas. Was what he did good or bad for

Sparta? Well, it was obviously good.

Why in the world do you want to punish him?

He was not punished with any severity;

a mild fine or at least a fine was imposed.

We don't know if he ever paid it.

In any case, the critical thing was what

would Sparta do about the action itself?

The fact that it had a garrison up there on the Cadmea.

If they thought it had been the wrong thing to do,

if it had been the idea that Phoebidas and what didn't

represent Spartan policy, then they should have withdrawn

the garrison. The garrison stayed,

so that Sparta now--this was something that rang all around

the Greek world. This was the worst thing

anybody could remember in peace time with no allegation of

cause, they had simply seized another

city, an ancient city, a great city,

and they refused to back off.

Finally there's one other example of this same kind of

behavior. The government in Thebes was

tyrannical, imposed upon an unwilling people;

some of the people who had fled did a reverse of what happened

in the time of the Thirty Tyrants in Athens.

They fled to Athens, and, of course,

the Athenians gave them support, and protected them and

then in 379 a small number of these exiles launched a clever

plot that allowed them to sneak into Thebes and to make their

way to the Cadmea and to kill the oligarchic leaders of

the city in the dark when nobody could really do anything about

it, and to drive away a number of

the Spartans and to free the city.

Thebes became free, it became democratic too,

because these people now belonged to a democratic faction

and more and more, if you're a democrat,

you're anti-Spartan, if you're an oligarch,

you're a pro-Spartan, and so all of this is the

beginning of what we will get to next time, which is the

flowering of Theban power. It's going to happen as they

get stronger and stronger, but the event I wanted to

mention as the twin of the Phoebidas thing is that in 379,

a Spartan harmost of the one of the garrisons in Boeotia

by the name of Sphodrias took a force by night,

marched into Attica, ostensibly his plan was to

reach the Piraeus and then that would allow them to take control

of Athens, because they could cut them off

from their port at the sea. He didn't get it quite right.

By the time morning broke and they were visible he was still

miles and miles, and miles away from the Piraeus

and so all he could do was to do some harm to the Athenian

territory and then to go home. Well, when he got home again he

hadn't gotten any vote from the Spartan assembly or from the

gerousia or from the ephors to do anything,

another thing that he had apparently done on his own.

So, there was another trial and this time the only thing he had

going for him apparently--well, he still had Agesilaus' general

approach, but he was the lover of the son of Agesilaus,

and so Agesilaus who ostensibly was hostile to what had happened

was made to speak in his defense and this time his argument was

simply, Sparta has too few men of

quality to be able to execute any for whatever reason

whatsoever and so we shouldn't do anything to Sphodrias.

So, they didn't. That was yet another signal and

it had fantastic consequences. In Athens they had been

holding some Spartan ambassadors when the Sphodrias' raid had

taken place and they were holding them in effect as

hostages, but the Spartans said,

look we had nothing to do with it, this was--Sphodrias did it

all on his own, and he'll certainly be

condemned when he gets back to Sparta.

So, the Athenians said okay, you can go home,

and then he wasn't and so the Athenians now were determined

that they would have to fight Sparta.

In the process, they set about organizing an

alliance, a general alliance, meant against Sparta,

which they were able to do in considerable part,

because of all of the irritation that had been felt

all around Greece by these terrible actions of the

Spartans, and as I think I'll tell you

next time, they put together what we call the Second Athenian

Confederation, and they made an alliance with

the newly liberated Thebes. Thebes, which is going to get

stronger and stronger, and stronger and so we have now

a threat once again to the Spartan hegemony which will be

very serious, but of a different kind from

the one we had before. I'll tell you about it next


The Description of 22. The Struggle for Hegemony in Fourth-Century Greece (cont.)